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MAX’s Return Delayed by FAA Reevaluation of 737 Safety Procedures

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MAX’s Return Delayed by FAA Reevaluation of 737 Safety Procedures

Old 19th Aug 2019, 22:31
  #1921 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by jugofpropwash View Post
Am I the only one who thinks these planes will never fly again?
If the Max is dead in the water, it's hard to see Boeing resurrecting the NG. The result would be Airbus having a de facto monopoly in the 150-200 seat narrowbody market.

That's in nobody's interest, not even Airbus's.

That consideration alone will be enough to ensure that the Max flies again, sooner or later.
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Old 19th Aug 2019, 22:32
  #1922 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
If you're correct, you can say goodbye to Boeing - at least as it's existed for the last 100 years. A permanent grounding would cost Boeing north of $100 Billion - not even Boeing could survive that. The only question is would would come out of the resultant bankruptcy.
The government bailed out the car companies, I imagine they'd be just as quick to bail out Boeing.
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Old 19th Aug 2019, 22:55
  #1923 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by jugofpropwash View Post

I imagine they'd be just as quick to bail out Boeing.
By all accounts, the US government has been bailing out Boeing through the FAA and the Department of Justice for decades. 😡
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Old 19th Aug 2019, 22:57
  #1924 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by jugofpropwash View Post
The government bailed out the car companies, I imagine they'd be just as quick to bail out Boeing.
But the car companies that came out of that didn't look much like they did pre-bankruptcy, and the car companies outstanding liabilities were way less than $100 billion.
The resultant Boeing Commercial would be a wide body aircraft company with nothing on offer smaller than the 787. Tens of thousands of jobs would be permanently lost, and the complete loss of narrow body income would cripple Boeing's ability to finance any future new aircraft development (e.g. NMA or a 737 replacement). Spirit (makes the 737 fuselage) would probably go under, as well as a number of other Boeing suppliers. Airbus would have an effective monopoly of the largest portion of the aircraft market.
The ramifications would last for at least a decade, probably longer.

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Old 20th Aug 2019, 00:23
  #1925 (permalink)  
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It should not about jobs, it should be about safety.

The government did not bail out the Corvair, the Pinto, the Firestone 500's, the Van, or countless others that were taken off the market due to safety issues. Can you provide an government subsidy or bailout for an unsafe product?

Boeing could fix the MAX, if it wanted to. At this point, wiring this together, trying this, adding that...well. You leave the Swiss Cheese holes to line up, based on the platform. Engines too big for the platform, moved forward and up....lack of redundancy in FMS and sensors..and of course, a lack of knowledge to the pilots and training as such.

From all of the articles, and information, so far...Boeing is culpable is all regards. To feign ignorance and viel an apology (when the facts are being exposed)?

ie, no further sim training necessary. How did that work out so far?
Add pilot minimum training requirements, Are they kidding? .What would these be, and how much of your market would you lose if you placed the US requirements worldwide?

Face it. Fix it, or dump it. Software bandages are not a fix. We keep talking about hand flying an ac.

This is the first commercial ac I have seen, to be designed, and sent to market, where you cannot hand fly it.

film at 11
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 00:35
  #1926 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by jugofpropwash View Post
Am I the only one who thinks these planes will never fly again?
Probably not, I do believe they will fly again, the old "to big to fail" or in this case many / to much money

I dont know of its design aspects but would converting the current airframes into frieghters be either practical or value for money if in the extremely unlikely occurence of being never allowed to fly passengers again
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 01:00
  #1927 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by boofhead View Post

I disagree that it takes an above average pilot to fly these, or most aircraft and certainly all airliners must be able to be flown by average pilots. All pilots of all skill levels should be trained and able to follow the emergency procedures for their aircraft. Does anyone disagree with that?

I would be ashamed, as a pilot, to blame my failures on the aircraft. If I could not fly the aircraft safely I would go sell insurance or houses or something more suited to my skills.

I am reminded of a Yogi Berra quote that goes something like this, "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”

I understand where you are coming from and in theory I agree that flight crews must possess a high degree of knowledge regarding both systems and procedures and must be able to act on that knowledge promptly even when under pressure. That said, it must be recognized that three different crews did not connect the MCAS malfunction with the Runaway Stab Trim procedure in the manner that Boeing expected when the system was being designed. Why was that the case?

