Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 15, 2019

The New Delay Of Boeing's 737 MAX Return Will Not Be The Last One

The fall out from the unprecedented grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX planes keeps growing. The return of the planes to the sky will need to be delayed again and again.

The Wall Street Journal writes (also here) that the MAX is unlikely to be back in the air by the end of this year:

Fixing the Boeing Co. 737 MAX's hazardous flight-control software and completing other steps to start carrying passengers is likely to stretch into 2020, an increasing number of government and industry officials say, even as the company strives to get its jet back into service still this year.

This confirms our previous reports which showed that several of the issues the regulators marked will require extensive fixes.

The issues the WSJ names as problematic are exactly the ones we highlighted:

in March, just as Boeing was slated to submit a long-awaited proposal with the goal of jump-starting the process, new questions arose about related software systems and emergency checklists, requiring weeks of additional intense evaluation.

The topics included concerns about whether the average pilot has enough physical strength to manually crank a flight-control wheel in extreme emergencies.

In late June, Boeing and the FAA disclosed still another flight-control problem on the MAX, involving failure of a microprocessor that meant test pilots couldn't counteract a potential misfire of MCAS as quickly as required.

Moon of Alabama earlier detailed the trim wheel problem and pointed out that it also effects the older 737 NG:

But the problems described above are 737 NG problems. The 380 or so existing 737 MAX are currently grounded. But some 7,000 737 NG fly about every day. The record provides that it is a relatively safe airplane. But a runaway stabilizer is a well known electrical malfunction that could by chance happen on any of those flights.

The changes from the 737 Classic to the 737 NG make it more difficult, if not impossible, for the pilots to recover from such a situation:

  • The smaller manual trim wheels on the 737 NG make it more difficult to trim a runaway stabilizer back into a regular position.
  • The larger stabilizer surface makes it more difficult to counter a runaway stabilizer by using the elevator which was kept at the same size.
  • 737 NG pilots no longer learn the rollercoaster maneuver that is now the only way to recover from a severe mistrim.

Simulator sessions demonstrate (video) that a runaway stabilizer incident on a 737 NG can no longer be overcome by the procedures that current Boeing manuals describe.

It is pure luck that no NG crash has yet been caused by a runaway stabilizer incident. It is quite astonishing that these issues only now become evident. The 737 NG was certified by the FAA in 1997. Why is the FAA only now looking into this?

The trim wheel problem can only be fixed by significant hardware changes.

The microprocessors in the 737 Flight Control Computers (FCC) apparently can become too busy to allow the pilot to execute some emergency procedures. The WSJ says that this problem also effects the older types of the plane:

Since the 737 MAX and its earlier version, called the 737 NG, share the same flight-control computer, fixes related to the microprocessor also apply to NG models, thousands of which remain in service around the world. Boeing also faces the task of convincing the FAA that a software fix, instead of physically replacing the suspect electronic component on all MAX planes, will suffice.

It is not clear to me that the WSJ has that right. The 737 MAX needs more computing power than the 737 NG because it has several additional features, not only the failed Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), but also a new fly-by-wire system that controls the spoilers, surfaces on the wings that can be used as speed brakes.

Deployed spoiler/speed brakes - bigger

There are several new automatism involved in the new spoiler control and they very likely cause some additional load on the FCC. While the trim wheel problem definitely also affects the NG, the computer load problem is therefore likely only a MAX issue. It is still a serious one as it may mean that the MAX needs new flight computers. As we wrote:

Programs written for flight control purposes are already highly optimized. To further optimize them 'by hand' would break the regulated process that production of such software requires.

Boeing says that it can again fix the software to avoid the problem the FAA just found. It is doubtful that this will be possible. The software load is already right at the border, if not above the physical capabilities of the current flight control computers. The optimization potential of the software is likely minimal.

It is therefor not astonishing that the 57 year old head of Boeing's 737 MAX program is leaving the company after only one year in his position. While Boeing claims the reason is a regular retirement, one doubts that this is really the case. The new MAX program manager previously led the group that develops Boeing's new midsize airplane (NMA). The official announcement of that plane is already delayed. It may become a casualty of the MAX problems and the very significant costs they cause.

The MAX grounding is effecting all airlines. Delta Airline, which flies Airbus 320s as its single aisle plane, reported a record quarter, while Boeing-only customers like Iceland Air run into serious problems.

American Airlines and United Airlines just extended their MAX cancellations to November. That is likely not enough.

It may be that the MAX can be back in the air by January, it may delayed until March or even May. But we still don't know the year.

The Saudi budget carrier Flyadeal canceled its order for 50 737 MAX and is now buying Airbus 320s. Others will follow that move.

To keep their fleets busy airlines employ typically some 12 to 18 pilots per airplane. With dozens of their planes grounded those airlines are now overstaffed while making less than the anticipated revenue:

Now, carriers are nervously eyeing the holiday season, when they will face a crush of travelers whose Thanksgiving and Christmas travel plans leave little wiggle room. United was supposed to have 30 MAXes in the coming months, up from 14. As a result it is cutting 2,900 flights in October -- more than twice the number it has had to cull in July. American Airlines had 24 MAXes in its fleet at the time of the grounding -- less than 3% of its total. But it was supposed to have 40 by the end of the year.

At Southwest Airlines Co., Alan Kasher, vice president of flight operations, said in a message to employees Friday that the airline is "overstaffed," with more pilots than it needs to operate a shrunken schedule stemming from the grounding of its 34 MAX jets. Some Southwest pilots have complained of lost earnings from fewer flying opportunities.

It is one reason why 400 pilots sue Boeing. This comes on top of dozens of other lawsuits the company has to cope with.

Boeing is still producing 42 MAXes per month. It will likely have to decrease that rate. Even if the plane is allowed back into the air it may take up to year before all the new build ones will fly. The customers will have difficulties to absorb the new planes:

Europe’s largest budget carrier needs up to eight months to take delivery of some 50 newly built planes left at the factory by the grounding crisis, so it may have to trim its capacity growth plans for summer 2020 if 737 MAX flights have not resumed by November, Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told Reuters.
Ryanair can take delivery of no more than six to eight planes a month because of the complexity of the delivery process and the availability of trained MAX pilots.

Ryanair also fears that customers will not want to fly on the MAX. It changed the visible designation of its new planes from its marketing name '737 MAX' into its technical moniker '737-8200'.


The 737 MAX delays puts Boeing under extreme pressure. This can be seen in the alarming tone in which its major lobbyist, Loren Thompson, argues for the company:

737 MAX isn’t just one of the jetliners in Boeing’s commercial product mix, it is the pivotal offering of the entire enterprise. Over 80% of the company’s order backlog is commercial airplanes, and four out of five of those commercial planes are 737s. The company’s latest 20-year forecast of demand for jetliners projects that 74% of the 44,000 commercial transports ordered worldwide over the next 20 years will be single-aisle aircraft, and 737 is the only single-aisle jetliner Boeing makes.
What is largely missing from coverage of the MAX crisis, though, is an explanation of how important Boeing’s sole single-aisle offering is to the company’s fortunes, to the nation’s trade balance, and to the fate of local economies in the U.S. Boeing manufactures all of its products in the U.S., so if it were to falter, the economic fallout would be extensive.

