I do wonder if we can halt and revert the deterioration of the Civil Service before the whole "civilization is two days worth of food and water" scenario arrives. If it does, I think it'll be through something that generates a disproportionate amount of fear and anxiety in people resulting in a significant impact to the economy in a sector where middle to upper class folks are heavily exposed to.
I think back to the government shutdown earlier last year, ended because 10 air traffic controllers couldn't come to work at LaGuardia, resulting in a domino effect of backlogged air traffic across airport hubs and airspace restrictions (including for private jets), resulting in POTUS making nice with House Speaker a few hours later.
So if you're concerned because Boeing's CEO is a Mar-A-Lago member with direct access to POTUS (who wants his club fees), and the Secretary of Transportation is the Senate Majority Leader's wife who is also lobbied by Boeing, and the FAA hasn't had an official administrator for two months, and the FAA can't approve safety fixes by Boeing due to government shutdowns, and aircraft manufacturing consolidation means Boeing is "too big to fail", I would just say "we" do have more power than we think.
President's divest from their holdings upon taking the office for a very specific reason, the fact that Boeing's CEO is a customer of one of the president's properties really should be scrutinized heavily. If these crashes happened on our soil there would be no doubt in my mind that this plane would be grounded.
If POTUS & Co. restrained themselves to separating children at the border and disappearing them into pedophile rings that they may frequent later (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/20/nyregion/children-separat...), people may not be as outraged, because it doesn't affect them. Instead, they flaunt their power in our faces, in a way that may affect our physical safety. They don't whisper, and that's good.
What would be really concerning is if people think this is okay, and the people with means realize the only way to really stay safe in a world where laws don't mean too much is to become part of the government, like in Russia. Then you have things like ambulance limos (https://jalopnik.com/ultra-rich-russians-hire-fake-ambulance...). I wouldn't know how to work backwards from that.
When Mitch McConnell's wife Elaine Chao got assignment as the secretary of Depart of Transportation, Mitch McConnell should resign already.
Additionally, FAA's no-action silent "we don't know if 737Max8 is not safe" approach as oppose to "we know it's safe" is unacceptable.
Sure corruption is something we need to avoid but another way to look at this is that sure the high functioning successful people you want running the government are naturally going to have connections to high functioning successful people in the private sector. It is not in and of itself a bad thing.
Another way I look at this is, "what needs to be true for this situation to be the best possible situation for the parties involved? How does this make sense?". When I look at it this way, the FAA not grounding this plane doesn't make sense if you follow a path benefiting the general public, barring some extenuating private knowledge. It seems to be a long path of short-term optimizations.
The alternative is having incompetents doing the regulation and enforcement.
This would have some interesting knock-on effects such as maybe airlines would value diversity in the fleets just a little bit more.
The problem is if you write a law like that, then even if the FAA still otherwise nominally retains its existing power, the mere fact of the "2 in 18-months" rule in statute will have an effect of discouraging groundings with less than two crashes, or with 2 crashes more than 18-months apart. So, unless Congress is going to replace the FAA's decision making role and manage the details of response to each incident, which I think we can all agree would be a disaster itself, its probably not a good idea.
EDIT: Which is why Congress' role of executive oversight and accountability is as important as its role of writing legislation; sometimes there is no good safeguard available through more statutory rules, the best you can do is assure competence and dedication in the executive and apply consequences if there are shortfalls.
I don't see why this is necessarily the case. Clearly, there should be some established baseline to prevent regulatory capture by the industry.
> Which is why Congress' role of executive oversight and accountability is as important as its role of writing legislation
I think it's fair to say that object executive oversight has gone completely out the window in the last 20 years or so.
It is not necessarily the case in the sense of logical implication. Its just almost certainly the case, in the way in which laws effect implementing behavior in the real world.
Legislation which is mindful only of logical implication and not practical implication is a good way to screw things up.
> I think it's fair to say that object executive oversight has gone completely out the window in the last 20 years or so.
