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China orders its airlines to suspend use of Boeing 737 Max aircraft (reuters.com)
322 points by Ultramanoid 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 199 comments

People seem to think this is a political move by the China, which may be true, but this is actually what they're supposed to do. According to the article, 96 737 MAX jets are operated by Chinese airlines, and the aircraft appears to be racking up a questionable safety record.

I wouldn't put faith in the FAA to be beyond political influence and crack down on an American manufacturer quickly.

Lauda Air flight 004 [0] crashed in 1991 after inadvertent thrust reverser deployment mid-flight, which were not secured with positive locks since Boeing deemed this to be impossible. The FAA accepted Boeing's tests at face value. Regardless, Boeing insisted this would be a survivable event - it wasn't until Niki Lauda (airline's founder) insisted Boeing issue a statement to the contrary or to perform a test flight with him and two pilots attempting a deliberate reverse thrust deployment mid-flight. Boeing relented and acknowledged the defect.

The more groups looking at aviation safety, the better.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauda_Air_Flight_004

Cool fact: Niki Lauda is a former F1 driver who is most famous for having severe facial and lung damage from a fiery crash, then returning while his burns were still healing.

The doctors said he still had more operations to undergo to complete his recovery, but when pressed, admitted that the additional operations were for cosmetic reasons and would not affect his ability to drive.

He raced in F1 races with open wounds weeping into his balaclava.

To this day he's known for having only half an ear on one side and very little hair on his head, but until last year when he had a severe lung problem (likely as a consequence of his aforementioned accident)he happily appeared in public at F1 races.

He retired from F1 to focus on his airline, but un-retired and won another F1 championship.

He ran his airline for a while but now is more of a public figure for one of the F1 teams.

The Ron Howard movie Rush is a great treatment of his time in F1.

> The Ron Howard movie Rush is a great treatment of his time in F1.

Agree, probably one of the best racing movies in general.

> People seem to think this is a political move by the China, which may be true

Categorically FALSE. Let's get the facts straight.

1. The initial mandate was only to temporarily ground all 737MAX series for one(1) day (March 11th) not indefinitely. The CAAC (equiv. of FAA in the US) will determine the further action upon an initial report result is released. [1] It also mentioned that CAAC takes zero tolerance to air safety issues, which is consistent in the past 40 years.

2. Out of 350 Boeing's 737MAX series delivered since 2017, about one thirds (96 according to the Chinese news) went to China. To speed up delivery and reduce cost, Boeing actually opened and operated a brand new factory in Zhoushan, China for all deliveries to Chinese market. So Chinese airliners are one biggest early adopters and Boeing's biggest market. The Zhoushan Boeing factory is joint venture with CMAC (a State owned aircraft manufacturer).[2] So a politically move to ban 737Max that may cause significant economical impact for their own state-owned enterprise, which made no sense.

[1]: http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2019-03-11/doc-ihsxncvh1490704.sht...

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_737_MAX#Program_launch

>I wouldn't put faith in the FAA to be beyond political influence and crack down on an American manufacturer quickly.

I would. The FAA grounded the Boeing 787 after some widely publicized battery fires: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_787_Dreamliner_battery_.... I would assume that they would do the same thing here, if this also turned out to be a widespread issue not related to aircraft maintenance or pilot training.

Please don't try to change history. The FAA only took action after the Japanese (the only major operators at the time) stopped flying them.

The same FAA who is in bed with Boeing I might say. Where in the world can you self-certify anything? What's the point of getting certified if you can do it yourself? Reminds me of self-grading in school. That was only in classes noone ever cared about.


> Where in the world can you self-certify anything?

In the US. Self-certification is pervasive in the aviation industry. For ex., an A&P self-certifies her own work. A pilot self-certifies night landing and instrument currency.

German car manufacturers self-certify the CO2 exhausts.

TEPCO certifies their Japanese nuclear plants.

Works great, doesn't it?

It was NOx, and they didn't self certify, they cheated the tests.

Car companies operate their own testing units at their factories. I don’t see how this is different from self certification.

Ex: “Today in Tokyo, Nissan joined the increasing list of automakers who have admitted to falsifying emissions and/or fuel economy figures. The company said it had uncovered falsified data from car exhaust emissions tests at most of its plants based in Japan.https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterlyon/2018/07/09/nissan-adm...

Trust but verify is common worldwide for this stuff. Otherwise governments would need to install and operate a lot of equipment at every factory worldwide.

True, but an entity that goes so far as to cheat on tests is hardly likely to honestly self-certify - it is further evidence that some non-trivial form of verification is necessary.

I am not, however, going to take any position on whether Boeing has done anything wrong until the accident analysis is complete.

IIRC, FAA didn’t ground 787 until both Japanese airlines had grounded the 787. With the number of fatalities and accidents new 737 had, it should be grounded by all airlines.

I was checking out a thread about the subject on reddit aviation; half the people are saying this is a political move by China - the other half are checking their flights to make sure they are not flying a 737 MAX.

What happened to better safe than sorry? Obviously this type of plane needs to be grounded until issues are resolved or the two crashes can be definitely be dismissed as a freak coincedence.

What you're somewhat observing is the split between Boeing and Airbus fans - if you only wade into airliner discussions periodically you might miss that there are two very entrenched and passionate groups of supporters who take the brand issue all too seriously

Will the reddit aviation answers be different if instead of China, it was Chinese (or another country’s) airlines were announcing one by one, they were grounding the planes?

Honest question... is there a difference between the Chinese government and the Chinese airlines? I know they're not literally led by the government, but I was under the impression the government still wielded disproportionate control over industry in Chine (relative to what we expect in the West).

I'd have thought the UK government [and others in The West] had the ability to legally compel airlines not to fly particular models of aircraft?

If not, then the Chinese system would appear to be superior as safety can trump commercial considerations then.

FAA certainly can do so. Either by decertifying a pane, or issuing various air worthiness directives or other instructions.

Nah if you seriously think so you need to work a bit more on your mental models and probably try to get rid of the simplistic propaganda that you've read. All modern industries are subject to heavy regulations and in many cases the western regulatory system is still sounder than the Chinese one. China was more or less in a wild growth phase of capitalism in the last two decades. Now its regulators are catching up.

It's unusual for airlines to announce that they are grounding planes, but countries do it once in a while.

