Survey split on MAX return to service: December to March

Aug. 7, 2019, © Leeham News: It will take Boeing nearly a year to deliver the stored 737 MAXes if the airplane returns to service in November, according to a new analysis by Bernstein Research.

Boeing 737 MAX jets grounded. Seattle Times photo.

In an Aug. 5 research note, Bernstein reported the results of an investors’ survey and forecast the ramp-up of production next year to rate 57/mo, something Boeing had hoped to achieve last June before the MAX grounding upset all plans.

In the survey, Bernstein reported it expects the MAX return to service in November.

Little middle ground

The poll found investors:

  • have a wide split in sentiment, with many investors bullish on the stock, many bearish but few in between;
  • generally expect MAX deliveries to restart in December. A significant number, 47%, don’t expect deliveries to restart until March or later; 32% responded with December as the deliver restart date. Only 17% agreed with Bernstein’s November forecast.
  • expect customer compensation to be at least as much as the $5.6bn in charges and costs announced with the 2Q earnings;
  • differed widely on 2020 Free Cash Flow expectations. About half expect $20/share and nearly half expect about $30/share. Few are in between.

Bernstein believe compensation will be “discretionary, as Boeing works to repair relationships.”

One hundred investors were polled.


Bernstein doesn’t see another production rate cut and no production suspension, based on its own November delivery forecast.

It sees the following production rate schedule:

  • 42/mo (the current rate) in November and December;
  • 47/mo January-June;
  • 52/mo July-September; and
  • 57/mo from October.

Bernstein predicts Boeing will be able to deliver 25 stored MAXes a month, resulting in the total Undelivered backlog being cleared by December 2020.

Buckingham Research earlier forecast a best case clearing of the backlog in 13 months and a worse case in 22 months.

193 Comments on “Survey split on MAX return to service: December to March

  1. Initial EIS for the MAX10 was July 2020, where does it now stands in the new timeline?

    Guess Boeing will try to get the MAX flying again by the time of the Dubai airshow in the 2nd half of of November.

    • There executives would surely loath to endure another endless round of MAX questions diverting them from touting the advantages of the other products.

  2. Reading the stats I think it would be fair to say that nobody knows nothing whilst endeavouring to sound authoritative. In simple terms they are full of BS. The concerning issue for Boeing is that the respective regulators seem to have lost faith in the central ability for Boeing to both understand the problem and critically to tell the truth about what they do know.

    I said a long time ago that Boeing needed to come clean and understand their subservient role in terms of regulation and certification. Unfortunately they attempted for some while to ‘bluster it out’ on the basis that they knew best and it was almost an imposition to be questioned by others. It is understandable that the regulators make Boeing jump through a lot more hoops as a result, you reap what you sow….

    • Many years ago, we had an issue that was driven by weather as to impact.

      So the manager said, look at the long term forecast.

      Why bother, they can’t tell us what its doing right now 30% of the time (literally raining when they said it would be clear)

      The answer was it gives is something to make a decision on. Hmmmm.

      As a tech you mind just jumps over a cliff. As a company manger it gives you something to blame when its wrong. We want answer and we want them NOW! (and no we won’t admit we know its likely to be wrong)

    • Yep, that’s about the size of it.

      The investors survey does seem remarkably optimistic. Perhaps the respondents are now no longer investors, having offloaded following this survey’s presumed positive influence on the shareprice…

      Boeing’s best brand was the FAA – and that’s been comprehensively trashed, and presumably will only get worse as the various investigations being conducted by the US government keep digging.

      There does seem to be an awful lot of assumptions that the return to service of the MAX will be the end of the matter regarding Boeing’s commercial future, and that being widely touted as November. But this is to some extent misplaced. What’s the worth of the FAA saying, “It’s OK to fly”, if the US government’s and prosecutors’ investigations haven’t finished? What if they start revealing woefully bad practices up and down the whole certification campaign inside Boeing and the FAA?

      The FAA’s word is not really worth that much until the US government has cleaned the stables, and even then it’ll take a long time of demonstrably healthy performance before everyone else starts trusting it.

      • Having followed this for quite some time, methinks that a nationalistic divide is apparent. Boeing, vs. Airbus truly is a causation driven by the EU vs. the U.S.A. Comec looms, but are they ready for prime time? We’ll find out after the Max 8 debacle.

        • Ravioliollie – there’s long been a polarisation in certification requirements.Historically, the airworthiness world was split very much between the U.S. (and those markets which based regulation on FARs, often perceived to be less conservative) and countries that followed British CARs; further, many territories or jurisdictions had allegiance to Dutch, French, and German standards (for example).
          Of cource, the European national regulations were subsumed into Joint Aviation Authorities requirements that in turn provided the basis for EASA standards (although individual NAAs have the right to opt out of individual EASA requirements, i believe).

  3. Did they break down the 47% “March or later” any further? And is there any indcation of why the steep valley between December and March (ie for the 4% total that must believe deliveries start in Jan or Feb)?

    • If it still has ‘unique characteristics’ by the time Boeing is done with fixing it, the plane can’t be certified as a 737…

      • So they are making it even more automated? If and when they get the MAX flying again, it’ll still be amazing to consider that they are pushing what will be a 60 year old design. Quite remarkable

        • Its got a new wing, new enlarged stabiliser, longer body. The airframe is very competitive with the A320, I believe B737 climb better which comes in useful (the neo’s have much better climb than the ceo so this may no longer be such an advantage I think what got Boeing in to trouble was the vestiges of the 60 year old systems philosophy. There was no ECAM (Electronic Centralised Alarm Monitoring) making it hell for engineers to figure out how to display MCAS fault alerts without triggering retraining. Also the systems weren’t based around a triplicated 2oo3 (2 out of 3) architecture but of duplicated systems in which pilots chose functioning sensor or system if one was faulty.

          • Just look at the lease rates for 737-800 vs A320 and 737MAX8 vs A320neo (when both were flying), pretty similar.
            It shows the great impact new Engines with pylon and nacelles, new wings with winglets and a bit longer/narrower body has on the 737MAX economics on an otherwise and old basic design.
            So a new NSA from Boeing needs new Engines; new wings; optimized body and be reliable to give the customers the economics they want, the rest of new high Tech is good but does not really move the bottom line as much.

  4. Given this article, it useful to compare Boeing’s behaviour to Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce are taking a hammering in the stock market at present.

    Warren East has put his trust and his job into engineering excellence. Rolls-Royce have owned up/manned up about it’s problems with the Trent 1000, for safety is the first priority. He’s told his engineers to get it right and he has ensured they have the resources to get it right.

    Consequently R&D expenditure ie being maintained. So Advance/Ultrafan are not affected. But to ensure his engineers get it right Warren East pulled out of Boeing’s NMA.

    Moreover, Trent 1000 problems are being paid for out of cash flow. So Rolls-Royce shareholders are getting nothing. In other words, Warren East is refusing to kneel before the stock market.

    Will Warren East keep his job? Don’t know. The stock market isn’t happy. But he is an engineers’ dream. Somebody who knows that engineering excellence means that engineers must be allowed to do their jobs.

    The point I’m making: How Warren East is behaving and how Dennis Muilenburg is behaving cannot be any more different. The first is not the favorite of the stock market the second is the darling of the stock market.

    Anyway, we all know the walls are closing in. Customers don’t have a choice. Early next decade they will have a choice. It won’t be Boeing, if Boeing continue to carry on like this. That’s true even if the 737 MAX is returned to service.

    Is a software fix enough to return the 737 MAX to service? Boeing are still carry on as if the answer is yes. Will the regulators agree? If the regulators don’t agree, it’s March, but not March next year. March the year after, at best.

    • I agree… And with full and quick management support, it is still taking an age to recover from this problem . Linked in to my comment about getting the parked maxes into the air and legally transferred to their customers.. I cannot see how Boeing can just get this unheard of backlog of park d aircraft to their customers at 25-a-month, and deliver the fresh off the line aircraft. Who’s gonna do all this work?

      It’s gonna take a village!

      • Boeing may deliver 25 parked aircraft a month but just like USAF can only handle a few KC-46 deliveries a month due to personal restrictions many airlines also have these restrictions. As we know today airlines have to inspect their Boeings very carefully.

        • Indeed, inspect them with a fine toothed comb, magnifying glass, and a comprehensive set of tools to allow every single access panel to be removed, climbed through, and everything inside looked at, poked, tugged, and checked. If one is finding metal shavings in easily inspected places, what about all those hard to see places?

          Such an inspection is probably quite expensive, isn’t it? If an airline has got to do the equivalent of a pretty thorough servicing before it knows the actual condition of its shiny new aircraft, that’s going to hurt, especially if the inspections start finding stuff that’s wrong (like has been happening).

          • All major airlines and leasing company have a representative in the FAL that monitors assembly.

          • Matthew – there’s a reason why shake-down flights are so called…

        • Well that is one take on RR.

          My take is that they got themselves sunk so deep they dare not make another major error.

          More like the Farmer closing the barn door after all the cows ran away.

          Where was that engineering excellence and support BEFORE?

          Either beyond belief sloppy engineering on the Trent 1000 and 10 or upper management pressure.

          The fact is RR has noting close to mature in the NMA quiver to offer.

          So you try to spin it into a nobility thing. Your ticked off customers then chan’t beat you over the head with you are messing with NMA when MY AIRPLANE is AOG?

          Re-writing the Advance and Ultra history as well, the Advance was going to be the next engine and the Ultra the one after that.

          They saw the writing on the wall (damn, P&W was right the GTF is the only way to go) and changed it to advance as the core for the Ultra.

          • @TW

            We know your rather vociferous antipathy to RR in recent years. Further your desire to question all RR products at all times given the opportunity.

          • Some call it realistic, some are RR fan boys and some (out of the RR =FB group) think its antagonistic.

            I have nothing against RR.

            The Trent 1000 and Ten are a failure of biblical proportions equal proportions to Boeing’s 787 program of which you have commented on.

            Failure on the Trent 800 were successfully covered up (Emirate has the only dog in that engine and TK does not want to admit he hosed up on that bit of dancing)

            Etu Brutai?

            Or you can dish it out but can’t take it ?

          • “I have nothing against RR.”
            *starts bashing RR*

            Btw, it is “Et tu, Brute?”. That’s Latin. And not really suitable in this context.

          • Well its a free screen and I can hash and corrupt Latin if I want.

            I disagree on relevancy.

            It says it all. You To as in You To are a Hypocrite.

            He want to Bash Boeing but can not stand honest critique of RR.

            RR has created a hash of the 1000, its cammed over onto the 10 and its going to affect the 7000 though that will be swept under as much as they can while they scramble and fix it before it hits the numbers the 787 is selling.