Thompson calls on 'lawmakers' to 'emphasize constructive solutions' for Boeing's situation.

A constructive solution would be to fix the current airplane and to also create a new one. But that is likely not what Thompson has in mind. Congress pressure on the FAA and large subsidies for Boeing is what he is really aiming at. Congress should refrain from either.

That Boeing shareholders demanded larger profits was a main reason why the company created a 737 MAX kludge from the already old 737 NG. It should have build a clean sheet airplane as it originally planned to do. The shareholders made a lot of money when Boeing spent some $48 billion on share buy backs. It is only just that they now bleed to fix the issues their greed originally caused.

Previous Moon of Alabama posts on Boeing 737 issues:

Posted by b on July 15, 2019 at 19:26 UTC | Permalink

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Greed run amok. Boeing outsourced the majority of it's engineering to subcontractors during it's 787 Dreamliner program. Worked briefly for a subcontractor to a subcontractor to Boeing. We were tasked with finding software problems. When we did find issues the subcontractor would just argue they were not real problems albeit the issues we observed did not match the specifications. Then Boeing opened plant in Charleston, SC specifically to free itself from the grip of Unions. Now all that business which used to come to the US will go to Airbus in Europe. Russia-China have also got into the business:

Posted by: Joe | Jul 15 2019 19:49 utc | 1

If these delays keep on coming I wonder if it will allow the new Russian MC 21 series of single aisle twin engined aircraft a positive foot up into the world market. I can’t help smile at the thought of U.S. airlines having to buy Russian aircraft, although very unlikely. I imagine it will help Canada’s Bombadier C series too. No doubt that Trumps 220% tariffs on that plane will upset a lot of U.S. airlines looking to find a quick replacement for the 737 Max.

Posted by: Beibdnn. | Jul 15 2019 19:53 utc | 2

trying to do a quick U turn in a big plane is no easy feat, but getting wall st to do a U turn with it's MAXimizing of profits, while minimizing the importance of safety is an even bigger U turn that just ain't gonna happen..

Posted by: james | Jul 15 2019 20:07 utc | 3

Philosopher István Mészáros once wrote that capital is like electricity: it always follows the path of lesser resistance.

The American government will silently bail Boeing out, covering for the R&D costs necessary to develop the new single aisle model plus the losses incurred by the 737 MAX/NG debacle. There are inumerous legal tools Congress can use to do that (subsides, straight away bail out, shady Pentagon contracts etc. etc.).

American taxpayer money will have to save American capitalism once more.

Posted by: vk | Jul 15 2019 20:11 utc | 4

The landing gear on these aircraft are operated by hydraulics.

What about the spoilers, and why are the manual stabilizer wheels not so run?

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jul 15 2019 20:12 utc | 5

I wonder if the delays will be enough for China's C919 and Russia's MC21 to break into western markets? That would certainly be a change in the game for the empire.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 15 2019 20:13 utc | 6

Here's what my crystal ball is telling me -

1. 737 Max with the big engines located at the wrong place on the wing/fuselage will never fly again.
2. 737 NG cockpit will be re-engineered to allow for a larger manual trim wheel (or some other solution) without having to ground the planes, other than to do the re-fit one-by-one.
3. The engines on the existing 737 Maxs will be recycled and installed on a newly designed single aisle replacement for the 737 Max that will be available in 2025, at the earliest.
4. The feds will bail out Boeing with billions of dollars, just like they did for GM.

It could be that my crystal ball is wrong, but then it's no more wrong than the "experts" who said the Max software fix would have the fleet up and flying by now.

Posted by: Don Wills | Jul 15 2019 20:19 utc | 7

The Americans never amaze me, hehe , idiots !!!

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jul 15 2019 20:25 utc | 8

Don Wills @7said: "737 Max ... will never fly again."

That would be an unmitigated disaster, for both Boeing and the US. Boeing is counting on sales of thousands of these things to Chinese airlines in the coming decade and the US is counting on that to reduce the trade deficit with China. This disaster may be of sufficient severity that the MAX is magically cleared for flight again by the FAA even if its issues are not addressed.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 15 2019 20:31 utc | 9

Boeing, the poster child for everything that sucks about the way the U$A does business.

And STILL, will not resonate with rank and file Americans. And why? Because they don't give a f***...

Hedonism is a drug...

Posted by: ben | Jul 15 2019 20:35 utc | 10

Re: whether the average pilot has enough physical strength to manually crank a flight-control wheel in extreme emergencies --

I have never read any mention that there actually are female pilots as well. So the 'average pilot' should include women as well as men. In fact I would feel safer if the wheel could be used by the weakest possible pilot, rather than hoping that my flight has a fairly strong pilot.

As an aside, does this mean that the suggestion of pilotless planes is now impossible?

Posted by: BillK | Jul 15 2019 20:39 utc | 11

Yes, the 737-MAX is a major affliction to the neoliberal order of the Outlaw US Empire and its failure is a major comeuppance. That Ryan Air chooses to obfuscate the actual type of aircraft its customers will fly is another instance of placing Profit/People, a choice I hope BKs that company. Yes, woe to those out of work or underemployed by this fiasco; file a lawsuit and perhaps you'll get a few pennies on the dollar after all other creditors and suitors are compensated. Depending on whose in charge, Boeing might not get the GM treatment. The public seems to understand that a lemon automobile is starkly different from a lemon airplane; airlines ought to make that connection too.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 15 2019 20:57 utc | 12

If only Raytheon's cruise missiles had such problems.

Posted by: bjd | Jul 15 2019 20:58 utc | 13

Seller, stunning journalism back then when the story first broke and now with the updates.

Thank you B.

Posted by: Skeletor | Jul 15 2019 21:35 utc | 14

The airline business is not a business at all. The economics are completely misrepresented, with every aspect of it, from airplanes to airports, heavily subsidized, while the cash being generated goes into private hands. It's the MIC all over again.

Otherwise it's matter of Imperial prestige and probably no longer necessary to maintain in it's present form. Besides, why should I pay for pedos travelling to the intentionally impoverished global south?

They're trying to sex up low earth orbit travel in exactly the same way, but it ain't gonna fly. Come to think of it I wonder if continuously beating the dead Boeing horse is exactly the plan. The F35 program is more or less a similar game and those rockets you see making vertical landings are 100% fake.

If someone wants to make America great again they should build high speed rail, same as the Chinese. They're gonna screw that up as well by investing trillions to subsidize equally useless and economically nonviable self driving cars.

Posted by: C I eh? | Jul 15 2019 21:46 utc | 15

Profit for the “owners” over product (and customers and employees and a lot more); that’s taught as the only reason a business is to exist in US B-schools. It’s based on a circa 1970 Milton Friedman essay the New York Times published.

Probably has a lot to do with the garbage PC OS that Microsoft shipped for 20 years. Steve Ballmer, who ran Microsoft for years, went to Harvard Business (so did W, as did Mitt Romney).

Posted by: Jay | Jul 15 2019 21:47 utc | 16


"Boeing, the poster child for everything that sucks about the way the U$A does business."

