Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 17, 2019

Flawed Safety Analysis, Failed Oversight - Why Two 737 MAX Planes Crashed

Two accidents of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft led to a loss of 338 lives. Planes of that type are now grounded world wide. We earlier explained in detail why the incidents happened. New reports confirm that take.

For commercial reasons Boeing wanted the new 737 version to handle like the old ones. But changes in the new version required an additional system to handle certain flight situations. The development of that system and the safety analysis of its implications were rushed through. Pilots were not informed of it and not trained to counter its failure.

Boeing now hopes that a software update, planned for April, will allow its grounded 737 MAX airplanes back to the flight line. For several reasons that is unlikely to happen.

On Thursday Captain C.B. Sully Sullenberger, who successfully landed a plane on the Hudson river after a bird strike disabled both engines, spoke out against Boeing's patch up attempt:

It has been obvious since the Lion Air crash that a redesign of the 737 MAX 8 has been urgently needed, yet has still not been done, and the announced proposed fixes do not go far enough.

The public will not trust Boeing's, or the Federal Aviation Administration's assurances if Sullenberger sticks to his view.

Another reason that Boeing's update will not suffice is a detailed bombshell report researched mostly before last Sunday's crash but just now published by the Seattle Times. It summarizes:

[T]he original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA for a new flight control system on the MAX — a report used to certify the plane as safe to fly — had several crucial flaws.
...
Current and former engineers directly involved with the evaluations or familiar with the document shared details of Boeing’s “System Safety Analysis” of MCAS, which The Seattle Times confirmed.

The safety analysis:

  • Understated the power of the new flight control system, which was designed to swivel the horizontal tail to push the nose of the plane down to avert a stall. When the planes later entered service, MCAS was capable of moving the tail more than four times farther than was stated in the initial safety analysis document.
  • Failed to account for how the system could reset itself each time a pilot responded, thereby missing the potential impact of the system repeatedly pushing the airplane’s nose downward.
  • Assessed a failure of the system as one level below “catastrophic.” But even that “hazardous” danger level should have precluded activation of the system based on input from a single sensor — and yet that’s how it was designed.

The 737 MAX maneuver characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) depends on the input of a vane on the side of the airplane.


Angle-of-attack sensor

The vane measure the angle between the airflow and the wing. It thereby detects if the nose of airplane points up or down. It can easily be damaged by a ramp accident or due to a bird strike. The MCAS system depends on the input of only one of these sensors.

The corrections MCAS applies to the trim of the airplane are too large for a busy pilot to counter. (A detailed explanation of the system and the accidents is provided by a professional pilot in two videos here and here.) That the system, as designed, engages repeatedly can lead to situations that are extremely difficult to handle.

The Seattle Times also reports that managers at the FAA pushed their safety engineers to delegate more certification tasks to Boeing itself. Boeing was eager to get the new version of the 737 out of the door to catch up with Airbus's A-320 NEO. Shortcuts were taken to rush the safety analysis through.

The MCAS system is poorly engineered and the design should never have been certified in the first place. But the issue is even worse. The certification that was given relied on false data.

The first MCAS design, on which the safety analysis and certification was based, allowed for a maximum trim movement by MCAS of 0.6 degree of a maximum of 5 degree. Flight tests proved that to be too little to achieve the desired effects and the maximum movement was changed to 2.5 degree. A safety analysis for the new value was not conducted.

“The FAA believed the airplane was designed to the 0.6 limit, and that’s what the foreign regulatory authorities thought, too,” said an FAA engineer. “It makes a difference in your assessment of the hazard involved.”
...
“None of the engineers were aware of a higher limit,” said a second current FAA engineer.

Boeing and the U.S. government have a special relation. All administrations, independent of which party rules, give it extraordinary support. That leads to regulatory capture. The FAA is under constant political pressure to relent to Boeing's demands:

For Boeing’s 102-year history, dating to the start of the First World War, the company and the country have relied upon one another, together creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, outfitting the United States with top military aircraft and supplying planes worldwide to allow the growth of passenger air travel and to boost U.S. exports.
...
“Whenever the government is seeking to enhance exports, usually you’re going to find that Boeing is heavily involved in whatever initiative they’re carrying out,” said Andrew Hunter, a defense industry expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “That was true in the Obama administration, and it’s true in the Trump administration.”
...
“The risk is obviously that when agencies that are regulatory in nature work closely with a company over a long period of time, the concern is that it could undermine its independence,” Hunter said.

After the accident last Sunday Boeing used its political connections to prevent the grounding of the 737 MAX. Only after all other countries prohibited further flights did the U.S. join in. It was the president, not the FAA, who announced the decision.

The new reports about the outsourcing of FAA safety analyses to Boeing itself, and of the inappropriate certification process, add to the impression that the FAA can no longer be trusted. Even if it certifies Boeing's patch-up solution for the MCAS problem other regulators will disagree.

That then will become a severe political problem. Trump's trade negotiations with China depend on the Chinese willingness to buy a large number of Boeing planes. If the Chinese regulators, who were the first to ground the MAX, do not accept the solution Boeing provides, those trade negotiations will go nowhere.

It is clear than that Boeing will have to provide a better solution. The U.S. government will have to strengthen its aviation regulator and will have to protect it from political pressure. Should either not happen Boeing's role in the international airline business will be severely damaged.

Posted by b on March 17, 2019 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

Comments
next page »

The FAA wasn't keeping Boeing in check, Boeing was keeping the FAA in check.
Banks failing, Boeing failing, lives lost, lives wrecked, who cares
Regulatory Capture indeed. Neoliberal Capitalism. The Market knows best.
Externalities. What's our stocks doing.

Well feed Boeing to the market then.

Instead we all know what will happen: next week Trump will announce a special
aid package for poor Boeing, to help it improve its manufacturing and certification
processes.

Posted by: bjd | Mar 17, 2019 12:55:20 PM | 1

Profit over people. It's as simple as that. I work for Boeing on the 787. From my view, Boeing completely owns the FAA.

Posted by: Zim | Mar 17, 2019 1:00:28 PM | 2

So if the sensors are failing. Who makes the sensors, and who installs the sensors?
Also, how hard is it to place an over-ride to get the MCAS out of the picture during take-off?

Posted by: Kupkee | Mar 17, 2019 1:01:13 PM | 3

That is not the whole of it. In the past, many countries have accepted that certification by the FAA was a good enough reason to accept the plane as fit to use. If it turns out (or is realised)that the FAA is really Boeing under an alias an awful lot of certifications are going to be suspect.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Mar 17, 2019 1:03:15 PM | 4

So in essence, the design was a hasty lash-up, the safety corrections were a hasty bodge-up, big corporations can't be trusted to put safety before the bottom line and the regulators can't be trusted to do their job properly because corporations are too powerful. Who could have imagined?

Posted by: MarkU | Mar 17, 2019 1:05:15 PM | 5

Thanks for the ongoing reporting of this b.


I think it may crash "the system"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 17, 2019 1:07:44 PM | 6

Brilliant B. That's what real journalism is about.

The Boeing case could have a massive and worrying impact on the development of relations between the usa and China.

Posted by: Pnyx | Mar 17, 2019 1:25:52 PM | 7

Corporate-ocracy at its worst.

Posted by: Paul Randall | Mar 17, 2019 1:26:22 PM | 8

Excellent follow-up report, b! Thanks very much! Clearly an excellent case of putting Profit over People. And the current situation guarantees that Profit over People will continue to win, which as psychohistorian alludes to points to a 100% morally dysfunctional system that must be replaced. Ultimately, that means the Outlaw Nature of the USA must be eliminated for that's where the source of the dysfunction lies. The result is essentially as David Korten outlined in When Corporations Rule the World. And as myself and others have argued, changing the directions within Corporate Charters--to support humanity and the environment first and foremost prior to shareholder consideration--must occur for the dysfunctional system to be altered.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 17, 2019 1:28:52 PM | 9

Excellent b, thank you.

Wonder where the troll "pilots" are now lol.

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 17, 2019 1:50:07 PM | 10

There is an excellent analysis over at Zero-hedge.(https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-17/best-analysis-what-really-happened-boeing-737-max-pilot-software-engineer).

