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Boeing orders 737 Max inspections after fuel tank FOD is found in several Undelievered Planes

Boeing has ordered the inspection of all undelivered 737 Maxes, after it found debris in the wing fuel tanks of some of the grounded narrowbodies. The airframer states that it has also recommended 737 Max customers globally with aircraft in active storage for more than a year to inspect the fuel tank for foreign object debris (FOD). ( More...

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Roy Thomas 34
My brother used to do internal tank work on the 767 and 747 line. Only certain machinist are certified to do this work and there should be a record of every individual who climbed inside. Boeing needs to clean house from top to bottom.
Frank Harvey 17
My observations date from the late 1970s/early 1980s but I would have thought would still apply today. Both mechanic and inspector used to have to be certified for the specific type of work, you couldn't just walk in off the street and start drilling holes and riveting.

Doesn't the machinist/mechanic sign an actual paper worksheet when he completes the job and then an inspector have to inspect the work and work area and counter-sign and stamp the sheet (with a dated, personalised stamp) when he is satisfied with the job ?

(The inspector's stamp was personally issued to him, with the date fixed by the manager, when he started his shift. When the inspector finished for the day the stamp was returned, by his manager, to a locked safe until the inspector's next workday. This way you could pull the worksheet and identify the mechanic's signature and the inspector who was the only one with access to the individual stamp.) At least that was the way it used to be done.
hwh888 24
Seems like the 737MAX story just keeps getting whacked in the head every few weeks.Will anyone trust Boeing after this mess?
LW P 14
Boeing is the new malaise-era General Motors.
Boing and gm are in cahoots with each other
belzybob 12
I recall the same issue delayed the delivery/acceptance of in-flight refueling aircraft for the USAF
Frank Harvey 11
If the FOD was "tools and rags" this seems similar to reports about the KC-46. When the a/c was in operation did mx report finding anything in the filters/screens ?

I don't understand "tools" being left behind, when I wandered around professional mx facilities, Tools were issued by Stores in marked areas on carts and at the end of the Job the Storekeeper expected the carts to be returned with all marked spaces filled. Also, in these professional facilities, trash, including rags, was collected by the Mechanic signing off the Job and the Inspector who countersigned made sure that the area was clean.
That sounds like a pretty tight ship!! I wonder how many of these checks and double-checks are done today??
Frank Harvey 2
That was back in the 1980s
airuphere 5
The KC46 were delivered From a different factory. Looks like metal filings are the main culprit on this one.
Frank Harvey 8
Hi Airupthere

I understand Pegasus is from Everett and Max from Renton, but it seemed interesting that the complaints ("tools", "rags", "trash") were similar, leading me to speculate that the workforce might be trained and supervised to the same standards in both locations.

One of the reports on the KC-46 I read mentioned an "air-tool" being found among the trash inside a wing cavity when the a/c was delivered to the Air Force.

I initially thought the FOD might be swarf (which was why I questioned the contents of filters/screens) but the posted report specifically stated "tools and rags". While swarf could actually damage pump internals, rags can block the outlets or vents.

I do not know anything about long term storage of jet fuel, but was told that an additive called Prist to block microbe growth is sometimes used if fuel is to be stored for more than 6 months. And alternatively condensation and also additive separation are also potential problems. (In a non-aviation application I am aware of an extremely costly incident involving gum formed in diesel stored for over a year blocking the injectors of a diesel generator in an emergency situation.)

The other possibility was, if there was fuel in the tanks, that there could be excessive condensation, fuel separation or the possible rapid growth of microbes or bugs in the fuel.

