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737 Max Second Deadly Crash / China Grounds Plane / Others Follow Suit / FAA Finally Grounds Jet



  • @Ted: Well over 2000 readers evidently felt otherwise. Thank you for your continued interest in this subject.
  • edited May 2019
    Ted said:

    @MFO Members: Time to put this very, very, very, tiresome post to rest !

    You've made it very clear, in this and other discussions, that as long as there is money to be made safety is at best an unimportant consideration. It occurs to me that your perspective on such matters uniquely qualifies you for an important post in some part of the current Federal administration. I'm sure that there are many positions available where you can help to undermine any existing safety requirements, and certainly prevent the addition of any new ones.

    If you'd like a character reference to help you obtain such a position, be sure to let us know. There are lots of members here who would be happy to testify as to your qualifications.

  • Yes, well. the TRUTH can be awfully INCONVENIENT for some.
  • "It occurs to me that your perspective on such matters uniquely qualifies you for an important post in some part of the current Federal administration."

    Please, if one ignores graft (excuse me, emoluments), government just doesn't pay enough. The big money is in American business. Safety? Never was. Think Pinto. Think medical devices.

    Think about something as innocuous as furniture. Okay, Ikea is from the Netherlands. So it isn't just American businesses. I guess that brings us full circle to government, because the EU seems to regulate safety more closely. Its countries weren't the ones giving Boeing the benefit of the doubt until the 737 was proven to be unsafe.
  • Any news regarding russian crash
  • Boeing altered key switches in 737 MAX cockpit, limiting ability to shut off MCAS
  • Gary said:
    Follow the money:
    Boeing and the FAA ...may not wait long if international agreement is too slow to emerge.

    The person familiar with the FAA’s view said that once the certification process has been checked and FAA technical staff are convinced the plane is now safe, it will be difficult to justify keeping it grounded because of international political considerations.

    “With 250 flights a day being canceled (in the U.S.) and the stranded capital of planes parked all over the West, there’s a recognition that every day has an economic cost,” the person said.
    "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)['s] ... primary mission is to ensure safety of civil aviation."

    Who'd have thunk it?
  • Certainly not this administration.
  • ding. +1, Old_Joe.
  • FAA Didn’t Treat Suspect 737 MAX Flight-Control System as Critical Safety Risk
    Conclusion is part of internal agency review of jetliner certification process

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that "An internal Federal Aviation Administration review has tentatively determined that senior agency officials didn’t participate in or monitor crucial safety assessments of [the] Boeing 737 MAX flight-control system".

    The results, these officials said, also indicate that during the certification process, Boeing didn’t flag the automated stall-prevention feature as a system whose malfunction or failure could cause a catastrophic event. Such a designation would have led to more intense scrutiny.

    Also at issue is whether agency officials performed any assessment on their own about the system’s initial safety classification, according to aviation industry officials, pilot unions and others tracking the investigations.

    The FAA’s administrative review, launched in March in the wake of the second fatal crash, didn’t uncover efforts by Boeing to flout certification rules or intentionally provide faulty data to the FAA, according to people familiar with the findings. But it remains unclear what formal processes the FAA had in place to conduct an assessment independent of the initial determination by Boeing—that MCAS wasn’t critical to safety and therefore didn’t warrant close FAA scrutiny.

    The hearing comes as a Justice Department probe into the model’s initial approval, previously reported by The Wall Street Journal, has broadened to include subpoenas issued to pilot unions as well as airlines. Some unions have complained about what they call Boeing’s lack of transparency as well as its shifting safety explanations regarding MCAS-related matters.

    Boeing originally designed the system to rely on a single sensor rather than two to verify data about the angle of a plane’s nose. Investigators have said that in both accidents, errant data from a single sensor caused the MCAS system to strongly push down the jet’s nose, eventually causing a steep and fatal dive.

    (The preceding are selected excerpts from the WSJ article, edited for brevity.)
  • edited May 2019
    an illuminating devo viewpoint (hope this has not been posted prior, apologies if so):
  • edited May 2019
    The original FAA Eisenhower-era certification requirement was a testament to simplicity: Planes should not exhibit significant pitch changes with changes in engine power. Now software stands between man and machine, and no one seems to know exactly what is going on. Things have become too complex to understand.