I have suggested that a big part of the reason for this discrepancy has been a multi-decades drift between the the expectations (“theory") baked into the 50-year old 737 design (and still held among the engineering staff at Boeing) and the “practice" of how pilots are actually trained and managed in the field. At many airlines pilot training has largely become an actuarial driven event where the priority is on filling squares at the lowest cost and not necessarily achieving a deep understanding or proficiency. To use a sports-related analogy, it is as if a group of football players were given a number of preset drills in an empty stadium consisting of passing, shooting, ball-handling, etc, but no actual scrimmaging because it would “cost” too much to set up. To no one’s surprise, this team may perform very well in the controlled environment of the practice field, but still fall apart when they have to deal with actual defenders and the distractions of a stadium crowd.

Specifically to these MAX events, yes there were malfunctions that could reasonably be classified as a Runaway Trim event for which there was a well-established procedure. However, there was not only an ongoing sensor failure (the AOA vane) that generated not only multiple warnings but also a simultaneous Unreliable Airspeed event which is a challenging malfunction in its own right. So wrapped up in this “straightforward” Runaway Trim scenario was a combination of 1) surprise, 2) distraction, and 3) multiple non-normals which all had to be managed with every piece of automation stripped away.

For those of us who have been around commercial aviation for a few decades, some of us remember when 1) surprise, 2) distraction, and 3) multiple malfunctions were on the menu for every simulator session - with the autopilot off for much of the time. Not anymore.

Airlines no longer train crews to manage simultaneous emergencies. Just about every event is pre-briefed with known expectations for the pilot response. Malfunctions are presented “cleanly" without any distractors. Once the situation is stabilized, the autopilot is engaged. It’s all about hitting the required training points and moving on to the next one. Suggestions for more realistic training are disregarded or deemed too expensive. Yes, a highly motivated pilot can still spend many hours of their own time attempting to make up for these training gaps, but there is also the attitude that if their employer doesn’t seem to care why should they? Maybe not the most professional attitude, but pilots are still human beings. This has been my experience at a reasonably well-regarded “developed world" airline.

As far as actual flight operations, that’s a mixed bag. I will say that at mine and many other airlines, the Captain still has reasonably broad discretion to act in the best interests of the flight. Yes, procedures are still expected to be known and followed, but it is still recognized that a procedure cannot be written for every circumstance. This is not true of every airline. Some airlines are not only extremely procedure driven, but also operate in a background culture of strong lines of authority and a very jaundiced view of individual initiative. Expecting some of these pilots to go "outside the box" when presented with a novel malfunction is perhaps unrealistic. Throw in explicit or implicit expectations that crews use the highest level of automation at all times (thus degrading basic flying skills) and you have a recipe for disaster when the unexpected happens.

So back to the sports analogy. If the players are not being properly taught to deal with the circumstances they might find on the field of competition, is the problem with the players or the coaches?

If Boeing, and possibly the FAA, are making certain assumptions regarding pilot knowledge and proficiency, what are they actually doing to ensure that those assumptions are justified? And if those assumptions are no longer valid, should they change the training and experience requirements to match the aircraft design, or should they change the aircraft design to match the state of training and experience (or some of both)?

The cynic in me says they will do a little of both simply for PR reasons, but don’t expect any major changes because it will be just too damned expensive. Some actuarial type is sure to point out that aviation is still very safe compared to the alternatives, we really don’t kill that many people each year, memories are short, and all that extra training and/or robust re-design work is going to take a huge chunk out of the cash flows.

I hope I’m wrong, but history isn't encouraging.

Last edited by Tomaski; 20th Aug 2019 at 21:55.
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 01:10
  #1928 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Smythe View Post
It should not about jobs, it should be about safety.
Smythe, that's all beside the point. Of course Boeing can fix the MAX and undoubtedly will - the NG is statistically one of the safest aircraft ever built (marginally better than the A320 series) and there is no reason the MAX can't be equally safe. But there are people lobbying for a permanent grounding (some on this forum). I'm simply pointing out the consequences if they get their way.

