While this may not be the cause of the most recent crash, the Lion crash alone seems to indicate a problem with Boeing and the FAA’s relationship. This probably extends to Airbus and other regulators as indicated in another comment about his or her carriers safety incidents tripling due to flying two aircraft of the same “type” but not really. At a minimum the MCAS changes should have been communicated to pilots and indicates a process problem at Boeing with insufficient pilot involvement and too much engineering and business input. And the FAA probably needs to be much stricter in the training and documentation requirements between models.
In the case of the 737MAX the elevator input cannot compensate for the trim wheel adjustment. I believe this was highlighted in the Lion Air case.
- not everything is back from the Lion Air incident, but internally there was strong confidence that a lack of pilot familiarity with the adjusted mechanics of MCAS contributed to the disaster
- reproducing these failures has been extremely hard and has required a lot of cooperation with other airlines and agencies, and that has been difficult
- training for the 737-8 and -9 was just short of non existent because in practice, these planes don’t fly differently.
- since Lion Air, Boeing has been in somewhat of a “panic mode” but confidence isn’t that the airframe and engine mechanics are at fault
- Lion and Ethiopian Air are near the bottom when it comes to maintenance and follow up with Boeing
- as of this morning, it sounded like there are more uncertainties with this incident given that the pilot indicated troubles after take off, but I’m find it hard to back up that claim in what’s already been published
This isn’t about greed or the FAA being in the pocket of Boeing, it’s that there were already adjustments made to fix MCAS and the investigation from Ethiopia isn’t in yet.
Have you read this complaint from an actual pilot?
Quoting the HN post:
"My post flight evaluation is that we lacked the knowledge to operate the aircraft in all weather and aircraft states safely.
The instrumentation is completely different - My scan was degraded, slow and labored having had no experience w/ the new ND (Navigation Display) and ADI (Attitude Director Indicator) presentations/format or functions (manipulation between the screens and systems pages were not provided in training materials. If they were, I had no recollection of that material).
We were unable to navigate to systems pages and lacked the knowledge of what systems information was available to us in the different phases of flight. Our weather radar competency was inadequate to safely navigate significant weather on that dark and stormy night. These are just a few issues that were not addressed in our training."
If the problem is lack of training, (or even "possibly maybe failing sensors") - and your failure mode includes "maybe killing 150+ paying customers in one shot" ... seems like a no-brainer, to me, to fucking ground the planes, and take immediate corrective action.
And again: just my opinion, it just reeks of someone who spends their days in a "spreadsheet-facing" position, making the decision to not ground these planes, not take their users' (pilots) reports seriously, and continue to risk hundreds of customers' lives (and thousands of their own employees livelihoods) on a daily basis.
Another commenter mentioned that Ethiopian Airline is considered Category 1 by the FAA, and is a member of the Star Alliance. Surely that indicates a decent track record?
I'm not saying it _is_ the plane, but as the EASA Emergency Airworthiness Directive points out, while a connection between the two incidents cannot be established, neither can one be ruled out. And for that reason, they are grounding the planes as a prudent temporary measure till we know more.
If it turns out this is Boeing’s fault, for the reasons suspected, and the FAA have staked their reputation on it - I fear for the future of airline safety.
This is totally fucked up. For an administration whose core-competency which was supposed to be "protecting American Workers" - they're sure trying like hell to get the airlines of the world to turn to Airbus and other foreign manufacturers for trustworthy aircraft.
I mean - holy shit - every engineering effort fucks up. But to refuse to admit it, and cover it up, that's a violation of trust. Who wants to do business with that shit? You can buy product from someone who occasionally makes mistakes, and when called on it, admits it, and does their damnedest to make it right and show you they're trying to fix it. But when someone blames the victim or tries to deny there's a problem, you take your money elsewhere.
I imagine that besides what is being done to make sure this doesn't happen again, a lot of time is being spent on making sure that whatever changes, the crashes cannot be blamed on them.
It seems to me like Boeing is very much intent on blaming a single party, ("3rd world pilots/airlines").
We already know that crash #1 was caused by poor maintenance and communication (pilots not sufficiently aware of the implications of a questionable AoA sensor) of the plane's condition to the pilots combined with changes to how the plane responds to certain pilot inputs and how MCAS works which resulted in a situation the pilots didn't properly handle (Boeing and the airline's failure to train pilots combined with some amount of human error).
I will be very very surprised if the cause of the second crash is as simple as "yup, Boeing built a POS that fell out of the sky" or "yup, the pilots were idiots who flew into the ground".
Thanks to decades of incremental improvement we don't really have "single source" accidents in commercial aviation anymore.
I don't think anyone serious literally thinks that 'Boeing built a POS that fell out of the sky', but there are indications that they built a plane that required substantially different handling and tried to abstract that fact via the onboard systems, which makes the pilots unable to handle the actual behavior of the plane when the systems were off for whatever reason, which to me does sound like a pretty big 'oversight' on the part of Boeing.
