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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 21st Aug 2019, 06:13
  #1961 (permalink)  
 
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USA-only certification

Originally Posted by Speed of Sound View Post
Has anyone considered an outcome where the MAX returns to service in the US only so that existing stocks can be sold to offset some of the losses, leaving Boeing to concentrate on a new model?

Or is that just too crazy to contemplate?
Waaaaay too crazy.
The absolute minimum would have to be USA, Canada and Mexico, otherwise US airlines for example would have a subfleet they couldn't fly to Mexico or to Canada, and if they wanted to fly to or from Alaska, would have to be routed outside Canadian airspace.

And even then, if I was a pilot, would I be happy to fly an aircraft that EASA and CAAC say is unsafe to fly? Ah, no thanks.
Or as SLF, would I fly in an aircraft that the FAA says is "Yeah, sure, safe as can be. No, really, you can trust us" but other major world players say "No. Just NO. No certification"
And probably most important of all, would any insurance company be prepared to cover an aircraft type that other non-USA safety agencies say is uncertifiable? Not a chance, I'd say

"Mr Boeing, I know you've already met Rock, may I introduce you to Hard Place?"
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 07:26
  #1962 (permalink)  
 
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Are MX engineers so desperate in the US that they would go for this temporary jobs?
That's exactly what I was thinking. Are there really hundreds of A&Ps and avionics techs sitting twiddling their thumbs or flipping burgers, or who will give up their current jobs for a few months living in a trailer at Moses Lake? The pay would have to be pretty seriously good, I would have thought. Sounds like more wishful thinking to me, along with the schedule.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 08:49
  #1963 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by n5296s View Post
That's exactly what I was thinking. Are there really hundreds of A&Ps and avionics techs sitting twiddling their thumbs or flipping burgers, or who will give up their current jobs for a few months living in a trailer at Moses Lake? The pay would have to be pretty seriously good, I would have thought. Sounds like more wishful thinking to me, along with the schedule.
Economic theory says that there are ALWAYS workers available - full employment is never achieved. There will always be a number of people in transition (at least) between jobs. There will also be people entering the labour (labor) market afresh. There will also be a group of people who have left the market but can be brought back in if the remuneration reaches a certain point.

If wages offered are sufficient then workers will move from their existing employment, though the level of pay will need to reflect the temporary nature of the work.

The pinch points would be with the high-specialisation jobs.

If Boeing are in a regulatory position to get the MAX fleet mobilised then I do not think the high level of wage they might need to offer will be any barrier to them.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 12:22
  #1964 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Maninthebar View Post
Economic theory says that there are ALWAYS workers available - full employment is never achieved. There will always be a number of people in transition (at least) between jobs. There will also be people entering the labour (labor) market afresh. There will also be a group of people who have left the market but can be brought back in if the remuneration reaches a certain point.

If wages offered are sufficient then workers will move from their existing employment, though the level of pay will need to reflect the temporary nature of the work.

The pinch points would be with the high-specialisation jobs.

If Boeing are in a regulatory position to get the MAX fleet mobilised then I do not think the high level of wage they might need to offer will be any barrier to them.
OK, the idea that aircraft that have been sitting idle for 7-10 months get their final prep before EIS by employees, though licensed, have who knows what for experience is unsettling to me.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 12:30
  #1965 (permalink)  
 
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Smile

Originally Posted by Smythe View Post
"Boeing said Tuesday the current plan for handling this maintenance work is that all MAX airplanes that have been stored outside the Puget Sound region, either by Boeing itself or by airlines, will be flown to Seattle and Everett for delivery. Moses Lake will serve as a nearby staging ground to do some of the maintenance work ahead of the Puget Sound-area deliveries to airline customers."
really so all the "dangerous" B737MAX aircraft will be flown halfway across the world to make then "safe again" .... I suspect this plan needs some more work, or maybe Airbus could lease them the fleet of Boats they built to move the A380 component part about
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 12:35
  #1966 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lake1952 View Post

OK, the idea that aircraft that have been sitting idle for 7-10 months get their final prep before EIS by employees, though licensed, have who knows what for experience is unsettling to me.
Surely that depends on the take up? If more people apply for these jobs than there are vacancies, then Boeing can pick those with the greatest experience.

I do get where you are coming from though. Despite agreeing with most of what Maninthebar says about employment trends, I can’t help but think that the very best engineers are in stable, full time employment and certainly not looking for temporary, if well paid work, therefore Boeing will be recruiting from a ‘B team’ pool of candidates.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 12:39
  #1967 (permalink)  
 
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STN Ramp Rat,

It is always possible to do ferry flights safely with appropriate technical/operational restrictions and appropriately briefed crew. It is done all the time. What's so new about that?
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 12:44
  #1968 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by STN Ramp Rat View Post
really so all the "dangerous" B737MAX aircraft will be flown halfway across the world to make then "safe again" .... I suspect this plan needs some more work, or maybe Airbus could lease them the fleet of Boats they built to move the A380 component part about
I don't believe that for a moment.

