Boeing discounted the 737 MAX by more than 70% to force Bombardier to sell the C-Series below cost, which forced Bombardier to sell a controlling share to Airbus for $0.
I rode in a E175 and was blown away by the passenger experience; the 2nd generation E-Jets are much better and the A220 is better still. Boeing hopes that you don't ride in one and realize you don't have to settle for a 737.
(Not like I trust Airbus with the A220, since they've got the same motivation to string the A320 along that Boeing has to string along the 737)
I fly small piston aircraft for a lot of our travel, so even an A319 or MD90 is top luxury in some sense.
I don’t think people generally feel like they’re “settling” in a 737. I just got off a 737-800 BOS-ATL in fact. I do feel like I’m settling when I strap on an E170/175 on a short haul flight. I put them as clearly superior to Saab 340s and Dash-8 aircraft, but that’s about it. It makes taking the train (Amtrak!) seem worthy of consideration for BOS-PHL type trips.
On many of these routes the 737 is over provisioned and Boeing is not really winning the deals on the merits. You can see Boeing cozy up further with Embraer since that's been on the cards for a long time and then they'll be able to offer something other than the 737.
Airbus are nervous, jiggly and constantly jittering along as the avionics happily acknowledges the plane is within envelope. Boeing planes feel more damped and they don’t remind me of my flight stress as often.
But the Embraer?! I flew one over the English Channel, windy and all that; and yet, it sailed along gently.
But I'm convinced I can feel the difference between them and the A321. Maybe because of the lengthy fuselage, but it always feels much more comfortable.
I've always found A320s more comfortable. It's a big reason why Jet Blue and Virgin are generally much more comfortable than Southwest or other 737-based carriers. For seat pitch the thickness of the seats can matter, so the fact that Jet Blue and Virgin had more modern, thinner seats mattered for legroom. And of course you can add and remove rows. But thinness doesn't matter for seat width and everybody uses 6 abreast rows, so there's little a 737 carrier can do to make up the difference.
The 737MAX carries forward this handicap (737 has a circular fuselage while A320 is more elliptical), so Airbus will continue to have the leg up in this regard for the foreseeable future. Newer planes like the C-series provide even greater width, and considering the C-series is basically Airbus now that's just more reason to prefer Airbus when booking. Indeed, given that most 777s have been converted to 10-abreast seating in coach, I'd prefer an A320 (or preferably a C-series, though I haven't flown one, yet) over any Boeing plane if flying coach.
 The configurations so-far have been 18.5" for window and aisle, and 19" for the middle seat. 19" is like business class on Boeing planes! Compare that to a 737 where the typical seat width is 17". That's a huge difference, especially if you're traveling alone and are the conscientious type (i.e. avoid rubbing shoulders).
 From the originally envisioned 9-abreast configuration. Apparently the 777X is being designed for 10-abreast and will more seat width as compared to the 777, but I'll be surprised if it provides better width than a comparable Airbus plane. Boeing seems singularly focused on the demands of the big American carriers, and they couldn't care less about coach comfort.
My shoulders literally protrude into my neighbors' personal space, and I can't do anything about it. Even if I wasn't as athletic, my frame is built that way. Sucks for them, sucks for me.
As a thin American who observes many corpulent Americans flying, I would think seat width would be a big issue. but then I see large people squeezing into small seats and realize that my screams of protest are in vain.
Carry on. thanks at least for bringing up the topic, it's a real thing.
But the nicer airlines offer general legroom's that's survivable - some budget airlines my knee is basically in somebody else's back (thinner seats help here).
In the last 6 months I traveled between Amsterdam - Bangkok twice (11 hour flights) both times using KLM, and although they aren't as cramped as some other (cheaper) airlines I upgraded my seat every single flight to get a bit more leg room. But I can't compare to other (premium) airlines yet.
It therefore makes sense that the Dutch flag carrier has slightly more generous leg room than the norm.
Generally my experience is that US carriers will select the cheapest and densest configurations, especially for domestic routes, including Hawaii. They've been applying this to transatlantic routes recently as well, but I think they'll do this globally as refits occur. It all fits with the pattern of a race to the bottom that is horrible for customers and staff that turn up every day to get us safely to our destinations.
I think EU and other global carriers are at a different stage on the race to the bottom. There is still some differentiation between national and budget airlines. There are consumer protections and regulations that US air travelers could only dream of. In terms of outlook, I see these comforts diminish with future recessions and pressures on the airlines.
The major American carriers mostly compete with each other and Southwest.
Especially in economy, I find this to be moot - seats are crammed in at near DVT-inducing density regardless of the size of the fuselage.
