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Old 13th Mar 2019, 04:54
  #930 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Bangkok
Posts: 28
Originally Posted by FCeng84 View Post
While there is not yet sufficient information to draw a clear link between the ET accident that is the subject of this thread and MCAS I am deeply troubled by the amount of misinformation regarding MCAS that is being spread here. Reluctantly I offer the explanation below without any suggestion that this system contributed to the tragedy in Ethiopia this last weekend. The truth will be revealed by the recorder data and the full investigation. I strongly implore those who do not know MCAS details to stop providing incorrect information here or anywhere else. Posing questions is fine, but please do not state as fact that about which you are not sufficiently knowledgeable.

MCAS Operation Clarification

MCAS is triggered when all of the following are true:
A. Sensed AOA exceeds a flight condition based activation threshold
B. Flaps are fully retracted (i.e., up)
C. Autopilot is not engaged

When triggered, MCAS commands nose down stabilizer as a function of how much AOA has exceeded the activation threshold and the current Mach number. For large exceedence of the MCAS activation AOA threshold, MCAS will command 2.5 degrees of stabilizer at low Mach number but less than 1/3rd of that at cruise Mach number (gradual Mach number based schedule between). For a lesser exceedence of the MCAS activation AOA threshold the size of the stabilizer increment will be proportionally less. MCAS stabilizer command will be stopped immediately upon pilot activation of pitch trim. (Pilot trim input also serves as MCAS reset - see next paragraph.)

Once MCAS has commanded one increment of stabilizer motion, it will not command more until it has been reset. MCAS is reset if any of the following occur:
1. Pilot makes a manual trim command. (MCAS will not re-activate until there have been 5 continuous seconds without pilot trim command.)
2. AOA drops below MCAS activation threshold and MCAS has run stabilizer in the airplane nose up direction taking out the increment of airplane nose down command it inserted earlier.
3. Autopilot is engaged and then disengaged.

Without pilot trim input, MCAS will not run the stab more than one increment (up to 2.5 degrees) unless MCAS is reset via either 2 or 3 above.

Talk of MCAS running the stabilizer for 10 seconds, pausing for 5 seconds, and then running it again repeatedly without pilot trim input are patently incorrect.
So, to cut a long story short if the AOA and/or air speed readings are incorrect its actions are worse than doing nothing.
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