Read First if flying on a Boeing 737 Max–or maybe not!

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This topic contains 75 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Ed P 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #28046

    Ed P
    Participant
    @edps

    According to this Gizmodo report the Boeing 737 Max can abruptly dive ‘by mistake’! This may well have caused the Lion Air crash off Indonesia in which everyone died.

    I bet if were an Airbus the CAA would immediately ground all such planes until it the fault was proven to be rectified.

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  • #31661

    PlaneMan
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    @planeman
    Forumite Points: 2,008

    One of the many great Creedence songs. Bad Moon Rising, Fortunate Son, Proud Mary, Run Through The Jungle, It Came Out Of The Sky, Lodi and more I can’t recall spring to mind.

    I believe Bob is also a fan.

    My Instagram

    My YouTube

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    #31668

    JayCeeDee
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    @jayceedee
    Forumite Points: 1,226

    Green River, Who’ll Stop the Rain and Up Around the bend spring to mind – and yes, I’ve been a long term fan too.

    Their sound is a sort of Blues/Country (Bluegrass style )/Rock mix – gets me every time!!

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by JayCeeDee.
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    #31828

    Ed P
    Participant
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 3,352
    #31832

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,087

    That ties a number of other reports together and possibly explains why they were finally grounded in the US. I read that as an end-result design issue.

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    #31857

    Bob Williams
    Participant
    @bullstuff2
    Forumite Points: 3,100

    Nolan & JCD, yes I love Creedence. John Fogerty is still touring AFAIK, still making great music. “Run Through The Jungle” is all about the US Gun Lobby; “#200 million guns are loading, Satan cries ‘Take Aim!’# ” No one else has a voice like John Fogerty’s! ‘Like singing through a bucket of gravel’ is one quote I recall. “Lodi” the town venue in the song, is about the equivalent of a Northern English club scene in the ’60’s and ’70’s.

    A happier song is “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”. John is said to have written that after watching Monty Python for the first time.

    Ed, that is a sobering link. Penny pinching that is going to cost them $billions, I believe.

    “If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”
    ― Philip K. Dick, legendary SF writer.

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    #31882

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,087

    Ed, that is a sobering link. Penny pinching that is going to cost them $billions, I believe.

    Bob, there is yet more sobering comment about how well the FAA handled themselves and their safety roles in certifying the ‘new’ plane.  Single points of failure should never be a design item, yet the comments suggest that was almost feature. One that has caused too many to pay a deadly price. I agree, that result should be a costly bill to those responsible; – but that will not recover any of the lives needlessly cut short.

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    #31885

    Ed P
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    @edps
    Forumite Points: 3,352

    What worries me is the amount of money and (US Defense budget) associated with getting these potential disasters back in the air. I can see the FAA ruling that fitting a second set of sensors will solve all the problems and throw them on to the pilot.

    Given the proven unreliability of the angle of attack sensors there is a very finite chance that both will fail. Without data I cannot calculate a probability but based on hearsay data the probability of two simultaneous failures appears to be well below a one in a million chance of death. (When I was involved with the HSE in some design scoping they were looking at plane crash events of one in ten million as being an unacceptable level of risk).

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    #31886

    Ed P
    Participant
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 3,352

    Apparently a US criminal investigation has been launched:

    “On Sunday, the Seattle Times, the home-town newspaper of Boeing’s commercial division, published the results of a lengthy investigation into the federal certification of the 737 Max. It found that the F.A.A. outsourced key elements of the certification process to Boeing itself, and that Boeing’s safety analysis of the new plane contained some serious flaws, including several relating to the MCAS.”

    ““Federal prosecutors and Department of Transportation officials are scrutinizing the development of Boeing Co.’s 737 MAX jetliners,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. “A grand jury in Washington, D.C., issued a broad subpoena dated March 11 to at least one person involved in the 737 MAX’s development, seeking related documents, including correspondence, emails and other messages,”

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    #31897

    Richard
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    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,087

    ED, yes that was the point I was hinting at when I wrote quote; there is yet more sobering comment about how well the FAA handled themselves and their safety roles in certifying the ‘new’ plane, end quote.

    Re your previous message comment, One problem in calculating a probability of two simultaneous failures is that there may be hidden dependencies or other links between the failing devices. This applies with mechanical, electrical and dare I say human ‘devices’. Bunging in a second doubtful reliability device will not ensure anything at all. If I had even a penny for each time a 1 in a million event happened, I would be very considerably richer than I am now. In the case that is in view at the moment the anti-stall system can with luck be over ridden, but then it immediately re-arms and tries to bring the nose down again, rinse and repeat until the ground is encountered. If both pilots realise that an automated system is going rogue, without cause or reason, perhaps they should at the very least be able to disable or slow down its cycle rate.

    The complex factors evoked by this cock up require more than a further band-aid of dodgy software slapped on its bum.

    A critical rethink of the methodology appears overdue.

    There are several hundred lost soul reasons for meaningful caution, (along with numerous brown trouser cases from pilots who survived). We might think we can avoid this dodgy device by declining to travel in one, but when (not if) the next error hits the ground, someone might be on that spot of ground already.

    Who will be that lucky soul be, you or me?

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    #32167

    Ed P
    Participant
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 3,352

    Even if the FAA ‘approve’ another software kludge and extra sensors, according to this EETimes report the aircraft will remain inherently unsafe. No RyanAir for me!

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    #32169

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,087

    Ed, while that is one person’s opinion, it appears a definitive account of Boeing’s route to failure. How can they now back out of the mess that they created? Their second failing, minimise pilot certification to the point of; ‘Have you ever flown a paper aeroplane? Yes; then you are a 737Max pilot’, was another major screw up.