I've flown in 787s and A380s numerous times. I'm also mildly claustrophobic, and I've never had a "living room" experience, even when flying business or first (TBF, I've only done so twice, both times with BA; it might vary for some carriers)
Yes, the chairs are relatively comfortable, and if you're just going to sleep it's OK (especially with the BA arrivals lounge at Heathrow meaning you don't need to wake up for breakfast on the flight) but after being the trailblazers with lie flat seats BA have really dropped the ball compared to their competitors.
As long as it's one of their newer planes, I find BA's business to be "good enough"; the food is invariably shite, the service is usually shite, but the wines are decent and you can sleep, But you're correct it's not as good as others (e.g. Singapore Airlines).
The couple of times I flew first with BA, I have to say I was mightily dissapointed - no way was it worth twice the price of business... it was barely any better at all. Luckily they were free upgrades!
TBH, all of BA feels like it's stagnated for 1-2 decades, and is slowly becoming a budget airline - but without the budget prices.
Yep, I just flew twice on Singapore Airlines, on 777s, and it was excellent, even in the economy section. Service was fantastic, food was fantastic (for airline food), I couldn't complain.
I think, at this point in time, the Asian and Middle Eastern airlines are what you want to fly on, because the American and European ones mostly suck. Some of the European ones are still supposed to be pretty good (like KLM I think), but all the American ones are horrible, and many of the European ones don't have the greatest reputations either (e.g. RyanAir).
If you want isolation from other passengers, wear some headphones. But noisy engines are not good for your health.
Headphones and earplugs are uncomfortable when worn for several hours in a row, either because they are inside my ears, or because they are bulky. This is a matter of comfort, particularly since I try to pass time on planes by sleeping. A noisier commercial airliner, all else being equal, simply is more comfortable than a quiet one.
(I dare say sleep loss and jet lag have a more measurable impact on my health than whatever hearing loss is induced by a typical commercial airliner.)
Traffic noise is usually much more intermittent, unless you're walking next to a busy freeway. You just hear cars as they go by, but it's not usually a constant. Ears handle intermittent sounds much better than constant noise, even when the intermittent sounds are much louder. It's a lot like radiation exposure: it's cumulative.
>A noisier commercial airliner, all else being equal, simply is more comfortable than a quiet one.
Honestly, you sound like someone who already has a lot of hearing damage.
They really don't, because it's much easier to cross-qualify between types of the standard Airbus range (the A3x0) than it is across Boeing's 7x7: the quotes I've seen are 2 to 15 days depending on the move (15 is going from A320 to A380) whereas outside of specific pairs for Boeing it's pretty much a full type rating (30~40 days).
Also I'm not aware of airlines flying only and solely the A320. Airlines like Southwest which refuse to fly anything other than the 737 were a big reason for the MAX.
Finally, the A320 is a much younger frame than the 737 and was FBW from the start, A320 launched in 1984, the 737 launched in 1967.
Allegiant and EasyJet are, IndiGo was for years A320-only, and Batik Air (part of the Lion Air group) will be soon. Edelweiss has A330 and A340 as well but it's relatively easy to move between the 320/330/340.
I don't know any better, but I thought - statements by the companies to the contrary aside - that https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CSeries_dumping_petition_by_Bo... is what drove the Airbus partnership.
Perhaps the Wikipedia page is being edited by Boeing?
The possible difference being with fly-by-wire it's much more likely they can keep the same(ish) flying behaviour (meaning no new training) whilst making fairly dramatic future changes to the airframe if required.
I also doubt they'd go to anything smaller than the A318 in terms of derivatives...
Hopefully with a full fly-by-wire system they're a little more careful to make sure it's reliable and won't suddenly nosedive the plane...
Remember, with FBW, that's the plane's primary control system, so of course they're going to be ultra-conservative and make sure it's right. With Boeing's MCAS, it was tacked on at the end as a cheap hack to try to make the plane have the same flying characteristics as the older 737s. Basically it was an afterthought.
Also, Airbus has a longer history of pushing fly-by-wire.
28–29 in (71–74 cm) 737 max 2nd class
100@31/32" - 114@29/30” E190
Bigger is better
Thought the ride was gonna suck since, well, unpopular short routes is where most carriers put their old pieces of crap, since they're too fuel and maintenance hungy to do anything else.
Hopefully, other nations' air regulators will refuse to certify the 737MAX, and will be extremely reluctant to certify any other Boeing planes to fly in their airspace in the future. They cannot be trusted, and the FAA can't be trusted to do their jobs either.
Public perception will play a big role in that. If the general public opposes the aircraft, regulators will be more likely to go with that flow. Standing up to Boeing's bullying is easier when you've got the moral support of the common people.
Why would Boeing want to help their competitor, Airbus, like that?
If I remember correctly, when the sale was completed, it was a common opinion that Boeing’s tactics had completely backfired.
