At the very least, MAX8 fleet should be grounded for a few days, just until the FDR/CVR of ET302 are analyzed. They've already found the boxes, so it should be only a few days before we have a preliminary report.
I hope there is a lawsuit of some sort so that boeing doesn't pull this ever again.
This is a little derogatory, considering the mechanical wonder a steam locomotive was back then and still is today.
1) is "built by farmers" supposed to be derogatory, because farmers are often very mechanically inclined and make the best of what they have.
2) Steam engines are very capable, complex beasts. The big boy that you linked to is one of the largest and more complex one's ever built. Diesel engines wouldn't pack this much power in a single unit for multiple decades to come.
2a) you do realize that basically every electrical power plant sans hydro and photovoltaic are basically steam (turbine) engines and these work horses of old sharer large amounts of experience to the power plants of today?
3) The safety culture of the railways has always been important, almost as much as it is for air travel. (Yes, there have been some high profile accidents recently, but comparing fatalities to total trips is still favourable.)
It appears to me you saw a picture of something that didn't look "modern" and thought that it was primitive. It also appears that you thought primitive means simple. Those are never good assumptions.
It was well enough understood. Square openings leading to stress risers and cracks has been known in ship building since at leas the 1940s.
With steel, if you add a large enough safety margin it will essentially never fail due to repeat stress cycles. With aluminum it doesn't matter how strong you design it, eventually cracks will form and it will fail.
it wasn't square window per se as much as metal fatigue
And God forbid there was another crash, Boeing would be history.
A number of Boeing 787s were grounded last year due to faulty Rolls-Royce engines, and it has cost RR hundreds of millions in compensation - to cover the airlines costs of leasing replacement aircraft, for example.
However, you're quite right that if Boeing knows about an issue and aren't taking the boldest possible steps to ensure the safety of passengers, then the potential reputational risk is even greater.
“We’re asking our customers to ground the airplane as a precautionary measure. We have the utmost confidence in our engineers, processes, blah blah blah, and are confident that the 787 Max will be flying again as soon as the investigation is completed.”
Advil did this, and their brand was just fine, possibly better because they were aggressive about putting lives ahead of this quarter’s cash flow.
Management's difficult job is to know when to say to investors, "Sorry."
Having said that, this is a snippet from AVHerald's post on the crash (https://avherald.com/h?article=4c534c4a&opt=0) pointing to an AD that indicates an enhancement ("fix") and here's a link to an interpretation of that (https://forums.jetphotos.com/showthread.php?62381-Breaking-n...):
On Mar 12th 2019 Boeing issued following release with respect to MCAS, Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian flight 302:
For the past several months and in the aftermath of Lion Air Flight 610, Boeing has been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer. This includes updates to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law, pilot displays, operation manuals and crew training. The enhanced flight control law incorporates angle of attack (AOA) inputs, limits stabilizer trim commands in response to an erroneous angle of attack reading, and provides a limit to the stabilizer command in order to retain elevator authority.
The FAA says it anticipates mandating this software enhancement with an Airworthiness Directive (AD) no later than April. We have worked with the FAA in development of this software enhancement.
It is important to note that the FAA is not mandating any further action at this time, and the required actions in AD2018-23.5 continue to be appropriate.
A pitch augmentation control law (MCAS) was implemented on the 737 MAX to improve aircraft handling characteristics and decrease pitch-up tendency at elevated angles of attack. It was put through flight testing as part of the certification process prior to the airplane entering service. MCAS does not control the airplane in normal flight; it improves the behavior of the airplane in a non-normal part of the operating envelope.
Boeing’s 737 MAX Flight Crew Operations Manual (FCOM) already outlines an existing procedure to safely handle the unlikely event of erroneous data coming from an angle of attack (AOA) sensor. The pilot will always be able to override the flight control law using electric trim or manual trim. In addition, it can be controlled through the use of the existing runaway stabilizer procedure as reinforced in the Operations Manual Bulletin (OMB) issued on Nov. 6, 2018.
Boeing is being reckless with their whole business and showing bad leadership. Regardless if they are sure that there is no real risk with their planes; their reputation surely is at risk.
They need to ground the max so they control for how long for and what is needed to clear them.
That said, it's more realistic they're delaying it because they don't want the bad press of the 737MAX to bring down the announcement of the new plane.
