Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Boeing 737 Max Recertification Testing - Finally.

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

Boeing 737 Max Recertification Testing - Finally.

Old 18th Jun 2020, 20:05
  #81 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: EU
Posts: 617
Sorry, Tdracer, I think you’re a bit biased. I have some alternative facts here (from politico.com):
The federal government had designated $17 billion for the American aircraft builder in its $2 trillion CARES Act, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company proposed further federal funding to save it from one of the worst crises in the history of commercial aviation.
But Boeing doesn’t want it, they prefer to raise it elsewhere.

And BTW, am not so familiar with funding of Airbus but you probably think us socialists here in Europe are giving away free money but most loans are repayable loans with high interest. Where governments are involved that usually relates to guarantees.

What governments do pay for is employee retention programs. That is indeed “free” money but is, I guess, a luxury of paying taxes
golfyankeesierra is offline  
Old 18th Jun 2020, 20:26
  #82 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 65
Posts: 2,826
Seriously, you want to go there?
Boeing is avoiding the US government bailout money because the strings that were attached were untenable - for starters the massive employment cutbacks that Boeing has committed to in order to survive would not be allowed. So far, Boeing thinks they are better off without the bailout money (although many of their suppliers are taking it).
Define the "high interest rates" that Airbus is paying. What are the interest rates on the billions in 'launch aid' that Airbus receives (hint, they are below market - sometimes by a lot). Oh, and how much of those billions in A380 launch will Airbus ever repay? And the news reports from your side of the pond say that Airbus is receiving bailout funds (although the exact numbers are pretty vague):
https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/nor...eturn-18386776
Oh, and you still haven't addressed my point - where Boeing is supposed to obtain the tens of billions necessary to launch a new aircraft program. The money that they are currently getting is just to keep the company solvent.
Yes, I'm biased. That's why I normally avoid making posts of this nature. Maybe you might want to recognize you're own bias before calling someone out.
tdracer is offline  
Old 19th Jun 2020, 03:40
  #83 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 448
Seattle Times

https://www.seattletimes.com/busines...-with-737-max/
Boeing whistleblower alleges systemic problems with 737 MAX
June 18, 2020 at 4:40 pm Updated June 18, 2020 at 6:23 pm

By Dominic Gates
Seattle Times aerospace reporter

A Boeing engineer who last year lodged an internal ethics complaint alleging serious shortcomings in development of the 737 MAX has written to a U.S. Senate committee asserting that systemic problems with the jet’s design “must be fixed before the 737 MAX is allowed to return to service.”

The letter to the Senate, a copy of which was obtained by The Seattle Times, was written by engineer Curtis Ewbank, a 34-year-old specialist in flight deck systems whose job when the MAX was in early stages of development involved studying past crashes and using that information to make new planes safer.

His letter, sent earlier this month, argues that it’s not enough for Boeing to fix the flawed Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that’s known to have brought down the aircraft in two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

“I have no doubt the FAA and lawmakers are under considerable pressure to allow the 737 MAX to return to service as quickly as possible and as soon as the public MCAS flaw is fixed,” Ewbank told the Senate. “However, given the numerous other known flaws in the airframe, it will be just a matter of time before another flight crew is overwhelmed by a design flaw known to Boeing and further lives are senselessly lost.”

He goes on to suggest that similar shortcomings in the flight-control systems may affect the safety of Boeing’s forthcoming 777X widebody jet.

Ewbank’s letter also reveals that he has been interviewed about his concerns by the FBI, which suggests his allegations have at least been considered as part of the Justice Department’s probe into what went wrong on the 737 MAX and whether the actions of anyone at Boeing were criminal.

He mentions that he has also delivered details of his allegations to the lead investigator on the U.S. House Committee on Transportation, chaired by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.

In 2014, during early work on the MAX’s development, Ewbank worked unsuccessfully to have Boeing upgrade the MAX’s flight-control systems by adding a new data measurement system called Synthetic Airspeed that would have served as a check on multiple sensors. If it had been implemented, he believes it might have prevented the fatal crashes.

Ewbank’s original internal ethics complaint, first reported last October by The Seattle Times, alleged that Boeing rejected his safety upgrades because of management’s focus on schedule and cost considerations and the insistence that anything that might require more pilot training would not be considered.

