Pontifications: Catching up on Odds and Ends-Alaska’s Airbus fleet, first E195-E2 delivery, Boeing’s MAX rebranding question

  • Take our Boeing 737 MAX rebranding poll at the end of this post.

Sept. 2, 2019, © Leeham News: It’s time to catch up on Odds and Ends.

Alaska Airlines

In its second quarter earnings call and 10Q Securities and Exchange Filing, Alaska Airlines said it was returning one Airbus A319 and two A320s off lease this year and next.

By Scott Hamilton

These airplanes are from its Virgin America acquisition, which introduced the Airbus family into the all-Boeing Alaska mainline operations.

Alaska officials have said several times they are evaluating whether to phase out all Airbuses and return to an all-Boeing fleet, or keep the Airbuses and operate a mixed fleet indefinitely.

I wondered if this was the start of the phase out.

“We are planning to return 1 A319 this year and 2 A320s next year at normal lease expiration,” Brandon Pederson, EVP and CFO of the company, wrote LNA.  “This is not part of a broader fleet  decision, nor a phase out of the smaller Airbus aircraft.  Leases on the remaining 50 A319/A320 aircraft in the fleet have varying maturities through 2025.”


Additionally, Alaska now has the A321neo in its fleet, also a residual of the Virgin deal. Virgin ordered 12 of these, which are being taken on a lease arrangement with GECAS. These are 12 year leases , which extend to the end of the next decade.

I’m told Alaska really likes the operation and economics of these aircraft.

Virgin has 30 A320neos on order, with the first due in 2022. But these may be canceled with forfeiture of monies already paid. Alaska hasn’t decided what to do about these orders.

The A319/320ceos aren’t as capable as the Boeing 737-800s but the neos added range. Still, Alaska already ordered nearly 40 737-8/9 MAXes. The first was to be delivered in June, but has been caught up in the grounding.

From a fleet planning standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense to me for Alaska to have a mix of 737-8s and A320neos but it makes sense to have a fleet of A321neos, especially with the LR and XLR options now available. Alaska would do well to swap the A320neo orders to the larger A321neo.

The XLR gives Alaska the ability to expand services into South America and Hawaii and Alaska deeper into the US mainland. The extra capacity of the A321neo over the -9 MAX provides better revenue opportunities, especially in slot-constrained airports like Chicago O’Hare and New York JFK.

Alaska’s first MAX was seen in full livery recently, thanks to Twitter’s @Woodsaeroimages. It has the long-standing “Proudly All Boeing” line on the nose. I asked Pederson about this, too, since Airbus is very much a part of the mainline fleet.

“We have a long partnership with Boeing and that wording has been part of our standard Boeing livery for many years,” he wrote. “We just didn’t want to remove it until we make a final fleet decision.  That shouldn’t be interpreted as having any bias one way nor another.”

Claims against Boeing

Aside from the lawsuits from the families of victims in the two MAX accidents, customers have claims, too. Some were quick to say they would expect compensation from Boeing for the grounding and the undelivered aircraft. A Russian lessor last week sued to cancel its order for 35 MAXes. It sought $115m in damages and an unspecified amount in punitive damages.

One pair of law firms appears to be gearing up for a fight.

“We act for a large number of airlines/customers with grounded MAX,” Paul Briggs of Bird & Bird in London wrote LNA in response to our inquiry.

“We cannot discuss any part of the claims–but we can tell you that Boeing seem[s] to be making a lot of commercial promises but are then failing to follow up with actual help.

“All our clients want a long term relationship with Boeing–but need to take whatever steps are needed to stay solvent and get back to plan.”

Bird & Bird is co-counsel with Lane Powell, which has a Seattle office.

Embraer set to deliver first E195-E2

Embraer will deliver its first E195-E2, to Brazil’s Azul Airlines, on Sept. 12.

This sub-type is the largest passenger airplane Embraer has designed: 146 seats in single-class, high density configuration. It’s actually slightly longer than the Boeing 737-8—136 ft vs 130 ft) and slightly shorter than the 737-9 (138 ft).

The E-Jets are far more comfortable with its 2×2, 18-inch seats than the 737’s 3×3 17.2 inch wide seats. The Airbus A320 has the same seat width (unless, as some airlines do, seat width is reduced for a wider aisle), but with 3×3 seating. I find the E-Jet more comfortable than the A320 as a result.

What’s in a name?

We seem a few months away from the return to service of the Boeing 737 MAX. The big marketing question, how will Boeing and the airlines restore confidence in the airplane?

Will the aircraft be rebranded? Boeing has been a little ambiguous about this.

In the past, all before social media, of course, grounded or troubled airplanes didn’t see much in the way of name changes.

The Martin 202, Douglas DC-6 and Lockheed Constellation, all post-World War II aircraft, were grounded due to safety defects. All returned to service retaining their names.

The de Havilland Comet, the pioneering jetliner, was grounded for four years after metal fatigue caused two jets to blow apart at cruising altitude. It was called the Comet IV upon redesign and reentry into service in 1958. The name, however, appeared more of a sequential series of Comet advances than a rebranding, much like the Douglas DC-7 evolved into the DC-7B and DC-7C.

The Lockheed Electra propjet wasn’t grounded after two fatal accidents in 1959 and 1960 but press coverage (for the era) was severe. The airplane had structural modifications and was renamed the Electra II.

Adopting its own names

The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 suffered high-casualty fatal accidents. After an engine separated on take-off from an American Airlines departure from Chicago O’Hare, rolled over and crashed, killed all on board and a few on the ground, the FAA grounded the aircraft.

It turned out the fault lie with American’s maintenance and erroneous emergency procedures—the pilots flew by the book but still lost the airplane.

The DC-10 name remained, although American expunged it from the side of its aircraft, calling it only the “Luxury Liner.”

American had this odd habit of adopting its own name for airplanes. The British Aerospace Corp. BAC-111 became the BAC 400 (after the series designation, BAC-111-400) in American’s nomenclature. The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 was named Super 80 by American, after the original MD-80 designation, DC-9 Super 80.

The last airliner to be grounded was Boeing’s 787 in 2013. It was on the deck for three months and Boeing stuck with the 787 Dreamliner name.

MAX branding

So where does this leave the MAX?

Does Boeing stick with the MAX brand or rename it MAX Advanced, Super MAX or MAX II, for example? Does it drop the MAX name and just go with the designators, 737-7, -8, -9 and -10? In the extreme, does it adopt an entirely new name?

