Boeing goes boing: 757 loses a wheel while taxiing down the runway

That old kit isn't our fault Boeing tells us

Another day, another incident with a Boeing passenger jet, this time when a landing gear wheel popped off a Delta Airlines 757 while it was waiting to take off out of Atlanta.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration's report of the incident, Delta flight 982 from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to El Dorado International in Bogota, Columbia was lined up for takeoff when a "nose wheel came off and rolled down the hill." 

No one was hurt in the incident, per the FAA report. Thankfully 757 nose landing wheels come in pairs and the aircraft was towed off the runway eventually.

Delta told The Register the flight's 172 passengers (which conflicts with the FAA's count of 184) were transferred to another aircraft, which arrived in Columbia a little over five hours late. 

"Delta Flight 982 ATL/BOG was taxiing for departure when a nose gear tire came loose from the landing gear," the airline said. "All customers and their bags were removed from the aircraft, transferred to the gate and onto a replacement aircraft. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience."

Delta said the incident is still under investigation, and the aircraft was returned to service the following day after repairs.

When asked for comment, Boeing directed us to Delta, saying it ended deliveries of the 757 in 2004. The aircraft in question, N672DL, has been part of Delta's fleet since 1992. 

A purported recording of chatter between pilots and aircraft lined up for takeoff during the incident has been posted to YouTube, indicating that the pilot of DAL982 was unaware of the loss before a flight lined up behind it radioed the tower to inform them that the wheel had come off and bounced down the runway. 

Door plugs are so two weeks ago

Boeing is still dealing with the fallout from an emergency door plug flying off a plane in mid flight earlier this month, which has led to hundreds of 737 Max 9 aircraft being grounded for safety inspections that have resulted in less-than-stellar discoveries. 

Inspections being performed by Alaska Airlines, which operated the flight that lost the door plug, and United Airlines, which has the largest fleet of the troublesome aircraft, have found loose bolts in various areas surrounding the door plugs. The presence of so many loose bolts suggests some serious manufacturing issues. 

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby referred to the door plug incident Tuesday as "the straw that broke the camel's back" for his airline, and said United is considering a future without the next generation of Boeing 737 jets, the Max 10. Kirby expressed "disappointment" over continued manufacturing challenges at Boeing, but said the problems weren't new.

Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci, on the other hand, said Tuesday that he was beyond frustrated and disappointed: "I am angry," he told NBC.

"This happened to Alaska Airlines. It happened to our guests and happened to our people … my demand on Boeing is what are they going to do to improve their quality programs in-house," Minicucci said. 

The Alaska CEO also said during the interview that "many" of the company's 737 Max 9 aircraft were found to have loose door plug bolts. 

Beyond the recent issues with the 737 Max 9, two earlier-generation 737 Max aircraft have crashed in recent years, killing 346 people. Those incidents were blamed on a series of failures at the manufacturer, in addition to the FAA allowing Boeing to inspect its own aircraft. The FAA is reconsidering Boeing's permission to self-inspect in light of the door plug incident. ®

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