They absolutely wanted to kill Bombardier, but due to the fact that Airbus stepped in, took over a majority of the project and assembles the plane in the US Boeing's calculation badly backfired.
But yet, even after the second crash Boeing still insisted they continue to fly the plane. It's like they pre-determined their decision and any evidence or additional crashes be damned.
I don't want to have too much hindsight though - if the AA pilots union really didn't want to fly the plane, presumably the union could have chosen not to fly the plane (I think it's in most pilots contracts?). In fact, even after Ethiopian crash, American pilots continued to fly the plane. Though part of this may have been because they didn't have the full amount of information Boeing did.
That was disgusting and has me lose the last bit of sympathy I've had left for The Boeing Company.
The second crash may have been avoided by timely application of the NNC procedure for runaway stab trim, right?
"Man if only those "other" victims weren't so dumb, then my favorite company wouldn't have to suffer bad PR!"
Blaming the Ethiopian pilots (One of the safest airlines in the world btw) for getting over speed during the workload induced by runaway trim is disrespectful.
By now, near every professional pilot agrees that these are near unrecoverable events unless you assess and cut the trim in first 15 seconds or so.
Blaming Lion Air in the first hours after the crash, with their somewhat sketchy history, was understandable.
Everything after that is uninformed or racist.
Lion Air as such deserves blame for putting a broken plane back into the air; that's a bigger "third world factor" than pilot error, but it doesn't remove all pilot error from the flight.
The current view is that a mistake by the pilots can not be allowed to bring a plane down. If it does, the plane, software or procedures are designed wrong. And from my experience the industry (at least in Western Europe where I fly) really lives by this.
The fact that the US flies more and has fewer accidents isn’t “racist” nor lucky.
One of these two groups was in posession of a rather importantly wider set of information than the other.
In most major catastrophes/mishaps, there's a number of proximate causes (i.e. the pilots didn't do 'X') that 'could' have prevented the issue. But focusing on these to the distraction of focus on the root cause is a sure way to increase the risk of another failure.
Installing a larger oil pan won't fix your car for long if the root cause is a bad filter design.
> nothing any pilot could have done so close to the ground 
FWIW, the pilots in the doomed Lion Air plane on the flight just prior to the accident flight did just that.
There is enough wrong with the 737 MAX, Boeing, the regulatory regime, etc. No need to become hyperbolic and inaccurate.
Not the pilots so much as the person sitting in the jump seat (who suggested disabling electric trim). It essentially took three pilots to save that plane.
The pilots did not know about this problem, they corrected the issue a few time the problem was that after a few correction MCAS corrected extremely and cutting it off at that point was useless because the pilots did not had the physical force to correct the plane.
The other pilots that rescued the situation in the simulator did it by using a technique he read on a pilot forum after the crashes, so it is obvious that a regular pilot that was train using Boeing manuals and followed Boeing guidelines for this problems could not save the plane(at least not in 100% of the cases).
Sure there may be super pilots (like we have super programmers that can read assembly stack traces) or lucky pilots but you don't want to excuse Boeing crimes by the fact that some pilots were lucky.
Agreed, but don't write (as GP did) that "there is nothing any pilot could have done so close to the ground".
It's exponentially easier to recover from a lot of issues, even a stall, when you have 40,000 feet of distance (and thus a lot more time) to play with rather than not even a thousand feet off the ground.
"At 8:39, as the jet reached an altitude of 8,100 feet above sea level, just 450 feet above ground, its nose began to pitch down"
The third pilot wasn't having to exert 40+ pounds on a control yoke.
The third pilot had a full view of the center console without the burden of having to read and understand a large amount of the information normally considered critical to "flying the plane".
He was therefore in an advantaged position to troubleshoot less obvious root causes of the anomalous behavior.
He didn't know about MCAS, but he definitely got an rueful of trim wheel happily clicking away.
It's why Crew Resource Management is such an important thing, and why people who can pilot have been known to step up and assist crews during emergencies.
Boeing has gone into liability defensive mode at the expense of the lives of passengers, the safety of air travel, and America's credibility in aerospace engineering.
Boeing is either going to face a major reckoning that they may not survive or maybe we'll have more deaths from accidents due to their negligent behavior.
I'm basing all this on the many reports about what is going on around the 737 MAX aircraft published in the WSJ and the New York Times. It hasn't been pretty.
I don't think that plane should ever fly again as engineered. It seems to require software to address problems with the large engine and the plane's form that other jets do not have. If a software patch can make the aircraft safe, then a bug can make it unsafe. Does the FAA validate all the aircraft software patches Boeing issues?
Also, MCAS wasn't put in place to allow the MAX to be type certified w/ other 737s. It was put in place to allow it to be certified at all. It's a hack to ensure the force on the stick continues to increase with increasing angle of attack, which is a certification requirement.