He also alleged that Boeing pushed regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to relax certification requirements for the airplane, particularly in regard to the cockpit systems for alerting pilots that something is wrong inflight.

Those systems on the MAX have been under scrutiny because during the two fatal MAX crashes that killed 346 people, pilots struggled to understand the cascade of warnings in their cockpits.

‘Hand-waving and deception’
Ewbank’s letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation was sent June 5, ahead of a public hearing Wednesday that featured scathing criticism of FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson for his agency’s lack of progress in addressing the lapses of oversight in certifying the MAX.

Ewbank criticizes not only Boeing for its design of the MAX but also the FAA for approving the design without proper oversight.

“The 737 MAX’s original certification was accomplished with hand-waving and deception to hide the numerous ways the 1960s-era design of the 737 does not meet current regulatory standards,” he wrote.

And he hit out at a recent Department of Transportation (DOT) advisory panel report on the MAX crashes that recommended only minor changes to the way airplanes are certified, preserving Boeing’s central role in that process. Ewbank called the report “a serious threat to aviation safety and the flying public.”

“If the FAA was truly regulating in the public interest, it would take action against Boeing for its continued deception and gross errors in the design and production of the 737 MAX by withdrawing Boeing’s production certificate,” he concluded.

Ansley Lacitis, deputy chief of staff for Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, said her office “was made aware of the letter right before the hearing” on Wednesday.

“The first step of a whistleblower investigation is to make contact with the whistleblower and we have done that,” Lacitis said. “We take these and other allegations seriously and continue to investigate them.”

In a statement, Boeing said company officials have not seen the letter.

“Boeing offers its employees a number of channels for raising concerns and complaints and has rigorous processes in place that ensure complaints receive thorough consideration and protect employee confidentiality,” the statement said. “Boeing does not comment on the substance or existence of such internal complaints.”

Boeing’s statement adds that “when the MAX returns to service, it will be one of the most thoroughly scrutinized aircraft in history, and we have full confidence in its safety.”

Ewbank could not be reached for comment.

After the Seattle Times made public his internal ethics complaint, Boeing placed Ewbank on leave. “We can confirm that Mr. Ewbank remains an employee in good standing,” company spokesman Bernard Choi said this week.

Flawed flight deck systems
One conclusion of the DOT report on the MAX crashes was that if the 737 MAX had been certified as an all-new jet instead of as a derivative of the earlier model, it “would not have produced more rigorous scrutiny … and would not have produced a safer airplane.”

Ewbank calls this “utterly incorrect.”

He cites specific regulations for which Boeing, because the MAX was considered a derivative model, didn’t have to meet the latest safety standards. And he points to how these shortcomings could have affected the pilots in the two crashes.

He wrote that because Boeing, for certification purposes, had to evaluate only flight-deck systems that had changed from the 737 NG model, Boeing missed the opportunity to evaluate pilot reaction times.

Boeing has admitted that it made incorrect assumptions about those reaction times in designing the new system — the MCAS — that brought down both MAX planes that crashed.

Although MCAS was new, its operation depended on other unchanged systems and its interactions with those systems were not analyzed, Ewbank wrote.

By choosing to certify the jet as an amended version of the earlier model, Boeing “severely limited the range of human factors evaluation of 737 MAX systems,” he said.

And in a comment on Boeing’s forthcoming large widebody jet, Ewbank added: “The changed/unchanged system line on the 777X is even more convoluted and involves more complicated systems than the 737 MAX.”

Ewbank reiterates his internal critique of the crew-alerting systems on the MAX, saying that they failed to meet the current standards for such alerts, which are supposed to be “designed with the latest understanding of human factors to present information to flight crews and prompt appropriate reaction in critical scenarios.”

“These flaws were known to Boeing as it worked with the FAA to certify the 737 MAX, and awareness of this was creatively hidden or outright withheld from regulators,” he wrote.

Ewbank also revisits his unsuccessful push to have Synthetic Airspeed added to make the MAX safer, which would have made more reliable the various air-data measures used by the flight-control computer, including the angle of attack, the angle between the jet’s wing and the oncoming air stream.

It was a faulty angle of attack reading on each of the crash flights that initiated the operation of MCAS.