They'll know in a couple of days what happened since they already have the recorders. With one crash every ~6mo (someone can crunch the numbers and get the naive probability of a crash per flight) and every pilot of a MAX8 now on the lookout for possible problems the public is not seriously put in danger by another week or so of these aircraft flying. Imagine if Boeing grounded these and it turned out the second crash was pilot error. That would be a footnote that would get 10sec in the news months from now. Do you want to be forever known as the guy who tanked Boeing's reputation over a false positive? That has costs to society too. And before you say yes remember that it's much easier to say you'll give your lottery winnings to charity before winning the jackpot.
> Unfortunately it's impossible to have an adult discussion about that kind of thing on the internet.
So unless everyone agrees with you it isn't an adult conversation? Entire countries are grounding these planes. The evidence is pretty clear that folks are worried and aren't interesting in risking the loss of a few hundred more lives because a bit of money may be on the line, or there may be a minor travel disruption.
Edit: I see the original poster has since removed the bit about not being able to have an adult conversation on the internet. I quoted and responded to that before it was removed.
Or maybe it is the case here. We all seem to think it's obvious Boeing should ground this plane and yet they aren't. I hope Boeing aren't idiots and are making their decisions based on engineering factors we don't have.
Personally I agree with the airlines grounding the aircraft because the air-frame failure rate is too high IMO so clearly something is up with them. I fully disagree with the "every life is precious" + "OMG we have no idea what's going on" sentiment being used to justify that. That's now how you're supposed to make these kind of decisions, especially when the recorders from the second crash are in hand and we will soon have a good idea of the cause.
Based on what we know at present, the first crash would likely have been prevented had the pilots been made aware of the new possible failure mode of MCAS, recognized it and disabled the system, the steps for which are the same they've always been. Any 737 pilot not living under a rock is very aware of that new possible failure mode now. While crashing aircraft and publicity like this might not be as good as retraining it has likely accomplished a similar end so if the cause of these accidents is what we currently think it is then the press it's receiving will go a long way toward solving that albeit at unfortunately high cost.
FWIW I removed that sentence from my comment because I didn't want a self fulfilling prophesy but I've added it back to my comment because it mostly came true. No "I disagree because X" (where X is not an appeal to emotion). Just people mashing the "bury this" button and appeals to emotion. Basically Reddit sans the sarcasm.
You know as well as I that any discussion about trade-offs involving human life (or any other emotional topic) eventually just get drowned out by name calling and general bullshit and an adult discussion isn't really possible.
It's true though, just like in any engineering discipline. If loss of life was 100% unacceptable then the only resolution would be to not fly any aircrafts. The fact that we still use flight technology is a tradeoff in itself.
> failure to foresee and so allow otherwise avoidable dangers to manifest. In some cases this failure can rise to the level of willful blindness, where the individual intentionally avoids adverting to the reality of a situation.
With aviation experts, governments, and even airlines (bearing the costs) agreeing with the grounding measure I think I'm not too far off. The list in the article above just gets bigger. The current situation lends a lot of credibility to the idea that the plane might be to blame. Grounding them could be expensive. Not grounding them could be criminal. Which one would you choose if you had to?
Also this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19369485
Clearly most people react very differently to this topic compared to you, even purely for-profit companies start to do so.
There's about 6500 737s, and a similar number of A320s.
Grounding 2.5% of the world's fleet of mid-size planes isn't really a medium sized wrench.
Personally I'll fly on the 98% of mid-sized planes that haven't had 2% of them crash in the last 6 months.
We’ll see what happens.
Norwegian is 11% and have grounded their planes. Air Canada 10%. China Southern 3%, Air China 3%.
FlyDubai seems the largest, with 14/62 planes (23%).
Wait, 7 (= 2% of 350) planes crashed in the past 6 months?!?
However, that having been said, the crash rate is now very poor (by modern standards) for this plane model, and 2 is enough to raise some serious questions about mere coincidence.
Boeing's taking a real risk because a third crash of a 737 regardless of cause will be a long-remembered black eye.
What we don't have data on is the effectiveness of recommendations designed to mitigate the risk. A repeated crash is evidence that the mitigation is not sufficient.
> People's lives are disrupted, sometimes catastrophically
Not unlike a what happens in a plane crash. As a passenger I'd rather pay more for a ticket or have a delayed/missed flight than accept the current risk of flying with this plane.
> The lives lost already are a sunk cost.
This isn't just cynicism or pragmatism, it's plain wrong. Another crash could happen at any time if the issue is indeed with the plane and your argument is "we can't bring the dead back so we might as well pile some more"?
You are either Autistic or you work for Boeing.
As a former commercial pilot, I applaud the individual countries and airlines that are enforcing a grounding pending the investigation. The two accidents just bear too many similarities to assuage all fears that there could be a specific problem with the aircraft.
