Pontifications: Muilenburg reaffirms MAX hopes, NMA ambiguity and 777X delay

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 12, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg so far is sticking to a previously timeline in which the company expects to turn over to the Federal Aviation Administration next month the software fixes for the 737 MAX.

He continues to hope that this results in the lifting of the FAA’s grounding order and return to service (RTS) in the early fourth quarter.

He also sticks to the long-offered entry-into-service timeline of 2025 (though previously indicated there could be some slippage) if Boeing proceeds with the New Midmarket Aircraft, for which the business case still hasn’t closed.

And finally, he reaffirmed that first flight of the 777X will slip to early next year.

He made the remarks Aug. 7 during an appearance of a Jeffries Co. investors conference.

None of this was news, actually. All had been discussed on the July 27 2Q2019 earnings call. But this all served as a reaffirmation for the MAX information, where things are so fluid that new information sometimes emerges day after day.

737 MAX

While Muilenburg reaffirmed the timeline of software handover and hoped-for RTS for the MAX, an FAA official after the earnings call said the agency is not wedded to the timing outlined by Boeing.

“Early fourth quarter” RTS is a subjective term, but by my definition, this would mean October. November would be mid-fourth quarter and December late fourth quarter.

People I’ve talked to think it will take the FAA 6-8 weeks to flight test and review Boeing’s software fixes. The clock starts ticking when Boeing hands over the software. So, when in September this handover occurs dictates when to start the calendar.

And, as Muilenburg acknowledged, there are no guarantees about the outlined timeline.

Furthermore, the FAA’s action lifting the grounding order may or may not immediately be followed by other regulators.

US carriers said it will take them 45-60 days to return the grounded airplanes to service. Produced but stored MAXes, like the grounded airplanes, have to be “unpickled” and software installed before delivery.

Newly produced MAXes presumably would come off the assembly line with the software installed, ready for immediate delivery. Then it’s just a matter of pilot training before these go into service.

I see a scenario where the newly produced MAXes could be the first ones back in service.

NMA: To be or Not To Be

Muilenburg, as throughout the MAX crisis, told the Jeffries conference that NMA is on the back burner while focus is on MAX.

Nevertheless, “We do have a dedicated team on NMA, ongoing discussions, still working on 2025 EIS to protect schedule while work business case. If it makes sense, we’ll go, if not we have other business investments we can make,” he said. He didn’t explain what “other business investments” means.

LNA has been and remains convinced Boeing has to proceed with the NMA for the strategic future of the company.


As for the 777X, Muilenburg essentially repeated what was said on the July 27 earnings call.

Boeing is working through two paths to get the 777X ready for flight: system integration tests and engines. Component durability issues with the engines delayed the first flight until early next year.

Originally, first flight had been expected about April, so early next year suggests a delay of at least nine months. Muilenburg said first delivery is planned for the end of next year. Our market intelligence indicates Boeing told the first customers December is the target delivery date. (I think it won’t be until January.)

How can this be achieved with the long delay in flight testing?

Boeing is using the test airplanes produced to reduce risk by doing all the ground testing it can now.

But Muilenburg acknowledged lots of flight test “schedule pressure.”


174 Comments on “Pontifications: Muilenburg reaffirms MAX hopes, NMA ambiguity and 777X delay

  1. How can Muilenberg remain in his job? He’s overseen the largest financial disaster to hit Boeing ever, he has been evasive and arrogant about it (like blaming the pilots for the Max crashes!), and has allowed some really bad production issues (particularly in Charleston) to continue. All this usually stems from bad leadership at the top.

    • He has to stay until all the mess is resolved as a ‘clean sweep’ he becomes the one associated with the issues. Sack him now, you would have to sack his replacement also.

      I’m sure he will be well-compensated.

      • Some bureaucracies just shove people into a different corner, Boeing did with the fool who botched 787 development, he popped up doing some sort of future planning in which he peddled the fallacy that the problem was outsourcing.

        There was a different financial arrangement with suppliers, I gather, but some were jerks who cut off their nose to spite their face – and many Boeing people were key parts of the problem.

    • As noted recently by someone else in the forum (apologies forgot whom), the form here is to allow the CEO to remain for as long as the news is bad or uncertain to give the new CEO a fresh start.

      The thing I don’t quite understand is how an Executive Chairman can be fired as they are the boss and the boss of the boss. Presumably someone whispers in his ear whilst holding a delicate part of his anatomy a bit too tightly.

      • The Board of Directors represents the stockholders, who are the owners. A majority of the Board can vote to remove the President, CEO, and/or Chairman of the Board. Usually the chairman of the Audit Committee, who is normally the senior outside (non-company) director, has a chat with the CEO where he explains there will be a special Board meeting the next day at which either the CEO’s retirement to spend more time with his family will be reluctantly accepted, or a resolution will be introduced and passed terminating his employment. His choice.

        • On a very low level I have seen the same thing.

          I saw 5 managers get out just ahead of the meltdown.

          And then the message was, we were going to deal with him but he quit.

          If anyone believes the we were going to deal with him I have a bridge I don’t own in Brooklyn New York I will happily sell them.

        • Consider most of the board of director have no commercial experience how are they going to choose a successful successor. I don’t think Nikki Haley and Caroline Kennedy can step in to run the company in the interim. Which leads to the real question to the stockholders, when are you going to elect board members that can contribute industry insight (engineering and marketing), instead of picking yes men and women who collect $350k a year to sit on the board!

          • I suspect people Nikki Haley and Caroline Kennedy are there to make sure that Boeing gets the legislation it needs. Maybe they can help ensure a defence contract goes ahead and that Tarrif’s are applied. I imagine they are utterly useless in terms of running a complicated manufacturing system, ensuring designs are verified comprehensively etc. Franz Josef Strauss of course was a mover and shaker behind Airbus and knew how to game the system.

        • I’m prepared to give Muilenburg the benefit of the doubt. He became CEO on 1st March in 2016. The MAX had been flying the month previous since January 29th of that year and had been launched by McNerney 5 years earlier in 2011 just as the B787 was entering airline service. Muilenburg doesn’t strike me as the kind to create a mess like we are seeing but he does seem to have been gobsmacked by the mess he inherited, initially repeatedly underestimating the size of the problem. He’s a dairy farmers son come up through the ranks, starting with a Boeing scholarship and is a Boeing lifer. Everyone always wants to scalp the CEO but sometimes it isn’t the CEO’s fault. Yes, they’ll blame the CEO but they won’t blame the diversity and inclusion policy or anything else like the previous boards failure to fund a NSA. A B737 with the B787 FBW FCS would have been stunningly effective.

          • I don’t blame him for the design flaws, what we can look to hold him to account for is the woeful attitude shown to the situation he found himself in. He was a walking automaton spouting legalistic half truths to protect Boeing from an indefensible position. His stance is what has brought Boeing to a position where the very integrity of how it operates has been called into question. If he had held up his hand at the beginning instead of obfuscating and apportioning blame we would be somewhere near the end of the tunnel by now. Poor judgement, A complete absence of integrity. No leadership.

          • William: The Captain of the ship is responsible even if its an idiot that causes the wreck.

            If Mulenberg had gone into the company and even tried to correct the faults, then there would be an excuse.

            He did not, it was same oh same oh and then the god awful press conferences that put the nail in his coffin.

            Inept and Incompetent yes, but that does not mean he should stay on.

            The Blood is on his hands.

  2. There is a chance the 797 is already designed and as manufacturing robotics evolve new requirements on the design for manufacturability is introduced in the CAD models and goes thru the analysis rounds while the robots are swapped out as new models that are quicker and more precise are introduced.
    The 777-9 should be able to do 1hr jumps as the GE9X Engines most likely can be inspected after each flight to clear it for another. The GE9X most likley failed late in type test so grounding it on the 797 and stopping flight tests for 1/2 year seems very conservative if there are 2 brand new GE9X Engines on the first 777-9.

    • The pitfalls of “working the drawer” for a new design have been apparent on the 787 : Nicely in your face the battery chemistry / charger issues that lead to the Dreamliner being grounded.
      ( another aspect is water cooled electronics, one generation on and that would no longer have been necessary.)

      Another example is the A380.
      Its premature existence before its demand window really opened has similar effects.

      Design details are not as technologically up to date as they could have been.

      • The latest digital design tools and system analysis tools are pretty good compared to what was available 5-10 years ago.
        It still does not stop the Company from making bad decisions; bypassing steps in your own checklists; defining control logics sloppy; overcomplicate systems or doing lifing analysis wrong. The faster you drive the easier it is to crash…
        The F-35’s and Ford class carrier were design the “old” way but the Boeing TX seems to have used the new tools pretty well.