It is, and that's a problem that should be fixed. Asking Congress to micromanage by legislation rather than fixing the problems with executive oversight is not a solution, however.
aka much more money to certify pilot crew, aka more expensive fares, aka less experience for any given pilot with some particular aircraft type.
I don’t think it’s a simple as saying the US airlines and FAA are simply being greedy and placing profit over safety. The obvious easy thing to do from a PR perspective is to ground the planes. That they aren’t doing so in the face of immense pressure tells me that they base their decision on facts and procedure, not what-ifs and public scrutiny.
Let the downvotes begin.
The FAA and NTSB are rightly very conservative and cautious with respect to approving new designs, since the risk of premature approval is high and the harm of waiting a bit longer for more information is low. But this is the opposite scenario - the risk of grounding planes is operational inconvenience, versus the harm of another plane crash.
The correct move here is to act even if they think the certainty is low.
What is the correct action though? The root cause of the first crash is understood to be a complete lack of training on a single aspect of the flight control system in a particular set of circumstances (one that happens to occur in the most dangerous part of the flight envelope). From what I understand about this issue, the correct action is to institute an immediate crash course (pun intended?) to train pilots on how to recognize and manage the actions of this subsystem unless further, currently unspeculated issues with the sensors and software are discovered.
>(T)he risk of grounding planes is operational inconvenience
I think you're overlooking the risks involved in adding significant pressure to flight schedulers (who have to get planes in place to make up for missed routes), maintenance crews (who have to provide more flight hours for the remaining fleet to make up for the missing planes), and pilots (who will have to fly something different than what they've recently been flying).
Think of how many opportunities for a mistake to happen would arise from changing something like the route, time, and (sometimes) vehicle used for the daily commute by every worker in a 2,000 person company. Tighter timetables, increased flight hours on the remaining fleet, and the need for pilot's to shake the rust off their skillset flying an airframe they haven't been in for a while are all significant risk factors that have played a part in the vast majority of flight accidents in the modern era of air travel.
I disagree. The EU grounded planes returned to their starting point, and will have to fly yet another leg: a double dose of flight risk.
How will airlines fill the gap from their MAX8 fleet? By dusting off their parked planes. Why are they parked? They could be lemons or reduced safety (e.g. Minimim Equipment Lists).
Or by deferring maintenance, which is done to keep planes safe.
Health care is trying to reduce its unnecessary testing habit: if they cost money and time without value, then resources are taken away from other life-saving interventions.
Europe will probably be fine. Unfortunately here in the states, the Airlines colluded with "capacity discipline" . If you've been on a US flight recently, you'll notice that a whole plane canceled would require another entire plane to be found. And since airlines don't seem to invest too much into their workforce, well they just don't have the extra captains and crew to run extra-hour flights late into the evening either.
An up-start airline cutting fares can become ramen-profitable much quicker than ever before.
Signed, a Canadian that salivates at the pricing the American consumers can get for domestic flights.
Is it possible there is a safety risk to grounding the 737 Max that outweighs the risk of allowing it to fly?
If there are other airliners that can be put into service to take up the slack, though, they’re very unlikely to be more dangerous.
Also, note the final entry in that table: Space Shuttle. Per-kilometer, it's hardly that much more dangerous than driving. But per Journey....
The fatality rate per journey for US airlines over the last ten years is approximately 0.14 per billion journeys, several hundred times better than the number from your link. (Roughly 700 million journeys per year on average, one fatality during that period.)
Cars have gotten safer too, but not nearly as much.
The farther back you look, the less noise you get in your data, but you also incorporate data that's less and less relevant to the current environment. Ten years seems like a decent cutoff, although it is a cutoff that happens to have had a wild swing recently.
My original point still stands if you want to take the data back a bit further: even if you include Colgan, the resulting number is way below the 117 per billion listed on that Wikipedia page.
EDIT: Added more weasel words.
If the argument is that this is just about dollars and inconvenience to the airline, what would a 737 Max crash, now, cost Southwest in law suits and reputation? Maybe SWA is weighing this against the likelihood of another flight 1380 type incident.
