This may be as close to an ‘open and shut’ case for corporate gross negligence as we will find in quite a while (at least I hope so).
I would hate to see them go under but it should be clear that this type of corner cutting is unacceptable and future manufacturers of all kinds should think twice before stretching to put a round peg in a square hole.... especially with lives on the line.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauda_Air_Flight_004#Lauda's_v...
They already have several contracts which states victims can't sue the company. Maybe not everyone signed, but then it's about how much they can pay their lawyers.
I think the right way to go here is (proactive) regulation and certification, not (reactive) law suits.
"Boeing's bigger so I don't have to care about that dynamic" is not the right way to react to that concern.
This will also add a serious line item to the various civil lawsuits regarding the loss of life as a government level entity has now said 'this was a different plane, Boeing lied.' It will be extremely hard for Boeing defense attorneys and likely lead to triplicate damages settlements.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be happening.
While I can't speak for the aviation industry, in my experience lower and middle management is just as much at fault, if not more. That's often where the real cowards sit, tyrannizing downwards and lying upwards. I'm not saying upper management is faultless, but presumably they aren't the only ones.
Middle managers don't have the power to drive institutional change in a hierarchical organization. Cultures flows from whomever can fire your ass.
Perhaps we’ll ser the same: Europe arresting and trialling Boeing officials one by one as they ser foot in Europe. Perhaps there are already negociations on immunity for Vw against immunity for Boeing.
Contracts with whom? A member country EU court with a dead passenger could presumably make life very very uncomfortable for senior Boeing management.
The contracts are with the surviving familing members. If you don't consider them as victims then give me another word for it.
edit: If you downvote me at least give me a chance to defend why I chose the word victim. The reply gizmo is there.
>a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action
"Victim's family" is how people would normally refer to them.
Second, it will hurt sales. No airline wants to buy a plane they can’t fly, but they also don’t want to buy more old planes that use more fuel. My bet is that companies like Southwest will half all orders and see what happens.
Finally, it’ll drive companies that straddle the Boeing airbus decide deeper into Airbus’ arms.
1. These kinds of contracts don't come with provisions for compensation for every foreseeable contingency.
2. You can sue anyone for anything in America. But it's going to cost you.
3. You can also make future purchases conditional on how these contingencies were handled in the past.
So, it's likely that a lot of negotiation between Southwest and Boeing will happen. Possibly even some arbitration. If the two firms ever end up in court over this, that would indicate a colossal failure in all the processes that lead up to that moment. (As litigation is incredibly expensive.)
"crappy old airframe"
It's actually an incredible good design with a proven history. What exactly makes you think its such a "crappy" design?
I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone familiar with aviation agree that the 737 is a poorly designed airframe...
If you think it's so great, then why don't you explain why you can't put today's large high-bypass turbofan engines on it in the normal position without them hitting the runway? How exactly is that a "great design"? It may have been a great design in 1967, but it isn't now, just like a 1967 Mustang chassis may have been OK then, but is totally inadequate now.
A lot of people say "It's no big deal, they just need to update the MCAS software", but I see this entire situation as a sign of much deeper issues at Boeing, issues that can't be fixed with a simple software update and could affect every plane they make.
What worries me is not the MCAS (now), but what else might be lurking under the surface that Boeing pretends is not a problem.
I don't feel confident that Boeing would accept the cost of grounding the fleet the next time something serious-but-not-yet-crashing shows up. It's clear that to Boeing, their numbers are more important than lives.
They wouldn't even ground the fleet if death and destruction occurs. Like they didn't do after the Lion Air crash.
Even after the Ethiopian plane they tried hell and high water, including a call to the president, to not have the plane grounded.
It's clear that to Boeing, their numbers are more important than lives.
Absolutely. Nicely demonstrated by lies, deflections, omissions and still smearing everybody else but themselves after killing more than 300 people by bad design and greed.
Isn't it the case by design for any corporation?
If you have a hard time competing and every day is a fight anyways, why would you act in a way that is sustainable in the long term?
If you listened to the NYT’s the Daily podcast where they interview a former Boeing quality manager/whistleblower this is clearly the picture that is painted here: Managment doesn’t give a shit if they use potentially broken or dangerous parts, they leave metal debree and garbage inside the wmhull right next to important control lines, in one case they forgot a whole ladder inside.
