So the onus is on the aircraft manufacturers to adequately dummy-proof their aircrafts. Two crashes from the same problem might indicate that Boeing failed to do that.
You say a stab trim runaway is a stab trim runaway regardless of the cause and again I partially agree with you if it were not for the mechanism that has been in place on every B737 since the -100, the STAB BRAKE. In the event of a stab trim runaway not initiated by MCAS, any movement of the control column opposite to trim movement will engage the "control column actuated stabilizer trim cutout switches". This quote appears in both the NG and MAX FCOMs, however, there is no caveat in the MAX FCOM about its function during an MCAS event. Moving the column in the opposite direction of a runaway trim is a pilot's instinctive reaction. This safety mechanism, however, is disabled during an MCAS event (real or spurious) and opposite control column movement is seen by MCAS as an aggravated event and even more Nose Down electric trim is applied, at up to 4 times the normal speed. This very quickly turns into an unmanageable situation. Even with the benefit of knowledge and hindsight, I am not sure that the average North American, European or any other supposedly well trained and experienced crew would fare any better than the ill-fated Lion Air or Ethiopian crews. As you said above, probably the only reason the first Lion Air crew survived was the input of a third pilot in the jumpseat who was not overwhelmed by the quickly deteriorating situation.
Boeing in their infinite wisdom chose to tell no-one about this little gem and the aircraft functioning in exactly the opposite way to any previous B737. Even given all the press and revelations since the 2 crashes and subsequent grounding, there is still only a single mention of MCAS in the MAX FCOM and that occurs in the Definitions section. To this day there is still no regulatory Boeing document that contains any information about MCAS, the system, its function and operation and the handling of any failures. The Stab Trim Runaway QRH revision makes no mention of MCAS either.
This is a massive industry and government-wide safety system failure and the extended grounding only validates that. No-one is willing to take Boeing or the FAA at their word anymore. The FAA used to be the gold standard when it came to safety and certification, not anymore. The US government at all levels all the way up to POTUS are responsible for the year over year budget and staffing cuts at the FAA that caused the FAA to need to outsource much of its oversight responsibilities to the very industry it was supposed to be overseeing. Essentially the fox was left in charge of the hen house and now everyone is navel-gazing wondering why all the chickens got eaten. The FAA abdicated their responsibilities and Boeing took advantage of it.
Boeing is guilty of turning a blind eye to the training/competence issues however it is the state, as signatories to the various ICAO conventions that are responsible for training and standards for pilots, mechanics, ATC, medical, etc. And, as this article demonstrates, the travelling public are at risk in those countries that pay lip service to the ICAO conventions.mixturerich wrote: ↑Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:16 amYou guys can toot your “sub-standard” training and incompetence horns all you want, but the cold hard reality is that not all airlines are alike, and neither are their training standards.
So the onus is on the aircraft manufacturers to adequately dummy-proof their aircrafts. Two crashes from the same problem might indicate that Boeing failed to do that.
It reminds one of the story reported by Tom Wolfe in his book "The Right Stuff" where NASA originally attempted to remove all of the controls from the capsules, leading to a revolt by the astronaut trainees wherein they refused to continue training, absent controls. They won that dispute, and a couple of missions later, salvaged a mission when the on-board systems failed by taking manual control of the re-entry.FL410AV8R wrote: ↑Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:05 amWhile I agree that training or the lack thereof played a role in these 2 tragedies, repeatedly stating that the pilots should have been able to identify, rectify and recover from a scenario that up to that point no-one even knew the existence of is massively oversimplifying the events and the system and industry-wide chain of egregious failures that led to them to that point. It is easy to blame the dead, they can't defend themselves.
Indonesia to Fault 737 MAX Design, U.S. Oversight in Lion Air Crash Report
Indonesian investigators have determined that design and oversight lapses played a central role in the fatal crash of a Boeing 737 MAX jet in October, according to people familiar with the matter, in what is expected to be the first formal government finding of fault.
The draft conclusions, these people said, also identify a string of pilot errors and maintenance mistakes as causal factors in the fatal plunge of the Boeing Co. plane into the Java Sea, echoing a preliminary report from Indonesia last year.