A few other people may have a say as to if and when the 737Max will fly again:
- Passengers: Who is going to want to get on a clearly defective airplane that was not properly certified.
- Air Lines: Will open themselves up to massive law-suits if they fly this plane again with out ensuring that it is properly certified. Any accident would be fatal for the air-line.
- Lawyers: The litany of failures that led to the deaths of 350 people will expose Boeing (and possibly the FAA) to massive legal jeopardy.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Mar 17, 2019 1:58:01 PM | 11

this was not so much a failure on boeings part but more a failure of us all we all demand cheap flights whenever wherever whatever we demand perfection we demand rolls royce bentley quality for a skoda fee.
this was a failure of vision and trust if a saleman sell you a mclaren or a ducatti the assumption is the buyer is serious and knows what he is doing.the mistake is in assuming the airline companies would train youths to fly state of the art systems.

a collective failure in many ways for all of us who demand bargain basement a struggling company doings it's best in s tough environment should not be singled out we must demand are leaders charge a more sensible price for are travela and support the aeroplains with mooney know object safety recirds like el al, british airways and united airlines.

third world governments need to send cock sure young pilots to usa,uk and tel aviv for proper training

Posted by: conaire | Mar 17, 2019 2:26:48 PM | 12

The MCAS is there to prevent stalls caused by a large angle of attack (AOA) to become unrecoverable. Unlike the 737 NG, the 737 Max 8 (with MCAS turned off) will naturally pitch up, instead of down, when it stalls due to high AOA.

This is due to the fact that, despite the advertising, the aerodynamic characteristics of the Max are quite different from the NG. The large nacelles at the front of the wings provide lift at high speeds, performing like (unintended) canards. As they are placed forward the centre of mass, they add a pitch up moment. These "canards" are poorly designed, in the aerodynamic sense, because they should stall at a lower AOA than the wings. If that were so, the plane would tend to pitch down right before the stall (instead of up), making the stall more easily recoverable. The MCAS has been put there to fake the stable flight recovery characteristics of the 737 NG, that the MAX does not naturally enjoy.

Posted by: joaopft | Mar 17, 2019 2:56:58 PM | 13

conaire

You do know that BA puts 200 hour pilots in the right seat of "state of the art systems" don't you? They, along with many airlines outside the US, run ab-initio cadet programs that takes people from zero hours to airline flying. Many "third world" airlines already send their pilots to the US and UK for training. El-Al pilots also train in the US, not Tel Aviv, so there isn't much point sending anyone there for training.

Posted by: Sampa | Mar 17, 2019 3:09:38 PM | 14

It's the Monsanto Syndrome. In house "safety tests" to push a toxic product. It's about the dollars. Somebody else gets to clean up the mess.

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Mar 17, 2019 3:11:21 PM | 15

conaire
So Boeing is a struggling company doing it's best in a tough environment and is being unfairly singled out? That's hilarious.

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 17, 2019 3:12:39 PM | 16

karlof1
Congress makes any meaningful reform impossible, I think what we need in the US is a complete transformation rather than a reformation of the current system.

Posted by: morning dove | Mar 17, 2019 3:15:45 PM | 17

Conaire, amazingly tries to effectively blame the victims-"for wanting cheaper travel". This parallels the outrageous comment by a racist Australian senator blaming the victims of the terrorist assault on Christchurch NZ"Muslim immigration" and is just as sickening response.

Posted by: Antipropo | Mar 17, 2019 3:22:31 PM | 18

conaire at #12 is the resident surrealist poet. He posts under numerous whimsical names. You can tell his posts by the deliberate mis-spellings, and the exactly 180-degree wrongness of his assertions. Sometimes he is quite witty.

Don't get caught up in thinking it's real, or trying to respond.

Posted by: Grieved | Mar 17, 2019 3:24:33 PM | 19

@9 karloff

The USA is not the source of the dysfunction, look in the mirror. Each of us with internet access and a device are well in the top half of the pyramid scheme.

Posted by: Rae77 | Mar 17, 2019 3:57:04 PM | 20

Reporting problems will result in threats to be shot:

problems with Boeing 737 next generation with structural dangers reported on sbs datline australia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWxxtzBTxGU

Posted by: Trond | Mar 17, 2019 3:58:52 PM | 21

dh-mtl @11

The ZH link fails, I suspect due to the ). at the end.

Posted by: JohninMK | Mar 17, 2019 4:01:14 PM | 22

It seems that the 737MAX can have two AoA sensors with a warning light if they mismatch, its just that the second is an optional extra, no doubt for more money. Its just that airlines had to pay extra for real safety. Safety caries a price on the Boeing price list.

Just hope for Boeing that they installed the wiring for the second sensor on all MAX aircraft. Like car manufactureres do for many of their options.

Posted by: JohninMK | Mar 17, 2019 4:25:29 PM | 23

@ Trond #21

Thanks for that video. I'll confess it didn't do my blood pressure any good. What the 8-year-old show demonstrated is that Boeing has been cutting corners for a long time. And the FAA has been covering for it - for an equally long time. The last part about the FAA "expert" allowing his sworn tesimony to be drafted by a Boeing lawer was just stunning.

So it's not surprise at all the US of A was the last country to stop flying the 737 MAX.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Mar 17, 2019 4:56:52 PM | 24

Apologies for the long post.

b.s analysis is excellent from a technical and scientific point of view. But it suggests that Boeing has always benefitted from regulatory capture when for decades Boeing did not need regulatory capture because it built superb aircraft with double and triple redundancy mechanisms on all key systems. The 747 is still flying fifty years later and has had remarkably few accidents.

What few people seem to understand and what “psycohistorian” is always alluding to is that a revolution occurred when investment banking took over industry and almost everything else in the 1980s and 1990s. After 1997 Wall Street began to run Boeing, not the engineers that had always run the company (the exception being Bill Allen, its most brilliant CEO, who trained as a lawyer). Rather than regulatory capture Boeing’s problem has been Wall Street capture under the guise of creating shareholder value.

In 1987 Wall Street first came banging on Boeing’s door in the considerable shape of takeover artist and Texan mafia redneck T. Boone Pickens. Though his attempt was rebuffed Boeing felt forced into accepting the Wall Street shock doctrine to avoid another more powerful takeover attempt (GE under Jack Welch). Plans for new planes were frozen, R&D spending was slashed and 50,000 workers were laid off. Management consultants and MBAs flooded the place and so many new systems were in operation that staff could hardly remember what the acronyms stood for - WCC, the five S’s. JIT, DBT’s and AIWs to name just a few – all with the aim of cutting costs and employee numbers. So great was the employee cull that the whole place came to a juddering halt and no planes were built for several weeks in 1997 at a cost of $2.6 billion.

Wall Street loves what it calls M&Es (Mergers and Acquisitions) because it makes a hefty profit off each deal and it is a good way to achieve rapid earnings growth. So on Wall Street orders Boeing bought the ailing McDonnell Douglas (makers of the ill-fated DC10) in 1997 to gain income from MDD’s miltary contracts. MDD boss Harry Stonecipher, who effectively took over Boeing, had been a Jack Welch (Mr Shareholder Value ) disciple for twenty years and had helped Jack eviscerate employee numbers and turn GE from an engineering company to a vast conglomerate with its own massive financial services arm. Just check out the parlous state of GE now!

But Boeing's commercial aircraft division was still not producing the expected results for the Street. Wall Street advisors decided that there was something unique in Boeing's culture that resisted the imposition of the new culture, and that the ties between management and staff were so deep and ingrained that only a physical separation could offer the distance and the anonymity necessary to “shake the company up”. So it was decided to move HQ to Chicago, which boasted a well-developed financial sector where Condit and Stonecipher might find the sort of contacts befitting a company that was fast becoming a finance-driven business (Muellerleile, 2009). Employees in Seattle were stunned and morale sank to an all-time low.

Whereas previous CEOS had lived in modest middle class homes and travelled on Boeing commercial planes, Stonecipher and Condit treated themselves to luxury houses and corporate jets. The separation was complete. Now, twenty years up the line, the results of such greed and criminality are plain for all to see.

