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April 05, 2019

Ethiopian Airline Crash - Boeing Advice To 737 MAX Pilots Was Flawed

The preliminary report on the March 10 Ethiopian Airline crash shows that the advice given by the FAA and Boeing to 737 MAX pilots was incomplete. The pilots followed the advice but it was phyisically impossile for them to bring the plane back into a stable flight.

In October 2018 a brand new Boeing 737 MAX airplane, flown by the Indonesian Lion Air airline, crashed into the sea shortly after take off. 189 people died. An investigation found that Boeing had added a 'maneuver characteristics augmentation system' (MCAS) to the MAX that could directly influence the stabilizer, a primary flight control surfaces, but based its decisions on the input of only one sensor. When the sensor failed the system went wild and destabilized the airplane.

Neither the pilots nor the airlines knew about the system. The regulators. which certified the plane as safe to fly, were misinformed about it. They had directed Boeing to include the new system into training material for the pilots which Boeing, for commercial reasons, did not do.

After the Lion Air crash the Federal Aviation Administration issued an Airworthiness Directive 2018-23-51 which adviced 737 MAX pilots how to handle an MCAS failure.

full picture

The FAA told 737 MAX pilots to use the Stabilizer Trim Cutoff switches to interupt the power supply for the system's actuator, a motor driven jackscrew in the back of the airplane. The pilots should then use the manual trim wheels in the cockpit, which move the jackscrew and stabilizer via steel cables, to righten the aircraft.

On March 10 a 737 MAX flown by Ethiopian Airline crashed shortly after take off. 157 people died. Radar data and debris found showed that the cause was likely a similar MCAS failure as had happened on the Indonesian Lion Air flight.

All 737 MAX planes were grounded with the U.S. being the last country to order it.

Some U.S. pilots, as well as some commentators here, publicly blamed the darker skin pilots for not using the simple procedure the FAA had put out: "Why didn't they just flip the switches? Stupid undertrained third-world dudes."

It now turns out that the well trained and experienced pilots on the Ethiopian Airline flight did exactly what Boeing and the FAA told them to do. From the Ethiopean Airlines press release (pdf):

The preliminary report clearly showed that the Ethiopian Airlines pilots who were commanding Flight ET 302/10 March have followed the Boeing recommended and FAA approved emergency procedures to handle the most difficult emergency situation created on the airplane. Despite their hard work and full compliance with the emergency procedures, it was very unfortunate that they could not recover the airplane from the persistence of nose diving.

The procedure Boeing and the FAA advised to use was insufficient to bring the aircraft back under control. It was in fact impossible to recover the plane. The possibility of this to happen was discussed in pilot fora and on specialized websites for some time.

The MCAS system moves the front of the stablizer up to turn the nose of the airplane down. The plane then decends very fast. The aerodynamic forces (the "wind") pushing against the stabilizer gets so strong that a manual counter-trim becomes impossible.

Avionics engineer Peter Lemme details the physics involved in this.

via Seattle Times - full picture

Lemme concludes:

With the 737MAX cutout switches, MCAS runaway is stopped by throwing both switches, losing electric trim altogether. In this case, the flight crew must rely on manual trim via turning the trim wheel/crank. As discussed above, the manual crank can bind up, making flying much more difficult.

Bjorn Fehrm, a senior engineeer and pilot now writing at Leeham News, came to a similar conclusion:

[We] can now reveal how it’s possible the aircraft can crash despite using the Cut-Out switches. To verify, we ran it all in a simulator together with MentourPilot Youtube channel over the last days.
At a miss-trimmed Stabilator, you either have to re-engage Electric trim or off-load the Stabilator jackscrew by stick forward, creating a nose-down bunt maneuver, followed by trim.

Stick forward to trim was not an option for ET302, they were at 1,000ft above ground. According to The Wall Street Journal, the ET302 crew re-engaged electrical trim to save the situation, to get the nose up. It was their only chance. But too late. The aggressive MCAS kicked in and worsened the situation before they could counter it.

On the FAA's Airworthiness Directive Fehrm writes:

Nowhere is it described the trim could be impossible to move if the Cut-Out switches were cut at the slightest miss-trim at the speeds flown. And there is no warning on when to move the Cut-Out switches, the checklist says “Cut, then trim manually.” This is not the whole truth.

An detailed analysis of the flight recorder data as documented in the preliminary crash report confirms the conclusions:

The high speed of 340kts indicated airspeed and the trim at 2.3 units causes the Stabilator manual trim to jam, one can’t move it by hand. The crew is busy trying to hand trim the next two minutes but no trim change is achieved.

via Leeham News - bigger

The pilots then do the only thing possible. They reengage the electric stabilizer trim to righten the aircraft.

But the aggressive MCAS, trimming with a speed 50% higher than the pilot and for a full nine seconds, kicks in at 8 with a force they didn’t expect. Speed is now at 375kts and MCAS was never designed to trim at these Speed/Altitude combinations. Dynamic pressures, which governs how the aircraft reacts to control surface movements, is now almost double it was when last MCAS trimmed (Dynamic pressure increases with Speed squared).

The Pilots are thrown off their seats, hitting the cockpit roof. Look at the Pitch Attitude Disp trace and the Accel Vert trace. These are on the way to Zero G and we can see how PF loses stick pull in the process (Ctrl Column Pos L). He can barely hold on to the Yoke, let alone pull or trim against.

His reduced pull increases the pitch down further, which increases the speed even more. At 05.45.30 the Pilots have hit the seats again (Accel Vert trace and Ctrl Columns force trace) and can start pulling in a desperate last move. But it’s too late. Despite them creating the largest Control Column movement ever, pitch down attitude is only marginally affected.

The pilots and their passengers lose the fight:

It’s easy to say “Why didn’t they trim then?”. Because they are going down at 20 degrees nose down (which is a lot, a normal landing approach is 3°) and at 400kts. Then you just pull for all you have. And the aircraft is not reacting to the largest Control Column displacement since takeoff. This makes them pull even harder, the aircraft is unresponsive and they are fighting for theirs and all the passenger lives.

A diligent safety anlysis would have predicted this outcome. Neither Boeing nor the FAA seems to have done such after the first 737 MAX crashed. They provided an Airworthiness Directive with procedures that were insufficiant to correct the system induce misbehavior.

Moreover their description of the MCAS was incomplete. It is only now known that the MCAS trims the stabilizer at a speeed of 0.27 units (degrees) per second while the pilots electric trim moves the stabilizer at only 0.18 units per second:

"It's like a Tasmanian devil in there," says Dennis Tajer, a 737 pilot and communications chair for Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines' pilots.
If MCAS keeps tripping, and if pilots do not shut off electric trim entirely, the result is what Tajer describes as a two-steps-back, one-step-forward scenario, with MCAS maintaining an edge.

"The MCAS knows but one speed, which is 0.27, which is the most-aggressive speed," Tajer says. "If you look at the balance sheet on it, MCAS is winning, and you are losing."

The insufficient advice to pilots given after the first crash only adds to the long list of criminal mistakes Boeing made and which the FAA allowed to pass.

Today the Washington Post reports of another software defect which the FAA demands to have fixed:

Boeing confirmed to The Washington Post that it had found a second software problem that the Federal Aviation Administration has ordered fixed — separate from the anti-stall system that is under investigation in the two crashes and is involved in the worldwide grounding of the aircraft.

That additional problem pertains to software affecting flaps and other flight-control hardware and is therefore classified as critical to flight safety, said two officials with knowledge of the investigation.

The criminals at Boeing again offer no explanation and play down the issue:

In a statement, Boeing called the additional problem “relatively minor” but did not offer details of how it affects the plane’s flight-control system. “We are taking steps to thoroughly address this relatively minor issue and already have the solution in work to do that,” it said.

What other 'features' were secretly implemented into the 737 MAX without sufficiant analysis about their side effects and consequences?

Previous Moon of Alabama posts on the 737 MAX crashes:

Posted by b on April 5, 2019 at 9:53 UTC | Permalink

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"... The Pilots are thrown off their seats, hitting the cockpit roof ..."

I should think that at that point in the narrative, one of the flight crew must either have fallen unconscious or ended up too injured to be able to do anything, let alone fight a rogue MCAS system.

I presume the pilots would still have their seatbelts on, unless the forces generated by the constant battle to stabilise the aircraft while fighting the MCAS system were too strong and broke the seatbelts or dislocated the seats themselves.