It would be a very suspect thing.

I agree. Even if it turns out to be a different cause, who wants to be the airline that gives it the benefit of the doubt in the meantime? The optics at this point if it happens again while this one is still being investigated are awful. The Chinese decision here seems pretty rational.

I would go even further and suggest Boeing ought to ground them. If, as you mentioned, another accident were to happen, irrespective of the impact it would have on that airline, Boeing's reputation would be triply hammered.

Yeah, they dropped the ball on this one. Now they have a growing number of countries grounding it themselves which to me seems like a significantly worse look than if Boeing had proactively done it themselves (also keeps it in the news cycle longer as each new country adds itself to the list).

I don't even understand the "political influence" talk. Political influence so what, China's domestic planes get preferred? There are literally only two brands of commercial planes out there, Boeing and Airbus. People's bias, hysteria and excuse finding are simply amazing.

> I would assume that they would do the same thing here, if this also turned out to be a widespread issue not related to aircraft maintenance or pilot training.

Two brand new 737 Max from two different types of airlines crashed in 6 months, what else you need to establish the fact that 737 Max worth to be grounded for a full investigation? How "widespread" it need to be? Maybe a few more crashes are required for FAA to make a move?

FAA's refusal to immediately ground all 737 Max is a pure political move to defend a faulty design that have already killed hundreds of people.

The cause of this crash hasn't been determined, some witnesses described seeing flames before the plane hit the ground, so it's entirely possible that a cargo hold fire took the plane down.

the black box should be relatively easy to find (assuming it survived), so investigators should have a better idea about the cause soon.

The pilots indicated a difficulty controlling the plane before it went down. We certainly can't rule out a cargo hold fire severing control avenues, but it's hard to shake the possibility that the flight software did something goofy after the Lion flight that went down.

> The cause of this crash hasn't been determined

that is the exact reason why all 737 Max should be immediately grounded for a full investigation.

or are you suggesting to further risk lives just to protect the interests of a company which had two of its brand new jets crashed in 6 months? Will you defend a Russian/Chinese manufacturer posing similar obvious fatal risks to the public when FAA orders all of them to be grounded in the US?

> Will you defend a Russian/Chinese manufacturer posing similar obvious fatal risks to the public when FAA orders all of them to be grounded in the US?

The person you are replying to made no reference to the countries/governments involved. Please do not assume someone's argument is politically charged if they have said nothing to imply that it is. It assumes the worst of people with no impetus.


It depends on who died.

Indeed. If this happened to a US airline, I bet the reaction would be quite different.

Yes because FAA understands well the maintenance and training standards of US airlines. These are factors that depend on airline, not airframe, and affect the likelihood of crashes.

I can not speak to Lion Air, but Ethiopian Airlines has a good maintenance and training record. It is widely considered the best airline in Africa and does maintenance for a lot of other airlines on the continent.

All airlines that fly into the US - including Ethiopian - follow FAA rules on maintenance and training. So the FAA already understands the Ethiopian standards well, since they set them.

what else you need to establish the fact that 737 Max worth to be grounded for a full investigation?

With all my respect, this is an opinion, not a fact. A fact has to be proven beyond any reasonable doubt. Here it's just "likely to be true" at best.

This isn't a court of law. People have died on this aircraft twice in 6 months. Fact beyond reasonable doubt is not the threshold for taking actions of prevention while make sure nothing is wrong with that airframe.

Yes, indeed courts also use "balanced of probabilities" in civil cases which is a much lower threshold that may well be met here.

if you wait until the extant fleet is already grounded, then re-ground them, then there is no political influence.

Unfortunately, how the FAA acted under a previous administration doesn't tell us much about how it will act under this one. While the permanent civil service has historically been pretty apolitical, that is one of many norms/institutions the Trump administration has aggressively sought to undermine. As a result, some agencies such as the FDA are severely diminished. Why would we expect the current FAA, under an acting administrator while Trump tries to install a Delta exec as its head (after failing to do so for his personal pilot) to act assertively?

Firstly I want to make it clear I agree that without strong evidence otherwise this decision should be assumed to be a technical/bureaucratic one.

However, citing single a 1991 crash as evidence of something 30 years later is a bit extreme - that isn't even in the same century any more. If it was geopolitics or community attitudes, sure. But extrapolating present attitudes from a technical decisions about a thrust reverser is too far.

I couldn't find a milder way to say that while capturing the point. I'm more amused at attitudes to airline safety than anything else.

I wouldn't go as far as calling the Lauda Air anecdote "evidence of something", but there appears to have been a pattern whereby Boeing writes the rule book for test procedures, which are then adopted by the FAA as the standard. Of course, a manufacturer would not publish a set of tests, then promptly fail to pass them.

So the question becomes - assuming this dynamic is still valid today: what independent mechanism exists to ensure Boeing's standards are sufficient?

Worth pointing out that the FAA bought Boeing's claim that the 737 MAX 8, 9 did not require a new type certificate, and so did EASA. However, from what I gather, the Brazilian regulator deemed the MAX with MCAS sufficiently different from prior generations.

So, there is some regulatory independence.

It could be argued the Brazilian authorities are biased towards Embraer, much the same way US authorities might be biases towards Boeing.

But Embraer doesn't compete directly with that 737

It would be a good argument, one that I am interested in hearing.

Do you have some examples to give?

What about the Canadians and Bombardier? The A220/C series is a much closer competitor to the 737 than anything Embraer has to offer and the Canadians still gave Boeing a pass on MCAS.

Worth pointing out that the FAA bought Boeing's claim that the 737 MAX 8, 9 did not require a new type certificate, and so did EASA. However, from what I gather, the Brazilian regulator deemed the MAX with MCAS sufficiently different from prior generations.

The Brazilians required that Boeing document MCAS and include it in the required differences training. MCAS was considered a fairly small difference (if memory serves — "B") by the Brazilians and the MAX is still operating on the same type certificate. The big question in my mind is: why did the FAA not do the same?

>However, citing single a 1991 crash as evidence of something 30 years later is a bit extreme - that isn't even in the same century any more.

2001 and 2000 aren't the same century, doesn't mean there was much change.