As for financial damages, it’s human nature to underestimate risks that have a large cost to mitigate. Even if grounding the Max is more cost effective, I wouldn’t be confident in them reaching that conclusion.
Instead of Boeing publishing information about the systems and requiring pilots to receive training in the new models, the pilots themselves have essentially come up with their own pilot training course, and used the tragedies plastered across global news as the change notification system.
Of course, over the last 10 years or so the FAA has delegated much of the approval process to the corporations themselves. Perhaps the system really is rotten?
The FAA absolutely does consider this in general. For example, this is a major reason they don’t require child safety seats: their analysis is that the extra expense would shift some travel to cars and ultimately kill more kids than it saves. https://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?conte...
As for two crashes not being significant, I don’t buy it. Against such a low background rate (2017 recorded zero fatalities across all jet airliners of all types, for example), two crashes of the same type in a few months is huge. Six years ago, two non-fatal battery fires aboard 787s was enough for the FAA to ground the type until a fix could be made. In hindsight, that seems to have been the correct action. This 787 Max problem appears to be far more severe.
We believe there may be an MCAS issue due to the preliminary Lion investigation but we haven’t seen it in our fleet and our pilots are confident they are prepared for it anyway. We don’t yet have enough data to draw any conclusion on the Ethiopian crash and so we’re currently treating it as an independent incident and a single incident doesn’t warrant grounding the plane.
Would I personally feel safer on a new Southwest Max or on an older Southwest 737? I don’t know. Statistically, there have been no 737 Max crashes in the US.
They're often far enough it's impractical to drive, and at least in the European market, trains are always a more expensive, but available alternative. If the FAA took action, in the US people would probably just postpone trips unless they had the personal days to drive instead (or a lot of personal days to AmTrak instead).
Most people will be shuffled onto larger flights to hubs with connections via smaller aircraft; so they'll be switching to airplanes with proven safety records. It increases demand for the seats and may raise cost, but safety would actually go up if it turns out there is a problem with the 737-max8.
I can’t help but draw the parallel to anti-vax logic: ”if it’s at all possible that my child might be seriously injured from a vaccine, then I must avoid vaccines!”
Setting a standard of “any risk is unacceptable because the downside risk is absolute” is also incorrect.
- The Lion Air flight had a certain aerial profile before the crash (a wave, as MCAS fought the pilots).
- The Ethiopian Airlines aircraft has the same tell tale aerial profile
It would be better to have the black box data from Ethiopian Airlines, but the local authorities have said they're going to take weeks. In the meantime given the facts we have, there are reasons to suspect that Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines had a similar cause.
Additionally Boeing has also implicitly admitted there are issues, they're actively working on improvements to MCAS due out in April.
I think a worse scenario is if the Ethiopian flight crashed due to some other not yet known issue specific to the Max.
So Southwest's position is rational, but doesn't scale well to other airlines using the standard Max 8.
I don't see how your link supports this. Closest I found in the text:
> 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.
That doesn't preclude having experienced MCAS issues while remaining confident in their pilots' ability to overcome the issues.
People need to chill about about voting. The guidelines even say "don't complain about votes".
Neither viewpoint is supported here. The anomaly is that there is a disagreement between the FAA and the other aviation authorities, but no evidence has yet surfaced that would vindicate either party.
Except for two brand new aircraft crashing within five months of each other with all souls lost.
But you're right, other than that, there's nothing.
The FAA DID take the lead by immediately issuing a notice in support of the airworthiness of the plane. Other aviation authorities then decided to contravene the FAA and ground the planes in their own airspace.
There is an irrational assumption that has been injected into this argument, which is that all of a sudden the FAA's judgment should be subject to abnormal scrutiny (at a time when there hasn't been a single fatal accident on a commercial US airliner in 10 years), and the judgments of other civil aviation authorities should all of a sudden be held in higher regard.
But the FAA has no idea right now what caused the crash. So this notice is nothing more than reminding everyone that it was previously determined to be OK. Nobody thought the 737-8s were flying around without an airworthiness certificate, so no new information is on the table.
