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

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  • @MFO Members: A year from now the flying public will say, 'what was the name of that plane that was grounded last year" ? The safest form of transportation is flying. Time to move on !
    Regards,
    Ted
  • edited May 24
    Dennis Tajer, head of the Allied Pilots Association and an American Airlines pilot, had some pointed criticism for those who would blame Boeing’s failures on foreign pilots - calling it “an outrage.” Tajer also criticized those who would rush the recertification process along, saying it would lead to even more costly consequences later on. However, he says the current upgrades in technology, communication with those who operate the planes, and simulators will lead to a safe to operate 737 Max.

    (Screen image in background is a SpaceX nighttime launch that was taking place during last evening’s Bloomberg interview with Tajer.)

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/finance/video/boeing-needs-to-come-up-with-global-solutions-for-737-allied-pilots-association/vi-AABQ9UA
    -

    @Catch22, I think it’s best to focus on the larger issues of regulation, company integrity, and the “bottom-line” (financially) - all of which may be of interest to investors. As far as your personal preference for an aircraft, there are so many issues that affect safety that I think it would be unfair / unwise to single-out the 737 Max when booking travel. That would ignore many other important factors like: an airline’s maintenance procedures, age and condition of fleet, specific capabilities of the origination / destination airports, seasonal weather factors, crew training, etc. etc. (So I’d rather not go there.)
  • edited May 24
    Optimism After Daylong Meeting On Efforts To Fix Boeing 737 Max

    An NPR article is reporting that the FAA could recertify the 737 Max to fly passengers again by as soon as late June.
    The head of the Federal Aviation Administration is sounding more optimistic about efforts to approve a fix for Boeing's troubled 737 Max, hinting that the FAA could recertify the plane to fly passengers again by as soon as late June.

    Daniel Elwell made the comments Thursday after the FAA hosted a summit meeting for aviation regulators from more than 30 other countries. The meeting was designed to allow safety officials to share technical information and develop plans for reviewing Boeing software fixes for the 737 Max before clearing the plane to fly again.

    The FAA was one of the last regulatory agencies to ground the plane. That slowness in issuing the order and critics' questions over how thorough and independent the FAA's initial certification process of the plane was strained relations between the FAA and some of its counterparts in other countries.

    But Elwell came out of the meeting with the other safety officials saying he is very encouraged the world's aviation authorities can work together to ensure the plane is safe when allowed to fly passengers again.

    Elwell says as the country that first certified the 737 Max design, the U.S. will be the first to review and certify Boeing's software changes. He says the process of conducting test flights and reviewing data could take three or four weeks once the company submits a formal application for review. That is expected to happen anytime within the next few days. It still could take several weeks after the FAA's recertification of the plane before airlines could put the jets back in service. Southwest, American and United, the only U.S. airlines that currently have the Max in their fleets, all say they would need time to download and implement the software fix, train pilots and move the planes out of storage and do other standard maintenance work.

    Regulators from other countries then would make their own decisions on whether to lift the order grounding the planes after reviewing the FAA's work. The European Union and countries including China and Canada have said they will conduct their own safety reviews before certifying the 737 Max to resume operations and carry passengers.

    (The preceding are selected excerpts from the NPR article, substantially edited for brevity. Information which has been repeatedly covered in this posting thread has been excised.)
  • edited May 24
    From OJ’s above post:

    “Elwell says as the country that first certified the 737 Max design, the U.S. will be the first to review and certify Boeing's software changes. He says the process of conducting test flights and reviewing data could take three or four weeks once the company submits a formal application for review. That is expected to happen anytime within the next few days. It still could take several weeks after the FAA's recertification of the plane before airlines could put the jets back in service. Southwest, American and United, the only U.S. airlines that currently have the Max in their fleets, all say they would need time to download and implement the software fix, train pilots and move the planes out of storage and do other standard maintenance work.

    This is all good. New planes normally undergo intense in-flight testing (one of the items mentioned in the passage). Hell ... they’ll intentionally throw the thing into a series of stalls with test pilots at the controls just to determine how well an average pilot under normal conditions can recover. (All this testing also makes sure the wings won’t come off during severe turbulence.) A lot of important testing and other groundwork seems to have been skipped by Boeing in its haste to offer an alternative to the new Airbus 320 / 321 Neo. This was accomplished by erroneously treating the 737 Max as just an “upgrade” rather than the new plane that it is.
  • edited May 24
    Perhaps the preceding NPR article was a bit overoptimistic:

    MAX’s Return to Flight Delayed by FAA’s Re-Evaluation of Safety Procedures for Older 737 Models

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the FAA is considering changes in how pilots are trained to respond when the flight-control computer or other systems erroneously push the plane’s nose down.

