Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

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Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by maturepilot83 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:15 am

In the latest blow to both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, the WSJ reported overnight that Federal prosecutors and Department of Transportation officials are scrutinizing the development of Boeing 737 MAX jetliners and in particular its anti-stall (MCAS) system, inquiries described as "unusual" and which come amid probes of regulators' safety approvals of the new plane.

The Seattle Times separately reported that Boeing’s safety analysis of a new flight control system on 737 MAX jets had several crucial flaws. (See below—Ed.)

According to the WSJ, a "grand jury in Washington, D.C., issued a broad subpoena dated March 11 - a day after the Ethiopian Airlines crash a week ago - to at least one person involved in the 737 MAX’s development, seeking related documents, including correspondence, emails and other messages."

The subpoena, with a prosecutor from the Justice Department’s criminal division listed as a contact, sought documents to be handed over later this month.

It wasn't immediately clear if the Justice Department’s probe is related to scrutiny of the FAA by the DOT inspector general’s office, reported earlier Sunday by The Wall Street Journal and that focuses on a safety system that has been implicated in the Oct. 29 Lion Air crash that killed 189 people, according to a government official briefed on its status. (end of excerpt)
Link: http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... ation.html
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by maturepilot83 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:17 am

Also alarming ...

Flawed Analysis, Failed Oversight: How Boeing, FAA Certified the Suspect 737 MAX Flight Control System

As Boeing hustled in 2015 to catch up to Airbus and certify its new 737 MAX, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) managers pushed the agency’s safety engineers to delegate safety assessments to Boeing itself, and to speedily approve the resulting analysis.

But the original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA for a new flight control system on the MAX — a report used to certify the plane as safe to fly — had several crucial flaws.

That flight control system, called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), is now under scrutiny after two crashes of the jet in less than five months resulted in Wednesday’s FAA order to ground the plane.

Current and former engineers directly involved with the evaluations or familiar with the document shared details of Boeing’s “System Safety Analysis” of MCAS, which The Seattle Times confirmed.

The safety analysis:
-- Understated the power of the new flight control system, which was designed to swivel the horizontal tail to push the nose of the plane down to avert a stall. When the planes later entered service, MCAS was capable of moving the tail more than four times farther than was stated in the initial safety analysis document.

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

-- Assessed a failure of the system as one level below “catastrophic.” But even that “hazardous” danger level should have precluded activation of the system based on input from a single sensor — and yet that’s how it was designed.

The people who spoke to The Seattle Times and shared details of the safety analysis all spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their jobs at the FAA and other aviation organizations.

Both Boeing and the FAA were informed of the specifics of this story and were asked for responses 11 days ago, before the second crash of a 737 MAX last Sunday. (end of excerpt)
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by Daniel Cooper » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:50 am

How long does a Grand Jury inquest take? This doesn't seem like it's going to be a 10 day software update.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by maturepilot83 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:44 am

I suspect it will take much longer than 10 days. AC is suspending Max flights until July 1st and has suspended acquisition of the other 6 it was due to receive.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by yycflyguy » Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:53 pm

maturepilot83 wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:44 am
I suspect it will take much longer than 10 days. AC is suspending Max flights until July 1st and has suspended acquisition of the other 6 it was due to receive.
Sort of. AC has arranged for other aircraft to cover MAX flights until July 1st. That press release was to pacify future bookings confidence. If the plane is re-certified by Boeing/FAA/TC before that, they will use the plane. They have not suspended "acquiring" future deliveries, they have delayed immediate "deliveries" of the next 6. Maybe splitting hairs but they are important distinctions.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by maturepilot83 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:18 pm

yycflyguy wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:53 pm
maturepilot83 wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:44 am
I suspect it will take much longer than 10 days. AC is suspending Max flights until July 1st and has suspended acquisition of the other 6 it was due to receive.
Sort of. AC has arranged for other aircraft to cover MAX flights until July 1st. That press release was to pacify future bookings confidence. If the plane is re-certified by Boeing/FAA/TC before that, they will use the plane. They have not suspended "acquiring" future deliveries, they have delayed immediate "deliveries" of the next 6. Maybe splitting hairs but they are important distinctions.
Thanks for clarification. Makes sense!
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by Old fella » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:49 am

yycflyguy wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:53 pm
maturepilot83 wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:44 am
I suspect it will take much longer than 10 days. AC is suspending Max flights until July 1st and has suspended acquisition of the other 6 it was due to receive.
Sort of. AC has arranged for other aircraft to cover MAX flights until July 1st. That press release was to pacify future bookings confidence. If the plane is re-certified by Boeing/FAA/TC before that, they will use the plane. They have not suspended "acquiring" future deliveries, they have delayed immediate "deliveries" of the next 6. Maybe splitting hairs but they are important distinctions.
Not that I know much, if anything but will go out on a limb and suggest Boeing, FAA and to a lesser extent Transport Canada are pushing hard behind the scenes to get this ‘37 MAX issue resolved post haste. To much is at stake in disruption to Boeing customers aka airlines which I assume still have confidence in this aircraft. Be interesting to hear how much money AC has lost due to MAX grounding.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by YYZSaabGuy » Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:24 am