    Unhappy thought, Ryan Air fly into an airport near me until they crash all their currently ordered ‘wreaks in waiting’. I would never want to pay them for travel anyway.

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    #32176

    Bob Williams
    Participant
    @bullstuff2
    Forumite Points: 3,100

    Ed that link gives great food for thought to anyone with experience of aircraft work. As an ex-AAC technician, after reading through the link I immediately realised the issues created. Instead of building a completely new airframe and by definition, a whole new aircraft, Boeing adapted an existing airframe and the adaptations caused several problems, in addition to the electronic control issues. Requiring the significantly larger and heavier engine pods to be moved forward, and relocating the undercarriage, should have alerted Boeing designers to the fact that this was an inherently dangerous redesign. I would hazard a guess, probably a certainty, that the designers were overruled by the bean-counters.

    This not only altered the flight characteristics: it would also move the C of G to a position that could not help but affect the airframe in flight, with emphasis on handling during take off, landing, climbing and descending. Complicated by the electronic control issues of course, and causing any attempt to recover the aircraft to be extremely difficult or impossible. Competition is almost cutthroat in the civil aviation industry and margins are wafer thin, but there appears to be no room in Boeing’s philosophy for reasonable caution.

    One thing the bean-counters cannot change, however hard they try, is the basic Theory of Flight. Lift, Mass, Thrust and Drag all have to be properly balanced in order to achieve successful forward motion in flight. Later, as a motor engineer and workshop foreman, any mistakes may result in a breakdown or a survivable RTC*. As an aircraft tech, not such a happy ending.

    I am so glad that Jet2, with whom we fly from Manchester to Budapest in August, has just two models atm: 737 and 757. The 2019 orders are for 737-800 aircraft, NOT the 800Max! Good reviews for the airline too, anyone here flown with them?

    *Fortunately, I made no mistakes in either occupation, but I knew of some committed by others.🤗😇😁

    “If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”
    ― Philip K. Dick, legendary SF writer.

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    #32184

    Ed P
    Participant
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 3,352

    Bob, unfortunately no profession is error-free. I feel sorry for the people in those professions where their errors can cause multiple or even single deaths.

    I thank the Heavenly being in charge of Engineers that when I had such a situation something made me do a double-check before I went up in flames with the operators!

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    #32240

    Bob Williams
    Participant
    @bullstuff2
    Forumite Points: 3,100

    Ed I recall the daily trepidation of checking the work done by my crews when an AAC tech crew chief, and later as a workshop foreman, checking the work of my mechanics. Always hoping that (a) my checks were thorough enough and (b) that their work was 100%. I had no problems in the AAC that were not fixed before flight,* but a few potential nightmares in garage work. There was one that could have caused a really bad ending: a Leyland van had a new steering rack fitted and steering alignment carried out. Both ends of the rack, track rod ball joints left insecure, not torqued down. Further inspection found the adjustment nuts also not secured. For the offender, a new employee, a second example of dangerous work in a week: he had carried out work to a Volvo saloon rear axle and left off the anti-tramp stabilising bar. I sacked him in writing.

    *We used the same F700 books as the RAF, triple check systems. No such systems in garage work, more’s the pity! There were times when I woke in the night thinking “Did I check this was done –.”

    “If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”
    ― Philip K. Dick, legendary SF writer.

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    #32398

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,087

    Today’s reports in the papers suggest that the pilots of the most recent 737MAX incident had tried to follow the Boeing manual’s instructions, but that it failed to return control to the pilots. This cannot inspire more confidence in Boeing’s ability to understand the flight characteristics of this unfortunate design. How much confidence does this inspire that the fix will really work the way that it is intended to work. Positive answers may be written on the head of a pin perhaps? Happily I do not expect to need to worry about flying on one, however I could be on the ground and that does concern me!

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    #32411

    Ed P
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    @edps
    Forumite Points: 3,352

    Boeing seem to be proceeding on the lines of ‘add another sensor, and display the contention’. However aircraft engineers point out that this ia well away from the accepted requirement of triple redundancy on critical systems.

    It was also pointed out that if you only have two sensors — which is the faulty one! According to rumours three sensors would need a major refit and has been rejected on cost grounds!

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    #32414

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,087

    I always thought that three was a minimum, perhaps Boeing are trying to confirm that theory ?

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    #32482

    Ed P
    Participant
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 3,352

    The New York Times believe in kicking someone when they are down, as may be judged by their headline to a recent anti-737 article:

    Boeing’s 737 Max: 1960s Design, 1990s Computing Power and Paper Manuals

     

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Ed P.
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    #32500

    Bob Williams
    Participant
    @bullstuff2
    Forumite Points: 3,100

    Good link Ed. I wonder if UK would have been -er -allowed- to report something similar about a UK manufacturer?

    “Airlines don’t want Boeing to give them a fancy new product if it requires them to retrain their pilots,” said Matthew Menza, a former 737 Max test pilot for Boeing. “So you iterate off a design that’s 50 years old. The old adage is: If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

    It wasn’t broke. So they fixed that!

    “If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”
    ― Philip K. Dick, legendary SF writer.

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    #32505

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,087

    Bob, while I have some sympathy for your comment about ‘not being broke’, my reading was that there was a break but that the fix was far worse. The latest ‘development’ did break the operational characteristics of the crate, It ended up with performance anomalies introduced by the thrust centre and general layout changes. The fix attempted to mask the effects of the changes to ensure no conversion training. Do you believe that it was not needed, or that if there was a potential issue that it correctly and reliably targeted the problem?

    As for UK manufacturers, there are so few left that it is not an easy question to guess, but my memory of recent events suggests that the press and TV are always looking for and reporting another failure of native industry, such is their ‘love’ of those with messy hands, i.e. not one of theirs.

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