    A review of Boeing Co.’s 737 MAX jets has expanded to include emergency procedures used by pilots on earlier 737 models, further delaying the MAX’s return to service, according to U.S. government officials. The Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t questioned the safety of older jets currently in service, but the broadened review has become a significant factor in adding months to the time expected to get the grounded fleet of 737 MAX jets back in the air.

    As part of the FAA’s safety analysis of a proposed software fix for the MAX fleet, the agency also is considering changes in how pilots of the entire 737 family are trained to respond when the flight-control computer or other systems erroneously push the plane’s nose down. That includes the generation of the jetliner that preceded the MAX, known as the 737 NG—some 6,300 of which are used by more than 150 airlines globally and which form the backbone of short- and medium-range fleets for many carriers.

    The agency’s focus on revisiting the justifications for those procedures, which hasn’t been reported before, has made the process of approving the fix to the 737 MAX more complex and time-consuming than the industry and the FAA initially anticipated.The agency is re-evaluating assumptions and safety assessments stretching back to the FAA’s initial approval of 737 NG models in the late 1990s, and in some cases versions that flew many years earlier. Unlike the MAX, the NG models don’t include MCAS.

    Some previously developed cockpit procedures are partly based on Boeing’s earlier assumptions that pilots would respond in just a few seconds to erroneous nose-down commands, the officials said, and the FAA is evaluating how realistic that might be.

    U.S. regulators are reassessing whether Boeing’s proposed software fix for the MAX—combined with potentially revised emergency procedures and checklists—would give pilots somewhat more time to react, roughly 20 seconds.

    The FAA is reassessing the extent of force required to manually counteract nose-down commands in extreme circumstances, by turning a wheel—known as the trim wheel—located between the pilots. The necessary force increases with the speed of the aircraft.

    The FAA hasn’t decided whether to mandate new or revised training procedures for earlier 737 models as a result of the expanded studies. The existing checklist for the trim wheel procedure might not include all the information aviators need. For example, some Boeing manuals say two pilots may be needed to manually turn the wheel. But other material provided to airlines for their manuals say merely that the wheel could be difficult to turn.

    The FAA is conducting its hazard analyses in conjunction with regulators from Canada, Brazil and the EU. On Thursday, after a summit with international regulators from more than 30 countries discussing the MAX’s return to service, Mr. Elwell said “we got more questions than we got recommendations.” The summit, originally described by industry and U.S. government officials as a way to garner an international stamp of approval for the proposed fix, ended without any formal consensus or action by the participants.

    The FAA also has pressured Boeing to “go back and do a complete new” safety assessment, an update that has added extra time to process, the official said. Boeing is answering some 200 specific questions on that assessment posed by the FAA in the last month, according to another government official.

    (The preceding are selected excerpts from the WSJ article, heavily edited for brevity. Information which has been repeatedly covered in this posting thread has been excised. Bold emphasis in the report was added.)

    File under: Locking the barn door.
  • edited May 30
    Boeing Faces Difficult Recovery From Protracted 737 MAX Grounding

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Boeing faces "several challenges" in getting its 737 MAX back on track even once regulators sign off on design changes to make the grounded jet safe.
    Some MAX customers may seek to delay deliveries of their jets further because they have missed some or all of the busy summer flying season. The director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that airlines expect the grounding to continue for at least 10 weeks or so.

    The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration hosted foreign regulators last week to discuss the process of clearing the MAX for commercial service. Some regulators may trail others in lifting the flight ban. But those deliberations have been marred by some friction and setbacks- on March 26, just a day before the FAA expected Boeing to supply a final version of its proposed software fix, the company said it wasn’t ready because an internal review had uncovered technical problems with the fix. FAA officials felt blindsided by the move.

    Yet the very next day, Boeing held a gathering for media and industry officials at which Mike Sinnett, a high-ranking company official, gave no hint of the latest problem and said his team had “complete confidence that the changes we’re making would address any of these accidents.”

    Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said at Boeing’s annual meeting on April 29 that he expected a test flight required for FAA certification by mid-May. Such a flight hasn’t yet been scheduled.

    About two weeks ago, Boeing released a statement indicating it had finished its work on the revised fix. The FAA quickly released its own statement in response saying, “we are expecting additional information we requested.”

    Mr. Muilenburg said Boeing was in talks with customers about potential compensation, which could come in forms besides cash payments and would likely be spread out over time. “I don’t see this as an additional material event for us, but it’s something that’s going to require individual attention customer by customer,” he said. The plane maker has already announced a $1 billion charge from cutting 737 production, but the financial hit will be spread over thousands of planes.

    Amid the turmoil, Boeing in April cut production plans for the 737 to 42 aircraft a month from 52.

    (The preceding are selected excerpts from the WSJ article, heavily edited for brevity. Information which has been repeatedly covered in this posting thread has been excised.)