But the expected behavior which MCAS was to provide was not something invented only for "other 737's." Whichever plane would behave as the MAX behaves without MCAS turned on would also be rejected from certification.
Only Boeing being silent about MCAS is the effect of the goal of "avoiding re-certification."
> We don't know
I can't agree to that. Based on the above, I think it is obvious that we do know: 737 MAX without any MCAS-like help is dangerous to fly according to the security expectations which weren't specially invented for 737 MAX.
No, it would have been a perfectly certifiable plane with a particular set of handling characteristics (including 777-like pitch-up). It just wouldn't be a 737, and would require its own type certificate. No-one's suggesting that large turbofan aircraft with pitch-up behaviour are inherently unsafe when flown by pilots appropriately trained and certified for them - otherwise the 777 would be grounded.
It is as long it keeps 737 MAX body and engines and doesn’t have something like MCAS I.e. Inherently unsafe under conditions under which MCAS was supposed to turn on when properly functioning.
The certification requirements are the result of the clear safety goals not something invented “just so.”
The poster you're responding to is right; there isn't anything wrong with the behavior given the right training.
It's just that the investment in that training, and extra certification hoops to jump through would have made WhateveroModelNumberus MAX a non-starter.
It had to be a 737 to work at all.
The behaviour without MCAS on 737 MAX is that minimal movements of pilot’s controls effectively activate what would be considered “amplification” of nose up movement, resulting in an uncontrollable plane and sure crash.
It’s definitely not something that pilots or passengers should be exposed to: being punished for approaching more dangerous position by plane forcing a deadly outcome.
Training pilots to not to move even minimally the controls in the “wrong” direction is maybe technically possible but in practice still totally wrong: It’s comparable to what Boeing told everybody before Ethiopian crash, and their attempts to blame the pilots. In reality, the pilots had almost no chance to rescue themselves and the plane.
In engineering the “positive feedback loops” (amplification of control inputs) are bad the “negative feedback loops” (correction of the input) are good.
The functioning MCAS provides a correction. The plane without MCAS amplification. Badly functioning MCAS also amplification and crash. That's why the wrong behavior was regulated, and that's why it had to be fulfilled for the certification. It’s that easy.
To convince me that 737 MAX without the "properly functioning MCAS" isn't inherently dangerous under higher angles of attack you'd have to provide some explicit proofs.
The FAA certified it anyway. The U.K. gave it conditional certification contingent on the addition of a stick-pusher to be able to operate in U.K. airspace. See the Royal Aeronautics Society D.P. Davies Interview, specifically the 727 one.
There was quite a bit of controversy amongst test pilots at even granting the certification, seeing it as setting a precedent that would lead to a slippery slope that would culminate in less and less airworthy designs.
Nevertheless, the certification authorities accepted the argument that as long as instabilities could be countered by technological means, it would be acceptable.
Let me clarify though, that without MCAS, a responsible pilot would definitely be constrained to a much thinner envelope, but within that thinner envelope, the plane can fly just fine.
The deployment of flaps, also takes the plane out of a regime where MCAS is a factor.
So both legal, and practical precedent for it exists. Given additional training of course.
Boeing 727 was clearly from another times: "As of July 2018, a total of 44 Boeing 727s were in commercial service" "Many airlines replaced their 727s with either the 737-800 or the Airbus A320."
> both legal, and practical precedent for it exists.
Does it? The devil is in the details. Speaking as an engineer, both the measurements of the ranges in which the changes happen and the characteristics of the responses to controls still matter. I wouldn't be surprised that it's still 737 MAX that would be "a precedent" with worse characteristics when the stall is possible (and without proper MCAS-like help) than those measured in 727.
It's the conditions under which the problems occur and the response diagrams that the regulators are supposed to verify, not the binary "has or hasn't" a problem near the stall. I'm quite sure that the technology at the time of 727 introduction was already more than capable of producing the relevant diagrams, so they can be compared. Thanks for specifying your arguments in the answer.
>It's the conditions under which the problems occur and the response diagrams that the regulators are supposed to verify, not the binary "has or hasn't" a problem near the
Ah, I hadn't run into this tidbit before! Can you elaborate on it? I'd love to get some more detailed information if only to facilitate my own deep diving. I've been repeating the 727 simimilarity, and if there's any footwork I can do to make that more accurate, I'd be thrilled to run with it.
I do know Boeing was generally considered notorious amongst test pilots for knowing exactly how their designs would fly, so I can't imagine that those diagrams can't be found somewhere.
To appreciate non-binariness of the problem, just try to find the pictures of different flight envelopes under different flight conditions for different planes and compare them. The wrongness in claiming that every plane can be qualified with just "has x" or "hasn't" is then more than obvious.
