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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 8th Oct 2019, 10:42
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Originally Posted by Less Hair
Don't we know what is needed to be changed? Why can't it be done? Why has Boeing still not officially passed their mods to the FAA for certification? What is stopping the MAX from being returned to service?
If there is something else we should know, shouldn't we? And if it can't be recertified in any way we should know as well.
We know ... the engineers there know ... the management still thinks it can get away with a do min approach. We have only got a some rare glimpses behind the scenes, but the struggle about how much has to be done is in full swing I suppose.
Even without further changes mandated beyond the MCAS ... my first estimation for safety critical software on embedded systems was 10 months. Any hardware changes required to the electronics 18 months. Looks good for my estimate.
Some people are learning an important lesson for the first time in their live: Some things cannot be expedited, not by parallelisation, not by monetary ressources, not by staffing, not by pressure.
They will come after Muilenburg ... not the FBI because of the 340+ casualties but the SEC due to his overly optimistic statements about a return to service.


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Old 8th Oct 2019, 12:07
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Originally Posted by BDAttitude
We know ... the engineers there know ... the management still thinks it can get away with a do min approach. We have only got a some rare glimpses behind the scenes, but the struggle about how much has to be done is in full swing I suppose.
Even without further changes mandated beyond the MCAS ... my first estimation for safety critical software on embedded systems was 10 months. Any hardware changes required to the electronics 18 months. Looks good for my estimate.
Some people are learning an important lesson for the first time in their live: Some things cannot be expedited, not by parallelisation, not by monetary ressources, not by staffing, not by pressure.
They will come after Muilenburg ... not the FBI because of the 340+ casualties but the SEC due to his overly optimistic statements about a return to service.
Yes to all three points. As for the third, I couldn't understand why Muilenberg is still there and holding all of the top positions. I now suspect that they are just waiting to sacrifice him when the pressure reaches maximum -- or what they hope is maximum. That may not save him from the SEC, of course, but, by itself, the SEC can't put him in prison.

Also, remember that we have been told that major changes to FCC operation are in the offing. Definitely a big deal.

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Old 8th Oct 2019, 12:18
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There has been superb security at Boeing and the FAA on the MAX recovery effort.
No leaks of any kind afaik, neither as to the proposed fixes nor whatever the Plan B alternative if the proposed fix fails to pass muster.
Given the active interest in the outcome expressed by the international regulators and the similar absence of any indications from those sources, it may be speculated that they are equally uninformed.
One possible explanation is that there is deep disagreement on what the required fix should be. Are there any precedents which could illuminate this situation?
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 12:24
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Originally Posted by Less Hair
Don't we know what is needed to be changed? Why can't it be done? Why has Boeing still not officially passed their mods to the FAA for certification? What is stopping the MAX from being returned to service?
If there is something else we should know, shouldn't we? And if it can't be recertified in any way we should know as well.
You have not worked with bureaucratic regulators have you. Especially, bureaucratic regulators who think that they were blindsided and are now being extremely pedantic. Those bureaucrats then have to persuade other bureaucratic regulators who think that they were blindsided in other continents to accept the assurances of the people that they think did the blindsiding.... This process will make dotting 'I's and crossing 'T's look swift. They all have on their walls the famous Bob Carter quote: "Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine."

For the regulators there is no downside to taking their time. There is a huge potential downside to rushing and letting through another certification failure. There will also be a "they won't do that again" mindset. These people will not be working weekends to get things done.
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 12:34
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But Boeing hasn't handed over their MAX mods yet it seems. And they work on weekends.
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 12:38
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Originally Posted by Less Hair
But Boeing hasn't handed over their MAX mods yet it seems. And they work on weekends.
I suspect it is more of an iterative process than a single delivery of final mods.
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 12:50
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Don’t forget there are suppliers involved as well in the process (Honeywell AFAIK). They will do a pretty massive amount of xxx covering when manipulating deep inside the task system of that FCC to implement those new requirements. They will not let themselves being hurried too much by BA. Suppliers can be very pig headed in this regard - for very good reasons. They know that their existence is at stake.
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 12:58
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Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but would it not have been cheaper for Boeing to build a new airframe for those engines, rather than modify an existing frame that seems not to have been suitable?
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 13:35
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Old Wall Street saying was 'Your first loss is your best loss'. Cutting losses is usually good policy.
That is not happening here.
Boeing and its suppliers are still building over 40 MAX airframes each month, at a cost of at least 2 billion dollars.
At some point, unless the aircraft has a clear date for return to service, that has to stop, because the money is not there. So there has to be political pressure for a solution, because a shutdown would be pretty grim.
How that gets balanced with regulatory oversight is murky, but nobody wants Boeing to go under either.
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 13:36
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Originally Posted by Less Hair
But Boeing hasn't handed over their MAX mods yet it seems. And they work on weekends.
Article in today's WSJ basically says that EASA is not satisfied with the revised software that has been presented thus far by Boeing. EASA told US regulators that it was not satisfied by proposed fixes to the FCC software.
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 14:22
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WSJ