No that's the US based ibanks. Boeing and the likes of GM are just following their lead. So did Microsoft for 20+ years.

Posted by: Jay | Jul 15 2019 21:49 utc | 17

C I eh:

"If someone wants to make America great again they should build high speed rail, same as the Chinese. They're gonna screw that up as well by investing trillions to subsidize equally useless and economically nonviable self driving cars."

Self driving car technology is likely about something else, and it abrogates high speed rail largely. Though not freight rail. But in the case of freight rail, the US has that from the east coast to the west at close to high speed.

Posted by: Jay | Jul 15 2019 21:56 utc | 18

So far there is attention to some kind of complicity between boeing and faa. Where does easa certification fit in with this, as in theory it is independent and should have cross checked or rechecked faa certification ? Also I wonder if Ethiopia uses easa certification as standard, in which case easa has some answers to give ? I could not find the easa certification for the max 8, only that for the max 9 it took nine months after faa certification for easa to issue theirs, and I presume that means that they use that time to review the worthiness of the aircraft, missing the same details as faa.

It just seems odd that easa certification process is not under scrutiny also.


Posted by: gzon | Jul 15 2019 22:04 utc | 19

It's tempting to speculate on the possibility that during the Neoliberal drive to reduce management and other costs, the ruthless & detached efficiency of the managers in Boeing's Weaponry Division made them more appealing to the Boeing bigwigs than the nit-picking fuss-pots over at the Commercial Aviation Division.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 15 2019 22:42 utc | 20

William Gruff @9
This disaster may be of sufficient severity that the MAX is magically cleared for flight again by the FAA even if its issues are not addressed.

Isn't this mostly the reason why, we are where we are today with Boeing?

Posted by: aye, myself & me | Jul 15 2019 23:01 utc | 21

Fascinating video by Mentour Pilot on the reasons Airbus hasn't killed off Boeing ... yet and how the introduction of the A320 panicked Boeing into rushed evolution of the 737 MAX instead of developing a brand new design.

Posted by: Trisha Driscoll | Jul 15 2019 23:07 utc | 22

Hoarse Whisperer @ 20:

Would that not have been the subdivision of the Weaponry Department (the one that specialises in developing DU-coated napalm bombs for aerial bombing purposes) in the merged Lockheed Martin subsidiary of Boeing?

In that case, the most outstanding quality of the managers would have been their lackadaisical "Whatever it takes ...?" attitude to maximising profits, minimising expenses and to hell with external costs. Efficiency? What's that?

Posted by: Jen | Jul 15 2019 23:26 utc | 23

@Beibdnn #2

Anything that goes wrong with any plane leads to an instant "flight to quality". That makes it harder for a newcomer, not easier. 100% of the benefit goes to Airbus.
It is the Perrier principle.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jul 15 2019 23:58 utc | 24

Questions about the Boeing GBSD have already surfaced. Its down to Boeing and Northrup Grumman for the final contract. The monkey wrench has been tossed into the mix.

Posted by: jerichocheyenne | Jul 16 2019 0:01 utc | 25

@9 william gruff.. at this point china would be a fool to believe anything the faa says on the matter...

@ 13 bjd.. maybe they do, lol!

Posted by: james | Jul 16 2019 0:01 utc | 26

Thanks for the ongoing reporting on the social failure of capitalism b

I wonder how the Ryanair pilots and staff feel about flying the 737 MAX?

I would ask of those in the know if any of Ryanair's current airports used represent a similar challenge to the systems that failed the other two crashes?

The financialization of Boeing is systemic. That means that the cost cutting that resulted in the 737 Max also permeates the rest of Boeing including replacement parts for all other Boeing aircraft. Why would anyone with a choice fly in a Boeing airplane prioritized for profit instead of safety?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 16 2019 0:26 utc | 27

All the President and Congress need to do is pass a law to protect airlines et al from being sued by patrons. Three or four crashes per year may then be deemed acceptable losses. Not possible you say? NSA/CIA can work on virus to infect AirBus aircraft in the meantime resulting in some Airbus crashes making Boeing competitive again. Put that know how of taking down power grids and nuclear power plants to work.
Can throw as much money at this problem as like. Only thing will solve it is redesign from top to bottom with emphasis on safety which will take many years. Market may be gone for Boeing. We still selling those F-35s no one wants? In order for the FAA to allow the 737 in the air again a requirement should be made that Air Force One be a 737.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 16 2019 0:34 utc | 28

In today's aviation-related fake news:

Italian police raid of neo-fascist militants finds air-to-air missile - Ars Technica

A neo-Nazi group in northern Italy had sent members to fight alongside Russia-backed separatists in the Donbass region of Ukraine. Apparently, the group brought some things back from their adventures—including a French-made air-to-air missile that somehow found its way from Qatar into the home of a neo-fascist extremist.


On top of all that, there was also the missile. The Matra Super 530 F, a short-to-medium range air to air missile, was initially sold to Qatar to arm the Qatar Emiri Air Force's Mirage 2000 (and previously, Mirage F1) fighter aircraft. The missile was found in a shipping canister during this latest raid, and it appears to be in working order—though it did not have an explosive warhead installed, according to DIGOS.

A quick look at the confiscated weapons and Nazi paraphernalia ("Adolf Hitler Platz") will tell you that these Nazis did not fight in the Novorossiyan Armed Forces. (Source: Polizia di Stato)

But I wonder if the Matra Super 530 F could shoot down a Boeing 777 at 33,000 feet? The Yemeni Armed Forces (known in Western media as "the Houtis") have rigged air-to-air missiles to be launched from the ground.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jul 16 2019 0:39 utc | 29

Why modern capitalism does not work -- Richard Murphy, December 13, 2017

The FT summarised modern capitalism in two lines this morning:

Boeing shares hit another record high after the company boosted its quarterly dividend by a fifth and announced a $18bn share buyback programme.

A business fuelled by the world's wealthiest people (you have to be to travel, and I am personally aware of this) and the defence sector is returning vast sums of cash to shareholders rather than invest it in new products, services and training with the aim of lifting the share price in the short term to, no doubt, trigger executive share price related incentive scheme payouts that will massively and wholly disproportionately increase the reward of a few in the company at cost to all the rest and society at large.

If you want to know why modern capitalism does not work, that's why. It's called rentierism by management. It's rampant. It's corrupting. And it's undermining the way our economy and society works.

Boeing Sets New $20 Billion Buyback Plan, Raises Dividend 20% -- Bloomberg, December 18, 2018
Boeing Co. directors authorized a record $20 billion share buyback program and boosted the company’s dividend 20 percent -- a sign the planemaker doesn’t intend to stop showering cash on investors any time soon.
What will it be, Boeing? Great airplanes that generate cash flow or great cash flow, period? -- The Seattle Times, July 5, 2019
According to Boeing’s annual reports, in the last five years Boeing diverted 92% of operating cash flow to dividends and share buybacks to benefit investors. Since 1998, share buybacks have consumed $70 billion, adjusted for inflation. That could have financed several entire new airplane models, with money left over for handsome executive bonuses.

Boeing’s experience with its cost-cutting business culture is apparent. Production problems with the 787, 747-8 and now the 737 MAX have cost billions of dollars, put airline customers at risk, and tarnished decades of accumulated goodwill and brand loyalty.