A photo showed a Ryanair MAX 200 renamed 737-8200, but the airline’s CEO said this wasn’t a rebrand.

I have my own views. Let’s see what the readers think.

Here’s a poll; you only get to vote once.

127 Comments on “Pontifications: Catching up on Odds and Ends-Alaska’s Airbus fleet, first E195-E2 delivery, Boeing’s MAX rebranding question

  1. If Boeing don’t have faith in their branding then no one else will. It will be sorted and it will come back to fill the skies quite quickly. They should stick with MAX in my opinion, although I am sure they will look to differentiate it in some way.

    Airlines have a different agenda, I gather Southwest will not rebrand but they are so heavily invested in the 737/MAX for this not to be the bellwether. One step removed in Europe it will be interesting what Ryanair will do. They are up against mainly A320 equipped other LCCs.

  2. Could not click multiple items (not that it mattered in my case, but might for others).


  3. The Max name will be like the XWB for the A350 was for a while, useful for a time, but then dropped

  4. I agree Alaska should convert and go for A321XLR’s and build a separate fleet around them – and new possibilities will open.

    The only problem I see that E195 E2 is a flying cigar – so not so adequate to fly longer routes, for not so small part of passengers with claustrophobia-like concerns. So I don’t get how E2 cabin could be evaluted as more comfortable theen A320, where is much more space, and especially A320neo. Because of 2×2 layout? – it has nothing to do with seats space, and it’s contrary to cabin space. Very strange evaluation.

    MAX rebranding? Imo, just stupid topic given all that fiasco brought by MAX, no comments.

    • I do not feel claustrophobic on a E-jet, but that’s personal. Maybe it is because the cabin is high and the available aisle per passenger is 50% bigger than typical 3-3 configurations. That helps during (de) boarding when stowing or getting out luggage.


      The bins are less deep, but because of the length of the cabin more inches seems available for per passenger.

      No middle seats / guaranteed armrest and reasonable width do the rest. Agree with Scott here.

      I think Boeing should pitch the E195E2 to Southwest for their (huge, bulk of their fleet) <150 seats 737-700 replacement requirement. First Boeing have a fully see & accept the 737-7 doesn't stand a change against the A220-300 though (5t heavier, inferior engines).

      • Me either, but my wife after a time – yes, it is not so uncommon issue, about 2 hrs is max. dosis.

        E-jet cabin is high??? It’s tiny – only 2m in height and 2,74m in width. I can can’t see that A320 is less spacious in any way – is 2,20 in height with flat ceiling and ~1m wider then E-jet. Aisles are comparable. Armrest are the same – 5 cm, don’t have a middle seat – that’s true.

      • I can see both Alaska an Southwest as airlines where a hypothetical A220-500 could fit their needs well (as for AA and UAL). Aware of the agreement between PW and BBD regarding PW being the sole engine supplier for the CS but an 25/26Klb variant of the LEAP-1(B?) with 73″ fan could be an interesting option for an A225.

        Only flew on E170’s an E190’s on relatively short flights and found them very comfortable and definitely not claustrophobic.

        • If A220-500 will emerge I think PW will deliver engine it’s needed, I think, it will be just one more variant. I don’t think that market for A220-500 will be big enough to accommodate engines from 2 manufacturers at low prices.

          If you’re not claustrophobic you will not feel it even in Cessna’s engine compartment 😉

    • Compare the 2-2 with 3-3 layout, 1/3 of the seats are bad middle seats.
      So that’s why a 2×2 is just more comfy in general, the absence of bad seats.

      • You right in part, unfortunately 2×2 layout will not make a flying cigar more spacious then 3×3 A320. I like very much Bombardier idea – 2×3 – to make middle seats just wider, oversized – 19 inch in economic layout.

  5. Re: Alaska… I’d convert all the neo orders to the XLR variant due to Alaska’s hub position and the ability to go virtually anywhere in the America’s with a pretty solid airframe.

    Re: MAX, this has gone on so long now that few in the world would be unaware of the label so using -8, -9 would seem the only way to go. Any new wordage would merely ‘draw the eye’ of the media and make headline generation all the easier.

  6. Yes, call it the 7A7-MAX and certify it as a new type aircraft. One with higher landing gear to accommodate larger engines, placed where they should be. Rip out the MCAS software. Re-engineer whatever is needed, a larger elevator etc. A clean sheet design as what Boeing was originally considering a few years ago, Some airlines will have to decide if they want to continue flying less fuel efficient 737’s or actually train their pilots to a new aircraft type rating and achieve a 2nd entry on their pilot licenses. A&P’s already are dealing with the new engines. What happens in 10 years to those airlines when jet engine makers come out with another large engine? Add in another MCAS designed for it? I don’t like software designed aircraft.

    • Obviously renaming is a terrible idea, the product would forever be known as the plane that used to be called the MAX.In 25years time people will be boring you with the tale of why it was renamed owing to its accident record. POTUS advice on the matter demonstrates what a charlatan he is.

  7. – – – – Call It Super MAX 1% – – – –

    We all know that the US Government’s Bureau of Prisons refers to the most severe maximum security facilities as “SuperMax”, right?

      • The MAX has so many advanced electronics systems, that even the FAA does not understand them. So I suggest to call it “the groundbreaker”

          • That would be the original turbojet 707-120. It couldnt take off from New York east bound for London non stop – because Idlewilds then 8500ft runway was too short. No problem for the Comet.
            The 707 design came from the USAF KC135 requirements which provided ultra long 10,000ft plus runways for that other ground hugger the B52 The tandem under carriage meant the B52 couldnt rotate like other tricycle configuration planes

          • the ultra long USAF runways were a legacy of the B-36.

            the B-52 cruises with a ~2-3 degree nose down trim in flight, so, on the ground with flaps deployed it is already half way rotated from a wing AoA perspective.

          • Duke:

            Comet just didn’t make it to where it was going.

            The good news was only 36 people did not make it to where they were going.

            707 could seat 189.

            If it carried 36 it could have taken off on a 3000 foot runway.

          • Plenty of crashes for 707s, two crashed in 1959 alone.
            The highly swept wings of Boeings jet bombers required longer runways , but I cant find any info about the B-36 runway requirements ( it did have a massive wingspan and 336 spark plugs) and compared to Boeings bombers relatively low numbers built.
            The Comet I was about the same length as the 737-100, but those days were very spacious seating ( 45 in pitch) but the trans-atlantic version which could fly eastbound non stop, the Comet IV was much longer.

