In the order, known as an airworthiness directive, the FAA said Thursday that an international 737 Max operator discovered loose bolts in the rudder control system on one of its planes in December. Boeing subsequently recommended inspections for 737 Max 8, Max 8-200 (a higher-density version of the Max 8) and Max 9 aircraft.
The FAA said 1,299 planes are affected by the order, and 482 of those were registered in the U.S. The agency said all planes were inspected by early January based on Boeing’s guidance before the FAA order took effect. With this order, Boeing’s previously issued guidance (which was technically suggested to operators by the manufacturer) will become a requirement when the order is officially published in the Federal Register on Monday.
According to the FAA, the missing bolt “migrated” after a washer and nut were missing from its assembly. The agency did not identify which airline first discovered the problem beyond saying that it was not a U.S. operator.