In addition, the NTSB is expected to focus on potential changes to the certification of new airliners. The board is poised to recommend re-evaluation of FAA procedures that give the industry authority to sign off on certain safety matters, the officials said. The aim is to make such approvals more transparent, with the goal of greater predictability and more-consistent federal oversight across various types of onboard systems.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/indonesia- ... _lead_pos2
FAA misled Congress on inspector training for Boeing 737 Max, investigators say
Investigators examining a whistleblower complaint have concluded that safety inspectors who worked on training requirements for Boeing 737 Max pilots were themselves “underqualified” — and that the Federal Aviation Administration provided misleading information about the issue to Congress.
The findings of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which independently investigates whistleblower complaints, have added to questions about the effectiveness and transparency of safety oversight at the FAA, which has come under scrutiny after two new 737 Max jets it had certified as safe crashed in Indonesia and Ethi¬o¬pia, killing 346 people.
In a letter to President Trump on Monday, Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner wrote that the “FAA’s official responses to Congress appear to have been misleading in their portrayal of FAA employee training and competency.”
Information provided by the FAA “obfuscates” concerns about the preparation of safety inspectors and “diverts attention away from the likely truth of the matter: that they were neither qualified under agency policy to certify pilots flying the 737 Max nor to assess pilot training on procedures and maneuvers.”
“The FAA is entrusted with the critically important role of ensuring aircraft safety,” Kerner added in a statement. “The FAA’s failure to ensure safety inspector competency for these aircraft puts the flying public at risk.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/tr ... story.html
Boeing To Strengthen Engineers’ Powers In Response To 737 MAX Crisis
Sep 25, 2019, 10:51am
Boeing’s board has formed a new safety committee and drawn up a blueprint to strengthen the independence of its engineers and safety certification representatives from commercial pressures, in response to two deadly crashes of its flagship 737 MAX airplane.
Boeing announced Wednesday that the board has proposed that all engineers report directly to the company’s chief engineer, rather than to the managers of individual aircraft programs, which could insulate them from concerns over budgets and schedule. It also recommended establishing a new product and safety services unit reporting to the chief engineer that would oversee Boeing employees who are deputized to perform safety certification work for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration under the Organization Designation Authorization program, which critics say has given Boeing managers the ability to pressure the representatives to speed the certification process along and weakened FAA oversight.
The board also recommended that the company re-examine how it designs airplane cockpits and flight controls to meet the “needs of the changing demographics and future pilot populations” – a reference to concerns that the two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia have raised about pilot training standards in developing countries, where airlines have expanded service dramatically over the past few decades amid rising levels of wealth. The recommendations resulted from a five-month review by a four-member board committee established in the wake of the March crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which led aviation authorities worldwide to ground the 737 MAX.
Strengthening the role of engineers in the company would be a welcome corrective to a shift in emphasis at Boeing over the past two decades to boosting shareholder returns, says Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace consultant with the Teal Group. He points out that the 737 MAX, an updated version of Boeing’s workhorse narrow-body plane with new engines, was designed at a time when the CEOs of Boeing and the commercial aircraft division were not engineers. “It’s an engineering company – it should have more of an engineering culture.”
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeremyboga ... 4ff1758c63
Rudder/vertical fin issues with 707 and stick pusher issues with 727 illustrate otherwise. Industry has been able to push FAA around quite a bit a long time before 2019.
... and this - https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... gn-212016/Ki-ll wrote: ↑Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:25 amRudder/vertical fin issues with 707 and stick pusher issues with 727 illustrate otherwise. Industry has been able to push FAA around quite a bit a long time before 2019.
NTSB cites competing pilot warnings and flawed safety assumptions on Boeing 737 Max
After an automated feature on a Boeing 737 Max failed in the skies above Ethiopia in March, repeatedly forcing the plane’s nose downward, the pilots were bombarded with a cacophony of alarms that shook, clacked and lit up throughout the cockpit.
Boeing did not sufficiently consider the effect that such a barrage would have on those flying the plane when it designed the Max, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, which released its first wave of recommendations Thursday in response to the crash in Ethiopia and one in Indonesia under similar circumstances in October.
The Federal Aviation Administration should require Boeing to make a more rigorous analysis of how its warning systems might overwhelm pilots, the NTSB said. The safety board also said the same problem could affect other passenger planes beyond the Max, and recommended that the FAA address such shortcomings broadly.
“They’re getting all these different alerts. That’s the actual scenario that never got evaluated in the simulator,” said Dana Schulze, director of the NTSB’s Office of Aviation Safety.
Boeing declined to answer questions about the NTSB findings, and was noncommittal about what actions it will take to address them, saying it will work with the FAA to review the recommendations.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/tr ... story.html
Boeing CEO to testify before House committee on 737 Max
WASHINGTON - Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has agreed to testify before a congressional committee investigating the grounded 737 Max.