“The known unreliability of air data, due to the potential for erroneous data caused by external factors, makes the initial design of MCAS simply unacceptable” Ewbank wrote. Yet, he says, “upper management shut down the (Synthetic Airspeed) project over cost and training concerns.”

According to a person familiar with the discussions, the FAA and Boeing, along with the European air safety regulator EASA, are discussing various system “enhancements” that Boeing could add to the MAX after it returns to service, with no firm decisions yet made.

Last week, on the specialist aviation website The Air Current, Jon Ostrower reported that Synthetic Airspeed or an equivalent system is one of the enhancements under consideration. Boeing would not confirm that.

Michael Stumo, whose daughter Samya died in last year’s MAX crash in Ethiopia, on Thursday also received a copy of Ewbank’s letter.

“This is the most comprehensive engineering analysis I’ve seen yet,” Stumo said. “It calls into question whether the MAX should ever fly again.”

“People have to die”
Ewbank notes that he left Boeing in 2015 “in protest of management actions to rationalize the poor design of the 737 MAX. I did not think I could do my duty as an engineer to protect the safety of the public in the environment created by management at Boeing.”

He asserts that, “Prior to my departure in 2015, my manager argued against the design changes I wanted to make by stating, ‘People have to die before Boeing will change things.'”

Ewbank returned to Boeing in 2018 to work on the 777X.

“I returned to the company and quickly witnessed the nightmare of the very accidents I had tried to prevent happen in real life,” he writes.

After the second MAX crash in Ethiopia, he filed his internal ethics complaint.

Ewbank concludes his letter to the Senate by calling for a series of actions to improve the rigor of the airplane certification process, particularly in his area of expertise: flight deck systems.

He asks that FAA regulations be thoroughly revamped “to ensure they reflect a modern understanding of computer technology and human-machine interfaces.”

He calls for a shift in the way certification work on new airplanes is delegated by the FAA to Boeing itself and how the flow of information between the two is restricted.

“The decision to sign off on any particular design at Boeing has been culturally expropriated from the engineers to management,” he wrote.

In this critique, he mirrors criticism by the Senate committee itself, which this week proposed legislation to tighten controls on the FAA’s delegation of work and ensure direct communication between FAA and Boeing technical experts on certification details.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or [email protected]; on Twitter: @dominicgates.
Zeffy is offline  
Old 19th Jun 2020, 05:06
  #84 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: France
Posts: 133
Congratulations to Curtis Ewbank, who has In one letter, summed up all that is wrong in this sad tale of corporate greed.
Ddraig Goch is offline  
Old 19th Jun 2020, 05:20
  #85 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Europe
Posts: 118
Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
Using what funding, exactly?
while Airbus is apparently going to be getting billions in bailout funding from the EU.
Any evidence of that? With facts, no political speeches.
Bidule is offline  
Old 20th Jun 2020, 06:17
  #86 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 65
Posts: 2,826
Did you bother to check the link in my post?
This one?
https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/nor...eturn-18386776
The one that has this headline?
Airbus secures bailout cash in return for green plane investment
tdracer is offline  
Old 21st Jun 2020, 11:14
  #87 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Asia
Posts: 860
krismiler is offline  
Old 21st Jun 2020, 11:59
  #88 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SV Marie Celeste
Posts: 593
"what do you think?" he says at the end --- I think this is low-end clickbait
calypso is offline  
Old 21st Jun 2020, 13:26
  #89 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Within AM radio broadcast range of downtown Chicago
Age: 68
Posts: 256
Production ... of legislation (and documents)

Ewbank's letter as reported above by the eminently reliable Dominic Gates in the Times of Seattle was sent coincident with Senate Commerce Committee hearings held on the 17th (Wednesday). Both parties' senior-most Committee members - Wicker (Miss.) and Cantwell (Wash.) - excoriated FAA for stonewalling on document disclosure to their Committee, in terms more scathing than previously. (If this was noted above in the thread, how I missed it, I couldn't say.)
Also of note are reports that the Senate legislation in the works would curtail the extent to which a manufacturer can do the regulator's certification work "for" the regulator as opposed to doing such work in a strict delegation sense (my own characterization of the differences in approach).
Common sense as well as an assessment of all the litigation and investigations encasing the status of the 737 MAX lead this observer to think production at this point is mostly an expression of some corporate financial accounting imperative. The once-proud airframer up in Seattle isn't fooling anybody.....this time.
WillowRun 6-3 is offline  
Old 21st Jun 2020, 15:32
  #90 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Europe
Posts: 118
Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
Did you bother to check the link in my post?
This one?
https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/nor...eturn-18386776
The one that has this headline?
I had checked your link and it was the resaon why I asked for facts and no political speeches, newspapers mainly being the copy of the political speeches. I very rarely trust the headlines of the newspapers (!).

