Alpha Software Blog

Inspection Instructions: A step Towards Resuming Flights

After the FAA grounds all Boeing 737 Max 9 airplanes, Boeing and major airlines must conduct emergency inspections that specifically focus on the door plugs before flights can resume. 

FAA grounds all Boeing 737 max 9 airplanesThis week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all Boeing 737 Max 9 airplanes after a section of the fuselage blew out during flight on Friday. The FAA issued a statement Monday, indicating:

"Boeing 737-9 aircraft will remain grounded until operators complete enhanced inspections which include both left and right cabin door exit plugs, door components, and fasteners." 

The FAA specified: that operators must complete:

"corrective action requirements based on findings from the inspections prior to bringing any aircraft back into service."

The announcement resulted in Alaska Airlines and United Airlines cancelling over 300 flights each. 

Issuing New Inspection Updates

Serious ManufacturingPlane manufacturer Boeing announced Monday that it had sent instructions to the airlines on how to conduct urgent inspections of these planes, related to the FAA grounding. Now, Alaska Airlines maintenance crews must inspect (65) 737 Boeing Max 9 planes, while United Airlines will be tasked with inspecting (79) planes across its fleet. The two airlines are the main operators of the 737 Max 9 aircraft in the U.S. Currently, more than 200 of the planes are in operation around the world.

This afternoon, United Airlines announced that it found several loose bolts on door plugs of Boeing 737 Max 9 airplanes after doing emergency maintenance. CNBC reported on the statement:

"Since we began preliminary inspections on Saturday, we have found instances that appear to relate to installation issues in the door plug – for example, bolts that needed additional tightening,” United said in a statement. “These findings will be remedied by our Tech Ops team to safely return the aircraft to service.”

Once the inspections are completed, all data will require careful FAA review before the grounding is lifted. 

As of this afternoon, Boeing shares had fallen 6.9%, and Spirit -- which manufactured and installed the fuselage part on the Max 9s -- saw its shares fall by 7.9%. Experts are still debating whether the issue is likely a controllable one-off manufacturing issue or a more costly design issue.

The Importance of Digital Data in Manufacturing

Digital inspectionsWhile no manufacturer wants to find itself in crisis mode, having a system to immediately update inspection protocol and log it properly is critical, especially in an industry like aerospace.

Boeing had to quickly update its inspection protocols to incorporate more checks on the airplane door plugs, then issue updated instructions to major airlines. In turn, these airlines had to instantly update the inspection criteria their ground maintenance crews use. While the process is slow and costly for all involved, doing this using paper forms would have been even more delayed and costly. 

And without digital data, providing the results of all the inspections to the FAA for review would be difficult and costly to do, not to mention it could take days, resulting in more downtime for the airlines.

We're pleased no one was injured during this frightening failure, and we are pleased to see all parties working quickly to remedy the problem.

Alpha Software: Digitizing Data for its Customers

Digital data analysisWhile Alpha Software was not involved in this inspection process, we have helped many manufacturers digitize their data to enable faster response to ensure better product quality overall and allow organizations to respond quickly to any quality issues, should they arise. From digitizing paper forms to allowing for instantaneous sharing of data and visual data analysis, we're helping our customers collect more accurate data, update their inspection processes instantly, and find data insights more rapidly.

If your organization is still using paper for inspections, please contact us. We have a host of solutions to quickly modernize your process, improve product quality, keep downtime to a minimum, and help you respond to manufacturing issues faster.

Learn about our Manufacturing Solutions.

Alpha Solutions for Manufacturing

Powerful Manufacturing Solutions for Managers, Inspectors, Assemblers, and Production Teams

Gemba Walks  •  5S Audits  •  Workstation Audits  •  Equipment Maintenance  •  Regulation and Compliance  •  ISO Certification

Product Inspections  •  Non-Conformance Reports  • Yellow Sheets  •  Temporary Deviation Authorizations  •  Shortage Sheets  • Per Unit Reporting

Work in Progress Tracking  • Supplier Defects  •  Material Orders •  Inventory Management  •  and more.


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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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