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

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

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

Old 22nd Dec 2019, 18:37
  #161 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
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Originally Posted by Drc40 View Post
I think he biggest piece of new information in the article is about more messages between Boeing staff about faults with the plane. That’s very new.

I think the FAA should come out with a public statement of immunity and job security for any Boeing employee who was aware and/or participated in company communications regarding concerns about the MAX no matter how insignificant. There might have to be cooperation with law enforcement but that would help flush out the real story of who knew what and when they knew it.

PLEASE QUIT THE PILOT BLAMING. I’m still seeing posts that are clearly veiled with insinuations. I’m also glad nobody took the bait on that post a few pages back claiming not to be a B vs A post.

BTW..I’m not clear if my Canadian brother was actually talking about the MAX in his test flight post. If he was there was no mention of his findings. He might have been testing another plane.

Carry on...

RE the continuing bit about pilot training and expertise- such training and even mention in the manuals for the last several decades re trim wheel and use has been deleted- and sims apparantly did NOT duplicate the real forces involved

https://theaircurrent.com/aviation-s...nvestigations/

for specifics.

And in this SLF defense of the pilots and the continuing bit re reduce speed and fly and yada yada yada - Consider if you were less than 5k above ground, cows getting bigger no matter what, and knowing that pulling power give you more NOSE DOWN when you already have the secret HAL overriding you every 5 seconds when trim switch is released, and pulling back on yoke expecting the NG response which stops the Stab trim- NOT knowing that that doesn't work either, and never mentioned in any AD--- what other result would one expect??
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Old 22nd Dec 2019, 18:46
  #162 (permalink)  
 
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Some more, actually the complete nytimes piece, sorry for the formatting;

"The global grounding of the 737 Max has entered its 10th month, after two crashes that killed 346 people, and the most significant crisis in Boeing’s history has no end in sight. Mr. Muilenburg is under immense pressure to achieve two distinct goals. He wants to return the Max to service as soon as possible, relieving the pressure on Boeing, airlines and suppliers. Yet the company and regulators must fix an automated system known as MCAS found to have played a role in both crashes, ensuring the Max is certified safely and transparently. Caught in the middle, Mr. Muilenburg has found himself promising more than he can deliver."

"After the crashes, but before the plane was grounded, Mr. Muilenburg called President Trump and expressed confidence in the safety of the Max. He has repeatedly made overly optimistic projections about how quickly the plane would return to service, pushing for speedy approval from regulators. The constantly shifting timeline has created chaos for airlines, which have had to cancel thousands of flights and sacrifice billions of dollars in sales.In his few public appearances, Mr. Muilenburg’s attempts to offer a sincere apology for the accidents have been clumsy, prolonging Boeing’s reputational pain. His performance has left lawmakers irate. The families of crash victims, convinced the company does not care about their loss, have repeatedly confronted him with posters of the dead."

"The missteps led Boeing to one of the most consequential decisions in its 103-year history, when it announced on Monday that it was temporarily shutting down the 737 factory, a move that has already begun rippling through the national economy.
The Max is Boeing’s best seller, with tens of billions of dollars in future sales at stake. Boeing stock has fallen by 22 percent in this crisis, costing the company more than $8 billion and spreading pain throughout a supply chain that extends to 8,000 companies. On Friday, Spirit AeroSystems, which makes the Max fuselage, said it would stop production of the part next month."
“Throughout this process our No. 1 priority has been safety,” Gordon Johndroe, a Boeing spokesman, said in a statement. “We have learned a lot this year and our company is changing.”

Last week, when Mr. Trump called Mr. Muilenburg to discuss Boeing’s problems, the chief executive assured the president that a production shutdown would only be temporary. But Boeing still faces serious hurdles. The company has not delivered a complete software package to the F.A.A. for approval. In recent simulator tests, pilots did not use the correct emergency procedures, raising new questions about whether regulators will require more extensive training for pilots to fly the plane or whether the procedures needed to be changed, according to two people briefed on the matter."

"And on Friday, a new space capsule Boeing designed for NASA failed to reach the correct orbit, another blow to company morale and a setback for the United States space program."
“If it was my call to make, Muilenburg would’ve been fired long ago,” Rep. Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon and the chairman of the House Transportation Committee investigating Boeing, said in an email.

“Boeing could send a strong signal that it is truly serious about safety by holding its top decision-maker accountable. ”
From the earliest days of the grounding in March, shortly after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and months after the first Max crash, off Indonesia, Mr. Muilenburg tried to put the episode behind him as swiftly as possible, telling airlines it would last just weeks."

“By the time April rolled around, Boeing was telling us next week, next month,” Gary Kelly, the chief executive of Southwest Airlines, said in an interview. “We were a week away, weeks away, three weeks away.”That misplaced optimism made it impossible for airlines including Southwest, which is Boeing’s biggest 737 customer, to reliably plan their routes. “It was really creating havoc,” Mr. Kelly said.

In August, regulators from Europe, Canada and Brazil flew to Seattle and joined F.A.A. officials for a meeting with Boeing. They were expecting to review reams of documentation describing the software update for the Max. Instead, the Boeing representatives offered a brief PowerPoint presentation, in line with what they had done in the past. The regulators left the meeting early.“We were looking for a lot more rigor in the presentation of the materials,” said Earl Lawrence, the head of the F.A.A.’s aircraft certification office. “They were not ready.”