        • Boeing is an expensive decoration to sell a Swedish Saab design. Like Northrop Grumman was the deco for Airbus for first KC-X contest.

          Saab did very well not Boeing.

        • The F-35 and the Ford included some very advanced new tech- where the problems arose. The TX has none, its all existing tech and engines , not even advanced avionics.
          I thought it was a clever idea to have both a F16 type control stick on one side and a traditional type central control column ( Hotas) for the
          student pilot.

          • You can mess up anyway, still the F404 is not the F404 of F-18A but an evolved version with FADEC and I guess some more developments.
            It can be that Dassault tought Saab how to best use all the latest Catia systems features on the Neuron Project, then Saab showed Boeing what the French had showed them for Boeing to design their parts of the “Mirage” Trainer.

          • claes said ” It can be that Dassault tought Saab how to best use all the latest Catia systems features on the Neuron Project, then Saab showed Boeing what the French had showed them for Boeing to design their parts of the “Mirage” Trainer.”

            Uhhh Boeing has been using CATIA since the early 1980’s starting at least with 767-757, and virtually entirely for the 777 in the mid 90’s .

          • Mirage trainer, Really?
            Have you even seen a picture of the TX?
            Saab is doing the rear fuselage ,clearly using their current Gripen. No Mirage , if anything it was BAE (at the time) who helped them, as described by Flight global back in 1983

          • Of cause it is not enough to be skilled in using the latest Catia features and tricks to design an Aircraft, even though it helps especially when you assmeble all bits checked against the Catia models before assembly.
            You have the systems design with modelling; lifing of all critical parts and systems to work thru with other software packages that seems to been done pretty well by all parties, Saab, Boeing and their vendors on the TX. I agree there are other Aircraft designs much harder to do it sucessfully on. The most challenging I know of today is the SABRE Engine Project as a fully assembled and flight tested Engine or the Lookheed SR-72.

          • Interesting that USN are reverting to some manual controls from touch-screen, to give better awareness.

            Motivated by a collision in the Orient a year or three ago.

    • Heard a story the FAUB is being pulled from 777 production. If true, it shows you need to design in automation instead of putting it on 25 years old bird and hope it works. Too slow at 2-3 rivets a minute (drill and fill)

      • Pritchard said

        ” Heard a story the FAUB…… ”
        OK and what is YOUR definition of FAUB ?
        Ever hear of Gemcor ? Electro Impact ? ASAT ?

          • I suspect there is much more behind the reason for the claim that FAUB is too slow. Having been more involved in drilling and riveting issues and in composite and similar than I could possibly explain here. An average of 3 to 4/minute for that operation is over twice the ‘ old method ” for that kind of operation on a body join.

            But that method does not alllow for certain long term fatigue issues to be consistently handled- check a few facts about ‘ coldworking versus fatigue ‘ and/or the fatigue improvements re electro-impact style riveting..
            And I retired over 20 years ago while working on first 777 !!!!

  3. Maybe, I’m missing something – quite probably – but how to go about squaring the circle of the reason for grounding and whether the software fixes what’s wrong.

    There has been no report from Lion or Ethiopian crashes detailing the ultimate cause (even if MCAS seems to be the culprit). Therefore how can you make the MAX airworthy before agreeing the cause of the crashes?

    If it turns out not have been 100% the fault of MCAS – Boeing have not conceded this as far as I know – then are they addressing the right issue?

    • i read elsewhere the reports from Lion and Ethiopian will be available in September. Sorry, but I don’t remember where I read it yesterday.

    • 1971Thistle, I agree. Unless Boeing is tightly tied into the accident investigation, it does seem strange to fix a known problem, and assume it was the cause. Especially, when that plane had problems with the air speed data in previous flights, the mechanics were diagnosing the problem over multiple flights, they then finally replaced the Left AOA sensor, and they obviously still had problems with the aircraft. If it was a bad AOA sensor initially causing the bad data, and then you replaced the AOA sensor, either the replacement was incorrect, or you have two bad AOA sensors. Peter Lemme had a focused technical article on the AOA sensor that is excellent.
      But, are we jumping to conclusions, before all the facts are in, is a good question.

    • Accident reports never go down the ‘blame’ or ‘whos fault’ path.
      The words they will use will be ’cause’ but will look back at the entire airline- crew- training- maintenance- 737 flight controls etc chain.
      The worst result for Boeing will be ‘MCAS is a primary cause’, while best result for them will be a whole slew of other causes to muddy the waters around the obvious MCAS problems.
      However Boeings PR people and Boeing centered writers will be primed to spread the blame – they will use that word

    • 1971Thistle, the $billions questions to be answered about MCAS are all, basically, “why?”. As the Japanese are fond of saying, keep asking why and the *real* answer will out.

      So, why was MCAS put in? Why was it implemented so shoddily? Why was Boeing’s management interferring so badly in the engineering process to cause that? Why was Boeing’s directors / CEO not stopping them doing that? Why wasn’t the FAA fully aware of the exact specification of MCAS? Why did the FAA grant a certificate? Why is it that we should accept that the faults with MCAS are the only problems with the aircraft? Why should the rest of the design certification should go unquestioned? Why should we trust the certification process which was also applied to other Boeings in the past decade or so?

      Everyone in Boeing and the FAA is acting pretty much as if the 737MAX MCAS faults are a result of “normal” engineering difficulties. In doing so they’re asserting that they’re qualified to oversee a proper resolution of the fault.

      However, that’s likely balderdash. There’s no *proper* engineering process on the planet that would ever turn out such a poor system as MCAS 1.0. It’s inadequacies are basic and monumentally obvious. Thus we are forced to suppose that the engineering process followed was (still is?) improper. And once one accepts that, one also suspects that the answers to the questions I’ve posed above are not great, and not innocent.

      I think they’re rushing to get an excuse of a fix working, simply because to do otherwise is a tacit acknowledgement of wider problems. There’s no sense in proposing a cleaning of the stables if that’s likely to wipe out one’s own existence… In the meantime there’s several US government / prosecutorial investigations asking those “why’s”. The merest hint that any of those are answered with words such as “widespread negligence”, “deliberate deception”, “profit before safety”, etc. and one would pretty much have to conclude that neither Boeing nor the FAA are presently fit to put an aircraft into the sky.

      At that point, it’s anybody’s guess as to what will happen. Whilst the proper cause of action would be to ground all Boeings, the repurcussions of doing so are very economically significant. Politics may well insist that planes keep flying when there’s no guarantee that they are fit to do so.

      Where it might get very messy indeed is if one asks the question, why was the FAA so toothless and unable to properly oversee Boeing’s work? The only possible answer to that question, if it is indeed a question that gets prompted by the result of other inquiries, is that the various US administrations down the decades have starved the FAA of the necessary resources. Trump didn’t even appoint a head of the FAA until after the grounding. That implies that it’s the politicians’ fault. And if there’s one thing politicans (as a class of person) really, really hate it’s admitting that they collectively have fouled up badly. Being used to having to cover up things quickly they’ll kick off various smokescreen activities – inquiries, investigations – with the hope that they’ll blame someone else. What I’d really like to know is whether or not the various investigations would actually be prepared to point the finger at their ultimate paymasters…

      And at that point one really has to ask, is the USA a fit place to build aircraft any more? Because if we end up with a political class in denial about their failings to properly oversee the FAA, and we’re left with an essentially unfixed FAA with Boeing still operating pretty much the same way as it reportedly has done minus a few scapegoats sacrified to appease the baying public, the rest of the world may end up concluding that aircraft built in the USA aren’t automatically acceptable in non-US airspace; they’ll do their own certification process.

      In effect this is the current position re the MAX – the rest of the world grounded it without reference to the FAA, indeed the FAA was actively arguing against such a move. AFAIK only afterwards learned that Boeing hadn’t actually told them the full extent of MCAS’s trim interventions.

      Whilst we’re being drip fed news about the progress of the technical fix (which hasn’t been great – it’s even got worse, arguably), what we’re not hearing much about is how the FAA is going about rebuilding its reputation internationally, and what traction this is gaining. The precious few hints we have had have been encouraging. The FAA called an unprecedented gathering of regulators from around the world to discuss the MAX, and the net result of that seems to have been that the FAA has got particularly fussy about the test plan for the new build of MCAS.

      Of course, with the current trade dispute between the USA and China (one of the biggest customers for the MAX) there is great potential for the reacceptance of the FAA’s certification of the MAX being thrown into jeopardy to become a geopolitical tool. Plus China has a MAX-sized aircraft of its own to sell; what better way to do that than by hindering uptake of the MAX by whatever means whilst offering good terms for its own product?