These incidents also somewhat echo the earlier 737 rudder issues, which also had multiple total airframe losses with 100%+ fatalities and multiple incidents before it was fully resolved a decade later


Well we might be jumping to conclusions here a quote on the issue from pilots forum: "Runaway stabilizer procedures in the 737 have remained pretty much unchanged since its first flight. The same can be said for pretty much any Boeing airliner. 1 - Turn off the autopilot to see if it's causing the problem. 2 - Oppose the trim manually with the yoke. If that stops it, you're done. 3 - If that doesn't work, then you turn off the stab trim cutout switches.

If MCAS is getting some kind of erroneous AOA signal and inputting an unwanted nose down pitch, guess what? Those procedures will stop it. If pilots at airline X get to step 2 and think they're good and MCAS starts another input after it's initial 10 second trim, then they go to step 3.

If you want to speculate about something, why not start with what position investigators in both of these crashes are going to find the stab cutout switches. If they're not "off", why? MCAS or poor procedures? " https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/2779459-post40.html

OK just random stuff I come up with as someone with no expertise in this field:

> 3 - If that doesn't work, then you turn off the stab trim cutout switches.

And.. If this doesn't work either? What if it seems to make things worse? Is that switch implemented in hardware or software? I don't mean the switch itself: does it just pull a pin high/low for some controller or does it fully disconnect/shut down the offending part?

Especially for the case of "it actually makes things worse" finding that the switch was ultimately left in the "on" position doesn't really help; quite the opposite I'd say (but I'd assume any change to the switch would be logged by the black box to be able to identify this case).

Actually when I saw the altitude log of the first crash I wondered why there was such a steep descend the first time, while the following cycles were much less extreme. So that's my buildup for tomorrow's conspiracy theory, someone else do the flesh out. ;-)

If you dig through the pprune thread on the Lion Air crash you'll find some schematics. The stabilizer trim switches cut power, but the circuits and switches are different between the NG and MAX generations. Assuming there was no damage from the near constant adjustment, disconnecting electrical power from the stabilizer trim motors almost certainly would've resulted in an improvement.

The problem is not the questionable safety record. The problem are the latest revisions 8 - 10 of the flight software, which enabled the new anti-stall feature by default automatically.

Previously anti-stall just signaled a warning, now it automatically turns the nose down, fighting the pilots attempt to ascend the machine after a start.

This is a serious security defect.

#1 anti-stall being fooled by some strong AOA sensor signal on initial ascend. This is not a stall, this a normal start procedure.

#2 anti-stall turned on by default automatically.

This already caused two major crashes with zero survivors. The attempt to blame the pilots not reading the updated documentation is also criminal behavior. Boeing might go bankrupt over this. I hope so.

> This already caused two major crashes with zero survivors.

Has that been confirmed or are you just assuming it was the cause of the second crash?

The public flight data looks very similar; for lack of any further details people will assume the problem had a similar root cause. Either way, his point isn't wrong- enabling a feature that can take control of the aircraft where it could not previously needs to be properly communicated. If pilots flew the older generations for several years they would not expect this behavior.

Not yet confirmed, but all evidence points to it.

Even without a single confirmed crash it's a strong SW security problem.

I disagree your conclusions, as the cause of the two crashes was not determined yet to my knowledge. But your description of the problem sounds plausible at least, so I upvoted your comment anyway.

> or to perform a test flight with him and two pilots attempting a deliberate reverse thrust deployment mid-flight

Reminds me of the scene in "Battleship" when Liam Neesons character tells the gov big-wig he will fly into the barrier-like thing as soon as he would come down to strap himself into the co-pilot's seat.

It befuddles me to see people relating this to external motivations, not a genuine concern for safety. Would you fly 737 max8 tomorrow? Anybody who knows anything about Chinese aviation industry knows that it is severely government-regulated industry and the top 1 priority is safety. It has better records than the American counterpart. While BOEING(being one of the pillars of American industry) might twist arms in corporate America, it simply doesn't have enough influence to warrant such risks with the Chinese government. Simple as that. I would very much appreciate FAA doing the same.

And it saddens me to see my comment being downvoted so rapidly. Has it become too hard in this corporate America to not buy into this bs? Has it not been obvious from history lessons that companies can only be held up to the moral standards that the law could effectively demand? A thorough investigation means potentially losing hundreds of billions of dollars. I would not expect Boeing to jump into this without some iron-fisted slaps. In the current trade circumstances, doubly not so. It is FAA's job to be doubtful and strict, not Boeing's. And it disappoints when FAA is testing reasonable doubts with human lives, not Boeing's profits.

If you are so inclined to downvote this, fly 737 max8 whenever you can probably help your corporate daddies more. Put your life on it where you mean it.

> A thorough investigation means potentially losing hundreds of billions of dollars.

I mean, even from a financial perspective: If a third one crashes, Boeing can deliver its 737 max8 to the graveyard. Not to mention the lost trust by ignoring the obvious signs.

It is possible that these two crashes are unrelated and that it's simply bad luck that it hit the 737 max8 two times. But that's are serious gamble with the reputation, not even considering possible fines and lawsuits.

> It has better records than the American counterpart

What is the basis for this statement? And are you trying to say something about airline maintenance policy, or manufacturing, or training, or record-keeping?


When I try to look it up I find that China have a rate of 0.45 accidents per million departures while the US have a rate of 1.28. If someone writes something wrong, please provide a source showing them to be wrong.


That's by country of occurrence. By country of operator is probably a better indicator. Until very recently, China had more international passengers than domestic.

Your figure is also for a single year.

Yeah I know. The point here is that it is a figure. Instead of just angry words and nothing to back it up. You're welcome to calculate more precise numbers if you care about it.

Before reading the article and before seeing your comment, I was chatting with my partner about the 737 Max, advising her to be wary. And lo and behold... You are definitely not alone in this.

However, and to play a bit devil's advocate, China has a reputation as being a place that does not care about the value of human life, and the current climate is charged with USA advising people to ban Huawei's hardware, so this could have ulterior motives. If it was France banning them, nobody would bat an eye.

Political or not, in my eyes it is definitely the right move.

China doesn't value the average person's life. But as you can see in the Huawei case, they seem to value some lives very highly. I suspect that the people flying are multiple times more valued by the Chinese government than normal citizens.

Funny that more countries are joining Chian while USA or Canada haven't announced anything yet. Do American politicians care a person's life or their relationships with companies like Boeing

Well if it were France we would bat an eye because Airbus.

