The Boeing MAX 8 Accidents

Discussion in 'Non-Rail Transportation' started by Dakota 400, Apr 5, 2019.

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  1. Apr 5, 2019 #1

    Dakota 400

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    The more that I hear and read about these two accidents are concerning. It's concerning for me who often fly on a Boeing product. It's concerning me as a Boeing shareholder looking at my Proxy Card for the Annual Meeting and wondering if it's time to register a vote of "no confidence" in Management.

    Company's financials look good, but what is the corporate culture? Is there some regulatory "coziness" between the Company and the FAA that is a contributing factor? Is trying to rush the development and deployment of an aircraft that competes with a similar Airbus aircraft a contributing factor?
     
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  2. Apr 5, 2019 #2

    Bob Dylan

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    It's looking like the Answer to your questions is Yes!!!

    See the CEOs Mea Culpa today!
     
  3. Apr 5, 2019 #3

    GBNorman

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    I held a Long position in BA until about a year ago. Made some really nice $$$ from it.

    I'm not sure if the Ethopian Officers are without fault. If a system is malfunctioning and you have the means to shut it off and make like John Wayne in "The High and the Mighty", you don't turn it back on.

    However, I think the comment that Oscar Munoz, United's CEO, made was callous. The comment was to the effect of "We train 'em and we pay 'em to fly the plane, so they'd best just fly the plane".

    I'd like to think that Boeing will get to the bottom of this, and in a few months, "water under the dam". But never forget 325 lives hsve been lost.
     
  4. Apr 5, 2019 #4

    Just-Thinking-51

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    The story that I read was there was two switch/breaker to disable the electric motor that was control the pitch down command from the computer.(ailerons? or elevators?)

    The problem was you pulled the breaker the motor stop and ailerons* were stop
    at whatever setting they were when they lost power.

    So if the aircraft was pitch down it stayed pitch down. The aircraft was not neutral, or fly level.

    To regain control the crew was (seem) to cycle the power back to the motors to change the angle of the ailerons*, a attempt to regain neutral. Since the computer was try to pitch down aircraft, they were fighting for control ever time the power was restored.

    One thinks this would of work, if they were higher, and had more space to play.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
  5. Apr 5, 2019 #5

    ehbowen

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    Unfortunately, it's worse than that. From the story I saw, at the speed the MAX was flying, the aerodynamic forces on the stabilizer trim were such that it proved IMPOSSIBLE to return it to normal with muscle power alone after the system was powered off. Their choices were to leave it off, and die, or power it back on and hope that the gremlin had fallen asleep...in vain, sorry to say.

    I've never personally flown anything larger than a Cessna 172XP. But I learned quick: You can't fight the trim. In a little plane like that you can offset it for a few minutes, but it will wear you out in short order. In a big commercial transport like the 737...I sure wouldn't want to encounter that situation outside of a simulator. But Boeing deliberately avoided requiring simulator training on that new system....

    Forget stock prices. The Boeing executive suite needs to be in jail.
     
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  6. Apr 5, 2019 #6

    jis

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    The bottom line AFAICT is that the band aid fix that Boeing came up with and FAA certified after the Lion Air crash was not adequate to recover.

    Boeing's reputation will take a while to recover fully when it comes to the 737, though its wide body side of the house seems to be unaffected, and FAA's reputation lies in tatters. So much so, that even the FAA administrator has now gone out of their way and formed a review team for the MAX consisting of experts from around the world with no connection to FAA or Boeing. This indicates that FAA has no confidence that absent such action its lead would be followed by the regulatory agencies around the world.

    Really, it is unprecedented where every agency of the world grounded the MAX before the FAA could get around to it. And at the end of the day the optics was that they were dragging their feet because their favorite gold winged boy was the culprit who they did not want to really regulate, but instead protect from the pitch fork brigade around the world, come heck or high water.

    There was the old tried and tested method of first blaming the third world, poorly trained pilots etc. etc. and hope that everything else can be swept under the rug. Well it does not work when your biggest customers are not in the US anymore, and they have powerful incentive to push back. So China pushed back - currently the largest fleet of MAXs are under Chinese regulatory control. Soon thereafter every Asian agency pushed back and the Europeans did too, leaving FAA (and Boeing) dangling in the wind. And more alarmingly, China has withdrawn its airworthiness certificate for the MAX. So in China the MAX is not temporarily grounded. It is an aircraft with no airworthiness certificate. It will have to go through the entire certification process. And soon after that they placed a huge order for Airbus aircraft. Interesting times.

    Meanwhile, a major matter of concern in the US should be whether Regulatory Capture is going on here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture
     
  7. Apr 5, 2019 #7

    Ryan

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    I don’t think that the concern is over if it is happening so much as it is over the extent that it is (speaking for myself, of course).
     