      In this sense Boeing has lost more than words can adequately convey; Boeing’s best brand was the FAA, and now people all over are asking what was so special about the FAA and why should it be trusted? Is it really any better than, say, the CAAC (China’s FAA)? Many airlines in many countries across the world where there isn’t a strong aviation engineering tradition placed their faith in the FAA, indeed bet their passengers’ lives on the FAA, only for the FAA to let them down. For example, if you go and speak to airlines in Asia, you’ll find some pretty large Boeing customers losing a ton of money to the MAX grounding, and they’re very, very unhappy with Boeing and the FAA.

      It’s not just the fact that the aircraft is grounded. If you’re condescending about how, say, an Indonesian pilot flies a plane or how an Indonesian airline maintains its planes, you’re pretty much insulting all your Malaysian, Thai, Singaporean, Chinese, Indian, etc. customer base. Same in Africa, and indeed everywhere else. There are proper ways and means to help airlines and pilots identify and deal with company and professional inadequacies; having tame US politicians thunderously defame foreign pilots is not a proper way to do so.

      In that situation, why wouldn’t you buy Chinese airliners, and trust the word of the CAAC? Objectively speaking, would you be any worse off? Probably not.

      None of this is intended to denegrate the no doubt many talented engineers in both Boeing and the FAA, but at present the summed total of the company’s and regulator’s engineers and management and the regulator’s political oversight has already added up to a seemingly dysfunctional envinroment in which to do proper engineering and produced two fatal and very avoidable crashes.

      My only observation is that, at some level of seniority, one cannot absolve oneself of all blame for permitting an engineering process to be corrupted in the manner suspected within Boeing. It’s a very difficult thing to accept that it’s all gone badly wrong, because trying to do something about it is likely to result in a terminated career. That’s what engineering institutions are for – to be a chartered (safe) talking shop which the engineering community can use as a heavy weight counter to company malpractice. However, I don’t know how immune the US engineering institutions are from the many opportunities for being sued in the USA; probably not sufficiently so. That too is a fundamental prolem that doesn’t look good elsewhere.

      • Mathew: Quite a book.

        The one aspect is if you think the FAA is corrupt and CAAC is no worse?

        Keep in mind China has not ever certified and aircraft to Western Standards (which includes EASA)

        The 929 will go in under Russian compliance which does.

        While far from perfect, a Democracy is vastly better than a dictatorship. If you think the FAA was pressured, guess again on both the Chinese mfg and CAAC. These are not commercial products, they are national prestige.

        I would suggest closely following China and its operations such as seizing atolls 800 miles from the nearest land (and destroying pristine reefs) all based on a claim by Taiwan on a map that is laughaly called the 9 – line.

        And you can take a good look at Hong Kong (one country two systems) ala Tianeman Square.

        If the Chinese Govt feels its interests are involved, they will be cold blooded ruthless, legitimate or not.

        10s of thousand die in China each year due to contamination of food supply. They killed pets in the US with that sort of stuff.

        • I’m suggesting that, with the FAA have failed very publicly in its hitherto vaunted role of Making Sure of Aircraft Safety, and seemingly pretending that nothing is wrong, there may be those willing to give the Chinese the benefit of the doubt, a trial run, as they’ve not done that.

          Yes standards and standards adherence in China are often far from ideal. Yes, the political system is not conducive to proper engineering either. But they do know that there’s no business like good business, especially if it’s fast, profitable business, the kind of business opportunity that arises when an incumbent has done so badly as to near vacate themselves from the business altogether. There is a very good reason for them to shape up and ship out decent aircraft, they probably sense that, and are probably as we speak bending over backwards to make sure that their aircraft comes up to scratch.

          If they can do this faster than the FAA / Boeing can rebuild their reputaions, well, Boeing won’t ever be able to compete. That’ll become geopolitical like nothing we’ve already seen.

          If (and I acknowledge that there is a big if indeed) all this does come to pass, this perhaps is the fullest possible extent of the headache that Boeing has created for Uncle Sam to field. Avoiding this outcome ought to be a very high priority action in the US, at the expense of getting the MAX back into the sky in the short term. They really do need to show the world some thorough stable cleaning going on, but apart from a few investigations they’re pretending that there’s not stable cleaning to do.

          • Awww, that’s no problem if the Chinese start delivering aircraft worldwide. Uncle Donald will simply slap a tariff on them!!

      • In short, Maybe MCAS 0.5 was ok but when they late in the program went to MCAS 1.0 some old internal routines were skipped with an FAA ok that Boeing and the FAA/EASA should have caught. In the US the gouverment pays for certification of new Aircrafts and it needs to be fully funded for the FAA to have enough of the needed specialists on its payroll.

        • claes, You hit on an interesting point. The DER’s / DAR’s are employed by Boeing, paid by Boeing. The FAA depends on it’s funding from Congress. i don’t believe there are any ‘application fees’ of any magnitude for certifying an aircraft flowing directly to fund the FAA? Testing and certifying a transport category aircraft is today quite expensive. But, the reporting of who is responsible to who and for what purpose is muddied by the payment system. Perhaps a funding scheme where the Boeing’s of the world pay a hefty, upfront application fee for Aircraft certification directly to fund the FAA, who then has the funds to directly employ Engineers and inspectors reporting directly to the FAA, where ever they may actually do the work (on Boeing property, or at a separate FAA facility). In this manner, Boeing would save money paid currently to lobbyists, and take Congress out of the funding picture somewhat (I assume some general overhead for the FAA would still need funding from Congress). It would take the temptation, that is currently in place for Boeing, and other plane makers, to cut corners on safety, for short term profit.

          • I think most other countries work that way, that you pay for the Civil Aviation Authority certification cost including any consultants they use.
            A more fair system might charge a fixed fee for the MTOW certified for the basic model and additional small fee’s for any new MTOW certification on the same model.
            The FAA will make a small profit on some and a loss on others.

          • I think I remember reading somewhere here on Leeham News, or some link from one of the posts, that the factor that has changed for the worse is not who pays the DERs/DARs but who they report to.

            They used to report directly to the FAA, who then spoke with Boeing about what needed to be done. Now the FAA “middle man” has been eliminated in the name of efficiency and the DER/DAR now speaks to Boeing, which in turn informs the FAA what needs to be done.

            A slightly “ironic” description, but the main factors are relevant.

          • The problem is that Boeing is not Toyota – they can’t do a quality inside certification, instead they started to cheat themselves inside and then it shared with the world with a FAA cover.

          • AN:

            You are correct.

            Its another corruption of the system. Keep whittling away at the safety aspects so you can have full control.

            Then you wind up with MCAS 1.0

            That is why Boeing Mgt. is fully culpable. They set the system up to fail.

            Its not even profit, its control.

        • Claes, I think that the best we can say about MCAS 0.5 is that, perhaps, it wasn’t so perilously dangerous under the fault conditions that have occured in flight. I don’t think we can say that it was OK. It wasn’t used, and got changed; thus it was inadequate.

          I think that it’s also been established that the FAA was unaware that MCAS 1.0 was in service, having been told of only MCAS 0.5.

          With the US government / politicians paying for certification, the problem that was always going to arise was that the system would struggle to justify its existence. Crashes not happening = FAA not needed; that the erroneous conclusion a politicitian may very well make.

          The fact that the EASA didn’t catch the problem is possibly due to the mutual recognition treaties between various aircraft building economies; EASA recognised FAA certification, and vice versa (more or less).

          What will be very interesting is to see to what extent the EASA takes a role in recertifying the 737MAX. All the world’s regulators are now, kind of, on the hook for the MAX. If they continue to agree with the extensive grandfathering on which the MAX certification is based, they’re basically taking a pretty big chance that all is well without taking a look themselves. The consequences of another crash would be dire for the EASA and its peers. We’d like to think that such a crash will be very unlikely in the future…

          But if they choose to reject grandfathering going forward from here, that’s a major piece of work for Boeing with a high risk that it’s not certifiable to modern standards at all. The MAX could end up as a US only aircraft.

          Ultimately it’ll come down to the personal opinion of a few people within the EASA, and also those in peer organisations. Do they want their future professional reputations and their own peaceful state of mind being dependent on the FAA and Boeing and the many alterations to a 50+ year old design? I can’t speak for them of course, but given recent events I’d not be taking that chance myself. If the FAA isn’t doing enough to reasssure these people, Boeing could lose their international market.