"With delays mounting, Mr. Muilenburg missed a chance to smooth things over with key customers. In September, he attended a gathering of a club of aviation executives called Conquistadores del Cielo at a ranch in Wyoming, according to two people familiar with the trip. As the group bonded while throwing knives and drinking beers, Mr. Muilenburg took long bike rides by himself. It was typical behavior for Mr. Muilenburg, an introverted engineer who prefers Diet Mountain Dew to alcohol, but it left other executives baffled.

October brought a string of bad news for Mr. Muilenburg. The board stripped him of his title as chairman, a stinging rebuke of his leadership. The decision, the board said, would allow him to focus on the single most important job at the company: bringing the Max back to service."
"About two weeks before Mr. Muilenburg testified in front of Congress for the first time, the company disclosed to lawmakers instant messages from 2016 in which a Boeing pilot complained that the system known as MCAS, which was new to the plane, was acting unpredictably in a flight simulator. Boeing discovered the instant messages in January, but Mr. Muilenburg did not read them at the time, instead telling the company’s legal team to handle them. The messages included the pilot saying he “basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly).” When Mr. Dickson learned of the messages in October, he sent a one-paragraph letter to Mr. Muilenburg demanding an explanation for “Boeing’s delay in disclosing the document to its safety regulator.”

Mr. Muilenburg and Mr. Dickson, who took over the F.A.A. this summer, spoke for the first time later that day. Mr. Muilenburg said Boeing hadn’t told the F.A.A. about the messages out of concern that doing so would interfere with a criminal investigation being conducted by the Justice Department, according to two people briefed on the call.Mr. Dickson said the lack of transparency would only increase the regulator’s scrutiny of the company."

"Still, Mr. Muilenburg continued to project confidence, telling investors on an earnings call in October that he expected regulators to begin approving the Max by the end of the year. The company had just fired Kevin McAllister, the chief executive of Boeing’s commercial division who had been overseeing work on the Max. Despite Mr. Muilenburg’s assurances, airline discontent was growing. The next day, American Airlines joined a chorus of Boeing customers complaining about the growing costs of the Max crisis. Doug Parker, American’s chief executive, said on a call with investors that he was working to “ensure that American is compensated for the lost revenue that the Max grounding has caused, the missed deadlines and extended grounding.”
“We’re working to ensure that Boeing shareholders bear the cost of Boeing’s failures,” Mr. Parker added. “Not American Airlines’ shareholders.”

In two days of congressional hearings at the end of October, Mr. Muilenburg faced withering criticism from lawmakers, who told him to resign or take a pay cut. Mr. Muilenburg said it was up to the board to make decisions about his multimillion-dollar compensation. He invoked his upbringing on an Iowa farm so many times that he elicited jeers from family members of crash victims who were present. In an interview on CNBC after the hearings, the chairman of Boeing’s board, David Calhoun, said the board was confident in its chief executive. “From the vantage point of our board, Dennis has done everything right,” Mr. Calhoun said. “If we successfully get from where he started to where we need to end up, I would view that as a very significant milestone and something that speaks to his leadership and his courage and his ability to execute and get us through this.

Mr. Muilenburg continued to press the F.A.A. In early November, he called Mr. Dickson to ask whether he would consider allowing the company to begin delivering airplanes before they were cleared to fly. The administrator said he would look into it but made no commitments, according to an F.A.A. spokesman. In an apparent misunderstanding, Mr. Muilenburg took the call as a green light. The next Monday, the company put out a statement saying it could have the plane to customers by the end of the year. Mr. Dickson told colleagues that he had not agreed to that timeline and felt as though he was being manipulated, according to a person familiar with the matter. That week, he put out a memo and a video urging employees to resist pressure to move quickly on the Max approval."

"This month, anxiety levels rose at Boeing’s factory in Renton, Wash. Several key tests had not yet been completed, and European regulators would soon leave work for the holidays and not return until the beginning of January. In calls with F.A.A. officials, Boeing engineers began to float an idea for speeding the process: Perhaps the company should ask the agency to break with its foreign counterparts and approve the Max alone?
The suggestion alarmed some F.A.A. officials, who worried that approving the Max without agreement from other regulators would be untenable, according to two people familiar with the matter. When they called Mr. Dickson to tell him of Boeing’s plans, he balked at the suggestion and eventually the company backed down.A week later, Mr. Dickson brought Mr. Muilenburg into the agency’s Washington headquarters for their first in-person meeting.

There, Mr. Dickson said he had done the math, and there was no way the Max could fly by the end of the year.
When Mr. Muilenburg brought up the logistics of delivering Max jets to customers, Mr. Dickson would not discuss the issue, two people familiar with the matter said. Boeing’s representatives said they might need to consider temporarily shutting down production. Mr. Dickson told them to do what they needed to do, saying the agency was focused on conducting a thorough review. Four days later, Boeing announced it would bring the 737 factory to a halt. There was no discussion of removing Mr. Muilenburg as chief executive at last week’s board meeting in Chicago where the shutdown was debated, according to three people briefed on the meeting.

The challenges facing Mr. Muilenburg extend beyond returning the Max to service and the botched space capsule launch on Friday. The F.A.A. is aware of more potentially damaging messages from Boeing employees that the company has not turned over to the agency. Other important planes are behind schedule. New defects have been found on older models of the 737. Boeing lost two major pieces of business to Airbus, its European rival, this month. “This hasn’t been their best and finest hour,” said Mr. Kelly, the Southwest Airlines chief executive. “There’s mistakes made and they need to address those.