As for other "features" that were secretly placed into the 737 MAX jets that Boeing "neglected" to tell FAA or its clients about, what about the "features" that should have been made compulsory but which Boeing decided were optional at the clients' own expense?

Posted by: Jen | Apr 5 2019 10:27 utc | 1

I imagine Boing would be worried if they were not prime military contractor.
They will be protected.

Posted by: jared | Apr 5 2019 10:42 utc | 2

As a layman, my main question at this stage is: "Who is going to prison and for how long?"

Everyone involved in the decision to sell those flying death traps should be tried for manslaughter at the least. The guilty ones should serve prison sentences appropriate for criminals who caused hundreds of people to die for their own profit.

How long a sentence does a poor man get, who kills a well-off tourist for the money in his wallet - or even for his shoes?

Now multiply that by several hundred - adding on, of course, extra years to allow for the Boeing executives' privileged lives, top-flight education, and (above all) the generous sufficiency they already enjoy.

In China such people are routinely shot, which seems the right course. In the USA, while poor people are executed all the time, apparently the wealthy and privileged get a free pass.

Posted by: Tom Welsh | Apr 5 2019 10:57 utc | 3

@Jen - I don't read that "hitting the cokpit roof" as literal description.

@all - I have added a new Washington Post report of an additional software defect at the end of the above piece.

Posted by: b | Apr 5 2019 10:59 utc | 4

Is a direct result of Boing monopoly - they are division of the military.
And why did european agency roll-over?
Will this warrant cancellation of orders?

Posted by: jared | Apr 5 2019 11:01 utc | 5

Oh, and the people at the FAA need to be tried in a criminal court too. Not only were they criminally negligent - they did it while being generously remunderated by the taxpayer.

Perhaps a few years as galley slaves would be appropriate punishment - to teach them not to be lazy.

Posted by: Tom Welsh | Apr 5 2019 11:09 utc | 6

The info in the graphic "explaining" the operational effects of Horizontal Stabiliser movements is WRONG and twice says "a small downward force pushes the nose down". It doesn't. ANY downward force on the tailplane of ANY aeroplane will tend to push the nose UP.
(I built many flight-capable model planes from kits when I was a kid).
If there is a more complex set of dynamics at play in this faulty "explanation" which makes the faulty claim "true" then there's been a serious omission from the info provided.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 5 2019 11:25 utc | 7

This cheap seat Boeing export death trap was doomed from the beginning. Once these
planes nose 'up' it is heading to a crash. Any engineer with a basic understanding of aero dynamic/physics knows this. This is not about sensor failure. It is about the profit of cheap parts and greed. The insiders at Boeing tipped off the Big Boys that they needed more than the gizmos installed on export versions if they were going to survive.

Tom @3 makes note the Chinese have a great quality control program. Boeing execs will up their kickback slop to US politicians and the final report will say, 'well accidents will happen'.

Posted by: Ger | Apr 5 2019 11:34 utc | 8

You can be sure that if this was Airbus, and two were crashed in the USA, that there would be hearings, threats, congressional investigations, lawsuits, calls for criminal investigations, Wall Street shorting the company, ...and on and on until the company would be disbanded.

Criminal, well yes but so what! Peons do not matter, right.

Posted by: Taffyboy | Apr 5 2019 11:59 utc | 9

Engineering Manufacturing company with a sales division works alright. But a Sales Company with a manufacturing subsidiary does not, as we see.

Boeing is typical for end-stage Imperial Corporations - all show, no go, and get the money quick...

Sorta like GE's BWR's and Fukushima, fake it on the cheap and run with the money to retirement.

Posted by: Walter | Apr 5 2019 12:14 utc | 10

The full 33 pages Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau Preliminary Report from the Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau.

Posted by: b | Apr 5 2019 12:36 utc | 11

Walter: the GE BWR's at Fukushima were designed in the 50's and built in the 60's ... hardly take the money and run. And the destruction of these old reactors was caused by a failure to protect the emergency diesel generators from an entirely predictable catastrophic flood ... simply putting them in a sealed room or up high would have prevented the meltdowns. As concluded by the Japanese government this was an accident 'made in Japan' ... the culture of the Japanese prevented the leaders of the company from correcting this problem, when it was pointed out decades ago. The reactors closest to the earthquake were unharmed because the engineer in charge in that case insisted they be built higher up, away from the shoreline.

The analogy you've used is not correct in any way.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Apr 5 2019 12:37 utc | 12

Now we learn (from Krugman, but still) the American meat industrial complex is also now self-regulating thanks to the Donald.

"Donald Trump Is Trying to Kill You
Trust the pork producers; fear the wind turbines."

I'm reaching for the broccoli...oh wait....the organic broccoli

Posted by: donkeytale | Apr 5 2019 12:59 utc | 13

The Pilots are thrown off their seats, hitting the cockpit roof ..."
Posted by: Jen | Apr 5, 2019 6:27:26 AM | 1

My interpretation is the same as yours. It's an incident report which is supposed to be bland statements of fact - neither overstated nor understated. If the report says the pilots hit the roof then that's what happened (airliner cockpits don't have cathedral ceilings so only inches clearance when standing erect).
OTOH I find it hard to believe that the pilots would unbuckle before they had achieved cruise status and given passengers the OK to do the same.
Seat belts can break but not under the relatively mild stresses generated by violent flight maneuvers of an intact aircraft.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 5 2019 13:01 utc | 14

When I purchase an airline ticket I purchase the risk profile of the airline and the risk profile of the plane manufacturer, because either can kill me.

A mistake is one or two errors. This was one horrible string of deliberate corner cutting, about 7-8 totally disastrous decisions by the management, that could have only led to deaths of people uninformed enough to purchase the travel risk from this plane supplier.

Uninformed just like I was before I recently saw some old investigative footage about Boeing’s disregard for elementary quality in the earlier 737 hull manufacturing and the company’s treatment of the whistleblowers trying to help the company by exposing such wrong doing: “Just put a coat of paint on it”.

Intentionally (spin) or unintentionally, there is too much talk about detail such as software, pilot capability and decisions, training and the lack of it and so on. This only hides the big picture of an utter disregard for the value of human life, traded off for management bonuses and stock holder dividends. It is a complete reversal of the original engineering-focused Boeing which made Boeing an icon that it used to be. Perhaps, somewhere in the Washington lobbying swamp the dividing line between the engineering for killing people and the engineering for transporting people became too blurred. As the profit strategy, on MIC business overcharge, on airliner business underdeliver, and ruthlessly so on both: rip-off money from the tax-payers and lives from the travellers.

Please convince me that this is not a symptom of the rot of the whole society, when an icon such as Boeing sinks deep into nastiest morally debased profiteering. I posit that the society which so easily kills people using bombs, rockets and drones cannot make good quality products any more. This is because killing and destroying is just too easy compared with creating something good. Without the good will of the people in a society to morally rebalance, the societal endeavours for creation can never compete against the endeavours for destruction. In other words, US had become too much about destruction to be still capable of creation.

Finally, there would be one way to get back on the right track - life-in-jail for both Boeing and FAA involved. It is ultimately ironic that in the highly criticised China the shitbags would probably be put in front of a firing squad for corruption. In US, they will receive bonuses and continue on to the next killing enterprise. Until they finally launch nuclear tipped missiles against the creation oriented foreign competitors. Do they still know of any other way to win?

Posted by: Kiza | Apr 5 2019 13:14 utc | 15

Touching and informative press conference with the Stumo family (Ralph Nader's grandniece, Samyo Stumo, was killed on the 737 MAX crash in Ethiopia) and two law firms that filed a lawsuit against Boeing and others. At @ 28 min one lawyer displays an anonymous email from a 737 MAX pilot detailing how the MCAS system can thwart a pilot's ability to recover control of the jet. This email was posted to a pilots' forum/aviation network after the Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October.

Attorneys file suit for family of woman killed in Ethiopian plane crash

Posted by: Avid Lurker | Apr 5 2019 13:33 utc | 16

Boeing has solved all their problems with the 737 Maxxx.

They are opening a fast food franchise and bolting the planes to concrete blocks. No problemo!

Posted by: Ric G | Apr 5 2019 13:34 utc | 17

@Steve...if you say it, then it's true. Of course, if you knew more about it, then you would say something else.