He’ll be joined at an Oct. 30 hearing by the chief engineer of the company’s commercial airplanes division and its chief pilot for the 737.
Last week House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., formally asked that they appear.
The committee has held three hearings since May on the Max, but no one from Boeing has testified.
The plane has been grounded since shortly after the second of two crashes that together killed 346 people.
Congress, the Justice Department and the Transportation Department inspector general are investigating the Max and how it was certified for flight by the Federal Aviation Administration. Lawyers have filed dozens of lawsuits against Boeing.
https://www.thestar.com/news/world/us/2 ... 7-max.html
Boeing Engineer Says 737 Max Safety System Was Vetoed Over Cost
A senior Boeing engineer filed an internal ethics complaint this year saying that during the development of the 737 Max jet the company had rejected a safety system to minimize costs, equipment that he felt could have reduced risks that contributed to two fatal crashes.
Boeing has provided the complaint, which was reviewed by The New York Times, to the Department of Justice as part of a criminal investigation into the design of the Max, according to a person with knowledge of the inquiry who requested anonymity given the ongoing legal matter. Federal investigators have questioned at least one former Boeing employee about the allegations, said another person with knowledge of the discussions who similarly requested anonymity.
During the development of the 737 Max, Mr. Ewbank worked on the cockpit systems that pilots use to monitor and control the airplane. In his complaint to Boeing, he said that managers were urged to study a backup system for calculating the plane’s airspeed. The system, known as synthetic airspeed, draws on several data sources to measure how fast a plane is flying.
Such equipment, Mr. Ewbank said, could detect when the angle-of-attack sensors, which measure the plane’s position in the sky, were malfunctioning and prevent other systems from relying on that faulty information. A version of the system is used on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, a new model of plane.
Mr. Ewbank noted in the complaint, “It is not possible to say for certain that any actual implementation of synthetic airspeed on the 737 Max would have prevented the accidents” in Ethiopia and Indonesia. But he said that Boeing’s actions on the issue pointed to a culture that emphasized profit in some cases, at the expense of safety.
According to Mr. Ewbank’s complaint, Ray Craig, a chief test pilot of the 737, and other engineers wanted to study the possibility of adding the synthetic airspeed system to the Max. But a Boeing executive decided not to look into the matter because of its potential cost and effect on training requirements for pilots.
“I was willing to stand up for safety and quality, but was unable to actually have an effect in those areas,” Mr. Ewbank said in the complaint, adding, “Boeing management was more concerned with cost and schedule than safety or quality.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/02/busi ... e=Homepage
Ethiopian Airlines went into maintenance records a day after Boeing 737 Max crash, former chief engineer claims
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ethiopian Airlines’ former chief engineer says in a whistleblower complaint filed with regulators that the carrier went into the maintenance records on a Boeing 737 Max jet a day after it crashed this year, a breach he contends was part of a pattern of corruption that included fabricating documents, signing off on shoddy repairs and even beating those who got out of line.
Yonas Yeshanew, who resigned this summer and is seeking asylum in the U.S., said that while it is unclear what, if anything, in the records was altered, the decision to go into them at all when they should have been sealed reflects a government-owned airline with few boundaries and plenty to hide.
Yeshanew’s criticism of Ethiopian’s maintenance practices, backed by three other former employees who spoke to AP, makes him the latest voice urging investigators to take a closer look at potential human factors in the Max saga and not just focus on Boeing’s faulty anti-stall system, which has been blamed in two crashes in four months.
It’s not a coincidence, he said, that Ethiopian saw one of its Max planes go down when many other airlines that fly the plane suffered no such tragedy.
Yeshanew alleged in his report and interviews with AP that Ethiopian is growing too fast and struggling to keep planes in the air now that it is carrying 11 million passengers a year, four times what it was handling a decade ago, including flights to Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and Newark, New Jersey. He said mechanics are overworked and pressed to take shortcuts to get planes cleared for takeoff, while pilots are flying on too little rest and not enough training.
And he produced an FAA audit from three years ago that found, among dozens of other problems, that nearly all of the 82 mechanics, inspectors and supervisors whose files were reviewed lacked the minimum requirements for doing their jobs.
Among the allegations in Yeshanew’s report is that Ethiopian maintains a jail-like detention centre on the grounds of its Addis Ababa headquarters that it used to interrogate, intimidate and sometimes beat up employees who got out of line. Yeshanew said he knows of at least two mechanics beaten up in the past three years after falling out of favour with the company, and he feared the same fate awaited him.
