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737 max returning to service ?

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737 max returning to service ?

Old 26th Apr 2019, 00:37
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737 max returning to service ?

Time for a thread on "after the fix"
I wonder what other carriers are going to do and I see that the Southwest Pilots appear to be taking the highroad of waiting to see what is needed vs their corporation stance.
  • 25 April, 2019
  • SOURCE: Flight Dashboard
  • BY: Ghim-Lay Yeo
  • Washington DC
Southwest Airlines does not expect its pilots to undergo simulator training as part of a process to return the Boeing 737 Max to service, as the carrier stresses its aviators are well-equipped to handle a problem that has emerged as a common link between two fatal crashes of the aircraft type.

"We are not hearing that will be a requirement," chief executive Gary Kelly told analysts on an earnings call on 25 April, in response to questions on whether pilots will have to undergo simulator training ahead of the aircraft's return to service.

Kelly says these indications were drawn from discussions the airline has had with several parties, including its pilots union, the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing. He stresses that the pilots of Southwest, the largest 737 operator in the world, are "extensively trained".
"Managing the aircraft in a runaway stabiliser scenario is something that we've already covered," says Kelly, saying the airline is "the most experienced 737 operator in the world". Investigations into two crashes of the 737 Max 8 have centered on an aircraft system that might have activated the aircraft stabiliser to push the nose down into a dive.

Training for 737 pilots transitioning to the 737 Max has emerged as a point of discussion in the scrutiny cast upon Boeing's newest narrowbody following two fatal crashes. Southwest's pilot union had criticised Boeing for not informing operators about the system, the manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system (MCAS), which the union called "ill-designed".

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) says it is awaiting the proposed training programme for the software update. "Once we see the final training product from Boeing, we will decide if more training should be given to SWAPA pilots in conjunction with the company. If we and the company disagree, we will do what we think is best for our passengers and the flying public," says SWAPA's president Jon Weaks.

Southwest told FlightGlobal previously it will receive the first of three 737 Max simulators this year, while fellow 737 Max operator American Airlines will receive its first by the end of the year.

Dallas-based Southwest ended the first quarter with a fleet of 753 737 aircraft, including the 34 737 Max 8s that were grounded in March. The airline holds the largest order for the 737 Max that has been publicly announced, with 260 additional aircraft on its orderbook.

When and how the 737 Max will return to service remain unclear. The FAA has to certify the software upgrade from Boeing, which completed test flights earlier this month. If simulator training is required, airlines like Southwest will likely face an additional delay in getting the aircraft back into service.

Southwest, which grounded its 737 Max fleet on 13 March, has pulled the 737 Max from its schedules until 5 August. The airline's chief operating officer Mike Van de Ven says in the event that the aircraft is cleared to return to service before that date, Southwest will utilise its 737 Max 8s as spares to support its operations before resuming normal operations after 5 August.

The 737 Max grounding, along with other difficulties, reduced the airline's net profit by $150 million in the first quarter. While Kelly concedes the airline is "not happy" with the situation, he throws his support behind Boeing, calling the 737 Max 8 "the best narrowbody airplane in the world".

"That will continue to be the case when it returns to service with this software modification," he says.

Southwest has no intentions of reconsidering its status as an all-Boeing operator, says Kelly. The Air Current recently reported that a team of Southwest employees visited Europe to learn more about the operations of the Airbus A220, but executives say the trip was planned prior to the 737 Max grounding and was part of the airline's ordinary course of business to learn more about aircraft types.

Calling the timing of the trip "unfortunate", Kelly says, "We were not trying to send any message whatsoever… there is no plan to do anything other than grow our fleet with the Max."


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Old 26th Apr 2019, 03:57
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Firstly I believe Boeing should refrain from any mention of what training might be required - my understanding is training requirements are the domain of the regulators, not Boeing. So just put forward your proposed fix and debate the outcome.

