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Boeing 737 Max Recertification Testing - Finally.

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Boeing 737 Max Recertification Testing - Finally.

Old 26th Dec 2020, 10:07
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It certainly puts a spotlight on the RTS program.

This is the most reviewed aircraft in modern history - yet before it "returns to service" a reputable country has a serious issue.

Should another or 3 have a similar (same but LH or RH Engine) issue will be interesting, but a dual failure even indication will be possible.

That will be interesting on a revenue flight.

Never has such a fleet been stored and returned in such a manner.
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Old 26th Dec 2020, 10:16
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Return to service issues are certainly not confined to the Max, or any particular aircraft type. None of them are trouble-free out of storage. There is already an AD on 737 NG engine bleed valves for example. My own airline has been reactivating aircraft the past few weeks and finding runs of odd (benign, no dispatch issues) failures. I have flown three different aircraft over Christmas with the same odd retractable landing light issue, for example. I have never before seen that defect in my previous 25 years on type.

BTW...That Air Canada IFSD was apparently called for by the fuel IMBAL. non-normal checklist which directs that action. ie: it was a discretionary shut down and not an engine malfunction per se. It is a feature of non-normal checklists that they can sometimes be triggered by faulty sensors which then lead to an action that reads as prudent and considered within the context of the checklist but which may not seem so wise on Monday morning.
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Old 26th Dec 2020, 12:01
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".....Monday morning."

When the press and related environs of the mass-media culture in which most of the world lives today learns to check themselves for such Monday morning signal-calling, well, it could be a long time off. (Also environs of the mass-hysteria culture...)
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Old 26th Dec 2020, 14:54
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Originally Posted by Mr @ Spotty M View Post
I see that it has not taken long before a max ends up with a Pan Pan, Air Canada provisioning flight from Pinal Airpark Marana,AZ to Montreal,QC, diverted to Tucson,AZ with one engine shut down.
Before anyone gets on their high horse, l know these things happen to every type of aircraft flying, but its not going help with public confidence in this aircraft.
The whole US Air BAe146 fleet was retired to Mojave for a couple of years from 1991, before being progressively reinstated to a range of secondary and start-up European operators, out of London City and elsewhere. Although doubtless checked over, they all brought a considerable range of oddball tech niggles with them that lasted for quite some time until everything that had deteriorated was replaced. Sort of compensated by the low purchase price for them, which of course doesn't apply to those bringing the Max back.
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Old 26th Dec 2020, 21:44
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The merest Self-Loading F-wit knows that this incident has nothing to do with MCAS. On the other hand, it is surely likely that it has something to do with aircraft being out of service for a long time; and this means that similar events will probably happen again. That makes for a real PR problem. When mechanical problems occur on a Max, the media will of course cross-refer to the two crashes; it's not hysteria, it seems to be an algorithm in modern news-gathering systems, such that when an aircraft type is in the news, there's an automatic search for other stories covering that type.

The issue is that on the one hand it would control the bad effects, and be honest, to say that problems are to be expected when a lot of aircraft are returned to service, and it doesn't have implications for the certification. On the other hand, it's unlikely that a manufacturer or airline would be really happy to say "They're going to be a bit buggy at first." At the least, it would make it clear that even a good, safety conscious, manufacturer or airline can't really have safety as its first priority; over the long term, commercial viability has to rule.

BTW, it may just be that I hope once more to fly between Auckland and the West Coast of the USA, but I don't believe that an IFSD on a twin is entirely without interest, now that engines are so reliable. It is reassuring that it seems not to have been a problem with the engine itself.
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Old 29th Dec 2020, 12:49
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"Boeing 737 Max to Resume Flying U.S. Passengers on Tuesday

American Airlines will use the plane, which has been grounded for nearly two years, on a flight from Miami to New York."