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  8. Apr 5, 2019 #8

    Devil's Advocate

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    Unprecedented but not unexpected. The 737 Max enjoys a mix of grandfathered designs, self-tested modifications, and proudly indifferent oversight. I wouldn't be surprised if an aircraft builder and airline protection bill is floated at some point to help ensure that future passenger awards are capped well below the cost of doing business. Can't have working class families collecting substantial monetary payouts for deaths due to natural causes like corporate negligence and regulatory impotence. If anything is truly unexpected it's that the FAA hasn't re-certified unmodified 737 Max aircraft for domestic Freedom Flights just to show the rest of the world how amazingly great we are.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
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  9. Apr 5, 2019 #9

    jis

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    Yeah. In the extreme exceptionalist mood, somehow those questioning the MAX at some point may be characterized as some undesirable kind and have trade sanctions placed on them too, given the idiocy that is the US Government these days. But I digress. I fervently hope that things will not come to that, since even in the extreme that would be unbecoming of Boeing. But who knows?

    Fact of the matter is that I doubt MAXs will get a rubber stamp re-certification in China, and possibly not even in Europe, and Asians might follow China rather than FAA on this one.

    The whole series of missteps happened because from a marketing perspective it was critical to certify the MAX as just another 737, which implied it must not require separate pilot training. Trying to achieve that with a plane that has some significant CG problems due to placement of the larger fan engines on its wing is what led to the need for the MCAS, and of course one could not even mention it to the pilots in training material because that would require additional training different from the NG. That is the genesis of this infernal mess where common sense was trumped by marketing and commercial necessities, and it was just a matter of time before a bunch of people died at the alter of business needs.

    Requiring some automation to stabilize a plane and keep it well within safety envelope is nothing new. All swept back wing jets have a had some automatic yaw damping, barring a few rare exceptions. But keeping the thing secret from pilots is the new twist in case of the MAX. And that was purely to get the mythical 737 type rating requiring no additional pilot training. Nature has a way of derailing all such less than honest plans even if they are fervently believed by some, unfortunately. Meanwhile we still await the result of the criminal investigation thatis going on in connection of the dvelopment and cdertification of the MAX.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
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  10. Apr 5, 2019 #10

    Dakota 400

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    I did see the CEO's statement today and that was one more reason why I decided to start this thread.

    The comments posted by others have been enlightening to me. I appreciate them.
    jis mentioned that a "criminal investigation" had been started related to the development and certification of the MAX. I was not aware of that.
     
  11. Apr 5, 2019 #11

    jis

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    I don't believe there have been any indictments or anything like that, but I read that there has been a vast sweep of subpoenas covering essentially all communications involved in certain relevant aspects of development and certification process related to the recent crashes. What the conclusions of the investigations are will determine whether there will be any further action in the form of indictments or such. What we have not heard so far is any outcome of that investigation, which involves the FBI apparently. It is too early for all that I guess.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
  12. Apr 5, 2019 #12

    anumberone

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    I agree with jis completely. ,larger engines and placement created a CG situation where systems were put in place to counteract. The $29,000 training price seemed to cause a penny wise dollar foolish effect that I feel has a lot do do with problem.
     
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  13. Apr 6, 2019 #13

    jis

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    Just FYI, from a guy in the know who posts on airliners.net ... Here is a list of the currently known investigations on MAX related issues that are ongoing:
    Apparently the first of these investigations has even subpoenaed a guy who was on the 737 program more than two decades back and left Boeing 22 years ago, and has had nothing to do with Boeing or 737 since then. Apparently the scope of the investigation has spread wider than just the MAX.
     
  14. Apr 6, 2019 #14

    GBNorman

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    I'm sorry, but this comment, as reported by the Associated Press, by the CEO of my "go to" airline, can only be considered "callous":

     
  15. Apr 6, 2019 #15

    bretton88

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    Maybe not callous, he's basically expressing total confidence in his pilots and his companies training methods, but the way he said it definitely seems tone deaf. He definitely could have expressed that better.
     
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  16. Apr 6, 2019 #16

    Trogdor

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    When the Lion Air crash occurred, I recall AA and WN pilots complaining that they were unaware of this significant change to the 737 (MCAS), which wasn’t in any training or documentation they had received.

    I don’t specifically recall UA pilots being a part of that thread. Not to say they didn’t complain, but just that I didn’t see any mention of it. That said, what I’m reading is that even Boeing’s recommended training post-LionAir was insufficient for the Ethiopian crash, so I’m wondering what UA included in its training that wasn’t in Boeing’s recommended training that would have had their pilots save the plane where the ET pilots couldn’t.
     