With the first anniversary of the Ethiopian accident approaching in March, Boeing recently asked a representative for the families of crash victims if it would be appropriate for Mr. Muilenburg to attend the memorial. They said no. “He is not welcome there,” said Zipporah Kuria, whose father, Joseph Waithaka, was killed in the second crash. “Whenever his name is said, people’s eyes are flooded with tears.”

Last edited by SteinarN; 22nd Dec 2019 at 18:54. Reason: Formatting
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Old 22nd Dec 2019, 19:36
  #163 (permalink)  
 
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Arrogance or Ineptitude?

The NYT piece, for which thanks, SteinarN, includes:

Mr. Muilenburg continued to press the F.A.A. In early November, he called Mr. Dickson to ask whether he would consider allowing the company to begin delivering airplanes before they were cleared to fly. The administrator said he would look into it but made no commitments, according to an F.A.A. spokesman. In an apparent misunderstanding, Mr. Muilenburg took the call as a green light. The next Monday, the company put out a statement saying it could have the plane to customers by the end of the year. Mr. Dickson told colleagues that he had not agreed to that timeline and felt as though he was being manipulated, according to a person familiar with the matter. That week, he put out a memo and a video urging employees to resist pressure to move quickly on the Max approval."

This all sounds remarkably similar to the 787 wing conducting strips issue. I paraphrase but it was something like: "These strips cost us time and money to include on the build, is it all right if we leave them out?" "We'll have a think about it". Well, whilst the FAA still was having a think about it, Boeing built 40 aircraft without the strips.

I'm still unclear where this landed. Did the FAA actually say it was all right... or not? And if not, where are those 40 aircraft now? Are they more prone to lightning damage and, heaven forbid, fire? Who's operating them? Do they know about the potentially increased risk? Do their insurers know?

Arrogance or ineptitude?
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Old 22nd Dec 2019, 19:37
  #164 (permalink)  
 
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It’s been reported that Boeing is fighting back against ‘the unfair media reporting’ that is sullying their reputation. They don’t seem to understand that merely presenting the facts, is enough.

Attached below is The Wall Street Journals editorial. Written by a business reporter with zero apparent background in aviation or flying. He’s obviously being fed a pilot blaming narrative, and seems to be leading Boeing’s newest PR defence. His conclusions are certainly bizarre - two crashes where a lack of information was a factor. Lead to less education ?

As Manuel would say - ‘Que ?’

Ghosts and goblins are keeping the troubled newBoeing 737 MAX out of the air now. So much so that the company this week announced it will stop an assembly line that was producing dozens of planes a month to be stored in parking lots.

After the first MAX crash took place in Indonesia in late 2018, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration decided to keep the plane flying. Consternation followed a Journal report last week showing that at the time the agency anticipated a MAX crash rate three times that of comparable airplanes. In the FAA’s defense, it also presumed that Boeing would fix the MAX’s faulty flight-control software well before another crash occurred. In the meantime, impressed upon pilots would be that any glitch could be quickly neutralized by throwing a couple of prominent switches.

Which makes all the more urgent understanding why the next crash, involving Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, happened just months later. For the last three minutes of what was a six-minute flight, the offending software system, as per Boeing’s instructions after the Indonesia crash, was disabled. Yet the pilots never cut takeoff thrust despite a loud clacker warning that their airspeed was exceeding the plane’s design limit. With so much force acting on the plane’s control surfaces, they were unable, as Boeing’s new checklist also specified, to move the trim wheel manually to correct the nose-down trim imposed by the faulty software.

They didn’t use the three minutes to heed the clacker and reduce their speed or briefly to relax pressure on the control yoke, which also would have helped free up the trim wheel. Instead, against all advice, they turned the software back on, which promptly put the plane into an unrecoverable dive. How much the Ethiopian crash even belongs in the same category as the Indonesia crash is debatable when all the facts are considered, albeit depending on whether you are more interested in focusing on aircraft design or on crew training.

To pilots who came up with lots of hand-flying through the military or even the way hobbyist pilots do, it seems possible that understanding the impact of excessive aerodynamic forces on the trim wheel would have been second nature. Perhaps not so with the tens of thousands of classroom- and simulator-trained pilots who staff today’s fast-growing airlines in the developing world.

A misplaced sensitivity has been working overtime to suppress discussion of this issue. The goal is not to excuse Boeing’s appalling original software implementation or rush the 737 MAX back into service.

The discussion is unwelcome in aviation circles partly because the corollaries are unwelcome. If airplanes today must be designed so mass-produced, classroom-trained pilots can’t crash them, planes tomorrow will be designed to eliminate the pilot completely. In the meantime, better crew training could always be required, but the benefit might not be worth the cost given today’s already low accident rate thanks to the advance of automation.

All this explains the bitterness that has crept into the debate, with a U.S. pilot union accusing Boeing of “blaming dead pilots for its mistakes” and Ethiopian Airlines threatening never to fly the 737 MAX again.

For its part, the FAA knows it can’t guarantee against another Boeing crash any more than it can guarantee against another Airbus crash like the 2009 Air France disaster in the South Atlantic or 2013’s Asiana Airlines mishap at San Francisco’s airport. In all three cases, and in almost all crashes nowadays, flyable planes are flown into the ground by pilots either accidentally or intentionally (as with the 2015 Germanwings pilot-suicide crash).