Posted by: Lochearn | Mar 17, 2019 4:57:50 PM | 25

Rae77 @20--

Strawman Hogwash makes your reply stydebris. The moral dysfunction of placing profit over people existed well before the rise of computers and its connective hardware. Indeed, it existed well before the formation of the Abrahamic religions, which we all recognize today as the Zero-sum Monopoly Game.

morning dove @17--

Hmm... how do you differ from mourning dove @16?

We've had both discussions--reformation versus total transformation--off and on here over the past several years. Yes, Congress is part of the problem; however, it's been proven through historical experience that the Congressional problem can be overcome. IMO, to have any meaningful chance to implement either requires an evolution in the Public's Moral Compass accompanied by a collective Epiphany that the Public has a Moral Duty to act.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 17, 2019 5:17:02 PM | 26

I think there is still more to come out. That the fix for the stall problem was so severe it is likely the flight instability problem MCAS was designed to fix is worse than boeing has stated. On one of the flights that crashed the sensor had been replaced, thinking that fixed the nose down problem from the previous flight so problem likely to be more than just faulty sensor input. AOA sensor input is added to density altitude and airspeed input to determine if the aircraft is at risk of stall.
Boeing's bandaid after the Lion Air crash was for the pilots to first get the aircraft under control using the electric trim button on the yoke, and only when the plane was under control, switch off power to the electric trim motor. Boeing instructions on what pilots should do to recover from MCAS fault was also bullshit perhaps only usable if the aircraft had plenty of altitude. In the Ethiopia incident, MCAS tried to dive the aircraft into the ground very shortly after take off and the erratic vertical speed shows the pilots were using Boing instructions to recover control.
Boeing have lied about the severity or onset of the stall problem, they lied about MCAS, and even their bandaid patch after Lion Air was bullshit.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 17, 2019 5:20:35 PM | 27

@ Lochearn with the great historical summary of the financialization of Boeing....

THANKS!!! I am still too ADD to do more than allude, as you say, to the problem

I am hoping soon that will change for me.....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 17, 2019 5:20:51 PM | 28

Kupkee @ 3: The aircraft manufacturers install the angle-of-attack (AoA) sensors on the planes themselves. Airbus jets have three AoA sensors: two in front on either side of the cockpit and the third sensor is placed near the tail section. According to some information at the link below, data from the two front sensors will display on the pilots' computer only if they agree (the computer does the comparisons first). Data from the third sensor will display if the front sensors' data disagree.
https://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/19215/how-many-angle-of-attack-sensors-does-the-airbus-a-320-neo-have

The Boeing 737s have two AoA sensors and on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets, one sensor is attached to the MCAS.
https://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/61011/how-many-aoa-sensors-does-the-737-max-have

Incidentally the Lion Air jet that crashed last year had a defective AoA sensor that engineers in Denpasar repaired (or tried to repair) before it flew to Jakarta. The following day was when the jet flew on its last flight. The defective sensor was apparently the one attached to the MCAS.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-08/lion-air-flight-had-crucial-sensor-replaced-prior-to-fatal-crash/10475468

The pilots can deactivate the MCAS only if they know it is there in the first place. That is the crux of the issue behind the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines jet crashes: did the original manuals issued to Boeing 737 jets make any mention of the MCAS and say how much training they would need to be able to disable it if they had to?

Posted by: Jen | Mar 17, 2019 5:25:29 PM | 29

Lochern @25--

Excellent comment! I tried to note the importance of the analog provided by the 1987 movie Wall Street to the happenings at Boeing. Clearly the Art imitating Life example was lost on all too many people.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 17, 2019 5:25:37 PM | 30

Peter AU 1 @27--

IMO, to use those engines, the airplane must be designed around them, which means the MAX line is dead--Kaput. Will the corner-cutting kill Boeing? Perhaps. If I were a shareholder, I'd sue.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 17, 2019 5:33:05 PM | 31

karlof1 30
Been there done that when making mods to the mad max machine I flew. I am now looking at the depth of Boeing's coverup. I think both the initial instability problem caused by the larger diameter engines and their mounting position, plus the extent of Boeing and FAA's coverup will eventually be found to be far worse than what we know at the moment.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 17, 2019 5:39:09 PM | 32

Outstanding reporting. The world has turned upside down. It is clear that the corruption of neoliberal capitalism is so bad it kills people. To meet the goal of less than one million chance of a catastrophic crash a third sensor must be added to the flight control system. Rather than punching a new hole in the fuselage perhaps a gyroscope or a satellite-based system to detect aircraft’s flight position in real time plus the fixes listed in the Seattle Times report. Note the Air France Airbus crash in the Atlantic Equatorial Thunderstorm was due a cascade of disasters; input of bad data to the flight radar, icing of the three speed sensors that dumped control of the plane to the pilots, a cherry co-pilot who panicked, and lack of redundant flight controls so the other pilot did not realize the aircraft was stalling. The certification of the 737 Max was criminal. Boeing will have to stop production until a real fix is certified by China and the EU nations. They are in position to get what they want from Washington DC or the last manufacturing industry left in the USA is dead. Yes, the trade wars are over; unless the ideologues are so crazy, they start a real war with China. Corporate control of the USA government must end to address the ongoing corruption, the endless wars, and climate change.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Mar 17, 2019 6:20:56 PM | 33

@ 28 psychohistorian

The word "allude" just seemed to fit the sentence, call it artistic licence, but I appreciate the way you have the staying power to always remind people who might just be dropping in who actually rules.

The Boeing project was part of a PHD I did where I canvassed the people who had not been included in the academic literature, namely the Boeing Engineers Union and Pilots Union.

Posted by: Lochearn | Mar 17, 2019 6:37:10 PM | 34

One has to wonder whether there is a "NO STEP" sign on the AoA vane. Sparrows cannot read and so my deposit droppings on it, resulting in bad readings.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Mar 17, 2019 6:50:35 PM | 35

"The Seattle Times also reports that managers at the FAA pushed their safety engineers to delegate more certification tasks to Boeing itself. "
What the fucking what? Boeing is basically certifying its own products and declaring them safe, and that's all that's needed for their planes to fly?

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Mar 17, 2019 6:59:36 PM | 36

One of several things I admire about our host at MoA is that he seems to have an unerring instinct for what is important. (Churchill really admired this talent in people and searched it out.). I found MoA as a result of the Skripal nonsense and have followed it with pleasure since - so over a year now.

Now I don’t know one end of an aircraft from the other but this thread about the 737 Max has been very informative. I have also followed the story elsewhere.
What MSM is writing is also relevant and I was amazed to read in the London Sunday Times today an article about the affair which probably the best bit of journalism I have seen in a Murdoch title for many a year. It is measured and sensible. You won’t learn more from it than you will read here - but to see the subject treated by the Times with the kind of respect which was standard 20 years ago - instead of the usual lazy, slanted, uniniquistive re-hash from the agencies that they churn out nowadays - confirms my view that our host is right in regarding this as a very big story indeed and the Times thinks this too.

Posted by: Montreal | Mar 17, 2019 7:05:46 PM | 37

Grieved@19 - Not a crude attempt at satire then?

Karlof1 - Congress isn't part of the problem when it comes to significant reform, it is a roadblock. When has Congress acted to bring about substantial reform that wasn't a counter-revolutionary measure?

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 17, 2019 7:44:16 PM | 38

Thanks joaopft @13 for concise explanation of this engineering fuckery.

Posted by: misa2 | Mar 17, 2019 8:12:47 PM | 39

Clueless Joe - That's pretty much the standard anymore, has been for a long while. "Self-reporting", "internal investigation", agency cut-backs...

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 17, 2019 8:32:16 PM | 40

thanks for the excellent follow up here b.. much appreciated...

@19 grieved.. ditto your comment to the newbies at moa..

@25 lochearn.. thanks.. excellent commentary from you as usual..

Posted by: james | Mar 17, 2019 9:07:07 PM | 41

Definitely a bad design and another example of US regulators being owned by the industry they regulate. Corrupt

According to the lead article on ZH the software fix is a farce

“Boeing sells an option package that includes an extra AoA vane, and an AoA disagree light, which lets pilots know that this problem was happening. Both 737MAXes that crashed were delivered without this option. No 737MAX with this option has ever crashed.”