    File under: Believe it when you see it.
  • edited June 9
    Couple interesting updates on the 737 Max story I uncovered (embedded links) while reading @Ted’s story about the man who's having sissy-fits because he’s so worried about the market. In the interest of continuity I’m re-linking those stories here.

    Boeing didn’t plan to fix 737 MAX warning light until 2020

    “Even as it continued delivering MAX airplanes to customers, Boeing had kept quiet the details of the problem, which prevented a light from warning pilots when there was disagreement between the plane’s angle-of-attack sensors. Those sensors are now suspected of playing a role in two MAX crashes. The company didn’t disclose the issue to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) until after a 737 MAX crash in Indonesia last year, something that frustrated FAA leadership.”
    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/boeing-didnt-plan-to-fix-737-max-warning-light-until-2020/

    Boeing turns to high-powered defense attorneys in 737 MAX investigation

    “As Boeing responds to a federal criminal investigation related to the 737 MAX, the company has assembled a deeply connected defense team headed by one attorney who represented Vice President Mike Pence in the Russian interference investigation, another who has served as the nation’s deputy attorney general and a third who played a central role in the Russian probe and the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.” https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/boeing-turns-to-high-powered-defense-attorneys-in-737-max-investigation/
  • Slimeballs.
  • Birds of a feather...
  • Very early in my career I was involved in the creation of a completely new system from the ground up. New design of hardware, software, support systems. Distributed architecture, tens of millions of lines of code. The most important requirement was reliability. It was planned to take five years to develop.

    Several incidents still stick in my mind. We asked our operating system group to provide a back door for efficiency. They properly refused. It would have affected both the quality of the design and its reliability. On the other hand, our group was asked to provide a back door for another part of the system, which was done over my dead body. After leaving the project, I returned a year later just in time to find that this back door had been abused and was causing system crashes.

    Another incident was a race condition that took a month to figure out. According to specs, that condition could occur in only one part of the system. So management refused to propagate the fix across the whole system. In less than 24 hours after the localized fix was applied, the system crashed - apparently other parts of the system were triggering the same condition, in violation of specs.

    The point is that if you want a large complex system especially one that's supposed to be highly reliable to work as intended, you must be crystal clear on the design assumptions, spec it out, and not deviate without iterating. At this NYTimes article describes, Boeing did the exact opposite.

    Boeing Built Deadly Assumptions Into 737 Max, Blind to a Late Design Change
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/01/business/boeing-737-max-crash.html
    The fatal flaws with Boeing’s 737 Max can be traced to a breakdown late in the plane’s development, when test pilots, engineers and regulators were left in the dark about a fundamental overhaul to an automated system that would ultimately play a role in two crashes.

    A year before the plane was finished, Boeing made the system more aggressive and riskier. While the original version relied on data from at least two types of sensors, the final version used just one, leaving the system without a critical safeguard. ...

    ... many people involved in building, testing and approving the system, known as MCAS, said they hadn’t fully understood the changes. ...

    ... they had assumed the system relied on more sensors and would rarely, if ever, activate. Based on those misguided assumptions, many made critical decisions, affecting design, certification and training. ...

    ...As Boeing rushed to get the plane done, many of the employees say, they didn’t recognize the importance of the decision. ...

    At first, MCAS — Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System — wasn’t a very risky piece of software. The system would trigger only in rare conditions, nudging down the nose of the plane to make the Max handle more smoothly during high-speed moves. ...

    Then Boeing engineers reconceived the system, expanding its role to avoid stalls in all types of situations. They allowed the software to operate throughout much more of the flight. They enabled it to aggressively push down the nose of the plane. And they used only data about the plane’s angle, removing some of the safeguards.
    It goes on to describe the timeline, why and what changes were made.
  • edited June 10
    @msf- Thanks for your input. There's no way that I have anything like your level of experience in this area, but anyone building a critical electronics system should be very aware of any potential for "single point-of-failure". Relying on a single angle-of-attack input sensor! Whoever was responsible for that one is an idiot, a murderer, or maybe both.

    Criminal negligence, in my opinion. No wonder Boeing is busily "lawyering up" with Trumpian scumballs.
  • A few additional excerpts from msf's linked article:
    • A test pilot who originally advocated for the expansion of the system didn’t understand how the changes affected its safety.

    • Safety analysts said they would have acted differently if they had known it used just one sensor.

    • Regulators didn’t conduct a formal safety assessment of the new version of MCAS.

    • The current and former employees, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigations, said that after the first crash, they were stunned to discover MCAS relied on a single sensor.

    “That’s nuts,” said an engineer who helped design MCAS.

    “I’m shocked,” said a safety analyst who scrutinized it.

    “To me, it seems like somebody didn’t understand what they were doing,” said an engineer who assessed the system’s sensors.