(I am thinking too that if the investigators DID find a flaw in the aircraft type, the operators may have an avenue to claim compensation from Boeing for lost revenue and profits).
Personally, if I had to get on a flight tomorrow, and I saw it was a 737 MAX, I would be asking for my baggage to be unloaded and I would wait for another flight on a 737 classic, Airbus etc. And this is not just brand snootiness either - If new Airbus models had 2 crashes in a short space of time under similar circumstances, then I would boycott those until the officials have eliminated a flaw in the system as the root cause.
UPDATE: Just heard that our local aviation authority (Australia) has banned the MAX from entering or leaving the country. There are a few stuck in Sydney (Fiji Air and Silk Air I believe) that will have to stay on the ground until further notice.
"Boeing Withheld Information on 737 Model, According to Safety Experts and Others (wsj.com)"
And user Neracked remembered there Feynman's ending of his text in the Rogers Commission Report, 1986:
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogers_Commission_Report investigating 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, related to how the managers then were responsible)
I have a flight in a month from NY to Cali on Southwest and they use that same plane (according to a quick Googling at least).
Am I crazy to think about cancelling the flight or trying to use a different airline with a different plane?
I'm going to wait to see what the FAA has to say before making a final decision. I don't keep up with the airline industry, but hopefully they aren't too corrupt (aka. profit driven).
I just discovered https://www.seatguru.com/. It's a site where you can pop in your airline, flight date and flight number (no sign up required) and it reports back which plane is being used in the flight.
In my case it is the 737-700 and 737-800 (I have 1 connection) which I think are different planes than the MAX?
In any case, if you're flying in the near future I recommend checking that site out. I just wonder how accurate that site is (it seems legit from an outsider's POV).
At the end of the day, you only have one life, it's not like you get to hit reset while the airlines say "my bad".
TBH, it's a really bad look when US carriers are insisting that "it's fine, it's all fine" while other carriers are grounding out of an abundance of caution.
If I were flying on a MAX soon, I'd think about it, for sure, that's human nature. But try to remember that it has had a couple hundred thousand uneventful flights in addition to the two crashes.
I didn't know about the seatguru site when I first replied.
For US carriers, alternating legs between PF (pilot flying) and PM (pilot monitoring) is standard practice as dictated by the carrier's own Flight Operations division (aka, "The Flying Department").
In the event of an emergency it'd be expected (if not mandatory) that the PIC (pilot in charge, e.g. captain) to immediately become the PF. The standard call-out for the role swap is "MY CONTROLS" or "MY AIRCRAFT"
Case in point: US1549, the Hudson ditching, was being flown by the F/O. After the bird strike and loss of engines, Capt Sully called "My aircraft"; the F/O replied "Your aircraft", effecting the swap of roles.
(me: US aircraft dispatcher in a previous life xD )
SouthWest does fly 35 MAX8 airframes it appears. 
Most of Southwest's fleet are standard 737s. If you're not that familiar with the various models, it's probably not worth making a rash decision over.
Regardless, this will be sorted out, one way or another, in a month.
I did care enough to ensure my Southwest flight 2 days ago was not on a Max, though.
If I were a pilot and got assigned the same model, I would make sure to learn the procedure to disable it. And make sure the procedure really works, although how would I do that, can I ask Boeing? Since it's software, what other variables did they forget to include in their testing?
These are all guesses on my part. I don't know. What I do know is that the FAA and Boeing have way more information than any of us, that this situation is complex, that there are factors likely none of us have considered, and that we're all pretty terrible at assessing risk.
Another 737 Max crash is a nightmare scenario for Boeing. If they aren't grounding this plane, it has to be based on something we don't know. Consider that grounding the plane might be the right PR decision but the wrong safety-first decision.
Well air travel is safer than driving in aggregate, over decades, across hundreds of models of cars and dozens of models of planes.
Even though Ford cars on the whole are quite safe, the Pinto was a death trap. Likewise although Boeing planes are safe on the whole (the regular 737 is very safe) this model could be a death trap. I disagree with your claim here. Two crashes in under 6 months is an abysmal safety record.
I agree two crashes in six months seems abysmal, but it could also be an awful coincidence with different factors at play. If it's so obvious that Boeing should ground this plane and they aren't, might it be due to something we don't know?
Yes, this could be another Challenger-type situation of executives overriding engineers, but the incentives don't make sense to me for that to be the case.
Anyway, I've played devil's advocate enough here. I'm just trying to understand the situation too.