Solution is simple. Mandatory simulator training to handle deactivation of the system and regain control. Make the option mandatory with Boeing responsible for all costs to install.

Posted by: Pft | Mar 17, 2019 10:17:26 PM | 42

Montreal@36

It wouldnt be that Murdoch and the Times has a vested interest in Airbus and/or Chinas national airline, would it?

Posted by: Pft | Mar 17, 2019 10:21:04 PM | 43

Compare this, in terms of value and liability, to VW-Audi's loss after their diesel engine design flaws that were deliberate. This should be something of a greater magnitude; and there are enough factors to force it into a greater loss of more than 10 billion - which makes it a national, US, issue. It allows Airbus a longer and greater share of the world market. It also allows upstarts from Russia and China a longer and greater market share grab option. The likelihood that Boeing/USA will downplay this and be punished for such is very high.

Posted by: JOshV | Mar 17, 2019 10:30:04 PM | 44

Mourning Dove:
Well, I'm not entirely surprised, but still. That's foolish from the FAA. And foolish from Boeing to be so sloppy and not to worry about potential issues.
Now that this whole charade has exploded in their faces, they're in serious trouble. There's no way a big player and a major global economic competitor like China will let this pass. They won't accept FAA guarantees from now on and it will be way tougher for Boeing to sell their new planes there - and probably in many other countries. I wonder if the EU will be smart enough to protect and promote Airbus and make things difficult for Boeing when it comes to European airlines.
All in all, it's qutie amazing, since it seemed that Boeing had at last gained an edge over Airbus and was now the clear leading company.
It's also a bit amazing that, in this matter, it's Trump saw how risky for FAA's and Boeing's long-term credibility it was to keep the MAX flying in the US and basically overruled them; sure, it's embarrassing already to have to follow most of the world's lead, but every single additional day would be more ruinous for all of them.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Mar 17, 2019 10:41:34 PM | 45

Pft 41 "Pilot expertise problem. If the pilots had correctly and quickly identified the problem and run the stab trim runaway checklist, they would not have crashed."

Bullshit. First 'procedure' according to Boeing on a MCAS issue is to use electric trim to relieve control forces. Once the plane or control force is under control , next step is to use the electric trim cutout switch.
According to the piece b linked to, MCAS achieves full nose down pitch in two cycles.
Apart from Lion Air, no other max 8 has had this problem show up associated with AOA indicator or how the software has seen those inputs. Several have nosed over when autopilot has been switched on or off.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 17, 2019 10:52:49 PM | 46

Clueless Joe "It's also a bit amazing that, in this matter, it's Trump saw how risky for FAA's and Boeing's long-term credibility it was to keep the MAX flying in the US and basically overruled them"

More so given Trump's MAGA. I guess returning both quantity and quality to US manufacturing is part of MAGA.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 17, 2019 11:03:21 PM | 47

mourning dove @37--

Define what you deem to be reform, as there's many possible facets. For example, Medicare qualifies as a reform to Medical Insurance and was enacted in 1965. And before that major additions were made to the Constitution with the ratification of the UN Charter. But if you mean reforms to the nature of governance, then you are correct that little's been done. I admire the Bolivarian Constitutional model. I've looked at the failures of the system devised by Madison, et al and long ago proposed solutions--reforms/modifications/remodeling--on this site which were discussed and debated. If I write another proposal, I'll save it to PDF and thus publish it.

I've long advocated the dire need for the public within the Outlaw US Empire to regain control of the Executive, which means also controlling at least one house of Congress; so, we agree on that point. In discussion, we've explored the various methods for accomplishing that goal--they're all difficult and potentially violent. IMO, I feel the tide's turning internationally and thus a tad domestically. As the election approaches, I'm sure this topic will be discussed in-depth again.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 17, 2019 11:45:26 PM | 48

Peter AU 1 @31--

Thanks for your reply and for the exertion you've put to this topic. When one peeks at the immense corruption surrounding the F-35 and other MIC contracts and then looks at the corruption involved in the MAX fraud, there's no hiding the systemic nature of the disease, although its vastness has yet to truly be realized.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 17, 2019 11:51:51 PM | 49

Karlof1,
By reform, I mean substantially benefiting the people via democratic governance. You mention Medicare, but that wasn't really a reform of the insurance industry, more like an amendment to Social Security. Even if everyone had Medicare, it still requires secondary insurance and in that way protects an industry that is a really big part of the problem in US health care.
I'm not sure what the people controlling the Executive would look like, or one house of Congress. I'm very sure that whatever that is won't be achieved through an election, and I'm not going to invest myself in the circus.
The major accomplishments of the government in more modern times, for the benefit of the people, were the New Deal and Civil Rights legislation. Both were counter-revolutionary measures despite whatever benefit they produced. So for me, the thing is - if we have to be on the verge of revolution in order to get our government to even listen to us and pass some relief measures, then maybe we need to realize that this system isn't working for our benefit and needs to be reimagined.

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 18, 2019 12:35:01 AM | 50

Clueless Joe,
Yeah, it's messed up. I kinda think it's more evidence of demise in the US, everything is about short term profits and advantage, almost like they know the ship is sinking and just want to bleed out every last drop until it does. While the band plays.
More and more lately, the US government is resorting to threats, even against it's allies. That Embassy raid in Spain has to be taken as a threat, to everybody. Like they're gonna do whatever the hell they want, like it or not. I have to wonder, if it comes down to it, will European countries really stand up to the US or will they sell out their people? China won't have it, but how many will?
Interesting that Trump's Sec of Defense is a 30 year Boeing guy, and the US was the last to ground the planes.

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 18, 2019 12:48:36 AM | 51

mourning dove @49--

Thanks for your reply. By gaining control of the Executive I mean the required destruction of all the agencies born via the 1947 National Security Act and their kin as they are what now runs the Executive--the CIA would have retained the direct control its enjoyed since 1963 if HRC was elected. To be continued....

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 18, 2019 1:00:30 AM | 52

Does anybody want to hear about Boeing's MAX8?
Submitted by Bisbonian on Fri, 03/15/2019 - 10:34am

Posted by: John Doe | Mar 18, 2019 2:16:29 AM | 53

#2

The problem isn't the sensor itself, the problem is the criminal negligence that leaves the safety of the plane dependent on the operation of a single sensor. No matter how well made, sensors can and will fail.

Posted by: Jason Langford | Mar 18, 2019 2:20:34 AM | 54

From the link @52

"So, on takeoff, really the most critical phase of flight, in between talking to the tower, setting takeoff thrust, monitoring engines for proper reaction, steering down the centerline of the runway in a crosswind, calling out the go-no go speed, rotating the nose to the proper angle, slowly enough not to bash the tail into the runway, lifting off (here is where the stall warning started for both fatal flights, due to the failed Angle sensor...the stall warning shakes the control column, and makes a rattling racket). Start climbing away from the ground, and possibly pushing the nose forward to get out of a perceived stall, get the landing gear up, and flaps up, and BAM, ten seconds of nose-down trim (the system only works when the flaps are up...yeah, you guessed it, nobody told us about that) Trim back, at least some of that, which resets the system (nobody told us) and BAM, ten more seconds of nose-down trim. At this point, you are away from the runway, and the GPS knows this, and you are too low, don't have the landing gear down, and are not in position to land. The airplane has various loud warning systems that go off for each of these things, a mans voice yelling TOO LOW, TERRAIN! TOO LOW, GEAR! TOO LOW, FLAPS!, PULL UP! PULL UP!, repeating these things over and over.

So, one thing is telling you to pull up, and the stick shaker is telling you to push forward, and for your entire flying career the most dangerous, immediate action problem is a stall at low altitude...but somehow you are to put that all aside, and calmly turn off the electric trim switches."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 18, 2019 2:41:30 AM | 55

On Thursday Captain C.B. Sully Sullenberger, who successfully landed a plane on the Hudson river after a bird strike disabled both engines, spoke out against Boeing's patch up attempt:

I recall reading that 'Sully' Sullenberger's salary at the time of the Hudson River incident was so low (circa $20,000 pa) that he had to moonlight to make ends meet. If that is true then his decision to speak out is going to cost a lot of skinflints a helluva lot more money and loss of dignity than their stinginess cost him. Serves 'em right, imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 18, 2019 4:14:37 AM | 56

One fundamental query that i have is that:
in layman's terms, Boeing 737 MAX has a basic design problem - due to the change in Engine size, its Position on the wing etc - that caused its center of gravity to shift resulting in the 'nose up problem' in flight..