            As for Pan Ams N711PA inaugural flight which carried 111 passengers and 11 crew
            “The Jet could not be fully loaded with fuel before takeoff because of weight restrictions imposed at Idlewild.[Runway!] Fuel capacity of the jet is 17,398 gallons, allowing a cruising range of 4,400 miles. But with a full pay load of passengers, only 9,731 gallons could be taken aboard in New York.
            Hence the stopover at Gander at the favourable eastbound direction

            The registration record of N711PA indicates its final airline user was Air Asia in 83-84. !
            The 1954 flight of the

          • Duke:

            707 crashes were due to pilots not adjusting to a jet.

            All the 707 had to do was drop a few pax, the point is that the Comet was a dog for pax numbers.

            That was why the 707 and the DC-8 buried it, it just was not as efficient (viable) as those two were. A day late and a lot of pax short.

          • So you are saying the 707 designed for around 110 plus passengers in it’s transatlantic version couldnt actually fly on it’s Marquee route non stop from New York?
            The smaller Comet could do it because ….well they designed the fuel load for the weight
            and distance needed.
            That’s basic aero engineering.
            It was all repeated with the mad scramble by Pratt to redesign it’s engine as a turbofan after faced with the competition from Rolls Conway on the 707.

          • Hello Dukeofurl,

            If as you claim the Comet 4 was a far superior trans-Atlantic aircraft than was the Boeing 707, then how do you explain why BOAC (the precursor to British Airways) had withdrawn the Comet 4 from trans-Atlantic service by the end of 1960, and replaced it with Boeing 707’s that it had ordered in 1956 before the Comet 4 had first flown? See the excerpts below from the Wikipedia article on the de Haviland Comet, which may be found at the link after the excerpts. Note that according to Wikipedia, the Comet 4 required re-fueling stops in Newfoundland on westbound Atlantic crossings and that “The American jets were larger, faster, longer-ranged, and more cost-effective than the Comet”.

            “The Comet 4 enabled BOAC to inaugurate the first regular jet-powered transatlantic services on 4 October 1958 between London and New York (albeit still requiring a fuel stop at Gander International Airport, Newfoundland, on westward North Atlantic crossings).[69] While BOAC gained publicity as the first to provide transatlantic jet service, by the end of the month rival Pan American World Airways was flying the Boeing 707 on the same route,[131] and in 1960 the Douglas DC-8 as well. The American jets were larger, faster, longer-ranged, and more cost-effective than the Comet.[132] After analysing route structures for the Comet, BOAC reluctantly cast about for a successor, and in 1956 entered into an agreement with Boeing to purchase the 707.[133]”

            “In 1959 BOAC began shifting its Comets from transatlantic routes[139] and released the Comet to associate companies, making the Comet 4’s ascendancy as a premier airliner brief. Besides the 707 and DC-8, the introduction of the Vickers VC10 allowed competing aircraft to assume the high-speed, long-range passenger service role pioneered by the Comet.[140] ”

            Footnote 139: “The Feb 1959 OAG shows eight transatlantic Comets a week out of London with 10 BOAC Britannias and 11 DC-7Cs. In April 1960, 13 Comets, 19 Britannias and 6 DC-7Cs. Comets quit flying the North Atlantic in October 1960 (but reportedly made a few flights in summer 1964).”


            Total Number of Aircraft Built According to Wikipedia.
            Comet 4: 76 (first commercial service October 1958)

            707 and 720 total for all commercial models (military E3 and KC models not included): 914
            707-120: 56 (first commercial service October 1958)
            707-120B: 72 (first commercial service March 1961).
            707-138: 7 (first commercial service July 1959)
            707-138B: 6
            707-220: 2 (first commercial service December 1959)
            707-320: 69 (first commercial service August 1959).
            707: 320B: 174 (first commercial service June 1962)
            707-320C: 337
            707-420: 37 (first commercial service March 1960)
            720-000: 65 (first commercial service July 1960)
            720-000B: 89 (first commercial service March 1961)

        • See the links below for the first two pages of an article in the May 20, 1960 issue of Flight Magazine (precursor to FlightGlobal), about BOAC ‘s plans to replace all Comet 4’s in trans-Atlantic service with Boeing 707-420’s. Immediately below are some excerpts from the article.

          “The Comet 4 will now be progressively displaced by the 707, being released from the North Atlantic to step up frequencies on other BOAC routes.”

          ‘The smaller jet was of course never intended for this route, though it appears to have done a very good job despite its limited seating capacity …”

          “The Boeing 707 will operate throughout the summer with 34 first class seats, four abreast at 42 inch pitch, and 97 economy class seats at 34 inch pitch 6 abreast. This compares with the mixed class comet 4 configuration of 24 first class at 47 inch pitch 4 abreast, and 48 economy-class at 34 inch pitch 5 abreast. The greater first class pitch on the Comet is a concession gained by BOAC at the last IATA traffic conference to enable the aircraft to compete on more equitable terms with the faster 707 and DC-8 jets.”

          “The specific operating costs of the 707 thus make it indisputably superior to the types it is replacing.”



          • Thats not my point at all. Of course the 707 which came much later than the Comet -first flight Jul 1949- was far more successful.
            But on the first eastbound trans Atlantic flights, the 707-120 was payload limited by Idlewilds then runway lengths, this meant a refueling stop, which negated somewhat its faster speed.
            Thats the design compromise, highly swept wings meant a much longer runway, even in New York.
            The higher thrust turbo fan Conway powered 707-420s used by BOAC could cross the Atlantic both ways non stop.

            The stories of the Comets first arrivals at New York ahead of Pan Am who had been advertising their ‘being first’ mention the passengers being booed by americans watching !

  8. A321NEO for AK:

    Alaska can kick the order down the runway while they see how the A321 does.

    As much as management loves an airplane, oft time Mechanics have a different view. While not the main driver I suspect for AK its one significant one as how they feel about it and the trouble shooting working on it are a factor. While its not a slam on Europeans, if you are used to working on all American equipment the details in how they go about it can be highly irritation. Perkins would use 10 bolts when a US engine would use 5.
    Wiring conventions (methods and means) and diagrams make no sense (yes been there and done that)

    Having worked around mechanics and techs Airbus was not liked at all by one organization and often cursed at by another person I knew who worked the avionics.