          • You had to be pretty good to catch the MCAS 2.0 danger before it happened as it was presented as an additional safety feature in a remote corner of the envelope to keep the stick forces within certification limits. You would need to have the Tools to run all failure modes in a systems computer model including the trim Wheel forces and as you worked thru failure mode after failure mode you would have hit it. I belive neither the FAA or EASA have the computer software tools with the 737MAX systems loaded into it. But they should have asked for the filled out checklists and reports where Boeing did it on MCAS 2.0. I am sure they now have it on MCAS 3.0

          • @claes (You had to be pretty good to catch the MCAS 2.0 danger before it happened as it was presented as an additional safety feature…) If Boeing had told the FAA of the last minute increase in MCAS speed/force, AND told airline pilots about MCAS, many more eyeballs would have been looking at MCAS. But, most didn’t even know the system existed, never mind what it was there for or that it also operated the stabilizer. Not informing the pilots, that there was a new black box, that would fire if they pitched up too much, and force the nose down, is downright criminal.

          • Richard: there was no new black box.

            The Speed Trim was used, software was inserted.

      • @Matthew

        Good points. Boeing, by using FAA, played to the bit his best card, and looses.

        (but pls you way too long, it makes hard to learn it, one quarter would be sufficient to put all in)

      • First rate stuff Matthew,

        To suggest that MCAS can be addressed in isolation is wrong.

        MCAS 1.0 is ferocious in it’s action. The reason why must be explained. Boeing attempts to suggest it’s just a difference of opinion – for example, a pilots airplane versus a non-pilots airplane, as suggested by Buckingham Research – is contemptible.

        MCAS 2.0 is significantly less ferocious in it’s action. That needs to be explained.

        The primary issue is making sure Boeing come clean. The culture behind the behaviour that you explained so well can be addressed afterward.

        This airplane must not be returned to service until we know why MCAS was introduced and the why is properly fixed.

        • Philip, I agree that Boeing and/or the FAA must expose the “pitch up” problem that MCAS addresses in more detail to the world. Who or what entity can force Boeing to lay out the original problem that Boeing is trying to solve with MCAS?
          My current wild guess is that the 737-MAX lacks proper elevator authority to recover from a stick shaker event quickly in some flight conditions, because of the new engines mounted in a new location. But, that’s a wild guess at this point. Is MCAS attempting to be a primary or secondary flight control of the 737-MAX?
          The FAA is flying along with Boeing on the testing flights of MCAS, and I’m assuming they can monitor when MCAS activates. So, without MCAS activated, can the 737-MAX recover properly from a near stall with elevator only, or does it need MCAS, making MCAS a primary flight control and needing appropriate safety and backup requirements to FBW certification? They are making the stabilizer a primary flight control surface. One suggestion in the comments on the following linked article points out a system the 767 has that pushes the yoke to avoid stalls? Why does MCAS push the stabilizer rather than the yoke? Perhaps, because the elevator doesn’t have enough authority? And Boeing is trying to make the stabilizer act as a high speed elevator assist?

          • You and I agree. It’s the elevator. It doesn’t have the authority, which is why they are using the trim stabiliser. But the trim stabiliser is slow moving hence the heavy handed use of it.

            A pitch instability issue mesns they need a quick acting elevator with authority so the pilots can control it That’s why I started banging on about whizz bang high speed/high precision servo actuators. But the elevator also needs to be bigger.

          • By the way you are asking the same questions I asked months ago.

            Trim stabilisers are not a primary control system. This means the speed trim system isn’t a primary control system. Hence no redundency, no fail-safe.

            But at the beginning – just after the Lion Air crash – I said elevators manuever airplanes not trim stabilisers. So I said why are they using the trim stabiliser? What’s wrong with the elevators?

            It’s not a clear, calm day that bothers me. It’s a storm. The controls need to react quickly. That is not a trim stabiliser.

            But your asking the same questions as me. Good.

          • @Philip, I agree with you that with a bigger elevator you do not have to operate the stabilizer in these situations, hence that requires a new elevator with 1-2″ longer chord, lost commonality and a new flight test program.
            SWA and others might be allowed to have the new bigger elevators installed and certified onto the 737NG’s as well as a SB with new software in some boxes and now they have the commonality they forced onto Boeing.

          • That’s good observations about why move the stabilizer, why not use the elevator. There can’t be many good answers, and all the bad ones are pretty damning. A flippant answer is that the MAX is actually supersonic and needs an all moving airplane…

            If it is the case that the elevator just isn’t big enough to do the job, it’s this kind of thing that regulators might find too troubling to be able to to accept no matter how clever the software seems to be. That would be appallingly bad news for Boeing.

      • They changes alfa probes at Lionair and the computers alternate between L/H and R/H so it seems strange that 2 flight in a row had problems as they would have used different alfa probes (as the replaced ome would not have been red during the accident flight unless testing after replacement counted as one flight), the accident report will put some light on it.

    • @Richard Davenport (I”m answering a question I asked in a previous reply of mine to 1971Thistle) .. the model of efficiency, if you can answer your own question… (grin)
      I was wondering if the AOA sensor is really the problem or maybe the Air data computer might be the issue. Satcom Guru’s web site answered the question for me (the AOA sensor data was read by two different computer systems, and read the same results, so either two different computers failed at the same time, the same way (unlikely) or the sensor itself was sending out bad data ..
      from the link..
      New information confirms that MAX is similar to the NG, that the AoA analog interface is connected to two different computers, the Stall Management Yaw Damper (SMYD) and Air Data Inertial Reference Unit ADIRU) (which supplies the Flight Control Computer (FCC)). The SMYD uses AoA for Stall Warning and is evident by activation of Stick Shaker. FCC hosts MCAS, and if AoA from ADIRU too high it can trigger MCAS. The significance is that both SMYD and FCC responded to AoA large bias on JT043/JT610, and therefore, the AoA sensor must have been producing that erroneous output

  4. I think Airbus are going to have a reasonably good year with widebodies. I think are in positive territory despite recording the Etihad and Emirates losses. Seventy to come from Emirates at the Dubui show. So I think Airbus will go well past 100 widebody sales this year.

    Boeing haven’t yet recorded it’s Etihad and Emirates losses and perhaps other losses.

    It’s interesting what Warren East said about the A330neo through FlightGlobal. In short, the music mood appears to be favouring the A330neo.

    Warren East also acknowledged that Boeing reduced the price of the 787 because of the A330neo. So burnoff of delayed 787 production costs is likely to slow or stop.

    I do though think the A321XLR will cut into widebody sales. Perhaps by as much as 30%. So it going to be a cash cow.

    With regard to Muilenburg’s comments. Pie in the sky.

    • ‘Warren East also acknowledged that Boeing reduced the price of the 787 because of the A330neo. So burnoff of delayed 787 production costs is likely to slow or stop.’

      I think there is little doubt that the A330neo is a thorn in the side of the pricing strategy for the B787. at the same time Boeing have driven costs down considerably not just through learning curve gains but also through the simple expedient of pushing volume to 168 p.a.

      The burnoff of deferred production costs is still strong as the profitability of the B787 is strong, the issue is that ‘rate 168’ is at risk from the lack of orders with the backlog quickly running to zero. If you look at case studies in relation to unit costs in these circumstances there is often a considerable rise. this could hit Boeing in many ways with the difficulty in maintaining cost competitiveness possibly being the big one.

      You often read that the main OEMs attempt to avoid competing directly with each other but I see the opposite, it is rare that a product is so unique that there is not at least a ‘placesaver’ competing against it. In broad terms I can only think of the A321 and the B777x-9, perhaps the A359 going forward if you ignore the B78K.

      • I think you are assuming that in some manner they average the price of a 787. I don’t think they do.

        The numbers need to be divided into three parts. The numbers between 0-600 were the production costs were higher than the sale price. The numbers between 601-1000 were the production cost were lower thsn the sales price. Finally the numbers above 1001 when they had to lower the price because of the A330neo. The split is roughly right. It will do for explanation.

        Many are of the view that Boeing have had to lower the price more than $30 million since the A330neo was launched. If that’s the case it wipes the margin. The margin is currently $32 million, but that margin is on sales before the A330neo was launched, the 601-1000 part.

        ANZ got a spectacular deal. I’m now interested in Qantas. Let’s see what happens there!

        • More complicated than that.
          At the peak of the fuel price, they would be selling at a higher price than at say 2010 and after the fuel price dived so did the selling price.

          Even thats a broad brush, as Boeing would analyse a customers routes and look at the revenue equation for the flights. Mostly 9-12 hr flights have higher revenue and fuel savings matter more. Shorter flights , say US domestic where competition is stronger are less revenue.
          Then theres order size as, 30 orders plus 30 options sharpens the pencil much more than 8+ 8.
          My take is selling price now is less than in 2014, peak of fuel price.

      • I do by the way agree with your other comments. In particular, if the 787 rate is reduced, I agree costs will rise.

        It’s a fight to the death with regard to widebodies. Both Boeing and Airbus have spare capacity. The margins are slim pickings.

