Nasty Plane Malfunction Leaves Apple's iPhone Looking Pretty Good

This is not the Alaska Airlines plane that malfunctioned.

Apple is getting some unexpected good publicity after an iPhone survived a 16,000-foot fall from a plane last week.

Brands caught in the crosshairs after last week’s malfunction (in which no one was seriously hurt, miraculously) include Alaska Airlines, United Airlines and Boeing.

Sean Bates found the device while walking down Barnes Road near Highway 217 in Portland, Ore., he posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday.

“Survived a 16,000 foot drop,” he tweeted. When he called the National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency investigating the incident, to report the phone, he learned “it was the SECOND phone to be found,” he wrote.



It is unclear if the other phone, found in a yard according to the NTSB, was an iPhone. The NTSB did not respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.

“The iPhone is known for many things — surviving a 16,000-foot fall from an airplane is not one of them,” according to the story. "Nearly anyone who’s owned a smartphone has had the experience of dropping one and cracking the screen. And though smartphone screens have become a lot stronger over the years, this phone’s survival is most likely because of physics.”

Meanwhile, an Oregon schoolteacher found part of the plane in his yard, according to Reuters. 

"In the flashlight beam I could see that there was something gleaming white underneath the trees in the back that isn't normally there," Bob Sauer told Reuters. "It was very obviously part of a plane. It had the same curvature as a fuselage, it had a plane type window in it, and it was white.”

Alaska Airlines flight 1282 carrying 177 people made an emergency landing on Friday shortly after takeoff from Portland, Oregon, after part of the wall of a 737 Max 9 aircraft detached and left a gaping hole in the side of the plane. The Boeing 737 Max 9 involved was delivered to Alaska Airlines new in late October and has flown 150 times since entering service, CNN reports.

A door plug is used to fill a doorway and is held together by 12 stop fittings, which prevent the door plug from becoming dislodged. In this case, the plug was not used for a functional door. An advisory light on the plane had come on during previous flights, preventing the aircraft from being used on long flights over water, the National Transportation Safety Board said, according to NPR.

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered most Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft to be temporarily grounded as regulators and Boeing investigate the cause of the incident. The order applies to 171 planes worldwide.

The FAA said the inspections should take four to eight hours per plane to complete, though at least one airline said it was still waiting for more detail on what those inspections should entail, according toThe New York Times

Less than a month ago, documents were filed in federal court alleging that former employees at a Boeing subcontractor repeatedly warned corporate officials about safety problems and were told to falsify records, according to The Lever

One of the employees at Spirit AeroSystems told company officials about an “excessive amount of defects,” according to the federal complaint and corresponding internal corporate documents.

United Airlines has found loose bolts and other parts on the 737 Max 9 plug doors it has been inspecting since Friday, according to The Air Current. 

Boeing’s CEO owned up to the company’s “mistake” during a staffwide “safety meeting” on Tuesday.

A company source told CNN that the company believes “the mistake in question” was introduced in the aircraft’s manufacturing supply chain.

"The company pledged to work with the FAA to ensure there are proper inspections,” according to CNN. “On Tuesday, the FAA said that Boeing’s plan for the inspection of door plugs on 737 Max 9 aircraft required revisions, and the aircraft will remain grounded in the meantime.” 

Friday’s high-profile incident is putting a renewed spotlight on Boeing’s ongoing fall from grace, according to CNN. 

“The most glaring quality problems for Boeing came with the 737 Max’s design, which was judged to be responsible for two fatal crashes: one in Indonesia in October 2018 and the other in Ethiopia in March 2019,” per CNN. “Together, the two crashes killed all 346 people aboard the two flights and led to a 20-month grounding of the company’s best-selling jets, which cost it more than $21 billion." 

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