Posted by: curious man | Jul 16 2019 1:23 utc | 30

@joe 28.. here is some gruff stuff to back you up..
Apparently Shahriar Zolfaghari wife of Georgia’s statewide prosecutor for human trafficking Camila Wright was shot and killed with two bullets to his chest on June 2, 2014.? quite interesting..but I wonder since then has it been confirmed or is this more propaganda.

Posted by: snake | Jul 16 2019 1:25 utc | 31

Americans Don’t Care About Safety -- Heather Poole, April 20, 2019


Americans don’t care about safety.

Take that back, Americans do care about safety when they know they’re unsafe. Problem is Americans put too much trust in brand names and government organizations whose job it is to protect us.

Posted by: curious man | Jul 16 2019 1:30 utc | 32

Boeing earns 100 billion in revenue and 10 billion a year in profits. Even if this costs them tens of billions it basically comes out of shareholders dividends. Will be some shake up among managers, a few sacrificial lambs, but then business as usual

What they do about the 737 Max i cant say. They should probably move on and scrap it. They can recover some of the costs by selling or using engines on other models. Will lose some market share . Not what you want but maybe they learned some hard lessons that gets them giving the engineers more of a say than the bean counters,

Posted by: Pft | Jul 16 2019 1:33 utc | 33

Petri Krohn @ 29:

I agree, there is no way those pro-Nazi / pro-fascist militants could have fought alongside the Donbass fighters. They are far more likely to have fought with the Ukrainian military and could have obtained the French air-2-air missile from the Ukrainians instead. (In fact this article on the arrest does mention that the Forza Nuova group was being investigated by the police for links with neo-fascist groups like Azov Battalion.)

Qatar is likely to have supplied the missile to Jabhat al Nusra / Hayat Tahrir al-Sham jihadists in Syria. There have been Chechens and other terrorists from Ukraine and Russia among these and other jihadists. They may have taken the missile with them for use in Donbass and then traded the missile to the Italians. The other possibility is that the missile went from Syria to Italy either directly or through another third party country (possibly Libya).

The significant takeaway though is that the Italian fascist group was in the process of selling the missile and already had a contact from a buyer representing a foreign government.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 16 2019 1:53 utc | 34

Posted by: curious man | Jul 16 2019 1:23 utc | 30


In 2018, companies in the S&P 500 spent 33% more on their stock buybacks than the U.S. is spending on R&D.

Posted by: curious man | Jul 16 2019 2:02 utc | 35

A few quick comments.

There is a huge difference between bailing out GM and bailing out Boeing. GM was never receiving the level of subsidies that Boeing is through the cost-plus military contracts. The next step for Boeing would be for the US Gov and the Fed to crank up the creation of the fiat out of thin air and shower Boeing with money just as they did crooked banks.

The 737MAX/737-8200 saga is not "a major affliction" then only one of several visible symptoms of a very sick system. F35 is another such symptom and so on and so on.

The Boeing profiteers and thugs may be counting on the "national interest" pressure by Congress on FAA to push through the recertified MAX. They are also counting on the memory hole and Trumpcretenic re-branding of MAX; btw, this idea of rebranding 737MAX is extremely funny in its extreme stupidity - it will sacrifice the Boeing brand further for the sake of saving one disaster profit center. Nobody in their right mind would sit in ANY Boeing plane once passengers get a whiff of such smartness: all Boeings become rebranded flying coffins.

Perhaps FAA will repeat itself and pass through the "fixed" 737MAX. Perhaps a few crawling vassals like UK, Canada, Australia etc will accept the FAAs recertification. But you can be absolutely certain that the non-Western block will not see the US national interest to be so important to force its citizens into the Boeing roulette, the US version of the Russian roulette. If 737MAX ever flies again, this will be within the Western block and for budget airlines flying uninformed passengers in rebranded coffins.

Finally, Boeing's problem is not one bad plane model, Boeing's problem are bad people. If there is any universal rule in this life it is that people who are in control will never change or correct. This is why peaceful improvement is such a rarity and only revolutions can correct a rotten system. In this instance, it may be enough to avoid anything marked Boeing at any expense, but in the long run only the pitchforks, torches and lampposts can bring corrections to the US and Western system. The longer this is delayed, the more pressure builds towards an explosion instead of forced correction.

Posted by: Kiza | Jul 16 2019 2:37 utc | 36

“This disaster may be of sufficient severity that the MAX is magically cleared for flight again by the FAA even if its issues are not addressed.”

And if there are more crashes - Boeing is dead as a commercial airline corporation, relying on corp socialism military contracts - where even military pilots might boycott their products or wish they had.

Posted by: Stever | Jul 16 2019 2:40 utc | 37

Yes. Capitalism in its end state. The terminal one.

Prices go up and the quality goes down.

Well done. As far as I know

(and never ever abbreviate these words)

is called an Idiocy. The Greek one.

And critique is no longer an option in the
formerly Native American Indian Nation.

Posted by: notheonly1 | Jul 16 2019 3:02 utc | 38

While on aerospace, a long outage for galileo now

Which is attributed by esa as ground based technical timing problem.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 16 2019 3:19 utc | 39

I worked and lived in China for 3 years.
My family is from Russia.

A key feature of sanctions imposed on Russia consequent to the 2014 putsch in Ukraine was hobbling the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and the CR-21.

The US wanted to prevent Russian competition vis a vis Boeing and Airbus.

The MAX debacle, now gives the Russians/Chinese a year or two to get their planes certified and flying.

The Russians & Chinese will drag their feet on approving the MAX's return to the skies.

The hoped for Chinese market is toast.


Posted by: Dr. George W Oprisko | Jul 16 2019 3:23 utc | 40

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jul 16 2019 0:39 utc | 29

Posted by: Jen | Jul 16 2019 1:53 utc | 35

Really a big lie of the Western MSM:

Posted by: John Smith | Jul 16 2019 3:40 utc | 41

@Dr. George W Oprisko 41
What you wrote is very naive and if the Russians (Superjet 100) and the Chinese & Russians (CR-21) expect to be ever flying in the Western block, they are deluding themselves. Simply, there is no such thing as a free market in the West, least of all in the highly political, national interest involved, military cross-subsidizing civilian aviation.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the well established quality of the Russian planes (much less the Chinese planes). Personally, I have flown on Russian built planes almost as much as on Western planes. The Russian safety record is comparable if not even better by mile flown. However, in civilian aviation, the better something foreign is, the less chance of getting it through. Please read a little about the rotten duopoly of Boeing and Airbus, or watch the video linked to in a comment above.

Selling to Western airlines? Not in my lifetime, but it is sweet to be dreaming. The only chance for Russia in civil aviation would be a similar market strategy as with gas pipelines: establish one or more airlines in Western Europe as joint ventures between say Germany and Russia, which would push through approvals and buy Superjets and maybe even CR-21s.

Posted by: Kiza | Jul 16 2019 3:56 utc | 42

@42 kiza.. that is probably true, however russia and china can fly in their own planes and offer a competitive alternative to the duopoly.. any other country not a colony of the usa might be receptive too..