    Trying to switch back and forth is fatiguing.

    Same organization that disliked the Airbus stuff loves the 777.

    As for an XL XLR, I think that is down the road decision wise and where AK sees its future for routes.

    Seeing how it works out and how they feel about operating two mfg types is the focus for now as well it should be. Its a big decision for a smaller oaprion like AK Airlines.

    • @TW lives in Alaska, for which the abbreviation is AK.

      Alaska Airlines’ two-letter code is AS.

      AK is the two letter code for AirAsia.

        • @Montana: Not sure what you are asking. Alaska does not have the MAX 10 on order or option. Just MAX 8/9.

          • What I’m asking specifically, Scott, is why wouldn’t Alaska just look at converting some 8 and/or 9 orders to 10s to substitute in place of the A321 neos?

          • The MAX 10 works fine if you don’t need range and field performance isn’t an issue. Otherwise the A321neo/LR/XLR is the better airplane.

          • It heard they grounded, have less range and a cockpit 1-2 back. That’s why. 😉

          • Hello Mr. Hamilton,

            Regarding in your comment above: “Alaska does not have the MAX 10 on order or option. Just MAX 8/9”,

            and also the following in you original blog post.

            “From a fleet planning standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense to me for Alaska to have a mix of 737-8s and A320neos”.

            Following is an excerpt from page 19 of Alaska’s 8-6-19 10-Q filing for the quarter that ended 6-30-19.

            “Aircraft purchase commitments include non-cancelable contractual commitments for aircraft and engines. As of June 30, 2019, the Company had commitments to purchase 32 B737 MAX9 aircraft, with deliveries in the remainder of 2019 through 2023. Future minimum contractual payments for these aircraft have been updated to reflect the most current anticipated delivery timing for B737 MAX9 aircraft, which has been delayed as a result of the grounding order mandated by the FAA on March 13, 2019. The Company also has commitments to purchase five E175 aircraft with deliveries in the remainder of 2019 through 2021 and has cancelable purchase commitments for 30 Airbus A320neo aircraft with deliveries from 2023 through 2025. In addition, the Company has options to purchase 37 B737 MAX aircraft from 2021 through 2024 and 30 E175 aircraft from 2021 through 2023. ”

            There is no mention of firm purchase commitments for 737-8’s. Are you aware of Alaska having firm purchase commitments for 737-8’s that were for some reason not reported in their 8-6-19 SEC 10-Q filing?

            According to Alaska’s 8-6-19 10-Q they operated 166 B737’s as of 6-30-19 (page 37). According to Wikipedia the model breakdown of these 737’s was as follows.

            737-700F: 3
            737-700: 11
            737-800: 61
            737-900: 12
            737-900ER: 79

            The much maligned on this blog 737-900’s and 737-900ER’s outnumber 737-800’s at Alaska, and according to planespotters.ne,t Alaska last took delivery of a 737-800 (N538AS) in May 2012, while 737-900ER deliveries continued until March 2019 (N215AK). Has Alaska moved on from the 737-800 fuselage size and seating capacity, or will they at some point want to to replace the 737-800’s with something with a similar seating capacity, such as a 737-8?

            I found it interesting that while 62 of Alaska’s 72 Airbus aircraft are leased, only 10 of their 166 Boeing 737’s are leased. Is it perhaps easier to get rid of leased aircraft as the leasing agreements expire, than it is to get rid of owned aircraft (see page 16)?

            See link below for Alaska’s 8-6-19 10-Q.


          • Alaska Airline was alwyas AK to us who lived here and Air Asia is a wanna be off in the S.W. Pacific someplace. Their calls sign is Alaska. that is abbreviated AK.

            If Airbus can rename Winglets I can rename AK, that is my story and I am sticking to it.

            SW is Southwest as well. ICAO calls it SWA. Good enough for me. WN, come on, call sign is Southwest.

            Purists, until Airbus renames winglets.

          • AP:

            I think Alaska Airlines (here after referred to as AK) is moving to all 787-900/9 as a logical step just as South West ( hereafter referred to as SW or SWA as the mood strikes me ) has moved up to the 737-800/8

            I agree, the 900/9 is much maligned. While not huge numbers and it clearly was not an A321 competitor (though Scott argued it was at one point) its a nice adjunct with little development cost to Boeing to create it and has sold nicely for what it is (which again is not an A321)

            The future is clearly -9 for 737 operators with the -10 upgrade if it can work and SW will be making that move soon as well.

            Airports are getting busier and the bigger birds help that out.

          • From Bjorn Fehrm’s 3-12-17 A321neo vs. 737-10 comparison article to which Dukeofurl provided a link above. Of course, A321 LR and XLR would have additional range.

            “Both aircraft have about the same range when sensibly equipped. The A320 series wing holds about an ACT’s (Auxiliary Center Tank)-worth of less fuel. So Boeing justly equipped the A321neo with two ACTs and the MAX 10 with one. This means both aircraft are just passing 3,200nm without becoming limited by the fuel amount.

            Which of the two then flies on the longest depends on where Boeing puts the final Max Take-Off Weight. When modeled with a reasonable increase (around 5,000lb), they both run out of operational max range (with a 100% load factor cabin and ACTs as above) after 3,200nm. So we would say that on maximum range with passengers and their bags the aircraft seems about equal.

            The same goes for operational costs. Our model shows them to be close on this dimension as well. We can’t see in our model the claimed 5% better seat and trip cost for a 737 MAX 10.”

            “The MAX 10 will have worse field performance (essentially the same as MAX 9, which is a bit of a ground hog), but for airlines serving large airports at reasonable altitudes, it will be OK.”

          • AP:

            I don’t disagree on the A321.

            Just that the -9 and -10 may serve fine with the limitations as noted.

            Doing some random poking on 737 routes I have seen hops of as low as 250 miles. Then it will make a long hop half way or 2/3 across the US.

            That business of its the averages and sometimes the extremes that drive the decision.

    • @TransWorld

      Seriously? Until now I thought that US has not only far superior pilots then rest of the world, but also far superior mechanics 😉

      • @Pablo Glad you noticed and acknowledged we’ve got the beat of both! “KAGA”: Keep America Great Again!

        • Pablo: No idea what you are talking about.

          Generality the country with the best regulations has the best pilots and mechanics and dispatchers etc.