The 737 Max is not the illness, it is just the first visible symptom.
It has been the case, recently, that a company that is traded publicly cannot have a long term goal - any such goal is held in place solely by the ephemeral existence of an autocratic executive and will dissipate once they are removed or retire, instead corporations seek constantly to maximize short term gain since incentive systems like stock options and our current form of performance evaluations reinforce this strategy.
Most of the companies that have had long term clout or tried to invest in long term research have been acquired and butchered by venture capitalists for a quick payday.
Such a conservative culture may one day be their downfall, but it won't hasten it as is so often the case of management culture elsewhere.
You think Apple or Berkshire Hathaway have no long term goals? Why make such sweeping statements that are easily shown to be wrong, when you can make a more nuanced and possibly true statement easily?
> Most of the companies that have had long term clout or tried to invest in long term research have been acquired and butchered by venture capitalists for a quick payday.
See, this might well be true and point to a real problem.
Though I think the notion that public markets are dumb and impatient and private markets are wise and long-term is a caricature itself.
Sure, some company management may be spurred to be good actors because they feel it will cause long term vale creation.
But then again you could just do the right thing because by and large people are not assholes.
That's why when I hear of exploitative predation by companies I get so mad: because it's ultimately exploitative predation by people. Even if the person on the phone to you / writing that code may not have enough context to understand the evil they might be doing, someone set the context that way, and in many cases it was deliberate.
They are required to do what the shareholders want, which is usually maximizing returns.
I know of no such law. In which country is the the law?
In fact there is some concern by some economists that the management of public firms have too much discretion as unhappy shareholders can simply sell their shares and invest elsewhere rather than provide any direct feedback. Even when direct feedback is provided, management can and usually does ignore it, as can be seen from this week's Amazon AGM.
All that respect private property. The shareholders own the company, the management is essentially their employees.
The shareholders may not micromanage their company, but still management's job is to further the aims of the shareholders just as the job of elected politicians in a representative democracy is to further the aims of the people. Otherwise they get fired.
While this may not be working as well as it should, you wouldn't say a law is not the law because enforcement is spotty either.
It's a shameful state of affairs, but the entire system is set up to reward this kind of behavior now.
I'd love to hear someone who understands the problem explain how we got here.
I would be more interested in how we can move to more long term thinking. (Long term thinking includes the short term because otherwise the organisation might not survive. But nowadays it appears to solely be about the short term.)
But to categorically say this about any corporation is nonsense.
It is basically a result of agency theory (principal agent problem) in the typical setting of economic theory (no transaction costs, bla bla bla).
The question is what a corporation should do, which aims it should strive for. That's an extremely difficult question, in particular if there are many owners ("principals", shareholders) who have different utility functions (goals), who are furthermore distinct from the CEO and managers actually running the business ("agents"), who might have their own interests (enlarging their fiefdom, job security, what have you).
The theoretical solution is to say: maximise the net present value of the firm (which goes to the shareholders, after paying debt), and then they can decide what to do with it, and pursue their own goals. Now, this makes some sense in a no-transaction cost world - if shareholders care about workers and peace and the sick, they can use the shareholder value created, and put some of it in, dunno, charity and health insurances, and what have you.
Thus, goal should be shareholder value maximisation, and to get the agents on board, you "align their interests" by incentives, specifically by giving the CEO options.
(Note that shareholder value maximisation is not the same as profit maximisation, and definitely not the same as short-term profit maximisation - the value of the shares is theoretically the sum of discounted cashflows in all eternity).
The other argument, of course, is that shareholders care only about maximisation of the value of their share, and thus a firm which does not pursue shareholder value maximisation will lose shareholders and go out of business.
Both arguments are not all bad, but of course the real world is much more complicated. Shareholders might have more goals than maximising the value of their shares (not in Econ 101, of course). A company might be in a much better position to achieve some of those aims directly, rather than via the circuitous route of handing it to the shareholder and them pouring it back into the game.
At any rate, the notion of shareholder value maximisation is not some God-given absolute truth, but one proposed solution for specific problems within a specific theoretic framework, and it's not clear at all that it's always optimal, and should not be reflexively trotted out when talking about corporations, and not serve as a defense for corporations acting badly.
a news alert popped up on my phone today about "bird strike possible in ethiopian crash...". I didn't bother reading it, but I thought seriously ? What media outlet did they pay off to even think of trying to divert attention and who in their right mind would think propaganda like that would be effective ?