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Old 20th Aug 2019, 01:33
  #1929 (permalink)  
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Deliveries of the COMAC C919 are expected to start in 2021, a lot sooner then Boeing could have an all new MAX replacement ready. I wonder how many airlines are quietly talking to the Chinese just incase.

Nothing official yet but if the C919 proves a success, Airbus are backed up with orders and Boeing can't offer a credible alternative, then they might be interested.

There could be a major structural adjustment in the aerospace market with Boeing relegated to third place.
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 01:59
  #1930 (permalink)  
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If you have any Boeing stock I'd be happy to make you an offer
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 02:09
  #1931 (permalink)  
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Probably age related, but I'm uncertain if I posted on this, but it is my strongly felt notion that any runaway trim, detected by a black box and/or the pilots, should be stoppable by one very accessible master warning switch. It could be made to cut all four inputs which could be reinstated one at a time with age-old diagnostic logic. Main power to the DC motor. Functionality of the Electric thumb switches. Autopilot. ECAS. In that order.

I just don't think training pilots to be aware of the authority of the electric thumb trims is sufficient - and that's assuming the right cut-out switch is returned to NG logic.

A divided four channel system may seem over complex but we're talking about resolving one of the most serious issues to hit modern aviation.
Such a warning and easy access cut-out would stop an ultimately powerful flying surface in a realistic time, and with utter crew awareness. Grabbing at wheels - even rubbing at them with one's shoe to save burnt skin! For heaven's sake, we've had the whole gambit of absurd suggestions for overcoming a bad design that's been festering for decades.

Then there's the issue of the force needed to hand crank the Stabilizer. I've little doubt it would be easier to implement the above proposal than move the electronics that caused the reduction in wheel diameter. Even with that cranking radius restored, it was still a challenge to turn. Toronto comes to mind.

It occurs to me that the Stabilizer fulcrum would not have to be modified to forward-of-centre (trailing) position. A small change would make a vast difference to the load. Still a major modification, so in the real world I guess powering the cable-run is probably the only cost-acceptable method - but as soon as it ceases to be truly manual, the whole ethos of Boeing's retention of that manual system is to a large extent negated.
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 06:36
  #1932 (permalink)  
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I fully agree with your post Tomaski. I worry that sim drills no longer being realistic with respect to real world unexpected emergencies. (Hudson river incident being a good example). I remember an instructor on a course I attended at LGW some 12 yrs ago commenting that the industry was heading towards a tick box culture.
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 07:44
  #1933 (permalink)  
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‘SOPs are not standard’

Work-as-imagined (WAI) refers to the various assumptions, explicit or implicit, that people have about how their or others’ work should be done.
Work-as-done (WAD) refers to how something is actually done, either in a specific case or routinely.
There is a difference between how work is ‘imagined’ or thought of and how work is actually done. This may or may not be problematic.
The solution** to the gap is to try to understand what determines how work is done and to find effective ways of managing that to keep the variability of WAD within acceptable limits.


Also http://resilienthealthcare.net/onewe...%20(final).pdf

**There may be no solution because the issue is ‘a wicked problem’, the problem is not clearly defined, there is little or no agreement as to what is involved, or that there can be a single intervention which will fill the gap.
The best that we can strive for is an improvement, a continuous improvement to keep pace with the change in the operational environment - including technological advances.
The need to identify the point at which mechanistic thinking should transition to systems thinking; use both, but start with the widest operational ‘system’ - which includes the human.

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Old 20th Aug 2019, 09:52
  #1934 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by john_tullamarine View Post
As I read the story, the problem was associated with LSS - ie stick force perceptions in pitch at the pilot level - rather than stall per se.
Both the long threads have had good posts which refute the idea that MCAS was developed as an anti-stall system.

Above is another excellent post from Tomaski. I recall at the beginning of the original thread a rather ill-tempered argument developing because a lot of people were saying that the dead pilots should have "just flown the airplane". I think Tomaski has explained very clearly why that is not a fair judgement or expectation because of the complexity of the cues the pilots were receiving, their lack of understanding of what MCAS was trying to do and how to stop it, and the current methods of training which, as Tomaski explains, do not give pilots experience of handling unexpected complex problems.

