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NTSB Investigating After Boeing 737 Suffers Dangerous 'Dutch Roll' Incident in Midair

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A Boeing 737 sustained tail damage in midair last month in an incident that aviation experts say is rare for commercial flights.

On May 25, Southwest Airlines Flight N8825Q, a Boeing 737 Max experienced what is known as a “Dutch roll” — where the aircraft tail wags back and forth as the wings rock in see-saw fashion, according to NBC.

This was another in a string of recent incidents involving Boeing planes that began in January when a door blew off of a 737 jet. Since that time, Boeing’s production process has come under investigation.

The Phoenix to Oakland flight had 175 passengers and six members of the crew aboard. The plane was initially reported to be at 38,000 feet at the time of the incident, but a National Transportation Safety Board investigation showed it was at 34,000 feet.

The plane landed safely with no injuries reported.

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An  FAA report said the aircraft “experienced a Dutch roll, regained control and post flight inspection revealed the damage to the standby PCU,” referring to the rudder’s power control unit.

The FAA later noted that damage to the tail was “substantial,” according to USA Today.

“Having a Dutch roll event is unusual,” John Cox, an instructor at the University of Southern California and CEO of the consulting firm Safety Operating Systems, told The Washington Post.

“Having one that caused damage is unheard of,” he said.

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CBS News aviation analyst Robert Sumwalt called the incident “significant.”

“Any uncommanded flight control movement is potentially significant. The fact that this resulted in significant damage makes this sort of a big deal,” Sumwalt told CBS senior transportation and national correspondent Kris Van Cleave in an email.

In its reporting, USA Today wrote that “Dutch rolls are fairly rare in commercial aviation.”

“The movement can stress the airplane fuselage and cause damage as it did in the Southwest incident. Dutch roll incidents have previously caused planes to break apart inflight,” it reported.

Tracking data from FlightAware indicates the jet was flown to Boeing’s plant in Everett, Washington, on June 6.

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The NTSB report on the incident is due later this month, according to USA Today.

“The NTSB’s Vehicle Recorder Laboratory in Washington has received data downloaded from the airplane’s digital flight data recorder. Data from the recorder will aid investigators in determining the length and severity of the event,” the NTSB said.

“The cockpit voice recorder, which is currently limited to two hours of audio, was overwritten and unavailable to investigators. A preliminary report is expected within 30 days of the date of the event,” the NTSB said.


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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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