Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion

Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

    Support MFO

  • Donate through PayPal

Did Boeing Screw-Up Lead to Fatal Crash?

edited November 2018 in Off-Topic
This sounds like something that might result in costly litigation as well as impact Boeing’s future sales.

(excerpted from above) Denis Tajer, pilot and spokesperson for the American Airlines pilot union, told the Associated Press: "It is something we did not have before in any of our training. It wasn't in our books. American didn't have it. Now I have to wonder what else is there?" Jon Weaks, president of the pilots' union at Southwest Airlines, claimed ... in an interview with the WSJ: "We're pissed that Boeing didn't tell the companies, and the pilots didn't get notice."

I’m wondering now if GE supplies any of the engines for the 737 MAX? According to this article they do (as part of a joint venture).

GE, of course, is already in serious trouble facing a possible debt downgrade to junk:

Here’s a better link re the technical aspects involved.
The new automated system seems to have been a CYA feature Boeing felt necessary to add after they “upset” the normal center of gravity of the 737 in redesigning it. Apparently, there was an override feature. But minimal attention was paid to the override feature in manuals or training. Some pilots understood it. Many did not.


  • @hank: I thought the 737 crash might catch your eye.

    We visited the Boeing factory in Everett last August, but the 737's are not built there, but in Renton. Amazing place. I doubt the tour guide is bragging about the appreciation in BA these last few days.

    "Skyfaring" ( must be one of the best books ever written about flying.

    You may know of William Langewiesche's articles on crashes; the best I've read is on the Air France disaster, especially as the probable cause of that one is closely linked to the current thinking on the 737MAX crash, i.e., the pitot tubes.

    The question that comes up on the Vanity Fair site is, "Should Airplanes Be Flying Themselves?" You gotta wonder...
  • edited November 2018
    @BemWP, Thanks. Haven’t checked out your links yet, but will. As you know the 737 is an indefatigable workhorse of the industry and a highly reliable, safe plane. It would be concerning if Boeing let something like the (new) auto-correct feature slip through the cracks in the floor when they wrote the new manual.

    FWIW - I’ve done some past research on the AF crash. Chilling tapes of the cockpit conversations leading up to their flying the plane (unknowingly) into the Atlantic in the night.

    On another level, this reminds me a bit of driving the new car. Many features seem designed to “think” and operate the vehicle in place of the driver. The auto-traction feature, which is on by default, is especially concerning. I’m wondering what will happen the first time the right front wheel encounters a foot or two of deep snow along the shoulder at low speed. Normally, I’d counter-steer and spin-up the front wheels to dig my way out of the crud and back onto the cleared part of the road. But as I read the manual, the front wheels might stop turning completely once the automated system detects a loss of traction. While I understand the concept, that’s a good way to end up in the ditch in these parts.

    (PS - Ben, I recall you own a similar make & model and that you have expressed some frustration in the past re how the auto-brake feature operates.:))
  • edited November 2018
    When I was in my 20s I obtained my instrument & commercial rated pilots licenses. That training qualified me to work as an FAA air-traffic controller, which I did for a few years. I mention this only to establish that I have some residual knowledge in this area.

    Naturally I've followed this Boeing situation with great interest, as I try to follow all major aircraft accidents and air-traffic control incidents. All I can say at the present time, based on the information released so far, is that Boeing must have been completely out of their minds on this one.

    "Let's make some major changes in automation, allow the aircraft to override pilot control during critical maneuvers, and let's not tell anyone about all of this. Pilots don't need to know about this stuff- we know a lot more about this airplane than they ever will, and besides, these changes are designed to compensate for poor piloting anyway and our computers are better than a lot of pilots."

    Total hubris. Total negligence. Terminal stupidity.
Sign In or Register to comment.