            The reality is that GE was vastly more successful on the 787 and A380 Programs than RR was.

            And how many people are looking at an A330NEO and thinking, hhmm, engine is derived from the 10, maybe we should buy the 787 and get an engine choice that is not RR?

          • TransWorld

            “honest critique”

            … you are so funny.

            I admit I wrote the post knowing your response. It’s a fair comparison for it does accept that both have problems. But it notes the difference in behaviour with regard to solving the problems.

            FlightGlobal gave a write up on Warren East’s comments about Roll-Royce’s problems. All the comments are down to earth and practical expressions of what need’s to be done. An engineer who will treat his engineers properly.

          • The same guy who fired 4500 people during a crisis that called for all hands on deck?

            The same guy whose engineers under his watch missed a harmonics issue on the 1000, passed it onto the 10 and the 7000

            Same guy who promised Emirate they wold beat GP by 5% (when they were 3% down on fuel burn already on the A380?

            Yes, Peace in Our Time sounded good, it sure led to a mess though didn’t it?

            You clearly did not follow the details where RR tried to get the bad lifted as their MODEL said it was good for X and those same model then were proven horribly wrong?

            I am used to listening to Republicans so maybe I have an advantage, its not what comes out of their mouth, its what goes on behind the scenes that counts.

            Words are cheap, actions are what counts.

            And not after the Cows have fled the barn, its the actions BEFORE that occurs that tells you about character.

            We have a leader who says he is not racist, do you believe that for micro second?

          • @TW

            I don’t think I am too biased in any direction, to suggest one corporation is more virtuous/ more ethical/ more anything than another is crass. I criticise the hypocrisy/ bad practise where I see it. What I was getting at is time and again your ability to take a wholly different topic and insert an observation about the weaknesses of the RR Trent 1000 and then paint all Trents a potentially a weak link and extend your critique into the whole of RR being a poor operation. For all I know you could be correct but it does seem a crusade without balance. You have many times talked about the 900 failure (QF32) but strangely don’t reference the similar GP7000 (AF66) failure.

            We can all poke a stick selectively but you are taking your initiative to a new level. My view on the Trent 1000 is that they made a mess of the monitoring a rectification of the engine by running too many projects at once. This led to it getting out of control. The admission of error and the willingness to accept fault and work to resolve matters is now exemplary. Let’s remember that this problem has not killed anyone or led to anything more than a major inconvenience to airlines.

          • The GP failure was not the magnitude of the Qantas failure and if you read what I wrote, I did not attribute that Qantas RR failure to an RR inherent problem. Much like the 787 GE Turbine shed it was a shift to industrialization that had a problem.

            But you might want to read this as well


            I do have a problem with someone who continues to tell you an engine is safe when it clearly is not.

            Shades of 737MAX as far as I am concerned and you will see the Trents 1000 grounded.

            As it is the same engine as the 7000 you have to believe it has the same issues that they are trying to correct before it hits the blowup limits (which they clearly do not know what they are and guessing)

            While Boien is fully culpable with the MAX, both A and B take chances that should not be allowed as do the engine mfgs.

            The Trent 800 was not failure prone, it just was not a very good engine. Have to see how the lattest mod does that they pushed to make so much better than a GP that it miraculously jumped 7% in fuel economy .

            Some are worse odds than others. Badly done engine and pushed programs (MAX agian) are rife for this kind of mess.

  5. I would rather see 03’2020. I think also they are new things to discover in MAX case which are hidden by now by Boeing, eg. insufficient protection of rudder cables. It very sad and disturbing that came to that in Boeing’s history.

    • Pablo – so what is the consideration with rudder-cable (fly-by-wire?) protection, please? Why does that laundry need to be washed in public?

      • @Pundit

        I don’t understand why you call it a laudry – it’s another possible MAX issue overpowered by FAA against its own inspectors at Boeing request:

        “The F.A.A. engineers were particularly concerned about pieces hitting the cables that control the rudder, according to five people with knowledge of the matter and internal agency documents. A cable severed during takeoff would make it difficult for pilots to regain control, potentially bringing down the jet.

        The F.A.A. engineers suggested a couple solutions, three of the people said. The company could add a second set of cables or install a computerized system for controlling the rudder.

        Boeing did not want to make a change, according to internal F.A.A. documents reviewed by The Times. A redesign could have caused delays. Company engineers argued that it was unlikely that an engine would break apart and shrapnel would hit the rudder cable.

        Most of the F.A.A. engineers working on the issue insisted the change was necessary for safety reasons, according to internal agency emails and documents. But their supervisors balked. In a July 2015 meeting, Jeff Duven, who replaced Mr. Bahrami as the head of the F.A.A.’s Seattle operation, sided with Boeing, said two current employees at the agency.”

        It has nothing to do with FBW technology.

        • “The F.A.A. engineers suggested a couple solutions, three of the people said. The company could add a second set of cables or install a computerized system for controlling the rudder.”

          Both solution would require massive changes and years to implement.

          If its an issue shielding at the engine is the most viable option.

          Now maybe the MAX should just be grounded forever, but to suggest ideas that are stupid is not the FAA job either.

          Its more CYA in a Bureaucratic Way.

          • Saab added an electric servo pretty quick on the Saab 2000 when elevator forces could not be withing certification specs at all conditions, mainly due to elevator postition and one engine out aerodynamics, so it has been done and been certified before by the FAA/EASA.

          • That would depend on the type of engine debris. The components of the hot section of the engine (HPT, IPT, LPT) are considered “infinite energy” items by the regulations, meaning shielding is not an acceptable remedie. If the concern is from engine hot section debris, the cables (or anything flight critical) must be re-routed to an area of the airplane with a lower probability of debris impact, i.e. farther away from the engines, as far away as possible.

        • Pablo – thank you very much. I had not been familiar with those safety concerns.

        • I think the requiremnt is a result of the SWA Engine fan blade failure that caused the inlet to disintegrate and puncture the window. Had it punctured the fuselage at another location it might have torn the control wires and caused the Aircraft uncontrollable. The FAA might have had discussions with Boeing/Spirit about this and the new inlet will not crumble at a M 0.8 fan blade failure even thought there are fewer and bigger blades but composite so the mass of a blade might be similar but due to increased blade radius rotate slower. No instrumented fan blade-out flight tests at M 0.8 has been done yet.

  6. Bernstein is looking at a crital ball before making prediction on return of 737MAX … Boeing itself cannot make such prediction otherwise they will publish it … it all depends on regulators, airlines, pilots and passengers confidence in the poor spoiled Boeing company … come to my mind large numbers of “fake news” this company issued over the last decade … even to their beloved shareholders :=))

    • Boeing knows pretty well when they expect to deliver the new certification documents and test reports to the FAA. Most likely is FAA in sync with Boeing this time around and is involved in every step.
      FAA most likely will include some old consultants reviewing the package and most likely will ask some question and want to see some more flight test points and detailed analyses. Boeing delivers and might do a few modifications and tests to make everybody satisfied all FAA regulations are complied with and then it is upon the rest of the World to review and ask questions and it will probably only be EASA-UK CAA; TC-Canada and Brazil that will ask anything.

      • Do you believe that Boeing and FAA are fully sync ??they say so BUT
        and if EASA-UK CAA; TC-Canada, China and Brazill ask anything it will take even more time before 737 can fly globaly where large volumes are eagerly waiting in parking.

        • claes/admiral prune – according to Mr Muilenburg at the Q2 results analysts’ earnings call, the FAA is leading collective international regulators (whether or not ‘only’ EASA, TC, China and/or Brazil), which have submitted questions re Max airworthiness re-approval. Yes, that might contribute to a proper amount of time being devoted to renewal of certification, but apparently it is a single overall exercise (according to Boeing).

          • the end of your comment speak for itself : according to Boeing … !!

            this trigger some doubts for some readers of LNA blog :=))

        • Yes, most likely it will be in steps with FAA going first and but will listen carefully to the EASA before giving Ok, then EASA might come in with a few additional late requests if the package looks complete and correct to show that they do not rubber stamp the FAA this time around.
          The odds are that the UK CAA will find some fire safety issues that needs to be fixed, like wire routing and wire insulation materials close to engines and fuel hoses.

          • Admiral prune (no provision for direct reply to your response above this Claes comment…) – Quite. I am unaware of FAA endorsement or denial of Boeing’s statement. As I understand it, the OEM is not certain of the certification protocol (that must address any ‘matters arising’ during the re-approval process), or of possible pilot-training requirements before return to service. Hence Boeing recognises it could have to stop production.
            Claes – I am not clear how predictable any ‘late’ airworthiness requests might prove to have been, nor why discrete(?) issues – you cite fire-safety – have not previously been addressed. Also uncertain is Boeing’s definition of “the September time frame,” a phrase that invites the inference of a longer-than-30-days calendar period… Boeing has, no doubt advisedly, been careful to use wording that, later, it can argue accommodated possible further delays, however opaquely.

          • Well a great laugh was many years ago I talked to a Boeing engineer group leader who was involved in assessing a European wiring loom mfg for bis to be usee on Boeing

            They saw backup wires co located with the main ops wires.

            When asked the mfg said that is how we do it, it makes it easier.

            Needless to say Boeing rejected them. I am sure that has changed, but you want to be careful about casting stones.

  7. Is taking a long-time-parked aircraft (and so many of them) to ‘customer/flight’ ready time consuming? One would assume it will at least take a whole team of dedicated people to get aircraft dusted down, dried out, oiled-up, power ready, and acceptance flight ready… No? One would also assume aircraft are not designed to be parked like this, and could this cause unexpected problems later?

    Nothing ever seems to go smoothly when recovering from a (very avoidable) screw-up, but this seems to be one of biblical proportions and unlikely to just be a case of roll’em/fly’em.

    • You have military versions of the 737 that are used to sit on the tarmac for months so Boeing most likely have worked thru any of these possible issues before.

      • Over 500 military aircraft ?? of course every OEM, lessors or airlines knows how to deliver parked aicraft it require some work !!!

        • Dr Fergal, claes, admiral – it is to be hoped that, if it believes its own timeline statements, Boeing has done more than the minimum parked/grounded aircraft maintenance in order to expedite an early return to service. Perhaps a reader/commenter is familiar with the actuality of Boeing ‘care and maintenance’ of new-build Maxes in this regard? If so, the ay the philosophy is being/has been applied might tell us more than repeated confident statements – just a thought.
          Regarding Bernstein predictions of a possible November return for Max, I imagine that the analyst has been told no more than the rest of the world.

          • “believe”,”hope”,”perhaps”, If so” ,”might tell us more” … a string of expressions that cast more doubts !!!