But real expert Gundersen says differently. I worked with some of the GE engineers, and I know what they said.

You are 100% incorrect about the diesels, the problem included primary, ultimate heat sink loss due to the elevation of the pumps, and the pressure vessels we know to be unsafe.

GE BWR's designed in the US by US GE engineers, some of whom quit rather than sign off on the design..."fuze was lit for Fukushima in 1965" >see fairewinds, amigo.

Posted by: Walter | Apr 5 2019 13:45 utc | 18

They're in for it now... Remember when GM CEO Maria Barra went to jail for those faulty ignition cylinders?


This is a feature of capitalism. If left unfettered, it will consume itself.

In a just world, Syria would shoot down an F35 with an S300.


Posted by: b4real | Apr 5 2019 13:52 utc | 19

@SteveK9 12
As far as I understand, the main Fukushima problem was the concrete reactor encasing design which did not cater for the possibility of excessive hydrogen release from the reactor. It worked well when not in trouble, but in an accident situation (who would have expected an accident) the concrete encasing without a release valve became a pressure cooker filled with flammable hydrogen. What a surprise that it went boom!?

What you write here about the water cooling system generators you probably believe in but it resembles the pilot blaming spin of Boeing. The truth has a nasty tendency to end up owned by those with most money.

I always remember how our old friend pharaoh Ramses paid hundreds of stone masons to go around Egypt and chisel out the achievements of all the previous pharaohs and chisel in his. Then even several thousands of years later, when the archeologists finally learned to read hieroglyphs, they only had propaganda and spin left to read. Thus nothing less than the son of the supreme Egyptian deity the sun god Ra, the propaganda paying Ramses became the greatest pharaoh of all time.

Posted by: Kiza | Apr 5 2019 13:57 utc | 20

"As a layman, my main question at this stage is: 'Who is going to prison and for how long?'"
The first to go should obviously be the individuals in charge of the FAA. These people, I imagine, were appointed by Obama. When we look at the regulatory system in the US bear in mind that the current irresponsibility arose in a long descent-since the days of Nixon I suspect-into neo-liberal corporate capture.
Just recently the deceits practised in the fake science which allowed the licensing of Round Up were revealed. The entire system is rotten and nowhere is it more corrupt than in the United States.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 5 2019 13:58 utc | 21

" They reengage the electric stabilizer trim to righten the aircraft"

That's the problem. While the plane may have remained unstable due to the lack of rapid response of the manual trim control and difficulties turning.the wheel at high speed low altitude flight,the planes altitude was still increasing. They should have either returned to the airport or continued ascent in the hope they could restore trim at high altitude and low air pressure.

Altitude immediately plummeted when they rengaged the MCAS and the plane was not recoverable at that point.

Such mistakes should be made in flight simulators . Hence it's lack of training at fault here, and the blame for that is still on Boeing.

Not sure even the flight simulator training will solve this mess

Posted by: Pft | Apr 5 2019 14:04 utc | 22

This whole business is sickening and infuriating. What is especially infuriating is that the FAA is extremely onerous in enforcement of ancient regulations with respect to general aviation. The owner of a small plane is actually prohibited from casually upgrading any of the antiquated instruments, even radios, on his Made in 1975 private plane, and must stick with what was originally certified by the manufacturer as originally constructed--unless he is willing to expend huge amounts of money to find an updated, certified (e.g., "safe") upgraded component from someone willing to go the lengthy and expensive process of having the FAA certify that product, then have a certified mechanic install the certified part and certify it was done according to the precise procedures established. In effect, the FAA actively discourages safety improvements of the general aviation fleet by unthinking resistance to technological change.

Unless you're Boeing.

Having experience with the "other" FAA, this is what's especially dumbfounding to me. While there may be some justification in permitting a trusted manufacturer to establish and certify as safe minor details, anything involving the actual flight characteristics of the plane should NEVER be delegated, and doubly so with respect to commercial airliners. And how could any regulator be anything but incredulous if a manufacturer says "Well, we've decided to make this commercial airliner INHERENTLY UNSTABLE, but we have a whole box of bandaids which should do a bang-up job of keeping it in the air!" WTF!! "Fail-safe" isn't actually a fix or a mechanism, the term is supposed to describe a design philosophy, in which if there is a failure, the resulting condition is still safe (well, at least not less safe). Ditto redundancy, which is why it is unheard-of that such an apparently vital bandaid relied on only one sensor.

It's one thing to build a fighter that is inherently unstable (although even that is perhaps questionable), but an airliner filled with passengers? Ludicrous. And the FAA and Boeing both know it, and knew it from the start. In a just world heads would literally roll, but sadly, nothing real is likely to happen.

Posted by: J Swift | Apr 5 2019 14:22 utc | 23

I already thought that the whole setup had faulty logic. If the plane could be adequately controlled by pilots, "manually", then extra training would be cheaper than introducing an automatic system. If the plane could not be adequately controlled by the pilots, "switching to manual" is futile.

I have a minor experience with "automatic control" when the chip of my car went wrong. In old, old times one has to add a bit of extra gas to start the car engine, and as a result one could flood the engine, then wait a few minutes for the gasoline to evaporate and try again. In contemporary cars you do not press gas at all when you start, and the chip regulates how much gasoline should be injected to the engine based on its temperature. Then after 10 years of happy use the chip "noticed" that the engine is cold when it is actually hot. So I am driving on a windy narrow road and the car accelerates going 40 mph without pressing the gas (65 kmh), 15 mhp above the legal speed limit, and did I mention that the road had curves? Frankly, it happened few times before that, but on a straight road you just get the feel of cruise control. Anyway, brakes remedied the situation, luckily, they could overcome the engine and the chip was replaced for mere 800 dollars.

Here it seems that Boeing designers entered the kludge road and kept compensating for this or that and lost the total picture. Isn't it suspicious that the automatic trim was so aggressive? I also do not understand at all what "manual" means, seem impossible that actual muscle force of the pilot was applied to the tail? Should there be an emergence procedure in which a cabin steward under voice control of the captain adjusts the tail with a crank, or perhaps something like a capstan that could be moved by the entire cabin crew? That would be a true manual system.

My conclusion is that once you rely on automatic solutions because the crew cannot do it in some situations, you must crank up the reliability to something "average million years without failure or more". It is not a ship that can drop anchors, giving a few days to figure out the problem etc. (although this is something that should be avoided too). Boeing setup was something that should flunk students in Industrial Engineering (they have courses on control systems). For example, an internal device with a gyroscope could track the speed and its three-dimensional angle, so if one of external sensors malfunction the system can automatically decide which reading makes more sense. External sensor measure speed in respect to air which is important too, but if the plane approaches the ground, that should be noted to,. With few gismos you could get sufficient redundancy with some "voting scheme" or a "decision tree".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 5 2019 14:31 utc | 24

Just use logic for a moment. Boeing: We're presenting this new (redesigned) plane for certification, and it comes with it's very own MCRASH system. FAA: MCRASH system...what's that? Boeing: Well, the plane has a pronounced tendency to go into stalls and fall out of the sky. FAA: That's an interesting feature. Are pilots going to be able to handle these aggravated power-on stalls (the worst kind, incidentally)? Boeing: Oh, no. There's no way pilots would be able to detect the condition and react quickly enough to save the plane, so we've devised an automated system that is faster than a human can react to save the day. We present MCRASH.

I mean, seriously!

Posted by: J Swift | Apr 5 2019 14:41 utc | 25

From annals of idiocy in design. Some time in the 1st decade of this century the Polish state rail road decided to embrace modernity and introduced automatic ticketing system. It would fabulously till the end of that year when it shut down. Apparently, there was a "sanity check" disallowing tickets to have arrival before the departure, someone forgot about the pesky case of arrival after New Year following departure in December, and the system could not cope with a wave of "illegal requests". Luckily, because the system did not operate that long prior to collapse, there were still people who could manually write the tickets until the bug was removed.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 5 2019 14:43 utc | 26

would -> work, I must say that the setup not allowing to correct the post after it is made is also an example of a "suboptimal" design, many sites give you 10-15 minutes with a permission to edit or delete.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 5 2019 14:46 utc | 27

Berman, you wrote:

would -> work, I must say that the setup not allowing to correct the post after it is made is also an example of a "suboptimal" design, many sites give you 10-15 minutes with a permission to edit or delete.

