After 50 people were injured in flight turbulence, Boeing instructs airlines to inspect pilot chairs

Following the publication of a study indicating that the unexpected dive of a LATAM Airlines aircraft on its way to New Zealand was most likely caused by an inadvertent movement of the cockpit seat, Boeing has instructed airlines to check the switches on the pilots’ chairs in its 787 Dreamliners.

Boeing stated on Friday that the next time airlines undertake maintenance on their 787s, they should check the motorized cockpit chairs. The maker of the airplane provided instructions on how to turn off the motors that move the seats.

The advice was referred to by the business as a “precautionary measure.” It made no connection between what transpired on a LATAM Airlines trip from Australia to New Zealand this week and the letter.

Nonetheless, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Boeing letter was released “in response to the incident on LATAM Flight 800.” The FAA said that it will be assembling an expert team to examine Boeing’s communication with airlines.

The Chile-based LATAM Airlines first reported that there had been “a technical event during the flight that caused a strong movement.” In a Tuesday update, the airline said that the aircraft “experienced a strong shake during the flight, the cause of which is currently under investigation.”.

Those who were not wearing seatbelts were thrown from their seats and onto the hallways and cabin ceiling as the Dreamliner suddenly descended, according to passengers. Later on, the aircraft made its planned landing at Auckland Airport.

An estimated fifty people were hurt, according to Auckland emergency personnel.

The Boeing 787, a two-aisle aircraft that made its debut in 2011, is mostly used for lengthy international trips. The variant used on the LATAM aircraft has a maximum passenger capacity of around 300.

Two of the biggest users of the aircraft are United Airlines, with 71 Dreamliners, and American Airlines, with 59. American said that its operations will not be impacted by Boeing’s directives. United chose not to respond.

Late on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal revealed that a flight attendant was bringing food into the cockpit when she accidentally flipped a button on the back of a seat, forcing the captain to take control of the 787 and bringing down the nose of the aircraft. Anonymous US industry executives briefed on the investigation’s early conclusions were mentioned by the publication.

According to the publication, Boeing advised airlines to make sure the switches are safely covered—they aren’t meant to be used during flights—and instructed them on how to cut the power to the seat motor.

As per international agreements, the aviation authority of Chile has sent inspectors to New Zealand and will take the lead in the inquiry. It hasn’t made any discoveries public.

The event may intensify the already intense scrutiny on Beoing after the January panel blowout of an Alaska Airlines 737 Max over Oregon. Regarding the disaster and Boeing’s production of Max aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Department of Justice are all looking into the matter independently.

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