Aside from a bird strike the possibilities are just as unlikely. There could be sabotage. There could have been an impact with the passenger boarding equipment. Somebody cleaning or painting the plane could have smashed it.
Choosing to use a competing product as an end consumer would require an immense sacrifice (like refusing to board your flight if it happened to be a Boeing, which you might get a rebate for?). Only if a significant amount of end consumers protested would the actual plane consumers (the airlines themselves) take notice - or if public opinion shifted to the point where there was a significant externality attached to purchasing a Boeing plane, but that certainly isn't the case now and I'd bet that Boeing has found some way to compensate airlines for the cost of having their planes grounded.
For example, if airline A flies MAX and has a ticket for 200 and another airline B has the same route for 400 on A320, most people I know would still fly the MAX because they cant afford to be picky.
I think talking with your wallet works only when the price is relatively inelastic
How many vacation days would you sacrifice out of your week in Cancun to stand by that belief?
The Max has issues, for sure, and I will be weary of that as well as the upcoming 777X, but I wouldn't hesitate to get on any prior 737 or other Boeing model.
It's not like they're sitting by the gate sucking the blood of passengers. They're still delivering the safest method of transportation around, not only by distance, but also by time. I know some Boeing employees, they want to deliver great airplanes.
It's safe by distance and time because most accidents will occur on take-off or landing. For example, the two recent MAX incidents. It's the nature of flying, not the technology per se, that makes it relatively safe as compared to other modes of transportation. Once you're cruising at altitude the components have already passed maximum load, and you usually have lots of time to remediate issues when they do occur. You get distance & time largely for free rather than as a consequence of engineering.
If you look at risk for just the distance and time spent on take-off and landing, flying is roughly comparable with driving. Of course, the machines are vastly more complex so it's still a testament to the amazing technology and safety standards. But at the same time there's so much more that could be done, not only from an engineering standpoint but especially from a process standpoint.
One might even be able to make the case that Toyota has better quality control and safety engineering processes than Boeing. I mean, many of the most critical components in a plane, such as the engines, aren't even designed or manufactured by Boeing. I think Boeing executives know this and have increasingly tried to offload performance and safety engineering burdens to suppliers, maximizing Boeings profits. Engine manufacturers and other suppliers have begun to take notice, I think. And for areas where Boeing can't offload the burden, they've faltered.
Last time I looked, planes were 200x as safe per pax mile, but 3x as safe per pax journey.
(EDIT: "Kx safer" -> "Kx as safe", though the uncertainty is so big that it doesn't really matter)
What are you referring to here?
"A total of 157 people aboard the two aircraft were killed."
"The National Transportation Safety Board ultimately determined that the accidents and incidents were the result of a design flaw that could result in an uncommanded movement of the aircraft's rudder."
You're assuming they have no stock or stock options in Boeing.
That would not be bad by itself. It is only important that regulators and customers make sure that this leaves really big dent in their numbers.
BTW (I'm not folowing this very closely) is there already, or will there be a criminal investigation?
They knew there were problems with the design and flew the planes any way.
Norwegian Air Shuttle has been in a lot of trouble over that when they sold tickets promising Dreamliner but instead leased in a much older airplane to fly that trip. (well they have done it multiple times on different trips)
Air Canada is getting a bunch of A220s which from all reports seem like a much nicer plane to fly on.
But airplane tech moves kind of slowly, no? Non-MAX 737s can't really change, and so are as safe today as they were 6 month or 6 years ago. The MAX debacle makes me SUPER SUPER leery of any new airframe, though.
The competing aircraft are all much newer and nicer. The only reason anyone was buying the MAX was 1) because they had already bought into Boeing and the 737 and it's cheaper to just get a 737MAX which doesn't require any pilot retraining (thanks to keeping the MCAS a secret), and 2) because Boeing was selling them really cheap (possibly "dumping") to compete against Airbus.
Newer planes also tend to have better environmental controls (air pressure, lighting, etc).
Pilots can only hold one type certification at a time, and have to retrain to switch between them. Southwest pretty much only flies 737’s and is heavily interested in the MAX because it means they don’t lose the ability for pilots to fly their other aircraft due to retaining the same type certification.