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  17. Apr 6, 2019 #17

    jis

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    Apparently you had to kill the entire automation stuff including MCAS early enough and hand fly the plane, thus of course also defeating the entire purpose of MCAS. A diligent airline could conceivably design a pilot training program, not that I am suggesting United did. But there are multiple reports in NASA’s anonymous incident reporting system describing how some pilots handled the nose down issue at the first inkling of trouble. Whether it was due to specific training or general airmanship expertise and extensive experience in seat of the pants flying, there is no way of knowing.

    Remember that the same Lion Air aircraft that crashed the next day, with the same or similar problem the previous day, did not crash due to quick action by an apparently more experienced, or at least lucky third pilot who was in the cockpit that day.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
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  18. Apr 6, 2019 #18

    GBNorman

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    It appears that part of Boeing's "pitch" to the airlines that signed up for MAX's was based upon the minimal training for pilots to be deemed qualified. They apparently led the airlines to believe no additional "sim" time was needed, and that a video would suffice.

    "Sims" and "sim time" translate into $$$$$ - and no wonder various fledgling airlines "bit".

    First, I'd like to think that Boeing has so much institutional expertise with which to address the issue (and I hope that Jishnu, with his apparent business connection with them, concurs) and that such will pass with time,. But that Boeing will learn for all time, that just because Attendants can be shown a video to update them on a new cabin configuration, the same does not apply to Officers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  19. Apr 7, 2019 #19

    jis

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    I just found a brief description of what happened on the Lion Air flight of the previous day that did not crash:
    Further discussion in the airliners.net thread suggested that what is claimed to be MCAS attempting to operate on descent was actually another system (STS), but the power cutout to the entire trim automation effectively disabled it, and the pilots did what was necessary by the manually operated trim wheel.

    This same plane crashed the following day when the crucial step of hitting the stab trim cutout switch early in the sequence of events after takeoff, did not take place.

    Meanwhile the impact of the fiasco is widening... MAX production rate being reduced, probably not the last reduction either.

    https://www.theguardian.com/busines...ax-aircraft-production-cut-nearly-20-per-cent

    Today's (4/7/19) Guardian also has a very good article with a very concise description of the issue that caused the crashes and what went wrong during the development and certification process. The reason I am refraining from posting it here is because of the political content in the article, which BTW IMHO is spot on, but is beyond the scope of this forum. Anyone interested can go look it up a the Guardians web site.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
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  20. Apr 7, 2019 #20

    GBNorman

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    This Journal columnist, Holman Jenkins, has presented thoughts that Boeing, long known for building "Pilot's planes", acceded to the Airbus philosophy of building "operator's flight equipment":

    Fair Use:

     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  21. Apr 7, 2019 #21

    GBNorman

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    Jishnu, are you addressing the Opinion piece dated April 7 by columnist Will Hutton presently appearing at the Manchester Guardian's site?
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  22. Apr 8, 2019 #22

    jis

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    Yes. The Will Hutton piece. Focusing on the technical and factual description of events in it, and leaving aside the sociopolitical opinions for the moment.... I did not provide a reference link to it since disentangling the two has to be done carefully, and inevitably the discussion would veer off on the easier pissing contest instead of remaining focused on the safety technical issues.

    BTW, things seem to have finally started affecting medium term plans. American and United have basically removed the MAXs from active consideration for scheduling until June. There are some that now believe that the outage will be six to nine months, maybe a bit shorter in the US. Maybe a little longer in Asia, where China in the worst case scenario seemingly plans to do a certification of the MAX ground up, not harking back to similarities with any previous 737s.

    The requisite downgrades of all concerned in the stock market followed this morning according to: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/08/sou...-market-perform-over-boeings-737-max-jet.html
     
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  23. Apr 9, 2019 #23

    GBNorman

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    Take a look at this article appearing today in The Times:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/08/business/boeing-737-max-.html

    Fair Use:
    It simply appears that each 737 design was a "patch over" of whatever system within the aircraft needed to be changed in order to make the new version marketable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  24. Apr 9, 2019 #24

    Dakota 400

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    Thanks for posting this article. While I realize that the "final" verdict on what happened with these two accidents is much time in the future, the article reinforces my decision to send Boeing a "no confidence" vote for this month's annual shareholders meeting.
     
  25. Apr 10, 2019 #25

    DooBdoo

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    Note for the record . . . American, United and Southwest PILOTS - the only US carriers flying the 737Max - have never reported any incident of an equipment malfunction as described by Lion Air and Ethopian Air. In fact United and American executives issued statements/video stating their pilots had received proper training, that there were no incidents and that Boeing taught them to push two green buttons together on the right side of the console to turn off the automatic function after it had been activated on takeoff. I personally spoke with a SouthWest 737max pilot who said they have had no incidents and the training was done via iPad update. . . complete with how to override. . . .

    It is illogical that Boeing would assume the risk of nearly 5000 aircraft defective deliveries through stupidity or otherwise deliberately rushing changes. Even pure Greed is outweighed by the potential business-ending litigation!
     
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