          On the other hand I saw the amazing models that the Philippines built (mostly USAF and USN jets and transports) out of scrap files, hacksaw blades and from Balsa. World renowned. I would simply die in that situation if my life depended on hand making perfection.

          None of it means good people are not good people wherever they live and for the most part they are far better than their governments.

          • @TransWorld

            You know, you are saying that US mechanics (who are the best in the world “Generality the country with the best regulations has the best pilots and mechanics and dispatchers etc.”) can’t do with inferior-then-US-Airbus-1980s-FBW-technology (“Wiring conventions (methods and means) and diagrams make no sense (yes been there and done that)” or “Same organization that disliked the Airbus stuff loves the 777”) is a quite funny claim, isn’t it? And not really viable.

          • Pablo:

            Quit trying to speak for me.

            The US has a good regulatory system and the mechanics and pilots have to adhere to it or they will get grounded (not 100% but better)

            When you have corruption and bad system, then you get bad results.

  9. Thinking about it a bit more,maybe the message should be “we’re not changing the name, we stand or fall on our engineering “and then try to quietly deempathise the MAX

  10. I remember those DC-10 accidents. And the jokes: “Want to know how to build a DC-10?” ” Just go to the end of the runway to get all the parts you need.” The 737MAX will be built for years and most people won’t bat an eyelash boarding it after a couple years. As far as Alaska Airlines fleet choices, maybe down the road, the A319s and their B737-700s will be replaced with A220-300s… With Delta, Jet Blue and others topping off their fleets with them in significant numbers, they might have to.

    • I think the A220 is at least an options for AK, but it might be too small at this point as well.

      The E-175s suit the regional section but the A220 would be more flexible.

      AK does not have scope agreements. Is possible the E3-175 and or 190/95 might be brought in if it suits the overall structure.

  11. I have not heard anybody say they will not fly the MAX. I an sure there are a few superstitious people will not fly them but most just care about getting to their destinations and don’t research the plane they are flying on.
    I also expect the 737MAX when allowed back in service to be the safest plane in the sky due to all the time spent on revamping, FAA’s total involvement, many pilots used for test flights and the time spent to get it right.
    As far as the E-195E2 for Southwest, the E-175E2 would be the best choice as it would allow WN to add all new smaller markets that at present cannot support 737 service. I fly on the E-175 recently and found it to be very comfortable compared with the with the ERJ-145 and CRJ-200 and the dreaded Dash-8.

    • The A220 would be more flexible.

      A mix of 200/300 to replace the routes the 737-700 was good for and might still be if it was not so heavy.

      SW has agreements to deal with but no scope clause either.

      • Alaska has a combined total of 74 A319/320/737-700’s, replacing them to some extent with A220’s (50?) could work. The A320NEO orders (30) does not fit, if “AK”” decides to keep the A321N’s these could be converted to A321N’s and eventually operate a fleet of 50 or so A321N’s.

        The remainder of the long term fleet 737-8’s. Not sure if Boeing is still looking into an 737-9ER with MAX10 landing gear and engines, might suit AK?

        • Hello Anton,

          Regarding: “The remainder of the long term fleet 737-8’s.”

          In view of the fact that Alaska has 32 737-9’s on order, but no 737-8’s on order, according to its 8-6-19 SEC 10-Q filing for the quarter ended 6-30-19, it would seem to me that the management of Alaska feels otherwise. Also consider that 737-900/900ER’s outnumber 737-800’s at Alaska (12 737-900’s, and 79 737-900ER’s vs. 61 737-800’s according to Wikipedia), and that according to planespotters.net, Alaska last took delivery of a 737-800 (N538AS) in May 2012, while 737-900ER deliveries continued until March 2019 (N215AK).

          If Alaska’s “commitments to purchase 32 B737 MAX9 aircraft, with deliveries in the remainder of 2019 through 2023” are all fulfilled as currently scheduled from 2019 to 2023, the combined total of 737-900’s, 737-900ER’s, and 737-9’s in Alaska’s fleet will be 123 at the end of 2023 (assuming no retirements of these types until after 2023), in which year Alaska would first have the option using their inherited “cancelable purchase commitments for 30 Airbus A320neo aircraft with deliveries from 2023 through 2025” to add to the 10 A321 neo’s that it currently has in operation or on order. Note also that Alaska has “options to purchase 37 B737 MAX aircraft from 2021 through 2024”.

          The phrases in quotes in the above paragraph, are all from page 19 of Alaska’s 8-6-19 SEC 10-Q filing for the quarter ended 6-30-19. See the excerpt below from page 19, and see the link after the excerpt for the full document.

          “Aircraft purchase commitments include non-cancelable contractual commitments for aircraft and engines. As of June 30, 2019, the Company had commitments to purchase 32 B737 MAX9 aircraft, with deliveries in the remainder of 2019 through 2023. Future minimum contractual payments for these aircraft have been updated to reflect the most current anticipated delivery timing for B737 MAX9 aircraft, which has been delayed as a result of the grounding order mandated by the FAA on March 13, 2019. The Company also has commitments to purchase five E175 aircraft with deliveries in the remainder of 2019 through 2021 and has cancelable purchase commitments for 30 Airbus A320neo aircraft with deliveries from 2023 through 2025. In addition, the Company has options to purchase 37 B737 MAX aircraft from 2021 through 2024 and 30 E175 aircraft from 2021 through 2023. ”


    • @Steve

      However nobody says it here, for now, I will tell you that I won’t be satisfied by Boeing proposed fixes of MAX, eg. lack of simulator training, trim wheel crankshaft deficiency, rudder cable insufficient redundancy, unknown scope of pitch issue without MCAS, just to name few, but nobody in Boeing talks about it, or saying even something contrary eg. no sim training. Maybe you don’t hear it for now, because we are waiting for the final to evaluate it, but as far I can see Boeing is trying shortcuting once again – the worst it could do.

      I don’t think MAX will be ever a safe plane, not in this reality, rather a ticking bomb deemed by FAA to be safe, again. You can call me antiBoeing or fatalist but I’ll trying to be a realistic.

      • Agreed. This nonsense about “grandfathering” this dinosaur by adding much more powerful power plants with a higher C.O.G. made this 60 y.o. plane unstable within the established flight envelope, and they cobbled together the MCAS. The Max 8 must be permanently grounded.

        • @Ravioliollie Kaye

          Hold on. Grandfathering certification in MAX edition is stupidy, I know, but if every known flaw is addressed well, and if REcertified from A to Z will be done to find other flaws and address them also, not only MCAS, it could fly again. I don’t see it looking how Boeing is going now but I can’t say that shall be scrapped already.

