Accidents happen often, is it still safe to travel by plane?

Accidents happen often, is it still safe to travel by plane?

Then there was an incident where one of the plane’s tires came off, and the plane’s rudder pedals were locked. All of this happened to the aircraft manufacturer Boeing, especially to the Boeing 737 MAX 9 and 8. As a result of the successive accidents, Boeing was subjected to a barrage of criticism and became the focus of investigations because it was considered negligent in paying attention to passenger safety.

Read also: Boeing proven to have failed dozens of security checks

Furthermore, after United Airlines reported that the bolts were not properly attached to the door flap and part of several 737 MAX 9 aircraft. The plane’s tire exploded during a United Airlines operation.

The company has the largest fleet of 737 MAX 9 aircraft, with 79 aircraft. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will review the airline’s safety procedures again. While investigating planes manufactured by Boeing, the FAA grounded the fleets of United Airlines and Alaska Airlines from flying.

A car damaged by tire debris from a Boeing 777 is seen in the employee parking lot of San Francisco International Airport in the United States on March 7, 2024.
AP/Haven Daly

A car damaged by tire debris from a Boeing 777 is seen in the employee parking lot of San Francisco International Airport in the United States on March 7, 2024.

There was a time when issues like a cracked windshield or mechanical problems weren’t in the news often. However, since the detached door panel incident, any small incidents occurring on board commercial flights have been widely reported.

Read also: Boeing is still unlucky, as tires explode and steering malfunctions at United Airlines

With so much news about aircraft problems, people are increasingly concerned about flight safety, especially on Boeing aircraft.

The safest

However, according to US aviation analyst and consultant, Richard Aboulafia, airplanes are the safest means of transportation of all. This is compared to the number of traffic accidents in the United States, where an average of 737 people die every day.

The National Security Council estimates that Americans have a 1 in 93 chance of dying from a car accident. Meanwhile, deaths on planes are too rare to count. At least 44,000 people will die in car accidents in the United States in 2023.

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The last fatal aircraft accident in the United States occurred in February 2009. With 9.6 million flights in the previous year alone, a relatively small number of fatal accidents does not fully reflect aviation safety conditions.

Read also: Boeing fails to maintain security and passengers refuse to fly

Another measure that can be used to evaluate the level of flight safety is the intensity with which pilots broadcast emergency calls to air traffic controllers. Data from the popular flight tracking website, Flightradar24, shows that emergency calls to pilots have increased since mid-January, but are still below call density in 2023.

However, emergency calls are not actually the correct procedure because the plane may not be in danger. In fact, sometimes aircraft experiencing problems do not alert a supervisor.

In a photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a search and rescue team is seen searching for debris at the site of the China Eastern Airlines flight accident in Tingxian, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, on March 24, 2022.
AP/Le Point

In a photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a search and rescue team is seen searching for debris at the site of the China Eastern Airlines flight accident in Tingxian, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, on March 24, 2022.

An expert panel investigating a series of plane crashes in the United States, November 2023, reported that there are many factors that cause aviation accidents. Factors include a shortage of air traffic controllers and outdated aircraft tracking technology. This expert committee report is presented in 52 pages.

Read also: Boeing stumbles again due to Alaska Airlines crash

Now, the expert panel may be able to add a factor to the quality of aircraft production, especially Boeing’s aircraft, which had an unlucky year. Boeing is a US$78 billion company and a leading exporter of aircraft from the United States. Boeing has been in the aircraft manufacturing business for a century.

Apart from Boeing, there is also Airbus in Europe which equally dominates the production of large passenger jets. However, Boeing’s reputation then suffered due to the crashes of two 737 MAX planes – one in Indonesia in 2018 and the other in Ethiopia a year later that killed 346 people.

In the past five years, Boeing has incurred losses of $24 billion. They are increasingly in the red because they have to delay deliveries of long-haul 737 and 787 Dreamliners because they have to overhaul their production and quality systems. The condition improved briefly, then fell again due to a door falling off on Alaska Airlines.