B hosts Moon of Alabama on Typepad. Typepad costs $15/month, including hosting and support (best value in web hosting for a busy weblog). Typepad apparently doesn't have a post-comment grace period editing option or B would have added it.

I used to be an advocate of MoA moving over to WordPress (I'm a full time software architect/designer who builds WordPress driven web application and a pro video player). There's lots of nice bells and whistles which could be added including comment editing and a much more attractive and innovative design.

Having seen the endless security issues and silly site breaking updates which Matt Mullenweg and Automattic have pushed out over the last four years, B would be wise to stay put on Typepad. Typepad is clunky, it's a bit ugly but it works reliably and is inexpensive. Maintaining and updating a WordPress site costs either lots of man hours or lots of money (good IT help is not cheap).

Posted by: Uncoy | Apr 5 2019 14:57 utc | 28

Tom @ 5,

Obviously you know no one will ever be prosecuted or lose anything. This country is in the hands of the rich and powerful, just note how the great Obama couldn't jail one crooked banker and they all got to keep everything they stole at the expense of millions and millions of people, lives ruined, and they live the high life as some exceptional people, yeah right, God Bless America, home of the biggest terrorist organization the world has known.

Posted by: terrorist lieberal | Apr 5 2019 15:37 utc | 29

Sorry, meant for Tom at comment 3

Posted by: terrorist lieberal | Apr 5 2019 15:39 utc | 30

thank you b! who is going to be held accountable? i say no one...

@13 donkeytale.. that sounds about right... i imagine it's happening in any industry where money is involved in the usa - which is basically every industry.. get rid of the mechanisms for protecting people and just make sure to protect the moneyed interests..

capitalism devoid of morals and ethics is just peachy..

Posted by: james | Apr 5 2019 15:54 utc | 31

Thanks for the comprehensive account of what happened. I really hope this will result in a hefty judicial price tag for the cynicals and greedies at Boeing.

Posted by: Pnyx | Apr 5 2019 16:02 utc | 32


You can be sure that if this was Airbus, and two were crashed in the USA, that there would be hearings, threats, congressional investigations, lawsuits, calls for criminal investigations, Wall Street shorting the company, ...and on and on until the company would be disbanded.

There were two Boeing MAX crashes outside of the U.S. and there ARE now hearings, threats, congressional investigations, lawsuits and even a criminal investigation. Boeing's stock price fell by some 10% since the second crash.
@Hoarsewhisperer @14

It's an incident report which is supposed to be bland statements of fact - neither overstated nor understated. If the report says the pilots hit the roof then that's what happened (airliner cockpits don't have cathedral ceilings so only inches clearance when standing erect).

The phrase "the Pilots are thrown off their seats, hitting the cockpit roof" is not from the incident report but from an interpretation at the Leeham News site. It is not meant literally.

It is based on a suddden change on g-force in the plane which goes from around 1g to 0g when MCAS again kicks in. This has the effect that the pilots are suddenly weightless and no longer have power to pull the yoke back.

Source and effect of this are visible in the diagram.

Posted by: b | Apr 5 2019 16:33 utc | 33

Do airline pilots wear seatbelts on take off. I take it there would be some rules and regulations on this. I have always taken it for granted the pilots would be wearing seatbelt on take off and landing, also if expecting turbulence during a flight.
Impossible to control anything if you're getting tossed around.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 5 2019 17:14 utc | 34

Unless the EU and other governing bodies divorce themselves from our seemingly privatized FAA, expect more of this. Unless, of course, ALL flight safety orgs, globally, are equally corrupted.

I have no idea if global corruption is the case/or worse, but there is now pretty strong evidence that the US FAA is not the unassailable leader in certification protocols that the whole planet has depended upon - up to now.

Posted by: ritzl | Apr 5 2019 17:26 utc | 35

Hmmm.... Proper retribution. Load Boeing's Board of Directors, senior engineers that signed off on the entire MAX project, senior accountants, any others tied to the entire boondoggle, all FAA "regulators" who approved boondoggle, and all others who helped cause the fatalities into several MAX airplanes designed to fail just as the ill-fated jets did manned by the Boeing pilots who approved the faulty design and force them to takeoff with flight paths over water. Yes, proper retribution for the crime. Cruel and unusual objections? No. Proper retribution.

The entire Neoliberal philosophy must suffer a similar fate along with its promoters and their Neocon allies. The Class War has always been deadly. It's high time elites began taking casualties. Too radical? Take a good look at the world and the circumstances of those besieged by Neoliberals and Neocons and try to argue against.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 5 2019 17:29 utc | 36

And, Jeez, if you want to get into the whole "death of empire" thingy, this FAA failure would be among the top tier of exhibits.

Thanks b, and all posters here. This is a truly GREAT site. I recommend it whenever I talk politics in personL

Posted by: ritzl | Apr 5 2019 17:31 utc | 37

Zerohedge has an article that says the pilots should have reduced engine power.

That is a true statement, but with so many things going wrong – you need to understand that it is a basic instinct of pilots to keep engine power up so you can climb and get out of trouble.

Very basic: Power = Good and No-Power = Bad.

So they should have reduced power and done a slight nose down to unload the jack screw and re-trimmed manually. The problem was they had no altitude to work with, just 1000 ft or so.

So the end story is that not only did the pilot do well, but the low-hour co-pilot was also surprising competent. It was team work all the way.

So the bottom line is that our Western system has become so corrupt that it is no longer even safe to fly. And this is just the beginning. It is all downhill from now on. More gender studies and who needs engineers anyway?

Posted by: Meshpal | Apr 5 2019 17:41 utc | 38

Boeing Max 8 was a flying design mistake.
Boeing, You Ain't no Airbus!
You can' t just slap some heavier bulkiet engines on a tinny single body crap that barely flew straight at the first time and expect everything to be right, slapping some hiden software autocorrections on just in case.. and sell this crap all over the world. Enjoy the torrent of lawsuits now!
You ain't no European aircraft maker. They tend to think 2 to 3 design steps ahead in to the future.
You guys at the US cant even barrely ellect a pres. who is right in the head.

Posted by: deal with it | Apr 5 2019 18:41 utc | 39

Apologies to everyone for the thread hijack, but nuclear power nonsense annoys me.
@Walter 18

Gundersen is a very well-known anti-nuke fanatic and a liar. His qualifications are BS. At this point I think you and I can leave it and either of us can read more if we are so inclined.

@Kiza 20

Hydrogen release was an effect from the overheating and meltdown, caused by the lack of emergency cooling. There were no hydrogen recombiners present in these reactors, although they had been installed in every BWR in the US long before.

As I mentioned the reactor nearest the quake suffered no damage, because its emergency generators continued to operate, as they were not flooded. I forgot the plant name ... you could look it up ... it actually served as a shelter during the flood. As a consequence there was no release of hydrogen there (this happens when the zirconium cladding on the fuel reacts with water at high temperature to release hydrogen).

I'm not an expert in reactor design (although I have a PhD in Chemical Physics). I reached my own conclusions a very long time ago, and am not really interested in digging up evidence or providing explanations. There is a mountain of information out there if one wants to look ... and I don't mean Greenpeace (although the founder, Patrick Moore is currently a supporter of nuclear power).

Posted by: SteveK9 | Apr 5 2019 19:26 utc | 40

Oh and btw, about United States aviation related products leading the race in global aviation...

Struggling to produce an effective design for an airframe for the Martian atmosphere (planet Mars) back in the earlier decade, using the top of the line comercial aviation simulation products with aircraft design options bundled in, as a way of researching a NASA info web campaign about flying vehicles on Mars, managed after much trying to produce a somehow reliable generic airframe for that very thin atmosphere and low gravity environments, which it would generaly resemble a mix of U2's and Predator drones frames (twice large than a U2 wing span) but with major tail wings modifications and you would get adequate performance if you flew it inside the enormous Martian cannyons which have a higher atmosphere pessure than rest of Martian surface. Mil air force drones were generally non existant as information back then. The software was the only product FAA approved a license for actual comercial aviation simulation training hours for training of real pilots...End of story, this design came third ...and the actual algorithms in the software decided that an actual UFO shaped craft would be behaving much better in Martian wind/atmosphere... We incorporated the solution of small rockets for generating initial lift for take off and emergency altitude.
FAA and the leading edge researchers decided that the ALIENS WOULD WIN!
I was almost sure that even Nasa people (which names was on the program approval credits) used same software without noticing anything strange before the Aliens stole the win...