        • While I hestate to bring this up, as it was brought up by others (and please note that guys)

          Keep in mind a different take on the A330NEO is that its got a possible serious liability with its Trent 10 derived engines.

          One reason to shift to the A330NEO form the 787 puts you in a dead end with another RR engine.

          At least with the 787 you can shift to the GE like NZ did.

          Norwegian had a turbine shed of some kind over Rome yesterday.


          Bad for the public and not a good thing for RR as its the same issue Boeing has on the MAX, it keeps failing and risking people.

          • @TransWorld

            As for now there are no issues with Trent 7000 and would be completely no issues in a future as it is a different variant in RR Trent family.

          • self correction: “could be no issues”

            I don’t have a crystal ball.

          • Pablo

            I was disappointed to learn that the Trent 1000 TEN/Trent 7000 was not given the turbine technology in the Trent XWB. That will now happen. The same is true of the Package B/C Trent 1000s.

            The Trent XWB is fine. High end engines are approaching 20,000 hours on wing. It’s well on the way to the durability of the Trent 700. I think a Russian A330 has a Trent 700 with 70,000 hours on wing.

            But the damage to Rolls-Royce is immense

          • Philip:

            Yes the Trent 7000 is a variant, of the Trent 1000 Ten. Its still a extremely close variant to the Ten with nothing more than bleed air mods.

            How much of a problem it has is open as they may be able to forestall the issues the 1000 and Ten have as those took 5 years to show up.

            You clearly were not paying attention on why the 7000 was delayed.

          • TransWorld

            I don’t think any GE engine has managed 5 years without having it’s HPT blades replaced.

            Unfortunately it was 2-3 years for the IPT blades on the Trent 1000, slightly longer fot the HPT blades. But this was reduced with the TEN because it runs hotter. The 7000 doesn’t run hotter because the thrust of 72K is well below the maximum. The TEN is 79K.

            The TEN needs XWB technology in the turbine. The 7000 will get it to maintain commodity

            It’s not a problem anymore. The Rotherham plant that produces the new super alloy turbine blades is now running at full capacity. It only opened in 2014, just in time for mass production of the XWB but not other engines.

            Five years isn’t bad, but I expect a lot more from the XWB.

          • I Think the A330neo is less effected of the HPT blade problem vs the T1000TEN as it uses less thrust hence letting the HPT run a tad cooler.
            The new T1000-TEN blades will find their way into the T7000 as well but might be with fewer cooling holes and less cooling air flow but still have the metal temperatures a bit lower than on the T1000TEN.

  5. Is the timeline for FAA pass through realistic keeping in mind
    that Boeing has indicated that they rearranged “architecture changed”
    the software significantly?

    Changing the flow of things in such a way is not to be taken lightly.
    You need the full ( and new ) gauntlet of functional proving / error tolerance run on the full product.
    ( Keeping in mind that that minor change “MCAS” exposed a range of ancillary changes introduced over time as a major cause of concern. What other optimizations did Boeing do that need just one other aspect changed to turn toxic? )

    • Scott, you fail to mention the probable requirement for pilot retraining which will likely accompany the regulators’ approval to resume operations. Have you picked up anything on this in the corridors (or executive bath rooms) of B or the FAA?
      IMHO EASA at least will mandate this, likely with some simulator time needed. This will have a huge impact on timing for a practical return to service.
      Also, logically, given the commonality with NG for some of the issues uncovered, there may be new training mandates coming up, albeit perhaps delayed over time .
      Lastly I have yet to hear of a mechanical solution to the manual wheels frozen at any speed. Again regulators are highly unlikely to let this go, and software will not resolve the issue.

  6. Agree with @Philip re his last 2-paragraphs above:

    – Airbus A321XLR will impact use/sales of widebodies;

    – Muilenberg’s comments “pie in the sky.” Given Muilenberg’s many blunders at nearly everything except his “successful execution” of obscenely generous multi-billion share buybacks (reportedly totaling $43 billion since 2013), it’s likely best to take with a grain of salt any of his “press releases” about anything other than share buybacks.

    Simply put, with him it’s best to take a “yeah, yeah, if you say so – but I’ll believe it when I see it…”

    Which brings to mind the following question:

    How can any program, be it the #737MAX debacle (and make no mistake that’s an apt description for that!); quality (or rather the LACK thereof) control for 787s made at “McBoeing’s” non-union/scab labor final assembly line in South Carolina; or of course, the massively late , over-budget and also quality control problem plagued KC-46 military tanker program be “fixed” if the same people who screwed up so badly at many things – except, of course, funneling $43 billion to find share repurchases – are the same ones tasked with cleaning up the messes THEY made?

    Patently ridiculous!

    So, the question might be asked: are they really serious about “fixing” the defects among these three key programs?

    Because how can these programs be “fixed” if the people behind the failed business strategies and toxic corporate culture that resulted in a proliferation of problems deep and wide throughout the company’s bread and butter product lines (narrow-body; wise-body; military/defense, too) remain in place?

    Sorry, but just seems logical that to “fix” the defective products, the company itself must be “fixed” FIRST – starting in the boardroom and C-Suite.

    I mean, seriously, does one retain the same lawyers if they keep losing your cases?

    Should one consider relying on an oncologist, heart or brain surgeon who’s education and track record is anything less than stellar?

    Of course NOT!


    • With a time airlines will start to notice that buying a new designed Boeing will bring a new wave of problems with uncertain technical future. It is sad to look at it. And Comac will be ready soon to fly.

        • Inferior compared to what? A pedigree worse than the 737MAX?

          The real result of the Boeing’s and the FAA’s track record with the MAX is that if someone asks themselves, “are the Chinese any worse”, the answer is likely “no” (at least at present). That too may prove to be an error, but it might not.

          • The old ‘if it ain’t Boeing….’ phrase shows just how far things have gone. Simply there was a time not so long ago when the thought of Comac, Irkut and Bombardier (as was) would have an insurmountable credibility gap across the world.

            As it stands there is still a gap but it is far, far less especially in those countries that are more closely linked to the Russo or Sino sphere. A gap that will be closed by strong govt support for both the MC21 and the C919 in those markets.

            The MAX was always going to be slightly vulnerable (as was the neo to a slightly lesser extent) because of a conscious decision by both OEMs to increment their products, simply already the MC21 and the A220 are at least half a generation ahead. The debacle has opened the door that much more.

            Boeing is just another OEM and has lost the lustre it should still have.

      • Cormac avionics is made US. Rockwell Collins I think. The US can easily shut it down for national security reasons.

  7. Sure hope BA, AB, Tesla, GM, VW have a “Plan B” for an inevitable shooting war with China over the South China Sea and/or Taiwan in the next 3 to 5 (“clash of civilizations”). Those execs are going to have: a) apparently a lot of company; and b) a lot of collective egg on their faces when it’s over. With probably over 100,000 U.S. dead, I doubt they’ll be much “China market” for at least ten years or so.

    • We’re doomed! We’re doomed! …

      I don’t know whether you get dad’s army State side

    • Forget cold war scenarios. W’ve been there done that. Forgrt awesome carriers and stealth bombers. It will work differently, you are fighting for public perceptions, where reality is on the loosing end.

    • See the free preview currently happening in Hong Kong. China remains a Communist dictatorship.

      • Not that I have not been guilty of it but going off track.

        What the pundits here are missing is the support system it takes to make a functioning airline support system.

        Equipment is easy, ask Mexicana (?) about their great Super Jet Deal

        • Granted, but like Airbus, MRO and support can be learnt and invested in. Relying on this as a USP is risky at best, definitely short-term in perspective. Remember Comac are in it to win with massive governmental support. Slow but sure they will get there. Maybe not in the US or Europe but by picking off markets over which they may have more influence and power.

        • Somehow I don’t think the people as in human beings in Hong Kong think of it as trifling.

  8. My only concern about 777x and 797 is that Boeing and FAA are still following New DER model if collaboration which has been compromised in 737 MAX fiasco and proven unreliable and leading to unsafe aircraft. There is no proper and strong overview by FAA like it used to be before this fatal change into New DER.

    • That is a fair concern. The system is currently corrupted. We can hope they are paying attention.

      However, the 777 software well established base will be there with a few changes.

      I read and commented on the auto wing fold setup which I do not care for.

      Wing fold is fine but I don’t agree it should be auto and even manual should have multiple inhibits (squat switches on all gears, taxi engine thrust, radar altimeter disable etc)

      • Isnt that over thinking it.
        The fold is only required for the terminal gateway, so should be done at engine idle speed while on taxiway. And thats the place when the crew workload has dropped right off , never while still on runaway. To me the critical point is absolutely sure unfolding is done before before takeoff.

        • And MCAS 1.0 was caused by a failure to see the fault lines.