Now, perhaps the pilots could have handled the situation better, but it does seem like the FAA is trying to protect Boeing, (an American company with enormous lobbying power) and Boeing is sort of positioning this as "3rd world pilots" being at fault, the FAA potentially risking American lives here.
That does not look good to me whatever the cause is, (there's unlikely to be a single one and Boeing is unlikely to be completely clean here).
Clearly people have fucked up because planes have crashed. We're basically just arguing over whether the responsibility split goes 33/33/33 or 20/20/60 or something else.
From what others have said, I gather there is a problem of this plane behaving differently than the rest of the family, which is being 'masked' by the on-board software so that it 'feels' similar to the other planes in a regular situation and thus requires minimal additional training. This however goes out of the window when the pilot cannot rely on the software and suddenly has to deal with how the plane 'really' behaves, which is substantially differently.
If that's the case, I'd consider the root of the problem to be significantly on Boeing's side.
The problem that's (presumably) causing crashes isn't how the plane flies. It's perfectly flyable but has a tendency to pitch up more than other planes of the type. As a response, Boeing added functionality to MCAS to compensate.
The first crash likely wouldn't have happened had the pilots turned all the electronic nannies off and flown raw dog. The just didn't realize that was what they had to do for a combination of reasons.
Not knowing that they were flying with a screwy AoA sensor and what the symptoms of that would look like is a maintenance/communication/human systems failure.
The fact that a faulty AoA sensor can have those symptoms and the fact that the pilots didn't know about it well enough to make the connection themselves and disable the system is a failure on Boeing.
Think of it like having a crossover that wanders more than the comparable sedan at highway speed so the OEM silently turns on lane keeping when you use cruise control to compensate. There's a risk that if you're not paying attention it will find a lane that isn't a lane and drive you into a barrier at 70 and on this particular one the relevant sensor was faulty and more prone to doing that.
Sure, if there's a probability you were involved in developing a potentially flawed system that killed hundreds, the natural reaction is to not accept this and blame someone or something else. And it's not suprising that "internally there was a strong confidence" – nobody there wants to be the one saying "uh, I think we messed up here guys". Boeing is a total echo chamber at this point.
It's interesting you mention the MCAS here since...
> - training for the 737-8 and -9 was just short of non existent because in practice, these planes don’t fly differently.
If this were true, the adjustment shouldn't even matter, since the sole purpose of it is to make the plane behave exactly the same way as the old 737, so that the pilots don't have to go through lengthy training for the new plane.
You were trying to patch up changes to the hardware by adding software, so the hardware would feel the same. You claim you have achieved exactly that. But at the same time, you blame pilots for not reacting properly to those changes you made to the new plane compared to the old one. What?
This is ignorance, Ethiopian have been flying for 70 years and have an excellent safety record on par with most western airlines.
Unless walkingolof is also in the field and by 'track record' he meant even 'up to the slightest faults'.
Take an example from Ireland, an island near me. A crew screwed up and typed the wrong temperature into the computer, which calculated take-off thrust based on higher density air than was reality. As a result they had inadequate acceleration and smashed a runway light with their wheels because they took off far too late. Nobody died, nobody even needed a band aid, but that's a reportable accident and made minor headlines... even though it happened in another country miles away.
As your parent indicated, the US further has ASRS, so that not only accidents, but incidents short of an accident (situations in which something went wrong, but fortunately it did not cause an actual accident), are reported. These are anonymised to protect the reporter but you can see (anonymous) reports by aircraft type in a public system.
May I ask, why does the plane not have an external temperature sensor able to automatically input this data?
The larger answer to your question is Raymond Chen's standard explanation on the The Old New Thing. By default no features are implemented so by default that's why your preferred feature isn't implemented.
The accident investigation was more interested in the other thing, given that for whatever reason the plane's acceleration is inadequate, why don't we realise and abort before V1? Humans turn out to be bad at this, so not much use asking the pilots. Airbus have built planes that measure their own acceleration and warn if it seems too low. So maybe that's the future.
Except for, you know, that computer system that throws people into the ground if a probe malfunction, and that the "just short of non existent" training doesn't seem to cover properly.
I don't know how this part works, when a manufacturer says "this plane doesn't require full training but merely a small top up since it's the same as plane X before", I assume the FAA needs to validate this matches reality ?
If a plane surprises an adequately trained crew, then it means someone missed something.
> - not everything is back from the Lion Air incident,
> but internally there was strong confidence that a lack
> of pilot familiarity with the adjusted mechanics of
> MCAS contributed to the disaster
> - training for the 737-8 and -9 was just short of non
> existent because in practice, these planes don’t fly
"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice it is different".
> training for the 737-8 and -9 was just short of non existent because in practice, these planes don’t fly differently.
These statements contradict.
- not everything is back from the Lion Air incident, but internally there was strong confidence that a lack of pilot familiarity with the adjusted mechanics of MCAS contributed to the disaster.
My best guess is that the latter refers only to the situation where things are working properly, and may also ignore the what-its-like-for-a-pilot issues raised in ASRS report 1555013, as mentioned by hnnmzh in another reply to this post.