          • The only way you are going to address bring it up to A320 FBW is to create an all new aircraft.

            Going through an old one and bringing it up to snuff costs vast amounts and you wind up spending more than an all new aircraft would cost that has no future.

            So just say you want to kill it.

            Its a binary choice.

          • Sorry, the latest re-incarnation isn’t fit to fly.

          • Yes. The opportunity came with the 737 NG with its new wing to go to FBW. ( as Airbus did with its A300 based new generation A330).
            Im of the view, the big customers, especially Southwest blocked any change like that as they want commonality more than the Holy Grail itself.
            Heck Southwest didnt even want the ‘auto pilot’ that was offered in the 737-300.
            Hint for those who are thinking of A220 type for SWA routes, they dont buy any new fangled stuff… ever, the lack of recognition of MCAS features and training for pilots has SWA finger prints on it.

          • RK: that is your view, others disagree and actually cite information.

  12. I don’t think there is any clean, postive branding option for Boeing as, assuming return to service is in the next few months, the saga won’t have gone quiet yet. The lawsuits, Nader and so on will see to that, providing decent headline court reports. So, rebrand pre-RTS and see the new brand linked with “MAX” in prominent court news, don’t rebrand and they keep the baggage. If only they could do what they should have done all along and be absolutely open, transparent etc and so actually turn the MAX brand around (slwowly)…

    Appropriate name for the law firm.

  13. At some point, Boeing might do with the B737MAX what they did with the B727. After an increase gross weight, they may call it the B737MAX Advanced, and later morphed that to the B737 Advanced. As far as the MAX not being safe or not flying, that is highly unlikely. I cannot think of any business in the history “Of Business” that decided to cancel $250,000,000,000 worth of orders because they thought they could do better with something else. That would defy every precept of Capitalism. And believe me, Boeing Corporation is run by Capitalists. And most Americans who own stock or funds, directly or indirectly own Boeing. In this respect it is comparable to the BP Oil Spill – the one in the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, many were concerned about his toxic environmental hazard, but people from the British Isle who all got dividends from BP, not so much. I don’t judge, I just report.

      • That of course makes sense as BP includes the infamous Standard Oil, Amoco, Arco.,… And at the end of the day, I do tend to think that very few air travellers are aerospace watchers and blogger as those here, and that they care little what gets them from point A to B, as long as it’s clean, cheap and at least pretty close to on time.

        • BP only acquired one of the smaller Standard Oil 1911 anti trust breakups ( of 34 ‘baby Standards’ created), Standard Oil of Ohio ( Sohio) and later merged with Amoco ( formerly Standard Oil of Indiana).

          The main larger Standard Oil businesses become Mobil ( NY) , Esso ( NJ) and Chevron (CA)

    • Hello Sam,

      Regarding: “At some point, Boeing might do with the B737MAX what they did with the B727. After an increase gross weight, they may call it the B737MAX Advanced, and later morphed that to the B737 Advanced.”

      How many of the vast majority of airline passengers who were not airline employees or aviation hobbyists do you think knew whether they were flying on a 727 or 727 Advanced, or on a 737 or 737 Advanced? My estimate would be pretty close to zero. Additionally, my impression is that the majority (but not vast majority) of passengers don’t even know or care what aircraft model they are flying on, as long as the exterior paint job and interior look clean and fresh, it isn’t a little regional jet (for many an E-Jet is just big enough to not be lumped with ERJ’s and CRJ’s as a little regional jet), and it doesn’t have propellers.

  14. Never mind the rebranding question, as return to service still looks iffy.
    A story in today’s WSJ seems to imply B managed to brown off most regulators at a meeting late last month by being less than fully transparent and failing to answer fully the questions it had been given in advance. As a result B was sent off to re do their copy for a later meeting – yet to come- with corresponding additional weeks of delays.
    Also mentioned in the WSJ story is the fact that issue of (simulator) training has been deliberately set aside for later discussions among regulators … not a sterling portend indeed.
    I am now betting for a St. Patrick day return to service.🐢🐢🐢

  15. DT:

    People will idly speculative on all sort of things when nothing is happening, the speculate on what happening and why someone should do X instead of Y even though they are not responsible for the payroll as well.

    To Gossip is Human.

    • Wall Street Journal generally has good sources in MAX case. So its very probably. And another sign that Boeing is choosing stupid way to pressure everyone to do less possible.

  16. I do like the comments. Not much happening, so LNA do odds and ends. Nothing wrong with that.

    But can I return to Buckingham Research who said that the 737 MAX was a pilots’ airplane even though Boeing refused to let the pilots fly the airplane. If rumours are true they still won’t let the pilots fly the airplane.

    I said a while back, it’s going to get nasty. Boeing said a software fix will do. They have dared everybody to disagree. Indeed they have kept production going to prove to everybody that they can’t disagree.

    No sign of agreement. But who will crack first. It’s a pilot’s airplane but Boeing won’t let pilots fly it? Really.

    Thanks to LNA for revealing Buckingham Research. Job well done.

    So, can anybody disagree with Boeing? We are going to find out!

    • Philip:

      You clearly do not get what is involved with production of an aircraft and all the ramifications there of.

      Suddenly stopping production is like leaving a bullet in the barrel of your gun and pulling the trigger. It makes an awful mess.

      First you have all your outside suppliers who have contracts. Those contracts while secret, will have varying degree of protection for the supplier. Boeing wants discounts and suppliers need a basis to build the parts, they can’t do it on speculation nor store them. Both sides have legally binding aspects. Is in Boeing’s interest to ensure their suppliers stay in business (though there is some legitimacy in that regards as to if they really mean it)

      Loose a supplier and you have to find or created another one. A lot of Charleston came to be because the suppliers were hosed up and Being bought them out as nothing they did was correcting the problems there.

      Boeing has no interest in being a widgets mfg though. So you have that whole range of fiddly stuff like rods, cables, pulleys they do not want to supply (and ALL have to be certified per the ai8rcart they are made for)

      The stuff in the pipeline form huge (fuselages) to fasteners is massive.

      So yes, Boeing elected to keep production going as the penalties not to do so are currently worse. If this drags on then they may indeed stop production. they did drop rate to 42 which allowed recovery in the badly stressed supply chain. (Airbus is also having those issue)

      Once production is stopped, getting it started again is a costly and painful y undertaking (all hands on deck and other business gets dropped)

      You base your view on your opinion the MAX should not be made, fair enough.