Secondly, I think every regulator should get hard evidence that the MAX meets every requirement "possible" that MCAS was developed for to meet certification - I simply can not understand how the new "handicapped" MCAS, can now keep the MAX within the certification requirements.

Thirdly every change made to the MAX must be justified as to why it was made, and exactly why no extra training was or will need to be give - this is not limited to MCAS.

Another step should be a list of all persons that were involved in discussions and decisions over the MCAS on the MAX and access to privately interview them - I doubt this will ever happen as I expect there is more to hide.
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 11:13
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The problem now lies with passenger confidence.
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 11:30
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a third crash, Heaven forbid, would be the death knell for Boeing AND whichever airline was flying it and put profit before safety. They've had enough warnings now. The tort lawyers would jump for glee. The MAX issues go beyond an MCAS software fix. If I worked for any airline in a management capacity there's no way my signature would be appearing on any return-to-service MAX paperwork....

G
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 11:39
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Iím slightly disturbed from the comments from Southwest here, very much schedule over safety sort of vibe I am getting.

His Aviators are well trained he quotes. Well so are those over at say Virgin Australia, if not better, but those guys have publicly said they are not putting it into service next quarter without additional training over the initial requirements. The pilots donít want it.

I highly doubt all WN pilots are happy with those comments.
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 18:54
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Saying no new training needed is not something that will provide confidence to flying public.

DO THE TRAINING, even if not needed as you need to give confidence to the flying public otherwise they will not fly. Andy S Grove of Intel had a minor chip problem in 1990's, they saw it as minor and it was. Consumers saw it differently and it cost Intel $475 million and almost the company.

Bottom line it will require Boeing senior bods and airline bods to be on board a few Maxs to build confidence
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 19:32
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Originally Posted by groundbum View Post
a third crash, Heaven forbid, would be the death knell for Boeing AND whichever airline was flying it and put profit before safety. They've had enough warnings now. The tort lawyers would jump for glee. The MAX issues go beyond an MCAS software fix. If I worked for any airline in a management capacity there's no way my signature would be appearing on any return-to-service MAX paperwork....
Originally Posted by racedo View Post
Saying no new training needed is not something that will provide confidence to flying public.

DO THE TRAINING, even if not needed as you need to give confidence to the flying public otherwise they will not fly.
Do the training, even if MCAS only makes up 1% of the time spent in the simulator, and the rest is on upset recovery (or something related). IMO getting pilots and the airlines onside is critical, and regaining trust that has been eroded, cannot be done cheaply.

The MAX needs to be seen as safer than before, since another crash (or even a B737 NG model) would attract intense media coverage. This would be true even if caused by something completely unrelated (such as the shooting down of MH17). Marketing and PR isn't just about shiny feel-good advertising and bland reassurances, gut-feel issues take longer to overcome.
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 19:56
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I don't think that any additional MAX-related pilot training will be required or that passengers should be scared of flying on MAXes... ever.
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 20:59
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Originally Posted by Clandestino View Post
I don't think that any additional MAX-related pilot training will be required or that passengers should be scared of flying on MAXes... ever.
I would appreciate knowing why you think that?
Happily my airlines of choice do not use them.
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 22:51
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sim time is the issue, tough enough to get as it is.
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 23:15
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Originally Posted by Smythe View Post
sim time is the issue, tough enough to get as it is.
Sim time should not have been an issue - it is an issue, because someone decided that to save costs and say it would require no extra training other than differences.

Had that not been a sales pitch (no pun intended) then there would have been simulators on hand.
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 23:17
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Originally Posted by Smythe View Post
sim time is the issue, tough enough to get as it is.
Does that not just equate to $$$$ ?

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Old 26th Apr 2019, 23:35
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I don't think that Boeing or Southwest get how much has changed. Crashing two models of the newest plane within months for the same technical fault may have been a big deal in 1950 but it is an existential threat in the 2019s. Planes are not supposed to crash anymore, and generally they don't.