Posted by: deal with it | Apr 5 2019 19:34 utc | 41

So the jack screw that manually controls the stabilizer did not work due to high speed. Isn't that what hydraulics are for?

After all, Slim Pickens managed to kick that bombay door open in Strangelove

Hoarse, I also was confused by the reasoning in the Seattle paper. But then again, I learned all I know about the affect of air flowing over a surface in flight by sticking my hand out the car window as a kid.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Apr 5 2019 19:51 utc | 42

To avoid such crashes, training is needed more professionally and, in addition, the worn-out parts of the planes should be removed and replaced with new ones. In the vast majority of aircraft, due to high costs, little importance is given to worn parts, which causes people to fall and get dead.

Posted by: تابلو چلنیوم | Apr 5 2019 20:32 utc | 43

@ Meshpal | 38

More gender studies and who needs engineers anyway?

I think you're barking up the wrong tree there. I wholeheartedly agree with the second (sarcastic) bit, no doubt about that. But the guy who had overall responsibility for the 737 MAX desaster holds a "degree" in "Business Administration". James McNerney, B.A. from Yale, MBA from Harvard, member of Delta Kappa Epsilon - Chairman, President and CEO of The Boeing Company 2005-2016. I have a strong feeling that gender studies wouldn't exactly be his cup of tea. Just an ordinary, boring, utterly predictable, Pavlovian, run-of-the-mill business tosser. He thought he could do it all, and so off he went, again and again. From British United Provident Association (healthcare) to G.D. Searle (pharmaceuticals) to Procter & Gamble to McKinsey to General Electric to 3M. And what the heck, let's add Boeing into the mix with a pay of 30 million USD in 2014 alone. What a spec-taaaa-cular career!

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Apr 5 2019 20:44 utc | 44

Easy to anticipate a consumer boycott of this plane. I wouldn't buy a ticket on a Max 8 flight, and began double-checking the airliner after the crash last October.

Posted by: jayc | Apr 5 2019 21:29 utc | 45

Horsewhisperer @ 7

In horizontal flight the stabilizer exerts a moderate amount of downward force to keep the tail level (so as to balance the torques on the airplane). When the infographic says "a small downward force pushes the nose down" it is merely saying the downward force on the tail was now less than that required to keep the plane level, so the tail rose and the nose fell.

Posted by: bbbar | Apr 5 2019 22:04 utc | 46

@تابلو چلنیوم : I suggest you read the article first, then comment.

Posted by: S | Apr 5 2019 22:33 utc | 47

@SteveK9 40

With respect for your PhD in Chemistry Physics, you are obviously not an engineer. In most societies, it is around the third year of study that engineers learn about redundancy and contingency planning. Therefore, not thinking trough all the possible disaster scenarios when designing life-critical contraptions is simply criminal: Fukushima nuclear power plants.

Perhaps Boeing should have hired a couple of engineering interns to tell them that they must not:
1) slap unsuitable new engines on an obsolete old air frame,
2) try to fix a serious hardware problem using software,
3) override pilots with their lives on the line by the decisions of some software cretin paid by the hour with no skin in the game,
4) hang lives of 180 people on a single sensor unavailable for replacement on an airport in Timbuktu,
5) play the no-training-needed tune when the structure of the product was substantially changed and operator training was essential and so on.

The engineers are blue collar workers, the more so the closer they are to the assembly floor. They have no decision power, they do what they are told. Yet, it is a society in deep moral crisis when the engineers keep silent whilst virtually all basic tenants of the proper design are broken by the profiteers managing them. Doing all the wrong things and expecting the right result? No, not really, just grab the money and run. Après nous le déluge.

BTW, I heard from a Lockheed lobbyist that Lockheed would never do something like this. They only rip off the US tax payers for godzillion of dollars whilst making the best killing machines that money can buy.

Posted by: Kiza | Apr 5 2019 22:41 utc | 48

God,,, What humans will do to save little pieces of paper loosely called money. This is criminal. The entire board should be charged with murder or at least manslaughter. But it won't happen. Corpgov will step in to save them as they're to big to jail.

Posted by: ken | Apr 5 2019 22:50 utc | 49

Absolutely heartbreaking.

It is my understanding, and please correct me if I’m wrong, that the only thing the pilots could have done was to realize — by a pure miracle — that the captain’s AoA sensor has failed and switch to the first officer’s flight computer, which was connected to another, working AoA sensor. Of course, if Boeing had installed their “mismatching AoA data” indicator as a standard feature, the pilots wouldn’t really need a miracle.

Posted by: S | Apr 5 2019 23:01 utc | 50

Boeing is slowing the production rate of 737 Max by 20%. Another chicken has come home to roost. To safely fly the aircraft with passengers, a new flight control system is required with multiple sensors including gyroscopes plus triple redundant electronics. Not just two position sensors as proposed by Boeing which is the pilot flipping a coin in the chaotic 40 seconds to do the right thing while the plane is trying to kill you. Pilot and co-pilot training on flight simulators is also required. If the FAA approves anything less, sooner or later, another 737 Max will crash. Similarly, the Trump Administration is turning over pork inspection to the slaughter houses. A million Chinese pigs were culled to attempt to stop the spread of African Swine Fever but the deadly pig disease continues to spread through Asia. One day soon the contagion will be fatal to humans. Climate change is here. The forever wars continue. The bottom line is that public safety which is the basic function of government is collapsing. Oligarchs are getting rich on the bodies of the dead.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Apr 5 2019 23:38 utc | 51

@38 Meshpal "Zerohedge has an article that says the pilots should have reduced engine power."

From the report: "At 05:39:42, Level Change mode was engaged. The selected altitude was 32000 ft. Shortly after the mode change, the selected airspeed was set to 238 kt."

Then a minute later: "From 05:40:42 to 05:43:11 (about two and a half minutes), the stabilizer position gradually moved in the AND direction from 2.3 units to 2.1 units. During this time, aft force was applied to the control columns which remained aft of neutral position. The left indicated airspeed increased from approximately 305 kt to approximately 340 kt (VMO). The right indicated airspeed was approximately 20-25 kt higher than the left."

Note that the pilots were getting conflicting airspeed readings (the difference would eventually grow to around 50 kt).

There is nothing in the report that suggests that either of the pilots opened the throttles, and by the time the "overspeed clacker" started its warning the pilots had rather more pressing problems to deal with.

I don't quite understand why this isn't addressed in the report: the pilots set the speed to 238 kt, and if they then opened the throttles the report should have said so (it doesn't). But if they didn't touch the throttle then what accounts for the speed being at 305 kt (rather than 238 kt) when the plane started its first dive?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 6 2019 0:00 utc | 52

>>>> SteveK9 | Apr 5, 2019 3:26:36 PM | 40

There is a mountain of information out there if one wants to look ... and I don't mean Greenpeace (although the founder, Patrick Moore is currently a supporter of nuclear power).

No, Patrick Moore was not the founder of Greenpeace:

Patrick Moore Did Not Found Greenpeace
Patrick Moore frequently portrays himself as a founder or co-founder of Greenpeace, and many news outlets have repeated this characterization. Although Mr. Moore played a significant role in Greenpeace Canada for several years, he did not found Greenpeace. Phil Cote, Irving Stowe, and Jim Bohlen founded Greenpeace in 1970. Patrick Moore applied for a berth on the Phyllis Cormack in March, 1971 after the organization had already been in existence for a year.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Apr 6 2019 0:07 utc | 53

Vietnam Vet #@51--

Thanks for confirming that the retribution I prescribe @36 is right and proper as is what must follow. Only one quibble with your comment, the death trap MAXs should never, ever again be certified as airworthy as they clearly are not.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 6 2019 0:07 utc | 54

Meme Change, consider speaking of the

Pentagon Complex.

MIC is unknown. Link to Ike's Farewell early and often.

Speak the names of every contractor, not just Lockheed, etc... Get the list out of them...

Cheers to naming the Pentagon Complex

My very best regards to all,

Posted by: UnionHorse | Apr 6 2019 0:12 utc | 55

> I forgot the plant name ... you could look it up

@SteveK9 | Apr 5, 2019 3:26:36 PM | 40

It was all the same. Fukushima Dai-Ichi (Number One) was the Nuclear Power Plant consisting of 6 "Reactor Buildings"

#1 was relatively small, US-designed US-built one. It had passive residual cooling - gravity-powered water flow from the tank.