For what it’s worth, I checked what planes I take on my next flight with the full intent to change the airline if it was 737 max8.

You have very good points, I assume the FAA will issue a similar message soon - as it seems the most logical step if one cares about safety.

I will certainly not fly in one of these planes anytime soon.

> It befuddles me to see people relating this to external motivations, not a genuine concern for safety.

It doesn't befuddle me. China has a bit of a history of using safety regulations as a pretext for political and trade retaliation. China and the US are currently in a tariff war, and Boeing airplanes happen to be one of the US's biggest exports to China. While the FAA might not be perfectly independent, I'm pretty sure it's more politically independent than most Chinese government institutions. I'm actually surprised they didn't take an action like this sooner.

Here's a recent article that outlines some other examples of China using safety regulations to retaliate:


> China said Wednesday that it is blocking some imports of the agricultural product canola from Canada because of fears of insect infestation.

> The move, which comes amid heightened tensions over Canada's arrest of a Chinese tech executive, is seen by some as a new tactic to seek leverage over Ottawa....

> [The foreign ministry spokesman] cited "harmful organisms" that he did not identify further, and said China's government "needs to protect the health and safety of its own people."...

> Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a statement that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency conducted investigations after China issued notices of non-compliance on canola seed imports, including nine since January. She said the agency had not identified any pests or bacteria of concern....

> China, whose rapid growth has made it an important market for many countries, has a history of using commercial retaliation against those at odds with Beijing.

> The most recent high-profile target was South Korean retailer Lotte, which sold land to the Seoul government for a U.S. anti-missile system opposed by Beijing. Authorities closed most of the company's 99 supermarkets and other outlets — often alleging safety violations — and a theme park project.

> China suspended a trade deal with Norway and restricted imports of Norwegian salmon after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Chinese political prisoner Liu Xiaobo in 2010. It stopped buying fruit from the Philippines during a dispute over territory in the South China Sea. Britain and other countries also faced retaliation over meetings with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, considered a dangerous separatist by Beijing.

Billions of dollars are involved in the procurement of the 737. When billions of dollars are involved, politics is inevitable. Why are Boeing the only planes that crash?

The Airbus A320 alone has had 35 hull loss incidents.


Whatever else you think about this topic, it’s utter nonsense to say only Boeings crash.

None of those crashes are due to new undocumented features pilots totally don't need to be retained for.

That’s not what I was refuting.

Maybe it's politically motivated, but IMO so is the FAA's certification and nonaction so far. Boeing promised a software fix by January, and the FAA's decision not to ground the fleet was probably informally based on that promise. Unfortunately the software fix is proving more difficult than anticipated. Regulated, safety-critical software, whose failure leads to a smoking crater full of bodies can be like that. Especially in this case where it's not going to be just a bugfix, but probably a major redesign of the concept of the MCAS.

Ultimately though there are over 5000 orders for the 737MAX. The list price is $121 million. That makes the total value of the order book $600 Billion at list prices. That's roughly the market cap of Google or Apple, and the 737MAX is extremely important to the U.S. balance of trade. There is obviously going to be a political component to any big regulatory action on it.

The FAA needs to make a major course correction here, because what's even more important long-term than a single, very popular airplane to the U.S. economy is FAA's credibility as a regulator. In most countries, FAA certification means rubber-stamp certification from the local authority. As long as it is, it's a huge advantage to the U.S. aviation industry, because the FAA can write regs that are favorable to U.S. interests. This is only true though as long as the FAA is seen to have integrity.

In this case, when it comes to that, by my reading (and I'm not a lawyer or an expert), the MCAS is in violation of FAR part 25.672, and the 737MAX is not airworthy.

Wow, I didn't realize the software fix hadn't been rolled out prior to yesterday's crash. Yikes. Also count me among those who went through the rest of this year's (already booked) flights this morning to ensure I'm not on one of these things.

As far as I know, most airlines are seeing the 737-MAX 8 and its predecessor, the 737-800, as interchangeable (or they did until yesterday), so I doubt they will be able to say with certainty which aircraft type will operate a given flight...

Yeah, in my case it was a pretty straightforward situation with 1 airline not having the 8max at all (despite an article saying otherwise?) and my other flights being on 737-700's. I read a fair bit about this whole mess today and saw some posts saying there was a way to use SeatGuru to reliably distinguish between Max 8 / legacy 737-800, but I didn't need to dig that much myself and as you noted especially for flights far out, they can't guarantee equipment won't be swapped.

The MAX is pretty easy to identify visually. The engine nacelles have those chevrons like the 787 and the APU has a conical exhaust (look at the back of an older 737 and it's flat like a screwdriver turned sideways).

The death will be quick - why worry so much?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say they don't want to die.

From touching the ground to brain death may be a short time, but from realizing the plane is going to crash to brain death, not so much.

Sadly I think it still comes down to lack of real competition - that’s why this is gonna be such a big deal, air travel safety in general is in the balance. Everyone that flys regularly should hope this is a coincidence because the supply chain isn’t there to fill in for grounded 737s - there won’t be enough planes in general.

Like the adage about owing a billion to the bank being their problem, a crash is an airlines problem, but 3 crashes of the same plane for the same reason is the air industries problem.

Great point, and what is very revealing in this instance, is that some countries regulators in this specific instance diverged from the FAA conclusion and required specific training for crews with respect to MCAS (I'm thinking of Brazil, for instance).

FAA can write regulations that are favorable to the U.S. interests as long as it is seen to have integrity so the major course correction needed to save it's credibility as a long term advantage to the national aviation industry? Not credibility in terms of actually avoiding craters full of bodies better than anyone else on the planet to date(737MAX is still 737?), but only as a petty strategic trade war tool? This implies moving from fake news to fake aviation security, it seems.

No. The FAA has regulations. Other countries trust that they are properly applied as part of the certification process by the FAA, and so they don’t make Boeing do much certification work for each country they’re going to sell to. If the FAA is seen as being lax in enforcement of its own regs in a material way, other countries can’t just outsource the certification oversight work to the FAA because they can’t be trusted.

I think you're right. The FAA needs to act ASAP, otherwise it doesn't look good.

Right now I think they still have a good reputation.

You can safely assume that most airlines pay only half the list price, or even less.