          A folded wing tip in the air is a crash.

  9. The famous NMA business case!

    Has anyone ever computed the % of direct labor hours to the overall cost of of manufacturing an airplane, it is minimal at best, specially in the context where the OEM assembles the AC not manufactured them. Robotics will improve the cost structure but will not make a dramatic impact. Cost of quality is a much bigger cost driver and is present everywhere, including at the the Tiers 1to 4, you fixed this and bingo! And I will the expert comment on the market size of the NMA.
    Just my thoughts

    • If you make them in CFRP-Composites and many small parts as well the labor cost is today more than making the same plane in aluminum. Getting constant quality is also harder in composite where robots with inspection probes are effective. In many parts of the World you will have problems replacing all skilled machinist and mechanics that are retiring, so your only way forward is either move to a Place where massiv amount of skilled Labour is available or replace manhrs with robots.

  10. In the long and short term the Max and 777 issues are costing Boeing and their shareholders lots of money. I would guess the shareholders are confident Muehlinberg can get himself out of this mess or he is putting on a good dog and pony show. I really feel bad for the airlines. They are the ones who have to scramble for other aircraft to fill their schedules. Hey I have an idea. Airbus. They have an excellent line of products and they just acquired a new line. The A220 series which Boeing made a big stink about. I mean Muhlinberg did. He even cried his way to Trump. End result? Nothing.

  11. I think the 777X is entering a crucial 18 month period.

    I noticed Boeing have reduced the range of the 777-9 by 300nm to 7230nm. The 777-8 has been given a very slight increase in range to 8730nm.

    The numbers for the A350-1000 are coming in and are very, very good. Airbus have now said it can do 8700nm with a full payload.

    It will be interesting to see if Boeing get above 350 orders within the next 18 months for the 777X, remembering that current orders are going to shrink because of Etihad and Emirates.

    • @philip
      as has been stated _many_ times before here and elsewhere, Boeing and Airbus use very very different aircraft configuration, passenger weight and cargo assumptions when calculating advertised range.

      and if I recall correctly Boeing’s model is drastically less unrealistic (although still optimistic compared to typical real world configurations and usage models)

      • Not according to Qantas CEO. He made clear that both the A350-1000 and the 777-8 can do Sydney/New York, 8650nm, with a full passenger load. The passenger loads are nearly the same. The question will be the fuel difference.

        I do read the words many times from people such as yourself. Is it true. No.

        • Qantas CEO qualified the ‘range’ and ‘full load’
          Its an ULR version of the A350-1000

          “It is the longer range and higher capacity version of the A350 with a range of 15,557 kilometres
          This is less than the 16,013 kilometres between the Project Sunrise Sydney to New York proposal, however again a premium configuration, weight savings and the possibility of extra fuel tanks in the cargo hold should put the two cities within reach.”
          Premium cabin , extra fuel are the qualifiers.

          • I can see your mistake in the link.
            It says “the planes offered will”, not that the current planes will.
            The example given of the A350 ULR, doesn’t have a commercial payload (London)or a full payload (NY) for it’s routes and it’s only a ‘low density payload’ for the Max distance ULR.
            It’s been clear for a while no existing plane can meet ALL Qantas requirements.
            I’m guessing this, but I think the 787 -9 in an ULR version could be the one, but the catch is Boeing doesn’t want to kill the market for it’s upcoming 777-8.

          • Duke

            The 319 tonne version of the A350-1000 is confirmed. They have sold it to Qatar. It will have other improvements as per Airbus’ way of doing things. So they are of the view it will do Sydney to New York.

            Will the 777-8 do Sydney to New York. It can carry 198,000 litres of fuel. It should be able to, but they may need to increase the MTOW.

            Your comments with regard to the 787-9 interest me. It struggles to do London to Perth, 7818 nm, even with a light load. Sydney to New York is 8646 nm. No, don’t see it.

            The A350-900 will do London/Perth with a full load. That’s will be part of the offer.

          • Duke

            The world of Airbus, a bit here a bit there. That’s what happened with the A330. The A350 came in heavy. The A350-900 been on a diet for a number of year and remains on a diet. The diet is just starting for the A350-1000.

            So yes the goal posts are moving.

            This comes to the Emirates order. Word on the street is that at least the 777-8X order will go and some of the 777-9X order will go.

            Will Tim Clarke swallow his pride and buy the A350-1000 as well as the A350-900.

            In the next 18 months we will know the fate of the 777X. If it is to survive, the bargain given to IAG may be the only way.

          • No matter how many 777x Emirates will pull off it will be really hard to swallow by Boeing and even a small disaster. Emirates have 150 in order of total 325, almost a half.

            I wonder how much in reality it is a simple economics (eg. narrow-bodies disrupting wide-bodies market) and how much distrust towards Boeing & FAA & New DER certification model.

          • @Dukeourl

            It is the longer range and higher capacity version of the A350 with a range of 15,557 kilometres. This is less than the 16,013 kilometres between the Project Sunrise Sydney to New York proposal, however again a premium configuration, weight savings and the possibility of extra fuel tanks in the cargo hold should put the two cities within reach.”

            Premium cabin , extra fuel are the qualifiers.

            Perhaps, Airbus is looking at putting fuel (i.e. trim tank) in the horizontal tail plane (HTP) of the A350-1000URL.

            In contrast to the HTP of the A350, the A306/A313/A330/A340/A380 were all designed using a “wet” trim tank integrated within the horizontal tail planes.

            On the A330/A340 there are 5 fuel tanks in the wings (2 inner tanks, 2 outer tanks, one centre tank) and 1 fuel tank in the tail plane, or THS (Trimmable horizontal stabiliser). Also, there are 3 vent/surge tanks one in each wing tip plus another at the right side of the THS tip.

            ______Outer T*__Inner T*__ Centre T*__Trim T*__Total T*

            A332—-5730 Kg—65940 Kg—32625 Kg—4890 Kg—109185 Kg
            A333**–5690 Kg—65790 Kg—–N/A——-6230 Kg—76370 Kg
            A346—-9648 Kg—93034 Kg—43151 Kg—6563 Kg—152396 Kg

            *T: Fuel tanks (quantities)
            **A333 initial version

            A330 fuel feed sequence:

            1) Each inner tank emptying fuel until 4000kg of fuel remains.
            2) Trim tank transfer fuel to inner tanks.
            3) Inner tanks emptying fuel until 3500kg of fuel remains.
            4) Outer tanks transfers fuel to inner tanks.

            Now, the surface area of the vertical tail planes of the A333/A343, A350 and A346, is 73 m2, 82 m2 and 93 m2, respectivley (i.e. span is 19 metres, 19 metres and 21.5 metres, respectively). Thus, the usable fuel volume for a “wet” trim tank integrated within the horizontal tail plane of the A350-1000ULR would probably be around 5500 Kg: or about the same fuel volume as one auxiliary fuel tank in the cargo hold (i.e taking-up the space of 2 LD-3 containers).

            Hence, the fuel capacity of an A350-1000URl could be increased from 165,000 litres (132,470 kg) — which is the max fuel volume on the A350-900URL — to 171,850 litres (137,968 kg). Also, I’d not be surprised if MTOW would be hiked up from 319 metric tonnes — the current max MTOW — to around 325 metric tonnes for the A350-1000ULR.

          • It might be the RR Ultrafan’s first application, the next being the 787-10ER.

          • A350ULR capacity @165kl fits a volume of unknown but equal or larger than .. dimensions available.
            Nobody says 165m³ is the hard limit in the wing/centerwing box.

            The ULR would not have gained from more fuel capacity. with full tanks you are down to 15t payload already. ( 280t – 140t fuel – 135t OEW )

      • By the way JL of Airbus said that the 737-10 was flying downhill when Boeing suggested it had the range of the A321. So JL of Airbus doesn’t believe the words either

    • Now there is a prediction of Galactic Magnitude.

      No question the A350-1000 looks good, but it to is not high numbers.

      What I would be looking at are the A350/777x the new A380? A bit more bandwidth but not like thie 777-300.

      Frankly the hot market area (if not sales) is the 787/A330NEO/A350-900

      • Thanks, but you could have credited me with a prediction of Universal Proportions. That would have been even better.

          • Thanks again. But presumably you mean a Universal Gem not a Galactic gem. The second would be insulting.

            I can do this all day, but he must be obeyed may get upset.

            The point I’m making is why do you think anybody takes your personal jibes seriously.

            You clearly don’t pay attention

          • Ahh, like the Edorians you miss I am the Arisian Watchman assigning the gem.

            So, sadly, its only a galaxy Gem and its in the second galaxy.

            You can aspire to the Gray but never achieve it.