Whatever the FOD inside the tanks, it appears to be undesirable.
Highflyer1950 11
yes, Jet fuel left undisturbed for months will leach out all kinds of stuff. Micro-bacterial and otherwise and the additive Prist does work if used in the correct volume %. Water also leaches out Jet from condensation and can remain emulsified A but since it is heavier than Jet A, can be easily drained. There probably will be a myriad of issues returning these aircraft to service.
ynot ssor 2
I have never seen such a dense concentration of MAX as at the east side of KMWH, Moses Lake WA. The diurnal temperature variations there are perfectly conducive to condensation if any tank linings are exposed.
Richard Tarr 7
What next ? The FAA are now questioning the wiring of the max .
The ongoing problems are only ensuring the paying public won’t fly on it .
Rebadging will be stopped by smart attorneys who will claim deceit and deception
By the time settlement is made to its customers Boeing will be in financial meltdown
With the possibility of tariffs being dropped by the USA on airbus products very shortly Airbus must be wishing they could make more aircraft
Mr Roy Thomas, you are so correct, I fly Boeings for a living and I love the product, but Boeing's QC has gotten horrible, why is it that the Air Force, American Airlines and others take delivery of brand new aircraft and take them home and tear them apart to clean out the assembly trash and tooling left in the airframes, this is a hazard and shows not only the labor doesn't give a crap, but the inspectors don't either.
It will be interesting to see how long this Max debacle will continue, I could see Boeing (if they survive)going the way of Lockheed, to military and space only. Sorry folks, not trying to create hate here, just being honest.
DGR Rathborne 3
Hello Captain Parsons . I knew that Boeing is having real financial problems due to the Max and the KC-46 's . Boeing just recently secured a 10 Billion line of credit that covers 4 years from major banks and other Financial institutions . But i always felt Boeing is just to Big to let Fail . But i never felt , or even thought that they may kill off the Commercial Aircraft division . So this is very serious . Thank-you for sharing this .
DGR Rathborne 2
Mr Parsons , are you related to the Cpt , of the Gimli Glider ? Or is it just coincidence ........
Hi Mr. Rathborne, coincidence. Thank you.
Kobe Hunte 11
uh oh. One problem after the other. Makes you wonder what might happen next??
john andrew 4
I think this is what happens when you outsource jobs to the lowest bidder. I'm not sure that I believe sabotage is what's happening- but who knows. In any case, Boeing surely has a lousy quality control team. Remember that this is also a problem in the 787 line too. What's happening to this company? It's the largest manufacturing exporter in the US- which doesn't bode well for our reputation.
they need to rehire your brother Rory Thomas maybe boing will learn something beside being greedy
Chris B 11
Three days inspection per aircraft. 400 plus undelivered aircraft. Over three years worth of work. Ignoring the fact that several aircraft can be worked on at the same time.

Ever get the feeling that Boeing can't even breath without screwing up.

Robert Cowling 18
That seems to be a valid comment. Boeing is failing on multiple levels. I don't know if it is the move to nonunion workers, the move to spread out the manufacture to so many subs, or a purely corporate attitude that they can't/shouldn't be held accountable because they are 'too big to fail'.

Sending out planes with 'trash' in the fuel tanks, and elsewhere, is ridiculous. That kind of carelessness wouldn't be tolerated for a surgeon, and the results of the 'trash' being in the tanks could be just as grave. I can't wait for the first plane crash that happens that is found to be due to 'trash' left during manufacturing. Some dirt is probably to be expected, but metal shreds, rags, 'air tools', rivets, screws? It's from a workforce that just doesn't care. So either they are overworked, or just don't care. BOTH, by the way, are marks of a poor corporate ethic.

'Boeing can't even breath without screwing it up' is valid, in the totality of the 'screw ups' that they have had over the last few years.

From satellites, to rockets, to planes; Boeing has a lot of huge failures. Changing the CEO isn't likely to 'fix' Boeing either, sadly...

There is another 'Squawk' article: 'Could Boeing build a 787X?'. Sure. Could they build a 787X that I would feel safe and comfortable flying in is the question. Will it be riddled with haphazard 'fixes', and be piloted by under-trained and unaware pilots? Would it be a plane designed and engineered like the planes of old, or be a 'quick way to profit'; under-cooked, and under-designed (but with a new system of background lighting to simulate a sunset). But Boeing is a symptom of Corporate America's ills. Workers are liabilities, and profit it the only reason they exist. Profit over all is the rule. Proper design and acknowledging serious problems is not profitable resulting in 'fixes' done to spackle over design issues rather than stopping a bad idea, and doing the groundwork to completely fix the problem.

Boeing can be fixed, but it's going to take a lot more than a new CEO.
Stefan Sobol 4
"That kind of carelessness wouldn't be tolerated for a surgeon, ..."