In fact, when you look at the details of the so-called "bailout plan" (https://fly-news.es/covid19/la-ayuda...%28Fly+News%29, sorry it is in Spanish but Google translation is your friend): the 15 billions include:
- 7 billions for Air France (those had been announced three weeks earlier);
- the anticipated order (meaning that such orders are in the pluriannual plan for the next years and they will be done earlier) of some aircraft for the French Air Force (3 x A330MRTTs, one King Air - this one is to support the US industry -, drones - likely non European -) and eight helicopters for the French Gendarmerie (Military Police); this is about 600 millions.

In fact, the R&D support is only 1.5 billion - likely not for Airbus alone - and Airbus will have to contribute for 116 millions to support the smaller companies in France.

So, at the end, it is very far from what you imagine and hardly 10% of what Boeing rejected in the USA .
Bidule is offline  
Old 21st Jun 2020, 21:14
  #91 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: USA
Posts: 138
What, precisely, does Mr. Ewbanks propose as the significant difference? What are the design flaws?

I have no doubt the he believes what he says, but engineering often produces a plateau of similar ideas where any particular one might be better in some exact situation and is terrible in most others. So there is ample room for claims to be made that their particular idea is the one to solve all problems, but they actually don't solve all problems. It doesn't matter to them; they will argue to the death that their idea is best.

So, what is the problem Ewbanks is talking about and what is his solution? Would it have avoided the Pakistani crash by better alerting the crew to their problem or is this a Boeing-only human factors solution?
MechEngr is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2020, 07:51
  #92 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Norfolk
Posts: 424
Originally Posted by MechEngr View Post
What, precisely, does Mr. Ewbanks propose as the significant difference? What are the design flaws?

Would it have avoided the Pakistani crash by better alerting the crew to their problem or is this a Boeing-only human factors solution?
Not sure the PIA 8303 crash had anything to do with a design flaw. From the information currently available, that crew would have crashed whatever aircraft type they were flying.
Vendee is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2020, 09:41
  #93 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Within AM radio broadcast range of downtown Chicago
Age: 68
Posts: 256
8303

Re: Mech Engr...
As noted the letter pertains in no way to the problems created by the pilots operating PIA 8303 into Karachi. I suppose we could spend many posts parsing the U.S. working papers presented at the ICAO 40th Triennial Assembly last fall in the aftermath of two 737 MAX crashes, insofar as part - part - of the fundamental errors Boeing committed tie together with the larger more general problems involving over-reliance on cockpit automation or lack of proper training (and related requirements) to assure airmanship stays required and relevant even amidst wide-spread automation - or both over-reliance and insufficient training.
But Ewbanks isn't directing the attention of members of the international aviation safety community (or read it as, infrastructure or ecosystem if you prefer) to that larger context. Yet I think he is pointing back at the fundamental error of taking the old venerable 737 airframe and goosing it up into something it was not really suited to be. A tough feat to pull off, even for Boeing in its prime. But the deception, the overt gaming of the system of certification proofs which may very well lead to civil and even criminal liabilities, is not hard to discern as the letter-writer's most basic concern.
Maybe I should have stuck with my aspiration in kidhood of studying aeronautical engineering and then handing down, to a younger generation, slide rules as tokens of the art as well as science involved, as they were handed down to me as a child. But I picked up the drag chain of the law instead, so you'll have to ask Ewbanks directly what his answer to your question should be. (Howard Cosell, a non-practicing lawyer besides sports broadcaster, used the phrase, 'drag chain of the law'.)
WillowRun 6-3 is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2020, 18:17
  #94 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: By the Sea
Posts: 90
Originally Posted by Turnleft080 View Post
https://youtu.be/mampv8DdHlU