Boeing decided this week to curtail production of the grounded MAX for cash-flow reasons. The company knows the plane will fly again (as it should) partly because the global economy’s demand for air travel can’t be met without the MAX.

Meanwhile, regulators have been throwing requirements at Boeing less related specifically to the MAX and very definitely related to new doubts about pilot readiness to deal with unexpected situations. Afoot in global regulatory circles already was a tendency, now accelerated, to reduce expectations about what pilots must know and do from memory. The goal will increasingly be to give them detailed checklists for every occasion. This will likely include, in any failure related to the automatic trim system, an explicit reminder not to overspeed.

Whether or not this has much to do with the MAX anymore, it certainly has to do with the future of flying until robots finally push the pilot out of the cockpit altogether. - Holman W Jenkins Jr.



https://www.wsj.com/news/author/5469
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Old 22nd Dec 2019, 22:33
  #165 (permalink)  
 
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Can a Boeing driver educate me about the low altitude level off auto-throttle issue? I have just seen a yootoobe video describing in a little detail that this is a problem on many Boeings, and may have been a contributary factor in the Air Ethiopia crash as the rapid acceleration caused by a continued high N1 at level off would lead to a wildly out of trim situation.

The main point of the video was that IF this was a factor, then the problem is MUCH MUCH bigger for boeing than just MCAS.

Thoughts?

Cheers, Marly.
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Old 22nd Dec 2019, 22:41
  #166 (permalink)  
 
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Salute!

Gotta add once again the fact that if the Lion crew(s) knew about MCAS and then the AD that came out which did not specifically address MCAS and how it worked and did not simply state that if the trim system seemed weird, then turn the thing off and revert to the stoopid little wheel before getting too fast and oh yeah, the wheel trim switch works until you turn off those doofers on the center pedestal, and the old cut-out switch on the yoke doesn't work like it did on the thousands of 737 planes before, and... and...

BEAM ME UP!

And some dweeb blames the pilots for not being Chuck Yeager clones and reacting to a new characteristic of the plane within a few seconds?
I will bet that 99 outta 100 of 737 drivers across the globe would have handled both accidents if they knew about MCAS and how it worked and had a procedure that simply stated to turn off the trim after using the basic system to trim nose up. Leave the test pilot crapola to test pilots, and write up the entire sequence of events ( unlike the Lion crew that assumed the STS was working backwards).

Gums sends...

P.S. Show us the plots of the pitch moments versus AoA without MCAS. Hmmmmm.....
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Old 22nd Dec 2019, 22:47
  #167 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by gums View Post
P.S. Show us the plots of the pitch moments versus AoA without MCAS. Hmmmmm.....
Indeed. Inquiring minds want to know.

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Old 22nd Dec 2019, 22:49
  #168 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Marly Lite View Post
Can a Boeing driver educate me about the low altitude level off auto-throttle issue? I have just seen a yootoobe video describing in a little detail that this is a problem on many Boeings, and may have been a contributary factor in the Air Ethiopia crash as the rapid acceleration caused by a continued high N1 at level off would lead to a wildly out of trim situation.

The main point of the video was that IF this was a factor, then the problem is MUCH MUCH bigger for boeing than just MCAS.

Thoughts?

Cheers, Marly.
After take off, if the AFDS has "captured the lower MCP attitude" you may still be in "take off thrust" so the aircraft will not transition to "climb thrust". Selecting a pitch mode (VNAV/FLCH as Boeing recommends FLCH) will bring the aircraft into "climb thrust". Unless the crew check's the A/T and pitch FMA's to ensure climb thrust is set, then the aircraft starts to increase speed to approximately 240 knots below 10,000 feet. VNAV will honor flap placard speeds minus 5 knots.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 00:01
  #169 (permalink)  
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“If it was my call to make, Muilenburg would’ve been fired long ago,” Rep. Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon and the chairman of the House Transportation Committee investigating Boeing, said in an email. “Boeing could send a strong signal that it is truly serious about safety by holding its top decision-maker accountable.”
Sounds like deterrent sentencing, a subject that makes my blood boil. From that baying, I get the feeling DeFazio is a direct descendant of witch burners.

Mr. Muilenburg continued to press the F.A.A. In early November, he called Mr. Dickson to ask whether he would consider allowing the company to begin delivering airplanes before they were cleared to fly. The administrator said he would look into it but made no commitments, according to an F.A.A. spokesman.
Huh, my suggestion a few days ago wasn't so off-the-wall after all.

Back on the technical/operating aspects. How do pilots on this forum react to being 'ordered' to not turn the stabilizer power cut-off toggles back on? I've always been pretty certain that I would have powered up the system for another try of the electric trim as soon as I found I physically could not turn the trim wheels. Again the concept of reaching for a checklist in the midst of that chaos is anathema to me, but having said that, even the ET captain probably only had the sketchiest idea about the system, even post the advisory. I can't imagine being so hazy about the most powerful aerodynamic surface on the aircraft, even given that I wouldn't have known about MCAS.

I recall clearly how deeply we were questioned on the ARB type ratings. I also remember the first pilots and engineers coming back from the DC10 course. They had been worried about their ability to learn the systems, but utterly relieved to find that so much was simply check-list derived. An indication of what was to come.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 02:01
  #170 (permalink)  
 
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WSJ DEC22 Long article on MAX and Muellinberg

Good description of just how badly Boeing fouled up- which continues to this day ...