If you run up to me and say 'Bad Thing just happened, what do' and I respond by saying 'I have previously determined that Bad Things are very unlikely' would you say I am being responsive to the problem?
"I covered airline safety and the FAA for four years"..."and I can't remember"... it's not a fact tweet, it's an opinion tweet.
That's not the type of fact I would lead with.
Also, it's a bit ironic to blame the FAA for other countries not following it. The mistakes of other nations are theirs to bear.
Ironically, if you were to dive into a thread about "Urban Air Transport", a hot topic in Silicon Valley, you'd likely see people decrying the FAA for being too conservative and stifling innovation.
The FAA is not some singular, autonomous entity. It's real live humans with biases and potentially some level of political influence. No regulatory body is above suspicion.
There's no way for them to know at this point what caused the second crash. It might actually be a critical defect, something that was overlooked or blame mis-applied on the first crash investigation. We simply don't know at this point, and neither do they.
Aren't most of the safety statistics they publish basically fake? If you look at the star ratings they give for crash tests, there is an asterisk with fine print saying that they only compare vehicles within 250lbs of each other. Which means that when you're trying to figure out which car is actually the safest, a car that gets a 3-star crash rating might actually be safer than one that gets a 5-star crash rating.
Aircrash investigations take a lot of time, and sometimes, well, sometimes you have to act on preliminary information or even guesses if it is on the safer side.
> Let the downvotes begin.
Bracing for impact doesn't invalidate the cause of it.
You’re probably asking for a citation that the US airlines are safest due to their procedures and not for other reasons. I don’t have a ready citation for that. But as to US airline safety:
> Bracing for impact doesn't invalidate the cause of it.
Fair, I should have left that out, but I won’t ninja edit it on you now. (And I have no idea why you’re downvoted. I’ve upvoted your comment.)
Lumping the US versus 'the rest of the world' together does not compare single countries against each other.
The US is safe for air travel, but that does not show that it is the safest.
The primary reason is likely due to training requirements:
Those requirements are due to US regulations.
And that greenspun article from 2009 is just special.
Where do you people _get_ these ideas?!
Just out of a quick wiki trawl over the last ten years:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UPS_Airlines_Flight_1354 UPS airline plane crashed in 2013, killing all onboard.
In the same year, a commercial flight by Rediske Air crashed in Alaska, all 10 people on-board died.
While not technically a crash, there was a fatality involving US airline just last year, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southwest_Airlines_Flight_1380, making the US airline safety record worse than a good number of countries.
European aircraft (A320)
It's downright comical to list Germanwings as "Fatality Free".
Also, Air France 447 was less than ten years ago. So your data may be suspect.
I otherwise agree.
I'm only an aviation enthusiast and by no means an expert, and fully admit that I could be wrong, and even with my natural inclination to reserve judgement, to me it seems obvious that grounding is warranted purely from a statistic viewpoint.
Compare the release of the 737 MAX 8 with the release of other recent-ish models like the 777 and 787. It was 14 years before the 777 suffered even a single hull loss, and 20 years before a crash of the magnitude of the 737 MAX 8 (loss of all souls). The 787 is almost a decade old and has zero hull losses or fatalities.
The 737 MAX 8 is less than a few years old and already has two catastrophic crashes? I know that it's hard to draw too much information from just two data points, but that's pretty compelling to me.
It's a bit of a different situation, but they were grounded for a problem that I don't believe caused a single fatality, but had more incidents in a shorter time period.
Which it is not, of course.
No. It all comes down to as simple as "better safe than sorry" philosophy. FAA have generally very conservative about air safety tolerance as they should. The normal response should be "we know 737 is safe", because we have data showing that over 10k+ deliveries and less than 3% had hull loss. Can FAA say that to Boeing 737Max8 today?! So instead of being conservative they are being bold and saying "we don't know if 737 Max is not safe because investigation has not been concluded." You see the difference now?
More and more evidence revealing that FAA/Boeing are placing profit over safety. Do you think FAA have a problem grounding AirBus planes with non hull loss accidents? Absolutely Not! In fact, they did exactly that in 2018 to AirBus 320neo 
This is the behavior to directly violate the HN rules. But having a minority opinion doesn't.