Then imagine that you'd actually need the response diagrams -- some valid measurement of how the plane reacts to the controls. That is the actual point of problem: exactly how the curves look like, where are which limits between "fine" and "deadly" and how dangerous is which kind of movement or non-movement of which control.
Then consider that Boeing even after the first crash claimed that "everything's fine" in their "additional instructions" which were followed by the Ethiopian air pilots but that then the plane responses were such that the pilots were practically helpless: the plane "didn't listen." That's what's happening with the positive feedbacks, and that is what "nose up" behavior is -- but the answer is not "yes-no" but where and how much in every point.
The helplessness (or not) of the pilots (i.e. how much of their force produces how much of the outcome under which conditions) is also something that can be plainly measured and drawn.
I don't have the corresponding (complex) pictures of Boeing 737 MAX flying without the MCAS. And I don't think they are available at the moment. But that is the point. Who are those who claim that they know it's safe and what is the basis of their claim? We have already plain demonstration that Boeing openly lied with their "everything's fine" claims -- I can't imagine that nobody inside of a company that is supposed to sell the planes orders of which measure hundreds of billions of dollars has such pictures.
But who can say simple "it's safe" when to be able to really claim it somebody has to evaluate these complex aspects demonstrated by the diagrams and not just construct a simple "yes-or-no-is-it-kinda-same-as-this-other-thing" question?
Reducing that whole topic to such kind of argument "well 727 was bad too" is obviously misleading. The way I still see it is: had it been it actually safe to fly it without a functioning MCAS, there would be no "regulatory requirement" to put it there at all. The "requirement" was an actual "it's not safe without it." But the way that "requirement" looked like was also not "yes no" but "see this diagrams -- the plane should approximately behave so and not the opposite of that." And the opposite is the characteristic of the positive feedback loops. MCAS was there to polish one resulting from the design driven by the marketing goal, not by physics.
Imagine when you would move the steering wheel to make a slight turn and when the car would "listen to you" under e.g. 30 mph but respond in turning you much out of the road when the speed is higher. "Well you should be trained not to try to turn the wheel when over 35 mph" "Really?" "Yes you see that other old car also responded kinda like this one, yes that old one couldn't have killed you so easily, yes, this one will, but don't worry that's actually the same, trust me, because I'm the one making and selling you this new car." "..." That's not how the sameness is compared.
I understand there are different levels of problematic behavoor, because something that causes a 3 degree uncommanded pitch over say 10 seconds is a sight less severe than one that does the same over 3 seconds.
I'm still not seeing anything that's significantly changing my mental model of this problem. Physically, legally and pragmatically speaking.
-The plane remains statically stable within the majority of the flight envelope.
-Dynamic stability still isn't quite there, but can be handled with more conservative maneuvering.
-Critical information was deemphasized in the certification process, or changed after the fact
-the promised deliverable did not achieve it's stated goals without excessive "compliance engineering"
The plane is absolutely dangerous to an uninformed pilot; but aerodynamically, within a constrained flight envelope, it's fine. I don't personally feel it should be airworthy, as I agree with many test pilot's from back in the 60's. It just encourages the use of less airworthy designs with less problematic behavior, because a computer can smooth out the curve, and yet as a programmer myself,I believe a passenger plane should not be reliant on that level of hack necessarily.
As it is, I'm not even highly confident that if there were something wrong with the software update, that the FAA would even catch it in it's current incarnation.
But without language naming the graphs you're talking about, or need to see to be convinced of safety, a FOIA would honestly be fruitless.
Thanks for the contributing though. I'll see if I can find the paperwork.
- of the logs of the measurements of the test flights flown on the 737 MAX prototypes with the new engines but without the MCAS, if the test flights are flown to establish the flight envelope, especially of the correlation to the pilot's input and the plane's response.
- of the calculations or of the physical models of the said response to the pilots input, on the plane without the MCAS. Such parameters and models are indeed used e.g. in the flight simulators.
- Note that even if there were planed deliveries of hundreds of billions (!) worth of 737 MAX planes, up to recently only four (!) flight simulators for 737 MAX were delivered. I don't know if it's possible to even fly them without assuming MCAS "always working perfectly."
I'm not directly in that field to be able to give you a "local" jargon though. My view is a result of just reading those newspaper articles which provided enough engineering details (and a few forums) and I do remember seeing some complex enough related graphs for which I''m sure they couldn't be invented by a journalist, but surely not a "definitive plainly obvious proof". But there is indeed a lot still kept hidden from the public, and I'm sure there are more technical details that are significantly worse than we are ready to imagine.
I am legitimately curious, do you have any explicit proofs of the converse, that (as you say) "the behaviour without MCAS on 737 MAX is that minimal movements of pilot’s controls effectively activate what would be considered “amplification” of nose up movement, resulting in an uncontrollable plane and sure crash"?