But agreeing with Tomaski does not absolve Boeing and the other manufacturers of responsibility for the general state of pilot training. The aircraft manufacturers must at some level of their organisations have an informed view of the sort of training they would like pilots to have but instead of insisting on this they seem to be willing to accept the degradation which Tomaski has described. Boeing definitely (as I see it) went one step too far when they said the MAX is just another 737 and all pilots need is some time on an ipad instead of a proper conversion course. I'm hopeful the accident reports will tell the truth about that fatal error of judgement by Boeing. If they do then the grounding will extend until the engineering solutions have been crystalised, enough MAX simulators are available, and enough pilots have done a conversion course on them.
Perhaps an additional year of grounding?

And one other thing. There has a been a lot of talk on PPRuNe about designing commercial aircraft so that they can be flown by the average pilot. This is nonsense. A commercial aircraft should be capable of being flown by the worst pilot who chances to sit in the cockpit. It's not true that half of all pilots will be below average because that assumes a normal bell curve of competence where competence is plotted on the x axis. In practice I suspect the curve is an "S" with more pilots above the average which is dragged down by the worst pilots on the left hand side of the curve. And in this context "worst" does not refer to aptitude alone, it also includes experience.

The Ethiopean airlines first officer with 361 hours total time, who appears to have been given control at the critical juncture, might have been a bright star with a natural talent for flying but the fact is he had 361h TT. If the aviation industry thinks that a pilot with that level of experience is OK then planes MUST be designed so that such pilots are capable of flying them.

As it happens I think Ethiopean airlines and everyone else who thinks 361 hours is enough experience to fly a big jet is barmy, or venal, one or the other, but that's irrelevant. Planes must be designed so that they can be flown by the worst pilot who will fly them, and worst includes least experienced. If that is too difficult because of the level of (in)competence presented by the worst pilots, or the least experienced, then pilot training must be improved to a level where even the worst pilot is capable of flying the planes.

Last edited by Turb; 20th Aug 2019 at 10:04. Reason: spelling
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 10:43
  #1935 (permalink)  
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So how far are we in the whole process?
Have the authorities defined (as in frozen) what has to be changed? Will it be software only? Is this requirement fixed and has Boeing finished their suggested mods so that they are ready to finally be checked and approved?

We have heard so many times that mods were ready and handed over but it never seemed to have happened.
Is this still work in progress?
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 11:10
  #1936 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post

Is this still work in progress?
I suspect that the recent silence is because Boeing is now locked in negotiations with the FAA about what is the minimum they have to do to get the fleet ungrounded, and the FAA is talking to other international regulators as to what they see as the minimum acceptable solution to allow a global ungrounding.
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 11:18
  #1937 (permalink)  
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Why is it always the minimum?

The news last week is that they will couple the 2 systems together...that should take quite some time.

Planes must be designed so that they can be flown by the worst pilot who will fly them, and worst includes least experienced.
Boeing knew Ethiopian standards, and still sold them the aircraft. Does Boeing recommend the US standard as a minimum when selling its aircraft?
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 11:35
  #1938 (permalink)  
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ET is an early 787 operator. There is no point in branding them as second class in any way now. Aren't they the ones to own one of the very few "real" MAX sims? Well not an engineering sim obviously. Lion is/(was?) a mega customer for the MAX. These are the typical better prepared MAX operators for any future of the type. Wait for Chinese inland startups.
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 12:25
  #1939 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Smythe View Post
Why is it always the minimum?...............
Minimum =
least training/ re training
!!! Simples
Be lucky
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 13:36
  #1940 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
So how far are we in the whole process?
Have the authorities defined (as in frozen) what has to be changed?
The authorities should never freeze the requirements. Continue to iterate solutions, check for all impacts, re-iterate better solutions, and continue until no solution create new impacts to be tested for safety. Any negative outcome of a solution investigation changes the requirements.

I see this in engineering all the time: "hey stakeholders, just sign that if I fix XYZ, I'm done. (if anything else crops up, not my problem)"

One does wonder if there's some amount of this going on between Boeing and the FAA.
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