I wonder if there's a cognitive bias punishing action vs. inaction here, too, in the decision to delay the software fix -- when they decide to delay the fix again to consider improving it further, are they accurately calculating the consequences of the inaction of having no deployed fix?

It’s not a cognitive bias except at an organizational level, and that’s the way aviation regulation works. If the regs say that the system must be redundant, the replacement system must pass a lot of tests that it didn’t before. That also means that the previous certification was improper and all 737MAXes should be declared unairworthy. The FAA wants to give Boeing some wiggle room to operate with the current system until the new properly certified one is ready. They don’t want an interim quick fix because that would be a clear violation of regulations, where there is now this ambiguity that the FAA is hiding behind that the system doesn’t need to be redundant by regulation.

Well if the fix is difficult to implement, I don’t see how a feature switch can’t be done in a sprint./s

Jokes aside, if it’s that difficult I’d be weary of all the rest of the codebase...

From the New York Times at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/10/business/boeing-737-max-8...:

> On a commercial level, China’s aviation sector could actually benefit from the tragedies in Indonesia and Ethiopia. A government-owned company in Shanghai has begun doing flight tests of a Chinese-made alternative to the Boeing 737, called the Comac C919. The C919 is the cornerstone of China’s effort to build a commercial aviation competitor to Boeing and Airbus.

It's worth noting that a) the C919 program has been severely troubled, and b) this hasn't stopped the Chinese government from arm-twisting Chinese airlines into over 1000 (!) orders. The original plan was for entry into service by 2014; as of now, they're still refining prototypes for test flights and the current goal of 2021 looks optimistic.


Comac's other airliner, the ARJ21 regional jet, is (barely) in service but is not faring much better: "Initial operational feedback of aircraft was rather poor. The biggest issue was inability of the aircraft to land on wet runways."


...and per FlightRadar24, sole customer Chengdu Airlines is no longer flying its ARJ21s:


My family (wife and kids) and I have a scheduled flight on a Southwest 737 MAX this week. I'm worried about whether there's an unacceptable risk involved in flying on a 737 MAX because of this morning's crash (and last year's Lion Air crash).

After a bit of googling, I found this article from November 2018: https://theaircurrent.com/aviation-safety/southwest-airlines... Apparently, Southwest has been updating glass cockpits in its 737 MAX fleet to include extra indicators to mitigate factors that led to the 2018 Lion Air crash, like an on-screen AOA indicator and a warning light to indicate when AOA sensors don't agree. (I do wish they had gone far enough to disable the MCAS system when one AOA sensor indicates high AOA and the two sensors disagree by more than 2x their individual tolerance.)

That mitigates our risk in the chance that the crash was caused by the same factors that led to the 2018 Lion Air crash, but I'm still nervous as the cause of this morning's crash is unknown.

I am generally the person who says things like "the plane will be many times safer than the car ride to get to the airport", and I would cancel that flight. (And I would further be shocked if the FAA doesn't issue a ground suspension of the MAX tomorrow.)

And hey, Southwest gives full credit for cancellations, right?

The Lion Air crash was world news. If any 737 pilot heard about it, presumably went through extra training in its aftermath, and yet was unable to avoid the exact same takeoff->unreliable airspeed->stall pattern, then it's simply not possible to rely on piloting to avoid stalling the plane. As far as I know this Ethiopia crash was in visual conditions: the pilots could see the ground, which means they weren't confused about what their AoA was. I'm not an expert, but I think control failure of the airliner under these conditions is basically unprecedented.

There's a planned MCAS software update that's been delayed for months: after that actually ships seems like the right time for people to start flying the plane again.


Visual flight conditions give you your angle relative to the horizon but not necessarily AoA especially in non-normal flight conditions (like steep ascent or descent).


> A software update intended to fix the problem identified in the Lion Air crash still hasn’t been rolled out. The fact that the crew on Flight 610 are likely to have been aware of the known issues with the aircraft, too, raises the more worrying possibility that there’s an unknown complication.


> The relocated engines and their refined nacelle shape caused an upward pitching moment -- in essence, the Max's nose was getting nudged skyward... putting the aircraft at risk of stalling, according to a series of questions and answers provided to pilots at Southwest Airlines. The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System(MCAS) was designed to address this.

Forget China, think about yourself. If you have an option to fly on a 737 Max or another aircraft right now, which would you choose? I suspect market forces will ground these planes anyway.

Depends on what the other aircraft is.

I'd guesstimate flying on a 737 Max is still safer than driving a car.

The actual option is going to be flying on a Max vs. choosing a different airline or flight number that uses a different model of plane.

Yes, I've been toying around with the idea of booking a flight for later this year when I get paid on Friday, and I'm paying careful attention to the flight numbers on Southwest's website to make sure that whatever I pick won't be a MAX.

(fortunately, the flights between DAL and LGA seem to be mostly 700s, at least during the time of year I want to travel)

The chance of getting in an accident when calculated by per mile driven and not by per drive is quite low.

Frequent air travelers are becoming self-selected for less planning/foresight than the average person wrt global warming concerns, I wonder if this changes the accident risk aversion of the average flyer.

Why? Because 2 737s went down in the past few years? Do you know how many successful flights have been completed in the past few years? Would you rather drive? do you know how many people die in car accidents everyday? Over 3000. But it doesn't make the news because by definition it isn't new, it happens every day.

> Why? Because 2 737s went down in the past few years?

In last 6 months, to be more factual.

2 brand new aircraft of the latest model went down shortly after take off in less than 6 months. That is not normal and a proper investigation needs to take place. Until the investigation is done and it is proven that both of these crashes where just freak incidents and not caused by design flaw of the plane the planes should be grounded.

Like other commenters added: it's not the 737 that has been flying for 4+ decades, this is a new update to the 737 that has been flying for less than 2 years, this version has had 2 catastrophic accidents since its first delivery on May 2017.

Flying is safe because we had the time to learn from past accidents and create safeguards around their failures, this could be a new kind of failure we haven't been prepared for and if so there is a potential for risks higher than the usual.

> Because 2 737s went down in the past few years?

Because 2 brand new 737s went down in the past 6 months and at least one of them was at least partially due to software.

If a specific car make and model was presumably more prone to automobile accidents people would have the same reaction towards it.

The point is that two of this currentlt rather rare 737 version went down in a year or so, for reasons which might be related. Up to you, of course, but personally I might opt for a 737-800 or A32x until the investigation is concluded. Both are plentiful.