Plus, at the time of the Lion Air crash, no-one had said anything to pilots about these 'adjusted mechanics'.
Until they crash and kill hundreds of people.
Now it may be a lack of pilot training, but by Boeing’s own account a B737 pilot should be qualified to pilot a Max. Then how come a small, insignificant feature can result in the crash of the plane? It would have to be not insignificant at all.
We should not rush to conclusions, since one of the investigations is in its infancy, but, from all the pilot reports that have been accumulating since the introduction of these models, it looks like the impact of the differences between models in the 737 family on crews were underestimated and training for them was not as thorough as it should have been.
The focus on error conditions is truly impressive during the development of these systems. I’ve spent plenty of hours writing requirements, and writing and running tests, for cockpit software, and the sheer variety of error conditions tested is very high. Not that they’ll catch everything, but the idea that a single AOA sensor could cause the MCAS to fail seems like something that would have been analyzed and discussed by the engineers working on this.
I understand what you say, that the AOA sensor malfunction or misread should never cause MCAS to fail and that any such situation (misread, malfunction, excessive actuator response, etc) should have been spotted sooner, by someone among the many people involved in its design, all the way from sensor to servo, well before any passengers were carried in the aircraft but everything indicates otherwise if we assume good faith. It's very likely all flaws will be identified and corrected, but reality has a way to stress those vanishingly small probabilities.
It's not impossible that a lot of very smart people who are dedicated to think about corner cases all day long will, eventually, let something important escape. We are all human and, in the end, everything is human error.
It’s a short interview but in short,
* Boeing left out info on the new flight control system in the pilots manual they trained with
* the training to fly the new planes was 56 minutes of PowerPoint presentations on an iPad
* he would not have known how to correct the system in the Lion Air crash had he have been the pilot
If you're not aware of something, it takes a non-trivial amount of time to break out of your trained response envelope and to start thinking outside the box.
This is a problem with many training heavy disciplines where the general response upon "hearing hoofbeats" is to think "horse", and only to escalate to the more exotic "Zebra" conclusion as facts demand it. While it's generally a better response, in time constrained situations without the benefit of foreknowledge, it can be quite costly indeed.
A: Aborted Engine Start
B: Airspeed Unreliable
C: Cabin Altitude Warning
D: Emergency Descent
E: Engine Fire or Engine Severe Damage or Separation
F: Engine Limit / Surge / Stall
G: Engine Overheat
H: Loss of Thrust on Both Engines
I: Runaway Stabilizer
J: Uncommanded Roll
K: APU Fire
L: Overspeed - Warning Clacker
From a quick glance, I can recall accidents caused by/involving at least 6 of those general categories (C, E, F, H, I, J, L) and several others (A, K) are primarily ground issues from what I can tell. If the pilot doesn't know one of them, what's the chance they don't know some of the others?
> If you're not aware of something, it takes a non-trivial amount of time to break out of your trained response envelope and to start thinking outside the box.
Unfortunately, the MCAS fix is one of the things written on the envelope - there shouldn't be any unpacking to do in the first place. Yes, the plane shouldn't put pilots in that position. But at the same time, pilots need to be ready to be put into that position - because sometimes things don't work for reasons outside your control. Like eating a couple geese on takeoff in both engines or something else equally unlikely.
STABILIZER TRIM WHEEL - GRASP and HOLD
On 737s, yes, the trim wheel is mechanically connected by cables. To quote the 737-800 FCOM:
"Manual stabilizer control is accomplished through cables which allow the pilot to position the stabilizer by rotating the stabilizer trim wheels. The stabilizer is held in position by two independent brake systems. Manual rotation of the trim wheels can be used to override autopilot or main electric trim. The effort required to manually rotate the stabilizer trim wheels may be higher under certain flight conditions. Grasping the stabilizer trim wheel will stop stabilizer trim motion."
Nobody knows why this plane crashed. The flight recorders have just been recovered and so far there has been nothing in the news about what was on them.
The plane might be to blame. The airline or the pilots might be to blame, and by the way, that airline has a bad safety record. It might have been a bomb, or a fire caused by a passenger, or many other things.
The sudden rush to judgment on this case is unjustified by the evidence. If it turns out this was not Boeing's fault, a lot of people are going to have to eat their words, and millions of dollars will have been wasted for nothing.
It might not be justified by a theoretical formal proof. It irks me that a lot of the HN population seems to always want to reason using formal proofs like if it was a silver bullet.
In this situation, bayesian inference is appropriate, and tells us that grounding planes is highly justified. This succession of two relatively similar events in a new plane is enough to raise the probability of "this aircraft model has a problem" a lot, and definitely enough to justify grounding them.
Also, the risk / benefit ratio is not symmetric, what is better:
- Ground them for nothing and lose money
- Not ground them to save money, and see a third crash happen, killing 150 again
If you take into account those two effects, it's clear that grounding the planes is a sane option.
