INCIDENT: American Airlines 737-8 Trim Failure

By Spyros Georgilidakis | January 21, 2023

The crew of an American Airlines Boeing 737-8 (MAX-8) had to return to its origin airport after the failure of its stabilizer trim system.

This incident happened on Friday the 20th of January. It involved flight AA-2692, which American Airlines performs daily. It departs from Miami International Airport (KMIA) in the United States, heading for Kingston Norman Manley International (MKJP) in Jamaica. Typically this flight lasts around one hour and 20 minutes, leaving Miami at 8:45 in the morning.

INCIDENT: American Airlines 737-8 Trim Failure
Photo: Sachin Amjhad

On the day of this stabilizer trim incident, the American Airlines 737-8 had 136 people on board. The flight left Miami with a delay of almost three hours. At this time there is no information on the reasons for this delay or if it had anything to do with the incident. For their departure from Miami, the crew of this flight used runway 27.

The aircraft took off and turned to a southeasterly heading, on its way to Jamaica. Air traffic control cleared the flight to climb to 16,000 feet. But the aircraft stopped its climb at around 5,700 feet, before resuming at a much slower rate. Soon afterward, the flight crew made a request to level off at 7,000 feet.

INCIDENT: American Airlines 737-8 Trim Failure
The flight’s profile. Image: Flightradar24


American Airlines 737-8 Returns With Trim Issue

The American Airlines crew made a PAN-PAN call, stating that their 737-8 had a stabilizer trim failure. They then entered a hold, maintaining a consistent altitude, as they worked through their checklists. Afterward, the flight crew set up an ILS approach, back into runway 27 in Miami.

Twice during their descent, the American Airlines crew briefly leveled off, most likely to trim their 737-8 manually as they configured for landing. They made an uneventful landing, with fire and rescue vehicles standing by. Their flight had taken just under half an hour. The aircraft returned to the gate.

Which Airline Will Fly The MAX First?
Photo: American Airlines

The American Airlines 737-8 in this stabilizer trim failure incident has tail number N306SW. This 737 MAX first flew in November of 2021, with the airline taking delivery a couple of weeks later. Less than a day after the incident, the aircraft made a 25-minute test flight, landing back in Miami. Then less than two hours after landing again, it returned to regular revenue service. As of this writing, it has since made two uneventful revenue flights.

The passengers of the American Airlines 737-8 that suffered this trim failure got to their destination on board a 737-800. Including the first flight’s delay to depart, they arrived in Kingston nearly 7 hours late.


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