United Airlines Boeing 737 Lands Safely Despite Missing Panel Amid Increased Aviation Incidents

On Friday, a Boeing 737-800 operated by United Airlines safely touched down in Oregon despite having a missing external panel. The United Flight 433 aircraft had taken off from San Francisco and landed at Medford Airport around 1:45 p.m. PDT (2045 GMT) with 139 passengers and six crew members on board. After landing, an inspection revealed the missing panel on the 25-year-old airplane. 


Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and United Airlines will conduct investigations. United Airlines assured that a comprehensive examination of the aircraft will be carried out and necessary repairs will be made before it is put back into service. Boeing refrained from commenting and directed all inquiries to United Airlines. FAA records indicate that the aircraft was manufactured in late 1998.

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The airport briefly suspended traffic to look for the missing panel. This incident comes in the wake of increased attention to U.S. aviation incidents, particularly after a mid-air emergency involving an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 caused by a door plug blowout. Boeing has been under intense regulatory scrutiny since the Alaska Airlines incident on January 5, with investigations into the company's safety and quality standards in its production process.

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In other recent incidents, a United Airlines-operated Boeing 737 MAX veered off the runway in Houston last week, leading to further investigations. Another United-operated Boeing 777-200 bound for Japan lost a tire after takeoff from San Francisco and was rerouted to Los Angeles, where it landed safely. On March 4, a United Boeing 737 departing Houston for Florida had to return to the airport shortly after takeoff when the engine ingested some plastic bubble wrap that was on the airfield. Social media posts depicted flames emanating from the engine.

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