2 complete hull losses out of 350 is pretty unacceptable to me.

Any aircraft can be stalled fairly easily. I think the problem may be between the yoke and the chair (PBYAC).

Especially when it's a new aircraft, perhaps pilots need time to adjust, same as when you and I get in to a new car, it may have different response when you hit the gas, different mirrors, different sounds, different steering wheel sensitivity, etc.

> Especially when it's a new aircraft, perhaps pilots need time to adjust, same as when you and I get in to a new car, it may have different response when you hit the gas, different mirrors, different sounds, different steering wheel sensitivity, etc.

This again pushes the blame back onto Boeing who insisted pilots didn't need to be retrained / trained up against this model aircraft as it would've meant extra expenditure by the airlines.

General aviation aircraft can be stalled easily. Stalling a commercial airliner takes much more effort, which is why it's so shocking when it actually happens.

Exactly, it's "shocking". I guess that's why the pilots reacted the way they did - they didn't expect the stall & it was probably shocking for them, especially if they weren't properly trained for it or thinking that a stall is impossible or takes "much more effort than this".

There's also been quite a few of these type of stalls documented in the past (eg. where the pitot tubes failed).

This discussion is divorced from reality. These two fatal crashes were not caused by stalls. The first was for sure caused by MCAS incorrectly pitching the nose down and the second appears likely to share the same cause.

Ok, I probably have no idea what I'm talking about. However, reading the early news reports, stories and comments, I don't think the journalists/commenters know either and some may be biased. Would be great to actually ask an experienced pilot who flies these things. The main thing I don't understand is, when a plane starts diving, first reaction would be to disable autopilot, and put the nose up, no?

Also, pilots should be prepared to experience faulty sensors as they could fail at any time, no matter what model aircraft they are flying, no?

Yeah, you're missing a lot of background info on this topic. Start by reading here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/03/world/asia/lion-air-plane...

MCAS is not autopilot, and is not affected by autopilot system status. Indeed it is only enabled when the autopilot is off. And typical things you'd do to override autopilot, like applying stick input, do not override MCAS. The pilots did literally what you suggested their first reaction would be, and it wasn't sufficient to prevent fatal crashes.

I was shocked a couple years ago when I drove a rental car and the engine turned off/stalled during stop at traffic lights, I took the car back to the AVIS and was told this is a feature of the car - a Malibu I think.

if it works, don't change it - sadly nowadays that's not true anymore for tech industry, they change things for the sake of change.

if it works, don't change it

Idling cars at stoplights doesn't work. It adds unneeded pollution and wastes fuel. If there were an efficient way to avoid that, it would be stupid not to. That's why they changed it.

What shocks me is that this is the first you've heard of it. You've never heard the car next to you shut off when they pull up to a light?

Pilots definitely need time to adjust, but that adjustment is supposed to be done in training, not rolled into scheduled passenger flights.

What people are forgetting here is that the 737 Max is an airplane that is designed to make flying more miserable even if you survive the flight. The common seat layout of the Max 8 squeezes in more rows for a worse experience.

Compare the 737 to the Embrarer 175 - the Embrarer is a much smaller plane but it has an elliptical fuselage so that you can stand up comfortably in it and also not get a crick in your neck from being inside a too-small circle.

Many words have been written on the flying experience getting worse, but not enough have been written on the 737. Not too long ago you could find a decent plane like a 757 on a major route in the U.S. (say JFK to LAX) but now you have to squeeze yourself into a 737 sardine can, breathe toxic fumes, etc. It's just awful. But you only hear about it when they are hell-bent on re-engining a plane which isn't tall enough to fit a high-bypass engine and then they have to do all kinds of crazy things to make it fit.

Boeing had a chance to do a clean-sheet design of the 737 but they didn't and now Embrarer is going to eat their lunch.

The 737 and 757 (and 707 and 727) all have exactly the same fuselage diameter, the 757 is merely longer. Seat pitch is determined by the airline.

I agree with you about the re-engining though. Seems Boeing might have pushed the 737 airframe one generation too far.

>Embrarer is going to eat their lunch Not so fast: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing-Embraer_joint_venture At some point you have to wonder where is America Antitrust laws...

> breathe toxic fumes


The 737 uses an air bleed system instead of a modern electric system.

What airliners use bleedless system other than the 787? My speculation is that 737 max is a "refresh" of the 737, rather than a complete redesign like the 787, hence why the 787 has new features even though it came out later.

The largest Embraer (not Embrarer) model has 118 seats.

The 737 MAX 8 has 184. I don't think they are competing that much.

I’m most curious what 737 Max pilots think. Are they comfortable flying this plane tomorrow? I assume we’ll be hearing from them and their unions in the coming days, and would put a good amount of trust in what they say (they are the ones who know the airplanes and are at personal risk of death if things go wrong).

Thanks, the two articles linked to on that forum were very interesting and clear eough even for a non-expert like myself:



I think you'll know tomorrow -- if the airlines have a mass sickout of pilots scheduled to fly the 737-MAX, then you'll know that they aren't comfortable flying it.

If any pilot had any serious reservations about the safety of the aircraft, I can't imagine them flying.

Has someone already gotten flight data of all 737max flights from adsbexchange and put that into torrent so that all budding data scientists and investigative journalists can take a shot to find out how many flights actually have had this kind of erratic behaviour in the flight path but that have managed to land safely?

"zero tolerance for safety hazards."

Well everything has some risk. There should be some small tolerance, or else we wouldn't do anything.

I took Boeing's order list[1], and made a list of 737 MAX Operators with numbers of orders and already delivered:



I'm disappointed that the FAA hasn't done this. The FAA seems to be adopting Gollum's "I'm not listening" stance. There is historical precedent for the FAA suspending a type certificate. This happened after a DC-10 crash in 1979.[1]

The facts are that the Indonesia crash just 5 months ago killed 189 people; this latest Ethiopia crash just killed 157 people. That's way too many dead people for a plane that has only been shipping since 2017, with less than 350 aircraft in service.

Maybe it's a coincidence. Maybe the Ethiopian carrier has a bad rep for pushing pilots beyond prudent flying limits. But maybe there's something wrong with the plane!

The first crash was IMO almost 100% on Boeing. They significantly changed the operating behavior of the aircraft and didn't prominently publicize that.