          • It is pretty standard and well documented how to preserve aircrafts and engines for prolonged parking outdoors and get them up and running again.
            This time there are maybe a good set of modifications that shall be incorporated and unexpected corrosion to handle before flying again and depending on any hardware mods required as part of recertification it most likely will be some time limits to get them incorporated as ASB-AD’s.
            It might be harder getting all crews thru training if it also requires a good set of failure modes training in a 737MAX full flight simulator.

  8. Bernstein is looking at a crital ball before making prediction on return of 737MAX … Boeing itself cannot make such prediction otherwise they will publish it … it all depends on regulators, airlines, pilots and passengers confidence in the poor spoiled Boeing company … come to my mind large numbers of “fake news” this company issued over the last decade … even to their beloved shareholders :=))

    • He gets big bucks to do it no matter how often he is wrong.

      Now there is a job for me!

      Me, if I did my job wrong (rarely) they yelled at me. Hmmm.

      Welcome to the world of Voodoo Economics.

    • Admiral – re your response in the comment second above, how familiar are you, indeed are we all, with Boeing’s standard disclaimer about ‘forward-looking staements…’?

  9. Just a thought, how will the grounded aircraft be brought back into service and certified to have a clean bill of health, someone from the local candy store?

  10. By Nov 1 aren’t there about 300 grounded and 300 new, so 25 per month of the new. How fast will they get the 300 grounded aircraft refurbished and ready to fly?

    I take it the predictions are based on no new MAX specific simulators, hardware modifications to the trim wheels, or armoring for cables.

  11. I wonder if the whole world of software-embedded FCS is exposing a few dumb-dumbs on both sides of the aisle (BA & FAA). I work with manufacturing machine control systems and I’ve found that very few people in our plants actually know how automatic control systems actually work. People often say, “it’s magic” when referring to them. It’s crazy technical and there are a few grouchy geniuses that keep the wheels on. I’m sure the grouches were muzzled. I wonder how many “I told you this was not ready” discussions have taken place. At the same time, regulators may be delicately trying to save face & careers because they didn’t know what questions to ask to begin with. Both sides have lost a lot of credibility in this deal.

  12. The timelines set out in this article are based on what Boeing are saying. But then Boeing said April, then May, then June and so on.

    Yes, Boeing have said it’s a software fix no more. The regulators have not agreed that.

    As of today, the regulators have agreed nothing. Boeing will be given the right to prove their fix – that is how regulators work. But regulators don’t have to agree.

  13. This SLFstill thinks the Gorilla in the closetis ignored. The europeans have made it clear that the manual trim wheel forces needed under some conditions are too large and almost useless. either by number of turns needed or the force needed to crank back to near trim when all else goes bonkeres.

    This argument then will also apply to NG versions in service and IMHO require some hardware fixes in both MAX and NG.

    So while one can argue re MAX taking a year to return to service, what about 7000 NG? At what reasonable rate and how long will it take per plane at what flight inter√als, etc.

    Even a software change on the NG will be a significant effort IF by some ‘ miracle” the NG gets a pass on hardware fixes ..

    Just my .0007 worth

    • Time for the USG to request a copy of the 320NEO FBW software and certification tests, eh? Possibly that pitch-up problem reported last week is a little more complex than EU authorities reported to partner organizations. Can’t be too safe you know.

      • A321neo pitch up issue was discovered by Airbus simulations. It was not discovered in test flights or by in service reports. The temporary remedy is the alter the load c of g limits since the problem occurs in heavily aft loaded aircraft. (MAX’s issues also in aft loaded aircraft). It looks to me that should an A321 execute a dynamic manoeuvre in the landing configuration it might generate pitch rates that will overshoot the pitch limits possibly leading to a momentary stall, which would already be in the process of recovering. Airbus are allowing themselves 1 year to deploy a software upgrade.

        I don’t think for a second EASA is being hard on Boeing or the FAA. FAA is being hard and every FAA inspector who felt thwarted is now letting it all hang out. They are asking questions and raising concerns and those things are outing problems and issues.

        Airbus might have its own problems over the 2009 loss of AF447 due to freezing of Thales Pitot sensors. French prosecutors don’t want to prosecute Airbus only Air France since Air France elected to install alternate sensors only during scheduled maintenance. They also did not train pilots of how to deal with this issue. The victims families do want to prosecute Airbus though prosecutors do not. It would be hard since only those Airbus’s with Thales (not Honeywell or BF Goodrich) sensors were vulnerable.

      • Retaliatory action and other “how can we force our will on others” operations is exactly what everybody abroad is expecting from the US. Even smaller kids tend to show more responsibility than the US does.

  14. I’ll add to my comments.

    The regulators will not tell Boeing how to fix the 737 MAX. Instead, the regulators define a set of conditions with regard to safe return to service. But those conditions are well understood. For example, pitching moment must be within defined boundaries. So Boeing know the conditions, and have always known the conditions.

    Once Boeing submit a request for return to service, the regulators will review whether Boeing have met the conditions.

    We are told Boeing will submit a return to service in October. We are also told by Boeing that the regulators will agree to a return to service before the end of the year. Laughable.

    Have the regualators agreed to anything? No. There is no public agreement. The regulators always give advance notification with regard to what has been agreed to allow public debate. They have given no public notification. With regard to this, I think the regulators will give at least 3 months for public comment before they allow a return to service. So, in my view, even if/when the regulators agree it’s still 3 monthe before return to service.

    So wait for the regulators to speak, not Boeing.

    • The regulators have probably agreed to the way forward with Boeing from where they were to certification but then comes the cert report and its full final review for completeness and hopefully FAA and its consultants can double check that it is correct data in it, like control logic in different failure modes and lifing of critical parts.

    • Philip – a three-months advance NPRM/PAD is not always provided, I believe, if U.S./European regulators deem more-urgent action is required.

      • The urgent action hss been taken. The 737 MAX has been grounded.

        Usually the OEM and the regulators agree a way forward and the regulators publish it. This allows open consultation.

        We have seen nothing from the regulators. That’s very unusual if there is some kind of agreement. Note the agreement doesn’t have to include timescales. That can be left open. But something about what is required for return to service should be available.

        • Philip – what is needed for return to service is that Max meet airworthiness requirements. If there is to be agreement among all parties ahead of NPRM publication, then will not Boeing have had first to complete system-safety assessment documents and a certification flight-test before submitting an application for formal airworthiness re-approval? That might be why ‘we have seen nothing from the regulators.’
          Since, as I undertsand it, proposed rule-making will mandate incorporation of relevant service bulletins (which Boeing must prepare but cannot mandate) is not that typically the stage at which regulators publish proposals for public comment and the 90-day clock starts ticking?

          • Entirely right. Can’t argue with a word. But your words make clear the regulators are waiting. That means they have not agreed the way forward with Boeing whereas Boeing keep saying it’s all done and dusted.

            If there is an agreed way forward, they publish it. To use Rolls-Royce, TransWorld’s favorite subject. There is an agreed date for the removal of IPC stage 1 and 2 rotor blades with a new design on the Trent 1000. That is, if my memory is right, the end of 2021

  15. How much rework will all the MAxs require?Just Software or will the whole manual trim system need to be revamped? Can the code be upgraded or with the flight computer need a new motherboard? Sooo many questions and this assumes no rework of the airframe!!

    • mark – are all parties agreed about software updates? During re-certification simulator ‘flights’ with regulators, Boeing discovered an ‘additional scenario’ and agreed an ‘understood’ software update with FAA to reduce a possible risk that apparently involved simulated failure of a microprocessor that Boeing is ‘confident’ is a software ‘not a hardware’ update.

  16. I guess China won’t accept just two angle of attack probes. The reason is simple. Here is a nice video about a more than 50 year old system:
    Interesting part about the voting system is at about 8 minutes but also at 9 minutes is something really interesting: “Zero & Reasonableness”

    I am not impressed by what Boeing delivered.

    • Those angle of attack probes, vane type alpha sensors, actually have two internal electronic pickups. It’s like the electrical and instrumentation engineers designed for scenarios that involved internal systems faults such as sensor infantile failure and wire breaks but didn’t consider Bird Strike of an Stork as a possibility.

      • Even Boeing did consider a faulty mechanical vane due to AoA disagree warning on NGs but this warning was an option for MAX aircraft due to an implementation mistake.

        The knowledge how to create a computerized guidance system is here for over 50 years but Boeing simply ignored it.

        • I think the alpha vane disagree alert was part of an optional angle of attack display that was displayed on a corner of the artificial horizon displays. It was never part of MCAS. Some pilots or airlines dont believe in displaying this as it’s a distraction from maintaining minimum air speed. I find that idiotic.

          • The disagree alert was standard on NG and has nothing to do with angle of attack display. Boeing already acknowledged that the alert should have been standard on MAX but was somehow linked to optional AoA display.

          • Its really a side show.

            If you don’t know what the disagree light means with MCAS 1.0, then its, huh.

            Same with AOA display. The system changed dramatically with MAX.

            While it was another stupid aspect it was not the root cause.

            Now what it will tell them (MCAS 3.0 or wherever we are) that MCAS is NOT active.

            As pilots don’t stall commercial aircraft routinely that is just fine.

  17. I wish we could get some details out of Boeing. We can’t, so, we’re subjected to reading tea leaves. It may be that Boeing is following the Concludions and recommendations of one of their former star employees. PeI wish we could get some details out of Boeing. We can’t, so, we’re subjected to reading tea leaves. It may be that Boeing is following the Concludions and recommendations of one of their former star employees. Peter Lemme. He very rightly suggested that a dual channel solution would achieve better failure mode redundancy. But, when an AOA fails, or when both AOA’s fail (they have in the past, and I assume they haven’t been improved), then MCAS hopefully turns ittself off, and signals a warning to the pilot. Obviously that logic will be looked at carefully by the FAA. How safe is the MAX flying without MCAS protection for the rest of the flight? Fly via autopilot until on finaly approach? If you get into a situation where the autopilot then trips off also (maybe the autopilot needs good AOA sensor readings also?). Just instruct pilots to avoid high AOA modes until landing. That shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Assuming the AOA errors didn’t occur while in a high AOA situation. I’m still wondering about the Stab Trim cutout switch rewiring between the NG functionality and the MAX. That pointed out the design issue with the trim wheel size change for both the NG and MAX. Will Boing rewire the Stab Trim cutout back to the original
    NG functionality, and will the FAA/EASA etc require the ability to fly with manual trim electric because of the manual trim wheel dificulty? This seems like a small change that might produce huge benefits. If Boeing/FAA/EASA etc don’t publish the changes for Airlines/Pilots/the Flying Public to evaluate, and just say the software is fixed, trust us. I’d say the MAX is doomed. ter Lemme. He very rightly suggested that a dual channel solution would achieve better failure mode redundancy. But, when an AOA fails, or when both AOA’s fail (they have in the past, and I assume they haven’t been improved), then MCAS hopefully turns ittself off, and signals a warning to the pilot. Obviously that logic will be looked at carefully by the FAA. How safe is the MAX flying without MCAS protection for the rest of the flight? Fly via autopilot until on finaly approach? If you get into a situation where the autopilot then trips off also (maybe the autopilot needs good AOA sensor readings also?). Just instruct pilots to avoid high AOA modes until landing. That shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Assuming the AOA errors didn’t occur while in a high AOA situation. I’m still wondering about the Stab Trim cutout switch rewiring between the NG functionality and the MAX. That pointed out the design issue with the trim wheel size change for both the NG and MAX. Will Boing rewire the Stab Trim cutout back to the original
    NG functionality, and will the FAA/EASA etc require the ability to fly with manual trim electric because of the manual trim wheel dificulty? This seems like a small change that might produce huge benefits. If Boeing/FAA/EASA etc don’t publish the changes for Airlines/Pilots/the Flying Public to evaluate, and just say the software is fixed, trust us. I’d say the MAX is doomed.