https://www.wsj.com/articles/frictio...ce-11570527001

Friction Between U.S., European Regulators Could Delay 737 MAX Return to Service
European air-safety regulator has indicated it wants more testing on proposed revisions to flight-control computers

By Andy Pasztor and Andrew Tangel
Oct. 8, 2019 5:30 am ET

Boeing Co. BA -1.85% ’s delay-prone effort to return 737 MAX jets to service has hit a new snag, according to people familiar with the details, due to heightened European safety concerns about portions of proposed fixes to flight-control systems.

Disagreements over various software details, centered on how the MAX’s dual flight-control computers are now intended to start working together, haven’t been reported before. The issue could prolong final vetting of the anticipated changes and may prompt European regulators to withhold their full support when the Federal Aviation Administration ultimately allows the planes back in the air, these people said.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency recently told senior U.S. regulators it wasn’t satisfied that FAA and Boeing officials had adequately demonstrated the safety of reconfigured MAX flight-control computers, according to people briefed on the discussions. The aim is to add redundancy by having both computers work simultaneously to eliminate hazards stemming from possible chip malfunctions identified months ago; over decades, and on previous versions of the 737, only one computer at a time has fed data to automated systems, alternating between flights. The concerns were passed on by EASA chief Patrick Ky to Ali Bahrami, the FAA’s top safety official, one of the people said.

EASA said it hadn’t reached a verdict on Boeing’s fixes or whether the agency will act in tandem with the FAA.

Without a swift resolution, according to those briefed on the details, EASA’s objections could set an industrywide precedent for foreign authorities publicly second-guessing determinations by the FAA, affecting aircraft initially approved as safe by the U.S.

Boeing and the FAA are finishing testing the dual-computer system, and the final results haven’t been presented to EASA or other regulators. EASA has signaled, though, that it wants additional risk scenarios examined beyond those in the current testing plan, this person said.

The situation remains fluid, and EASA’s position could change. The agency previously indicated it planned to perform some of its own simulator testing and risk analysis in coordination with FAA activities. But now, according to people briefed on the latest friction, European regulators appear poised to diverge from the overall U.S. game plan unless a compromise is hammered out in coming weeks. Boeing engineers are frustrated EASA hasn’t specified what additional measures might allay its objections, according to people close to the discussions.

Regulators are mandating safeguards to the MAX’s flight-control features following a pair of fatal accidents that took 346 lives. The aircraft have been grounded world-wide since shortly after the second crash, in March.

On Monday an EASA spokeswoman said the agency still is assessing the proposed software changes, but she disputed the notion that European regulators are balking at clearing the planes for service simultaneously with the U.S., Canada and Brazil. “At this stage,” she said in an email, “we do not have any specific concerns that would lead to the conclusion” that EASA is avoiding a coordinated response with the FAA. She declined to comment on any conversations between Mr. Ky and senior FAA officials.

Addressing a meeting of foreign regulators in Montreal last month, FAA chief Steve Dickson promised to provide U.S. assistance and to pass along lessons learned “as you make your own decisions about returning the MAX to service.”

Testifying before a House appropriations subcommittee afterward, Daniel Elwell, the FAA’s No. 2 official, also appeared to open the door to the possibility that the jets might return in stages, by region. Mr. Elwell said that “while simultaneous ungrounding, when or if that happens, is desired, it’s not obligatory.”

A Boeing spokesman said “we continue to work with regulators on addressing their concerns and working through the process for certifying the 737 MAX software and training updates and safely returning the airplane to service.”

Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said last week Boeing test pilots had completed more than 700 MAX flights. “We are very confident in that software solution, and we are now just marching through the final steps on certifying that, so that everybody’s confident in the safety of the airplane,” he said in a public appearance in New York.

Over the past months, Boeing, EASA and the FAA have basically agreed on related software revisions designed to scale back the power, and reduce the likelihood of a misfire, of an automated system, called MCAS, which led to the two fatal accidents in less than five months.

Lately, the Chicago plane maker has been signaling it expects the FAA to formally lift the grounding in November or December, which would put the bulk of the U.S. MAX fleet on track to begin carrying passengers early next year. It previously said it expected that FAA action early in the fourth quarter. But the company hasn’t yet turned over to the FAA the final package of software fixes. That is expected to be followed by several weeks of FAA analysis, flight tests and determination of pilot training requirements.

The FAA has said it is methodically verifying the safety of proposed fixes but doesn’t have a predetermined timeline for a decision.

After those decisions, it is expected to take months for a carrier such as Southwest Airlines Co. , which needs to phase some 70 MAX jets into its flight schedules, to have the bulk of its aircraft begin carrying passengers. The total includes MAX jets previously flown by Southwest, along with new jets still awaiting delivery.

Timing is especially significant for Boeing, because it is considering whether to further cut production at or temporarily shut down its Renton, Wash., factory while MAX jets pile up in storage. Before the recent concerns expressed by EASA, senior FAA officials were growing optimistic they would be ready to give the green light for MAX flights as soon as early November, according to people familiar with the matter. The friction with their European counterparts is likely to delay that timeline until at least later that month, these people added.


Write to Andy Pasztor at [email protected] and Andrew Tangel at [email protected]
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 14:45
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Originally Posted by Ian W
You have not worked with bureaucratic regulators have you. Especially, bureaucratic regulators who think that they were blindsided and are now being extremely pedantic. Those bureaucrats then have to persuade other bureaucratic regulators who think that they were blindsided in other continents to accept the assurances of the people that they think did the blindsiding.... This process will make dotting 'I's and crossing 'T's look swift. They all have on their walls the famous Bob Carter quote: "Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine."

For the regulators there is no downside to taking their time. There is a huge potential downside to rushing and letting through another certification failure. There will also be a "they won't do that again" mindset. These people will not be working weekends to get things done.
Basic problem is so many many Posterior covers down and locked for 6 months or more. Many waiting for am I on the DOJ most wanted list?
Who will pay for my lawyer ? Sgt schultz view ' I see nothing, I know nothin"
Beancounters and lawyers are in meltdown mode Boeing in the ' fight the union no matter what " mode. McNearney still improving his golf game.

Success has a thousand fathers- failure is an orphan .

Last edited by Grebe; 8th Oct 2019 at 14:47. Reason: fat fingers
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 14:47
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Originally Posted by Grebe
Basic problem is so many many Posterior covers down and locked for 6 months or more. Many waiting for am I on the DOJ most wanted list?
Who will pay for my lawyer ? Sgt schultz view ' I see nothing, I know nothin"
Beancounters and lawyers are in meltdown mode Boeing in the ' fight the union no matter what " mode. McNearney still improving his golf game.
....and a great dependance on the outcomes of the Accident Reports.
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 15:21
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I'm sure EASA's views aren't even ever so slightly influenced by Trump's announcement to impose big tariffs on European imports because of Boeing's complaints about the A380 financing. Not even ever so slightly. Goodness me no, we hadn't even heard about it. Now, about this item on page 287, we don't believe we have been fully briefed on that. Unfortunately that will have to be handled by Herr Doktor Schmidt, who is on leave until January. Yes, 2020. I think. No, I told you, we hadn't even heard about the tariffs.

Seriously, I can't help feeling that the tariff move could be the end of the road for the MAX.
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 15:25
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Originally Posted by n5296s
I'm sure EASA's views aren't even ever so slightly influenced by Trump's announcement to impose big tariffs on European imports because of Boeing's complaints about the A380 financing. Not even ever so slightly. Goodness me no, we hadn't even heard about it. Now, about this item on page 287, we don't believe we have been fully briefed on that. Unfortunately that will have to be handled by Herr Doktor Schmidt, who is on leave until January. Yes, 2020. I think. No, I told you, we hadn't even heard about the tariffs.