Plenty of people have died/suffered complications by things left behind by surgeons. There was an unwillingness in the medical profession to call them on it for a very long time.
Robert Graham 6
Boeing jumps the shark. Details at 11. Meanwhile, Boeing execs get big bonuses.
keith pineau 3
I thought it was the outsourcing of work that created the issues behind the 737 grounding, apparently not....
mcalant 5
I've always been a big Boeing fan but I will do whatever I can to stay off a Max 8 if and when they are ever returned to service.
patrick baker 3
like a delinquent kid , who repeats mistakes and often makes new ones, at some point the commentary truthfully becomes " we got a rotten kid who requires structured remedial schooling , else we lose the kid to prison." This is the Boeing we have now before us: broken products, fixes, play-acting taking of resonsibility, and back to more broken parts, misled by defective CEO's and unsupervised by an out-of touch board of directors. What happens next - we are all awaiting the next dropping of the shoe.... And we still got to get on one of the company's aircraft sometime soon, and is Airbus any better really?
Marc Dante 2
Time to send everything to the junkyard!
Marc, no disrespect intended, but almost anything can be fixed without scrapping the program, and I'm sure, that if was mine or your dollars involved we would look for a fix. We have in this country, some of the best trained and experienced pilots and I for one still say, "If it's not Boeing, I'm not going."
FOD can be anything from swarf to an adjustable wrench, and I have found that and more! I also remember brand new airplanes, (DC-8) coming from the factory with bucking bars and clecos in the aft fuselage a lot.
Greg Mermel 2
Had to look up "swarf." Thanks for enlarging my vocabulary. (Seriously.)
Frank Harvey 1
Were the clecos actually holding the work together ie had the job not been completed (riveted/screwed/welded) or were they just loose tools left behind (as I assume the bucking bars were) ? They're actually very useful to tack things together when you're working single handed but I wouldn't think you'd want them to hold the skin on an a/c, especially not a monocoque assembly.
The clecos and bucking bars were loose. Douglas airplanes used NACA method of riveting to attach the skin, so clecos were not the problem for that.
DGR Rathborne -2
So whats your point ?
Humans make mistakes and most people learn from them.
DGR Rathborne 1
Since the announcement on Sat Feb 22nd that 70% of the aircraft they have inspected ( Didn't say how many )Boeing has had to suggest that all the airlines that have the Max , inspect the tanks also . This must be a very unsettling event for the airlines . I would think the airlines have to be asking , at what point do we just decide to bury this aircraft . The Max has been racking up so many problems , i bet even Airline Executives are questioning the viability of the model . Truly bad news . ..........DGR
DGR Rathborne 0
Every body is working on the assumption , that the FOD is left in the tanks or other nocks and crannies by mistake . For sure it is sloppy work . But i am beginning to think along the lines of deliberate acts to " Screw " the employer . The other example is the problems with the KC-46 tanker , and the FOD found mostly inside the Fuselage . This problem is so systemic , it leaves me to believe that it is deliberate . I offer a penny for your thoughts ............DGR
8984p 3
Kind of short sighted though to screw" the employer by also causing all kinds of potential death and property damage if the FOD brings a plane down
DGR Rathborne 1
Very true , i completely agree . But it has also been said that the men and women who have worked on the Max program , wouldn't let family members even fly on it . As for property damage , thats part of the deal . When Boeing acknowledges that the problem is so great that they have to ask the Airlines who have moth balled Max's to check their tanks , this is no longer just the odd mistake . I remember a very old story , that auto workers who where angry with the company , would place empty pop cans in sealed areas of the Chassis so the can would rattle around and drive the car owner nuts , and ruin the companies reputation . I just toss this out for your consideration ..............DGR
DGR Rathborne 0
Just to change the channel from what is all wrong with Boeing and the weekly bad news . Why do these , so called , errors and oversights not happen at Airbus ? Airbus is making similar products . Are their employees just so much better than Boeing staff ? Is there a diliberate effort to leave FOD in aircraft ? Any comments welcome .......DGR
DGR Rathborne 0
.......News Flash .......My local TV news stn CP24 , in Toronto , is scrolling across the TV screen , that 70% of the Max jets waiting for delivery , have been found to have FOD in the wing Tanks , that Boeing have inspected .
It does not say the # that they have inspected . Also , just for your info , Boeing has 400 Max's waiting for delivery . This is no longer just sloppy work . This appears to be deliberate . I'd like to hear back from others on
this Chat Site , as to whither you have heard anything about this . This is really important .....Thanks ......DGR
ravenshammer -7
Ever since Boeing decided to move to South Carolina to get away from the socialist unions, the have been plagued by problems. Sabotage comes to mind. I would not be surprised to eventually find out all the problems with the MAX have been union members sabotaging production anyway they can. Nothing is underneath a socialist, there is no underhanded deed they won't stoop to.
John Nichols 2
Why bother? Boeing needs no help.
Bill Butler -2
Now, THAT is a very interesting thought. One that needs, well, thought on....
Richard Loven -8
You can’t make anything completely child proof.
Hopefully not, but one of these days some inept Pilot from the 3rd world will wind an Airbus into the ground. Then Airbus will get the same treatment as Boeing.
Airbus has already been through it - Air France 447 comes to mind first, but there have been other near misses.
John Nichols 1
AF447 was splashed purportedly by flight crew. Untrained recovery from Stall. The A330 stalls without telling the pilot.


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