Interesting facts here by Juan on the latest with the Max.
Originally Posted by SLF3 View Post
This article seems well written and well informed. The interesting (at least to me) element is the simmering tensions between the FAA and EASA, the application of the ISSA process to the Max, and the idea that the Max may return to service and then have synthetic airpseed retrofitted later. Lots in here to disagree on!

https://theaircurrent.com/aviation-s...r-jets-return/
Juan is more or less reading the article from "The Air Current" to the camera without crediting its source, something the publisher of "The Air Current" complained about, IMO with good cause.
Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3 View Post
But the deception, the overt gaming of the system of certification proofs which may very well lead to civil and even criminal liabilities, is not hard to discern as the letter-writer's most basic concern.
As a lawyer you'll know to be successful at civil and especially criminal law suites hard evidence will need to be produced. So far Boeing has contained the situation by laying the core blame at over reliance on the "industry standard" notion that the pilot would be able to figure out what they were experiencing was a runaway stabilizer trim and apply correction within four seconds, and the attempts at deception were limited to one or two bad actors in the training department. Oh, yes, and they have even had the temerety to suggest that they are immune from prosecution because FAA certified the design! But so far, suitable evidence to undermine these arguments doesn't seem to have been produced. The whistleblower complaints don't seem to hit at the core issue of how MCAS's safety evaluation was botched.
ElectroVlasic is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2020, 18:18
  #95 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Europe
Posts: 48
"management’s focus on schedule and cost considerations and the insistence that anything that might require more pilot training would not be considered."

This is what happens when you allow Southwest and Ryanair to dictate how you should run your business .

Boeing was being run indirectly by Low cost airline executives who dictated their every move .
Jonnyknoxville is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2020, 18:42
  #96 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Washington.
Age: 70
Posts: 536
Boeing listened to whom they wanted to listen to. SWA and Ryan were not asking for unsafe or poorly designed aircraft. They were merely stating economic conditions for selecting a “new” aircraft. The promise of financial gain is an immoral defense for bad design decisions.
GlobalNav is online now  
Old 22nd Jun 2020, 19:07
  #97 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Within AM radio broadcast range of downtown Chicago
Age: 68
Posts: 256
Not so simple

As to Southwest, there is a very hotly contested lawsuit by the SW Airlines Pilots Assn which alleges (and quite strongly it appears) that Boeing grossly and willfully circumvented their CBA and otherwise acted wrongfully. I would not concur that SW was driving that process. (Not commenting on Ryan, not familiar enough, yet.)

As to evidence, the discrete items of even some significance, plus the more serious items, plus the complete eventual sets of evidence items taken as a whole, are a lot, lot stronger than suggested above. But that said, I'm referring here just to assessing the various civil lawsuits (cases).
WillowRun 6-3 is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2020, 02:23
  #98 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: USA
Posts: 138
Originally Posted by Vendee View Post
Not sure the PIA 8303 crash had anything to do with a design flaw. From the information currently available, that crew would have crashed whatever aircraft type they were flying.
He plainly states that some unidentified human factors design flaw was the problem with the 737 MAX and the 777x and that it has to do with not giving pilots critical information; this is very much at the heart of the PIA 8303 crash.

Ewbank reiterates his internal critique of the crew-alerting systems on the MAX, saying that they failed to meet the current standards for such alerts, which are supposed to be “designed with the latest understanding of human factors to present information to flight crews and prompt appropriate reaction in critical scenarios.”
I'd say lining up on a runway far too high and far too fast is a critical scenario.
MechEngr is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2020, 05:15
  #99 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Tent
Posts: 553
I would say two MAX aircraft were un-serviceable (had issues that needed accurate warnings - it was NOT a runaway trim!), PIA 8303 was fully serviceable.

As stated before the PIA would have crashed given pretty much any type they were flying, comparing it to the MAX crashes is a long bow.

How is the certification flight going this month?
Bend alot is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2020, 08:36
  #100 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Norfolk
Posts: 424
Pray tell me what critical information the PIA 8303 crew were missing? The "how to land an aircraft safely" information? Its like me driving into a brick wall at 70mph and complaining that my car didn't tell me it was a bad thing to do. Obviously subject to confirmation by the investigation but it really looks like the crew would have crashed an Airbus, Boeing or anything else they were flying.
Vendee is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.