    • sorry for the disjointed posting.. I”m in hotel room tonight, operating on a laptop.

    • From what I understand MCAS was expected to operate so rarely that most pilots would never experience it in an entire career. It was expected to operate during dynamic manoeuvres ass such as collision avoidance. Of course all it takes is one incident of MCAS deactivating due to sensor disagree and one stall due to a TOGA or collision avoidance for the company to be in trouble. I suggest 3 sensors is minimum so that a 2 out of 3 rule can be used for fault detection and activation. 4 should be used for despatch reliability and symmetry.

      • That would be incorrect. Collision avoidance does not mean you stall the aircraft.

        Its at stall its triggered.

        Commercial aircraft rarely stall and when they do they are out of control due to pilots having lost their situation awareness and its a side note.

        People miss that is not easy to stall and aircraft. You really have to work at it.

  18. Its simple.

    Boeing’s about to submit on the fixes.

    So everyone asks the Fortune Teller if it will be so.

    The Fortune Teller knows they don’t know, the management knows they don’t know but they all nod their head yes and agree BS is fine fertilizer.

    Maybe lets see how the review goes and then we will have an idea of hold or fold? Nah.

  19. Too big to fail is keeping BA afloat at the moment — everybody and everything has the belief that times are tough but they will pull through as they have always pulled through.

    However what happens if this issue does not play to the normal BA playbook rules?

    McDD faded to nothing after some poor engineering and a lack of cash to develop a new aircraft to market. BA might meet the perfect storm where the cash cow is diagnosed with foot and mouth and the dash for cash with the new pretender means they are rapidly running out of work in the medium term.

    So could BA fail — if the Max is 12 months, 18 months or 24 months out of service?

    The rock has been moved.

    • No, Boeing is far to big with underlying fundamental to go down.

      Take a hit, sure.

      They pissed away 20 billion (on a program that should have cost 10) and did so doing shareholder buy backs.

      If the MAX fails its huge, but they wold recover.

      Mgt, well they would go, but the board would continue to enable that.

      More so big its almost impossible to fail and then there is bankruptcy which is a save anyway.

      But maybe we should see what comes out of the lattest on the MAX?

  20. The depth of dislike of the Boeing Corporation and/or Boeing Commercial Aircraft displayed on these 737MAX threads is disturbing. If deeply knowledgeable people disagree with some Boeing and FAA technical decisions and want to express that, that’s fine. Or if a person who reads this type of message board lost a family member on either the Lion Air or Ethiopian incidents and is extremely angry at Boeing I can understand that too, although in a colder light I personally try to be realistic about the risk probabilities of modern life.

    But there seems to be an entire group of people who are not connected in either of the ways described above who seem to take positive glee in damage to Boeing Corp, who delight in using alarmist and misleading language (“fundamentally unstable”, etc), and who are apparently hoping for permanent withdrawal of the MAX type certificate and ensuing receivership (Chapter 11) and possible end of Boeing. Perhaps some of those so posting are viral marketing personnel for competing airframe manufacturers but that doesn’t really seem to be it either – I get the impression that the hatred is organic. Can anyone help me understand where this is coming from?

    • You attempt to make logical sense of emotional spewing.

      If you are a tech and or work in a logical filed you look at the world that way .

      Most don’t, are very narrow tech is at all (fundamental unstable ) etc.

      A number have an Axe to grind (European see the defense of RR debacle on the Trent 1000 and 10)

      Boeing has shot itself in the foot with its arrogance as well. Teddy’s walk softly and carry a big stick has been Talk Loudly and carry a twig.

      Bjorn has clearly stated that he feels the MAX is fine, and it gets blown away by those who know better but never worked on an aircraft program in their life.

      While I share concern in area such as the manual trim issues, I also know its not a killer unto itself though I am interested in how they address it.

      Or as I kept telling the crew when I was working and dealing with managers.

      Don’t attempt to interject logic into this. Its like religion (which I respect anyone to have or not) but logic is not part of it.

      • Some part of it is partisan or tribalism.
        However part of of it is a sane and logical response to Boeing’s corporate policies.

        As an example, apart from the MAX issues, Boeing is having lots of issues on quality control, yet it’s also planning to get rid of 900-1000 positions (mostly) in quality control this year.

        I can’t see the logic behind that. I’m not saying there is no logic possible, I am saying it would seem logical to me if Boeing would get quality control up standard before they start cutting jobs there.

        Maybe they really need the parking space those 900 people would use ASAP?

    • I think it should be added in the disdain Boeing management expresses for its employees bears in on this as well.

      I to bitterly resent the attitude of the company I worked for and one day I up and quit with no notice.

      I took a work ethic and knowledge they can never replace. Sad it comes to that.

    • A lot comes from retired Boeing employees who were around whenMDC ” bought out boeing with boeings money ” and ensconced the jack welch management wannabees. The 777 was too far along for the MDC types to significantly affect it.

      One such difference in corporate ethics is partly demonstrated by the Actions of the Current CEO compared to an old hard nosed Boeing type- T.Wilson- responding to a major screw up by Boeing which killed over 50o in 1985 Look up the history of JAL 123 – 747 crash

      And this article from the LA times (WA Post ) starts out as follows
      Families of Victims Seek Damages in Seattle Court : Boeing Officials Want Crash Lawsuits Tried in Japan
      APRIL 5, 1987 12 AM
      After a Boeing 747 jumbo jet crashed into a mountain in Japan on Aug. 12, 1985, the chairman of the Boeing Co. made a special bow to Japanese custom by writing personal letters to the families of each of the 520 victims.

      In another gesture to Japanese custom, Boeing paved a path up the steep mountainside to the scene and placed a white granite memorial as a shrine to the dead….

      Now while the article is quite long – it does go on to explain what happened when the legal types got involved

      Compare this to the current CEO-Chairmnan

      “Sorry- but the pilots screwed up –
      “Safety is our priority”
      “Did not want to overload the pilots with too much information..
      Ad naseaum.

      • You forgot about “we’ll make a safe aircraft even safer” that’s a beauty, Boeing’s propaganda at best.

        I think people treat Boeing with the same disdain as Boeing threat them. It’s hard to be objective if some is telling you blund lies into your eyes.

        • Actually I would contend that the statement is Boeing PR at its worst.

          Its so glaringly stupid a lie as to stun one.

          • Bubba, Pablo, TransWorld – do you not think Boeing (PR, whomever) will say that ‘safe aircraft’ is a ref to 737s per se – not a single variant? Mind you, I’ve not checked the league table to see where the 737 marque stands…

          • @Pundit

            They were saying this only after MAX crashes, no other circumstances. It was Boeing mantra “MAX safe plane, even safer, when in few weeks will bodge MCAS”.

    • The world is nuts. I follow the MAX drama on YouTube. Folks want Muilenburg in murder charges. Its a lynch mob mentality. Muilenburg only became ceo in 1 March 2016. I’ve don’t a few root cause analysis and can see how this might have happened. These people are idiots but they vote. Lost my faith in universal democracy.

      • There is a case for what we would call corporate manslaughter in the UK if negligence can be proven. I severely doubt that it can be proven.

        I have no issue with Boeing as it is simply a corporation with no brain or heart. I do take issue with the decisions made by senior management and the culture they have fostered which has damaged the company so much.

        Simply Boeing could have developed something much better but didn’t because of time and cost issues. Further even after the crashes Muilenburg (et al) have consistently adopted a legalistic defence rather than fessing up and getting on with it. They have damaged the company’s credibility to attempt to save their own skin, they lack judgement, leadership and integrity.

        It does not surprise me that people complain about that as it seems they cannot be held to account.

        • For the UK, it’s more likely criminal negligence. The equivalent in the US is depraved indifference.

          In other words, not in the least bit bothered as to the consequence of your actions. So what, they’re dead. Who cares.

      • One of the reasons aviation is so safe is that safety involves a no blame culture. Blame deflects from analysis and understanding. Blame makes people hide problems. Blame makes people reluctant to expose a flaw because it might hurt Simone and they might be next. The same applies to quality control,systems. Doesn’t matter if it’s a floor worker, engineer or the CEO.

        There but for the grace of god go I. There is no way I accept that any of the engineers, project managers, division mangers and certainly not the CEOs (McNerney for 5 years, Muilenburg for 1.5 years) was indifferent to safety or thought they were taking an unreasonable risk. This will be a mix up of unsynchronised document, distribution and badly
        time decision making. Each individual thought they were doing the right thing. There is almost certainly no fraud here eg signing of on test documents for tests not done.
        There is nothing criminal here. Many people at Boing must feel terrible and those involved in MCAS worse still.

        • I can’t agree with that at all.

          What management does is set the tone. They allocate resources.

          If you read the assessment on the Maconda blowout it reads exactly like Boeing has done. Compromised the whole safety system.

          A good system or piece of equipment has redundant safeties. Maconda type well has like 6, each one was systemically bypassed.

          When you deliberately bypass each safety, but you claim you did not know, its a lie.

          So lets look at Boeing MO on inspectors. FAA can’t keep up, so they designate inspectors that are Boeing employees but report to the FAA directly. Maybe not optimum but you can at least see a though process there as to where does FAA even find people like that let alone pay them?

          So then Boeing undercuts it by forcing the inspectors to report to Boeing management.

          So with that one action they show exactly what the game is. Money, money, money with lip service to safety.