A former spokesman for the airline union, Bekele Dumecha, told AP that he met with more than a dozen workers over six years who had been beaten at the same detention centre, including one of the alleged victims identified by Yeshanew. Dumecha said he saw that person an hour after he was released, bruised and staggering.
“He couldn’t walk properly,” said Dumecha, who is now living in Minnesota and also seeking asylum. “He was mentally and physically destroyed.”
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/busines ... er-boeing/
Review of 737 Max Certification Finds Fault With Boeing and F.A.A.
Boeing failed to adequately explain to regulators a new automated system that contributed to two crashes of the 737 Max, and the Federal Aviation Administration lacked the capability to effectively analyze much of what Boeing did share about the new plane.
Those are among the findings in a damning report from a multiagency task force that the F.A.A. convened to scrutinize the Max’s certification process after the second plane crashed in March.
The New York Times obtained a draft copy of the report, which is expected to be made public on Friday. The veracity of the document was confirmed by two people familiar with the review.
The review’s scope was narrow: It only scrutinized the F.A.A.’s certification of the Max’s flight control system. But that allowed the task force to review the certification of the new automated system, MCAS, that played a role in both crashes, in Indonesia last October and in Ethiopia in March.
The report found that while the F.A.A. had been made aware of MCAS, “the information and discussions about MCAS were so fragmented and were delivered to disconnected groups” that it “was difficult to recognize the impacts and implications of this system.”
The task force said it believed that if F.A.A. technical staff had been fully aware of the details of MCAS, the agency would probably have required additional scrutiny of the system that might have identified its flaws.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/11/busi ... e=Homepage
Boeing Strips CEO Of Chairman’s Job
Dennis Muilenburg loses dual role after deadly crashes of Boeing 737 MAX jet
Boeing Co.’s board stripped Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg of his dual role as chairman on Friday in an unexpected shake-up at the highest ranks of the company amid the prolonged crisis of its 737 MAX plane.
Boeing said it took the action to allow Mr. Muilenburg to focus on running the company as it returns the MAX fleet to service after it was grounded world-wide in March following two fatal crashes in less than five months.
The leadership change came hours after a panel or air-safety experts sharply criticized Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for missteps that led to the crashes, which killed all 346 people on flights in Indonesia and Ethiopia. The report has added to criticism in Washington, D.C., where lawmakers are considering potential changes to aviation oversight.
David Calhoun, a senior Blackstone Group Inc. executive who has been the board’s lead director, will become its chairman.
Boeing hasn’t yet submitted the revised software for FAA approval amid scrutiny by aviation regulators, further pushing back the aircraft’s return to passenger service.
Three U.S. operators of the MAX— United Airlines Holdings Inc., American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. —don’t expect to resume flying passengers on the aircraft until early next year.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/boeing-str ... _lead_pos3
The B737-MAX technical issues have now been resolved. Safety has been assured, in terms of the issues that were previously unresolved.
The airlines' next problem will not be the underlying cause of the prior problems. Rather, they will be how to get the aircraft operational with the technology fixes that overcome the earlier problems, including providing hundreds of hours of pilot refresher training and certification.
That will take months. But the certification of the aircraft and permission to recommence operations is now pending, as I see it.
Boeing 737 Max crash victims’ lawyers to subpoena Southwest, American Airlines
Lawyers representing families of passengers killed in a Boeing 737 Max crash in Ethiopia in March are set to issue subpoenas to Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, the two biggest U.S. operators of the jet, according to documents seen by Reuters.
The subpoenas will be issued over the next couple of days, the lawyers separately told Reuters.
The lawyers want to know what Boeing promised potential airline customers about flight crew training and the 737 Max certification process, and its communications with the two airlines following a Lion Air crash in Indonesia on Oct. 29, 2018, and before the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10.
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/17/boeing- ... lines.html
https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/vi ... 1634501586
It remains to be seen what they are doing for the fix, but there was talk of having to go to dual AOA input and AOA comparator warning at minimum for MCAS. I’m not sure if this could be accomplished with software alone. It amazes me how badly Boeing dropped the ball on this one after all the great airplanes they have built. We used to have a saying about the 727,” the airplane will never kill you,only the guy in the front can do that”
The latest news is that the FAA and EASA still do not see eye to eye on the proposed fix so don’t hold your breath.