Posted by: james | Jul 16 2019 4:08 utc | 43

A good deal of that stock buyback money that has been driving the market is borrowed with cheap interest rates. They will do anything to keep up the dividend, including borrowing money as the stock price crashes if they have to cut the dividend.

When this things ends, a great deal of money is going to literally disappear. Again, the Socialist Capitalists will bail out what they feel is important with money printed out of thin air to reinflated things. By that time, all taxes derived will be needed to pay interest on the national debt.

Everything deflates but the money the government borrows out of thin air. Then what? A whole new system might be born run by the techno elites as they have the cutting edge of technology.

I can see Amazon renting out their upcoming droneports to the police state to help maintain control of an angry population and or trck troublemakers. I think this whole drone delivery service is a canard as part of a scheme to build up a techno infrastructure of control and surveillance. The 10,000 low orbit internet satellites are the same. Internet in every corner of the globe. No thanks. These clowns are not our friends.

Sliding a bit off topic....

Posted by: dltravers | Jul 16 2019 4:35 utc | 44

@Kiza | Jul 16 2019 3:56 utc | 42

What you [Dr. George W Oprisko] wrote is very naive and if the Russians (Superjet 100) and the Chinese & Russians (CR-21) expect to be ever flying in the Western block, they are deluding themselves. Simply, there is no such thing as a free market in the West, least of all in the highly political, national interest involved, military cross-subsidizing civilian aviation.

Kiza, you could be correct about the Russian and Chinese jets being locked out of the West by unfair, non-market means. However, the two countries aren't completely helpless. For example, if the FAA and EASA delay certification of the Russian MC-21 and the Chinese C919, the two countries could retaliate by revoking the certification of the 737 Max and the Airbus A320. This revocation could seriously hurt, as China's market for new jets could be worth a trillion dollars over the next ten or fifteen years. So the BRICS members aren't entirely without leverage against the West.

By most accounts, the MC-21 and C919 are both rather good, so the two countries could afford to lock out at least the 737. The threat to Boeing is quite serious.

Posted by: Cyril | Jul 16 2019 4:52 utc | 45

To me it is really sad to see what has happened to Boeing. I’m sure there are good people working there who hated seeing the path the company was going. And now they are suffering as much as we are. Very sad.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Jul 16 2019 5:11 utc | 46

@james & @Cyril
Perhaps what I typed was not clear. I do not disagree with you. You are just pointing to the natural outcome of the Russian and Chinese investment in civilian aviation: they will fly in their own airspace and in the airspace of the countries in-between two blocks. This would have happened even without the MAGA/MIGA (as in Israel) and the really dumb sanctions and trade wars.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the World is dividing again into two political and economic blocks, two almost totally separate systems. There will be not much trade and exchange between the two blocks, at least not in the open. Everything from computer operating systems to travel routes will be divided. Globalization is turning into Blockalization. The US will slip deeper and deeper into crisis as a maybe half of the global fiat dollars keep coming back. If it does not resort to nuclear weapons to maintain its global economic supremacy, it will at least become more and more ruthless & exploitative towards its vassals in a bid to maintain past good life at the expense of the World.

Withdrawing recertification of 737MAX forever is not something to be traded. Russia and China should do it just to show that they are better than the West in caring about their people (which they are not). I am not sure I understand why you think that Boeing should have any chance with 737MAX in the non-Western block now that its profit taking at the expanse of the unsuspecting travelers has been exposed. In my view, only a bribed official could now approve the "fixed" 737MAX because there is no real fix, only a new model could be a fix and that aint gonna happen.

I am only impressed by the Ethiopian Airlines behavior, they really showed top intent towards their pilots (delivering black boxes to France) and their travelers (grounding the whole fleet of kludge immediately).

Finally, in one of the videos a Boeing certified pilot actually blames the American Airlines (the biggest airline in the World) for "forcing" a new version of 737 onto Boeing out of its own cost minimization on retraining pilots. He also mentions that the stockholders would have never approved a $20B expenditure on a new model but were very happy with the stock buyback program of an even greater magnitude. In other words, it was not the Boeing company which got itself into poo, then its stakeholders. This is as if you have to participate in a crime if all your friends will benefit from it. No, you have to be a criminal yourself to participate in a crime (I have more respect for a toilet cleaning person than a Boeing "executive"). Yet, the best comment from the 737MAX related videos is when a pilot clearly states: (just like printing money) flying is a confidence game, in other words the gamer needs the marks' trust. Therefore, do not fly then drive whenever you can, as I do for everything except intercontinental and I am not keen on intercontinental holidays.

Posted by: Kiza | Jul 16 2019 6:03 utc | 47

Boeing is a corner-cutting, official-bribing, capitalist monster that cares only about its stock dividends and couldn't care less about the safety of the aircraft it manufactures?!? You don't say! And yet the racist commentariat on sites like Unz assure me that is entirely the fault of "low IQ Third World pilots" that the crashes occurred at all!

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayastha | Jul 16 2019 6:17 utc | 48

@kiza Jul 16 2019 6:03 utc | 47

It does look like the world will be divided into two blocks- China and friends on one side and the US and friends on the other. India is on the US side at the moment. China/Russia could lure India to their side by offering collaboration on the aviation sector. India, so far, has not had much success with their aviation industry and so a win/win offer of collaboration and joint production will sway India to their side in a significant way.

China and India make up 50 % of the global population. With half the market locked in the china/Russia/India combination would be a winner.

Posted by: Jiri | Jul 16 2019 6:41 utc | 49

@Kiza | Jul 16 2019 6:03 utc | 47

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the World is dividing again into two political and economic blocks, two almost totally separate systems. There will be not much trade and exchange between the two blocks, at least not in the open.

Slightly off topic but I fear that you may be right, in which case Australia is toast. Its four biggest exports are Iron, Coal, Higher Education and Natural Gas. China is the number one or two customer for each of them. China accounts for over 30% of our exports - about as much as the second and third customers (USA and Japan) combined. Meanwhile the Australian Government owned ABC has been mounting a massive anti-China campaign focused on the HK protests and the Uyghurs over the last few weeks. At one stage in mid-June I counted more than one such article per day over the previous 3 weeks on its news website.

Posted by: dynkyd | Jul 16 2019 6:56 utc | 50

@Jiri 49

I am a bit skeptical about India's participation for two reasons:
1) it is a very aggressive and hopeless country with many internal problems and unresolved external issues with Pakistan, China and others
2) it is much more likely to play a game of an unreachable virgin bride between the two blocks then to side with one and stay there.

In other words, if Russia and China have any sense they would do only some arms-length commercial deals with countries such as Turkey and India in their RBI continental integration. The Iranians, at one stage, were killing the people of the country I originate from, yet they can be much more reliable partners than the mentioned riffraff. But particularly the Russian "elite" lacks common sense and neglects historical perspective, which leads them into stupidities (best exemplified by "friendship" with Israel and Turkey, LOL). Only the Chinese could maybe save the Russians from themselves (maybe not, they will take advantage which is the Chinese way).

Neither of the two World blocks will turn to be a new Atlantis, both will be dumps of mega rich versus mega poor and nothing in-between, if the whole show does not get wiped out.