          Where have we heard that comment “well I didn’t know”?

          They tell their lies and they takes their money and pretend its not their fault.

          • I fully agree, Dennis Muilenburg will not have known of any of the design details of the MAX. What he is culpable is the tone of the company. Management at any level draw their steer by what is rewarded.
            Do it cheap
            Do it quick
            Accept design compromise
            Pressure the regulators
            Deny error
            None of these will be seen anywhere in email, what will be seen is the pressing concern of management on cost and development time. The result being managers do what they are told, they have no choice if they value their career.

            Funnily enough I have had legal training on whistleblowing today and how in the real world the one that does blow the whistle is effectively destroyed in spite of the safeguards

          • I can understand MCAS wanting to “piggy back” on a proven system (speed trim), but, someone didn’t do their homework that the speed trim system in manual mode only used the left AOA sensor. Or maybe they did? The tweak to increase the speed of the trim change also wasn’t fully tested. Boeing hid the entire MCAS functionality from the pilots (except for one Boeing test pilot). They hid the disagree warning light not working from the airlines. Someone at Boeing, rewired and relabeled, the stab cut-out switches for as yet unknown reasons, so that MCAS couldn’t be deactivated. Again, not informing the pilots. Part of the reason was said to be so that pilots wouldn’t be overloaded with knowledge. I doubt that. Why didn’t they tell the pilots? Because the pilots would ask what this new MCAS system was for. And that the MAX flies differently than the NG in certain situations. Someone at Boeing was intentionally hiding MCAS. And hiding the warning light not being functional, which they were going to fix in the future.

          • @Sowerbob
            @Richard Davenport

            Good points! I see it the same.

          • I will add a bit here (of course!)

            The light is a non issue in that with NO MCAS 1.0 training, the pilots would not have a clue what it meant to the Stabilizer ops.

            More a side note of how stupid and badly the software was done.

            I have been in meetings where you had one clear goal and at the end you had total confusion and were going someplace else and the point of it was gone.

            Exactly how it all went rogue I have not a clue, but we have seen the surface part that it did.

            My take (certainly I could be wrong) is that the Boeing system at least as far as MAX was concerned and MCAS is so messed up that it cascaded and no one was in charge, caught it or really got the whole of it.

            The missing of the forest because you are looking at an individual tree.

            I think that goes back to Culture and what Muillenberg and McNerney did was dismantle the groups and system that should work together and scattered them to the winds.

            No one was talking to the other guy nor could. Test pilots did not know what software was doing.

            348 people dead and all they would say is, all we were doing was making our company more efficient.

        • “There is nothing criminal here.”

          Hmmm-calling a grand jury is not casual- and usually requires a significvant predicate. And thats what happened after the 2nd crash.

          And yes, I’m sure most-all boeing low level employees and many- but not all managers- executives feel bad or horrified.

          And yes,it is probable that PERHAPS no one deliberately with evil intent falsified documents.

          But bcrat inertia often involves making choices between career/job or speaking up. In that respect Boeing is no different than many large companies.

          The problem of cost/$$ above all else got a big boost under stonecipher, mmcnearney, et al and is still rampant.
          Unfortunately, those perps will never be cuffed.

          Its a culture thing . . and A reluctance to accept responsibility.

        • William – all covered perhaps by the Law of Unintended Consequences…

        • @TransWorld

          I agree too. A criminal negligence by pushing cost and timeline ahead by compromising safety shall be a minimum what Boeing shall face.


          There shall be a limit for no blame culture for sake of safety, and imho Boeing has gone far too far.

    • @sPh

      I and many others have asked many questions that are entirely reasonable. I won’t repeat the list, just one. A simple one.

      Why did MCAS accept an AoA of 75° as valid?

      As another commentator pointed out Boeing’s response at times verged on r****m. Perhaps not r****m but self appointed supremacy.

      I think your comments are to use your word “disconnected”.

      • Philip:

        We have beaten that horse to death. It was crap software that should never have seen the light of day.

        The issue is going forward is it done right and what is the resolution on the manual trim?

        For how things went your part is to contact your representatives and have them change how they allow FAA to manifest this stuff.

        I have contacted mine. Will it do any good? Probably not, almost certainly not.

        But it is what I or anyone can do.

        And just complaining ensures nothign will happen.

        A group of men had a Tea Party in Boston a couple hundred years ago and changed the world.

        Nothing will happen if you don’t try, something might happen if you do try.

        • It’s not just crap software, everything is crap. As I have said, software addresses the symptoms not the cause. The cause is still there.

          So no I am not going to agree with Boeing and you that a software fix solves the underlying problem!

          • So what you are saying is that with FBW, software is covering up the problem one of those type aircraft cannot take off or land without it?

            You do know your computer runs on software?

            Back to cam and gears for computing?

            Back to the model T where you advanced the spark by hand?

    • @sPh
      Really? You wonder why people get emotional and maybe over-critical when the greedy make decisions that kill hundreds of people and then try to put the blame on somebody else (the pilots) although they perfectly well know that it’s their own fault?

      Really? You wonder why people that have been passengers on just such planes feel betrayed in their confidence?

      And then you wonder why some are speculating about Boeing going belly up when there is delay after delay, planes parking everywhere, more problems coming up,…


      I’m German, but I have been to the US thirty times or so and have close friends and good business there. There is no hatred towards everything American, quite the opposite. Most Europeans hold the US and its people and companies in high regards. The deeper is the shock when something like this happens. For myself I can only say that I’ve been a fan of Boeing since my first flight (727) and the first trip to Japan on a 747. But the MAX disaster is eating into that really big.

      • Well put.

        Sadly, US is not what it once was.

        The bean counters have figured out how to be corporate welfare pigs and game the system.

        Growing up in AK we were immensely proud of having Boeing in Seattle as a beacon of what was good about us West Coasters (as opposed to those less capable Eat Coasters)

        I too am disappointed but not surprised.

        This is well worth the read as it puts in stark contrast what happens when you deliberately compromise all safety systems. Its a long read but a good one.

        • Trasnworld – Anyone interested in safety should be sure to try to see the movie Towering Inferno. As so often, it says a lot about human nature.

          • I have to many real world examples, Towering Inferno is fiction (and as I recall really bad acting) , man manages to exceed that spectacularly.

            I go for root cause real world per Space Shuttle and Maconda blow out.

            Well and having seen idiots in action in person (which includes myself a few times)

            What was the thing about the guy whispering in the Kings ear You To Are Mortal?

            Been a few times I needed that.

    • @ sPh

      We try to call a spade when we see a spade. If we have indications that show the airplane to be “unstable” without MCAS, that’s what we call it, because that’s what we see it as (which is by the way, perfectly legal from a fundamental standpoint so long as MCAS is sufficiently fail-safe and redundant, which is clearly was not the case here).
      It begs the question; are you uneasy because a hypothetical downfall of Boeing would personally damage you? Are you certain that you are not biased in your opinion because of that exposure?

      • For the record, I have no connection with Boeing Corporation or Boeing Commercial Aircraft or any of its predecessors. Nor do I own any Boeing stock, unless through a statistical index fund. I do live in a region of the USA that was gifted with McDonnell-Douglas [1] expatriates after the Boeing takeover /first round of cuts and had the incomparable experience of working with a few of them. Take that for what you will.

        There have been a lot of good viewpoints expressed on this subthread, and I appreciate everyone taking the time to write and post them. Careful consideration leads me to the conclusion that the majority 0f the postings – particularly the most vehement ones – provide ample evidence that my original observation is correct: these MAX threads contain a lot of inchoate anger toward and dislike of Boeing Corporation and desire to see that organization damaged that cannot be justified by thoughtful analysis. [2]

        [1] Primarily ex-McDonnell Aircraft people really. Ole Mac sure managed to convince a lot of people to work incredibly hard to build very good warplanes, I will say that.

        [2] I have worked for a number of manufacturing organizations from the small to the medium-large (none as large as Boeing), and I am well aware of corporate politics and how it can lead organizations astray. My statement here is not in any way intended to excuse any management behavior that may have led to the MAX fiasco – Boeing’s Board is responsible for that and the FAA, SEC, and Justice Dept are the proper forums to address that.

        • @sPH

          Maybe some people would like to see that corporation to be damaged for some good reasons, like: this corporation seems that proved to be irreparable? crime & avoiding punishment? and I think you can add a strong few more.

  21. After the initial shock and defensive reflexes (some of it with racists overtones), the $$ are speaking. The sheer realization of the $$ impact got BA back to work (the board made sure).

    In such cases, the work means (re)building the test matrix given root cause(s) analysis+changes, execution of the tests, and iteration as needed (including over the test matrix — the later includes flights.
    BA is doing a lot of work on this. It transpires via articles, even negative ones, from the WSJ/NYT. Lots of flights are going on/lots of things being tested including many many end cases.

    It is very likely the 737 MAX can be fixed without major hardware upgrades. The NGs are not falling out of the sky and the error(s) made on the MAX so obvious in retrospect that a) it may be as simple as that, but b) the ‘work’ is being done without compromises. They’ll get a pretty good safety envelop going. No one can afford a new crash. No one. Not even the government agencies. Minor hardware upgrades will be a detail in the overall scheme of things.

    The pundits hysteria flagged above stems from personal axes to grind, geographies, cultures, or simply…simple fun poking as ‘deers in the headlight’ management behaviors such as shown by BA’s management sometimes… or materialized quite cunningly by folks walking the legal tightropes. They are paid for that.

    Boeing’s CEO/core team knows they are gone. But at $20+M/year, you accept, and play the part. BA can’t change the CEO/core team right now. They can’t afford that type of distraction unless the CEO/core team are terminally incompetent. They are not. A company waits for the mess to clear up and then no matter what you remove the CEO/core team. You need to do this to start afresh and give the new team a chance.

    ps: Terminal incompetence exists…witness the idiot British Petroleum CEO (typical ‘high cast’ brit aristocrat) who wanted his ‘life back’ and went sailing on his yacht in Scotland as the oil well was spewing 5-8k/day barrels of crude oil in the gulf. All the Louisiana/Texas rough necks were like aghast. The BP board fired him (with a nice cushion) within days.

    • I’m with you on your words with regard to BP’s CEO when the oil rig blew up, His sailing expertise did mean more to him than the death of people on the oil rig and oil spilling all over the gulf.

      I’m a Brit but I won’t offer excuses. Shooting him was the proper action to take. I think he’s working for some Siberian oil company, I hope in Siberia. A Gulag in Siberia is a good second to shooting him.

