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FAA Orders Inspections of 2,600 Boeing 737 Airplanes Over Emergency Oxygen Mask Issue

FAA Orders Inspections of 2,600 Boeing 737 Airplanes Over Emergency Oxygen Mask Issue

A Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane lands following a test flight at Boeing Field in Seattle on April 10, 2019. (Ted S. Warren/AP Photo)

Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek

7/8/2024

Updated: 7/9/2024

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Federal aviation safety officials have ordered more than 2,600 Boeing 737 series airplanes to undergo inspections because of a potential issue with devices that could cause passenger oxygen masks to not work properly when deployed in an emergency.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed that the agency has issued an “airworthiness directive,” a legally enforceable order, requiring operators of certain Boeing 737 planes to inspect passenger service unit oxygen generators to ensure that the devices are in their proper position, a spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.
Out-of-position oxygen generators could cause the aircraft’s emergency oxygen masks to fail to deliver oxygen to passengers in the event of a loss of cabin pressure.
The directive, which goes into effect immediately and is set to be published in the Federal Register on July 9, applies to certain Boeing 737-8, -9, -8200, -700, -800, and -900ER series airplanes.
The FAA issued the directive because of multiple reports that the passenger oxygen generators were shifting out of position within their assemblies because of a failure of pressure-sensitive adhesive material on thermal pads that are attached to straps that hold the devices in place.
“This condition, if not addressed, could result in shifted PSU oxygen generators that might become non-functional, which could result in an inability to provide supplemental oxygen to passengers during a depressurization event,” the directive reads.
Airline maintenance staff are required by the directive to carry out visual inspections of oxygen generator installation, with particular attention to retention strap thermal pads, and carry out corrective actions to ensure that the units are serviceable.
The directive also expressly prohibits airlines from installing affected parts, with the FAA stating that it’s issuing the order to address the “unsafe condition” of these products.
Any potential corrective actions are to be carried out within 150 days. The directive affects 2,612 U.S.-registered airplanes.
Representatives for Boeing did not respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
The oxygen generator inspection order is the latest issue to affect Boeing, which has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal charge of defrauding the U.S. government over the deadly 2018 and 2019 737 Max crashes that led to the deaths of 346 passengers.
The Justice Department announced that Boeing had agreed to the plea deal in a July 7 filing, which indicates that the company and the government are working quickly to finalize the details of the terms so that the agreement can be submitted for final court approval by July 19.
The deal calls on Boeing to pay an additional $243.6 million fine, and the company is also obligated to invest $455 million in safety and compliance programs and undergo three years of independent monitoring of its safety and quality control. Boeing earlier paid a total of $2.5 billion to avoid criminal prosecution, including $500 million to the families of the crash victims.
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Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.

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