Old fella wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:49 am
Be interesting to hear how much money AC has lost due to MAX grounding.
I agree, Old fella, and it'll be interesting as well to see how much of a hit Boeing ultimately takes. Market cap is off around 15% or US$38 Bn since March 1, the bulk of that presumably as a result of the market's concerns over the next shoe to drop. I'm guessing Max 8 operators have already put Boeing on notice that they'll be looking to be made whole. This is going to be a very, very expensive problem.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by yycflyguy » Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:42 am

Old fella wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:49 am
yycflyguy wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:53 pm
maturepilot83 wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:44 am
I suspect it will take much longer than 10 days. AC is suspending Max flights until July 1st and has suspended acquisition of the other 6 it was due to receive.
Sort of. AC has arranged for other aircraft to cover MAX flights until July 1st. That press release was to pacify future bookings confidence. If the plane is re-certified by Boeing/FAA/TC before that, they will use the plane. They have not suspended "acquiring" future deliveries, they have delayed immediate "deliveries" of the next 6. Maybe splitting hairs but they are important distinctions.
Not that I know much, if anything but will go out on a limb and suggest Boeing, FAA and to a lesser extent Transport Canada are pushing hard behind the scenes to get this ‘37 MAX issue resolved post haste. To much is at stake in disruption to Boeing customers aka airlines which I assume still have confidence in this aircraft. Be interesting to hear how much money AC has lost due to MAX grounding.
I would suggest that it is more than just those three pushing hard behind the scenes. You could probably included all operating airlines, governments, Transport Ministers and even passengers that need an expeditious resolution.

This is the risk Boeing accepted when they decided that they needed to get the MAX to market before the NEO and slapped new engines on an old frame using "same type" marketing to airlines to save on training/maintenance costs. They made millions in filled orders with millions more in future orders and capitalized on the gap that customers are waiting for the NEO. They were first to market. How they did it is being questioned now but they have already made buckets of cash from this generation 737. If the software modification gets the grounding lifted this will be but a short term financial blip on the big picture.

From a pilots' point of view, the MAX should have been a clean sheet design. It should have been a baby 787 incorporating the advances from that plane to this generation.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by Trevor » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:01 am

yycflyguy wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:42 am
From a pilots' point of view, the MAX should have been a clean sheet design. It should have been a baby 787 incorporating the advances from that plane to this generation.
Boeing did have plans for a clean-sheet narrow body design to replace the 737NG and 757. Cost overruns and millions of dollars in penalties related to the 787 drained Boeing's bank account and killed the clean-sheet idea. Their only option to compete with the NEO was to dust off the 737 and put some more lipstick on the pig.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by rookiepilot » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:09 am

"Boeing tumbles". Uh...yeah. Its 377. Not that far off ATH's. (ridiculously overpriced if I read the economy right)

Our winner Bombardier has perked a bit....$2.84 in loony dollars.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by Old fella » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:12 am

YYZSaabGuy wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:24 am
Old fella wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:49 am
Be interesting to hear how much money AC has lost due to MAX grounding.
I agree, Old fella, and it'll be interesting as well to see how much of a hit Boeing ultimately takes. Market cap is off around 15% or US$38 Bn since March 1, the bulk of that presumably as a result of the market's concerns over the next shoe to drop. I'm guessing Max 8 operators have already put Boeing on notice that they'll be looking to be made whole. This is going to be a very, very expensive problem.
Remember in early ‘90s and the’37 rudder issue(United and US Air both lost 737s substantial loss of life), it was determined to be a design issue with rudder control unit actually this conclusion was reached after the USAir crash. Believe they were 200/300 series aircraft involved but both types were not grounded as a result. No doubt Boeing took a hit of some sort on this rudder issue but as you indicated the Max operators will looking at Boeing for some type of financial redress as well. Of course much may hinge on the accident report and if there is a hint of pilot error/competency look out, Boeing will go hard on that. Personally I do not have confidence in the accident investigative process of third world authoritarian regimes to portray an accurate picture but that is for another argument.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by pianokeys » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:01 am

Old fella wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:49 am
Be interesting to hear how much money AC has lost due to MAX grounding.
I wonder how close it comes to the money they saved by making Boeing buy back half of the jungle jet fleet.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by yycflyguy » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:16 am