      • Siberia is actually pretty nice. Swanky cafes. Google Maps works, Good 4G. I was working a mining job there one year stuck in Yakutsk (at -60C/-76F coldest city on earth) enjoying the restaurants and cafes. I remember a bunch of Boeing Engineers flying over from Seattle to ‘test the product’ in the cold and staying in the same hotel. I showed them the Georgian Resturaunt (a beautiful cuisine we haven’t discovered yet) and they took me to the Irish Pub Franchise. The native Siberians are an East Asian people. Ferociously patriotic to Russia (Don’t suggest they look Chinese whatever your do). Anyway I thought it was neat these Irish Pub Siberian Waitresses in their Irish Folk Maids costume’s. The Boeing guys were pretty professional, absolutely refused to talk about ‘the product’ or anything work related for security reasons. Siberia has Over 20% of the works Natural Gas, Diamonds and Silver. The redeye flight from Moscow to Yakusk in an S7 B737NG was uncomfortable though. Maybe the MC21 will be better. Its a good airline with nice lounges.

          • William:

            I spend 4 years in Northway AK. We would disagree on what is the coldest place on earth (granted we were a village not a city)

            The road house up on the main highway intersection 7 miles away through a swamp was our highlight (main highway being narrow twisty two lane gravel and then paved road)

            We had no Irish Athabaskan waitress though. Too young to appreciate them as well if we did.

            I think Fairbanks would vie Yakutsk a run for the money back in the day before climate change.

    • Ivory:

      And you construe blaming the pilot sands the Airlines as competent ?

      Boeing can remove the CEO right now, they choose not to.

      And how many new teams have we had that do the same thing (muck it up?)

      There is rot at the core.

    • Yep, let it blow over and dump the keep players with a trifling $50m payoff to ameliorate their anguish.

  22. As a passenger without particular technical expertise, I feel that the software issue has been worked on thoroughly and the plane will be safe to fly in this respect when it is brought back on line. But I am very concerned that authorities do not appear concerned with the risk of an engine explosion damaging cables without which the plane cannot stay in the air. We know from experience that engines break up on occasion while releasing a large amount of shrapnel. This being said, it is possible that the issue is worked on quietly but it is rather unsettling that neither Boeing nor FAA are saying much of anything about it.

    • Will software solve the difficult to turn trim wheel? That seems to be being overlooked too.

      • RM:

        Several of us continue to bring it up if you read the posts.

      • @Thiery:

        I am pondering that one but I am not concerned.

        What happens if a pulley breaks? You still do not have a working system.

        I think any issues can be worked out with shielding not what the FAA suggested which is nuts.

        Going that route is so horribly expensive and time consumption would mean no MAX and no Boeing single aisle for 5 years minimum. If it has to go that way I am ok with it but if not?

        Incredible impact on Commercial Airlines if only Airbus is making SA.

        • If shielding takes care of the risk, then this is fine with me. My concern though is that authorities do not seem interested in addressing the issue at all.

          • I think we can clearly expect that the EASA will address it if its deemed an issue if the FAA does not.

            What happens is that everyone throws out the baby with the bathwater when this stuff happens.

            All sorts of 737 NG breakdowns hit the news after the MAX crashes, when in fact they were zero related to the MAX.

            Also keep in mind the MAX has no meteor protection. Want to guess what would happen if one hit a MAX in flight like hit Russia a while back?

            Ooops, no plane has meteor protection.

            As was noted, life is a risk and not dismissing the tragedy of the two MAX crashes, there is not zero risk.

            My wife was on an A320 when it had a nasty software bug of some kind I was not happy about they gave them 5 years to correct.

            If there had been a crash and it had any relation to it the *(*&^ would have hit the fan. Rightfully so.

            There are far more ADs and crap shoots going on with aircraft than the public knows .

            A good shot of whisky helps (my mother flew for many with Mini whisky drinks for years on what we called Eye Yei Yei Airlines) no other choice.

          • On the pprune blog in the Rumour and News thread on 737 max are several posts by a retired Boeing type who was very familiar with the concepts and requirements re turbine disk failures. They are much diffferent than blade faillures which can genereally be shielded by the cowling and such shielding is an absolute requirement. BUT there is NO practical shielding for a turbine disk failure due to the tremendous amounts of energy involved. Adding maybe 4 to 6 inches of tank armour plate MIGHT work to deflect or stop or mitigate somewhat the damage.
            Anything less is more likely to resemble the classic hit knife thru butter for wing box, spars, fuselage, etc.
            From memory having read that post- thje probability of a turbine disk failure is such that it meets certain definitions re class of failure that is alllowed because of no practical method of protection is possible- and the ‘ fix’ is to be VERY careful as to inspection, manufacture, design, and lifetime issues.

            If an 18 wheeler at 80 mph hits a vw at 30 miles per hour in the opposite direction,airbags and bumpers dont mean much.. the fix is to avoid head on collisions . .

          • Bubba: Thank you, I tend to forget the difference between the two.

  23. Is Boeing fundamentally driven by the love of the product or the love of money? With the 747, 757/67, it seems like the enthusiasm to create a new product was a more powerful force. Like Steve Jobs and Apple, where the ultimate product and design was the main purpose.

    If Boeing was making 10B a year, and invested half of that in new aircraft, they could launch a new aircraft every five years. Instead they followed the McDD playbook, the game of maximizing return on minimal investment. This may be doomed to failure in the long run.

    • To me this is the most powerful comment re Boeing, there was a time where you felt that the product was everything……

  24. How may of the ‘investors’ know much?

    Seems a guessing saga, with further revelations every month.

    Good news that Boeing now plans to change system architecture to operate both FCCs simultaneously and cross-compare. How long SW design and the various stages of testing will take is difficult to predict.

    is a good article, you have to read it thoroughly to grasp it. For example, it talks about bit flip but then talks about mitigations – headline writers will miss the second part.

    • The Professional investors know. They ignore it. Remember the New York Pyramid scheme that they gave people who were on the sucky side money back on when the guarantee was like 20%?

      Any investor will tell you that is absolute B S

      A lot of mutual funds are wrapped in packages so those investors don’t know unless they read the fine print each month as they shift around.

      So yes Pros know Boeing accounting and returns are flawed. They just hope not to get caught out.

    • Too little, too late.

      There is a big reason why Saturn V used 3 computers and a voting system (see video mentioned above). One corrupt computer out of three is not killing the mission. With just two computers will the pilots have to throw a dime?

      The MAX needs MCAS. I have no problem about that but no matter how a MAX flies, by wire or by cable, the system has to be solid. With just two computers you even half the expected time for a failure because each computer failure is a complete system failure. With three computers two systems have to fail at the same time.

      • You clearly do not understand the basics of a mechanical system vs a FBW system.

        Read Bjorns or SATCOM guy write ups on it.

        You are trying to compare Apples and Coconuts .

      • Problem is that Boeing wanted to put a piece of FBW technology like MCAS (and of course hiding it, denying a proper training etc. etc. but these is apart) to the 1960s steel cable technology like 737 with rudimentary FCC concept.

        If you would like to explain something I’ll be also happy to hear it.

        • Pablo: It would take a book at this point to try to explain.

          You seem to not get that the computer interface was there all along, its called Speed Trim.

          It affects how fast response is deg per second wise based on low speed (lots) or high speed (less) as the air flow over the Stabilizer has a dramatic affect.

          MCAS simply inserted a piece of software logic (or illogical in MCAS 1.0) to address the pitch up at stall (airplane rarely stall and when they do its a result of out of contro9l in all axis not just pitch)

          The paths to redundancy are dramatically different in a 737 mechanical system vs a FBW.

          I have a push button phone system at home, it works every bit as good as a smart phone (better in that I don’t have connection issues or drop outs)

          With a change from hard lien to use of a Cable Modem, it now has an add in backup system to maintain the robust nature of a hard line telephone system that the land lines have built in.

          It works fine.

          737 MCAS done right would have been a zero issue.

          They screwed up the logic horribly, that does not mean it won’t work done right nor its worse than A320 FBW that is all software and you hope there is not a hidden bug that is fatal in it and all its backup systems.

          • @TransWorld

            Obvious things you write. Of course MCAS is a piece of software, and this piece of software, as a software, is inside a computer.

            Boeing was playing with FBW technology without proper FBW redundancy (MCAS relayed on 1 sensor output) and proper FBW robustness (when FBW FCCs are checking hundreds times per second all sensors, all outputs, and crosschecking itself etc.).

          • Pablo:

            That goes back to the hear of the problem that you won’t read up on how the MAX and its mechanical logic/controls are totally different approach to safety than FBW.

            If you read what Bjorn has written, FBW cannot fly with its computers down.

            A 737 can.

          • @TransWorld

            I was talking about MCAS as piece of FBW technology without proper FBW redundancy and robustness. Not B vs A, and which one has bigger balls.

            A320 can be flown in the direct law which is very similar to 737 steel cable manual mode.

          • Pablo:

            I am not talking bigger balls

            I am tlaking if the A320 looses all its computers (or any FBW) then it can’t land, it can barely fly.

            Philip makes a huge whoppew deal about how unsale the 737 is.

            It can fly fine in manual with no computers.

            So yes this is a fundamental aspect.

            With FBW you have to have far more layers of backup in computers, hydraulics and electrics.

            Ask yourself, FBW two out of 3 agree the third is ugly and vote the third one out, then what happens when the two disagree with each other?

            Of course there is a fix but then the third one quits.

            Are we in trouble yet or not?

            The 737 has known issues. The FBW has possible ones and its all software. You hope its written right.

            And there have been more than one that were not that did not go fatal but could have that weere corrected.

            And as noted, the one on my wife’s flight they had years to fix and it was a nasty one. So you tell me, known issue or possible?

          • @TransWorld

            If, if, if… That’s why FBW has a lots of layers of protection, and MCAS as a piece of FBW also shall have but doesn’t, and in the end there is in Aibus “direct law” and RAT as support.

        • Pablo, TW, So, how do folks make sure Boeing does it right this time? Has anything in the verification process changed? Not that I’m aware of. It’s still is a Designated Engineering Representative (DER)

          signing off the certification who reports to a Boeing manager. Isn’t it?
          For software that can’t been seen, hiding away in electronic chips controlling the pitch with no direct OFF switch for the software, except for turning off the electric motor assist system entirely. The logic for this system, isn’t published.
          So, trust in whatever Boeing want’s to release to the pilots, or not even tell the pilots. Has anything changed? Who knows? The FAA? EASA? All of these control functions of software is completely hidden from the airlines and pilots. I think there needs to be more visibility. To at least the airlines and pilots flying the aircraft. At the very least, the logic flow chart of the program controlling the flight surfaces. Boeing put in a control system to an aircraft, without pilots even knowing it was there. It’s very intent was to hide a pitching up motion from the pilots. Can Boeing do something like this again? What’s to stop them? Who’s actually looking over their work? How many people have actually seen the new MCAS 2.0 code or functionality? I’m very interested in seeing if Boeing changes the switch settings to the Cutout Stab Trim. If they don’t allow an OFF switch to MCAS 2.0, and the only option for pilots is to try and use manual trim wheel, (if they can) then an another ET302 situation may have the pilots trapped again. How fast can a pilot change the stabilizer with just the trim wheel? Not fast enough in the pitch up situation problem with the 737-MAX.

