The US Regulator Probes United's Boeing 737 Missing Panel Mid-Flight

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched an investigation into the loss of an external panel from a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 during a flight from San Francisco to Medford Airport in Oregon on Friday. The flight, United Flight 433, carried a total of 139 passengers and six crew members, all of whom arrived safely at their destination despite the missing panel. The FAA and United Airlines have both confirmed that a post-landing inspection of the 25-year-old airplane by the airline revealed the missing panel. The airline has also stated that it plans to conduct its own investigation into the incident. According to United Airlines' statement, no emergency was declared during the flight, as there was no indication of damage. However, the airline has stated that it will conduct a thorough examination of the plane and make all necessary repairs before it returns to service.


The Rogue Valley Times posted a dramatic photo of the airplane with the missing panel, which led to traffic being briefly halted at the airport to search for the panel. FAA records indicate that the plane was built in late 1998. In the aftermath of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900 mid-air emergency that was caused by a door plug blowout, there has been increased scrutiny of U.S. aviation incidents. This incident has added to the focus on Boeing, which has been under heavy regulatory scrutiny since the January 5 incident. The company is currently being investigated for its safety and quality standards in its production process.

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In addition to this incident, there have been several other incidents involving United Airlines-operated Boeing planes in the past week. Last week, a Boeing 737-800 rolled off the runway in Houston, which prompted investigations. Also, a Boeing 777-200 bound for Japan lost a tire after takeoff from San Francisco and was diverted to Los Angeles, where it landed safely. On March 4, a United Boeing 737 bound for Florida and departing from Houston returned to the airport after the engine ingested some plastic bubble wrap that was on the airfield prior to departure. Flames coming out of the engine were shown in social media posts. 

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Overall, the incident involving the United Airlines Boeing 737-800 has raised concerns about the safety and maintenance of aircraft in the U.S. aviation industry, particularly for Boeing planes. The FAA and United Airlines have assured the public that they take these concerns seriously and are taking steps to ensure the safety of all passengers and crew members.

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