That's today, Tue 29 Dec.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/29/b...ax-return.html
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Old 29th Dec 2020, 14:20
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The load factors will be watched like hawks by many for some time I am sure. If they are the same as when other types were used on those routes then the discussion is over. But the next major incident / accident involving one , even if not specifically technically related to the Max type will reopen the Pandora box.
But was the same after the 787 fires, people forget quickly if you give them the time .
2 years and a pandemic afterwards might be sufficient time , especially if the ticket prices are right...
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Old 29th Dec 2020, 15:31
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher View Post
But was the same after the 787 fires, people forget quickly if you give them the time.
Except that the 787 fires didn't kill anyone.

I suspect that giving people time to quickly forget the Max accidents will take a tad longer ...
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Old 29th Dec 2020, 17:07
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It's only from an SLF...and validity points will be subtracted because it's actually SLF/attorney...but the acceptability ultimately regained by the 737 MAX is going to involve a different combination of factors than the industry has seen previously.

One big difference is that the two accidents have prompted what, by all accounts, is a serious reworking of FAA processes and various types of rules (the legislation was part of the great big omnibus "Covid relief" bill finally signed by the president). These reforms will generate ongoing publicity which, while not completely unique, does appear more intense and focused than in aftermaths of prior accidents. (And compared to aftermath of 787 grounding, the ongoing publicity (IIRC) was...what ongoing publicity?).

Then there are the several continuing lawsuits. One of them is in limbo, in federal court in Chicago, brought as a potential class action on behalf of a few thousand pilots around the globe whose careers have been quite negatively impacted by the grounding. If and when it proceeds forward, the attorneys of record for the pilots very probably will be quite adept at efforts to shape impressions in the court of public opinion. And the liability suits on behalf of the accident victims; the suits by Norwegian, by flight attendants, by SWAPA....this appears a heavier dose of litigation-focusing-the-mind reality upon the flying and traveling public than has been the case in anything before.

There are also further Dep't of Transportation Inspector General reports said to be in the works, and regardless of whether the nominee for Sec'y of DoT is confirmed or if someone else must be put forward, these investigatory efforts by the extremely careful and accurate IG will add PR fuel, if not accelerant.

Your loyal SLF/atty loudmouth doesn't wish ill upon the company, or upon the airplane type itself, of course. But this aftermath situation isn't enough like anything before, at least commenting from the cheap seats.
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Old 29th Dec 2020, 20:00
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The “the reworking of FAA processes” will give comfort to some, but it’s only when they are actually borne out out in practice that they can make an impact. The attitudes and motivations behind decades of decline in the integrity and independence and the corresponding selection and advancement of managers and executives will not change as quickly as a law can be passed. The industry pressures that fostered this decline will not fade away quickly either. Extremely strong leadership and dismissal of failed managers is necessary and much less likely to occur. It’s just plain human nature.
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Old 29th Dec 2020, 20:19
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Agree completely; the reform legislation while laudable I think will keep a negative spotlight focused on the MAX debacle and its underlying causes for a good long time. Just to cite one item of a concrete nature in support: both the House and Senate Committees issued quite hotly scathing investigation reports (both as noted up-thread). Careerist pressures being what they are, incentives exist for the negative spotlight to continue. And as legislative changes are moved into implementation or at least attempts are made to implement, again attention on the accidents and their underlying causes will persist. Apologies for ambiguity about impact of the legislation (especially because whether actual implementation will occur, and if it does how much it will matter, are pretty big what-ifs).

Certainly the ongoing courtroom action and pending, additional damning IG reports will not have any positive PR impact.

Maybe, and it's mostly just speculative now, but maybe pilots who operate the 737 MAX in commercial service (and other flights for repositioning and so on), after a bunch of flights have been accumulated without anything out of the ordinary occurring, will get interviewed in the media and provide a bit of positive PR. Maybe.