There is a 'Hardware problem' and they created a Software (MCAS) to balance/counter it.. Will this work over the long term.. when the real problem always persist (CG shift) and threaten.. Can this be achieved permanently thru Software fix?!!

Posted by: Seeji | Mar 18, 2019 5:39:31 AM | 57

@12 conaire I am severely unimpressed by your argument.

Your "failure of us all" is, in essence, a plea that the consumer not act as consumers.

There is a market for mass air travel.
Here are the customers, and They Are Us.
And, sure, we have expectations: air traffic has to be both cheap and safe.

If it is then they'll buy the tickets.
If it isn't then they won't.

If an aircraft manufacturer can meet those demands then it will sell its planes.
If it can't then it either goes broke or it leaves that cheap-travel mass-market.
If no manufacturer can do it then that mass-market will simply cease to exist, and air-travel will return to the era of being a luxury of the rich.

That's capitalism, baby.
That's how it is supposed to work.

If Boeing can't meet those consumer expectations then it can leave this market up to Airbus, or to the Russians, or to the Chinese. Nobody stops it from concentrating on building fighter jets, or concentrating on the long-haul freight business.

But what Boeing can't do is to compensate for its inability to meet customer expectations by **lying** that whacking too-big an engine on too-old a wing design hasn't compromised the safety of the 737 MAX when, clearly, it has.

The consumer is king, conaire. But for the consumer to do their bit properly then they need to be able to make an informed choice.

As in: if the Airbus 320 NEO is cheap-and-safe, and the Boeing 737 MAX is just-as-cheap and just-as-safe then the consumer can - and will - be happy riding on either.

But when one aircraft is safe and the other isn't then those same consumers will fly on the former but be unwilling to fly on the latter, no matter how cost-competitive it is.

But the consumer needs to know that.
They need to be informed of that.

And.... they weren't.

They were lied to, and that's not the fault of "all of us".
It isn't even the fault of "any of us".

It is the fault of Boeing.
It is the fault of the FAA.

Both deserve to rot in hell over this, and in any sane world they would.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 18, 2019 6:18:41 AM | 58

Worth noting: mainstream media seems to be doing its job on this. I have read decent reporting about it on my local public news site.

Posted by: tuyzentfloot | Mar 18, 2019 6:24:46 AM | 59

@13 joaopft "The large nacelles at the front of the wings provide lift at high speeds, performing like (unintended) canards. As they are placed forward the centre of mass, they add a pitch up moment."

I have to say I am struggling with that comment. If that were the case then there would be no need for MCAS at all: simply bolt vanes onto the nacelles to redirect the airflow in such a way that it cancels out that lift.

Or is this an effect that Boeing wants to happen because the additional lift from the nacelles improves fuel economy?

If so then this isn't an "(unintended)" consequence at all - it is a deliberate decision to reduce the inherent safety of the aircraft in search of greater fuel-efficiency.


Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 18, 2019 6:34:03 AM | 60

"Failed to account for how the system could reset itself each time a pilot responded, thereby missing the potential impact of the system repeatedly pushing the airplane’s nose downward."

My gut feeling says it is very well possible.
May be even unavoidable in Boeing computer-only-may-aid-human-master philosophy.
And, rather obvious.

So, again, like the misdocumentation, hints at last-time effort to devise any "ugly fix" to patch up the glaring problem, with no time left to think about quality or reliability.

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 18, 2019 6:56:07 AM | 61

B> detailed explanation of the system and the accidents is provided by a professional pilot in two videos here and here.

B! That is one and the same link!
Don't be so hasty. Your missteps are not as deqdly as Boeing's but you can not overrun the time just as well :)

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 18, 2019 6:59:35 AM | 62

@56 "in layman's terms, Boeing 737 MAX has a basic design problem - due to the change in Engine size, its Position on the wing etc - that caused its center of gravity to shift resulting in the 'nose up problem' in flight"

I don't quite understand how having the CoG too far forward results in a "nose up problem". My layman's commonsense would make me think that this would create a "nose down problem" because the weight is too far forward.

Are you sure it isn't the "centre of thrust" that is the issue here?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 18, 2019 7:03:48 AM | 63

FOX's Wall Street Journal Show

The host was interviewing their industry expert who dismissed the need for grounding the aircraft and downplaying the issue altogether. But even if you accepted every word he said was true, if you got past his dulcet tones he was basically saying the following ...

'Planes are so highly automated they require complex SW, SW malfunctions so much that pilots routinely have to kick in manual overrides, pilots in the U.S. do this with ease'

I don't know if anyone else watches this show but I found it funny (in a sad way) that this was the best the industry flak could come up with.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Mar 18, 2019 7:09:25 AM | 64

@Yeah, Right

We can only speculate, since we do not have all the data. But I think that the aerodynamic lift generated by the nacelles is unintended. Otherwise, they would have been designed to stall before the wings, and MCAS would not have been needed in the first place. In civil aviation, nacelles are usually designed so as to NOT generate lift. However, in the Max 8 they moved from underneath the wings to the front of them. At their new placement, they now have a region of unrestricted airflow above them. Note that when placed below the wings, the flow around the nacelles interacts with the high pressure region of airflow beneath the wings.

At high AOA, the theory (and the need for MCAS) suggests that they do generate lift. The MCAS uses the stabilizer to add pitch-down moment just before a stall, which is the standard thing to do. This pitch-down moment can only be explained if it is, indeed, needed to offset the pitch-up moment generated by the nacelles at high AOA.

I should recall that a typical civil airliner has wings + stabilizer at the tail. In the event of a stall due to high AOA, the wings stall before the stabilizer and the plane tends to pitch down, recovering the stall. In a plane with canards, care must be taken to make the canards stall before the wings, otherwise the plane will pitch up when stalling (due to the lift generated by the canards) and become unrecoverable.

Posted by: joaopft | Mar 18, 2019 7:40:27 AM | 65

Kupkee @ 3:

The angle of attack sensors are built into the jets by the aircraft manufacturers. Airbus jets have three such sensors, two in the front on each side of the cockpit and one near the tail. Information from the third sensor becomes available to the flight crew on their computer displays if the data from the front two sensors conflict.
https://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/19215/how-many-angle-of-attack-sensors-does-the-airbus-a-320-neo-have

Boeing jets apparently have only two sensors and the MCAS on the 737 MAX 8 jets is linked to one sensor. The MCAS can be deactivated by the pilot while using manual flying but as MoA says in an earlier post, this needs time to do which the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines pilots might not have had enough of before the crashes.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 18, 2019 8:00:41 AM | 66

@JohninMK
It seems that the 737MAX can have two AoA sensors with a warning light if they mismatch, its just that the second is an optional extra, no doubt for more money. Its just that airlines had to pay extra for real safety. Safety caries a price on the Boeing price list.

Just hope for Boeing that they installed the wiring for the second sensor on all MAX aircraft. Like car manufactureres do for many of their options.

All 737 have two AoA sensors but the MCAS relies only one. The "AoA sensors disagree warning" is a $60,000 extra per plane. American Airlines bought it, others did not. How the salespersons sold that while avoiding to mention MCAS is certainly an interesting story in itself.
-
@Pft @42
According to the lead article on ZH the software fix is a farce

“Boeing sells an option package that includes an extra AoA vane, and an AoA disagree light, which lets pilots know that this problem was happening. Both 737MAXes that crashed were delivered without this option. No 737MAX with this option has ever crashed.”

Solution is simple. Mandatory simulator training to handle deactivation of the system and regain control. Make the option mandatory with Boeing responsible for all costs to install.

It is not an extra vane that Boeing is selling. The 737 has two AoA sensors and the extra "feature" is simply showing when those two disagree.

