FAA investigates after Southwest plane drops to ‘within 400ft’ of Pacific Ocean

Last Updated: June 22, 2024By

@@Trouble in the Skies@@

The Federal Aviation Administration is digging into a scary incident involving a Southwest Airlines flight that nearly took a nosedive into the Pacific Ocean, coming just 400 feet close to disaster.


Dramatic Dive

According to a memo shared with Southwest pilots and snagged by Bloomberg, a Boeing 737 Max 8 made a sudden plunge at a mind-boggling rate of 4,000 feet per minute off Hawaii’s coast, getting dangerously close to the water before pulling up.

Series of Mishaps

This hair-raising incident isn’t the first time Southwest-operated Boeing 737 Max 8 planes have faced trouble. In another event in May, one of these planes suffered significant damage during a flight from Phoenix to Oakland due to what’s known as a “Dutch roll.”

Close Call in Hawaii

The heart-stopping dive near Hawaii happened on April 11 amid rough weather conditions. The flight from Honolulu to Lihue took a scary turn, bringing the plane perilously close to the ocean at just about 400 feet, as per flight tracking data.


Thankfully, No Injuries

Thankfully, nobody got hurt in these hair-raising moments. Southwest Airlines stressed its commitment to safety, saying, “Nothing is more important to Southwest than Safety.”

FAA on High Alert

The Federal Aviation Administration quickly launched an investigation into the incident and rerouted the plane to Honolulu for safety checks.

What’s a Dutch Roll?

A “Dutch roll” is a situation where the plane’s tail wiggles side to side, causing a rocking motion that makes the wings roll up and down.

Structural Damage

After the Dutch roll incident, damage was found in critical parts of the plane’s structure, including a unit that manages backup power to the rudder.

Boeing 737 Max Troubles

This isn’t the first time Boeing 737 Max aircraft have faced scrutiny. In January, nearly 200 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes were grounded after a mid-flight fuselage mishap. They returned to service after thorough inspections and maintenance.

Lessons Learned

These incidents serve as reminders of the ongoing efforts to ensure air travel safety. Southwest’s previous troubles led to a hefty $140 million penalty for lapses in customer service during a holiday debacle in 2022, highlighting the importance of robust safety measures and customer care in aviation.

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