Finally ask yourself: would you board this plane today if you had a ticket? What would you think when there is turbulence after takeoff and the plane suddenly pitches down for a second? What color would your pants be?
- Not ground them to save money, no crash happens before the cause is found and a fix is deployed
And that also doesn't consider secondary effects, like the loss of confidence from the public on that aircraft type, or the potential confusion from the public between 737-MAX8 and 737-800.
The third scenario is the worst case, if there's a third accident with the same cause (or at least perceived to have the same cause), the reputation of the 737-MAX8 will get tainted, and that taint could even spill to other 737 variants (less knowledgeable people don't know or care about the many variants of the 737, to them "737" is the airplane type).
Yes. And the recorders have angle of attack data. We'll know within days if it's another AOA sensor problem.
Southwest, the biggest US operator of 737 MAX aircraft, bought the "AOA Disagree" option on their aircraft, and recently added an AOA indicator.
Many operators didn't get that option; Lion Air didn't have it. If you have that, you get a warning that the flight control system is seeing bogus AOA data.
It is somewhat less of a safety issue if you have the backup systems.
Why this aircraft was ever offered without "AOA Disagree" sensing is unclear. The single active AOA sensor can force the nose down. The pilots can switch to the other flight control computer and use the other AOA sensor, but at that point they're losing control of the aircraft.
How can something that important be an option?
Based on other comments here and in other discussions, it seems like adding that feature would increase the training requirements for the pilots since it is an additional instrument in the cockpit. I don't know whether it was Boeing, Boeing's customers, or both who pushed for the instrument to be an option. Any combination is plausible, and I'm not going to rush to judgement like a couple of my sibling commenters just because it's the fun and popular thing to do.
Basically everything about this plane boils down to "it should require more training but it didn't"
This seems like an important factor. I wonder if that's the reasoning behind the FAA not grounding the planes and assuming most US airlines have this system in place.
Could you substantiate the above claim ? Whatever I have read indicates Ethiopian has a very good safety record.
e.g. The airline has a safety rating of six stars out of a possible seven on respected aviation site AirlineRating.com. Source: https://thepointsguy.com/news/despite-recent-crash-ethiopian...
The prudent thing would be to err on the side of caution and suspend it until we know. What's millions of dollars (which I think is way exaggerated for a temporary suspension until the evidence is in) compared to a real risk of loss of human lives?
Thinking like that does not result in 'suspending any beneficial activity with any possible risk', it just suspends this activity with a roughly 0.5% risk of incidence until the causes are clear.
There are plenty of other aircraft in the world, also many non-Max 737's.
This is the 737-max, a new plane with very little history, barely used, and had been involved in two crashes with similar circumstances in the last 6 months.
Who in their right mind downvotes this? I realize HN is not representative of America, but I think if you take a moment to notice all the homeless people you step over on your way to work in SV you'd reconsider.
Except, in which universe do airlines hands out their revenue to the poor ?
Because scarce resources are a real thing, there necessarily should be a value to life, otherwise you are just ignoring reality.
Then when they board a flight on their own: "millions is not too much to spare! No cost is too great for my life!"
It is a double standard.
If it were a Boeing airplane, you can bet the EU would have grounded them. Given the E.U. has provided about $22 billion in subsidies to Airbus, it makes perfect business sense for the E.U. to ground Boeing 737s, but not ground Airbus when there are Airbus crashes.
In 2012, Australian safety engineers called for the grounding of the A380 due to significant structural cracks, in Qantas and Singapore airplanes, yet Airbus refused. Is it fair to say that the E.U. and Airbus cared more about profits than safety back in 2012? Has the E.U. ever grounded an Airbus plane ever?
Let’s not make the mistake of assuming benevolence that which is better explained by profit or politics.
Was there a similar-seeming crash of the same model a few months before?
And if it turns out there is a fault, hundreds of lives can be saved. What losing side of the wager do you want to be on?
The FAA is notorious for their draconian ways which has become the impetus behind why air travel is now the safest mode of transportation today. In fact, there hasn't been a hull loss on US soil since 2009, a magnificent safety record.
The FAA is a very hands-on agency. There is an inherent difference to how planes are maintained that touch US soil vs. those in other parts of the world. For example, many planes that fly in South America would never pass FAA inspection and would never be considered airworthy. That means a flight itinerary of LAX-SCL vs. LAX-PTY-SCL are very different when it comes to safety since the plane that departs from Panama is not inspected by the FAA.
So not only is the FAA risking an insurmountable amount of fallout for making this statement, they also have the credibility and processes to stand behind it. With that said, I think it makes prudent sense for other countries to ground their 737 MAX planes since they simply don't have the FAA.
Until 3 weeks ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Air_Flight_3591
Under the ODA scheme, the FAA delegated testing and certification of the 787 and 737-8 ( Max ) to Boeing.
That's not hands-on, that's arms-length.
If a plane has enormous costs for maintenance then it should be justified for grounding or prevent them from buying.