I hope there won't be a third crash anytime soon. Right now if I were Boeing I'd be 100% in emergency design review mode. How would you like to be an engineer at Boeing right now? 346 people are dead. Is it something you did or failed to do? Did you fuck up what was a relatively minor re-design of a plane that started flying 52 years ago?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Airlines_Flight_191

I agree with you. The FAA obviously knows that there are issues with MCAS, since it's been working with Boeing on finalizing a software update that fixes some of them for months. Grounding the fleet at least until that software update can be deployed seems prudent the moment there's objective reasoning to suspect MCAS was at play in this crash too. (And I think we might already be there.)

Do you think the Airbus 330 should be grounded?

It has 11 hull losses with 1447 built. That's a rate of 2.67 per 350 built by the way -- higher than the MAX

Oh, come on, this is a terrible argument.

Those A330 hull losses are over more than 25 years. The Max went into production in 2017. The correct metric to use here is hull losses per hour of flight. I can see some total number of flights data, but not total hours. The Max has probably made fewer than 100k flights total, the A330 has made at least 7 million flights.

Therefore, multiply the two Max hull losses by 70 to get your first ballpark guess at a comparable number. It is as if the Max was an A330 with 140 hull losses instead of 11.

It may be even worse than that, because the A330 is a long-range plane. I’ve been on an 11 hour A330 flight. Many 737 flights are only a couple of hours.

Of course, given the small numbers of 737 MAXes, this may be s statistical fluke. But grounding it til the investigation is complete doesn’t seem crazy to me.

Takeoff and landings are the most dangerous part of the flight though, so comparing based on number of flights may in fact be the salient metric.

That's a rate of 2.67 per 350 built by the way -- higher than the MAX

How many of those hull loses resulted in fatalities? How many of the hull loses were due to pilot error (e.g. AF 447)? How many flights have those A330s flown? So far Boeing's lost two MAX8s that were quite new with many signs pointing to a design flaw rather than pilot error. That's a worse record than the A330.

> How many of the hull loses were due to pilot error (e.g. AF 447)?

He is counting 11 hull losses, which is the correct number of hull loss ( http://aviation-safety.net/database/types/Airbus-A330/losses ), but he didn't bother to look for anything more than that. Out of these 11 losses, four were due to ground attack by armed groups (Two in Sri Lanka in 2001, two in Libya in 2014. These are the one marked "C1" in the page)

Pretty sure that these should not count when assessing the security of a airplane (at least a civilian airplane)

And looking through the rest, two of them were "chemical leakage/fire in the cargo bay" and one of them was obvious pilot error ("fell off the runway").

"pilot error" isn't good enough. Good design and engineering can mitigate human failings, bad can exacerbate them.

The only accident investigation I've ever read (I read a lot of these) that actually had no broader recommendations for safety, was one where two fishermen used enough heroin to render themselves incapable of operating their boat safely and they drowned. The investors concluded that yup, taking so much heroin that you can't operate the boat is a bad idea, don't do that. Heroin is, of course, already a class A drug and you're not supposed to use it at all while operating a boat. No new recommendations.

Back in software, it's theoretically possible to do PKCS #1 v1.5 decryption safely but you're going to keep seeing Bleichenbacher Oracles until we stop using it in online protocols, because doing it correctly is hard. So we should just stop doing it altogether.

Out of the 11 hull losses, only 3 resulted in fatalities, one of those was a test flight, one was the famous Air France crash, and one was probably due to the pilot being surprised by somatogravic illusion during go around. All of this in the past 25 years.

The 737 MAX crashed twice in the past six months, I supposed based on this track record we should just close Boeing down altogether?

The FAA has issued a similar suspension before: with the DC-10.

Mustard — The DC-10 Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-085TjhUPo

Aviation Regulation Agencies will ideally put safety first, and it is a shame that the 737 MAX is either unlucky to be involved in 2 deadly incidents or it does have a design flaw that should be revised.

Besides China, Ethiopian and cayman airlines both grounded their 737max

Indonesia too.

Black box has been located - so I guess we'll see if we get to hear what they find: https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/11/africa/black-box-found-boeing...

If you're interested in wading into the arguments of whether or not this plane is safer or more dangerous than others this is a useful resource: http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/rate_mod.htm

A suspension can always be lifted. If something appears like it may be beyond a coincidence, it doesn't seem like a bad move to suspend until more is known.

Our family was scheduled to fly Southwest this month. Checked the flights and sometimes they’re 737 Max 8’s. Cancelled the flights last night.

Rumors are that the model (a stretched version) is aerodynamically unstable without FBW.

Stretched versions of the MD11 cargo also mad many stability problems.

The most interesting tidbit for me was:

> Boeing decided to feed M.C.A.S. with data from only one of the two angle of attack sensors at a time, depending on which of two, redundant flight control computers — one on the captain’s side, one on the first officer’s side — happened to be active on that flight.

that’s unbelievable, it clearly disobey the redundancy in the design of plane.

The theory is if one computer fails due to bad data from a faulty sensor, you've got another computer ready that hasn't seen said data [1]. It'd be pretty bad if bad data from a single sensor broke both computers at the same time.

Obviously, the Lion Air flight did crash, so this no longer seems like such a wise design.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19077351

Not only is this an appropriate (and probably correct - time will tell) reaction by China, but it represents the Chinese government taking consumer safety and health more seriously than the US.

Does anyone know if this is the first such example?

They've come a long way from the scandal of having melamine in the milk.

> it represents the Chinese government taking consumer safety and health more seriously than the US.

current trade discussions w/r/t fentanyl regulation in PRC would suggest otherwise

I need to book a flight. Does anybody know whether Google Flight differentiates Boeing 737s from the 737 Max in its listings (where it lists the type of plane for a flight). I haven't seen any that say max..

Go to Seat Guru to enter your airline and flight date. It will show the seat layout of the flight, along with the plane model.

e.g. https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/American_Airlines/American...

Airlines are known to change airplanes if usage is too low or too high (beyond overbooking limits)

The only way to mostly guarantee this is to fly with an airline that does not have a 737 Max (or has any orders).

Last I checked, Southwest distinguishes between the 737 Max and other 737 variants when shopping for a flight. This is particularly important for them as they only fly 737s.