By Andrew Tangel,
Alison Sider and
Andy Pasztor
Dec. 22, 2019 7:52 pm ET

After the grounding of Boeing Co. BA -1.65% ’s 737 MAX jet dragged on through the summer, Dennis Muilenburg, the Boeing CEO, decided to seek some advice.

In 2017, Oscar Munoz, the chief of United Airlines Holdings Inc., had faced his own public backlash after police dragged a bloodied passenger off a flight. Boeing was under fire from industry officials and victims’ families who thought its response to two crashes of its newest plane was similarly tone-deaf.

Show more warmth, Mr. Munoz told the 55-year-old CEO during a visit in the airline chief’s office inside Chicago’s Willis Tower, according to United officials. After all, Mr. Munoz told him, 346 people perished on Boeing’s planes.

Since the dual crashes, Boeing has fumbled its response, treating the disasters more like typical accidents, repeatedly minimizing its own technical and design mistakes and underestimating the backlash from regulators, customers and the flying public.

At the center is Mr. Muilenburg who appeared to rely too heavily on data and legal advice to make decisions as he sought to find what went wrong, communicate and get Boeing’s plane flying again. His choices failed to resolve—and sometimes exacerbated—friction with regulators and airlines, indicating that until recently he may not have fully grasped the severity of the challenges confronting him.

Turbulent Tenure
Boeing shares surged during CEO Dennis Muilenburg's tenure, with its market value peaking above $250 billion just days before the second crash of a 737 MAX.


He has prioritized getting the MAX back aloft while struggling with the complexities of politics and public relations, technical hurdles and restoring passenger confidence. He finally conceded mistakes after declining to acknowledge flaws in a flight-control system implicated in both accidents.

With the grounding set to last at least a year, Mr. Muilenburg and his supporters now say his approach is evolving. He went from ardently defending Boeing to belatedly acknowledging mistakes, seeking input from customers, apologizing and meeting with grieving families. He has begun talking publicly about Boeing’s newfound humility. “We’ve been humbled by these two accidents,” Mr. Muilenburg said in an interview last week. “We’re making changes to our company, and I’m changing as a leader as well.”

Mr. Muilenburg is still left with a deepening crisis. His repeated assurances of the plane’s safety have failed to win regulators’ approval. A string of Boeing’s optimistic predictions for when regulators would certify the aircraft for flying haven’t panned out and have indeed antagonized air-safety regulators world-wide.


Boeing, the largest U.S. manufacturing exporter, is suspending MAX production starting January. The production suspension, which prompted President Trump to call Mr. Muilenburg, has big implications for Boeing’s vast network of suppliers and their employees—and the American economy. U.S. industry officials don’t expect the Federal Aviation Administration to lift its flight ban until at least February.

Making matters worse, Boeing this month botched a space capsule’s long-awaited test flight—it went into the wrong orbit—raising fresh questions about management’s ability to pull off big feats.

Boeing’s string of missteps is fueling speculation among airline, government and other industry officials about how long Mr. Muilenburg can keep his job. Boeing’s board stripped him of his dual role as chairman earlier this year.

After the failed space mission, Boeing’s new chairman, Dave Calhoun, on Friday stood by earlier televised comments backing Mr. Muilenburg. A Boeing spokesman said Sunday Mr. Calhoun stands by his endorsement.

Mr. Muilenburg, an engineer by training, came to lead Boeing after a long stint in the aerospace giant’s defense business that deals with governments rather than consumer-facing airlines.

People who have worked with him describe him as a linear thinker better suited at delivering bullet points than connecting with people.


The first 737 MAX crashed in Indonesia in October 2018. In March, Mr. Muilenburg was at his Chicago-area home when a Boeing operations center called overnight to alert him of the second crash, in Ethiopia, said a senior Boeing official.

Mr. Muilenburg and his team discussed whether to let the MAX keep flying or recommend grounding it, said people familiar with the discussions.

A flood of concern was cresting world-wide, and some in the FAA urged a more drastic response. Mr. Muilenburg and senior FAA officials opted to wait. Despite early reports showing possible similarities in some aspects of the two crashes, other data suggested sharp differences. That information proved wrong.


Boeing sought to allay concerns by saying the FAA planned to approve a “software enhancement” to a flight-control system known as MCAS no later than April that would make “already safe aircraft even safer.” Mr. Muilenburg expressed confidence in the MAX’s safety during a phone call with Mr. Trump, said a person familiar with the conversation.

“It’s important that we take action based on data and information,” Mr. Muilenburg said in the interview, of those discussions, defending his decision not to call for grounding immediately. Emergence of new data showing similarities with the first MAX crash “ultimately led to the right decision, and one that we fully supported.”

New satellite data suggesting a possible MCAS misfire similar to the first accident cinched the argument. The FAA become the last of the regulators to ban flights.

Mr. Muilenburg said little publicly in the following weeks. In late April, he assured Wall Street analysts there was “no technical slip” in the system’s certification, speaking narrowly about how Boeing won initial FAA approval. “It was done the right way,” Mr. Muilenburg said in the interview.