This is very similar to cars. A car which is very costly to maintain but very reliable does not inspire much confidence for me when I am driving in remote areas. A car which is easy to maintain, reliable and with low costs and big service network with plenty of spare parts inspires a lot of confidence and I will take it anywhere.
I have been in numerous conversations today with Southwest Vice President of Flight Operations Captain Alan Kasher, who informed me that the MAX aircraft has 17,000 recordable parameters and Southwest has compiled and analyzed a tremendous amount of data from more than 41,000 flights operated by the 34 MAX aircraft on property, and the data supports Southwest's continued confidence in the airworthiness and safety of the MAX.
I have also had conversations with TWU 556 President Lyn Montgomery, who represents Southwest Flight Attendants, AMFA National President Bret Oestreich, SWAPA Safety Committee and SWAPA Government Affairs Committee members, as well as leaders from other Pilot labor unions. I relayed to them that SWAPA is extremely confident that our entire fleet, including the MAX, is safe based on the facts, intelligence, data, and information we presently have. We fully support Southwest Airlines' decision to continue flying the MAX and the FAA's findings to date.
I will continue to put my family, friends, and loved ones on any Southwest flight and the main reason is you, the Pilots of SWAPA. We have lobbied hard for our training to continue to evolve and improve, and due to having the finest union Training and Standards Committee in the industry, that is
We now have Extended Envelope Training (EET) in addition to our regular annual training and since SWAPA and others have brought awareness to the MCAS issue, we have additional resources to successfully deal with either a legitimate MCAS triggered event or a faulty triggered MCAS event.
SWAPA also has pushed hard for Angle of Attack (AOA) sensor displays to be put on all our aircraft and those are now being implemented into the fleet. All of these tools, in addition to SWAPA Pilots having the most experience on 737s in the industry, give me no pause that not only are our aircraft safe, but you are the safest 737 operators in the sky.
What's going on at the FAA?
Interestingly, Trump has also come out against the plane, but his uninformed Twitter ramblings are by and large (rightfully) ignored by the executive branch. And he's not against the 737 MAX for valid reasons, but for luddite ones.
Trump shares some blame here because he's never had, nor even appointed, an FAA commissioner. Maybe with someone confirmed in charge they would've been more proactive.
Some background: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-airlines-trump/t...
"MCAS will trim the Stabilizer down for 10 seconds (2.5 deg nose down) and pause for 5 seconds and repeat if the conditions (high angle of attack, flaps up and autopilot disengaged) continue to be met. Using electric pitch trim will only pause MCAS, to deactivate it you need to switch off the STAB TRIM SUTOUT switches." http://www.b737.org.uk/mcas.htm
If this turns out to have been a terrorist attack or something like that, a lot of people are going to have to eat their words, and millions of dollars will have been wasted for nothing.
Some countries take a more precautionary approach to risk than others where there is uncertainty, and I, personally, am happy to live somewhere that is willing to take the decision to prevent possible harm to human life instead of possible harm to (a relatively small section of) the economy, where there is uncertainty.
That said Ethiopian is the shining exception and has, apart from a 70 year history, quite a stellar safety record.
Because adding the indicator and how to handle situations will add training hours, this is not done.
But I'm glad Southwest is doing it.
Finally, airplanes may have different configurations. I only skimmed some discussions and I'm not well versed in the subject so take what I say with a grain of salt, but there seem potential differences in configurations, e.g. AOA disagree indicators (which is related to the potential cause for both accidents); Some airlines (I think South West at least) also announced changes w.r.t. those systems after the Lion Air accident. That might also change the 'risking human lives' variable in the equation.
They know of the incestuous relationship with the regulators and private industry and its history, just as much as a US citizen is aware of an irrelevant country's corruption and that country's chronic inability to reform it.
So they just make the call: ground it, the US can't, but they will do a comprehensive investigation. Let it play out.
By what measure?
The Dow index is pure BS.
The FAA is currently lead by an airline lobbyist, so that's a fucking joke.
We have assumptions, and there's a public perception - but it may not be correct.
From an outsider's perspective is the FAA's task to prove that both those crashes were unrelated to each other, because for a very safe industry like aviation a slight correlation (two almost identical planes crashed in a span of 6 months in clear-weather conditions) is often times seen as causation by most of the people directly involved: potential customers, the general public that helps pay the taxes that keep both Boeing and Airbus making airplanes etc.
In December it was 316.
It’s lost 2 months of gains.
Of course, it cannot be that they rather be cautious, right? After all, it's just Chinese lives at risk. Do you really think that?
Perhaps the FAA did not ground the planes due to lobbying.
Pretty sure the data is that two planes crashed in five months in perfect weather conditions, killing everyone on board. Statistically, that's sufficiently improbable that it warrants investigation.
Not only that, but the data we have so far from the second crash (ADS-B data showing irregular vertical speed, see https://www.flightradar24.com/blog/flightradar24-data-regard...) is consistent with both accidents having a similar cause. Grounding all airplanes from the same model until preliminary data from the (already recovered) flight recorders can confirm or discard that hypothesis is prudent.