          • Kit Kinnison here- watch out for the Boskone … but meanwhile get back on subject or my kids will take action …

    • Said a number of times a modestly stretched (4.5m?) A35K with 30-40 more pax and an MTOW of around 310-315T could have a range of 7-7.5KNm and be the 77W replacement aircraft of the future. Bring Ultrafans in the mix and things could get interesting.

  12. As seen here engines caused and is causing delays to the 330N and 779. Maybe Boeing can build an NMA relatively quickly but with what engines and when will they be ready?

    It has been said that BA intends to start with the larger 270 seat aircraft but could the MAX debacle move the focus to the smaller version (220-240 seats?) with a range of around 5000Nm. This could likely require 40-45Klb engines that is in reach of the CFM-LEAP and PW-GTF designs.

    Then BA can focus on an 150-200 seat NSA/FSA.

    • MAX lives on and the NMA is moved up a shed into the vacated 767 slot.

      Engines, those will come and P&W has the design ready to go.

      Hard to RR to join P&W with their investment but GE and via the GP alliance?

    • The 797 Engine selection is a tough one for Boeing.
      Either a CFMI GEnX-2B core with a new GE9X type of LP system “Made by Safran with Frensh goverment Money” for fastest and cheapest development program with low risk or go with a PW1050G growth Engine that is by historical records a higher risk but maybe better performance numbers as Boeing probably will see an A322 with a 40-43k RR Ultrafan as direct competition when RR can certify and ship them. It would be a race for chepest seat mile cost and durabiliy of Aircraft and Engines.

    • Despite your constant tyrade aganist Rolls-Royce nobody has died.

      I’m sure Rolls-Royce will continue to make sure they are accountable to the people they serve, regardless of the ambarrassment and regardless of the cost.

      As a Brit, I’m proud of that.

      Pity Boeing don’t take the same view.

      The inflight shutdowns of the Trent 1000 isn’t very different to that of the GENX.

      Be we have to address AOGs. Trent 1000 787s can’t fly until they are fixed. So there is a partial grounding.

      People come first. Quite right. Thank you Rolls-Royce

      Pity Boeing don’t take the view

      • Philip:

        No one died on the first MAX flight did they?

        On the other hand there was a severe warning there was an issue prior to Lions fatal flight.

        So now you think its fine for engines to blowup on wing in the air?

        Oh, lets keep doing it until:
        1. Two engines blow up and you have a Gimli Glider over say New York city without the Hudson handy?

        2. One engine blows over the ocean and the other ones blows when you hammer it to get to the alternative and a Gimli Glider (better than over a highly populated center at low altitude)

        3. One engine blows up and takes important stuff with it?

        4. One engine blows up and the other one fails for unrelated reasons?

        the MAX is rightfully criticized and condemned.

        So is RR on this debacle.

        Your take is what took down the space shuttle. Lets keep firing it off at lower and lower temps until disaster strikes .

        Its called (and was coined after that investigation) as Normalization of Deviation. You might want to ponder that a bit.

        I also say that ALL GP’s should have been inspected immediately after the incident over Greenland.

        I wrote that the 787 should have been grounded AFTER THE FIRST BATTERY FAILURE.

        MAX should have been grounded before the Lion crash and certainly right after.

        P&W should never have been allowed to fly a known bad engine on the A320 and RR should.d not be flying Trent 1000 at minimum and Trent 10 on suspicious until what has happened is determined and is it a different failure and what it means or a current issue failure which means they don’t understand YET the failures. .

        If you don’t understand your failure you should not be allowed in the air.

        By your logic you believe a drunken driver should be allowed to drive drunk until he kills someone (while criticizing Boeing for letting the MAX get to where it did)

        You don’t get to have it both ways.

        • From this article:
          “The Trent engine issues, however, aren’t responsible for this latest incident. Jetstar’s Boeing 787-8 aircraft are powered by General Electric GEnx-1B64 engines.”

          What is happening with GEnx on?

        • @Pablo

          TransWorld doesn’t keep up.

          Anyway, it’s one each. A 787 powered by GENX suffered a double engine rollback and a 787 powered by Trent 1000s suffered a double engine rollback.

          Because of this it is unlikely to be the engines. Instead it’s likely to be Boeing. Specifically Boeing’s engine control software, remembering the engine interface is the same for both engines.

          But it is a guess. It’s the kind of thing that does happen ehen there is a common interface.

          Both rollbacks are under investigation. So we will find out the cause. I hope.

          Thankfully nobody died or we may have seen the end of Boeing.

          Keep up TransWorld.

          • Have to check Jetstar, I though RR, could be wrong.

            On the other hand Philip ignores the Tent 1000 blow ups and then its all on Boeing.

            Boeing does not write the engine software, GE and RR put it into the FASDEC and that makes the engine do whats been programed.

            As noted, Philip is what the work force calls a cherry picker.

            Very much in the MO of KAC

          • Yep-, checked, I was wrong on Jet.

            I thought Qantas had on RR per norm and the article indicated that.

            Does not change the fact that some are total hypocrites when they ding Boeing (rightly so) but then excuse RR who has had 6 or 8 engines shed blades in flight on the 787.

          • Boeing wrote the software that interfaces to the FADEC. It’s likely to be that software.

            I cherry pick. Oh dear

          • Never did answer the questions about the drunk driver did you?

            So RR can drive drunk but Boeing can’t?

            And you do not KNOW where the source of the rollback came from but will flip out an opinion.

            Also known as a red haring to avoid culpability in total hypocrisy.

            Either both need to be held accountable and to the same standards or neither.

            Straight up , no quibbling, up which is it?

    • I have doubts this is a TRENT100 TEN on the Norwegian 788 🙂

      What I don’t get is :
      Looking at the pics provided via avherald
      the damage is neither “fresh” nor did it happen “suddenly”.

      Looks more like long gnawed bone.
      What happens on the “go around” inspections by the flight crew?
      you don’t even have to bend down to see that damage.

    • What jet are they looking at, E195E2? Flying out of Everett seems to be quite nice with even the E175 with less seats. The E195E2 could be good for WN if they go for smaller markets and frequency in those.

    • Took a look at AK Fleet. They have taken delivery of 9 of the A321NEO with one to go.

      They have to be interested in it as they could have delayed or even sold off the slots. They were reported to have gotten a good deal on them. Understandable as early (Virgin US at the time)

      Probably some options there as well.

  13. Looks like 778 has been delayed indefinately. Maybe QF chose the 35K? Wonder if EK’s 330/350 MOU will include 35Ks by the time it becomes an order?

      • Nice to know, but Reuters, Flight Global and others failed to extract that information.

        As you say in your article the situation with the MAX is fluid. The same words apply with the 777X and the NMA. So what you said on the 5th may no longer be true

        So 2024 at best for the 777-8.

      • So do we think that Qantas will wait for the 777-8 for Project Sunrise ?

        It looks like AB could have an A350-1000ULR ready some time before BA get the 777-8 into the air.

        • No, I’d say EK have just killed the program/778 order and will take 787-10s instead. Gussing some or all EKs 359 MOU will end up as 35Ks.

  14. Very predictable. If Emirates would like to pull off theirs 777x-8, there is nothing much to left to develop.

    • I think that an 777-10 has better prospects than an 778 in the long term?

  15. With regard to the 777-8, I never did believe the numbers with a MTOW of 351.5 tonnes, same as the 777-300ER.

    I noted that the Boeing web-site reduced the range of the 777-9 by 240 nm or 3%. To me it needs to come down a little more or the MTOW increased to add fuel in order to get the new range of 7285nm down from 7525nm.

    Equally, I don’t think the 777-8 can do 8730nm at the current MTOW of 351.5 tonne . It needs a significant increase in fuel load, which means the MTOW must increase significantly. The maximum fuel load has gone up from 181,000 litres to 198,000 litres.

    Boeing have given Qantas a compelling reason. Perhaps the reason is an increase in MTOW.

    Note Boeing’s web-site doesn’t declare the MTOW anymore, or at least I didn’t find it.

    But it does depend on how cheap Boeing are willing to sell the 777X. We all know IAG got a can’t refuse deal. Apparently ANZ got the same with the 787-10.

    Are we off to WTO again

    • The article reads terminal.

      No suggestion GE Aviation is involved. So perhaps spin off as a separate company.

  16. 737 Max pilot training…from IPAD to now take home computer training?

    this is special “Pilots would be required instead to take a computer-based training course they could perform at home or in a classroom, according to the people, who weren’t authorized to speak about the matter and asked not to be identified”

    Let’s cut to chase on the real reason, there are not enough Max simulators out in field The older 737 flight simulators, some can’t be upgraded to accept the Max configuration and others will require upgrades.