Seriously, I can't help feeling that the tariff move could be the end of the road for the MAX.
To be honest, I'm not so sold on this angle - too many big businesses in Europe (and worldwide) are dependant on the continued health of Boeing whether it is manufacturing bits or simply flying the planes. Most European governments have already been burnt by airlines failing and could very much do with more failures
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 15:32
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From WSJ today- more issues re MCAS and needed fix

-
By Andy Pasztor and
Andrew Tangel
Oct. 8, 2019 5:30 am ET

Boeing Co. ’s delay-prone effort to return 737 MAX jets to service has hit a new snag, according to people familiar with the details, due to heightened European safety concerns about portions of proposed fixes to flight-control systems.

Disagreements over various software details, centered on how the MAX’s dual flight-control computers are now intended to start working together, haven’t been reported before. The issue could prolong final vetting of the anticipated changes and may prompt European regulators to withhold their full support when the Federal Aviation Administration ultimately allows the planes back in the air, these people said.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency recently told senior U.S. regulators it wasn’t satisfied that FAA and Boeing officials had adequately demonstrated the safety of reconfigured MAX flight-control computers, according to people briefed on the discussions. The aim is to add redundancy by having both computers work simultaneously to eliminate hazards stemming from possible chip malfunctions identified months ago; over decades, and on previous versions of the 737, only one computer at a time has fed data to automated systems, alternating between flights. The concerns were passed on by EASA chief Patrick Ky to Ali Bahrami, the FAA’s top safety official, one of the people said.

EASA said it hadn’t reached a verdict on Boeing’s fixes or whether the agency will act in tandem with the FAA.
More on Boeing

Southwest Airlines Pilots Union Sues Boeing, Alleging Lost Compensation (Oct. 7)
Before 737 MAX, Boeing’s Flight-Control System Included Key Safeguards (Sept. 29)
The Multiple Problems, and Potential Fixes, With the Boeing 737 MAX (Aug. 19)
The Four-Second Catastrophe: How Boeing Doomed the 737 MAX (Aug. 16)
Boeing 737 MAX Likely Grounded Until Late This Year (June 27)
FAA Finds New Software Problem in Boeing’s 737 MAX (June 26)
Inside the Effort to Fix the Troubled Boeing 737 MAX (June 5)

Without a swift resolution, according to those briefed on the details, EASA’s objections could set an industrywide precedent for foreign authorities publicly second-guessing determinations by the FAA, affecting aircraft initially approved as safe by the U.S.

Boeing and the FAA are finishing testing the dual-computer system, and the final results haven’t been presented to EASA or other regulators. EASA has signaled, though, that it wants additional risk scenarios examined beyond those in the current testing plan, this person said.

The situation remains fluid, and EASA’s position could change. The agency previously indicated it planned to perform some of its own simulator testing and risk analysis in coordination with FAA activities. But now, according to people briefed on the latest friction, European regulators appear poised to diverge from the overall U.S. game plan unless a compromise is hammered out in coming weeks. Boeing engineers are frustrated EASA hasn’t specified what additional measures might allay its objections, according to people close to the discussions.


Would you fly in a Boeing 737 MAX after it has been cleared by both U.S. and European regulators? Why or why not? Join the conversation below.

Regulators are mandating safeguards to the MAX’s flight-control features following a pair of fatal accidents that took 346 lives. The aircraft have been grounded world-wide since shortly after the second crash, in March.

On Monday an EASA spokeswoman said the agency still is assessing the proposed software changes, but she disputed the notion that European regulators are balking at clearing the planes for service simultaneously with the U.S., Canada and Brazil. “At this stage,” she said in an email, “we do not have any specific concerns that would lead to the conclusion” that EASA is avoiding a coordinated response with the FAA. She declined to comment on any conversations between Mr. Ky and senior FAA officials.

Addressing a meeting of foreign regulators in Montreal last month, FAA chief Steve Dickson promised to provide U.S. assistance and to pass along lessons learned “as you make your own decisions about returning the MAX to service.”