      Boeing is doing their operations based on both the corporate need and belief the MAX will be back in the air.

      I am betting on Boeing by the way.

      Boeing hash up of the MCAS is a separate aspect that while it involved possible production and future is a stand alone entity of corporate stupidity at its worst.

      None of it makes the 737MAX a bad aircraft.

      Unrelated to the MCAS (it has been there and approved all along) is the manual trim that will be an item to follow.

        • Well we have to wait and see what package Boeing submitted don’t we?

          The MCAS is no longer a problem.

          The Manual Trim certainly is. When two pilots can’t break it out of the clutch on a frozen motor that is one of its problems.

          Lock up at speed is another.

          As the entire philosophy of a manual control is the manual reversion – when your reversion does not work by logic you don’t have maul reversion (or selectively so) that and it would then be a certification bust if the safety intent is follo0wed correctly..

          • And if Manual reversion don’t work, because it’s at full trim and/or high speed, then it would be nice to have a manual yoke switch working the electric, in case the A/P is in runaway mode for whatever reason. As the MAX is now, you’d better have a screwdriver and wire cutters packed in your flight bag. As the MAX will be??? That is the question. I’d really like to know the real reason they went to the trouble of rewiring the two switches. If they were going to do that, then why keep the two switches? Why then not just have one switch. Very puzzling. Very troubling.

          • So, you are saying the electrical system fails and the mechanical reversion doe snot work we then revert to something that is not working?

        • The re-wiring of the stab trim cutout switches is still a question for me. BA were trying so hard to make sure they changed as little as possible to retain the same type certificate, and yet they re-wired these switches, and disabled the ‘yoke jerk’ function.

          Apart from trying to keep things the same, they were up against the clock, so why the changes ?

          One other thing, BA started working on their ‘upgrade’ to MCAS immediately after the Lion Air crash, but it wasn’t quite ready for BA to submit for approval until around the time the FAA found the latest issue.

          MCAS ‘upgrade’ one seemed to be just to make MCAS less ferocious, latest fix has MCAS taking input from two sources instead of one.

          As someone who writes software every day, I can’t see that the latest MCAS fix which on the face of it is more complicated than the first fix, can be made, and tested a lot faster than the first ‘upgrade’.

          It looks like some of the other regulators are not happy with the BA answers to their questions, my best guess is that the MAX will not be flying in European skies until next year.

          We shall see.

          Rebranding ? No they won’t rebrand, there’s little point, if there was another major incident, the media will just link the aircraft as ‘formerly known as MAX’, and open up the can of worms again.

          BA had better get all of the issues fixed this time around, and not rely on statistics based on a different aircraft.

  17. No news is good news, but not in this case. Any news is bound to leak given how many organisations are involved.No news means no solution. Personally I believe that Boeing is stuck in a logic trap that dosnt necessarily have that much to do with statistical safety.

    • Am inclined to agree with you. They have promised too many things to too many parties that are incompatible. I predict that things are going to get worse before they get better as there is no way that external agencies will be browbeaten or cajoled into a substandard response.

      The FAA cannot been seen to do anything to rock the regulatory boat. The attitude of Boeing has made all regulators wary of anything that is done, a loss of faith, a loss of trust

  18. Having watched some of the A-380 vids covering the progression of the A-380 to reality, I was struck by the fact that the pilot who would fly the initial flight had logged over 2,000 hours in a sim while the planes was still being assembled. Any thoughts?

    • That is about the same hours Boeing invested into MAX flight testing, right? and half of what went into NEO testing/certification
      for a comparably much smaller change from CEO to NEO.

  19. Regarding rebranding, a shorter name would be good. adding another suffix would make the name as patched up as the aircraft itself…

  20. And in a couple of other side notes

    Trent 1000/Ten: Two engines in the same risk timeline. The should be taken out of service well before as they have no idea when one will let go, let alone two. Time to ground the 1000 dog and eyeball the TEN very seriously.


    Emirates is parting out two A380 (owned)


    What happens to the leased units (and the other Emirates past what they need for parts) will be interesting.

    How much of the 747-8I can be used on the 747-8F ? Most I would think and so far no Pax retirements announced.

    • Thats because its likely no 747-8I have reached major D checks ( EIS 2012) like the earlier EIS of the A380s. ( EIS 2007)- maybe even a 2nd D check?

      • Agreed, it will be interesting to see what happens as they come up on that.

        747-8F of course will fly for 100 years as nothing like it exists.

        Also interesting to see what happens as the line gets really short.

        I think Boeing could have made another 20 C-17s and sold them. Once a plane is gone you can only buy used (and not going to happen per C-17)

  21. It’s odds and ends so I’m allowed.

    It was boring until Tim Clarke opened his mouth. He attacked Boeing/GE and Airbus/RR but was much more severe with Airbus/RR.

    I would understand if Tim Clarke had put the future of his business in the hands of Airbus/RR. But no. He’s put his business in hands of Boeing/GE.

    I think Tim Clarke is preparing the ground to walk away from the 777-9/8 deal. But he needs to claim he won significant concessions from Airbus/RR. The question is: Will Airbus/RR give him what he wants?

    I’ve never believed the numbers with regard to the 777-8/9. I think Boeing believed their own view with regard to the A350. Boeing never believed the A350 would meet it’s specification. But the A350 is exceeding it’s specification.

    The 777-8/9 is dead on arrival and now Tim Clarke understands it. How to get out without egg on your face.

    Before we get into RR. I’m sure we will. Tim Clarke refused to return to GP with regard to the A380 even though he was saying what he was saying about RR. Equally if he still thinks RR are in the running if he buys the 787. Why bother. Choose GE.

    • Some merit there but I think the RR thing is a loss of face for TC so he will not change that despite the superior nature of the GP on the A380. If RR offers enough discounts he can make up the loss of ops with that.

      Its clear GE is not offering discounts to match RR, they don’t have to, no one wants a Trent 1000/10 now.

      As TC could have a GE 787 and doe not mention it that seals the deal. He just wants more from RR than RR wants to give and GE is giving nothing. RR is desperate so it makes sense.

      • Not true on the discounts. ANZ were given a bargain by both Boeing and GE. They equally offered more range for the 787-10. More range is interesting. The 787 wing isn’t big enough and GENX isn’t powerful enough to provide a significant increase in MTOW. Have ANZ signed a contract? Order not listed. So let’s see what happens.