The MCAS system, at fault in the first crash, may be disabled via a cockpit control. In other 737s, moving the stick was sufficient to disengage it. For some reason, this was changed in the Max, and you must use the other control. However, any competent pilot would know every control in the cockpit. The captain of the latest flight to crash allegedly had 8,000+ hours of flight time.
If an aircraft begins behaving incorrectly, the first thing a flight crew should do is disable automation and try and fly it manually. That wasn't done if MCAS caused the crash. This was an emergency that developed over minutes, not seconds, and there's really no excuse.
> 1555013 is pretty damning in telling how the airlines treated the MAX as the same type as the 737-800:
> "I had my first flight on the Max [to] ZZZ1. We found out we were scheduled to fly the aircraft on the way to the airport in the limo. We had a little time [to] review the essentials in the car. Otherwise we would have walked onto the plane cold.My post flight evaluation is that we lacked the knowledge to operate the aircraft in all weather and aircraft states safely."
To provide a parallel to the software world, it kind of sounds like they released a "version 2.0" but called it "version 1.1", giving the sense this was a minor revision and anyone that already knows 1.0 will be fine.
That's a very blunt argument to make. Do watch the below video - I'm not educated as much on these matters, but the pilot here makes a compelling point as to why it could be from the Lion crash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfQW0upkVus
He makes reference to the system for disabling not being included in the type training for the MAX, and given there wasn't an update on the fix for the issue (read that this is partly due to the US government shutdown meaning Boeing and the FAA didn't have as direct comms channels), it could still have been the same issue without the blame sitting on the pilots.
Additionally it has been suggested that documentation for this physical switch is not well laid out or presented in the manual because Boeing was confident that it would simply stay out of the pilot's way during flight.
Assuming pilot error would seem to be premature if these points are in fact true.
If multiple pilots are making the same error the issue is with the aircraft changes, not the "reasonable competence".
Ie., its redesign hasn't been thought through properly
Not if they tell you the plane acts the same, and then it doesn't! Did Boeing inform pilots of this change proactively? Was the pilot trained on the change, and perhaps even recertified?
Through simulations they think a crash would have actually been avoided had autopilot been left on.
Except it seems like many of them didn't receive training on what changed for the new model.
EDIT: I have learned that I was far too generous with the flight numbers. The MAX series has only logged ~150K flights. Therefore it's hull loss rate is roughly 13.33 per million making it almost 50 times more dangerous than the NG line.
Yes, the difference is statistically significant.
Or more subtly adjust landing and handling fees to astronomical levels for those types. That's how Gatwick in the UK discourages small turboprops, for example.
It will cause a very big stink if one crashes in the US.
On the other hand, FAA is known to be very strict when it comes to safety. So, I feel like they must think that US pilots are trained for what the alleged issue seems to be (MCAS).
And people will die and families will suffer.
Southwest have 35/755 planes
Norwegian by comparison have 18/163 - a far higher proportion (of course Norwegian isn’t an EU airlin but they have EU subsidiaries included in that total)
Check out this video about it (Norwegian starts at about 10 minutes in): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thqbjA2DC-E
edit: turns out they're registed in several countries, not just Denmark.
So, MCAS is watching the AOA sensor and dipping the nose to prevent aerodynamic stall. When activated (and altering the pilots loudly) what would happen to airspeed in the valid-AOA and borked-AOA sensor states? I would have thought in the bogus-AOA case, airspeed would be increasing MUCH faster? Is this factored into regarding validation of the AOA input? Or are airspeed indicators unreliable near aerodynamic stall? Or ..? It just feels like MCAS should be able to detect the contradiction state from other variables without requiring the pilot to act.
Without AoA though, airspeed alone is not enough to determine a stall. If one or both sets of probes are incorrect or inoperable, detection of stall conditions would be unreliable at best, either reporting a stall when there isn't one, or failing to report one that is valid.
As for MCAS, it would likely be able to see that two AoA probes disagree, but would be unable to choose the "correct" probe. A third AoA probe _might_ address that, but I never saw that kind of configuration on aircraft I worked on, and it isn't on the MAX. Regardless though, from what I've read, MCAS only applies gradual nose down trim, so ignoring whether or not MCAS even knows enough to disable itself in abnormal conditions, the pilot/first officer should have more plenty of time to react to it (I believe it was something like 2.5deg of trim every 10s). Either the pilots in these situations are not aware that it is a trim issue, which seems very unlikely, or they are overloaded and don't remember in time to set the stab trim to cutoff which would disable those inputs. Very much still on Boeing in my opinion, but it isn't like the aircraft is just diving into the ground the second MCAS starts nosing down.
I feel that the US have lost in reputation here while, e.g. China has gained. It didn't have to be that way.
China was the first to ban the 737 MAX. When they did it people could counter that it was political. But since so many countries, including some of the US's closest allies, have followed suit then they have come out as being serious and safety-conscious.
On the other hand, by refusing to ban the US are seen as putting corporate interests above safety.