For a start, if the fix is software only, as seems likely, then there is no reason why operators should not be able to embody the relevant SB themselves.

That aside, the logistics of having to return every Max aircraft in the world to Boeing are unthinkable, not least because there would be huge arguments among current operators about where their particular aircraft would be in the queue for what will inevitably be a long-drawn-out exercise.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 13:21
  #1969 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post

That aside, the logistics of having to return every Max aircraft in the world to Boeing are unthinkable, not least because there would be huge arguments among current operators about where their particular aircraft would be in the queue for what will inevitably be a long-drawn-out exercise.
To be fair, the Seattle Times piece only seems to be referring to those recently completed aircraft which have been stockpiled since the grounding. As you say, all others would be fettled in their current location. Where there could be a log jam/bunfight is if the ‘fix’ and any associated testing is carried out by Boeing engineers rather than locals.

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Old 21st Aug 2019, 13:40
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Originally Posted by FrequentSLF View Post
Boeing will get it fixed, it is a worldwide leader on this business. Questions are how much it will cost and when it will be done, more of the first less of the leatest.
they will have a safe product, will not mess around with borderline solutions, they cannot afford it.
I don't know if you have followed the story, but this Gung-Ho attitude is precisely what got us to this position in the first place. Boeing did NOT build a safe product, they DID mess around with a borderline solution - that is why it is grounded. And the same management are still there.

Economic theory says that there are ALWAYS workers available - full employment is never achieved. There will always be a number of people in transition (at least) between jobs. There will also be people entering the labour (labor) market afresh. There will also be a group of people who have left the market but can be brought back in if the remuneration reaches a certain point.
The same. Um … this is aviation engineering, not a burger flipping joint. Look at the difficulty Boeing have had at Charleston with a new workforce compared to Seattle. And these people will need the right licences to work on the aircraft. There aren't many who have Max licences around at the moment, and certainly, of those few, who want to go and live in a company-supplied (always the worst) trailer in inland Washington through the winter. And who can see Mr Cost-Conscious at Boeing, possibly the same one who outsourced the MCAS programming to the low bidder, offering unresistable salaries. No, quotes from "MBAs for Dummies" about "Economic Theory says …" are what got HQ at Chicago into much of this from the start.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 13:46
  #1971 (permalink)  
 
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With limited resources, what will take priority? Getting the new, as-yet undelivered (and un-invoiced?) planes to their new owners, or doing the "retro-fit" work on existing planes to get them back in the air for their existing owners?

There must surely be commercial pressures at play here
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 14:33
  #1972 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
I don't know if you have followed the story, but this Gung-Ho attitude is precisely what got us to this position in the first place. Boeing did NOT build a safe product, they DID mess around with a borderline solution - that is why it is grounded. And the same management are still there.
The same unrepentant management.

It really must be having a chilling effect on relationships with other authorities that both Boeing and the FAA don't
seem to recognise that they have erred in any way. How can you reform without recognition of past failings?
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 14:51
  #1973 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by WHBM View Post

The same. Um … this is aviation engineering, not a burger flipping joint. Look at the difficulty Boeing have had at Charleston with a new workforce compared to Seattle. And these people will need the right licences to work on the aircraft. There aren't many who have Max licences around at the moment, and certainly, of those few, who want to go and live in a company-supplied (always the worst) trailer in inland Washington through the winter. And who can see Mr Cost-Conscious at Boeing, possibly the same one who outsourced the MCAS programming to the low bidder, offering unresistable salaries. No, quotes from "MBAs for Dummies" about "Economic Theory says …" are what got HQ at Chicago into much of this from the start.
Just as a point of clarification, a person does not have to be licensed to work on any aircraft. Rather, the work itself must be signed off by someone with the required license. A bothersome trend in commercial aviation for the last decade or so has been the increased outsourcing of maintenance to "lower cost" vendors. These vendors achieve much of their lower costs by employing unlicensed technicians, and the results have been predictable. Lost in much of the news of the MAX groundings, over at American Airlines something like 25 of their 737-800s were temporarily grounded a few months back because of substandard work related to their new "Oasis" configuration. All of these aircraft had been modified by a third-party vendor using unlicensed personnel to accomplish most of the hands on work.

As far as the actual modifications required to reconfigure the MAX's, as far as I am hearing it will only involve new software/firmware in the FCC's. This may just be a software upload or at most swapping out circuit boards followed by some kind of verification checks. I strongly suspect that the vast majority of labor hours will be sucked up in the tasks related to taking the aircraft out of storage. It is not simply a matter of starting up the engines and taxiing away. The longer these planes sit, the more time that will be required to return them to flight status.

Last edited by Tomaski; 21st Aug 2019 at 20:37.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 15:20
  #1974 (permalink)  
 
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House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 11 Mar 1997 (pt 18)

" Airwork Ltd.