#2 was larger reactor in the same Mark-1 containment, US-designed and US-buit. The residual cooling though could not be gravity-driven. It required the pump (or maybe there was a way to set temperature-driven convection, if valves could be put right - i heard it but did not dig into it)

Obviously, USA does not care about tsunami-driven floods: USA has enough soil to build NPPs away from sea shores.

#3 and #4 were those larger reactors in more modern containment, US-designed but build by Japanese companies. Japanese did know what tsunami is, but they dared not to deviate from USA designs until they make succesfulyl working verbatim coopies.

#5 and #6 were Japanese-built after they got experience with #3 and #4 and proived they can do verbatim copies. Those latter blocks were altered: for #1 to #4 shore ground was removed to almost ocean sea levelm as close to the shorelines earth was considered wet and unreliable, but #5 and #6 were instead moved away from the sea enough to earth be stable even on elevation.

When the wave came, blocks #1 to $4 were flooded (with their electric circuits probably located in basements a la Americana, thus immediately got short-circuited with salted sea water), and diesels were located immediately at water edge with all the consequences for the communications. Blocks #5 and #6, located away from the sea shopre and on elevated grounds, and their diesels located near them, were not reached by the tsunami.

P.S. but people still repeat old propaganda about Chernobyl being sabotaged by suicidal operating crew, what do you want... When people read MSM they do not care much what exactly happened, so they just swallow it without labour of critical acclaim. If much later they suddenly grow interested in some issues - their "point of view" is already long internalized, so they do search relentlessly now - but for ideas supporting their pre-formed cognitive bias.

P.P.S. I agree though that hi-jacking Boeing-related thread for in-depth discussion of NP issues would be not proper to do.

Posted by: Arioch | Apr 6 2019 0:27 utc | 56

> it is merely saying the downward force on the tail was now less than that required

Posted by: bbbar | Apr 5, 2019 6:04:28 PM | 46

That was what i settled upon too, in the end.
But the way infographics worded it was baflfing at least.

They probably simplified words to keep the mdigestible for laymen? But well, they overdid, greatly.

Posted by: Arioch | Apr 6 2019 0:33 utc | 57

Ralph Nader on "Boeing's Homicides. Why is it that only he and I seem to understand:


The discussion here resembles that being conducted by Boeing to exonerate itself. The MAX was purposely designed to be unsafe. Nader puts it thusly:

"The overriding problem is the basic unstable design of the 737 Max. An aircraft has to be stall proof not stall prone. An aircraft manufacturer like Boeing, notwithstanding its past safety record, is not entitled to more aircraft disasters that are preventable by following long-established aeronautical engineering practices and standards." [My Emphasis]

Trying to fix something so fundamentally broken that people with priceless lives are jeopardized if the fix(es) fail is so utterly immoral words fail to detail just how deep that immorality is. It's not just Righteous Indignation or even Righteous Indignation on Steroids--it goes well beyond that to the utterly dysfunctional immorality of placing profit over the safety of something money cannot buy or replace--PEOPLE'S LIVES.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 6 2019 0:39 utc | 58

i agree with nader.... thanks karlof1..

Posted by: james | Apr 6 2019 0:55 utc | 59

@ karlof1 with the Nader quote

You know that I and others agree as well with your strong sentiments.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out as a telltale of empire's demise or resilience.

It is not just the 737 Max that I would stay off. Think about the profit mentality that built/allowed the Max to go forward and extrapolate that to the replacement parts for all the other Boeing planes. Do people not understand that the same mentality of profit over safety that brought down the 737 Max is putting other, considered more reliable, Boeing planes at risk....for a few pennies more

Americans are brainwashed into believing that profit belongs between them and good health care so it could be described as a slippery slope to write of 99% of humans not valuing their lives very highly......because brainwashed by TV is my observation

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 6 2019 1:15 utc | 60

There are people in Boeing that need to see the inside of a prison cell forever.
I remember in 2008 during the recession depression seeing an idiot at the beach wearing a Goldman Sachs t shirt. I looked at the idiot in disbelief saying nothing. The next time I see an idiot in SC/Georgia I will not be holding my tongue. "Relentlessly focused on safety" my ass. The crapification continues.

Posted by: So | Apr 6 2019 1:26 utc | 61

Their money and profits are more important than our lives. That's where we are and its all we need to know

Posted by: So | Apr 6 2019 1:31 utc | 62

And the “AoA Disagree” indicator is not even a physical light indicator, as I initially thought, but a purely software feature for the primary flight display! Unbelievable! 346 people had to die because someone decided to charge an exorbitant fee for a few lines of code that basically consist of two conditionals, a timer variable, and a bitmap blit call.

Posted by: S | Apr 6 2019 1:31 utc | 63

On March 12, in a comment posted on MOA, I wrote:

'It looks like the 55 year old 737 air-frame design, which is very low to the ground when compared to more modern designs, is incompatible with the bigger engines required for fuel efficiency.

Being very low to the ground, Boeing was forced to put the engines out in front, which upset the airplane's balance, making the plane essentially unstable. To counter the instability they added the 'MCAS?' control system.

This solution violates a fundamental tenant of design for safety-critical systems. The tenant of 'fail-safe'. If something goes wrong the system is supposed to fail in a manner that preserves safety. For the 737 Max, when the this stability control system fails, the plane is fundamentally unstable. For this system it is not 'fail-safe'. It is 'fail-crash'.'

This is pretty much in agreement with (Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 5, 2019 8:39:49 PM | 58).

I fully agree with the sentiment that this plane should never fly again. I can't imagine any thinking person volunteering to get on to such a fundamentally flawed aircraft.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Apr 6 2019 1:35 utc | 64

@ Meshpal #38

That is a true statement, but with so many things going wrong – you need to understand that it is a basic instinct of pilots to keep engine power up so you can climb and get out of trouble.

Very basic: Power = Good and No-Power = Bad.

This is what I've heard for as long as I've been reading about airplanes. A search turned up some "sayings" popular with pilots.

It's best to keep the pointed end going forward as much as possible.

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

Speed is life, altitude is life insurance. No one has ever collided with the sky.

If you're gonna fly low, do not fly slow! ASW pilots know this only too well.

I've just visited a West Australian newspaper - the one where the brand spanking new Aviation Editor spoke of stupid pilots and unbearably wonderful Boeing. They have a new essay about the Report, but 1) the jackass troll for Boeing has been given a minder in the form of a co-author, and 2) the article plays it straight this time.

Boeing admits 737 software was factor in crashes

The Ethiopian crew performed all of the procedures provided by Boeing but was unable to control the aircraft.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Apr 6 2019 1:57 utc | 65

Just more death by deregulation. What's a few hundred deaths compared to Trillions in profits?

This equation extends through most of the U$A's corporate mindset...

Posted by: ben | Apr 6 2019 2:02 utc | 66

Now with Ralph Nader aboard lets hope that Boeing will have to pay a very high fine

In case nobody came up with this information up to now, also the US Military doesn't let their pilots fly the new delivered KC-46 tankers

The problems of the B737 Max are not a disaster for Boeing, but for the over 300 fatalities.
They lost no shareholder value or return, they lost their lives.
They are also certainly not represented by expensive top lawyers like Boeing itself, who can then mitigate, delay or even completely avert the consequences of Boeing's decisions.
They, the people (who had confidence in American technology/products), crashed on the ground, burned or plunged into the sea without ever having had the slightest chance of averting the disaster.

Posted by: Bob | Apr 6 2019 3:03 utc | 67

@66 ben

"death by deregulation"

Perfect description.


@67 Bob

Interesting story you linked on the Boeing KC-46. The Air Force pilots won't fly it because the loose tools and debris they found in the planes raised doubts about the planes manufacturing integrity. The crisis was/is one degree (of four graduated degrees of seriousness) away from shutting down the production line completely.

What's key is how Boeing proceeded to address the problem: by taking employee time away from production in order to perform final inspection, i.e. quality control. Which makes it clear where the original quality control was lost, by being absorbed into production, to make more product per employee hour.

And this is just one, visible part of the process, where we can observe concrete examples of inadequate QC.

Commenters here who point to these plane crashes as a failure in the integrity of Boeing itself are exactly correct. The flawed plane built by the flawed company was an inevitable fruit of the poisoned tree.