HN guidelines ask that you don't bait people this way, it's toxic to discussion.
While you're trying to field a rational argument, doing so using pejorative language (panicking, giving in to pressure) preemptively delegitimizes other points of view and thus undercuts your own credibility. Certainly facts and procedure are great but it's also a fact that a large number of people just died in circumstances that are uncertain; you're essentially arguing that the uncertainty should not be considered absent a causal mechanism.
Why is it so important not to adjust our course while investigations proceed? After all we have an elaborate financial services industry devoted to the mitigation of economic risk, so why shouldn't we allow that to operate? Voluntary risk-bearers (insurance and reinsurance firms, option issuers etc) can do their thing and shoulder the financial burden of the disruption rather than expecting passengers to shoulder vital risks which they're not qualified to assess.
We have a natural and simple scenario to explain both, and a serious reason to suspect that any left side angle of attack indicator could have a mishap because those things happen and it's normally not a big deal.
Even if the investigation deem that the root causes are different, it is the most natural explanation of those accidents absent more information, and it is even a nominal chain of event that was planned by Boeing.
They are also a body of experts, with more collective knowledge than any other similar body of domain experts in world.
If we believe in institutions of experts who study and make recommendations regarding complex systems, we owe it to the FAA to trust they are charting a prudent course based on the evidence they are gathering and analysis they are doing.
Steve Inskeep rephrases a statement that Goelz makes to make it seem like the FAA is short staffed and that airline compliance is on the honor system.
Goelz then says what he means is that there cannot be an independent FAA inspector in every single corner of a manufacturer or maintenance shop, but by then it's too late because the seed has been planted listeners mind.
So here you are saying the "FAA and NTSB just doesn't have the resources to provide adequate inspections" and that the overall compliance model here is "cooperative self regulation" which... I guess barring the FAA having a 1:1 staff for every employee in the airline industry we are indeed going to have "cooperative self regulation".
The FAA should be independent but it doesn’t always work that way, and this sort of thing can tip the balance.
To turn your concluding argument around, what is imprudent about grounding these planes until we have a clearer answer? It's going to cause some economic loss, but this seems like a much lower priority.
That's pretty unheard of. But I can't blame them.
If anything, it's a huge positive if they grounded it until they knew for certain what's wrong because then it's a double win. Firstly, on the ground the plane has a 0% chance of killing anyone (unless someone decided to jump off the top of a parked plane and commit suicide, etc.), and secondly Boeing's reputation goes up because now people have a chance to think "ok finally, they actually care about safety instead of profits".
Also, Southwest is the largest US flyer of this plane and it only makes up about 5% of their fleet, so it's not like the entire world's flight traffic gets disrupted. Lastly, I would think most people who are scheduled to fly on one of these planes will cancel or demand a plane switch, so the delays and flight traffic issues are still going to happen to some degree.
Currently, all I'm reminded about from this situation is how insanely corrupt the US govt is (I'm from the US btw) and how little Southwest cares about people because they won't even let you cancel without paying out of pocket, which is totally insane. You only have 1 life.
Too late now though. If the truth comes out and it's not a Boeing problem, their reputation suffers for "what might have been". If it is, their reputation suffers for "profits over safety"
Southwest, for what it's worth, were offering free changes of ticket for those on a max. American weren't.
Now it feels more like a calculated reaction based on profits (ie. enough people cancelled MAX flights or asked for a flight change that grounding the plane is now a better decision financially).
In any case, it's a good result that they are grounded until everyone knows what happened during the crash and have an iron clad solution to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.
Yes, because by now, every pilot still flying that plane has been trained to deal with the issue.
If this issue did occur again (and that's not proven), the question is why didn't the pilots deal? Were they operating past their limits for whatever reason, like with UPS1354? Or is it that the problem isn't something that can reasonably be dealt with.
I don't think that is the case. The FAA and Boeing both said this plane is safe and approved it for use. They would look like complete idiots if they now turn around and say they were wrong and it would put a lot of focus on why and how they came to that initial conclusion that the plane was safe.