Simulator training for the MAX "features" like MCAS is currently not possible as no sim software includes the algorithms. Remember that Boeing hid them away. The first MAX sims will only be ready at the end of this year.
-
@seeji @57
One fundamental query that i have is that:
in layman's terms, Boeing 737 MAX has a basic design problem - due to the change in Engine size, its Position on the wing etc - that caused its center of gravity to shift resulting in the 'nose up problem' in flight..

There is a 'Hardware problem' and they created a Software (MCAS) to balance/counter it.. Will this work over the long term.. when the real problem always persist (CG shift) and threaten.. Can this be achieved permanently thru Software fix?!!
If the regulators allow this then it will "work" (until it doesn't) :-/

Much better would be an extensive re-engineering of the plane. The new and bigger engines belong under the wings, not in front of them. But there is too little room between the wings and the ground to fit the large engines. The plane would need longer legs. But to stow those legs when the plane is in the air would require more space in the body which currently isn't there. In all it means an extensive re-engineering of the whole plane structure that would likely require a new type certification instead of relying on the original 737 one.
-
@Arioch @62
B> detailed explanation of the system and the accidents is provided by a professional pilot in two videos here and here.
B! That is one and the same link!

I have corrected the links.
-
@Yeah right @63
@56 "in layman's terms, Boeing 737 MAX has a basic design problem - due to the change in Engine size, its Position on the wing etc - that caused its center of gravity to shift resulting in the 'nose up problem' in flight"

I don't quite understand how having the CoG too far forward results in a "nose up problem". My layman's commonsense would make me think that this would create a "nose down problem" because the weight is too far forward.

Are you sure it isn't the "centre of thrust" that is the issue here?

Two effects.
- At high speed the nacelles create additional aerodynamic lift simply by their form. They are essentially like flaps that extend in front of the wing for low speed situations like start and landing. But the nacelles can not be retracted.
- The big nacelles in front of the wing also disturb the airflow over a part of the wing. Usually the airflow over the wing creates a nose down effect. The nacelles inadvertently prevent that from happening.
-

Posted by: b | Mar 18, 2019 8:08:57 AM | 67

"MCAS is implemented within the two Flight Control Computers (FCCs). The Left FCC uses the Left AOA sensor for MCAS and the Right FCC uses the Right AOA sensor for MCAS. Only one FCC operates at a time to provide MCAS commands. With electrical power to the FCCs maintained, the unit that provides MCAS changes between flights. In this manner, the AOA sensor that is used for MCAS changes with each flight."
http://www.b737.org.uk/mcas.htm

The Lion Air flight had pitch control problems on the flight previous to the crashed flight and possibly the flight before that. The aircraft should have been switching FCCs and AOA sensors on each of these flights. Also, both the Lion Air and the Ethiopian flight increased speeds well above normal after takeoff. I had some thoughts that this may have been because they were getting stall warnings after lift off so increased the power. I believe these planes also have auto throttles that are or can be controlled by the FCC.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 18, 2019 8:31:27 AM | 68

We can all be thankful that the Fake Journalists in the Fake News MSM are frequently required to travel in jetliners to cover the stories their bosses oblige them to misrepresent.
But now that jetliners have begun dropping out of the sky for obscure reasons, self-preservation seems to have reinvigorated their interest in fair dinkum Investigative Reporting.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 18, 2019 8:36:52 AM | 69

Many thanks for b @66 and joaopft @65 for explaining this.

But I still don't quite understand why a *software* fix is required for what is - let's face it - a pretty simple hardware problem i.e. the engine nacelles produce unwanted lift at high speeds that can pull the nose up into a stall.

Surely a simple answer is to bolt something to the nacelles that redirect the airflow to prevent the nacelles from producing lift.

How hard can that be? After all, Boeing solved a much more serious problem of wing flutter in the 747 simply by adding a twist to the outer section of the wing - the "Sutter twist".

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 18, 2019 8:48:38 AM | 70

Both aircraft were tracked at higher than normal speed and very high speed. Just before they crashed.

Auto throttle. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autothrottle#Working_modes

Yeah,Right the simple bolton would require some software and complex bits and pieces to do the job.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 18, 2019 9:26:11 AM | 71

Come to think of it, strapping Bolton onto one of those engine nacelles might be a good idea.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 18, 2019 9:28:38 AM | 72

Chinese aircraft salesmen should be working the phones getting orders. This is a once in a lifetime chance to pickup market share.

Posted by: morongobill | Mar 18, 2019 9:45:56 AM | 73

B: Simulator training for the MAX "features" like MCAS is currently not possible as no sim software includes the algorithms. Remember that Boeing hid them away.

That was not about computer games like Microsoft FlightSim or IL-2 Sturmovik. That was about Boeing-produced huge hardware installations simulating real 737 cockpit with most of accelerations, window views, etc.

Boeing surely did not hid MCAS from Boeing themselves. And i think their sims do know about MCAS. But the 3rd-party operators, who schedule trainings for their pilots, do not.

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 18, 2019 9:57:13 AM | 74

@seeji @57
There is a 'Hardware problem' and they created a Software (MCAS) to balance/counter it.. Will this work over the long term..

It can work, in principle. Military jets fly like this. Airbus flies like this.
It "just" takes to redesign the whole control of the aircraft, from the philosophy of it to each and every part between pilots and control planes.

The system should be from scratch built to be "virtual". Pilot runs some "idealized" virtual model of aircraft, and computer calculates all the motions needed to match the real vehicle to that very virtual "situational model". Pilot does not know if there are some unexpected lifts, he just drives where he wants to, and computer should make reality to follow ideal virtuality.

That can work, that works, but that should be consistent from foundation to the finishing tip.

Boeing made a chimera. 99% of Boeing + 1% of ugly hastenly copycatted Airbus. Did not work well. Could not work well.

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 18, 2019 10:05:45 AM | 75

@ B 66
Thanks. The extensive re-engineering was not the idea of developing 737 MAX. Also '737' as they waned to carry forward the 'reliability' tag.
Making a new structure meaning new plane, which was again not the idea - 'new & improved' was the idea, also to place an alternate version to Airbus's A320 Neo "soon", which as it looks now have cost dearly.

The 'new & improved version' on the same 'platform' costs fraction of the development cost of a brand new plane.

Boeing need to develop a smaller version of 787 which is all debugged now (they had the problem with the lithium iron battery, that seems to have been sorted out. (recently flew Mumbai-Frankfurt-Delhi on that, good experience).

Posted by: Seeji | Mar 18, 2019 10:14:31 AM | 76

@Lochearn @25, Yes. And we have watched finance capital destroy corporations, the environment, pension funds and the fabric of society since the 80s. We are now watching as Sears and ToysRUs go down for the same reasons.
The finance capitalists don't just spend their loot on private jets and mansions, though. They buy think tanks (to justify capitalism), media outlets (to spread the propaganda), Congress members, regulators and presidents. Their real estate speculation throws millions out of their homes. Their commodity speculation throws others into hunger.

Jeffrey Epstein bought 14 y.o. girls. The Safari Club kills endangered animals.

I don't understand why people have not risen up and disposed of these vicious and dangerous psychopaths.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Mar 18, 2019 10:32:43 AM | 77


@wagelaborer 76.. the problem is not capitalism, its monopolism..
here is an interesting link http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=68600
that describes how the economy has moved from competition in a-just rule based government protected field of play to a field of play where monopoly powers are the only thing government protects.
I call it Economic Zionism.. where the goal is not to compete, but instead to eliminate the competition.. so the competition cannot again compete. Its akin to a fight where the winner, after KOing the opponent, the winner keeps on until he kills the opponent and the trainer and the owner and everyone else associated to the competitor.

@Conaire <=we all demand cheap flights whenever wherever whatever we demand perfection we demand rolls royce bentley quality for a skoda fee. => All the more reason to put the onus on the manufacturer.. if it don’t work don’t sell it. If it works some of the time, and fails occasionally, that's a it-don’t-work issue. ?