Boeing tried so hard to avoid "retraining". Yet the training isn't that expensive. It's about $22,000 for an airline pilot to move from another aircraft to a 737 family aircraft. Takes about a month. And that's like an Airbus to a Boeing switch, not just between similar models. If Boeing threw in a few training credits with each aircraft (each costs about $100 million) that would have solved the problem.
Source? I am pretty sure pilots could hold any number of type ratings (sic) at any time, but it's uneconomical for the airline to keep them rated (and current), so it's rarely done.
Even if my chances of dying on a 737 MAX are much higher than dying on a tried and true A340, they are probably around the same as me dying from pancreatic cancer and I don't get my pancreas checked regularly.
Fear, anxiety, apprehension, are legitimate human conditions regardless of how irrational they are. And regardless of what the numbers say, there's an effective treatment available: filter flights by plane type.
I personally don't care. But my wife does, and therefore I do care after all.
Took me too many years to learn this fact about coexisting with others: addressing how they feel is almost always easier than trying to convince them not to feel that way.
Peace of mind is worth much more than many many things.
A better analogy would be if you found out your favorite drink gave you a 100x greater chance of getting pancreatic cancer, would you stop drinking it? (Note: the odds of you getting pancreatic cancer on the whole are still immeasurably small even at 100x) What if you found out this new drink recipe never went through any safety testing but the company claimed it was basically the same as the old tested drink you enjoyed previously from the same company?
The fix wasn't to reengineer the large amount of electrical systems, lack of bleed air or use of different batteries.
The fix was to put them in a stronger container with a hole in it so they can vent outside when they inevitably blow up again.
That has worked well.
Kind of - https://aeronauticsonline.com/united-787-battery-failure-pro...
The main issue IIRC was manufacturing defects in some batteries that caused internal short circuits.
> The fix was to put them in a stronger container with a hole in it so they can vent outside
And this is an acceptable fix (beyond better QA/manufacturing practices of the battery). If the batteries fail the fault should be contained.
The article you linked explains the changes Boeing implemented.
Yes, batteries failed. The battery failure was contained correctly. Besides improving the reliability of the battery (which was addressed with some changes) that's what Boeing should have done (and did).
They're not going back to NiCa or Lead batteries
I’ve also heard that the 787 was a boondoggle.
Firstly, Boeing totally re-invented their approach to assembling planes. Previously they built most of the aireframe components and assembled them in their own plants. But the 787 was specced out during an ongoing Boeing/Airbus anti-trust dispute over government cross-subsidies that turned nasty (escalated to USA/EU level, mediated via the WTO, with sanctions threatened). For strategic reasons Boeing decided to outsource subassembly production to third parties and retain only overall control and final assembly (the goal was to have 51% of the work go through the EU, so that the EU would shoot themselves in the head if they applied sanctions against Boeing aircraft). (Similarly, Airbus did much the same: you can buy A320s—the 737 series' Airbus rival—built entirely in China, for example.)
Anyway, this resulted in huge cost overruns, delays as small suppliers grappled with trying to supply components of reliable quality and consistency in Boeing-scale quantities, and so on. On the other hand, it gave Boeing a shiny new 21st century supply chain which they're using on new projects, so the $30Bn wasn't entirely wasted on just one bird.
Secondly, Boeing went full-tilt for composites in place of aluminum as the main structural material.
Now, Airbus had been building composite airframes for decades at this point, but they got there incrementally, and not without fatal accidents. See for example the crash of American Airlines flight 587:
It turns out that switching to all-composites from aluminum has some serious gotchas, including entirely different wear/fatigue/delamination issues.
Boeing has done surprisingly well up to this point with the 787 (although the early Ethiopian Airlines hull loss ground-side due to a runaway battery fire should be a warning—it was a shiny new plane and the battery fire burned through the top of the hull, turning it into a $200M write-off; an aluminum bird could probably have been patched and repaired). But we have no idea whether Boeing managed to avoid baked-in long term weaknesses in the airframe, of the kind that only show up 10-30 years into an aircraft's life. Such weaknesses can show up suddenly and kill an entire type within a matter of months (see for example the fate of the Vickers Valiant, a British strategic bomber of the 1950s that succumbed to cracked wing spars and was hastily scrapped).