They are doubling down on their safety claim and are refusing to admit they could have made a mistake at the expense of potentially hundreds of lives.
Trump has appointed people in various areas of the government based on their contentious views with the departments they would oversee. This makes many in the international community question Dan Elwell's position and influence at the FAA.
It seems clear that safety is being weighed against level of disruption, which may be justified, but they haven't been transparent about this calculation.
Aviation regulators and internet forums are literally at the opposite end of the spectrum with regards to jumping to conclusions.
What bothers me is that yesterday, Garneau was basically saying, "until we're sure the plane is unsafe, we're going to keep flying it." That's backwards.
Internet forums may be "jumping to conclusion" but regulators have had this data for days, and didn't act on it. They only acted after regulators in Europe and elsewhere acted first.
The Brazilian flight authority, for example, makes this kind of decision once a week, and there's a backlog. Even if all the technical analysis was ready minutes after the accident, it wouldn't have decided on it yet. Most western ones have a similar organizational model.
Data gathering takes days, data verification takes days, every time one has to contact somebody in a timezone with 4+ hours of difference, it takes a couple of days, informing superiors takes days, scheduling a decision takes days, even publishing it takes days.
If I was a regulator I'd want a verified and traceable data source as well.
It's their job to keep people safe. They do that by looking at data they trust. I don't envy the position they're in this week one bit.
Rather like the identity of the Boston Bomber.
It may very well be different. Sometimes knee jerk reactions are right. Sometimes they are wrong. This whole thing reeks of tunnel vision but without the data from the second aircraft we don't have any way to tell tunnel vision from legitimate well reasoned decision making.
I'm in the "ground them just to be safe" camp but the way this whole thing is being conducted leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.
I wish this didn’t have to be about politics.
It's all fun and games until a Max 8 nosedives on US soil
The EU has grounded the Max 8s, accepting the disruption to commerce and inconvenience to travelers up front as the cost of avoiding an unlikely but potentially catastrophic accident. It's possible that if this were an Airbus instead of a Boeing plane that the situation might be reversed, but I'm inclined to think they would actually take the same action in that circumstance because EU regulatory culture is rooted in a precautionary rather than a palliative approach.
Canada also is home to one of the four major aerospace companies that make planes people are willing to fly on. Think of all the CRJ700s you could sell if people got flighty about using 737s.
I'm sure the Canadians are grounding them for all the right reasons, but let's be clear: they stand to gain if the 737 loses favour.
Or maybe, just maybe he spoke out because he chairs the senate subcommittee for aviation?
They didn't. Every internet forum is speculating right now, none can support a conclusion.
> It seems clear that safety is being weighed against level of disruption
It is more than disruption. Democratic societies have some concerns about Rule of Law and fairness, all societies have concerns about not bankrupting the air-transit providers, and about providing confidence in a stable environment for business.
Besides, air-traffic disruption kills people too.
Democratic countries tend to be very transparent about this calculation, but you probably won't be able to get it this quickly. In a few days we will probably learn the details why Canada made their decision.
Assuming "figured out" was not sarcastic: can you recommend any particular threads? I'd love to go beyond the coverage in major newspapers.
Note how some engineer explains how MCAS works and there is a lot pilots who are completely surprised. That's quite damning for Boeing
Claims intermittent fluctuations in AoA can activate the MCAS. So no need for the AoA indicator to be faulty then, means the risk of falsa MCAS intervention higher than previously believed.
If there really was such a memo going around Boeing that would certainly be leaked. The leaker would probably due so publicly as well, as they would literally save lives and easily be free from retribution.
IMO, It's only a matter of time before public pressure forces either the government, or the carriers themselves to ground the planes.
Is that actually an option for Kayak?
The usual sites I use to search for flights do not allow filtering on airplane type (except maybe "exclude prop planes").
I had heard on my local NPR this morning that they had already done so, apparently they have just been receiving ever increasing requests for this feature.