Testifying before a House appropriations subcommittee afterward, Daniel Elwell, the FAA’s No. 2 official, also appeared to open the door to the possibility that the jets might return in stages, by region. Mr. Elwell said that “while simultaneous ungrounding, when or if that happens, is desired, it’s not obligatory.”
You may also like
How Boeing’s 737 MAX Troubles Ripple Through the Industry

Two crashes and the global grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX commercial airliner led to extensive disruption in the international aerospace industry. WSJ’s Robert Wall explains the continuing effects of the plane’s grounding. Photo: Getty Images (Originally Published July 12, 2019)

A Boeing spokesman said “we continue to work with regulators on addressing their concerns and working through the process for certifying the 737 MAX software and training updates and safely returning the airplane to service.”

Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said last week Boeing test pilots had completed more than 700 MAX flights. “We are very confident in that software solution, and we are now just marching through the final steps on certifying that, so that everybody’s confident in the safety of the airplane,” he said in a public appearance in New York.

Over the past months, Boeing, EASA and the FAA have basically agreed on related software revisions designed to scale back the power, and reduce the likelihood of a misfire, of an automated system, called MCAS, which led to the two fatal accidents in less than five months.

Lately, the Chicago plane maker has been signaling it expects the FAA to formally lift the grounding in November or December, which would put the bulk of the U.S. MAX fleet on track to begin carrying passengers early next year. It previously said it expected that FAA action early in the fourth quarter. But the company hasn’t yet turned over to the FAA the final package of software fixes. That is expected to be followed by several weeks of FAA analysis, flight tests and determination of pilot training requirements.

The FAA has said it is methodically verifying the safety of proposed fixes but doesn’t have a predetermined timeline for a decision.

After those decisions, it is expected to take months for a carrier such as Southwest Airlines Co. , which needs to phase some 70 MAX jets into its flight schedules, to have the bulk of its aircraft begin carrying passengers. The total includes MAX jets previously flown by Southwest, along with new jets still awaiting delivery.

Timing is especially significant for Boeing, because it is considering whether to further cut production at or temporarily shut down its Renton, Wash., factory while MAX jets pile up in storage. Before the recent concerns expressed by EASA, senior FAA officials were growing optimistic they would be ready to give the green light for MAX flights as soon as early November, according to people familiar with the matter. The friction with their European counterparts is likely to delay that timeline until at least later that month, these people added.
Note--- Ali Bahrami, the FAA’s top safety official-- used to work at MDC and has an interesting background - look him up in wiki ...

Last edited by Grebe; 8th Oct 2019 at 15:34. Reason: added Ali B comment
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 19:26
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I imagine this is helping Boeing to keep going, at least if the Military folks promptly pay their bills.

Boeing military aircraft deliveries jump 114% in Q3

Re the aircraft already built and not delivered. The various pictures appear to show engines on most, if not all. Who owns those powerplants? Are they viable on other aircraft?
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 23:02
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Originally Posted by Longtimer
I imagine this is helping Boeing to keep going, at least if the Military folks promptly pay their bills.Boeing military aircraft deliveries jump 114% in Q3

Re the aircraft already built and not delivered. The various pictures appear to show engines on most, if not all. Who owns those powerplants? Are they viable on other aircraft?
Yes, including the A320neo.

Edit: Oops. Thinking of the CFM LEAP engines on the MAX,
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Old 9th Oct 2019, 11:14
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Learned Contributors,
I have read thousands of posts on dozens of threads. I am seeking clarification, please.
Does the team think that the apparently open ended delays in re-certifying the MAX is due to
A) The aircraft can't be fixed by software and I-Pad YET ?
B) The aircraft can't be fixed by software and simulator ?
C) The aircraft can't be fixed by software, hardware and I-Pad ?
D) The aircraft can be fixed by software, hardware and simulator ?
E) The aircraft can't be fixed !
Thank you for your time and patience.
Your comments and observations will be much appreciated.
Be lucky
David

Last edited by The AvgasDinosaur; 9th Oct 2019 at 11:15. Reason: typo
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Old 9th Oct 2019, 11:43
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Originally Posted by etudiant
There has been superb security at Boeing and the FAA on the MAX recovery effort.
No leaks of any kind afaik, neither as to the proposed fixes nor whatever the Plan B alternative if the proposed fix fails to pass muster.
And EASA too, as I assume that the FAA are sharing a lot of quite detailed information about the various solutions.


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