Passengers near the fuselage hole (<i>fuselage</i>) of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 with Flight 1282 that had to return to Portland International Airport, USA, on January 5, 2024.” height=”751″ loading=”lazy” sizes=”(max-width: 1280px) 1280px, (max-width:720px) 720px, (max-width:1024px) 1024px, (max-width:1512px) 1512px, (max-width:676px) 676px, (max-width:160px) 160px, ( max-width:300px) 300px, (max-width:480px) 480px” src=”https://cdn-assetd.kompas.id/sMiYDIQ4GugVdH-SjutLyoS2ug4=/1024×751/https%3A%2F%2Fasset.kgnewsroom.com %2Fphoto%2Fpre%2F2024%2F01%2F09%2F15b05d33-40b1-4122-b211-56fc1b96ef6a_jpg.jpg” srcset=”https://cdn-assetd.kompas.id/GubW_ZIKX_GKqVX53rkvbZO9nRg=/12 80×939/https%3A%2F%2Fasset kgnewsroom.com%2Fphoto%2Fpre%2F2024%2F01%2F09%2F15b05d33-40b1-4122-b211-56fc1b96ef6a_jpg.jpg 1280w, https://cdn-assetd.kompas.id/hJvj8Fc8nqSBlIZ8iXtYPfeIT bI=/720×528/https%3A%2F %2Fasset.kgnewsroom.com%2Fphoto%2Fpre%2F2024%2F01%2F09%2F15b05d33-40b1-4122-b211-56fc1b96ef6a_jpg.jpg 720w, https://cdn-assetd.kompas.id/sMiYDIQ4GugVdH-SjutLyoS 2ug4=/1024×751/https 1024w, https://asset.kgnewsroom.com/photo/pre/2024/ 01/09/15b05d33-40b1-4122-b211-56fc1b96ef6a_jpg.jpg 1512w, https://cdn-assetd.kompas.id/CybX9wk4Fh3c79W-idObvqgDLz4=/676×496/https%3A%2F%2Fasset.kgnew sroom.com%2Fphoto% 2Fpre%2F2024%2F01%2F09%2F15b05d33-40b1-4122-b211-56fc1b96ef6a_jpg.jpg 676w, https://cdn-assetd.kompas.id/kgruQCBmbX4HuIs2UXIqrGMm_eg=/160×160/https%3A% 2F%2Fasset.kgnewsroom.com% 2Fphoto%2Fpre%2F2024%2F01%2F09%2F15b05d33-40b1-4122-b211-56fc1b96ef6a_jpg.jpg 160w, https://cdn-assetd.kompas.id/0Kw7pPOlpqzLRamynbpseZYfeHw=/300×220/http s%3A%2F%2Fasset.kgnewsroom. com%2Fphoto%2Fpre%2F2024%2F01%2F09%2F15b05d33-40b1-4122-b211-56fc1b96ef6a_jpg.jpg 300w, https://cdn-assetd.kompas.id/gExyKGzG3o7USvJu0crfdZYMM4Q=/480×4 80/https%3A%2F%2Fasset. kgnewsroom.com%2Fphoto%2Fpre%2F2024%2F01%2F09%2F15b05d33-40b1-4122-b211-56fc1b96ef6a_jpg.jpg 480w” width=”1024″ data-v-30ab5665=””/><figcaption class=AP/Kelly Bartlett

Passengers near the fuselage hole (fuselage) of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 flight 1282 that had to return to Portland International Airport, USA, on January 5, 2024.

The investigation team is examining a door panel screw that was found to be missing since the manufacturing process at Boeing. Since then, Boeing has faced a barrage of criticism, from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). “There have been issues with Boeing in the past that appear to have not been resolved,” FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said last month.

Read also: Boeing feels dizzy

Boeing CEO David Calhoun said he accepts the results of the investigation and takes responsibility for what happened to the Alaska Airlines plane. He added: “We are the ones who caused this problem.”

Production error

The causes of problems in aircraft manufacturing can vary. Some of them are due to design errors. In the original Boeing MAX, a failure of a sensor caused the flight control system to point the plane’s nose down with great force.

This happened before the two MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019. However, damage or malfunction to one part alone cannot result in the aircraft being shot down. There must be other reasons that lead to his downfall.

Another factor is due to errors in the manufacturing plant. This happened in the case of separate door panels. Manufacturing quality is also now increasingly highlighted. Abulafia believes that if the errors lie in the design, fixing them will be more difficult. However, if the problem lies in the manufacturing process, it should be easier to fix.

In this fisheye photo, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 is seen on the assembly line during a short media tour of the Boeing 737 assembly facility in Renton, Washington, US, on March 27, 2019.
Associated Press/Ted Warren

In this fisheye photo, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 is seen on the assembly line during a short media tour of the Boeing 737 assembly facility in Renton, Washington, US, on March 27, 2019.

Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration asked Boeing to inspect cable bundles around spoilers on the MAX planes. This order was issued due to reports of an electrical cable being damaged due to installation errors. As a result, the plane banked 30 degrees in less than one second during a flight in 2021.

Read also: Boeing plane crashes again

Even “small” accidents are now a source of concern. LATAM Airlines, which uses a Boeing 787 when flying from Australia to New Zealand, has seen a sharp drop in altitude this month.

Boeing will soon remind airlines to check the switch on the actuator that moves pilots’ seats. The reason is said to be that the air hostess accidentally pressed the button, which is suspected to be the reason for the sudden drop in the plane’s altitude.

Read also: Passenger safety and health, new challenges for aviation business

Investigations into several accidents showed possible maintenance errors. However, many of the near misses have also been due to pilot or air traffic controller errors, as happened just this week.

Investigators revealed that an American Airlines plane was passing through a runway in Texas, USA, and some of the hydraulic ducts on the brakes were not reinstalled properly. Four days ago, the plane underwent maintenance and brake replacement. There was also an American Airlines 777 that had to make an emergency landing in Los Angeles, USA with flat tires.

A small piece of aluminum sheet is also known to be missing when the 26-year-old United Boeing 737 landed in Oregon last week. A “foolish” accident also occurred due to the negligence of the air traffic controller.

In this photo from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an investigator is seen speaking in the cockpit during inspection of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX on January 7, 2024 in Portland, Oregon, USA.
Getty Images/AFP/National Transportation Safety Board

In this photo from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an investigator is seen speaking in the cockpit during inspection of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX on January 7, 2024 in Portland, Oregon, USA.

As a result of negligence, a FedEx cargo plane that had just landed in Austin nearly collided with a Southwest Airlines plane that was preparing for takeoff. Both planes were not wrong. The fault lies with the supervisor who allowed them to use the same runway.

Read also: The flight was delayed, and the passengers opened the emergency door and walked onto the wing

John Goglia, a former member of the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), stated that flight control, engine and structural safety issues were now becoming a concern.

No translation is provided as it contains a number of loanwords in Indonesian and specialized terms.

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