The standard should be that a an unimpaired pilot properly trained in flying the aircraft will normally (practically) be in no danger of a "sure crash".
Exactly. And under that assumptions 737 MAX with no MCAS was never certified. Boeing didn't even want to admit that MCAS even exists to avoid even showing the flight characteristic of the plane "without MCAS." It's on Boeing to prove "737 MAX without MCAS" is safe, and up to now they did all they could to avoid that, and I expect they'll do more of that unless there is a pressure outside of both Boeing and FAA.
So it seems to me that the discussion in this subthread is really around that point: could the aircraft have been certified as a new type without the horribly dangerous MCAS system in place to paper over the change in flight characteristics?
You seem to be saying no, and the other guy says yes, but you seem more to be talking past each other than offering proof of your assertions. He at least did point out (though without citing any proof, I think) that the 777 had a similar issue and was certified anyway (and I don't believe 777s have been falling out of the sky because of it). But, obviously, this is a different aircraft.
Also, lots of planes require software to be safe to fly. It’s just the way things are nowadays.
Hence, the government is unlikely to deal Boeing a killing blow.
“We don’t want to rush and do a crappy job of fixing the right things and we also don’t want to fix the wrong things,” Mr. Sinnett said, later adding, “For flight-critical software, I don’t think you want us to rush, rush it faster.”
Well Mr. Sinnett, that's exactly what you did in the development of the 737 Max.
The whole problem here is that Boeing has absorbed all their former US based competitors in the past decades and has only Airbus left as a main competitor and a few much smaller ones based in Russia, China, Japan, etc. This is a unhealthy situation for the market and for the US. It was fine when Boeing was cranking out innovative products that were clearly better but they seem to have a hard time keeping up with competition and are too dependent on government support currently. Easy fix: cut back that support a little.
IMHO the 737 Max thing will probably blow over once Boeing implements some relatively simple technical changes. People seem to obsess over a lot of technical details with sensors and software processes. That criticism is well deserved but probably relatively easy to address by Boeing as well.
The bottom line is that once they get their solution past certification, that will be the end of it. Their branding has obviously suffered and this is impacting short term sales and revenue. They'll probably have to do some rebranding and maybe ditch the 737 Max brand in favor for a new version. After that, it's likely back to business as usual. Short term this just means awesome deals for carriers brave enough to talk to their sales right now.
However the 737Max is the last version of the 737. 737 users will have to transition away from this type in the medium term future. The current troubles force them to think hard about whether they will trust Boeing at that point or decide to go with a competing product. Of which there will be roughly half a dozen by that time.
It gets even worse, if we look at the big picture. The 787, 747-8i and 737Max have all been expensive disappointments for the airlines that ordered them. Boeing has been losing market share to Airbus for decades now, this really isn't a good trend for them. That doesn't mean that Boeing will not find a certain level of success with their next airplanes, but the damage their brand has suffered does hurt their bottom line quite severely.
Also, what? The 787, for all of its faults, has been extremely well received. The 747-8i was only ordered in small numbers because nobody wanted a quad jumbo (same reason the A380 is ending production) — the freight variant (8F) has been pretty popular (again for a niche market).
In the 777 and 787 eras, Boeing decentralized production all over the world, and it's hard to say that Airbus is really a European company because they've done the same.
Back in the day so many countries had to have a fourth- or fifth-rate car industry, and to head that off, the Boeing-Airbus duopoly distributed production all over the place so politicians in most countries could point to some part in a Boeing or Airbus airliner that was made in their country to discourage the development of an indigenous industry.
>"For flight-critical software, I don’t think you want us to rush, rush it faster.”
may come back to haunt them, given it doesn't line up with the paperwork they filed, or with anything about the way they tried to get the plane certified. The fact he said that before the investigation completed implies they knew how critical MCAS was.
Something tells me "that was just talk!", will not go over well.
EDIT: deparaphrased quote.
What is the absolute probability that no MCAS + pilot doing what would be normal on any other aircraft would lead to a crash? Remember, pilots go from plane to plane, potentially of various types. If a particular plane you don't fly frequently behaves very differently in a critical situation, that's a bad thing. You need the muscle memory. If they only flew the MAX 100% of the time, probably not a big deal.
Imagine twice a year you drive a someone else's car. During normal operation, nothing out of the ordinary. However, if you apply more than 25% brake pressure while turning left between 5-10 degrees, the steering input suddenly goes to 60 degrees, requiring you to quickly counter steer. Now, imagine that there's a software mitigation to prevent this over-steer. Now imagine, with little warning, that software system is disabled, and you've never driven the car without that system active.