Posted by: Kiza | Jul 16 2019 7:10 utc | 51

@dynkyd 50

Yes, Australia is toast. We will remember the millisecond when A$1 = US$1.1 and not because US$ will remain strong. The past 15 years of prosperity up to about 2015, when Australia was probably the only country in the World with a trade sufficit towards China, will be remembered as the second best time ever in the history of Australia. Politicians in every country are totally rotten scumbags, but few come also as stupid as the Australian ones. It was their duty to find a middle way between China and US, as India is doing. Instead they are rushing headlong and asslong into the deadly embrace of the dying hegemon (via FONOPs on its behalf), insulting their biggest customer - as million of tons of Australian coal in front of Chinese ports can attest. The Australian commodities are being gradually replaced by the Russian commodities.

A real country, such as Switzerland, would have run a national referendum on this issue - friendship with who? that is cooperation with which block?

Posted by: Kiza | Jul 16 2019 7:27 utc | 52

BTW about Anglo-journalism.
Failed Ariane launch July 11.

Even if not to listen to French voice and not to look at faces and behaviors, from the graph alone it is obvious since 2:50 something is screwed, progressively worse and worse.

But anglo-journo keeps reading fanfare script as if not seeing what is happening before him. Or as fearing deviating from script until some "kremlin elders" of USA 1% would permit him to start reporting reality

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 16 2019 7:31 utc | 53

B> 737 NG pilots no longer learn the rollercoaster maneuver that is now the only way to recover from a severe mistrim.

That seems untrue, like I quoted in the comments to that very post.

* there seems to be the way out of runaway trim that does NOT need physical force and manual rotation of the wheel from pilots

* this way seems to be semi-documented, Chernobyl way. If you add few fragments of manual together - you can deduce how it would work to save the plane.

* However only few very in-depth pilots would deduce it, most pilots did not realize it. But Boeing reserved options to both say "we documented" and "we did not suggested". Or maybe no complex intrigues, but just an early manifestation of split personality.

* On MAX this non-manual way out was removed, which should had warranted "rollercoaster" chapter re-added, but it did not

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 16 2019 8:04 utc | 54

I imagine it will help Canada’s Bombadier C series too.

Posted by: Beibdnn. | Jul 15 2019 19:53 utc | 2

Canada's ? Weren't both Bombardier and Embraer bought off by Airbus and Boeing?

Posted by: Arioch The | Jul 16 2019 8:37 utc | 55

2. 737 NG cockpit will be re-engineered to allow for a larger manual trim wheel (or some other solution)

Posted by: Don Wills | Jul 15 2019 20:19 utc | 7

There already is a solution. However that solution might be problematic, because it was almost undocumented in NG and removed in MAX

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 16 2019 8:55 utc | 56

> as million of tons of Australian coal in front of Chinese ports can attest

well, maybe Ukraine and Poland would buy that coal - they are notoriously averse to Russian coal, so...

What I don't quite get about coal - why would China buy coal from Australia while at the same time turn Chinese and North Korean coal miners jobless? Does not seem great behavior...

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 16 2019 9:09 utc | 57

There are different grades of coal and then something called supply and demand, especially for the biggest manufacturing powerhouse on the planet. China does not import coal only from Australia.

Posted by: Kiza | Jul 16 2019 9:33 utc | 58

Greed in Corporate America has basically destroyed a fabulous industrial complex built during all 20th century, the US Industrial Companies are lagging behind world's peers in everything nowadays, and leads the lack of Moral & Ethics among large Corporation. Boeing is just an example of many similar cases that do not reach the MSM.
Boeing's 737MAX case will go down in history as a complete business catastrophe in how to cut corners to develop a product, how to bribe agencies for fast approvals, how "satisfy" investors is more important than "satisfy" customers and how to mass murder hundreds of innocents, premeditated since they knew about the issues before hand, it is nuts, irresponsible and criminal.
As I have been saying, this tab will be on the $100Bi size though the media keep mentioning just $10Bi, Boeing is trying hard to control info and minimize impact with its shares, it has done a good job on that, Boeing's share prices are about the same as last yr same time, though a it tool some losses in the past few months, and still enjoys 5X vs 5 years, and one should ask why it has not dropped more....the whole thing has been controlled so the company's shares do not melt down, you can say it si a conspiracy, in this case it is indeed, and bet the US regime spy agencies are all over it trying to hold tight its MIC side and away from this whole mess. It will get worst by the months and maybe the ordinary shareholder people will realize they were lied to and played all along, we will still see Boeing's shares collapse in 2019 as the tab increases.

Posted by: Canthama | Jul 16 2019 10:07 utc | 59

Thank you Kiza #52 however Australia is a bunya nut republic and entirely driven by asshat fools with no strategic sense. Perhaps it will even take delivery of the failed F35 to demonstrate what a reliable whore for the USA it really is.

Great potential but no leadership in either major political party. Slavish populace with barely any discerning political nous.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 16 2019 10:37 utc | 60

well, uncle tungsten spare a thought for us in nz. think hobbits with methamphetamine and suicide.

Posted by: jezabeel | Jul 16 2019 10:53 utc | 61

Greetings uncle, you are spot on in your description and I like your word (unused) potential. Who is to blame? The cattle and the regime oxen on top, with the smelly sewerage media on the side. I used to watch the “news” to laugh, but I have not consumed the swill now for almost 10 years. It’s slavenly servitude to US has become mindlessly boring and totally not funny any more.

Simply, Australia is probably coming down together with US on its Titanic, just one symptom of the sinking is 737Max. The much bigger one is crookedness everywhere.

Posted by: Kiza | Jul 16 2019 10:58 utc | 62

I see that Uncle Tungsten is being too kind and polite about us Australians, sitting at the bottom of the abyss while everyone else above cranes their necks to get a better view of us Down Under Here and gawp with amazement at our dim-witted politicians, our lying media and our craven servitude to the US and the UK.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 16 2019 11:33 utc | 63


Could you give us an overview of that non-manual procedure, just an overview please. Trully curious.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Jul 16 2019 11:57 utc | 64

Summarizing Loren (Boeing Lobbyist) Thomson: We do not need congressional help. The FAA, a regulatory agency run by airline lobbyist, will fix the 'problem'.

Posted by: ger | Jul 16 2019 11:59 utc | 65


1. DO cut off crazed computer from the trim motors
2. DO NOT cut off pilots control columns buttons from the trim motors
3. Use buttons and motors to control the trims until landed and fixed autopilot/computer

That is for most probably case when it is computer who erratically sends runaway commands.

In case computer is okay but pilots took sledgehammer and smashed the buttons mid-flight, it would be the opposite.

1. DO NOT cut off crazed computer from the trim motors
2. DO cut off pilots control columns buttons from the trim motors
3. Use buttons and motors to control the trims until landed and fixed autopilot/computer

......which probably would still need "manual work" when landing, but those would be not "extreme force" conditions.

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 16 2019 12:02 utc | 66

@uncle tungsten (60)


Posted by: bjd | Jul 16 2019 12:03 utc | 67

ahem, posted too early. Last list should had been like\:
1. DO NOT cut off crazed computer from the trim motors
2. DO cut off pilots control columns buttons from the trim motors
3. Ley autopilot control the trims until going landing.