“It was done to the process.”
United CEO Oscar Munoz told the Boeing CEO to show more warmth. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg News

But he acknowledged no Boeing flaws at the time. He later noted, at a press conference that month, that pilots in the accidents didn’t follow all emergency procedures

He began to learn more about the MAX’s design problems as he made more frequent trips to the Seattle area, where the company manufactures the plane. He discovered Boeing engineers had based their MCAS designs with a fatal flaw and a longstanding assumption that pilots would respond to a malfunction as they would to a similar cockpit emergency. They didn’t take into account how confusing such an emergency could prove, making it difficult for pilots to respond quickly.

“That’s where we made the mistake,” Mr. Muilenburg said in the interview. “These design assumptions are no longer correct.”

Mr. Muilenburg also learned of a related error, one his Seattle colleagues had known since 2017: Certain cockpit alerts on the MAX weren’t working as intended—or expected by the FAA and airlines—on all of the aircraft.

Due to a software error, they were activated only as part of an optional package. After the 2018 crash, Boeing told the FAA and Southwest Airlines Co. , its largest MAX buyer, about the mistake, but Mr. Muilenburg didn’t learn about the mixup until after the March crash, according to the senior Boeing official and people briefed on the timeline.

Boeing released public statements correcting the record and Mr. Muilenburg later conceded communications lapses. He later launched a restructuring of the company’s Seattle-based engineering and safety departments to give him more direct oversight.


Growing impatience

By June, the MAX crisis cast a pall over the Paris Air Show, where Boeing traditionally showcases airliner deals. This time, scores of its best-selling plane were piling up in storage and Boeing officials instead touted how they were adding safeguards to the MAX.

Mr. Muilenburg made few public appearances but had a private meeting with his counterpart at the FAA, acting administrator Dan Elwell, people familiar with the meeting said. The two met inside the back of a parked military plane, not at Boeing’s base at the show, these people said.

Mr. Elwell asked Muilenburg that Boeing slow down its talk of progress, giving the FAA space to exercise scrutiny, these people said. The agency needed to be seen as independent.

FAA officials had grown impatient with Boeing’s optimism about putting the MAX back in service. The regulator was taking a reputation hit after delegating its authority to Boeing for years, and the crisis was fueling questions on Capitol Hill about its coziness with the company. The FAA was working with foreign regulators to lift their MAX grounding together.

“You’re right,” Mr. Muilenburg said, according to the people familiar with the meeting. “We’re not going to push.”

Yet Boeing continued to provide public estimates of the MAX’s return to flight, further irritating the FAA.

Mr. Muilenburg said in the interview Boeing considered it necessary to telegraph such information to suppliers. “We haven’t always been accurate on that,” Mr. Muilenburg said. “But ultimately no matter what I say, in terms of the baseline calendar, the regulators will determine the timeline.”


As months ticked by, Mr. Muilenburg hadn’t had contact with families of victims from either crash. Bob Clifford, a Chicago lawyer suing the plane maker in the Ethiopian case, suggested to Boeing officials that they meet with relatives to discuss how to spend $50 million it planned to donate—to no avail, Mr. Clifford said.

Mr. Muilenburg said he had wanted to meet them earlier but didn’t want to make them uncomfortable. “I tried to put myself in their position,” he said in the interview. “What would it be like? I’d want to have some time to grieve.”

By fall, Boeing faced a new problem: European regulators wanted their own check of the FAA’s MAX safety approvals, which would inevitably lead to more delays.

Boeing executives were bracing for U.S. lawmakers to call Mr. Muilenburg to testify and ask about whom he had held accountable, said a person familiar with their thinking. No one at Boeing had been singled out.


Boeing officials had also been debating what to do with potentially damning information found during the company’s document-gathering for the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into whether Boeing misled the FAA or airlines, said a person familiar with the discussions.

In instant messages between two Boeing pilots in late 2016, Mark Forkner, who was in charge of winning FAA approval for aircraft manuals and training, suggested he “basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly)” after encountering problems with the MCAS system in a simulator.

Mr. Forkner’s lawyer declined to comment Sunday but has said his client was referring to problems with the simulator, not the MAX.

Boeing passed the messages to prosecutors in February but decided against telling its own regulator, people familiar with the matter said.
Disclosing them to the FAA wouldn’t be appropriate, because the agency was subject to the same probe, Boeing lawyers reasoned, and Mr. Forkner’s government counterpart was a likely witness, one of these people said.

As congressional hearings drew near, Boeing lawyers decided the company had to turn over the documents to the House Transportation Committee, and notified the Department of Transportation, the FAA’s parent agency. The belated disclosure inflamed Boeing’s relationship with the FAA, angering Steve Dickson, the FAA’s newly installed boss, people close to the agency said.
‘Forcing my hand’

In a call with Mr. Muilenburg after the House panel released the chats, Mr. Dickson told the CEO that Boeing’s withholding the documents would effectively invite stricter regulation, people familiar with the conversation said.

“You’re forcing my hand,” Mr. Dickson told Mr. Muilenburg, according to one of these people.

Mr. Muilenburg later told a Senate committee he relied on his legal counsel to provide it to the appropriate authorities and didn’t recall a specific conversation about which authorities to give it to. He told the committee he later apologized to Mr. Dickson over how Boeing disclosed it to the FAA.

To prepare for his October congressional testimony, Mr. Muilenburg held mock sessions including with Boeing’s general counsel Brett Gerry, who played a committee chairman, said a person familiar with the preparation. Government-affairs chief Tim Keating and spokesman Gordon Johndroe joined the sessions.