That's what type certifications exist for and it's actually pretty rare for pilots to switch between planes. In their career with a particular airline they're going to be flying one type family of planes (eg: A319, A320, and A321 all count as the same plane from a certification standpoint) day in and day out, it's quite expensive to get certified on a second plane.
As for your car example that's the exact thing MCAS was a bodge for it was to make the MAX8 fly enough like the rest of the 737 family to require minimal retraining. It was a bad bodge that should have been classified as a safety critical system (meaning 3+ AoA etc).
Also highly relevant is it's not very clear how bad the pitch up effect is from reporting it could vary anywhere between a slight problem that would only really put the type rating in danger to a critical safety flaw.
I doubt Boeings management will get any punishment whatsoever.
Ethiopia puts in an extradition request to China
Indonesia puts in a competing one
CEO stays in China for a significant time
Pressure on U.S. to cave in on sanctions. Trump refuses.
I wonder if Lion Air will be determined to be the Arch Duke Ferdinand of WW3. Either way would be good to get some actual consequences for decision makers at the top of corporations.
Geopolitics meets speculative fiction, amateur style.
It was clear to any truly responsible person that they needed a new design for an aircraft with a fundamentally different mission.
He cut every corner possible in order to avoid having to re-certify. From the fundamental decision not to do a full redesign to the decisions related to the kludgey system to keep it from stalling out and how that was managed down the line.
At least one person from the FAA should also go to prison. They failed in their core mission.
This actually seems very similar to a common tactic that managers of software projects will take. Since they are not being judged on the integrity of the code, they are happy to encourage any kind of hack or corner cutting or technical debt in order to save a buck.
In this case the stakes were higher than an average software project and many people died.
Of course a company can only be a subset of the values of the world it exists in.
Which is a blatant lie considering they opted to DLC bunch of saftety features.
They "own it" but they've "done nothing wrong."
Some sort of autopilot self-crashing joke next.
If you're referring to the AOA indication — they didn't though. Boeing sold the MAX to the FAA and the airlines as being equipped with an "AoA disagree" annunciator on every single one. It turns out that the annunciator didn't work unless you also purchased the AoA gauges (it's unclear to me whether or not there are gauges on the primary flight display or if they're just part of the heads-up display). That little glitch was considered too minor by Boeing to notify the FAA or the airlines.
I am past caring for or trusting their lame excuses at this point.
On the 737MAX the indicated airspeed is calculated from the pitot tube reading and the AoA reading, so you'll already get an airspeed disagree warning. And the stickshaker on the side(s) with the broken sensor will also be going, if it uses the bad data to compute a stall.
Another warning doesn't help Lion Air when they don't know the computer is adjusting the trim, even though autopilot was disabled because of airspeed disagree.
Another warning doesn't help Ethiopia Airlines who don't have a procedure that gets the trim back under control.
What Boeing needed to do was tell pilots about MCAS -- training, as well as an indicator that it activated; and provide a way to disable it while still providing pilot control of trim.
What I think is more likely to happen (but still unlikely) is that Boeing is penalized through corporate liability. The aggregation of the executives' actions create a responsibility for Boeing, although no single person's actions meet any criminal action. In that case the USA would fine Boeing or punish it in some other way, but I don't think that money is going to Ethiopia or Indonesia.
Lastly, since we don't have extradition agreements with either of those countries these arguments would probably not even come up, as we'd tell their embassy to go pound sand- we're not handing over American citizens until you reciprocate with us, prove that your courts are not kangaroo courts, and sign an extradition agreement. And there's no way we're signing one- you think the Trump administration is going to sign an extradition agreement with either of those countries? No, these guys are going to skate.
Some references, they probably don't hit everything but they are a good start:
That's quite the hypothetical, and I don't advocate it. But they certainly don't have to be limited by extradition.
This is not something the board can do
Morally, ethically, legally questionable. But certainly not impossible.
I'm sure they'd just fire the executive(s) in question first. Lots cleaner and maybe cheaper depending on the golden parachute in the executive's back pocket.
Worse, because of the corporate shield, any malefactors get to keep their ill-gotten gains. (Wells Fargo's execs, even after clawbacks, wound up tens of millions of dollars ahead.) There's no serious deterrent -- the system encourages wrongdoing at the individual level, the perpetuation of entities where wrongdoing occurs, and the creation of new entities where wrongdoing will commence.
Prediction: everyone at Boeing will come in for a safe landing after a bit of turbulence.
Agree with rest, organized deniability is pretty much how large orgs are set up.
2) find the people who allowed the Max to keep flying after the first wreck. Not literally one hour later, but once they had information that MCAS might have been involved, a crime was committed (endangering public safety) allowing flights after that moment.