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 16 2019 12:04 utc | 68

screwed again, well, you've got the idea though, hopefully.

the link to prior B's post though had more extensive quotes

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 16 2019 12:05 utc | 69

@ Arioch 54

I'm not sure the rollercoaster manoeuvre is workable, at lower altitudes especially. An aircraft really deserves a manual backup that works as it is supposed to.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 16 2019 12:15 utc | 70

@70 that is at least something, if you can not use bare hands and also could not establish reliable electric control

However it seems NG could do the latter in most cases. Albeit for some crazy reason it was not advertised as "memory item" or any otherwise explicitly quoted procedure.

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 16 2019 12:18 utc | 71

@C I eh? | Jul 15 2019 21:46 utc | 15

The BER-muda Triangle Airport

I take credit for that word creation. It is an absolute nightmare what happens there. Taxpayer money is thrown down a sinkhole of epic proportions and it is pretty clear that this is ought to be a money laundering situation, where enormous amounts on money are laundered by constructing things, that were never intended to work.

And if nothing would be rigged, corrupted, bent towards corporate power, bought, blackmailed and stolen, the rich would not be rich and the poor would not be poor. Proof me otherwise.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jul 16 2019 12:26 utc | 72

Somebody else must have created that word long time ago. So it is likely not my word creation, as it is so damn obvious. :-)

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jul 16 2019 12:28 utc | 73

@ 70

I agree, and am sure that part of this is the move towards automation that has changed the role of the pilot to some degree. The tests at low altitude were not positive though... even where there was no inhibition of further nose down because of it being simulator.

What I cannot understand is why the cutout switch arrangement was changed, it seems the pilots had no option of electric trim via yoke switch only.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 16 2019 12:35 utc | 74

It is definitely systemic. And endemic. Burning common wealth for the maggot in the bacon like few. Maybe one is to laugh about it, like one is to laugh about an idiot? Is it still politically correct to say those who run the ham theater are all idiots? Or is 'moron' any better? Why are people homeless by the millions in the US? And the managers of these corporations (Eff)uck very young, voluntary and involuntary women and receive million dollar salaries and gratifications?

Is that supposed to be funny? It has to be a joke by the Universe. The Universe is sarcastic here.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jul 16 2019 12:38 utc | 75

> What I cannot understand is why the cutout switch arrangement was changed

in MAX ? well, "reasonable" hypothesis would be "to prevent MCAS de-activation" seeing MCAS as system "secret but required".

alternatively, there was something really bad in "fly with TRIM buttons but not with TRIM AP/computer" mode even in NG

alternatively, it was just "split personality", they just forgot to document it. It was little boring detail for documentation manager, and it was "not their paygrade problem" for trim switches managers

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 16 2019 13:11 utc | 76

@ 76

Thanks, and I go with the first option, which does not make sense though because if MCAS is not required (due to malfunction) electric yoke trim still is.

The NG had choice of yoke trim only, the Max had both switches perform total cutout of electric trim according to

Where the reply is down the page.

In other words one switch was made redundant.

It just does not make sense to me, it isn't a cost question as we are only talking of some wiring.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 16 2019 13:54 utc | 77

@ 76

This is third retype as last two didn't post even with edited link . I use a different login vpn etc in case the server decided it doesn't like me.

I go with the first, but that does not make sense either because if mcas is not needed (malfunction) then electric trim is. On NG you had a choice, on MAX both cutout switches were changed to cut off all electric.

aviation dot stack (no space) exchange dot com slash questions slash 64442 slash how-the-stabilizer-cutout-switch-functionality-has-changed-from-boeing-737-ng-to

It just does not make sense, it is not a cost question as it is only some wiring.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 16 2019 14:18 utc | 78

Failed Ariane launch July 11.
But anglo-journo keeps reading fanfare script as if not seeing what is happening before him. Or as fearing deviating from script until some "kremlin elders" of USA 1% would permit him to start reporting reality
Posted by: Arioch | Jul 16 2019 7:31 utc | 53

I assume Journos aren't watching the TV feed of a launch and are relying on feedback from the console operators at Mission Control.
In 1986 I set the alarm and got up in the wee small hours to watch the launch of Challenger. When things went pear-shaped a minute or so after lift-off, the images on the screen and the commentary parted company. I'm watching a Shuttle disintegrating and hearing routine confirmations that everything is peachy. It took 15 or 20 seconds for the commentary to catch up with what was actually happening.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 16 2019 14:36 utc | 79

Perhaps the most simple solution to the plane's troubles would be to deprive it of all its software and leave the flying exclusively to the pilots, as it used to be some time ago. Oh, yes, the pilots would have to re-learn their job but this would not be that difficult. (Just kidding but perhaps not so much.)

Posted by: Geraldo Lino | Jul 16 2019 14:48 utc | 80

They have not yet established what or who was wrong with the design and certification process that created this mess.
They have identified a hand full (maybe two hands-full) of flaws allowed to pass thru this process.
Once they have correct the problems with process they could resubmit the design to review and it should then generate a comprehensive list of what aspects of the design are passing and which are wanting.

Posted by: jared | Jul 16 2019 15:00 utc | 81

@ 76 continued...

It seems like they got the priorities wrong. The order of importance (in terms of which should ultimately be most reliable, if only due to simplicity) of the system is to my view:

1. Manual
2. Powered
3. Automated

Here they have manual that barely works, and automated that skips straight to manual on failure. The sensible approach would have been to have automated disconnect but powered still working independently. That could have been by incorporating mcas on the same cutout as autopilot, or adding a third cutout switch for mcas only - that is not a big deal I think even for type continuity (certainly more continuous that changing the cutout wiring to all off).

Instead they left a choice of only automated or straight to half working manual. This is very bad design procedure and I think it reflects the modern mindset of automation as being superior.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 16 2019 15:00 utc | 82

agw is happening,(?)shouldn't the rulers go off the flying?I don't fly myself.

Posted by: dahoit | Jul 16 2019 15:42 utc | 83

@gzon 81
I think it's linked with the matter that Boeing 737 use outdated computer

Posted by: HW | Jul 16 2019 15:43 utc | 84

@Jay #18
I don't see how self-driving cars will abrogate high speed rail.
A car drives 70mpg and has to refuel every 400-500 miles. Passengers need to eat and go to the bathroom, which is another stop (not always the same one).
High speed rail goes 150+. It stops to drop passengers off but the stops are much shorter, nor does it need to refuel. There is food and bathrooms on the train so no stops for that at all.
As for freight: existing freight trains go a max of around 70 and average a lot less (mountains, traffic, turns) - federal guidelines limit to 59 mph for freight and 49 mph for passengers in non-block signal areas - which is most of the system outside of the cities and rail hubs (I think).
High speed rail goes a lot faster (150 mph+ as previously noted) - speed+cost considerations makes it cheaper than airplanes for all but the most high-profit/time sensitive goods.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 16 2019 15:43 utc | 85

