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Could the New ARP4754B Have Prevented This Week’s Boeing 737Max-9 AlaskaAir Mishap?

This week a 3-month old Boeing 737MAX-9 aircraft flown by Alaska Airlines lost its emergency door inflight. Luck was smiling this day as miraculously no one was seated in the adjacent two seats and nearby passengers were wearing seatbelts. No one died and emergency procedures were executed to perfection.  

But wait:  1.1 million people died in car crashes last year with little fanfare.  Our aviation field is DIFFERENT:  we analyze each mishap and determine how to improve matters for better safety. Fortunately, the new Aerospace Recommended Practices ARP4754B recently released by SAE will improve aircraft safety for similar incidents in the future.  However, ARP4754B will only apply to all-new aircraft and systems and will not be applied retroactively.  But the AlaskaAir Boeing 737MAX-9 mishap was apparently mechanical and manufacturing related; both of which are external to the core of ARP4754B which focuses primarily upon aircraft/system electronics (“avionics”). 

What does ARP4754B  bring to the aviation industry for safety?  A Guilty-Until-Proven-Innocent approach to the ecosystem of aircraft development. ARP4754B requires a rigidly predefined (for each aircraft and for each electronic system affecting safety) formal process covering all aspects of engineering: Safety Analysis, Requirements, Design, Implementation, Configuration Management, Validation, Verification, Process Assurance, and Certification.  As described in the ARP4754B technical whitepaper also requires the airframer/integrator (e.g. Boeing, Airbus, et al) to coordinate formally with all Suppliers to ensure no gaps affecting safety are present. 

Alas:  ARP4754 and ARP4761 (Aircraft/Systems Safety Assessments) only apply to new aircraft and systems, and are not retroactively applied to existing aircraft.  Even newer aircraft such as the Boeing 737MAX-9 were deemed “modifications to prior aircraft (Boeing 737) thus ARP4754A and ARP4761 were not formally applied.  However, the rate of production of all new aircraft has never been higher which means eventually all the legacy aircraft flying without today’s modern ARP4754B and ARP4761A safety aspects will be replaced by new aircraft for which these standards are mandatory. Safer skies ahead!

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Miranda Cosgrove

My Miranda cosgrove is an accomplished article writer with a flair for crafting engaging and informative content. With a deep curiosity for various subjects and a dedication to thorough research, Miranda cosgrove brings a unique blend of creativity and accuracy to every piece.

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