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Former Boeing manager reveals he wouldn’t fly on Max 9 jets

A former Boeing engineer said he would tell his family to avoid the Boeing 737 Max 9 – the aircraft that was involved in an Alaska Airlines emergency earlier this month in which a doorplug came off the plane mid-flight.

The bolts that were supposed to be on the doorplug were reportedly missing from the aircraft altogether, recent media reports stated.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, which also owns a large number of the aircraft, have begun to return their planes to service following strict Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspections.

Before that decision, both airlines reported finding loose bolts on their models of the plane.

“I would absolutely not fly a Max airplane,” Ed Pierson, a former Boeing senior manager, told the Los Angeles Times. “I’ve worked in the factory where they were built, and I saw the pressure employees were under to rush the planes out the door.

“I tried to get them to shut down before the first crash.”

The 737 Max 8 was involved in two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 that resulted in the deaths of nearly 400 passengers.

Joe Jacobsen, a former engineer at Boeing and the FAA, echoed Mr Pierson’s remarks. “I would tell my family to avoid the Max,” he also told the outlet. “I would tell everyone, really.”

Mr Pierson called the decision to return the aircraft to service “another example of poor decision making” that “risks the public safety.” Meanwhile, Mr Jacobsen said he and other colleagues had been warning of problems with the model for the last several years.

He called the decision to return the planes to the sky “premature”.

“Instead of fixing one problem at a time and then waiting for the next one, fix all of them,” he said, unsure about whether the next emergency might occur. “Maybe it’s a week. Maybe it’s a month.”

He continued: “Imagine you had a new car that had a couple parts fall off of it, and the manufacturer went to go look at it and they found a couple other parts fell off.

“They got and fix it, but would you think there’s a possibility that something else would’ve been done improperly on that car?” the expert asked. “Now magnify that by 100.”

Pierson’s group, the Foundation for Aviation Safety, completed a report in September that found more than 1,300 reports about safety problems on the aircraft.

“These same issues that were there in 2018 and 2019 that were the precursors to the accidents are still there,” he said. “This is a culture where money is everything. They measure success by how many airplanes are delivered, instead of how many quality airplanes are delivered.

“When you factor all of this together, it’s just a disaster waiting to happen.”