    Thanks, David. That's one of the most comprehensive and clearly written articles on this situation that I've seen.
  • edited May 2019
    Thanks @davidrmoran - An outstanding technical explanation of what went wrong (and is likely to continue going wrong) with this aircraft. In addition, it’s an amazing piece of writing on its own. The guy is writing from the heart about a subject he (obviously understands) and holds dear. So many poignant passages leap out.

    But in a nutshell ... To make a lot of money “on the cheap” Boeing perpetrated rape against a venerable old workhorse (dating back to the 60s) and presented it to the FAA, the airlines and the flying public as (just another) “upgraded” 737. Truth be known, the plane is a piece of engineering ****. To quote Ralph Nader - “unsafe at any speed”.

    He makes an engineering / analysis comparison to the space shuttle. Along the same vein, it took two catastrophic failures to doom the shuttle. I fear / suspect there will be a third such catastrophic failure with this bird before the airlines and regulators finally pull the plug.
  • edited May 2019
    The 737 MAX is intrinsically and inherently unstable and unsafe. A little bit more from the article-

    "So Boeing produced a dynamically unstable airframe, the 737 Max. That is big strike No. 1. Boeing then tried to mask the 737’s dynamic instability with a software system. Big strike No. 2. Finally, the software relied on systems known for their propensity to fail (angle-of-attack indicators) and did not appear to include even rudimentary provisions to cross-check the outputs of the angle-of-attack sensor against other sensors, or even the other angle-of-attack sensor. Big strike No. 3.

    None of the above should have passed muster. None of the above should have passed the “OK” pencil of the most junior engineering staff..."
  • ANGRY.
  • an illuminating devo viewpoint (hope this has not been posted prior, apologies if so):

    Thanks for posting something from a developer perspective.

    He writes that the software people were not in touch with the aviation world. That's not a problem intrinsic to software developers, but rather the way Boeing chose to structure its organization. However, even if the Boeing software team had been working more closely with the plane designers, that still might not have been the best approach.

    It sounds strange, but often outside companies can do better more reliable work. Large companies, despite their resources, often flounder outside of their core expertise. It seems clear from points raised in the article (and elsewhere) that this was not in Boeing's wheelhouse.

    On his Cessna, he installed a third party autopilot, not something built by Cessna. That's one data point for not doing everything in-house. I'm not suggesting that Boeing could have used something off the shelf, but rather that it could have had the control system built by outside people more "in touch with the particular culture and mores of the aviation world" and whose company's core business was building this sort of system.

    As to the comment that there's no real conflict of interest, "No manufacturer is going to employ DERs that just pencil-whip the paperwork," it is not that clear cut. He subsequently brings up Challenger as an example where considerations beyond technical safety entered the equation.

    Here, by merely building the 737Max rather than a safer plane, Boeing had already demonstrated that it was willing to trade off some measure of safety for other considerations. So there was an actual conflict of interest. Of course DERs wouldn't pass a plane simply if it could get off the ground, but maybe they were a tad less rigorous than they could have been.

    "None of the above should have passed muster. None of the above should have passed the “OK” pencil of the most junior engineering staff, much less a DER." No conflict of interest? What then?

    The observation that the simplex architecture (one computer looking only at its own sensors) should never have passed design review, let alone testing, is spot on.
  • Thanks, @msf. David Moran's article really laid out the whole thing for me, from beginning to end. Much of what that article said has been covered in bits and pieces by many contributors in the previous five pages of this thread, but that article puts all of those pieces together in a clear and easily understood sequence. Just excellent.
  • edited May 2019
    Boeing Max: A Tale of Two Crashes

    Well, here's a pleasant surprise. @Ted came across a new article in the Wall Street Journal which provides a nicely animated report detailing the sequence of events in the two 737-MAX crashes. The report doesn't introduce any new facts as far as those incidents are concerned, but it does present a very nice animated summary of the events leading to the two crashes.

    (Ted chose to advise me privately rather than post his info here. His contribution is appreciated.)

  • @MFO Members: I still can't believe I did that !
  • edited May 2019
    Pilots confronted Boeing with 737 Max fears after first fatal crash

    The Guardian is reporting that:
    American Airlines pilots angrily confronted a Boeing official about an anti-stall system suspected in two fatal crashes of the manufacturer’s 737 Max aircraft, according to a new recording.