Anyway: this is why I'm very dubious about flying on 787s, at least for another few years. Your mileage may vary, obviously ...
The use of LiIon batteries was a logical next step as well. Manufacturing issues in the first sets of batteries required them to re-engineer the safety system around them, and the vendors that created the batteries now have stricter standards to adhere to.
None of these issues currently compromise the safety of the airframes.
It's easy to pile-on after incidents occur, but these are machines made by people. People make mistakes all of the time. You wouldn't not use a computer because it had bugs. The likelihood of you falling out of the sky in a modern airliner is still vanishingly small and is getting smaller every day.
Doesn't refute GP's point. All the 787s flying now are basically new planes. If they have issues that only appear after 10 years of use, they will all be "completely flawless" until they start undergoing unplanned disassembly while on the air.
We know the FAA rubber-stamps whatever Boeing claims at this point, so don't expect regulators from keeping your plastic plane from disintegrating mid-flight.
The accident investigation found that the vertical stabilizer was stressed beyond its certified load limits by the pilot's rudder movements.
I can see why people were inclined to blame composites at the time of the crash. But 18 years have passed now, and there was never another incident where an A300 had a structural failure of the vertical stabilizer.
There's a good comment here: https://forums.jetphotos.com/showthread.php?50480-Airbus-Com...
That's something you don't expect to be possible on an Airbus.
Do an HN search on "MCAS stick force curve" (without the quotes) and you can find some discussion of this with cites to and quotes from specific sections of the regulations.
Note that the actual regulations are a tad more complex than the incomplete sentence quoted: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=5tAhOC4KC8MC&pg=PA200&lp...
The principle source that moved me in the direction that the MAX may not be certifiable without MCAS was from this interview from the Royal Aeronautics Society with D. P. Davies, a well known test pilot for the U.K. ARB, and the past woes that Boeing has had to navigate with their designs to be flown in the U.K.
The 727 had difficulties getting certified for use in British airspace due to high lift device interactions that tended to cause undesired extra pitch sensitivity near critical AoA. The 727 was eventually certified under protest conditional to the addition of a stick pusher to remedy the behavior. The approach was preferred because it both made it harder to stall the plane, and made it readily apparent to the pilot that "thar be dragons here". This makes apparent to me, that at a minimum, it is favorable to design a system to cope with aberrant behavior in such a way that the pilot is immediately aware of the fact they are in a perilous part of the flight envelope.
The certification was controversial amongst test pilots because it was seen as as the beginning of a slippery slope that would eventually normalize airframes that don't actually present sound aerodynamic characteristics without excessive assistance from systems that are liable to break. Also note, the FAA never required Boeing to install stick-pushers, and several deep stalls did end up occurring.
Since then, many aircraft have become notorious for accidents/difficulties caused where this slippery slope approach to aerodynamics was embraced. See the MD-11 LSAS, and now the MAX 8. Both of these were 'hacks' put in place to make aerodynamic changes to the airframe, while minimizing retraining requirements. The sales points being that the new plane flew just like the old plane.
I'm not sure that MCAS is first and foremost an artificial feel system. I've categorized it as more of a "certification hack" in light of whistleblower testimony, and conclusions I've come to doing calculations and attempting to cobble together simulations myself.
I do know, however, that if the aerodynamics are so severe near critical AoA, that mere elevator actuation pressure adjustments are no longer adequate to prevent the plane from flinging itself past critical AoA at the merest nudge, and that the entire horizontal stabilizer needs to be moved to ensure the nose is brought back down in short order, I am not confident that the raw math to draw out the stick force curve will end up drawing a compliant curve.
And I know that it is not acceptable for a pilot familiar with a sluggishly handling aircraft to just hop into a jitterbug and be on their way without training; I have a hard time being sold that having the same plane go from "smooth and steady" to "put your nose in the air, and stall it like you just don't care" in the same civil transport airframe should be acceptable either. That seems a clear violation of the intent of that design directive.
If there's info/precedent/experience missing you can offer to refine or refute it, that'd be awesome. I'm just grabbing on to as many facts as I can run down, throwing them against reality as best I can find equations or regulation to describe it, and trying to see what sticks.
I'm more interested in finding the truth than my theory being right.