  17. Very somber piece in the WSJ today regarding MAX issues and prospects.
    In particular it expresses significant doubts regarding simulator training requirements,
    What does WSJ know that we do not?

      • Somebody needs to be held criminally liable like the people who budgeted it, the people that designed it, the executives that approved it.,… I always told people when a plane crashed, there had to be a good reason because if you worked in the aerospace industry you would see all the time put into design, engineering and testing. There isn’t a good reason for these MAX crashes other than GREED, hubris and the slow eroding of oversight to please the business elites. Wow…

        • No argument but the system is setup to maintain stability not justice.

          Now if I kill someone driving drunk I go to jail, a big corporation kills a lot of people and they only loose money.

          Sadly Law and Justice are not the same thing.

          In this case if you are going to loose people, you hope its a case like this that has so much publicity to it you get something back for that loss.

          Cigarette mfgs killed 100s of thousands and walked.

          • What comes to mind, in recent years the law has gone after some food manufacturers and drug companies; some Wall Street guys, not bankers or loan guys from the mortgage debacle, so you never know, but I’ll concede they might not have a whole lot to worry about especially with their golden parachutes.

  18. Here’s another good analysis on the MAX:

    Lessons from the Boeing 737 MAX Crisis

    MCAS is not only a robot who failed twice due to a faulty sensor. MCAS is an overturn of an aircraft control philosophy. This raises a worrying question: how could FAA agree to extend an airworthiness type certificate issued in 1967 for Boeing 737-100 and 737-200 down to 737 MAX, since 737 MAX includes a revolutionary flight control philosophy? This was not explained to the pilots (in fact not even to FAA as it turns out), making the issue of fixing the MCAS even more problematic.

    In our opinion, a FBW aircraft requires a separate certification process, even though it is aerodynamically identical to a classic aircraft. Also, a non FBW aircraft which includes at least one augmentation system which takes over and cannot be switched off, such as the MCAS, becomes a de facto FBW aircraft. This species could be called Sometimes-Fly-By-Wire (SFBW). However, the presence on board of an automated decision maker, totally changes the processes and the culture in the cockpit. Boeing 737 pilots were not prepared for that change.

    In conclusion, the situation of Boeing 737 MAX is less bright than expected. My previous piece on the subject demonstrates excessive optimism in hindsight. As always, things are more complex than they appear.

    One lesson that I get from here is that avionics engineers should be aerospace engineers and not electronics / computer engineers or even worse, software programmers. These people need to understand fully how and why does an aircraft fly and what are all possible consequences of their software and hardware design and malfunctions. They should be educated in the cult of absolute responsibility and in the spirit of low margin aerospace engineering. They should understand human pilots, and even more than that, they should fly airplanes themselves. Without being a pilot, at least occasionally, one will never make a good avionics engineer or aeronautical engineer. (Due to objective reasons, astronautics engineering is exempt).

    Aerospace engineering has shifted its centre of gravity over the years from mechanical engineering into electrical engineering (while spreading over both though). Aerospace engineering schools have to adapt to this reality, instead of leaving computer engineering schools to fill the gap. The reason for that is explained in another piece of mine (3DEXPERIENCE: The New French Revolution).

    Certification process of a new type of aircraft should be taken very seriously. FAA, EASA and other national authorities have a major responsibility to the flying public, otherwise the confidence in air travel gets thin, in spite of the asymmetrical efforts for superb safety performance that this industry is capable of. My opinion is that EASA should have been particularly pro-active with 737 MAX cutting corners of certification. EASA should watch FAA and vice versa, they should back each other up. Apart from grounding the plane two days earlier, EASA did not do much on the 737 MAX. If I can understand the delegation principle and the motivation of the FAA to promote US aircraft types, EASA should be motivated differently, and thus provide some balance. EASA issued their certificate for 737 MAX types on 27 March 2017, only 19 days after FAA. Was this rush really necessary?

    • Yes, author is right MCAS shall be certified as FBW.

      I’ll repeat myself – Boeing created MCAS – a piece of FBW technology without needed FBW redundancy and robustness

      • Well the difference is that per the Certification’s, its not an opinion that counts but the logic of the systems.

        People can rant and rave all they want about augmentation, its not FBW.

        It does not mean as in case of MCAS 1.0 that it can’t be hosed up so badly that its lethal, they did and it was.

        And in fact its now become better with dual computers involved that were not before.

        But then you have to be a controls guy to understand the difference and differences and not just an unqualified opinion.

        • There is currently no OFF switch for MCAS. It runs the Stabilizer at a high speed, no matter if the aircraft is moving at low or high speed. With no limits. In an emergency, most likely a pilot will hit the A/P OFF, Auto Throttle OFF, and then if it’s MCAS acting up, his only option is to completely shut down the electric motor to the stabilizer. He can’t shut MCAS OFF any other way (short of adding flaps). He can turn on the electric motor and hit the yoke switch and then turn it back off, but, I’d much rather have a switch to turn OFF MCAS. For quite obvious reasons. If they don’t include an OFF switch for MCAS, then it needs to be certified safe to FBW standards.

        • If barks like dog, behaves like dog and looks like dog – it is a dog.

          “Augmentation” is just a PR name, for me, MCAS because was autonomous, with his own anti stall logic and own authority was a piece of FBW, and should be treated like FBW.

          • Pablo:

            So if you neuter it then its no longer FBW is it?

            Augmentation is not a PR name. Well proven aspect like speed trim are involved.

            Read Bjorns article at the top of the list as to how it can be controlled (limited) so its not flight critical.

            Richard: NG turns the motor off in a runaway stab as well. Prior two motors. Clearly they should never have allowed it to go to one.

            That said, Manual Trim is supposed to take care of it.

            Manual Trim and its issues are NG and MAX.

          • @TransWorld, With the NG, you have the option of keeping the yoke electric trim operational, but, with the MAX you don’t. The Stab Trim Cutout switches were rewired to work as one. There is no way to switch OFF MCAS and still keep manual electric trim on the yoke. In the ET302, both pilots correctly identified the “left Alpha Vane” problem via the warning light, and finally after failing to move the stabilizer manually turned on the electric trim and hence the final deadly MCAS command. If they had the wiring of the NG left intact, they may have just switched on the electric yoke trim, and saved the aircraft. They didn’t have that option, Boeing, for some reason, made sure MCAS would be ‘protecting’ them at all costs. If that’s the way Boeing wants to play it. Then they need to make sure MCAS is FBW certified. In the old days, losing a Left Alpha Vane wasn’t that big a deal.
            Now, with the MAX, it certainly is.

  19. Worth noting for the ones that cry Havoc:

    “Swept-wing airplanes inevitably suffer from pitch-up near stall, due to the tendency for their wing tips to stall before the wing root. This same effect is compounded by compressibility effects when nearing stall at high altitude (which brings high Mach number into play).

    The fuselage itself can contribute to pitch-up at high angles of attack. An example of that can be related to the 737MAX engine nacelles (or pods).”

    • Although much of the following link is copied from an ‘ old’ book on aeerodynamics- peter did an excellent job at the end by relating it to the crrent ( outdated ? ) regs as witten how many eons ago.
      IMHO – the miss- managerment at Boeing should have certain parts branded on their forehead, arms, legs, so they can study it via mirrors in thier cozy club fed apartments.

      And then the audio version played 24 hours a day at maybe 100db as a reminder.


      • So far Society has not allowed a scarlet A to be put on anyone’s forehead.

        System is setup to allow that kind of murderous activity and not pay the price they should.

        I don’t view Boeing as Mis managed. It was deliberate management to undercut the processes that lead to this while being able to deny their bloody hands were on it.

        I don’t have any answers as to what would work as the system is deliberately undercut by Boeing (and others) that go far beyond what are really the interests of a Corporation vs the public interest.

        • ” So far Society has not allowed a scarlet A to be put on anyone’s forehead.”
          but thats the way some treat a MAGA hat :))

          The only real safe thing is certain peoples pension- bonus- gold parachute.

          however i do expect that before euro agencies approve – the 737 MAX and NG will have ****significant**** improvements

  20. This Engineer (see link) seems to think MCAS is just an elevator feel system augmentation, and that it uses the stabilizer to effect changes in the elevator feel system. If that’s true, then, I say, feed MCAS to the elevator feel system directly, achieving the required 25.173 yoke force, without the danger of MCAS crashing the aircraft. I don’t buy it. I still say Boeing is trying to use software along with a high speed stabilizer movement, in place of a larger elevator, because that would require a ‘hardware change”. If it’s elevator feel that they are worried about, then have the A/P pitch the elevator, not move the stabilizer at a high speed. Can a pilot overcome full down stabilizer with just the elevator?
    (long read)

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