          • Richard:

            Mostly fair points.

            But, keep in mind, pilots do not stall large commercial aircraft.

            Its not impossible to stall, it is far outside your normal operating envelope so you have to try to stall it.

            The only exception is when you read aspects such as this one


            So yes they stalled but clearly they had lost situational awareness and were going to crash regardless.

            Loss of situation awareness is pilot speak for you are totally disoriented because you are not flying by your instruments (IFR) and you think you know what attitude the aircraft is in when in fact your inner ear is screaming and inducing Vertigo) .

            I have 20 or 40 hours on instruments. It takes huge discipline to fly by them when your inner ear tells you that you are upside down you have to ignore it.

            Human beings were not intended to fly, let alone in clouds. You really need to do blind flying to understand, so trust me, it cannot be done unless you have instruments. 5 Seconds into a cloud and you have not a clue if you are upside down, 90 degree bank.

            Old barnstormers if caught above a cloud deck would put the aircraft into a spin (known orientation) and hope that the cloud bottom was above the ground high enough to recover.

            You also miss the role of the elevator in this.

            If you approach a stall, you push forward on the Yoke which pitches the plane down. You are not trimming most likely unless there is some anticipation .

            Once the stall horn goes off you push the yoke full forward.

            You will only see that in a simulator. If you see it flying you are likely toast as total disorientation is the issue not stall.

          • @TransWorld. We don’t know enough about the pitch up event on the MAX. Does it get aggressive before or after the stick shaker warning? If before the stick shaker, then I assume MCAS 1.0 was there to help ‘feelability’ for the pilot, so he doesn’t inadvertently pull the plane up more than he’d want to. If it’s after stick shaker, then by that time, you must have run out of elevator authority to pitch the plane down quickly after a second of response time and need the added force of the stabilizer. It would be nice to have some 737-MAX pilots give their thoughts after a true 737-MAX simulator training. Am I correct in that there are only a couple of true 737-MAX simulators? One in Renton WA and one in Miami FL?

          • Richard – as I understand it, DERs approve or recommend approval of technical data to the FAA (not, or as well as, Boeing?).
            See FAA website: FAA Home ▸ All Visitors ▸ Aviation Industry ▸ Designees & Delegations ▸ Individual Designees ▸ Designated Engineering Representatives (DER):
            “DERs are appointed by the FAA engineering field office responsible for the geographic area in which they reside. These designees have an Advisor at their managing office who is their point of contact at the FAA. An Advisor will be assigned who has the same technical discipline as the DER.”

          • @Pundit, yes the DER program (Designated Engineering Representative) program has been in use for decades. But, at Boeing, a change was made in their reporting chain. Instead of the DER’s being able to interface directly with the FAA, they were told to interface with Boeing managers, who would then interface with the FAA. The direct line of communication between a Boeing DER and the FAA was broken. Boeing management was inserted between the two and may have filtered what was communicated. This may seem subtle but, it can put a Boeing manager working at cross purposes. I’d like to see Boeing move back to having their DER’s report directly to the FAA, not through Boeing management.
            an exert from here
            To paraphrase a relevant FAA directive, a designee must have the ability to maintain the highest degree of objectivity, adequate time to perform assigned duties, and adequately represent the FAA. Also, no one MAY force a designee to approve technical data that (s)he hasn’t had enough time to review, or doesn’t find to comply with the applicable regulations. A designee must also report any coercion by an applicant to the FAA. When a designee complains of undue pressure from an employer, the FAA takes it very seriously and will investigate and take appropriate action when needed.

          • @Richard Davenport

            Only one functional MAX simulator exists, and it is in Renton :/ as far as I know.

            I would like to know too how much prone to stall is MAX without MCAS and how easy/hard to counteract in pre-stall conditions. But all is hidden.

          • @Pundit

            New DER as @Richard pointed out has strong reliability issues when instead talk with open mind with FAA you talk to your manager which is saying you all again “hurry, cheap”.

            Boeing is not Toyota and New DER is a clear danger in their hands – MAX fiasco has proven it. Unfortunately there is 777x coming with the same New DER underlying problem.

          • FD:

            You simply do not seem to get that you don’t fly a plane anywhere NEAR stall let alone at stall unless its a training (small aircreat) or in a simulator. All our training is to STAY AWAY from a stall.

            The only reaons we fly stall is so you know what it is and what to do about it if you are boneheaded enough to get there.

            Stick shaker is going to trigger before stall. Probably 5 knots.

            When MCAS kicks in is not an issue, its going to do it before stall or the pitch up occurs and probably aftger stick shaker as well otherwise its of no use.

            Getting down to the nit noid of it makes no difference other than to the programing and where it inserts.

            MCAS 1.0 is (was not) a fealibty thing. It was a major trim move.

            And at this point all the quibbles are a waste. they know what the issues were, they are fixing them and making other changes to improve it (which should have been done long ago)

            How they got to this mess is critically important as it needs to be corrected.

            That is both an FAA issue and a Boeing issue.

            Both have to be fixed to try to ensure safe future.

            All this slicing and dicing does not change that. You are focusing on the tree and missing the Forrest (which is on fire and about to smoke you) .

          • @TransWorld. We don’t know the details of the pitch up force that the new engine size and placement causes. Boeing may. That seems to be the intent of MCAS. When a stick shaker activates, I’m sure most every pilot would push the elevator control down in less than a second. MCAS was meant to avoid the lightening of the feel on the yoke, near stall, or avoid the stall itself or both. Test pilots at Boeing wanted a change, some (Ray Craig), not wanting a software fix but, a hardware fix. A speed change to MCAS was decided upon. Can the 737-MAX elevator, by itself, recover from stick shaker in all normal configurations? If not, then MCAS would seem to be flight critical. As it would require another flight surface to affect pitch quickly. If the elevator can recover from stick shaker activation, in all normal configurations, then why not have MCAS feed into the feelability computer and only affect the yoke force, not fire off the stabilizer motor at high speed?
            Then MCAS would not be flight critical. My guess is that MCAS is flight critical because of the way it was designed (maybe that’s why you can’t turn it off? That would violate the FAR’s), and the way Boeing is not even thinking of replacing it or reconfiguring it to only modify column force. It’s still going to be controlling a primary flight surface.

  25. Outsider looking in regarding BA.
    There would seem to be two different kinds of BA aircraft.

    1) Take the money and run, unloved as soon as the sales run out to be consigned to the attic and forgotten about.
    2) Old stagers with a fan club and plenty of fond memories.

    Type 1 = B707, B727, B787
    The B787 will be forgotten about as the 250T lard bucket TA dies a natural death.

    Type 2 = B747, B757 and possibly the B777.

    The B767 is an orphan child in that it was never a market leader and it has always played second string to the A330.

    As for the B737 it started out as a second string parts bin special cobbled together to keep the DC9 honest and it has grown into a non trendy grandad personality.

    Just a thought, small pebble in a very large pond.

    • FBOT: Still laughing about all the posting and percentage analysis you did a while back.

      The 767 was a market leader. It blew the socks off the A300/310 and forced Airbus to come out with the A330. Turned out good for Airbus with the 787 meltdown. You do know it sold 1000 and counting air-frames? Freight outfits can’t get enough (some are even so desperate they are looking at A330s!)

      Wow, a lot of hate for the 787 which looks to bui9ld 2500 or more.

      • For me, as a passenger, the problem is that economy seats are incredibly narrow in the 787. It does not matter which airline you fly – if you are in economy in a 787, your neighbor’s elbows will be in your ribs for the duration of the flight. On the other hand, I love the 767 and I desperately look for it when making a reservation. Unfortunately, it is becoming rarer and rarer in the fleets.

    • I believe with A220 Republic wanted to jump over a US-airlines-scope-clauses and/or was waiting for a wind of change as many – but unfortunately couldn’t wait more – so it got back to less favorable but available E175 solution. Life.

  26. CNBC did a story today on what airlines are doing to get more seats due to the B737 MAX grounding. I would have thought they would be bringing available 737 Classics out, or MD80s. Actually, this one small operator in Canada has his fleet of B737-200s book for most of the rest of the year…

    • Ak Airlines is bring Q400 back into the system to fill in (they had a MAX due in July and will miss a couple more)

      Like the 787 RR issue, you shift and adjust as best you can.

      AK plan is to dropping 3 A320 in 2020, it all depends on who they go to and the receivie as to if they can hold them or not.

      You can bet aircraft coming off lease are a hot commodity in SA now.

      Owners of said aircraft can also make their terms high (yea you can keep it but we want 5 years of lease not 2.)

  27. This is a cautionary tale on software

    I had a guy do that on a fuel pump once. You cold not lock up the but if the was an alarm (low fuel).

    So he disconnected the alarm.

    Which meant the fuel pump could run even with no fuel.

    In the case of the A340, it would be better to write logic so yo had more than one input telling you the aircraft was in the air.

    Squat switches and a radar altimeters reading.

    Sure made a mess of that A340. I had seen the back side pictures but not the front over the wall.


      This happened during noise measurements for certification because a kind ( but unqualified ) soul hacked the motor control software to allow higher speeds than configured in SW
      at the station entry to allow for the certification crew to get out of the rain ( under the stations weather roof for the test run).
      Operative control system was layered on top. the guy had first degraded the control system to some “direct law” equivalence.
      Then poked a max speed limit up ( he had seen the designing engineer do that under different circumstances), unfortunately into the negative inverting the breaking logic on the way. ( i.e. too fast _and_ further acelleration instead of breaking.

      to witt: there is small chance to effectively keep imbeciles away from action. So see that in geopolitics too in the last couple decades.”we will be greeted with flowers, haha”

    • @TransWorld

      You will never do a fully-idiot-proof system, you can only try 😉

      • Pablo:

        You are preaching to the Quire my friend. I worked with automated controls system for 30 some years.

        I had one guy who decided he would ensure no one could hit the roll up doors. I told him he was spitting into the wind.

        As an example, I saw a Tug approach once of the doors one day that had a snow berm in front of it. He blasted through the berm and began full braking.

        He knew how the door worked and he actually made it, the door just cleared the hood of the tug and then the cab as he went under.