They asked Mr. Muilenburg tough questions, including whether he had focused on profit at the expense of safety. Mr. Muilenburg expressed surprised at the tone, another person familiar with the sessions. Questions also addressed Boeing’s mistakes.

Ahead of the hearings, Mr. Muilenburg requested to meet with Bayihe Demissie, who lives in Ethiopia and was in Chicago—his wife was a flight attendant on the Ethiopian flight. It was the CEO’s first meeting with a victim’s relative.

Mr. Demissie said he told Mr. Muilenburg he didn’t know how to be a single father to his young son. “I never pictured this life,” he recalled telling the CEO. He questioned why Mr. Muilenburg had taken so long to reach out. The CEO told him “We cannot let your wife be forgotten,” said a person familiar with the meeting.

Days later in Washington, D.C., Mr. Muilenburg met with a group of crash victims’ relatives and tried explaining Boeing’s decisions. “Every time you turn around Boeing seems to be shooting themselves in the foot,” said Mr. Clifford. “I think they’re trying to correct that.”

Mr. Muilenburg said meeting the families was a “stark and difficult reminder of the importance” of Boeing’s work. “It’s changed me forever.”

During hearings, Mr. Muilenburg struggled to defend his credibility and, at times, to respond to direct questions. He said he apologized for not turning over Mr. Forkner’s messages to the FAA earlier.

Lawmakers demanded to know about Boeing’s decisions in creating the flight-control system. Some asked why he hadn’t resigned.

U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), alluding to Mr. Forkner’s emails, asked: “You’re not trying to Jedi mind-trick us here today on this committee?”

“Congresswoman,” he said, “I’m telling you the truth.”
Boeing further upset its relationship with the FAA soon after, saying in November it expected the MAX ban to lift a month later and training approval to come in January.

The FAA’s Mr. Dickson wrote an internal Nov. 14 memo, which the Journal reviewed, saying the FAA wouldn’t work by any schedule and separately signaled the FAA wouldn’t allow the MAX to fly again until 2020.

He called Mr. Muilenburg to a meeting in Washington, D.C., and chided him for the perceived pressure.

Write to Andrew Tangel at l333333, Alison Sider at 333333

END Chopped out images and captions
Grebe is offline  
Old 23rd Dec 2019, 02:14
  #171 (permalink)  
 
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Making matters worse, Boeing this month botched a space capsule’s long-awaited test flight—it went into the wrong orbit—raising fresh questions about management’s ability to pull off big feats.
Yep an 11 hour error --- AM vs PM ??

repeat after me ...When mickeys LITTLE hand is at . . .
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 02:21
  #172 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by gums View Post
Salute!

And some dweeb blames the pilots for not being Chuck Yeager clones and reacting to a new characteristic of the plane within a few seconds?

Gums sends...

P.S. Show us the plots of the pitch moments versus AoA without MCAS. Hmmmmm.....
Gums,

Why don’t you whisper that question in the ear of your elected congresscritter?

My belief is that it’s not a simple curve, but depends on some additional factors eg. thrust vs. airspeed, and extant stab setting, and has some really nasty hidden non-linearities FOR SOME PARAMETER VALUES.
In fact the pitchdown on nose down might be even more lethal than the pitch up on nose up.

Edmund





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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 02:23
  #173 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Takwis View Post
Knowing what we know about the system at this point, I can envision a situation where I would consider turning the switches back on, quickly correcting the trim, and turning them back off. I was once in a similar situation with an electrical fire. I would much rather not fly an airplane that would put me in that position...especially with 180 or so lives in my hands.
It's known that the ET302 crew did restore the trim cutouts and did try to trim, but only long enough to try to force the autopilot back on under conditions that training should have told them that the autopilot cannot function. And then they left the trim motors enabled and here we are.

You say you would rather not fly a plane like that. Would you do it anyway if you knew you would be fired otherwise? I know at least one pilot who resigned from Ethiopian Airlines after the first crash on the grounds the airline management didn't do enough.

Apparently Ethiopian Airlines is working closely with the investigation and withholding the CVR from the international investigation community, providing only snippets that support a particular narrative. It's the flagship of technology and modernity for Ethiopia and a source of national pride. The stakes are high for Boeing; they are higher for the government of Ethiopia.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 02:49
  #174 (permalink)  
568
 
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Originally Posted by Grebe View Post
Yep an 11 hour error --- AM vs PM ??

repeat after me ...When mickeys LITTLE hand is at . . .
Don't think younger folks know how to read clocks anymore let alone set them properly. The current state of our world today, ho hum!https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...use/580935002/
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 02:54
  #175 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by GemDeveloper View Post
I'm still unclear where this landed. Did the FAA actually say it was all right... or not?
No, they said they'd consider it. Then Boeing went ahead, knowing that they could say "We discussed this with the FAA, and they didn't tell us not to." I've been the victim of that manoeuvre, on a vastly smaller scale. SOP for dodgy people.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 04:17
  #176 (permalink)  
 
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The stakes are high for Boeing; they are higher for the government of Ethiopia.
I really doubt that, it is just more spin from Boeing's creative marketing division. Unlike Boeing, this incident does not have the possibility (however remote) of forcing Ethiopia into bankruptcy. The issues facing the government of Ethiopia are far more significant than who gets the blame for a jet crash, and if it were in fact the fault of a pilot panicking and doing the wrong thing than that would actually be a fairly simple thing for the government to shrug off, especially in a country were so many have already died in war. Mechanical failure could be either the fault of Boeing or the airline; it would be much harder for them if for example the tail had fallen off and there was a report that the plane had been involved in a ramp incident.Nobody in the United States is worried about losing an election because of the Atlas Air crash.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 04:51
  #177 (permalink)  
fdr
 
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Originally Posted by gums View Post
Salute!