But when you push new technology, inevitably there will be unexpected failure scenarios. This may be one of those, with a particularly catastrophic series of events.
It is a simple fix, and Boeing is already rolling out software updates to manage this failure scenario. If it does turn out to be the MCAS/AoA fault, it would in fact be the best scenario, because it's already fixed.
I seem to recall after the MCAS came to light as being involved in the Lion crash, some folks here were arguing that there was no way that exact crash would happen again because all pilots would now be aware of that failure scenario. And yet here we are. Unless the Ethiopian plane crashed for another reason entirely.
"The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation, however, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace"
It would be an unfortunate complication for the current discussion on a hard Brexit potentially happening within 3 weeks if the UK needed to work out what to do with an airplane strewn across that border on top of everything else.
Presumably as UK airspace was just closed to them.
Anyway - the ball is rolling; it is much easier being the [n]th airline/regulator to ground it than it is to jump first.
See Lauda 004 for how Boeing treats a small Austrian airline. They only responded once the CEO (Niki Lauda) forced their hand by saying he would do a public stunt if they didn't respond.
Don't get me wrong, I don't believe Airbus is a charity in any way and their sales are different.
SilkAir, Singapore Airlines's regional subsidiary, is flying the 737 MAX 8 too.
They try to only fly with a single jet or a maximum of two, to keep the costs down.
This accidents won’t harm Boeing reputation. The only thing that might hurt it is more accidents or even worse, putting pressure on Airlines to use it during investigation. So even if there is a pressure, it will be only about not going public with anything related to grounding 737Max.
Anything else would be stupid.
That’s way better than public announcements that gets picked up by media.
Indeed, if they do it in secret (attempt to anyway), it will probably be a lot worse than a public statement. I just don't see how you can hide that major a change (I think flight plans are public anyway) without someone noticing immediately in this day and age.
It's already harmed and they longer they wait to take action the worse it will get. Their stock price is plummeting as we speak.
I certainly don't expect people to grasp the nuance between the 737-max800/max900, if there is one in this regard.
And this is despite the fact that I’ve always felt safe on Boeing planes because they’ve historically had such a great safety record.
I would assume this is gonna have a negative impact on the 737 line as a whole, since people tend to read just the headline. Whereas, had they immediately grounded the Max, there’d be no question; as a passenger you’d know you weren’t on the troubled plane, because they grounded that one.
It’s like when Romaine lettuce gets recalled; a lot of people just stop buying lettuce because they’re just not sure which kind it was that got recalled.
From my understanding of the earlier crash it was a combination of the pilot fighting an auto-trimming system and I'm not aware that was smoking on its way down.
This would seem to be a different type of incident which just happens to be in the same model of plane.
OK, this might be a stupid idea, but what about a simple old spirit level, a fancy oil based one that will never freeze, mounted to the side of the cockpit to give the pilots a emergency true level backup when all else fails?
It is about the only gravity based instrument on the aircraft (because ideally, you would want to keep a steady 1G straight towards the floor of the plane during a turn for passenger comfort).
All other instruments that relate to orientation are gyroscope based, so they constantly reference a point in infinite space. When you are being thrown about in turbulence, or a tight turn, gravity based instrumentation will be all over the place and give false readings.
Pretty much exactly why IFR (instrument flying) rated pilots are trained NOT to rely on the inner ear balance systems to know if they are flying straight and level etc. because the inner ear fluids can be easily tricked by standard flying manoeuvres into thinking you are in a screaming right hand dive when you are in a gentle left hand turn (if you don't have a visual reference to corroborate).
In a steady state, and for a given wing configuration (flaps/slats/spoiler positions), there's a causal relationship between angle of attack and speed (which also depends on air density, aircraft weight and load factor (how many gs you are pulling)), such that the indicated airspeed (which measures ram air pressure in a pitot tube, and fortuitously cancels out the density dependence) has historically been the proxy for angle of attack - and, at least in small airplanes, it still is.
Even small airplanes often have a separate stall warning device, which is triggered by the movement of the leading-edge stagnation point (where the flow divides between going above and below the wing) as the angle of attack changes. In its simplest form, it is operated by a small tab which is flipped up when the stagnation point moves below it.
In the case of the Lion Air crash, the problem was not that the crew were unaware of the airplane's attitude (it was daylight in good weather, and they also had functioning airspeed indicators), it was that the control system kept resetting the longitudinal trim incorrectly in response to a faulty angle-of-attack sensor, and the crew did not follow the procedure to disable it from doing so.