It seems like the least that Boeing could do for their loyal customers who they just %[email protected]! over royally is to pay for more simulators to be built and simulator time for the pilots. Somewhere in the $1billion and counting budget they are talking about there should be room for a few millions (in actual cost) to train pilots. They should also pay for very nice hotels for the pilots who are being retrained. I would suggest that some paranoid instructor work on training all of the differences of the MAX from the other models, with and without whatever hackery Boeing did to meet certification. Now that MCAS is pretty much gone (Murphy says that an AOA disagree WILL happen when somebody actually has to pull into a high AOA for some reason) practice high AOA stalls and recovery, and whatever else follows from the different placement of the engines.

Edit: Boeing's line is that the planes are perfectly safe, the crashes were the pilot's fault, but they are resisting calling for more pilot training on the MAX! It is fascinating to watch the results of a collision between a corporate sales pitch and reality.

Last edited by Water pilot; 26th Apr 2019 at 23:51.
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 23:41
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Originally Posted by groundbum View Post
a third crash, Heaven forbid, would be the death knell for Boeing AND whichever airline was flying it and put profit before safety. They've had enough warnings now. The tort lawyers would jump for glee. The MAX issues go beyond an MCAS software fix. If I worked for any airline in a management capacity there's no way my signature would be appearing on any return-to-service MAX paperwork....

G
Agreed, and whatever calculated risks Boeing might originally have rationally believed to be reasonable (i.e., talked themselves into), they had better not think so now. There are press reports that Boeing hired a public relations agency to deal with restoring public confidence. Just great. My confidence would be better restored by hiring an outside engineering firm to do a thorough, independent technical design review, along with independent test pilots to explore abnormal behaviors associated with a malfunctioning system considering all the failure modes. Sort of like the work the FAA ACO used to do before the recent advent of the Boeing ODA and BASOO. The key is INDEPENDENT, where financial and business considerations are not allowed to compromise professional engineering judgment.

By the way, any tort lawyer who would jump for glee at a third fatal accident is not one I would want to retain. Call me old fashioned.
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Old 27th Apr 2019, 07:29
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Originally Posted by Bend alot View Post
Sim time should not have been an issue - it is an issue, because someone decided that to save costs and say it would require no extra training other than differences.

Had that not been a sales pitch (no pun intended) then there would have been simulators on hand.
Couldn't have put it better.
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Old 27th Apr 2019, 16:41
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Facts please. Comments from currently qualified 737 Max 8 pilots, or people who are involved with design, certification or return to service of the type are welcome. People's opinion of being a passenger in this type, or the flying skills of other pilots, do not contribute to the thread.
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Old 27th Apr 2019, 17:22
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post
Facts please. Comments from currently qualified 737 Max 8 pilots, or people who are involved with design, certification or return to service of the type are welcome. People's opinion of being a passenger in this type, or the flying skills of other pilots, do not contribute to the thread.
100% agree, apart from the bit about "facts"
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Old 27th Apr 2019, 17:44
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The message I get from Boeing, SW and the FAA is something along the lines of 'let's not dwell too much on the overall design or dig too deep into other potential issues, here's quick MCAS fix now let's get the birds back in the air (before the investigations have concluded)'.

And that's money talking.
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Old 27th Apr 2019, 17:52
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"Money" is nervous certainly . . . but they forget passengers and crew will get nervous too when it looks like the problem is swept under the table either entirely or by one or two airlines . .
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Old 27th Apr 2019, 18:21
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Simplest thing would have been to remove MCAS. Since it's not done means MAX cannot fly without it. The software upgrade consist of reduced authority of MCAS so that stabilizer will never override the elevator authority and using redundancy toto disab it in case of a disagree. Now the question is will reduced authority MCAS do the job of preventing the stall for which it was installed? Two aircrafts were driven into ground and if the third one is stalled into ground how will it be treated? Secondly in case of disagree the disabled MCAS will it be land ASAP?
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