3) If any whistle-blowers emailed their superiors about MCAS failures, whoever ignored the complaint committed a crime unless any written concerns were properly documented, filed, considered, etc.
Let's recertify our jet instead of doing a new one, shorten time to market.
New engines don't fit, ruin the handling of the aircraft. Can't recert that.
Try to fix aircraft handling in software. Designed flawed system to hide this from pilots and get regulatory apptoval. Under testing discover that system as submitted to regulators does not work well enough in flight. Update to allow to run repeatedly instead of once as well as increasing movement ranger per cycle. Do not tell regulators.
Ship aircraft with 1 hour iPad video intro for pilots. Do not mention this system.
Discover that the indicator in the cockpit for sensor failure for the system only works if you have optional HUD upgrades. Sit on this data. Do not patch until your aircraft is grounded.
Reassign the guys who are supposed to be doing safety oversight for you if they ask for more safety testing.
There still in business though, so Boeing will probably pull out of this fine.
Boeing itself should be fine after a couple of really expensive years. VW was as well and I for my part really thought VW could go under. Instead it hit some high level managers and around 30 billion in fines.
Did any of their executives see any criminal charges? Of course not.
The Devil we Know is a great documentary, by the way.
How many people do you think have moral culpability for this fiasco? Twenty? One hundred? Boeing employs more than 150,000 people. You want them all to lose their jobs based on the actions of 100 people? You want a battalion of rednecks to "mop up" (kill?) 150,000 people for the actions of 100?
If you want to fire a bunch of executives (and maybe some engineers), I'm fine with that. You want some to go to jail? Sure. You want the stockholders to take a bath? Makes sense to me. Destroy the whole company? No, I don't think that's a reasonable response. An emotional one, maybe, but not a reasonable one.
How can this possibly be murder? Negligence, man-slaughter, maybe, I don't know the facts. But how could it possibly meet any standard required for murder?
The reason of all this negligence and death of passengers is exactly this: The worst they can do to us is force our CEO to step down and put what a 1% of our profits in form of financial penalties? We will survive and this is worth cuts!
More seriously, the real question is why the CEO of Boeing doesn't get forced out. It would seem time for the board of Boeing to do their job, if only in order to save their pocketbooks. It is dismaying that they haven't even done that.
If they can’t recover, the company will be sold off for parts. That’s pretty standard in the corporate world. But to say we should somehow punish middle-class people trying to do good work by disappearing their employer because of some bad actors within the ranks of the company is a bad take.
And in terms of criminal liability, that involves stapling the crime to various real people, and proving a case against them.
At a minimum, Boeing is facing potential exposure for:
Those are just the major ones I can think of off the top of my head. There's probably interesting flavors of
-Making false statements to Federal Agents
And a host of other exotic crimes players in this debacle can be charged with, if you had an AG with the interest and will to hit them with every reasonably provable charge.
Magic 8 ball says there will be investigations into the part played by executives, getting to the root of who was pushing the deceptive documentation, design, and sales decisions.
They get criminal charges. Boeing gets sued for securities fraud and settles or otherwise pays out.
Civil suits for victims family's will likely be paid by insurer's/the Federal Government (likely pitched as a surprising diplomatic concession, really a National Security concession).
FAA or Congress may surprise and crack down on Boeing, laying down a plan where the executive leadership gets swapped out, mandatory culture/operational revamp under Federal supervision for some number of years. (Boeing has too much National Security impact to have the plug completely pulled).
Mmmm. MAX probably get refits/regulatory waivers of various flavors; pilots/Flight Attendants will be the primary determinant on how much has to get done. Combined Boeing/Pilots/Flight Attendants Unions run a PR campaign, vouching for MAX's safety. Planes return to service, and eventually the public begrudgingly returns to their normal flying habits.
737 line is probably officially on it's deathbed. FAA may see some major scrutiny, and possible budget increases depending on political will.
And the world turns.
<shakes for more detail>
Boeing will likely have to submit to additional certification internationally, and possibly additional retrofits to bring it into parity with at a minimum the same level of redundancy that Airbus is held to (for the EU at least).
Enough dice were cast that it would be diplomatically/economically inconvenient for the EU to lock out the MAX entirely without seriously inconveniencing every other country that invested in building out their fleets with them.
8 ball is not saying that the EU doesn't have the wherewithal to stone wall Boeing, but... somehow more air traffic is likely to be seen as more satisfying to the palate in the long run than any gains to be had by grandstanding too hard against American Corporate Corruption in the short term.
The 737 MAX is a classic case of secular stagnation, of undercompetion, underinvestment, regulatory capture, etc.
You might think so, but this is by no means clear. Perceptions of HN have a way of being wrong. For example, people think HN is a Silicon Valley community, but fewer than 10% of its users are in SV.
Short version: the problems have been there since at least 2005