Boeing brought $70B into Washington State's economy in one year.
Boeing is a major defense contractor, providing transportation, weapons, and other supplies to the US Military.
The plane is not unstable. A pilot who is trained for the actual flight characteristics absolutely can handle the plane. The problem is they weren't required to get that training, because 737's still all share the same type rating as if they all have substantially the same flight characteristics. Which is generally true except one particular attitude, high angle of attack.
It's an open question to me (I'm no one, but I am a pilot and a flight instructor in a previous life) exactly how different stall avoidance could be with MCAS disabled (which is indirectly done by setting stabilizer trim to cutoff) once it has already induced a dive by having fought with it a little bit too long. If it's a normal procedure to disable the very software abstraction that means you don't need a type rating for this airplane, but the stall avoidance technique is substantially different from other 737s - that's very concerning to me. Not that the plane is unstable or unsafe. But that there's a disconnect in pilot knowledge and actual airplane flight characteristics with this abstraction turned off.
Before fly by wire, it was always worth going for stability because pilots couldn't fly unstable aircraft. Fly by wire enabled making flyable unstable aircraft, and so trading off some inherent stability for more maneuverability (military) or higher efficiency (civilian) became an accepted design option.
In the case of the Max8, it's always on and there is additional training needed to react quickly when this happens. I think all current pilots who are watching this situation should know what to do at this point, but the needed the awareness brought by the situation. In the two crashes so far, it seems like the pilots had years of commercial experience.
On another note, I don't think the 737 Max is inherently unstable, so I'm not even sure this line of reasoning applies at all or even in part.
I suspect the blame lies with Boeing's management and with the FAA for being complicit with Boeing.
>Boeing swapped out the engines for new models, which, together with airframe tweaks, promised a 20 percent increase in fuel efficiency. In order to accommodate the engine’s larger diameter, Boeing engineers had to move the point where the plane attaches to the wing. This, in turn, affected the way the plane handled. Most alarmingly, it left the plane with a tendency to pitch up, which could result in a dangerous aerodynamic stall. To prevent this, Boeing added a new autopilot system that would pitch the nose down if it looked like it was getting too high.
Because of the changes to the autopilot system it functions differently than pilots expect it to during an emergency situation on this particular plane.
But that's more expensive for Boeing's customers, so to make it more attractive, they decided to "paper over" the differences in behaviour with software. Fly it like any other 737, and if it starts to stall in conditions where other 737s wouldn't, the software corrects things!
Except, except, like all abstractions, this one's leaky -- and they've only shifted the difference in behaviour from "stalls at angles that would surprise a 737 pilot" to "noses-down in ways that would surprise a 737 pilot" along with "can't be muscle-overridden the way the autopilot on other 737s can be".
What's new in the MAX is the autotrim doesn't terminate when the pilot gives back pressure on the yoke if MCAS senses high angle of attack, it will do an uncommanded nose down (every I think 10s). This is to compensate for the MAX engine nacelle which provides a meaningful amount of lift to cause a pitch up moment in high angles of attack, unlike previous 737's.
I wonder whether the stall behavior between 737's is slightly dissimilar or very dissimilar without MCAS, between 737NG and 737 MAX? And then quantifying that difference. I also seriously wonder if it's even slightly more likely for a pilot to induce a stall as a result of not knowing about the natural uncorrected stall behavior of the new design compared to previous designs. MCAS is not my concern, it's how the plane flies without it that I wonder about.
Also, WSJ is reporting that the MCAS software update mandated by the FAA in an airworthiness directive was delayed due to the nearly five week government shutdown. I'm already imagining the tweets...
The biggest problem here is that the new autopilot system relies on a pair of Angle of Attack sensors. Those sensors are prone to damage, and if the sensor is damaged, the erroneous information it reports can engage the new autopilot system. One of the reasons why Southwest thinks it's immune to this problem, by the way, is because they paid extra for a system that displays an alert when the Angle of Attack sensors disagree with each other, so pilots are aware of what's wrong and can take action to stop it. Most other carriers, including Ethiopian and Lion Air, didn't.