Old fella wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:12 am
YYZSaabGuy wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:24 am
Old fella wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:49 am
Be interesting to hear how much money AC has lost due to MAX grounding.
I agree, Old fella, and it'll be interesting as well to see how much of a hit Boeing ultimately takes. Market cap is off around 15% or US$38 Bn since March 1, the bulk of that presumably as a result of the market's concerns over the next shoe to drop. I'm guessing Max 8 operators have already put Boeing on notice that they'll be looking to be made whole. This is going to be a very, very expensive problem.
Remember in early ‘90s and the’37 rudder issue(United and US Air both lost 737s substantial loss of life), it was determined to be a design issue with rudder control unit actually this conclusion was reached after the USAir crash. Believe they were 200/300 series aircraft involved but both types were not grounded as a result. No doubt Boeing took a hit of some sort on this rudder issue but as you indicated the Max operators will looking at Boeing for some type of financial redress as well. Of course much may hinge on the accident report and if there is a hint of pilot error/competency look out, Boeing will go hard on that. Personally I do not have confidence in the accident investigative process of third world authoritarian regimes to portray an accurate picture but that is for another argument.
Just our of curiosity, is the "third world authoritarian regime" you refer to the US/FAA or Ethiopian? The FAA/Boeing collusion and, dare I say, corruption in the certification, investigation and resolution is only starting to become known.

Personally, I don't blame Ethiopia for refusing to send the FDR/CVR to the US and insist on sending it to a European agency.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by yycflyguy » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:19 am

Trevor wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:01 am
yycflyguy wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:42 am
From a pilots' point of view, the MAX should have been a clean sheet design. It should have been a baby 787 incorporating the advances from that plane to this generation.
Boeing did have plans for a clean-sheet narrow body design to replace the 737NG and 757. Cost overruns and millions of dollars in penalties related to the 787 drained Boeing's bank account and killed the clean-sheet idea. Their only option to compete with the NEO was to dust off the 737 and put some more lipstick on the pig.
Good point.

It all came down to the all mighty dollar. As is the case with several engineering projects, we need to differentiate the difference between "can it be done" and "should it be done"?
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by Old fella » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:18 pm

yycflyguy wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:16 am
Old fella wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:12 am
YYZSaabGuy wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:24 am

I agree, Old fella, and it'll be interesting as well to see how much of a hit Boeing ultimately takes. Market cap is off around 15% or US$38 Bn since March 1, the bulk of that presumably as a result of the market's concerns over the next shoe to drop. I'm guessing Max 8 operators have already put Boeing on notice that they'll be looking to be made whole. This is going to be a very, very expensive problem.
Remember in early ‘90s and the’37 rudder issue(United and US Air both lost 737s substantial loss of life), it was determined to be a design issue with rudder control unit actually this conclusion was reached after the USAir crash. Believe they were 200/300 series aircraft involved but both types were not grounded as a result. No doubt Boeing took a hit of some sort on this rudder issue but as you indicated the Max operators will looking at Boeing for some type of financial redress as well. Of course much may hinge on the accident report and if there is a hint of pilot error/competency look out, Boeing will go hard on that. Personally I do not have confidence in the accident investigative process of third world authoritarian regimes to portray an accurate picture but that is for another argument.
Just our of curiosity, is the "third world authoritarian regime" you refer to the US/FAA or Ethiopian? The FAA/Boeing collusion and, dare I say, corruption in the certification, investigation and resolution is only starting to become known.

Personally, I don't blame Ethiopia for refusing to send the FDR/CVR to the US and insist on sending it to a European agency.
To answer your question, yes I would trust the FAA/NTSB/TSB/TC et al more than any “ third world authoritarian regime” in all aspects and that includes Ethiopia. I am not convinced there is conspiracy/collusion/corruption between Boeing and the certification authority FAA, then again everything is possible in this day and age.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by confusedalot » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:34 pm

Must say I have to agree with the above post.

Money and greed are nothing new; you would need to be off the clock psychotic to knowingly, and I say knowingly, put out a faulty product that is guaranteed to attract worldwide media coverage in case things went wrong. Same goes for a regulator that would let that happen. That would result in corporate suicide and zero regulatory credibility.

But who knows?
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by co-joe » Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:44 pm

confusedalot wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:34 pm
Must say I have to agree with the above post.

Money and greed are nothing new; you would need to be off the clock psychotic to knowingly, and I say knowingly, put out a faulty product that is guaranteed to attract worldwide media coverage in case things went wrong. Same goes for a regulator that would let that happen. That would result in corporate suicide and zero regulatory credibility.

But who knows?
I don't think it's a matter of putting out a faulty product, rather trying to sneak the max through on the NG type rating with no sim cross training required.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by goingnowherefast » Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:07 pm

If there are parts of the aircraft that don't meet certification requirements, then it is a faulty product.