@ Yeah, Right | Mar 18, 2019 6:18:41 AM | 58 <=you are right.- but -I think the FAA is not the only problem, we have the FDA, the EPA, dept of energy and the SEC.. none with fail safe congressional oversight . all routinely encouraged to allow that which is prohibited (problem is safety rarely produces more profit); private enterprise, doing governments job
are instances of privatization, and when problems develop, a cover up is needed; elected government solves its problems by creating an agency or blaming an agency so that the problem itself is isolated from the elected. IMO Commercial Air travel should return to the time before commercial flights were privatised. Government priced the flights and controlled the routes and mandated the equipment, tickets between airlines were transferable.
No Agency can over-see private-for-profit failure or fully detect fraud or cover up activity; assumption that it can has always been a joke, because private for profit has a center of economic gravity problem.. it must balance costs against profit, and selling price against competition..to survive; often that balance cannot be achieved. When the Center of economic gravity falls out of the “all systems go” envelop, something always fails somewhere. <=generally the private for profit involves cost associated to risk and safety

Posted by: snake | Mar 18, 2019 11:35:32 AM | 78

> the problem is not capitalism, its monopolism..

....if monopolism is something alien, hostile to capitalism.
If transition from Adam Smith's capitalism to monopolistic (rather, oligopolistic) capitalism was something erratic, some black swan, never to repeat itself.

But if evolution to oligopolism is a natural path of capitalism, then the problem is in the latter.

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 18, 2019 11:42:47 AM | 79

I wrote last week that Boeing is facing a tsunami of legal trouble. Airlines will sue, victims' families will sue, countries will sue; it's going to be bad. What about investors? Investors already suffered big losses after the Lion's Air crash and there are already class action lawsuits in the pipeline alleging Boeing was deceptive regarding issues with the Max 8. Now with the Ethiopian crash, the company's stock plummeted further, and more class actions will be filed. Add to this the fact that not only is the public losing confidence and growing reticent on flying with Boeing aircraft but investors won't pick up Boeing stock even if it's cheaper for fear of the still imminent unknown. There are thousands of backlogged orders for the Max 8, much more than for any other commercial Boeing aircraft that could be cancelled through litigation. Tens of thousands of Americans could lose jobs as well as other Americans working for Boeing suppliers. Uuuh...is there a Trump gov bailout in Boeing's future? Stay tuned.

This is bad, worse than bad. I can only hope Boeing takes Trump down with it. Pun not intended. On second thought🤔...just kidding!😉

Posted by: Circe | Mar 18, 2019 11:48:32 AM | 80

Sorry to spoil your party.

I checked all photos and film footage. I have seen a deep crater, apparently, cut by the Ethiopian plane and many people and rescue workers in and around that crater. However, like in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, there was no plane. Watch the pictures via Google.

There is a mass of energy required to build that crater. However, there are no engines, no body, no tail, nothing that could have created that crater. Well, apart from the Caterpillar Dragline and bulldozer, already on the site within one day. This is Ethiopia, WITHIN ONE DAY.

What we see is stock manipulation and a hoax at its worst. I found some more analysis on Fakeologist.

The fairy tail about the emperor and his cloth is not about the emperor; it is about us. We fail to look and see what is really going on.

Posted by: Nils | Mar 18, 2019 12:12:20 PM | 81

Posted by: Nils | Mar 18, 2019 12:12:20 PM | 80

There is a mass of energy required to build that crater.

Yes, and energy came in 2 forms: kinetic energy from the massive plane nosediving to the ground, and potential energy of the fuel in the airplane's still almost full tanks. Lots of energy, for sure. No wonder the plane almost completely disintegrated on impact in huge fireball, so officials offer bags of charred dirt to the families for burial. The plane was like a huge bomb with people inside. Terrible.

Posted by: hopehely | Mar 18, 2019 12:34:04 PM | 82

As I see it, the following seems to be apparent:

1) To save costs Boeing tried to make changes to the design of its original 737 to be more competitive with Airbus by making radical changes to the airflow around the airframe and thrust, without making the corresponding radical changes to the airframe itself. (In other words, to make the aircraft more fuel-efficient, they made the airframe fly in a manner totally different to that for which it was designed). Because the aircraft then handles totally differently, they added software (MCAS) to cover-up the changes and also to make pilots trained to fly the old aircraft feel as though they can fly the modified one.

2) The end result of (1) is a totally different product, which should never have been approved at all. The aerodynamics of the airframe is incompatible with the way it is flown, and is unstable, therefore dangerous.

3) The certification of the FAA is fatally compromised by corruption compounded with incompetence and fatal conflicts of interest. 737Max will NEVER fly again, anywhere in the world. It is dead in the water. Boeing will try to re-hash the MCAS, FAA will try to push acceptance, but the EU and China will rightfully reject the re-hash as compromised and insufficient. Other countries will follow EU and China, and the US will ultimately be forced to follow.

4) FAA certification of OTHER aircraft, especially other Boeing aircraft models, will be questioned, and other Boeing aircraft will be forced to undergo extremely rigorous, extensive, highly expensive, independent examination in Europe at Boeing's expense plus massive forced disclosure of documents by both Boeing and FAA (including proprietory information that Boeing does not want to divulge). If they don't conform, other major Boeing models will also be banned. Probably Boeing will be given a couple of years or so grace to get European certification (that is, only for NON 737 models), and for those models with rather well-established safety records the investigation will be primarily limited to divulging and study of documentation and review of FAA analyses, but for all newer models and for any models which have had any safety questionmarks, however slight, the investigation will be very rigorous and require extensive new testing. The investigation will be fully justified and safety-based - but will also covertly aim to give unfair advantage to Airbus. Most recent Boeing models including 787 will be killed off (irrespective of merits), by a combination of excessive regulation demands and covert pressure from Airbus.

5) Boeing will ultimately be forced out of the commercial airliner business totally. The only exception is that they might be able to continue limited production of some older models with long-established records and that are in widespread use such as the 747 - but probably as a separate spin-off company sold off very cheaply.

6) The market for litigation concerning Boeing, 737Max, FAA, the two 737Max crashes, certification of Boeing (past and future), certification misconduct, conflicts over certification requirements, and other issues arising out of the 737Max scandal will grow exponentially - in a short time that litigation market (claimant plus defence) will have a value a large multiple of the total value of the entire Boeing corporation. If you have shares in Boeing, fellows, now is the time to divest from Boeing and invest in Boeing litigation companies instead (either claimant side or defence side, as both will make masses and masses of money, but the claimant side probably more so).

7) The writing on the wall says clearly: Boeing = Has Been, No Future. If this scandal had come at a time when the US was not on the verge of self-destruction, and when US international conduct was not so unpopular all around the world, they would probably have been able to pull through, with the help of massive arm-twisting from the US government, massive corruption, threats, etc. This time it won't work, and industrial and financial interests supporting Airbus will make sure of that. In turn, the collapse of Boeing as a commercial airliner manufacturer will seriously impact US interests and further hasten the collapse of the US Empire.

8) Potentially the problems with conflicts of interests destroying proper oversight will extend way beyond the FAA, and maybe even spread to the EU. Deep questions will be asked and answers demanded about corporate interests in the regulation of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, financial institutions, and many other domains where corporations exact unfair and destructive control over government regulation. This is a real Pandora's Box that might explode, and have a massive effect on the nature of government. At the same time there will be a massive reaction from the PTB to try to counteract it.

Posted by: BM | Mar 18, 2019 12:43:42 PM | 83

Does anyone have any links to information and evidence of Assad's complicity with the CIA regarding torture and black sites? I'm skeptical but open to convincing evidence. If there was a CIA black site in Syria, where? Was it in Israel occupied Syria or government controlled Syria? If Assad was partnering with the CIA, what happened that they turned on him?

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 18, 2019 12:47:03 PM | 84

Oops, sorry, wrong thread.

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 18, 2019 12:50:04 PM | 85

@ Arioch 74:
My question was when there is an inherent imbalance.. can this work long term with just behavioral modification (sw) fixes.. as, in this line, there can't be any margin of error..

Posted by: Seeji | Mar 18, 2019 12:51:41 PM | 86

Is there any merit in chasing the FAA decision rabbit down the following hole?
- The US Secretary of Transportation oversees the FAA as well as other transportation-related agencies
- Elaine Chao is the US Secretary of Transportation and also the wife of US Congress Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
- Senator McConnell's former Chief of Staff is now a Boeing lobbyist

It makes one wonder if there were any conflicts of interest at play in regards to the FAA's decision as it pertains to Boeing. I sure hope not, but one wonders.

