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‘Made In Malaysia’ On Airplane’s Door Plug: Did You Know Spirit Aero Has A Plant Here?

‘Made In Malaysia’ On Airplane’s Door Plug: Did You Know Spirit Aero Has A Plant Here?

The blown-off door plug of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 had the inscription ‘Made in Malaysia’ written on it.

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What happened to the Alaska Airlines flight last Friday was certainly scary, to say the least. The aircraft which was heading to Ontario, California, had its door plug torn off mid-flight.

The door had blown out from an altitude of about 16,000 feet (4,877 m) and surprisingly landed in the backyard of Bob Sauer, a science teacher in Portland, Oregon.


But what is more surprising is that the door had the inscription ‘Made in Malaysia” written on it.

Both the serial number and manufacturing details of the door plug had been written on it with a permanent marker. 

“That’s an interesting way of doing inventory control,” said the science teacher to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB)

Sauer, as reported by OPB, found the door plugged in between the trees in his backyard. He, however, only discovered it last Sunday when his friend told him that a mobile phone from the flight had been found on a nearby street.


“So my heart started beating a little faster,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, could this really be it? Sure enough, it was.”

He then proceeded to call the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB agents then arrived at his home and extracted the door plug. 

Sauer was given a patch and a medallion for keeping the aircraft’s part intact and informing the authorities about it.

No serious injuries 

Passengers of the Alaska Airlines flight fortunately did not suffer any injuries from the incident. 


The airplane, which had 174 passengers and six crew members, in fact, was able to turn around and land safely back at Portland International Airport. 

The passengers only lost some of their personal belongings. Items such as handphones and clothes were reportedly sucked out of the hole when the door plug got torn off. 

An official investigation by FAA

That said, the US authorities have called for an investigation. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has since called for a formal investigation of the case. 

“This incident should have never happened and it cannot happen again,” said the FAA in its official statement. 

The organisation noted that the investigation will involve them checking if the aircraft manufacturer “conformed to its approved design and were in a condition for safe operation in compliance with FAA regulations.” 


The New Straits Times has also since reached out to the Transport Ministry on behalf of Malaysian authorities and the NTSB for clarifications on the case.

But as of today, no updates to the case have been provided. Even Transport Minister Anthony Loke cannot give an official update as he could not confirm if the inscription is genuine.

“That’s just according to a news report based on an eyewitness,” he said in a press conference here today.

“We will ask the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to look into the matter if we receive any formal reports from the airline concerned.”

Not the first case

This is not the first time the manufacturer of the door plug, Spirit AeroSystems, had its product called into question.


The company, in fact, was the subject of a federal class action lawsuit last May for its allegedly “constant quality failures.”

Investors of the company highlighted defects such as “the routine presence of foreign object debris” in the company’s products, peeling paint, and missing fasteners.

Investors concluded that the company only prioritised short-term financial success and production numbers over quality.

To which, Spirit AeroSystems has rebutted, strongly disagreeing with the claims that were made in the lawsuit.

A bit about Spirit AeroSystems

Spirit AeroSystems was built from a legacy of aviation innovation. The company’s legacy was built by some of the world’s greatest aviation companies.

Corporations such as Staerman, Boeing, Rockwell, Short Brothers, Bombardier, and British Aerospace Corporation all had a hand in forming Spirit AeroSystems.

Spirit Malaysia

But in 2005, the young company proved to be its own superpower, transforming into an independent global supplier with various customers and platforms.

Spirit AeroSystems has since expanded its manufacturing and engineering services, having several branches throughout the globe.

The company indeed has had a branch here in Subang since 2007 – Spirit Malaysia.

Operating at Subang Airport, Spirit Malaysia has become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of aerostructures for commercial airplanes, defense platforms, and business/regional jets.

Thanks to its expertise in aluminum and advanced composite manufacturing solutions, Spirit Malaysia has become one of the go-tos for developing and assembling aircraft structures such as wing and door components.

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