        The timing was insane. One fraction of a second hesitation on the door loop sensor or a bit less traction for breaking and ………………

        That is why you use layers of safety. Any one may fail or be subverted, but all of them in line can stop propagation into a failure.

        I worked on a paper slicing machine one time. To operate you had to push two safety buttons.

        I had to beat on the operates that to to ensure one was bad and closed contact , you did an initial test of one at a time. If any one let it cycle the blade you downed the machine until you had it fixed.

        I had one bright controls guy who wired up the boiler operating controls in parleal with the boiler thermostat. You don’t do that, you wire it up in series and set the boiler thermostat to max.

        In this case he drove it through to the safety (which worked thank the powers that be ) as he had the discharge sensor located in a combined outlet from the two boilers.

        What he did was created a situation where the safety was the operating control (which is forbidden)

        So yea, been there, done that box of T shirts

      • Pablo:

        One of the problems is that we are put into sitguation that require byapssing a safety systgem. The best answer is to have that bypass built in so there is a way to do what we need done.

        I wokred on a system that had foam pumps. As the places was used for shows, they wanted tghe foam pumps off.

        So we pulled the main feeds to the pumps as those are not monitored.

        The system looked fine, no foam.

        You had to hook them back up when it went back to being used as a normal hangar.

        We could pull the power at the disocnect but that showed up as a system fault.

        The monitoring was done miles away (and then stateside) , the fear was they wold ignore an alarm so the management wanted the system normal.

        Swinging gear on an aircraft is a routine operation.

        But you have to fool the aircraft into thinking its in the air as you do not want the gear going up unless jack are under it.

        Its an issue and can be a slipper slope. I have no pat answers. Idea yes but no pat answers

        • @TransWorld

          One of the safety layers is not to allow idiots to touch planes – no matter if they are Boeing managers, engineers or Airbus technicians. There is always someone who can make something impossible into possible – it has been called sabotage in past.

          • No, its a case of “To Operate Something is Human”

            We have layers of safety so that if one is blown the next one catches the situation.

            People think they have a great idea and it bites.

            If there is a need to bypass one part, you should have a mechanim in place to allow that and still maintain your safety

            Read the Maconda report. Something like 6 layers were screwed up to get the blowout.

            Each one was done with, well we have the Blow Out Valve in worst case.

            Sigh, the blowout valve was compromised as well (bad pun)

      • Richard – thank you for your DER response and guidance (above, no place for response there…). I do seem to recognize much of that ODA content but certainly had not recalled it. Having cut my teeth on European airliner production/final-assembly lines I am entirely familiar with an OEM inspection department that ensures manufacturing compliance with design – and of course the design is approved by the regulator… Thanks again.

      • Yep peter has an excellent understanding and his comments re software are reasonable.

        But how does software fix the near useless manual trim wheel at any reasonable flight speed? Especially since it is well known that under some ( rare) conditions it takes two and even then there may not be enough time ..

        But there is maybe a possibility that they can put the switches back to the NG configuration which alllow otto pilot 🙂 to be cut off and leave the trim switches on ???

        otherwise – some sort of ‘ assist ‘ – hardware change is needed – on all NG and MAX ??

        • Bubba: It does not, but it makes the 737 work the way it should have all along.

          Frankly I have not good thoughts on the manual trim, I need to see what the regulators have to say about it and the experts weight in.

          They did know about it when it was implemented, not an excuse but a fact.

          There is also the iffy part of its ops being changed in the Flight Simulators. That is possibly criminal. The issue conveniently goes away.

          I am holding pat right now to see what comes out of the first reviews.

          • They must change the stab trim cutout switches back to the way they are on the NG. If any part of the A/P fails, not just MCAS, the pilot is stuck with the smaller, manual trim wheel. Boeing took away the ability of using the electric yoke trim switch without the A/P. WHY? This is dumb. At least give them the option of using the manual/electric yoke trim switch. As the MAX stab trim switches are wired now, they don’t have that choice. It’s all or nothing. Either they use the A/P or they are left with the smaller manual trim wheel.

          • Find this of interest re trim on 737 and EASA concerns see page 15


            Explanatory Note to TCDS IM.A.120 – Boeing 737 Issue 10

            This annex to the EASA TCDS IM.A.120 was created to publish selected special conditions / deviations / equivalent safety findings that are part of the applicable certification basis:
            B-05/MAX: Longitudinal trim at Vmo
            Boeing B737-7/-8/-9
            CS 25.161(a), CS 25.161(c)(3), CS 25.1301(a) and CS 25.1309(a)
            The aisle stand trim switches can be used to trim the airplane throughout the flight envelope and fully complies with the reference regulation Simulation has demonstrated that the thumb switch trim does not have enough authority to completely trim the aircraft longitudinally in certain corners of the flight envelope, e.g. gear up/flaps up, aft center of gravity, near Vmo/Mmo corner, and gear down/flaps up, at speeds above 230 kts.
            In those cases, longitudinal trim is achieved by using the manual stabilizer trim wheel to position the stabilizer. The trim wheel can be used to trim the airplane throughout the entire flight envelope. In addition, the autopilot has the authority to trim the airplane in these conditions.
The reference regulation and policy do not specify the method of trim, nor do they state that when multiple pilot trim control paths exist that they must each independently be able to trim the airplane throughout the flight envelope.
            Boeing did not initially consider this to be a compliance issue because trim could always be achieved, even during the conditions where use of the aisle stand trim switch was required. Subsequent to flight testing, the FAA-TAD expressed concern with compliance to the reference regulation based on an interpretation of the intent behind “trim”. The main issue being that longitudinal trim cannot be achieved throughout the flight envelope using thumb switch trim only.
            EASA POSITION
            Boeing set the thumb switch limits in order to increase the level of safety for out-of-trim dive characteristics (CS 25.255(a)(1)). The resulting thumb switch limits require an alternative trim method to meet CS 25.161 trim requirements in certain corners of the operational envelope.
            The need to use the trim wheel is considered unusual, as it is only required for manual flight in those corners of the envelope.
            The increased safety provided by the Boeing design limits on the thumb switches (for out-of-trim dive characteristics) provides a compensating factor for the inability to use the thumb switches throughout the entire flight envelope. Furthermore, the additional crew procedures and training material will clearly explain to pilots the situations where use of the trim wheel may be needed due to lack of trim authority with the wheel mounted switches.
            The trim systems on the 737Max provide an appropriate level of safety relative to longitudinal trim capability.

            Disclaimer – This document is not exhaustive and it will be updated gradually. Page 15 of 114


            Cant find the basic document

      • Interesting. Completely redesigning the architecture from one channel to two channels in a few months? We were previously told it was just the alpha vane, not everything.

        I admit it’s better. But I don’t think it can be done in a few months.

        We were told the control logic change for the alpha vane. Specifically if the alpha vanes disagree by given amount turn off MCAS. Still inadequate for me, but better than nothing. But the question is: what are the control logic changes for everything else? Is it, as suggested by the article, if anything disagrees, turn the computers off and let the pilots fly the airplane.

        Shouldn’t the pilots be allowed to turn the computers off and be allowed to fly the airplane?

        Doesn’t this entirely new architecture need an entirely new flight test programme?

        I did say that if the regulators designated MCAS as a critical/primary system in some manner, Boeing would need to make it a redundant fail-safe system.

        If the article is right, the regulators have designated MCAS as critical/primary in some manner.

        They have equally said the pilots are not the fail-safe with regard to uncommanded stabiliser deflections; one in three pilots failed to recover, even though they knew what was coming.

        So if the computers are turned off and the pilots are not the fail-safe, then what is the fail-safe in uncommanded stabiliser deflections?

        I’m not arguing with Peter Lemme. He appeared to be stunned, like me. He’s entirely right that a two channel solution is far, far better.

        Great article, and Peter Lemme’s input was fabulous. But it does come across to me as if anything disagrees turn off the computers and let the pilots fly the airplane. That comes across as desperation

        If true, the article does make clear the regulators have agreed nothing. The regulators are pointing out the problems and waiting to see what Boeing come up with.

        My suggestion to Boeing: Fix the cause and not the symptoms.

        • Phlip:

          I gather you are not aware that small aircraft the pilots do fly the airplane?

          Pilots have been flying airplane since, well the Wright Brothers.

          Turn the computers off on a 737 and you can fly it.

          Turn them off on an A320 (or any other FBW) and you can’t.

          And you still calim an A320 is stable? Whoeeee.

          • @TransWorld
            But, not being able to turn off the computers (MCAS) on a 737-MAX and you can’t fly it…… The ET302 pilots tried. I want the ability returned, to turn off the AP and fly the plane. As it has been on the NG and every 737 before the MAX.

          • transworld said ” Turn the computers off on a 737 and you can fly it.

            Turn them off on an A320 (or any other FBW) and you can’t. ”

            AFIK the airbus does revert to a direct electrical to hydraulic or electric servo to minimum control surface- no computer..

      • TransWorld,

        If you remember soon after the Lion Air crash I vehemently made clear that the pilots must be allowed to fly the airplane if they wanted to fly the airplane. The Lion Air airplane crashed on a clear, calm day with a clear horizon. If the pilots had control they would have got there airplane home.

        You, TransWorld, vehemently opposed me on the grounds Boeing can do no wrong.

        But to the serious stuff.

        The pilots must be allowed to turn off the computers and parts of the functionality provided by the computers themselves. In other words, the pilots must be allowed to turn off MCAS.

        So I’m still at odds with Boeing. Specifically, the article says the computers turn themself off if there is flight data disagreement but it doesn’t say the pilots can turn off the computers.

        In other words, in my view, the pilots are the final fail–safe. I have never, repeat never, said anything else and never will.

        So the pilots must be allowed to address runaway trim stabiliser (uncommanded stabilise defection). The means manual trim must work in a timely manner. This in turn means manual trim must be powered assisted even when the computers are turned off.

        But then I come to the elephant in the room.

        Pitch instability. It’s one thing flying an airplane on a calm, clear day with a clear horizon. It’s another flying an airplane in a storm. Pitch instability means it will pitch up and down like a seesaw. If the pitch instability is bad then the airplane will be thrown up and down in a bad storm.

        So the question that is the elephant in the room. Can the pilots correct the pitching motion quickly enough to prevent a stall? Is the airplane responsive enough to allow the pilots to correct the pitching motion quickly enough to prevent a stall? Remember the computers are turned off so the pilots are flying the airplane. Therefore no MCAS.

        Afterall MCAS was put in place because of pitch instability.

  28. Boeing’s ability to deliver stored aircraft is one thing; the customers’ ability to absorb what could amount to their entire order backlog at once is another.

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