    One more time, for Ted:
    Whoever was responsible for relying on a single angle-of-attack input sensor is an idiot, a murderer, or maybe both.

  • @Ted: Well, you'd better hope that the next vehicle or piece of farm equipment that you buy isn't designed by these same clowns.
  • "...Regulators didn’t conduct a formal safety assessment of the new version of MCAS."

    Yes, the ones who are SUPPOSED TO BE SERVING THE PUBLIC did not do their job, either. Jesus, this makes me mad. The motherlovers who make decisions about these procedures and tests are STILL trusting Big Money to police itself. Negligent pieces of shit. OK, just once more: BIG MONEY ONLY CARES ABOUT MONEY--- NOT PEOPLE.
  • edited June 11
    @Crash- Well, I won't argue with your general observations, but there is plenty of evidence in this instance that Boeing presented the information regarding the MCAS "system" to the FAA in a deliberately misleading manner. And for the record, I have no particular love for the FAA, either: typically a day late and a dollar short. For instance, consider the title of this entire posting thread: "FAA Finally Grounds Jet". "Finally", as in well after everyone else. Par for the course.
  • edited June 11
    Old_Joe said:

    @Crash- Well, I won't argue with your general observations, but there is plenty of evidence in this instance that Boeing presented the information regarding the MCAS "system" to the FAA in a deliberately misleading manner. And for the record, I have no particular love for the FAA, either: typically a day late and a dollar short.

    ...Very well, @Old_Joe. Yet, are the regulators not smart enough to figure out that such deception is being done (to them and to the general public?) Again: Big Business cannot be trusted. About anything. About safety. About paying their taxes. About anything. Our System operates today with gov't IN BED with Big Business. And how many on The Hill are bought and paid for? 99.9% of them.
  • edited June 11
    Are the regulators not smart enough to figure out that such deception is being done to them?

    @Crash- Well, in this case that's actually part of the problem. If you have been following this thread fairly closely, you will have noted that the FAA freely admits that it does not have sufficient technical depth to provide an accurate evaluation of many technological aviation issues brought before it.

    The reason is pretty straightforward: Boeing and Airbus have hired the very best of the aircraft engineers and designers. (Although that proposition is certainly suspect in this case.) These folks do not grow on trees, are very well paid, and do not have any sort of unemployment problem.

    The sad fact is that the FAA cannot pay enough to hire a stable of these folks sufficient for the purpose. In addition to pay, why would a top-flight engineer or designer want to spend their career working for a typically uninteresting and moribund government regulator? They want to be where the action is, not reporting to some bureaucrat who has problematical experience and can barely understand their subordinates language. (Reference: see almost any Dilbert cartoon.)

    So in essence, the FAA has allowed Boeing itself to hire a supposedly "neutral" group of supposedly qualified overseers to "represent" the FAA from within the Boeing organization. You can see how well that worked in the present situation. That is also the thrust of the current government investigations into what information Boeing actually presented to the FAA (and it's Boeing in-house representatives), and how exactly it was focused.

    It's easy to complain about "the system", but at least in this case, pretty hard to come up with a viable alternative.
  • @MFO Members: Does the above poster realize that the majority of MFO Members have had it up to their eyeball with these Boeing comments.
    Regards,
    Ted
  • Ted said:

    @MFO Members: A year from now the flying public will say, 'what was the name of that plane that was grounded last year" ? The safest form of transportation is flying. Time to move on !
    Regards,
    Ted

    i just came upon this comment and all i can say is, man o man, what a stupid thing to say, so stupid that i'm basically left speechless.
    is there no way on this site to put guys like ted on ignore? if anyone deserves it, it's him.
  • @linter: This thread alone has already been alive for three months of Ted's "year". With over two thousand eight-hundred views an awful lot of Ted's "eyeballs" have been focused right here.

    Years ago MFO management, after numerous complaints from many of those very same eyeballs, felt it necessary to build cemeteries for the great majority of Ted's precious link posts, where they now sit unremarked, unloved, and mostly unread. The cemeteries are called "Bullpens", perhaps a commentary on their contents.
  • AMFO Members: Great planes from an American aircraft giant that soar like an egale.
    Regards,
    Ted
    https://www.ranker.com/list/boeing-aircraft-and-jets-and-planes/reference

  • edited June 12
    And there you have it, folks. Complete blind denial in the face of overwhelming evidence of corporate incompetence and malfeasance, which directly led to over 350 people now dead. But those people didn't look at all like Ted, so they don't count for much. Let's all sing a little song and forget the whole thing. And soar like an egale (sic). Whatever that is.
  • @MFO Members: How does the moron who posted this," didn't look at all like Ted" know what I look like since he's never seen me.
    Regards,
    Ted
  • edited June 13
    @Ted: How about because you posted your picture for a year or so? Since you mention morons...

    Regards
    OJ
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