Doesn't MCAS take a long time to significantly move the stabilizer? Like tens of seconds? It's hard to square needing to decrease AoA so dramatically with the actual mechanics of MCAS.
Keep in mind, the entire horizontal tail plane moving has a heck of a lot more influence on attitude than the elevators.
If it were a stringed instrument, trim would be the tuning tabs at the top of the neck, the elevators would be the fine adjustment screws on the body of the instrument.
(I think the proposed software changes also reduce this control authority but I'm not sure how.)
this is not entirely true. applying throttle to the max causes a pitching momentum, something you don't want during a deep stall when control surfaces are totally unresponsive, because it would make the exit procedure (throttle up, nose naturally pitches down, gain airpseed and regain control) unsafe (throttle up, whops the plane is now pointing upward and going backward)
moving the engine forward increased such momentum
large planes are finely balanced machines, it doesn't take much to get outside their flying boundaries, wether authority or loading, especially because the trim on them has buttload more authority than the elevator controlled from the yoke
yeah because they tend to pitch down way before reaching a full wing stall, but the max pushes the partial stall deeper.
Not exactly. It's the placement of the newer, larger engines that's largely responsible for the different handling characteristics.
>This changed fundamental aerodynamics on how it flies.
>The plane is dynamically unstable.
No, it just has different handling characteristics in some parts of the flight envelope.
These are international, reputable organizations unlike a Quora thread. That would be like me using reddit as a primary source. Get real. I am going to believe the reputable news sources, over random people on the Internet.
> The purpose of MCAS was just to prevent the need for pilots to recertify by masking the difference
This is a Boeing talking-point as well. The real purpose of MCAS might be to make an otherwise wildly-unsafe plane flyable, and without it it's a disaster waiting to happen. Again, we don't actually know how safe the plane is without it.
>The real purpose of MCAS might be to make an otherwise wildly-unsafe plane flyable
MCAS would never activate in a typical flight, so I don't think it can be that bad.
There's a simple and plausible explanation for why MCAS was added (the desire to maintain the same type rating). That explanation doesn't entail that the 737 MAX had fundamentally unsafe handling characteristics, only that its handling characteristics differed significantly from those of other 737s. I'll stick with that explanation absent evidence to the contrary.
Also untrue. There have been plenty of flights where MCAS has activated (either American or Southwest released some data about the number of MCAS activations they had without crash incident). We (the public) don't have any data regarding a flight where MCAS would-have activated but was disabled. In the cases where we know MCAS was disabled, those aiframes are now destroyed.
> There's a simple and plausible explanation for why MCAS was added (the desire to maintain the same type rating).
The benign name "Maneuvering Characteristic Augmentation System" is in itself a Boeing-talking point. What it it was called the "Thrust-Input Anti-Stall System?". It's completely a Boeing talking point that why MCAS was added, it might not actually reflect reality. We don't have any incentive to trust Boeing or the FAA in this case, in fact, we have just the opposite, they appear to have been deliberately misleading.
> I'll stick with that explanation absent evidence to the contrary.
We already have evidence Boeing withheld the amount of authority it gave MCAS counter to what they told the FAA. We already know the FAA didn't actually review the software implementation. We know Boeing and the FAA didn't initiate any meaningful investigation after the first Lion Air crash. WTF should we believe a single word they say? They're liars.
> There have been plenty of flights where MCAS has activated
I'm sure there have, but as I said, it would not activate at all on a typical flight.
These are by definition "typical flights" until the anomaly occurs.
Also, keep in mind, AoA sensors have long been a luxury for pilots, since they tend to learn the envelope in terms of glide slope, and they are trained to be able to safely operate aircraft without it.
The MAX took a historically non-critical component, and added it to a safety critical process.
I understand that with the sheer number of different points in the timeline of the design, deployment, and operation of these craft, that trying to hold all the context in your head at the same time does make it feel like
"Damnit Jim, we've entered crackpot territory!"
Nevertheless, we have to remain vigilant and open to the fact that malfeasance does happen, and those that would commit it also go out of their way to make it as hard to bring into the open (if intentional), or frequently disincentivize any activity that could potentially make the issue easier to observe since the path of least resistance typically by definition involves minimizing points of inspection or other forms of scrutiny (if the malfeasance is merely the result unintentional misguidedness/incompetence).