Some have accused Boeing of knowingly not meeting certification requirements, and the FAA of not providing proper oversight to ensure Boeing meets said requirements.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by confusedalot » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:43 pm

co-joe wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:44 pm
confusedalot wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:34 pm
Must say I have to agree with the above post.

Money and greed are nothing new; you would need to be off the clock psychotic to knowingly, and I say knowingly, put out a faulty product that is guaranteed to attract worldwide media coverage in case things went wrong. Same goes for a regulator that would let that happen. That would result in corporate suicide and zero regulatory credibility.

But who knows?
I don't think it's a matter of putting out a faulty product, rather trying to sneak the max through on the NG type rating with no sim cross training required.
Flew the NG, never flew the max. Did sim evaluations in the max though.

It's the.........same....airplane........from a pilot point of view. New type rating not required.

My US major airline buddy does not even have a max simulator. He flies a max depending on what his schedule says.

No rocket science here.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by yycflyguy » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:35 am

confusedalot wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:43 pm
co-joe wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:44 pm
confusedalot wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:34 pm
Must say I have to agree with the above post.

Money and greed are nothing new; you would need to be off the clock psychotic to knowingly, and I say knowingly, put out a faulty product that is guaranteed to attract worldwide media coverage in case things went wrong. Same goes for a regulator that would let that happen. That would result in corporate suicide and zero regulatory credibility.

But who knows?
I don't think it's a matter of putting out a faulty product, rather trying to sneak the max through on the NG type rating with no sim cross training required.
Flew the NG, never flew the max. Did sim evaluations in the max though.

It's the.........same....airplane........from a pilot point of view. New type rating not required.

My US major airline buddy does not even have a max simulator. He flies a max depending on what his schedule says.

No rocket science here.
Actually there may have be some rocket science that wasn't done on this variant. Forward hanging, higher slung, more powerful engines to accommodate ground clearance with a tendency to stall easier approaching the stall changed the flight envelop of the plane. To compensate for that tendency, Boeing engineered the MCAS but then didn't include in AOMs. Sounds like there was a fair bit of new science in this plane.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by Daniel Cooper » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:21 am

Who all is cancelling their MAX orders. Garuda just cancelled 49.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by confusedalot » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:44 am

yycflyguy wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:35 am
confusedalot wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:43 pm
co-joe wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:44 pm


I don't think it's a matter of putting out a faulty product, rather trying to sneak the max through on the NG type rating with no sim cross training required.
Flew the NG, never flew the max. Did sim evaluations in the max though.

It's the.........same....airplane........from a pilot point of view. New type rating not required.

My US major airline buddy does not even have a max simulator. He flies a max depending on what his schedule says.

No rocket science here.
Actually there may have be some rocket science that wasn't done on this variant. Forward hanging, higher slung, more powerful engines to accommodate ground clearance with a tendency to stall easier approaching the stall changed the flight envelop of the plane. To compensate for that tendency, Boeing engineered the MCAS but then didn't include in AOMs. Sounds like there was a fair bit of new science in this plane.
Not debating some engineering changes as in different engines, leading to a slightly changed envelope, and MCAS. An AME would require a bit more differences training, but as stated before, practically the same for a driver except for the TV screens, which are not a big deal. A pilot would get pretty bored with more than a few hours of ground training. Not that much to talk about. I do agree though that omitting the MCAS information, which in itself would not take long to explain, was a dumb move (as explained by Boeing, they did not want to overload new pilots with TMI), which led to tragic situations.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by palebird » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:59 am

Boeing is hooped on this one. They all took it just a little too far. Boeing share price is going to take a beating, they are open for multiple major lawsuits and Airbus will feast on it. As will the Chinese. Just watch. What is at stake here is not the fact that training will be improved, MCAS can be reprogrammed, that a second AOA sensor can be added to the circuit or that a disagree light is added in the cockpit. All bandaids for a "new" version of a tired old design. Think 707. That is the only other Boeing jet that sits that low to the ground. The 737 engine ground clearance has always been an issue, even with the JT8. The CFM was not designed for the 737. It was an engine looking for an aircraft. It found it's first home on DC8-70 series aircraft. Then they modded it to fit the 737. It is just mod after mod.And now it has all caught up to Boeing and the FAA.It was inevitable. Greed and arrogance.
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Re: Boeing Tumbles on Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Post by confusedalot » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:10 pm

Stating the obvious, 727 and 737 are/were deriviteves of the 707 airframe. Retooling costs money I guess, so use the tools you have to save money.

Never quite understood why they scrapped the 757 in favor of the 737. They could have shortened it, and the product would be far more superior.

As far as I can tell, industry pressure from 737 operators wanted to save on retraining costs so they pushed for a variant.

I dunno.

Flew the ng, which was newer. Flew the 757.

757 is nicer.
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