NTSB Enlists Local Residents To Help Find MAX 9 Door Plug


The hunt is on for the piece of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 airliner that separated from the aircraft Friday as it flew over a rural area of Oregon. At a news conference in Portland Saturday evening, NTSB Chairman Jennifer Homendy pleaded for public help in delivering that crucial piece of evidence to further the investigation into what the NTSB is now classing as an accident. She also asked for more cellphone video and anything else the public might have that could help investigators. “To the neighborhoods, if you find anything, please, please contact local authorities,” she said.

Homendy stopped short of making a “broad assessment” of the safety of the aircraft and stressed that the board’s investigation is limited to the involved aircraft and not the fleet as a whole, but she didn’t rule out that it could spread that far. Homendy also noted that because the accident happened on initial climbout at 16,000 feet, with all onboard belted in their seats, the incident could have been catastrophic.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


    • Caused by over regulation? What regulation caused this? Why did the engineers not figure this out? May not be engineering problem! Indeed it is more probably a manufacturing or maintenance problem. Cheap non-union labor and low cost maintenance have not been known to voluntarily fix problems. The Boeing problems seem to stem from decisions to deregulate and have entities that have a finical stake do self monitoring. The vast majority of regulations cost money, not safety.

  1. Several news sites report the plug along with a couple of cell phones have been recovered. Hopefully the cause should be found soon.

    • If it is being reported by the “news media”; I would take the information with a grain of salt until we hear, officially, that it has been recovered. With the “media” with their elementary reporters and editors still reporting this as a window blew out, why would anyone believe anything they say?

    • Let me rephrase, several news sites have quoted the NTSB reporting that the missing plug along with a couple of cell phones have been found. That better?

  2. If it has not already been found, Boeing should post a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the missing plug. A small price to pay in the scheme of things.

  3. Participated once in a search for a fan blade assembly that departed an aircraft in flight (about 20 years ago). It had sufficient mass so it painted as a distinct primary target. We searched in for 2 or 3 days without success. It was found a year later by someone hunting and was about 2 miles from where we believed the most likely impact location. Free advice to whomever is looking for this thing, don’t look for a door. You are looking for a hole in the ground with what looks like someone’s recycling pile.