Gotta add once again the fact that if the Lion crew(s) knew about MCAS and then the AD that came out which did not specifically address MCAS and how it worked and did not simply state that if the trim system seemed weird, then turn the thing off and revert to the stoopid little wheel before getting too fast and oh yeah, the wheel trim switch works until you turn off those doofers on the center pedestal, and the old cut-out switch on the yoke doesn't work like it did on the thousands of 737 planes before, and... and...

BEAM ME UP!

And some dweeb blames the pilots for not being Chuck Yeager clones and reacting to a new characteristic of the plane within a few seconds?
I will bet that 99 outta 100 of 737 drivers across the globe would have handled both accidents if they knew about MCAS and how it worked and had a procedure that simply stated to turn off the trim after using the basic system to trim nose up. Leave the test pilot crapola to test pilots, and write up the entire sequence of events ( unlike the Lion crew that assumed the STS was working backwards).

Gums sends...

P.S. Show us the plots of the pitch moments versus AoA without MCAS. Hmmmmm.....

To the point, on target.

Don't hold your breath for the static stability information to be produced, it is proprietary. It's release is a lose/lose for the maker, if it shows a considerable non linearity, then we won't hear the end of the matter. If it shows negligible issues, then the whole reason for the MCAS 2.0 debacle will be seen in a poor light.

Gums assessment counterbalances Greg F & Co.s recent lambasting of the flight crews competency in the Lionair aircraft, and by default ET's. Suggest those that don't consider the impact of the situation that presented itself in the performance of the crew should try similar and see how their performance goes.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 04:57
  #178 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by edmundronald View Post
My belief is that it’s not a simple curve, but depends on some additional factors eg. thrust vs. airspeed, and extant stab setting, and has some really nasty hidden non-linearities FOR SOME PARAMETER VALUES.
In fact the pitchdown on nose down might be even more lethal than the pitch up on nose up.
Edmund
I fully agree. As I said in a previous post, I would be very interested to see the relation between the engine nacelle drag/lift forces and the CG of the aircraft.

Normally the moment arm from engine nacelle forces around the CG would be small, and the force would be expected to act BELOW the CG, thus counteracting pitch up.
Looking at the Max profile on the other hand, I would be tempted to say that the higher/forward position of the engines could cause these forces to act ABOVE the aircraft CG at high AoA, which would give a nasty non-linear feedback with AoA.

Imagine if there's a part of the envelope where the nacelle force moment arm transitions around the CG.. Maybe this happens for a combination of aft CG and high AoA. Instead of designing away the problem, B decided to block pilots from entering that part of the envelope --> MCAS.

Disclaimer* I'm a researcher in aerospace engineering mechanics (fluid/solid interaction), not a pilot.

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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 05:49
  #179 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Stribeck View Post
I fully agree. As I said in a previous post, I would be very interested to see the relation between the engine nacelle drag/lift forces and the CG of the aircraft.

Normally the moment arm from engine nacelle forces around the CG would be small, and the force would be expected to act BELOW the CG, thus counteracting pitch up.
Looking at the Max profile on the other hand, I would be tempted to say that the higher/forward position of the engines could cause these forces to act ABOVE the aircraft CG at high AoA, which would give a nasty non-linear feedback with AoA.

Imagine if there's a part of the envelope where the nacelle force moment arm transitions around the CG.. Maybe this happens for a combination of aft CG and high AoA. Instead of designing away the problem, B decided to block pilots from entering that part of the envelope --> MCAS.

Disclaimer* I'm a researcher in aerospace engineering mechanics (fluid/solid interaction), not a pilot.

Might I suggest a close look at

https://www.satcom.guru/2019/10/flaw...-disaster.html

peter L has a half dozen links on his site relating to the whole MAX issue. Had a lot to do with his earlier background many months ago. And he was subpoened by the feds as reported in the Seattle Times around April.

AS I recall, in one of his links, he had some relative plots for yoke force etc re AOA and speed etc probably from the NG

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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 05:55
  #180 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Water pilot View Post
I really doubt that, it is just more spin from Boeing's creative marketing division. Unlike Boeing, this incident does not have the possibility (however remote) of forcing Ethiopia into bankruptcy. The issues facing the government of Ethiopia are far more significant than who gets the blame for a jet crash, and if it were in fact the fault of a pilot panicking and doing the wrong thing than that would actually be a fairly simple thing for the government to shrug off, especially in a country were so many have already died in war. Mechanical failure could be either the fault of Boeing or the airline; it would be much harder for them if for example the tail had fallen off and there was a report that the plane had been involved in a ramp incident.Nobody in the United States is worried about losing an election because of the Atlas Air crash.
You are thinking in terms of money. There is a lot more at stake. No politician in the US is worried about jail for the Atlas Air crash, but then Atlas Air isn't owned by the US Government and does not represent the US to countries across the globe. It is their national pride and joy, perhaps the only institution in the country that has been a continued success. Not to mention that those evil Westerners can be a great villain.
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