Grounded Southwest 737 MAX Forced Into Emergency Landing

by Bill Shuman

The bad news continues to roll along for Boeing this month. First, there was the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airline Flight 302 which prompted all 737 MAXs to be grounded.

Now, A Southwest Airlines MAX had to reportedly make an emergency landing while being ferried to Victorville, California. There, it was going to be grounded and stored in the desert until it was to be given approval to fly again.

What Happened?

Southwest Flight 8701, a 737 MAX 8, took off at 2:50pm Tuesday afternoon from Orlando International Airport. Apparently the flight “reported a performance issue with one of the engines shortly after takeoff,” Southwest said in a statement. Reports indicate that it was actually a complete engine loss.

Under FAA orders, no passengers are allowed to fly on any 737 MAX 8 and 9 so that was not a factor in this incident. The engine issue here seems to be unrelated to the Angle of Attack (AOA) sensor that is under investigation in both the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.

Beyond those investigations, the FAA has launched an investigation into this particular Southwest flight. Southwest Airlines has stated that the plane will be moved to an Orlando storage facility during the investigation.

The Upshot

While unrelated and coincidental, it’s still disconcerting to see a 737 MAX being forced to make an emergency landing no matter the cause. Airlines will be waiting on the FAA and Boeing for further direction as to when these planes can take flight with passengers again. For now, to the desert they go.

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