Changing them on-the-fly leads to ambiguity up and down the line, which leads to mistakes and gaps.
Of course, I don't know for sure what that actually means in this case. But I'd guess if the lobbyist head of the FAA were blocking a grounding recommendation, that would leak in about a millisecond, so I'm guessing the FAA is investigating this normally.
Frankly, as soon as the Erodynamics changed sufficiently that a new automated system was required to maintain parity with older airframe's flight characteristics, I think the case should have been made for requiring a new type cert, or at least far more extensive change notification/documentation update requirements.
Anyway, reading for example this https://theaircurrent.com/aviation-safety/what-is-the-boeing... for a layman like me it sounds like making 737 (statically stable plane) into the Max Boeing produced a kind of F-16 - a statically unstable (and thus a great dogfighter) plane which cant be flown manually and requires constant controls adjustments by software.
Where I work many of us have a "common type rating" between the A330 and A350 (-900 and -1000). While I commend Airbus for making them similar they are in no way common enough to justify the minuscule training course.
Flying the A350 you get lots of brilliant features like brake-to-vacate, auto wing leveling during a crosswind landing (when you de-crab), differential flap setting in the cruise for CP control and better fuel efficiency. And so on.
However, coming back to the 330 after lots of 350 flying it's very easy to forget just what you have and don't have.
Both have very different cockpit layouts. Even something simple like cockpit lighting is totally different. They have significantly different limitations, speeds and procedures for dealing with abnormal situations.
Additionally, the A350 still has a fair share of teething problems. The list of Temporary Abnormal Behaviors is quite long and hasn't shortened much in the last couple of years.
Throw some fatigue into the mix and it's not much fun. My company's error rates have increased on the "common fleet" by almost triple.
Yet our regulator thinks it's all good.
But once you are trained for several kinds of aircraft, does the airline treat them differently? For instance, will they happily schedule you to fly anything you are type-certified for, tomorrow? Or do they keep you on one type for a block of time, perhaps with a simulator day to remember before switching?
Also need to do at least one takeoff and landing in each (in addition to the three takeoffs and landings in 90 days), in 60 days.
Otherwise they treat them the same. I routinely get rostered to fly one type on a short sector, get in, change aircraft to the other type and fly it somewhere else.
Literally only an hour to adapt to the other type.
This sounds like a UX design problem. Things that are the same should be the same, things that are different should be different.
The most dangerous thing from a UX perspective is always the slightly different, especially in sequences. Everybody knows if their way to work and way to the store is partially the same it's easy to take the wrong fork when you want to go to the store.
So if the things are slightly different, it often makes sense to make the sequence different from the beginning. Otherwise people often make these common path mistakes.
That is Terrifying. It seems like the FAA has optimized for allowing the Manufacturers and Airlines to streamline changes and operations while slowly letting safety deteriorate. Perhaps these accidents will force what seems like a needed change in type ratings.
"It isn't just the FAA and Boeing."
It's a country in Asia to give you a hint. If you google for the fleets mentioned you can probably work it out!
aka: window shades
Yeah that seems to be an important issue. You easily "get used" to a feature and I wouldn't be surprised if a pilot used to the 350 got in a bad situation on the 330.
Are those error rates taken from FOQA? And is the company raising the issue?
Neither Lion nor Ethiopian had stellar safety records, e.g.
The training hours should also be looked in the context of the total hours flown on that specific model - a pilot who just sat through the short training session would have a different perspective than a pilot who sat through the same training session but has also flown the plane for hundreds of hours.
It's also not a brand new airplane - it's a modification of 737, so the training is transitional. It's not like Boeing took a freshly minted Cessna 152 pilot, gave them a 2-hour seminar, and type-rated them for the 737 Max.
Ethiopian airlines is rated Category 1 by the FAA and can thus fly direct to the US and they are a member of the star alliance.
Just because they are the largest carrier in Africa does not imply dubious safety or maintenance.
Because you're making a claim with absolutely no evidence that the captain sat by and watched a rookie crash a plane and kill everyone on board and the captain did nothing to intervene and save his own life.
Care to show me where I made that claim? All I said was that given the (good) conditions it was more likely (than any average minute of flight) that the less senior pilot was controlling the aircraft.
>and the captain did nothing to intervene and save his own life.
You mean like what happened the on the Air France A320 that wound up in the drink a few years back? It's perfectly possible that one pilot started fighting the MCAS system and both pilots actions in their attempts to deal with the situation combined in a way that resulted in the crash.
During the critical phases of flying both pilots will be engaged with the operation. While it's true that the first officer may execute the take-off the captain will be at the controls, alert and ready to intervene at any time.
Later during cruising the responsibilities may be split. For example: The captain may deal with administrative stuff while the first officer is actually flying the plane.
Especially since the crew knew that the plane can potentially behave in an erratic manner you can bet on the fact that an experienced captain is standing by and observing very closely what's happening.