Posted by: peacekpr | Mar 18, 2019 1:01:31 PM | 87

Some thoughts.

Firstly, I remember big panel adverts at all Indonesian airports about Lion Air’s newest fleet of Boeing 737s on order. The ads claimed that LionAir had on order the newest fleet relative to the fleet size in the World.

Secondly, why do so many people here assume that the problems are solvable? Such thinking is not based on reality. Watching that 8 years old Australian investigative report that Trond @21 quoted (the single best value on this whole thread) convinced me that:
1) Since Wall Street took over Boeing has consistently been and will continue putting lipstick on a pig
2) Many of the Boeing’s flying now have serious structural defects which make them flying coffins
3) The airlines swim in the same bullshit as the aircraft makers, they will pretend that everything is fine as long as they can. If they come out clean, they may go bankrupt.
4) Airbus planes are not totally safe either, but Euro engineering has not declined as much as US engineering due to slightly weaker profit pressure.
5) In this conondrum, pilots, especially the dead ones, will remain the proverbial tea-ladies, blamed by management for all the ills.

In other words, hoping that Boeing will change is equivalent to hoping that US will start paying off its debt instead of increasing the deficit until it finally hits the wall. The natural dynamics of human systems is not self-reperable or repearable at all. What Putin and his team did with Russia after communism is not typical or repeatable, most systems (empires) persist on their path until they collapse catastrophically.

Engineered redundancy is the key in case of Boeing planes. I wish people would understand that all engineered systems are designed with a large degree of performance redundancy. The more life-critical, the higher performance margin must be built in. This is why even catastrophically poorly manufactured planes will keep flying for years before they start occasionally falling out of the sky. Most people here think that the Chinese were the first to suspend shoddy planes because of their commercial interest. But what if all the aircraft mechanics, especially the Chinese ones, know how badly the Boeing quality has declined?

I sincerely feel for our good US friends here, but flying on planes designed and manufactured by a declining empire will only lead to more deaths until the whole system, that is the empire itself, collapses.

Posted by: Kiza | Mar 18, 2019 1:16:21 PM | 88

"Does anyone have any links to information and evidence of Assad's complicity with the CIA regarding torture and black sites? I'm skeptical but open to convincing evidence. If there was a CIA black site in Syria, where? Was it in Israel occupied Syria or government controlled Syria? If Assad was partnering with the CIA, what happened that they turned on him?"

It was a huge embarresment for USA and Canada when they sendt Maher Arar to be tortured in Syria.

He was not tortured.

They asked him a few questions and found out that CIA had arrested the wrong person.

Syria sent the man back to Canada.

Canada "had" to pay Maher Arar 10 million dollars in compensation for the gruesome torture that never happened.....

Posted by: Trond | Mar 18, 2019 1:52:23 PM | 89

Layman's remark:

the idea of replacing the engines, making the plane unstable and making up for it with avionics seems familiar from articles about military jets. A profound difference is that some number of accidents is tolerated in the case of military jets, in most cases the pilots are successfully ejected, in some cases they do not, but that is tolerated to some extend assuming that it leads to better combat performance. Civilians do not have an option to eject and parachute down etc., so the mindset of the designers should be different.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 18, 2019 2:07:26 PM | 90

Canada "had" to pay Maher Arar 10 million dollars in compensation for the gruesome torture that never happened.....

Posted by: Trond | Mar 18, 2019 1:52:23 PM | 88

Any sources? Short web search returns only the "traditional" version of the events.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 18, 2019 2:14:31 PM | 91

@Seeji #85

My uninformed opinion is that practically it can not work well. It would require to remake all control system to Airbus philosophy. And it would be harder and more risky and more expensive, than doing something with aerodynamics (wings, gear, etc) and removing MCAS.
Meanwhile MCAS would be tuned to "suck less", but it still would be totally alien gadget for Boeing.

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 18, 2019 2:25:51 PM | 92

> independent examination in Europe at Boeing's expense plus massive forced disclosure of documents by both Boeing and FAA

Given slowly emerging trade war between EU and USA i think it might be different. EU would give Boeing short-term provisional permissions with no any warranty to prolong them. Next time Uncle Sam would sink his hands into EU pockets like VolksWagen or Bank of France - Brussels-Berlin-Paris would play Boeing card.

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 18, 2019 2:34:58 PM | 93

> What Putin and his team did with Russia after communism is not typical or repeatable, most systems (empires) persist on their path until they collapse catastrophically.

@kiza #87

But USSR collapse was catastrophic. There are estimates it took more lives than WW2 just spread more uniformly and over larger timespan.

So, there is still room for Putin-of-America, but after a very cruel fall of Humpty

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 18, 2019 2:43:26 PM | 94

@ snake who wrote in response to wagelabor
"
the problem is not capitalism, its monopolism..
"
Neither of those "ism" exists in our real world but what does exist is global private finance. Why is that you insist on not writing about reality? And are you paid to do so?

The way to change how our world is motivated is to make all finance tools public utilities and all the God of Mammon negative social narratives go away, profit/greed, usury, unregulated competition, the class structure, etc.

Monopolism....isn't that a board game. This term of Economic Zionism is another phrase of obfuscation that makes me wonder who is paying for not focusing on the reality of our private finance society?

Or does the brainwashing just really run deep?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 18, 2019 2:44:55 PM | 95

Read on ZH remarks from a person that says he is a pilot that Boeing had an Option that could be purchased that had two (2) sensors per computer and a alarm light in the cockpit that would light if a difference between the two existed. IF TRUE,,, it would appear Boeing is now 'selling' safety, Also maybe the foreign were not aware of the 'option'.

Hope this is untrue as a lot of people died unnecessarily but I wouldn't put it past the corrupt corporations and/or Corpgov today.

Posted by: ken | Mar 18, 2019 4:08:01 PM | 96

@ hopehely 82

There should have been a plane wreck around the crater. There wasn’t. Engines don’t burn, parts of the body and wings should have been visible. This was a hoax, like in Shanksville.

You can look for yourselve, try to find the plane. The only picture you will find is an Ethiopian cargo plane, wrong plane but part of the deception of course.

Posted by: Nils | Mar 18, 2019 4:22:21 PM | 97

Posted by: ken | Mar 18, 2019 4:08:01 PM | 96

FAA - Emergency Airworthiness Directive (Nav to > Boeing, The Company > 737-8 > 2018-23-51) (Alt Link) reads:

"AOA DISAGREE alert (if the option is installed)"

theaircurrent article on the subject

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Mar 18, 2019 4:49:11 PM | 98

Just saw an article describing how the US has been protecting Boeing in ways besides a get-out-of-jail FAA card.

Russia switches to domestic composite materials for MC-21 aircraft due to sanctions

Earlier, Russian media reported that US sanctions against two Russian tech companies involved in the production of the cutting-edge medium-range jet airliner had cut off access to US and Japanese-made components necessary for the plane's revolutionary composite wing design. This reported by Sputnik.
That's from last month. A new headline is interesting:

Substitute for Boeing Max? Russian MC-21 passenger jet to debut at MAKS 2019 Air Show

This will be an uphill battle, but with two Max crashes, it's no longer impossible. By the way, the Russians and Chinese have a joint venture going to build a competitor (CRAIC CR929) for the Boeing Dreamliner. No doubt this one will run into "sanctions" problems too.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Mar 18, 2019 6:16:55 PM | 99

i have a reltive high up in the idf he is an aerospaces expert and a cousin that was an isis space cadet not the terro ists but the space stations
when the usa still had rockets to blast through the ferments into geoengineering orbit below the van allen belts.
they told me that israel made the turkey f35 into a woop ass bird it is today and if boeing would use are experts in tel aviv we could help them destroy airbus but that the greedy folks in boing do not want to give us a peace of the company.

aeroplains security is a dangerous buisiness and protection wrackets are needed so things do not fall off or over by accidents.

the guy above saying the plain is not in the whole like shanksville the plane is probably very deep down under maybe near the earths magma crusty core

Posted by: shirley | Mar 18, 2019 9:31:01 PM | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.