Also, other autopilot systems can be disengaged by pulling back on the stick. This one can't: you have to manually disengage the system.
Pilots were never informed of any of this because Boeing wanted to maintain the fiction that the 737 MAX is no different than previous versions of the 737.
Boeing announced that it had been working on a flight control software upgrade that includes updates to the MCAS flight control law, pilot displays, operation manuals and crew training. It's coming in few weeks and expected to be made mandatory by April by an FAA airworthiness directive.
If so, wouldn't that suggest a failure mode other than the one that's viewed as a training issue?
See, eg, "
Reliability of Eyewitness Reports to a Major Aviation Accident" https://commons.erau.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1040&co....
A plane crash is a very fast, horrifying tragedy to witness. It shouldn't be surprising that peoples' imperfect memories afterwards are completely scrambled
> almost all the eyewitnesses, including experienced pilots, gave grossly inaccurate accounts when compared to the film record
The current "admin" is full of Boeing people. Also, there's no one doing anything at the FAA.
Ah, good old kleptocracy. Who could have predicted this?
The right thing to do is ground the plane and figure out a proper remediation going forward.
Let's not be naive that any major political party can be ethical, Obama simply had a nicer public image but there were still scandals* during his administration.
* = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Obama_administration_...
No, real differences in ethical conduct (both in overall level, insofar as that is meaningful, and more importantly in particular details) do exist between administrations, even within the same party.
> there were still scandals during his administration.
A scandal can exist without an actual ethical lapse, and in any case, not all scandals, even among those involving actual ethical lapses (much less, all sets of such scandals) are equal.
For example, this is on that list:
Not sure why many people can't fathom seeing both parties as unethical.
I cannot fathom seeing every administration as being equally and indistinguishably unethical, however.
I think you are looking too hard for things to be upset about if you mistake someone referring to Obama's administration as ethical in contrast to Trump's as claiming Obama's was perfect.
Obama's administration was run grossly different than Trump's administration. Case in point: FAA doesn't even have a Trump-appointed administrator yet (Daniel Elwell was only appointed to the position of Deputy administrator and is only "Acting Administrator" for now).
The FAA has always had the "Boeing is a large employer and defense contractor" conflict. I'm perfectly fine with a "current management is bad" assertion.
The EU produces the only real competitor (Airbus A320), and China is in the middle of a 'Trade War' with the U.S and is trying to create a serious airplane manufacturer of their own.
>Boeing is a major defense contractor, providing transportation, weapons, and other supplies to the US Military.
I don't even know what that has to do with it, do you think if the FAA grounded 737's Boeing would... cancel all existing contracts with the World's largest military?
Maybe I'm very wrong. I hope I am. But it's the sense I've gotten about American politics and regulatory capture.
There seems to be a lot of feelings going around. I just don't get why they're only going against the U.S and Boeing, who obviously don't want another 737 Max crash if only because that would definitely call the entire program (and $500 billion) into question, when the EU hosts literally the only competitor to Boeing.
Correction: America used to dictate.
But it's clear that the investigation is in-progress and their statement was not "we don't believe it" but "Thus far, our review ... provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft ... Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action."
> Even if they are right, the right thing to do is thoroughly review past incidents and issue a finding.
Isn't that precisely what they're doing now? Also from the FAA's statement: "... if any issues affecting the continued airworthiness of the aircraft are identified, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action."
Anyone have other examples of events like this taking down a big company's stock price for a limited time, but not affecting it overall?
It's unnecessary to cast a cynical light on everything.
The article notes that the airline has opted for an upgraded avionics suite that low-cost airlines have, for the most part, forgone.
> When it comes to riskier transatlantic and trans-continental routes, Boeing's new narrowbody 737-Max and Airbus's A320neo family can now be employed due to tremendous leaps in engine reliability and fuel efficiency. That has resulted in a considerable expansion of long-haul routes utilizing narrowbody airliners.
It's still 15% up on December.
In the end, it might be some penalty paid to some companies, and a slightly tarnished image, but people will keep buying and flying Boeings.