I can't check anymore because their site seems to be blocked for users outside of the US, or at least from the two countries from which I've tried.

I don't know about Google, but if you're on Southwest's website, you can click on the flight number and it'll tell you what model of 737 it'll be.

Two plane crashes under six months, something is seriously wrong with this model. New planes never crash this much.

Rest in peace to the 157 deceased.

The article implies that this is the Chinese government's way of signalling itself as a separate world aviation safety authority besides the FAA. Morbid as it is to think about, they're now postured in a position to benefit if another 737 Max goes down anywhere in the world.

If any other country ground 737s it's better for safety concerns. But if it's China, it must be political motivated.

China is a one party state which explicitly doesn't permit any organization, much less a government agency, to operate without political interference.

America is a two party state... so what?

My point is if your mind is closed to looking at their actions at an objective level, there is no point arguing against your position, since it is that China is inherently evil, and is incapable of good actions.

Question is, what if you’re wrong? What if one party is better than two, or four, or 8? And if you can’t consider that possibility, are you any more open than China’s politically oppressive one-party system?

There is massive gorge between a one party state and a two party state. Stop trying Arthur they are the same.

As I’m sure there is a massive difference between a two party state and a n-party state (or even senate/house). We all think our own systems are the best...

The US has an independent judiciary, and regulatory agencies which are fairly insulated from political pressure.

I'm not saying that China is evil, I'm just saying that there is a reason why the international community doesn't take anything they do at face value. The US can be wrong about things, and China can be right (for example, it would be naive to believe that the FAA is completely free from Boeing's influence), but the US's institutions are definitely more transparent and trustworthy than China's.

> America is a two party state.

US are a multi-party state with two dominant parties. There are many unrepresented legal political parties.

> US is a multi-party state with two dominant parties.

The US federal government is a two-party system with some non-party representation; not only is a multi-party system is defined by having multiple represented parties, but the US has a number of government systems set up whose structure is fundamentally predicated on their only being two parties that matter, and both the major parties observe that structure even when they have the political opportunity to gain immediate advantage by exploiting the huge loopholes that this opens in theory; e.g., a party could pack the so-called “independent” government commissions whose members are Presidentially appointed with a limit of a bare majority (3 on 5-member commissions) from a single party by appointing friendly independents or members of ideologically-aligned minor parties, but even when the President’s party controls the Senate and so shutting the opposing party out completely would not provoke confirmation battles that might be lost, the form of duopoly is strictly adhered to.

It's clear that functionally, everything outside or the major parties is decorative and non-functional; even the independents in office functionally are tied to one or the other of the major parties (whichever they caucus with).

Now even the US has grounded 737 Max, as the last one to follow up. Also for political reason?

Good political move, but that doesn't preclude it from being a smart move - as far as I've read so far, the conditions (weather, airline quality, etc) make this completely unexpected. Is implausible to believe that the FAA may be leaned on to suppress news that may damage Boeing, especially with the current administration, and the current slate of news coming out of Canada's shenanigans with the SNC?

The FAA doesn't operate on altruism. They were quite happy to take money from and do work for Southwest during Trump's last shutdown. And regarding the MAX, the FAA happily buried any mention of MCAS (while the Brazilian authorities wisely thought it was significant enough to document in the differences training).

Perhaps the underlying motivation is that China is a major purchaser of the 737 Max. Indeed, Boeing built a 737 'completion' facility to improve the rate of deliveries to Chinese clients.

> The article implies that this is the Chinese government's way of signalling itself as a separate world aviation safety authority besides the FAA

Are you implying that before this "signalling" the FAA was a "world aviation safety authority" and furthermore the only one?

Of course, it's not the only one. But in practice, the FAA (along with its European equivalent, the EASA) are widely "trusted" by the rest of the world, meaning other countries will usually adapt their directives -- especially where safety is concerned.

Indeed, a shrewd political move.

The Chinese government is also a competitor to Boeing (Comac and AVIC). Seems difficult to believe China can provide truly independent oversight over certifying airplane or engine products designed by their own government.

Sure but let's flip this. If the US started using China's first exported passenger plane and it went down twice in six months in similar circumstances, we would absolutely be doing the same thing.

I think we should change that scenario a bit.

If China was our major supplier for Aircraft with a good record for reliability, but their latest model went down twice in six months in similar circumstances, would we ground that model?

Perhaps. I don't know, but I don't think your comparison is the correct one.

How do you know that? Are you a person at FAA responsible for these decisions and protocols?

Please read the article below taking about MCAS, which is the prime suspect, and tell me if you still think that it’s a political move from the Chinese to ground them, or quite the opposite, a political move from the western world to keep them flying.


The Chinese government is also a competitor to Boeing (Comac and AVIC)

Competitor is a bit strong given that even the Chinese airlines don't want to fly the domestically designed planes.

I am quite sure that if the FAA banned Chinese, or European, aircraft the same accusations would apply.

That assumes Europeans or Chinese would have the same issue where nationalism constantly blinds their judgement.

I'm flying on business this week. I checked if I'm booked on any 737 MAXs (I am not).

Because one plane went down now everyone is scared and going to cancel any 737 flights. Irrational humans that pay attention to the news. Your chances of dying in a car accident are much higher than dying from flying on a Boeing 737. Are you still going to drive to work tomorrow though?

Edit: Yes it is good that 737s are being suspended and investigated but still, statistically speaking, flying is safer than driving. The media just likes fear-mongering headlines (not this article, but others in general).

Please don't just call these 737s; there have been 12 variants of 737s since 1967. The basic name means nothing.

The 737 Max 8 is what is in question.

It's also shining a spotlight on why the FAA allowed the Max to be certificated it on the same cert as the original 100-seat 737-100 from 50 years ago. About the only element still shared are the cockpit windows.

2 planes have gone down in 6 months, basically unprecedented in commercial aviation

777 with Malaysia Airlines. But in one case it was highjacking by the pilot and in other anti aircraft missile. But it was not problems with the airplanes per se.

The new Max is having issues. Whether it need combo of inexperienced pilots and specific chain of sensor errors to be presented simultaneously is to be seen.

Also worth noting that they have only built 350 737 MAX aircraft so far. 2 already destroyed out of 350 doesn't seem like a plane I want to fly on, regardless of industry-wide stats regarding accidents per billion miles travelled.

No, because two planes went down within 6 months.

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