And I agree that one would be mad to trust anything bearing Boeing's name ever again. One would be wise also to look for similar poisoned trees in all fields, and thread one's way cautiously though this perilous, neoliberalized world.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 6 2019 4:01 utc | 68

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Apr 5, 2019 3:51:35 PM | 42

So the jack screw that manually controls the stabilizer did not work due to high speed. Isn't that what hydraulics are for?

By design.

The screw is designed to work within certain criteria.
1.Load,caused by thick or thin air pressure depending on altitude, on the moving part.
2. Speed, which again increases the load depending on the planes speed through the air, on the moving part.

The speed and altitude are known from the panes onboard sensors.

Great load will possibly damage or break away the moving part, leading to an uncontrollable crash.

Hence use of the jack screw adjustment, by the hydraulic system, will only be available within its design envelope of load and speed.

Posted by: stuart dodd | Apr 6 2019 4:25 utc | 69

yeah ben... perfect description as grieved notes...

"@66 ben

"death by deregulation"

Perfect description."

no one will be held accountable...

Posted by: james | Apr 6 2019 4:53 utc | 70

The phrase "the Pilots are thrown off their seats, hitting the cockpit roof" is not from the incident report but from an interpretation at the Leeham News site. It is not meant literally.

It is based on a suddden change on g-force in the plane which goes from around 1g to 0g when MCAS again kicks in. This has the effect that the pilots are suddenly weightless and no longer have power to pull the yoke back.
Source and effect of this are visible in the diagram.
Posted by: b | Apr 5, 2019 12:33:03 PM | 33

I don't want to sound like a fishwife but Leeham's "explanations" are just too sloppy and undisciplined. Is he trying to be funny?

If the pilots were wearing seat-belts correctly, then becoming weightless should not be a big problem because, as in cars, a side-benefit of seat-belts is that they keep the driver FIRMLY in the drivers seat to maintain control after the vehicle has suffered a vertical or horizontal impact which might otherwise dislodge him from behind the wheel.
And I still think my whinge @ #7 is valid.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 6 2019 6:12 utc | 71

@Kiza 48

5) play the no-training-needed tune when the structure of the product was substantially changed and operator training was essential and so on.

... and when the planes crash, blame the airline and pilots for inadequate training!

Posted by: Norwegian | Apr 6 2019 6:36 utc | 72

stuart dodd Bart Hansen

The jackscrew is operated by an electric motor in the Boeing 357, not hydraulics.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 6 2019 6:45 utc | 73

Why the high air speed. Were the pilots using below center of g thrust to try and get the nose up, or is MCAS hooked into the auto throttles.

MCAS trims twice as fast as pilot using manual electric trim, and manually winding the trim wheel was a no go at high HS loadings. MCAS was designed to over ride the pilots and ensure that the pilots could not induce a low speed stall which would be catastrophic due to the nature of the stall with the larger diameter engines fitted.

Two separate cases, FAA charged with negligence causing two separate case of mass death, and Boeing, two separate cases of mass murder. The execs of both FAA and Boeing should be seeing a lot of jail time, but being amerikkka, and it was only darkies in faraway places that died, doubtful they will even get a smack on the wrist.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 6 2019 7:13 utc | 74

@74 Peter AU1 "Why the high air speed."

Yes, that question sticks out like a sore thumb.

"Were the pilots using below center of g thrust to try and get the nose up, or is MCAS hooked into the auto throttles."

The report states that the pilots set the speed to 234 kt, a minute later the airspeed was recorded at 305 kt, increasing to 340 kt as the plane did its initial nose-dive before reaching 500 kt at loss of recording.

If the pilots had touched the throttle during those four or so minutes then that would have been recorded, and that should have been noted in the report. It isn't.

Note also that the two airspeed indicators were giving different readings (25 kt initially, then nearly 50 kt at the end), which to my uninformed mind suggests that there were more things going wrong than just a single AoA indicator.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 6 2019 7:51 utc | 75

@ Karlof1 at 36

Well said.

Just one edit: it's not a class war, it's a race war.

Posted by: The Trueman Show | Apr 6 2019 8:19 utc | 77

Yeah, Right

Read your earlier post after posting mine. Seems that MCAS is hooked into the auto throttles which I suspected earlier in this saga (saga as in getting the truth out of Boeing).
Also airspeed as well as AOA showing discrepancies at the same time, I thing moves the problem to software rather than sensors.

My other thought is that MCAS delegates authority to which ever FCC and display are showing worst case scenario rather than showing instrument disagree warning. The tow flight computers compare all other sensor reading. That they do not compare AOA sensor readings is bullshit.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 6 2019 8:23 utc | 78

@ all including b other than Yeah, Right

One faulty sensor reading is most likely a faulty sensor. Two or more faulty reading is more likely to be a software problem. For some reason most are fixated on the faulty AOA reading and ignore the faulty AS reading.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 6 2019 8:30 utc | 79

It is not so much a faulty sensor, but a faulty reading of sensor inputs.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 6 2019 8:31 utc | 80

Posted by: SteveK9 | Apr 5, 2019 3:26:36 PM | 40

"Gundersen is a very well-known anti-nuke fanatic and a liar."

As opposed to pro-nuke fanatics and liars like you. Just one example:

"Greenpeace (although the founder, Patrick Moore is currently a supporter of nuclear power)."

Moore was never any founder of Greenpeace. That lie has been refuted hundreds of times over many years and many controversies. Either you know this and are deliberately repeating this lie, or else you just recite whatever you read on canned talking-point lists without regard to truth or falsehood. Either way, that says it all about you and your type.

Speaking of those controversies, Moore whom you endorse here has long been a leading climate denier. So I take it you're a climate denier as well, since otherwise you wouldn't cite him as your preferred authority.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 6 2019 8:59 utc | 81

In the airworthiness directive give out by FAA in nov after the lion air crash, Boeing had included the list of disagree alerts that will appear when Mad MCAS kicks in. The Mad MCas crashes occur when the MCAS software has a glitch regardless of sensors.
The spannerman at boeing should have pulled in a few gaul geeks from airbus if they want their unflyable plane to fly by wire.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 6 2019 9:12 utc | 82

Having this patch adding trouble to the situation, and not simply letting the situation as is, is interesting.

Posted by: Stephane | Apr 6 2019 9:14 utc | 83

HW @ 71:

I read the two paragraphs about the pilots hitting the cockpit roof and then hitting the seats again at the original Bjorn's Corner / Leeham News source and noted their position in the original article, and I can see what B means when he says not to take the author literally.

Leeham News is a specialist aviation news blog / website that concentrates on news regarding developments and issues that involve Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer (Brazil). The writer at Bjorn's Corner clearly assumes he is writing for a specialist audience and is using aviation jargon and hyperbole.

No wonder this particular dweeb was perturbed about the seatbelts @ 1.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 6 2019 10:13 utc | 84

Off Topic

A look again today at INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE, I found a note which said

< Please forgive the interruption in service. It has been necessary to relocate our website to a more secure hosting provider.

The migration may take a couple of days and I ask for your patience as we strive to restore service. >

Keep a watch to see what happens. Thanks to those who alerted that ICH had been suspended.

Posted by: the Old Coot from AUS | Apr 6 2019 10:41 utc | 85

>>>> The Trueman Show | Apr 6, 2019 4:19:22 AM | 77

Just one edit: it's not a class war, it's a race war.

No, it's a class war because the neo-liberal elites shit on everyone regardless of race.

But it is worth mentioning that race can reduce your position in the class structure. For example, I doubt many Americans have moved on subconsciously from the constitutional position that slaves are only worth 3/5 of a person, so African-Americans who arrived on slave ships will always be regarded as inferior to European immigrants.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Apr 6 2019 11:32 utc | 86

Theres a related posting on ZH:

The comments were dominated by a single racist, pro-Boing individual - pretty funny/a propo.

But deep down in the mess of comments was a gem:
"Why didn't this smart plane notice it was driving itself into the ground?"

I thought all planes were purely fly by wire now. But that they had a back-up system that also failed to function is doubly damning for both parties.

Boing showned poor judgement, violating basic concepts of good design - intuitive interface, proper training, system failure analysis, redundancy. But large companies are often rife with lazy and incompetent people - which is why in a free market they are always crushed by much smaller up starts.