Source: I had the oportunity to sit in the cockpit during an entire (short haul) flight, when that was still possible. Both pilots were always engaged during all critical periods of the flight and very specifically during take off and landing. Even when the first officer executed the operations.
As a sidenote: It's not like driving a bus up there. Both pilots were focused, concentrated and busy during the entire flight (this may be somewhat different on a long haul flight ).
I'm well aware of cockpit procedure; my brother is a 30-year captain, now retired and our family has been flying since before I was born. One of my earliest memories is of using the barf bag in a 172 while my father was shooting landings.
>> They had a 200 hour pilot flying in the right seat of the crashed airplane. Star Alliance or not, who in the hell defends a low-time student pilot flying right seat in an airliner?
The captain of the doomed flight ET302, Yared Getachew, was a graduate of the highly competitive Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Academy, and had more than 8,000 flight hours — a respectable total. “Yared was a great person and a great pilot. Well prepared,” a former Ethiopian Airlines training captain told me.
Doesn't sound as if he acquired his 8000 + hours on a crop duster.
In addition: Your statement that he was 28 doesn't quite jibe with what the NYT has to say about him
By the time he was 29, Yared Getachew was the youngest captain at Ethiopian Airlines. Despite his relative youth, he had spent a decade with the carrier, eventually piloting wide-body jets that crossed continents and oceans.
Thanks for that information. I was having trouble crediting a 28 year old with 8,000 flight hours...
That said, it's very likely a big chunk of that wasn't on 737s, or even large commercial jets.
So do European airlines and they have great safety records.
I think that's quite a lot more relevant than airline safety records. Ethiopian Airlines has a good recent safety record anyway. And the outcry, upon MCAS being publicly revealed, among the U.S. pilot community I also think demonstrates important relative concern.
And, quite a concerning story about U.S. 737 MAX pilots using the anonymous aviation safety reporting system to communicate their concerns, whether instead of or because of the normal channels for doing so.
This ASRS report almost makes it sound like that https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19374386
That's quite a stretch from a 4-cylinder single engine, 110mph prop plane transition.
For most countries "better safe than sorry" was an easy option. At the end of the day its airliners who are left holding the bag, but with some logistical wizardry everyone can still go on holiday.
There was just no reason for China, Singapore, the UK and the EU not to ground these planes. The airline industry has to deal with public perception.
Yes and I think that is what is at stake here as well. The airline industry at the end of the day is an industry. We forget that sometimes because it feels like a monopolistic or oligarlistic industry, but we are their customers, and if people start demanding that they not ride a 737 Max, and start to refuse to purchase routes that are serviced by a 737 Max, you'll see some changes really quick. I for one have told every loved one, and every person I know that travels frequently to not board these planes, and they agree as well. I additionally informed my boss and clients that if they need me to fly, it will absolutely under no circumstances be on a 737Max. I am 100% certain I am not alone in this.
Oh cool 5 events in the last 23 years. That sounds like a stellar safety record to me.
> all the FAA can be thankful of is the dead are foreigners so it’s unlikely they’ll be held properly accountable
and that's what the answers are responding too, saying it's wrong and there are American victims as well.
If we want to start complaining about the FAA, considering more people have died in Indonesian and Malaysian air crashes in the past 10 years than have died in American crashes despite the US flying several orders of magnitude more flights. Lion Air wasn’t even allowed into the E.U. until 2016 because of safety. The FAA and NTSB are among the best agencies in the world when it comes to aviation safety and the data supports it. If anyone should be held accountable for the Ethiopian Air crash, the airline itself should be at the top of the list: the copilot only had 200 total hours! That FAA you are complaining about requires 1500 hours of experience to sit in the right seat. But apparently in Ethiopia, a 200 hour student pilot is good enough to fly right seat when over a hundred lives are at risk.
Do you have a source for this? This sounds anachronistic, or you've got parts confused with some other flight. If by anti-stall you mean MCAS, if it was disabled then what caused the erratic pitching, unstable vertical speed, and the eventual nose down and dive? MCAS is already implicated in that flight the question is whether it was disabled at all prior to the accident, which would have been the normal procedure. Yet you're suggesting that disabling it was wrong, on what basis?
Also MCAS takes angle of attack, altitude and flap setting as inputs. It doesn't take airspeed as an input. Further there are three separate airspeed sensors, each with their own airspeed indicators, as separate systems. A inoperable indicator is a deviation that will be evaluated by accident investigators, and it might be a cause for confusion and delay in making decisions if the pilots didn't know about the problem in advance. But if they knew about it advance as you're suggesting, they'd just placard the bad one, make a log entry and fly on.
There's no evidence flight experience is related to the crash. It's really common in most of the rest of the world, including Europe, and used to be common in the U.S., to pair very experienced pilots with less experienced pilots - which happens to have been the case with Ethiopian Airlines flight.
The whole bush plane, third world, and "apparently in Ethiopia" commentary sounds ignorant bordering on racist to me.
Incorrect, they operate 35 Max8's, and have 237 total firm orders for Max8 and 30 for Max7.