737 Max experiences dynamic instability, where a high angle of attack is prone to increase the angle of attack at an increasing rate.
There are many sources that reach the same conclusion.
There are no expert sources that describe the 737 MAX as dynamically unstable.
Not many people would be in a position to know this. Random aviation "experts" certainly aren't going to know the detailed flight envelope characteristics of a particular aircraft model.
Hacker News is a place of discourse. If you think I'm wrong and my sources are wrong, point out specifically where and provide counter sources to validate and support your position.
No one is going to take your word for it.
How would this person know in detail the aerodynamic characteristics of the 737 MAX?
The other article you link gives no source for its claim, expert or otherwise. You should also check the comment by Jake Brodsky on that one.
As I understand, parts of the certification process had been outsourced by the FAA to 3rd parties with monetary incentive to accelerate approvals and downplay safety critical issues.
That just seems to be asking for trouble and a step backwards in vetting the safety of new aircraft designs.
However, that's a step back from the previous approach, where fundamental architecture concepts are needlessly cooked into the airframe regulations. As a simple example, under the previous approach, the law stated that light sport aircraft needed a reciprocating engine, and that reciprocating engine must meet XYZ standards. However that means you couldn't certify and sell an electric LSA in the United States. To certify such an aircraft would have required literally an act of congress.
Overall, this was generally holding back the industry a great deal. The new rules have been in place for a couple of years now (they came into effect just at the end of the Obama administration) and the result has been an enormous improvement in technology available to certified aircraft owners and designers.
So personally I don't think it is a step backwards. The MCAS/CG issue is unfortunate, but it's also part of an industry-wide adjustment that is in general leading to better airplanes.
And you can make it that much more safe by doing yourself a favor and avoiding the 737 MAX.
I have no idea, but I suspect they're all still orders of magnitude safer than driving.
The MAX has suffered hull losses at around 100x the rate per flight of baseline airline travel, so I suppose it's the most dangerous in your list.
The better measure is time: deaths per hour traveled. And by that measure buses are actually safest, followed by rail, then air . Cars are still 4x more dangerous, but that's much less stark than the common wisdom. And even that is misleading because with cars specifically, there is much more variability of drivers, car quality, maintenance, etc. If you are sober, responsible, educated, with a well maintained car, etc. your odds are significantly lower. Think drunk drivers who only kill themselves in accidents (this is a significant portion of car deaths).
This kind of analysis assumes that the destination is independent of the mode of travel. We only consider going from NY to LA so often because plane travel makes it practical. But this doesn't map well to the general claim that "airplane is the safest way to travel". A per trip metric seems like a more accurate measure of this claim, but then bus is the safest.
I'm not sure why you think just doubling the speed would impact the crash/unit of distance ratio. If ten planes do a 600km trip and one crashes, that's 1 crash per 6000km regardless of the speed at which they're traveling.
You're right that fixed per-trip risks are diluted, but that's because plane trips are longer, not because they're faster. The right comparison, in my opinion, would be to draw the curves of death rate / trip length.
No, they really cannot. Jetliners can't even increase their speed by 20%, because that puts them through the sound barrier, which they can't handle. Planes must specifically be designed to handle that, like the Concorde or fighter jets. All planes currently used for civilian aviation cannot handle it.
Are you suggesting that people take a bus from New York to Los Angeles, because though the chance of being injured or killed is higher, it is worth it because the trip takes so much longer?
The concord was involved in single accident resulting in death or injury, which was not due to a fault of its own.
No, the Concorde was actually one of the least safest passenger aircraft in history, the least safest one on this list by a wide margin: http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/rate_mod.htm
It had so few flights, yet one of them was a catastrophic loss that killed all on board. Just compare it with, e.g., the Boeing 747-400: the Concorde had one full loss in 90,000 flights. The 747-400 has had 0.5 full loss equivalents in 8,420,000 flights. The stats for many other planes are similar.
The Concorde really was quite dangerous. And you can't blame it as "no fault of its own"; it suffered tire blowouts at a rate 30X of other planes, which had previously caused punctured fuel tanks. A tire blowout caused the fatal crash.
In the US, some overwhelming majority of these accidents are alcohol-involved and (I believe) single-vehicle.
The more you scratch the more the Boeing-FAA relationship stinks. The way Boeing is dealing with this, they way FAA "trusts" Boeing.