    In audio obtained by CBS News, members of AA’s pilots’ union quizzed Boeing officials about the system – known as MCAS – in a tense meeting in November last year, weeks after a Lion Air Max crashed in Indonesia and four months before the loss of an Ethiopian Airlines Max. In total, 346 people died in the two crashes.

    Boeing has been criticized for not disclosing how the MCAS anti-stall system worked – a move that allowed the company to avoid costly retraining.

    “We flat-out deserve to know what is on our airplanes,” one pilot is heard saying in the recording.

    “These guys didn’t even know the damn system was on the airplane – nor did anybody else,” another said.

    The official, Boeing vice-president Mike Sinnett, claimed the Lion Air disaster was a once-in-a-lifetime accident.

    He said: “I don’t know that understanding this system would’ve changed the outcome on this. In a million miles, you’re going to maybe fly this airplane, maybe once you’re going to see this, ever. So we try not to overload the crews with information that’s unnecessary so they actually know the information we believe is important.”

    The pilots countered: “We’re the last line of defense to being in that smoking hole, and we need the knowledge.”
    (The preceding are selected excerpts from the WSJ article, lightly edited for brevity. Bold emphasis was added to highlight significant information.)
  • The official, Boeing vice-president Mike Sinnett, claimed the Lion Air disaster was a once-in-a-lifetime accident.

    And cigarettes don't cause cancer.

    I don't know which I think is worse. That Boeing was lying through its teeth, or that it didn't know what it had built (even after having investigated the first crash) and honestly believed this.
  • edited May 2019
    Boeing Didn’t Want to Ground the 737 MAX Even After Pilots Urged Them
    One of American’s pilots at the meeting with Boeing executives urged Boeing to request that the FAA issue an Emergency Airworthiness Directive following the first crash until the anti-stall software could be investigated. This would have effectively grounded the plane. Boeing refused.

    Boeing Sales Plummet (same article)
    “Predictably, sales of the 737 Max — its best-selling plane ever — have plummeted since the plane was grounded in March. But sales of its other aircrafts have tanked as well. CNN reported that the company did not sell a single new airplane in April. A backlog of already placed orders could be another potential factor in the slow sales as could airlines potentially waiting for a discounted price from Boeing.”
  • @davidmoran- My god! To think that people like that are "leading" this country. Ignorance and hubris redux. They are truly pathetic.
  • NYTimes: Boeing 737 Max Simulators Are in High Demand. They Are Flawed.

    "Since the two fatal crashes of the Boeing 737 Max, airlines around the world have moved to buy flight simulators to train their pilots.

    "They don’t always work.


    "The simulators did not reflect the immense force that it would take for pilots to regain control of the aircraft once the system activated on a plane traveling at a high speed."

    This doesn't exactly inspire faith in Boeing's ability to update the software that's actually in the plane. Or perhaps Boeing didn't understand what it had built well enough to know what to simulate.

    "The flight simulators ... are not made by Boeing. But Boeing provides the underlying information on which they are designed and built.

    “Boeing has made corrections to the 737 Max simulator software ...” said Gordon Johndroe, a Boeing spokesman.

    A short Reuter's summary of the NYTimes article:


    Maybe I missed it, but I haven't seen mentioned:

    Boeing Believed a 737 Max Warning Light Was Standard. It Wasn’t.

    "But months after the planes were flying, company engineers realized that the warning light worked only on planes whose customers had bought a different, optional indicator.

    "In essence, that meant a safety feature that Boeing thought was standard was actually a premium add-on.

    Apparently the bean counters never talked to the engineers.

    "Mr. Tajer [AA pilot union spokesman], who is also a 737 pilot, said he was concerned that Boeing did not seem to fully grasp how every aspect of the Max worked."

    Which gets us back to the simulator either having flawed software or software created without knowing enough about the plane's behavior to simulate.
  • So many posts and that's fine; so I don't know if this simple question has been posted among all of the text:

    " For me personally, for others here and the general public (those who are aware); will I/we/they knowingly ever board one of these planes again, and/or choose to not book a flight knowing the aircraft is a 737 max?"

    My answer is "no", I will not knowingly, at this time; book a flight that is traveled by this model.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with this question.
    Take care,
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