@C I eh? #15
You're leaving out the pilot skills part. Between providing jobs for retired military pilots and future prospects for recruits, that's probably the primary reasons nations have national airlines. Plus cushy travel for the bigwigs.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 16 2019 15:45 utc | 86

@Kiza #42
@Dr. George W Oprisko #41
As sanctions have shown - Russian or Chinese jets would never be a good decision in the West. Note that the latest round of sanctions is not groundbreaking - there were all manner of economic sanctions in the Cold War era as well that started in 1948. If anything, the lack of sanctions on Russia is the exception. Nor is even the initial capital plane purchase the problem - it is the long tail of replacement parts and servicing.
However, I don't see the target market being the West. It is China/East Asia and Africa which are lucrative markets. Many of those nations have greatly increased their wealth, hence demand for air travel, but had little to no capability to start with. I flew in an internal commercial flight in China in the 1980s - a 707. That thing rattled so hard that I would have hurt myself if I attempted to rest my head against the window and was possibly older than my grandparents.
In any case, it is clear that China wants to send as little of its capital to other countries for airplanes as necessary. Boeing estimated $1.1T in plane purchases by China over the 20 years starting in 2017; we're not talking peanuts.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 16 2019 15:53 utc | 87

@ Posted by: Jay | Jul 15 2019 21:56 utc | 18

> But in the case of freight rail, the US has that from the east coast to the west at close to high speed.

As someone who coordinated North American rail cargo for one of the world's megacarriers for a couple years... no, it's nowhere close. Nor is there a single carrier who can take cargo all the way -- two big railroads out west but a patchwork mess in the east. Even with smooth steel wheel interchanges, you're looking at a week or more to move something from coast to coast even in the best of circumstances.

Posted by: Ash | Jul 16 2019 16:50 utc | 88

@ 83

I was thinking something along those lines also, maybe the existing hardware could not be aligned to take the different options. Would have to be someone much more knowledgeable about computers than me to figure that out for sure though...or boeing might just explain their reasoning at some point. In theory it would not be hard to disconnect certain inputs, but in practice the software might have to be rewritten or expanded to compensate for the then missing parameters. Too complex for me to even guess at.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 16 2019 18:07 utc | 89

@ kiza.. thanks for your comments which i mostly agree with.. what is your country of origin if you don't mind sharing?

Posted by: james | Jul 16 2019 18:09 utc | 90

@87 that is why USSR/Russia are striving to make "trains plan" in year advance. To make plains going through, not waiting. Granted, in USSR there was no "patchwork" and even today for what i know trains are owned by competing companies (with some bad effects like empty runs), but the railwork/signalling is mostly one piece still.

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 16 2019 18:12 utc | 91


Yes, now I understand what you meant. I misread in the first instance as also applying to MAX. Thanks for clarifying further.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Jul 16 2019 22:39 utc | 92

You can’t see what you are paid to ignore. The first priority of neoliberal capitalism is to cut costs and transfer the money upwards to increase shareholder value. This always leads to cutting corners and the loss of in house expertise. To increase the Elite’s wealth, Congress deregulated aviation. There wasn’t anyone left in Boeing’s manufacturing plants to point out that the 737 Max design changes increased the risks of a catastrophic crash. The wealthy had a free ride to increase their wealth at the risk to everyone else until eventually two planes nosed strait down, murdering 346 souls.

To be profitable Boeing needs to be able to sell single aisle aircraft in East Asia. I am not sure if Boeing or the Trump Administration realizes it but to keep manufacturing aircraft in North America the Civil Aviation Administration of China will have to assured of the safety of the aircraft. That will take time and could cost billions of dollars.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Jul 16 2019 23:45 utc | 93

Hello James, with an apology to you I will keep my country of origin. Let me just say that I am not Greek as some here accused me, although I feel this accusation as really a compliment. You are probably the most inclusive commenter that I have ever encountered online and I never miss to read what you say.

The Russian and Chinese civilian planes will be flying exclusively in non-Western countries and this is where the competition will be. This is the market that Boeing will probably mostly lose. This is along the lines of the mentioned Ethiopian Airlines, which showed that they cannot be manipulated by Boeing. Otherwise, it is becoming customary in the West to let the suspects conduct the investigations (as Ukraine in MH17 and US in the disaster of the EA 737Max).

Posted by: Kiza | Jul 17 2019 1:23 utc | 94

@ kiza who wrote
The Russian and Chinese civilian planes will be flying exclusively in non-Western countries and this is where the competition will be.

I agree but think your list of remaining Western countries when this dust settles may be a lot smaller than you think. I would expect most if not all of the EU to leave the West as the dust settles and so non-Western countries could end up being most of the world sans US/UK/SA/Israel

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 17 2019 1:57 utc | 95

@94 kiza. thanks and no problem! thanks for your ongoing comments and kind words here too..

Posted by: james | Jul 17 2019 6:05 utc | 96

Canthanma @ 59:

You will not be surprised to learn that the biggest shareholders in Boeing are financial corporations like the Vanguard Group and BlackRock.

No wonder Boeing has a culture in which technical and engineering excellence and consistency come second to profit maximisation and cost minimisation; a culture of offshoring work to contractors and subcontractors who are cheaper than full-time engineers and technicians with years of experience, skill and intuition; and a culture where designing or re-designing from the basics is shunned and sticking layers of hardware and software patches on an overworked and out-of-date frame is preferred.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 17 2019 6:59 utc | 97

The Europeans should seize this opportunity to kick Boeing in the balls when it is down, given that Boeing is the primary rival of the Europeans' Airbus.

And then the Europeans can tell the Americans: "Ce n'est rien de personnel. Ce ne sont que des affaires." ;-)

After all, America is now getting ready to slap $7 billion in tariffs on Airbus, as part of the US trade war on the world.

Posted by: AK74 | Jul 17 2019 7:41 utc | 98

It is definitely systemic. And endemic. Burning common wealth for the maggot in the bacon like few.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jul 16 2019 12:38 utc | 75

I would say, "nomads philosophy", or "seafarers". Deep inside they consider world around them infinite, so they can deplete and poison them as much as they can, it will never change. There is no cause and effect for them. Consequences is a ruse invented to fool others.

And that manifests everywhere. Short-term success is all that matters, because there just do not exist no any long-term effects, in their instincts.

It did not come with USA, concept is much more ancient. Biblical and even one before it.

Micro- and macroeconomism.
Burning woods for new fields or inventing fertilizers.
Nomads and settlers.
Empires of sea and earth.
Traders=pirates and builders.
Individualism and collectivism.
S.E.P. (someone else's problem) and Res Publica.
Nuclear fuel: open and closed cycle.

As for Russia, as soon as we in 1990s got tempted yet again to become nomads we found that for us where we were being free/insulated from consequences is deadly illusion, that we will either return to responsibility or will be eliminated.

For peoples in other places the optimal strategy may be opposite. Burn the coastal village, burn the fields, take what ship take and leave consequences to losers beyond you.

But we had nowhere to sail away.

Well, our "opposition" are westernized.
They live in the nomadic world with no cause-effect rule. They openly claim they are different biologically from us, they openly claim Jews being distinct and better breed, then they play victims when public replies with alienation and disgust

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 17 2019 19:46 utc | 99

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