But the FAA does not have the profit motive to cloud their judgement or to cause them to be in a hurry. I imagine however it is a case where they are bullied by the large, sole, strategically important, military supplier they are charged with over seeing.

Hopefully there will be a proper criminal investigation.

I would suggest decertifying the MAXs and also put on reveiw any other planes in the works or recently completed. Let the european agency take the lead in recertification. Let FAA make proposal for how to correct its deficiencies.

Settlement should be 5% of Boing revenue equally split between affected nations and families.

At least two persons indicted on manslaughter.

Posted by: jared | Apr 6 2019 11:56 utc | 87

Tootsie and hutu.
Initially two classes of one nation.
Then came Belgian and explained them they are different nations and are bound to hate each other. Divide and conquer.
Few decades later they became different nations and started Rwanda ethnocide.

Class war today - race war tomorrow.

P.S. "People with good faces" - as Jews talk about predominantly Jewish Moscow school no.57
"We must be different species. Either us or them, but we both can not be human beings at the same time" - Shenderovich, "liberal" (pro-Western) oppositioner and journo about mainstream Russians.

Posted by: Arioch | Apr 6 2019 12:08 utc | 88

"Why didn't this smart plane notice it was driving itself into the ground?"

> Posted by: jared | Apr 6, 2019 7:56:19 AM | 87

Because you can not ask such a question about civic Boeing.
Airbus, yes, their philisophy is having One True Computer Control, there is some entity you can name "the plane".

Boeing is different, it is a puzzle made of discrete systems, each with it's own limited awareness and limited function.

Split personality.

Posted by: Arioch | Apr 6 2019 12:11 utc | 89

I speak with a commercial airline pilot once a month for the past 20 years. I remember interesting bits from past conversations and more recently a discussion about this Boeing Aircraft disaster.

This pilot made me afraid of Airbus planes because these are "fly by wire". These planes sometimes, "having a mind of their own", so-to-speak, were known to occasionally fly themselves in a loop around the airport and land themselves. The pilot had no (or perhaps limited) ability to stop this action.

That's one story I remember.

Now these recent disasters with Boeing. He said they are good planes.

I didn't get much information to support that claim and I disagree with him. Interesting and also frightening.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Apr 6 2019 13:29 utc | 90

Boeing should have created a modernized 757. Instead they stretched a 737 yet again to add more passengers. This is the second or third time they stretched the plane. The 737 has short landing gear while the 757 was taller and could accomodate larger engines.

The 737 Max is unstable and dangerous. There are no fixes. It flies like a brick. If a plane cannot be flown safely on manual without computer help then it is dangerous. I will NEVER fly on a 737 Max - are you listening Southwest Airlines.

If markets were truly free and there was real capitalism then airlines would be looking at the new and excellent Russian MC-21 which does what Boeing was trying to do with the 737 Max. The MC-21 will safely handle passengers in the 140 to 160 passengers and is a mid range plane that can go as far as 4,000 miles.

Instead - Boeing lobbies the corrupt U.S. AIPAC Congress to keep a Boeing monopoly of death traps like the 737 Max allowing some Airbus sales. They also blocked a nice Bombardier mid range jet from Canada.

Posted by: Jerry | Apr 6 2019 13:36 utc | 91

Within 24 hours, 3 planes which took off from Germany had to do an unscheduled landing. All Boeings, all 737-800...coincidence?

Posted by: Vato | Apr 6 2019 13:59 utc | 92

@ kiza #48. Not any more. There are other arms manufacturers form other Nations who make better, as in more efficient and less expensive, mass killing systems. A sad indictment of the ‘modern’ world.

Posted by: Beibdnn. | Apr 6 2019 14:05 utc | 93

anyone know if the new triple seven has the same flight control?

Posted by: steve | Apr 6 2019 14:09 utc | 94

Why dont they send the black box from the Malay 777 shot down over Ukraine to Ethiopia. Its been three years now and not a peep from it.

Posted by: steve | Apr 6 2019 14:13 utc | 95


Traffic Traffic, pilots will be like I will do nothing. Pull up Pull up, no, do nothing, ascend ascend, really and do away with that?\TCAS is good and does work. On the 767 we turn on the TCAS after the departure.

If you hear 'terrain terrain, ya I know. B

As far as that goes it really does sound impossible to trim the angle of attack when the cunting 1st autopilot gives you shit.

Windsheer windsheer, I love that warning

Sorry for the cursing

Posted by: Gravatomic | Apr 6 2019 14:23 utc | 96

@ [all]

Boeing is a main manufacturer for the USAA. They are more important than God in America. They'll be fine.


Now, what does this 737 MAX fiasco really tells us?

- First, we had the new Airbus, with its new engine that saves a lot of fuel. They launched it first so Boeing had to play catch up.

Which precious information does this fact give us? I'm sure a bunch, but I think the most important lesson we should take here is that, in this case, capitalist competition worked as intended: two competitors came out with a fuel-saving airplane engine, but only one managed to put it into an actual viable plane. The other (Boeing) tried to catch up. This is textbook, would-make-Adam-Smith-proud, capitalist competition. Things worked as they should have within the parameters of the system.

- Second, Boeing, in the haste of playing catch up with Airbus, put the new engine in an old design, in a quest not to lose market share to its French rival. This resulted in the loss of a little bit more than 300 lives.

So, why the haste? If you're a capitalism apologist, you could tell everybody Boeing should just declare defeat and extend its proverbial hand to Airbus. Or, they could take more time for a new plane design. Or, they could declare defeat in this cycle and prepare to leap in another technological cycle. All the fault lied, therefore, on random greedy executives and some junkie senior directors of the sales sector.

Well, that didn't happen.

Instead of playing the virtues of capitalism, Boeing chose to sacrifice hundreds of lives in a vain attempt to keep up with Airbus in a particular sector of the commercial market. Why did that happen?

The answer is: Boeing's profit rate is secularly falling. They didn't lose time and cycles for the simple fact they couldn't afford to do so.

Marx's three books of Das Kapital is freely available in the internet for download. I strongly recommend everybody to read the three, in sequence (as if it was just one book). It is the single most important scientific opus about the capitalist system.

However, I know many won't, and the Tendency of the Profit Rate to Fall (TPRF) is a complicated theory to explain in a comment, so I'll leave here an excerpt of the introduction of the book Invisible Leviathan:

Marx’s theory of value yields two postulates that are central to his critical analysis of capitalism: 1) living labour is the sole source of all new value (including surplus-value), and 2) value exists as a definite quantitative magnitude that establishes parametric limits on prices, profits, wages and all other expressions of the ‘money-form’. From this flows Marx’s fundamental law of capitalist accumulation: that the tendency of the social capital to increase its organic composition (that is, to replace ‘living labour’ with the ‘dead labour’ embodied in an increasingly sophisticated productive apparatus) must exert a downward pressure on the rate of profit, the decisive regulator of capitalist accumulation.

Posted by: vk | Apr 6 2019 14:25 utc | 97

TPRF, sounds like more of that FMC cost index shit.

Posted by: Gravatomic | Apr 6 2019 14:47 utc | 98

@Jerry #91: The U.S. is doing everything it can to prevent the success of MC-21. The jet has a composite wing that was supposed to be manufactured from composite materials supplied by U.S. producer Hexcel and Japanese producer Toray Industries. The U.S. has recently blocked the supply of these materials to Russia, so now Russia has to develop and certify its own composite materials, pushing the start of MC-21 production from 2019 to 2021. There’s a silver lining to this cloud, though, as MC-21 will now likely go with PD-14 engines right from the start, instead of using Pratt-and-Whitney engines as a stopgap measure until PD-14 is completed.

Posted by: S | Apr 6 2019 14:57 utc | 99

Posted by: Jen | Apr 6, 2019 6:13:22 AM | 84

I was putting my objections to the misleading wording of the Leeham report on the record. That's sufficient. I've no intention of trying to 'prove' anything.
However, bbbar | Apr 5, 2019 6:04:28 PM | 46, more or less makes my point by recognising the need to add unstated info in an attempt to make the intended meaning clearer.

I've probably been spoiled by spending so much time at MoA. b rarely if ever makes confusing statements which, imo, means that b reads the stuff he writes BEFORE rushing into print, to make sure it really does say what he intended to say.
It's called EDITING.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 6 2019 14:58 utc | 100

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