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Old 30th Dec 2020, 15:44
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Speaking as a 'merest Self-Loading F-wit', this aircraft has had an unprecedented amount of scrutiny and if you are prepared to fly it I would happily fly on it ( ticket price notwithstanding), with the right operator of course 😊
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Old 30th Dec 2020, 19:52
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Sorry for giving the wrong impression, I was characterising myself as a 'merest SLF'; meaning, anyone who knows what type they are flying on will know an engine shutdown has nil to do with the previous problems, but that incidents of this type are pretty much inevitable for aircraft returning from storage, and the handling of this spate of events, inevitably tricky, will require a degree of trust in the manufacturer that Boeing seems to have squandered.
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Old 30th Dec 2020, 21:23
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No worries, was only using it as an introduction! Understood the issues of a rapid roll out of a/c from storage. Problem is the media which will exploit any incident and conflate issues, not helpful at all. In truth, is the culture at Boeing so much different from that at other prominent manufacturers ( eg Rolls), they all live in the same homogenised world.
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Old 31st Dec 2020, 06:10
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an engine shutdown has nil to do with the previous problems
An engine shutdown and single engine flight will affect the attitude of the airplane and the way the AoA vanes are positioned in the air stream. This might very well increase the chance of differing measurements on both sides bringing the airplane at least closer to certain AoA disagree scenarios and maybe even the new MCAS off routine?

Last edited by Less Hair; 31st Dec 2020 at 07:04.
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Old 31st Dec 2020, 07:36
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Less Hair, by all means think 'what if', but do not invent issues (although technically correct) which could confuse an unwary pilot at the time of a surprising event.
Aspects such as this will (should) have been considered in design, test, and certification.

The following notes are from FAA NPRM; https://www.faa.gov/news/media/attac...-R3-8-3-20.pdf
"The calculated threshold would be a function of the magnitude of the disagreement and the rate of change of the AOA sensor position values."
"More than 10 degrees difference for more than 10 seconds."

There would be greater safety value in questioning crew actions in the event of an alert:-
"AOA DISAGREE alert, that the airplane’s left and right AOA vanes disagree. The checklist informs the flightcrew to accomplish the Airspeed Unreliable checklist."

The memory items for this require 'Pitch Power settings', before evaluating the actual speed indications, i.e before checking standby instrument, or any other alerts.
Also, considering a practical situation of an alert at max cruise altitude - would a pilot pitch up by rote recall of drills? (cf AF 447).
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Old 31st Dec 2020, 07:53
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Is there a reason why an AoA Disagree would be more or less likely at different points in the normal vs OEI range ?
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Old 31st Dec 2020, 08:15
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' AoA Disagree would be more or less likely '
Effects of yaw rate and/or sideslip; less so for pitch attitude although all are interrelated.
Similar effect on other sensors, eg pitot static, where alerts may also use time/magnitude comparison.
(Older 'steam' driven systems may be cross connected with a balance pipe / damping reservoir.)
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Old 31st Dec 2020, 13:21
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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Willow, #591, although the US is reforming regulation, the dominant issue is with the application of existing processes; i.e. the triple layered safety processes of design, checking, and certification - all 'failed' - within Boeing and specifically the FAA.
With that, what confidence (trust) is there that processes will be correctly followed now, and how is this to be checked. Regulations 'require', but who acts.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? "Who will watch the watchmen?"; government has a role, but would not be expected to understand the detail. Thus at some point the FAA / Boeing management has to understand the detail or accept the views of those who do, but where is the dividing line, who draws it, who judges; will there be change. (https://www.smart-jokes.org/everybod...nd-nobody.html)

Deep rooted beliefs are difficult to change. One aspect is the FAA and Boeings' view of human contribution in aircraft operation.
At some point before the second Max accident it was concluded that the type remained "safe"; both FAA and Boeing being 'data driven' organisations, statistics, computer assessment, attempting to define human behaviour as a numerical value. Thus safety was misjudged, based on inappropriate models of the human, and influenced by flawed analysis of a previous successful outcome where a Max crew switched the trim off.
The FAA concluded that this 'average crew' would be representative of all crews; except that the event had three people vice the normal certified two crew (FAA apparently did appreciate this !), and that the concept of 'an average crew' is meaningless, a conundrum which other areas of certification avoid.

FAA and Boeing need a fundamental change in their view of human contribution in safety; a very difficult task; and who would check that.