Mr. Sweeney: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Department's claim for compensation for damage caused to Tornado F3 aircraft by Airwork Ltd. [20069]

Mr. Arbuthnot: A negotiated settlement has been reached in respect of my Department's claim for structural damage to Tornado F3 aircraft while being modified by Airwork Ltd. during 1992-93. I am pleased to report that, of the 16 aircraft involved, 11 have been repaired and delivered back to the RAF and the remainder will be delivered progressively over the next few weeks, with the last due for delivery in May this year. One aircraft was lost in the crash off Blackpool in September 1996, the cause of which was not related to the modification programme on which Airwork had been engaged. The F3 aircraft were repaired by replacing the damaged centre fuselages with those from surplus F2 aircraft which had been earmarked for disposal. This was to ensure that the aircraft were returned to operational service as soon as possible. [...] The overall cost of this work has been around £20 million...." (= £40M at today's prices)

Hansard is the UK official record of Parliamentary business. Airwork Ltd employed inadequately skilled labour to do structural modifications to some RAF fighter aircraft, with disastrous results (cold chisels used to remove rivet heads, and other howlers). They also damaged 11 x C130.

Bottom line, if you are going to do work on aircraft of any description you need to use appropriately skilled engineers. Nothing new here!
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 16:30
  #1975 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Fortissimo View Post
Bottom line, if you are going to do work on aircraft of any description you need to use appropriately skilled engineers. Nothing new here!
Yes, agreed, but will they? I mean, it's not as if we're just going to trust Boeing to do the right thing, are we? And we don't have a huge amount of confidence in the FAA's ability to check the work, do we?
That's the thing about trust. Once you've lost it.....

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Old 21st Aug 2019, 17:11
  #1976 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Paul Lupp View Post

With limited resources, what will take priority? Getting the new, as-yet undelivered (and un-invoiced?) planes to their new owners, or doing the "retro-fit" work on existing planes to get them back in the air for their existing owners?

There must surely be commercial pressures at play here
This is a no brainer. The grounded existing fleet should be prioritised by Boeing. This is simply good public relations and respect for your customers.

Even Boeing should see this.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 18:09
  #1977 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Speed of Sound View Post


This is a no brainer. The grounded existing fleet should be prioritised by Boeing. This is simply good public relations and respect for your customers.

Even Boeing should see this.
I would expect the parked delivered aircraft will be brought back by a mix of Boeing teams and Airline staff where the airline parked them.
The other undelivered aircraft currently parked in Washington State, I would expect to be brought up to flying / deliverable state in order-book order by teams of Boeing and contractor staff and then flown out as normal by customer crews.

It makes sense for preparations to be made so that deliveries and maintenance/upgrades can be made as fast as possible once the green light is given.

Obviously though the green light has not been given - yet.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 21:09
  #1978 (permalink)  
 
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On the financial front everyday those grounded aircraft are clocking up leasing and other financial charges while generating no income.

Boeing continue to employ workers to make undelivered aircraft.

The bill must be colossal?
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Old 22nd Aug 2019, 02:49
  #1979 (permalink)  
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Assuming drip checks, are there any advanced fuel analyses that have to be done on months-old fuel?

If I was given the task of ferrying an aircraft that had been standing for months, I would want to be involved in the engine runs, extensive pre-flights and at least one accelerate-stop before each takeoff. Anyone think this unreasonable?
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Old 22nd Aug 2019, 05:09
  #1980 (permalink)  
 
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That is an excellent question, but the problem is not the fuel so much as what grows in it and the water that it attracts. I would assume that the planes are being stored empty, perhaps with the tanks inerted? All filters will have to be changed of course. In the marine world this is a real problem especially if tanks are stored partially full because the sides of the tanks condense water and bugs grow in it. They then fall to the bottom of the tank, and as you get towards empty (or in rough conditions) they get stirred up and clog the filters. I have no idea what the procedure is in the aircraft world to prevent this, I doubt you have fuel polishing onboard or the ability to spin on a new Raycor filter in flight. There are some microbes that destroy aluminum, so if this is not handled properly a bunch of fuel tanks would need to be replaced.'

There are tests for fuel quality and the presence of microbes, and it might not be a bad idea for pilots to demand to see the results before flight.

One thing that I find concerting is that Boeing downplayed the probable length of the grounding for so long that I wonder if all airlines took the proper procedures for long term storage of the planes. I'm sure that most airlines are capable of prepping a plane for long term storage, but in the chaotic conditions of the sudden mass grounding, and the unexpectedly extended length of the grounding give Mr. Murphy a lot of room to play with.

This is one thing that Boeing absolutely has to get right. Any little problems are going to be blown up by the media simply because it is a MAX. Any in-flight problem that causes a return would be catastrophic and if any plane hits the bricks for any reason then it is game over for Boeing, they will become just another subsidiary of China, inc. I think that they probably realize that now, but the trick is going to be to figure out how to release these planes with zero failures. Absolutely zero, if the chief engineer has to inspect each one himself.

Last edited by Water pilot; 22nd Aug 2019 at 05:33.
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