Deep down we know most of them don't care much about the people who fly on their planes, but damn seeing it how exactly that plays out is terrifying.
Do you think most Boeing employees only fly Airbus?
Recent history tells us the 737-MAX has also been marred with some serious design issues relating to it's MCAS system, which have resulted in multiple fatal crashes.
That history suggests passengers should be wary of boarding a 737-MAX any time soon.
I for one will give it a few years before taking up that boarding pass.
Airbus A380, Boeing 717, Boeing 787, Bombardier CRJ700, Airbus A340. And I'm pretty sure there are more.
Let's put it in perspective. Boeing has built over ten thousand 737s. Airbus has produced just 265 A350s.
Heck, at the moment Boeing crossed 265 737-MAX-8s in production, they might very well have had zero fatalities as well :)
Well, 737 MAX and 787, for me. The 777 is rock solid, as far as I can tell - and it was designed before the significant changes at Boeing and FAA.
> Safety lapses at the North Charleston plant have drawn the scrutiny of airlines and regulators. Qatar Airways stopped accepting planes from the factory after manufacturing mishaps damaged jets and delayed deliveries. Workers have filed nearly a dozen whistle-blower claims and safety complaints with federal regulators, describing issues like defective manufacturing, debris left on planes and pressure to not report violations. Others have sued Boeing, saying they were retaliated against for flagging manufacturing mistakes.
I hate the 787 for those terrible stupid windows and the ability the crew has to bypass local controls and prevent me from looking out whenever I want.
I'm reluctant to continue the self regulation. The EU is doing it's own design review.
Awesome. They will find a lot of ugly, and some of that will be debatable.
Have those debates.
All companies involved will see some costs. But, they will also see opportunity as they work through this stuff.
yes but limited to -MAX
the others have a good track record and for some reason they seem to takeoff and land smoother, even if probably it's selection bias due to the high correlation of [airline, plane, destination] variables.
If any billionaires out there were considering starting a company in the commercial airliner market, now would be an opportune moment...
Spirit and Frontier are all-Airbus
I doubt they will be certified to fly without adding the triple redundant AOA sensors the A320neo has and that should have been included from the very beginning. If the FAA certified the 737 MAX without a mandatory upgrade (doubtful, given the glare of publicity), then yes, I'd be worried.
I think they just need to update the pricing structure.
Let the MAX fly as is but just halve the ticket prices, use cabin crew that are coming close to retirement (or have failed performance reviews), make the routes be in developing countries/states and keep the profits rolling in.
I am joking, however, if Boeing sold medicines, pesticides, lead paint, food additives or any number of other things deemed deadly in the home market then it could be exported overseas to be sold at a profit.
Even though Boeing, the FAA and Trump can be criticised for the handling of the 737 Max, the wider international community has done good, we haven't got these shambolic planes relegated to poorer parts of the world where lives are cheap.
To put a finer point on it, I believe a 737-MAX is still safer than general aviation, which I think most rational people aren't scared of.
Naturally it'll be skewed but also naturally it tells something about its risk given the safety record of the aviation industry.
The 787, 747-8, A380, A350, A320neo and A220 all have zero fatal incidents. That is what I expect flying a modern aircraft.
Stop being ridiculous.
That's just crazy talk. If it's more dangerous than a car I'll eat my hat.
According to NYT/Flightaware, there were ~8600 737Max flights per week. Let's call it 8000, and limit our analysis to the past year. Let's also make the very low assumption there are only 100 passengers on each.
8000 * 100 * 50 is very conservative 40 million passenger trips per year. And there were 350 deaths.
Cars have a fatality rate of ~1 per 100 million miles. That means that the average distance traveled needs to be ~1000 miles to be better than cars.
I challenge you to find better numbers estimates, but my very conservative numbers says they're on par or better than cars. I must confess I'm a little surprised how close it was.
I'd love to see someone figure out the real numbers here.
"Well-known and popular commercial aircraft have been involved in far more fatal accidents than the Boeing 737 Max 8. The 3,065 fatalities onboard the Tupolev Tu-154 are more than any of the 47 aircraft models Quartz analyzed. But commercial staples from Boeing, the 737-200 and 747-200, rank second and third on the list, with 2,910 and 1,664 fatalities respectively."
Any of their newer stuff? No way.