Last edited by alf5071h; 31st Dec 2020 at 13:50.
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Old 31st Dec 2020, 18:10
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Quo Vadis...

alf5071h, any post with a title in Latin, and which at least implies an invite for this SLF/atty to comment further, deserves an effort at something thoughtful, or trying to be.

1) Context for referring to the Congressional legislation (in the nearby posts) was about the changes being a factor in keeping the accident losses in the minds of the traveling public. Wasn't trying to forecast ultimate impact of reform of parts of the FAA process most directly related to safety, or of the overall reform effort in total. But it's a very central question, no doubt. Especially -- besides the reasons you've noted -- because Congress had only quite recently given more latitude to the FAA-Boeing partnership, only to find it necessary now to reverse course.

2) Besides the reforms most directly affecting the certification and safety assurance components of the FAA process, the legislation has other provisions that will contribute (in my view) to improvement. Whistleblower protection is given a boost. Safety audit will be conducted. Disclaiming a thorough study and review of the entire new law - but Committee summaries do note other reforms not so threatened by the Who Guards the Guardians dilemmas.

3) But who does guard them? A cheap and easy answer is, FAA is within Dep't of Transportation, which is headed by a political appointee, and so the recourse for calamitous acts and omissions is the political process (maybe, worse than only cheap, easy). Perhaps a better answer is, the marketplace such as it is - isn't Boeing taking quite a drubbing over its lion's share of the responsibility for this debacle? And maybe the least bad answer is, despite it being an old standby, serious attention to upgrading the educational programs and systems in this and other like-minded and similarly organized countries. Why aren't there more qualified engineers and technical people available to FAA, for example? Same for airframe, propulsion, avionics and so on, in the manufacturing sector. (I was a higher ed lawyer in my most prior legal employment, so apologies for thinking in that frame, if it's too trite or mundane to be tolerated.) Not at all least, and very unfortunately, the unhappy prospect of criminal charges and prosecutions still looms darkly ahead.

(Why does the society emphasize and allow to be glorified materialism, pleasure-seeking, and trampling on (not just disrespect of) nominal, ordinary values of respect? I think plenty of professional aviators of the era of Vern Demerest and Anson Harris, knew plenty about fun and pleasure, but without ignoring, or even mocking very much, the old-school sense that when the No Smoking sign is lit...metaphorically of course. (Apologies to Airport by Arthur Hailey))

4) After the first 737 MAX accident.... There is a discussion of this decision-making, IIRC, in the first of the expected several Inspector General reports - this is just from recollection though, hoping to see the theme. The calculation of FAA and Boeing was a particular and possibly unique kind of bloodless, wasn't it? As I took in a good measure of the Congressional hearings, I noticed that many of the separate communications and decisions in the whole entire sordid mess seemed, in isolation one at a time, not so terribly egregious (many, I said, certainly not all). But the calculation after the first crash? Have Mercy.

5) So none of this really grapples with the Somebody etc. challenge (and being an old ex-hippie, looking for a link to the Airplane, that is Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane, and Somebody to Love, won't help, either). But a good possibility, I think: in the aftermath, a pretty broad variety and good number of groups all became involved with and focused on the "what happened" of the accidents and their causes upstream. (Causes, in the FAA process, by itself and too cozy with Boeing, and in Boeing as a company and the rise and dominance of beancounting.) And many if not all of these groups also have become involved and some are staying involved in the "what to do" part of the aftermath. For reasons not interesting to this thread, I happen to be a fan of "group communication" - the idea that when groups of qualified individuals assemble to address a problem or design a path forward, the social dynamics of being in a group to begin with sharpens everyone's attention, dampens down and out ulterior motives and agendas, and improves creativity and seriousness. It's anecdotal though over a lot of years and not predominantly within the legal profession. That's where I think improvement will find its source.

2020, in less than 10 hours where I'm situated, will be hindsight. To everyone who has posted on this - sincerely - unbelievably elucidating thread, WillowRun 6-3 says Thank You for allowing an SLF/atty to expiate the ghosts of Aviation Enthusiast New Year's Day in O'Hare Airport Past.

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