        The reason why the Trent 1000/TEN is still in the running for Emirates is that it is a bigger more powerful engine than GENX. It’s now to be a baby Trent XWB, as will the Trent 7000. Should have happened first time round. It will be fine, eventually.

        LNA’s idea of a 787-10ER is a good idea. I would add a 787-9ER. But it needs a new wing and a Trent XWB sized engine. But a lot, lot better idea than the 777-8/9.

        • I think Tim Clark is trying to find a way to drop as many 777x as possible because is aware that smaller planes are more versatile, more hub-spoke disruptive, so easier to fill up – and this new reality also applies to Emirates. So he is looking for “a reason” to convert all wide-bodies orders-in-spe to what suits most to this new Emirates reality.

          I agree that without Trent engine 787s are not so capable and versatile as could be, so he is pushing or to drop 787s because of Trent issues or to make more pressure on RR to fix them for good and order more 787s – in both of the cases Emirates win.

          I think engine discounts are close to be the same, are airframes who can offer more price flexibility, especially Boeing, and Tim Clark counts on it.

          • The Ten is not a baby XWB, its a derivative of the 1000 with a lot of parts changed (and not the ones they should have)

            It has 5,000 lbs of thrust over the GENx which has better fuel consumption.

            Clearly with its reliability GE can stretch thrust to a better takeoff rating if they need to.

            The two spool GENx is also lower maint cost and repair than the more complicated and 1000/Ten.

            TC complains about the engine but he jumps into the Trent 900 updated believing RR can increase the SFC by 7% which is insane (it was 2% behind, maybe 3 and TC claims it was going to be 5% better than the GP)

            Who demands all this performance and wants what when?

            He is not jut shooting himself in the foot.

            Emirate will continue to be dependent on the 777-300 class and 777-9 or -10 type in the future.

            On the other hand his Airport is not going to be completed the way he wants.

            Another issue with a State supported airline, when the money goes away so does the airline.


          • TransWorld:

            The Trent TEN/Trent 7000 has:

            The same fan design as the Trent XWB
            The same IPC/HPT design as the Trent XWB
            The same combustor design as the Trent XWB

            The HPT/IPT is a 1/1 configuration as opposed to the 1/2 configuration of the Trent XWB. But the material technology will now be the same as the Trent XWB.

            The LPT is the same design as the Trent XWB.

            I say that means they are now baby Trent XWBs.

            It’s the HPT/IPT material technology upgrade that will prevent the issues in the turbine returning. They are reputed to be the best there is. For example, the Trent XWB-97 is the hottest engine in production.

            The investigation into the Norwegian engine shutdown notes that engines with the material upgrade are completely unaffected.

            Your numbers on SFC are made up and I’m sure all readers will know that. To Loren Thompson or Buckingham Research for me.

  22. Well, the FAA’s Type Certification Data Sheet includes -8 and -9 models, not MAX.

    So marketing types would just have to walk back their PR.

    And didn’t someone hanging around Renton see 8200 on one customer’s airplane?

    (Beware that customers may put an internal number on the airplane to help employees, preferably a short number otherwise just use registration. So 641 was the first CV640 operated by PW (whereas there’d have been a 601 DC-6), 774 was a 707-138B (whereas there’d probably been a 701 DC-7C, and 732 was the second 737 which happened to be a Convertible model. With amusing obsessiveness, PW kept using the 2 for C models as its fleet grew into the 30s, so 742, 752, 762… until that became unwieldy.)

    Airlines have long used names to highlight something about service, variously, I recall reading that it was common in the days of piston engined airliners. And manufacturers did to, such as Stratocruiser for the Boeing 377 and IIRC Stratoliner for the Boeing 707.

    And in TCDS you can find examples of different model numbers that make no difference to performance (except possibly for engine differences), such as for 747:
    – 100/200/SR for max weight limits and fatigue improvements (the SR improvements for JAL could be included in -100/200)
    – the -300 had an extended upper deck which had a very small effect on drag, and could be retrofitted to the -100/s00 models.

    And other cases where there is not a change for a performance change, such as the advanced version of 737-200 (wing tweaks that made a substantial difference in payload into short fields).

    • Well I have not a clue what the point of that post is.

      ID is so what, its still a max even if Boeing calls it a Model 300-11-12 and the airlines call it a Boeing 1000.

      All source documents are based on the Boeing mfg number not a name.

      In reality is a 737-9-12 (example) which could translates into a SW built 737 with their equipment specifications and interior.

      SW can call it the Vultee and it makes not difference, all legal and maint documents source back to 737-9-12.

      • Well. snipworld,

        Reread and think.

        Hint: the subject was change of marketing name for PR reasons.

        It is not a MAX, it is a -8 or -9. Marketing can call it what they want, doesn’t change the legal name.

        That does not change the design, which is of course changing within the -8/-9 term to improve safety from what the original design was.

        As for customer-specific designations by Boeing, those may or may not show in the TCDS, but I expect significant factors will such as LR. It’s a matter of limitations, procedures, and instructions (manuals and placards for example) and other things needed to meet regulations for safety). FAA doesn’t care what pattern is on the sidewalls of the pax cabin as long as they are secure and fire resistant to regulations.

        Traditionally Boeing used numbers in the model variant to designate customers, such as 737-275 for PW’s B737-200s. That isn’t as useful IMO with widespread leasing flipping, rather than the 20 year lease I’ve heard of in the old days of jet airliners.

        As for an operator giving each airplane a fleet number or name (such as Qantas’ Longreach 747-400), I’d add something on the fuselage denoting capability so people outside the airplane know to look up special requirements (such as maintenance for ETOPS).

        • ‘Longreach’ being the airplane whose crew declared a fuel emergency after London UK ATC was not cooperative in giving it some priority as it had been caught in changing congestion/wx/ATC expectations so would have burnt into reserves before landing – SOP is to avoid that. (Get the ship to dock then fight over legalities, remembering the crew is in charge of the ship.)

  23. You could call Boeing’s press releases on renaming, if it is in fact Boeing releasing such chatter, obfuscation.

  24. “EASA will require Boeing to demonstrate the stability of the jet in flight tests that include high-speed turn and stall maneuvers with MCAS switched off.”




    Wouldn’t BA or the FAA already have done windup turns with MCAS disabled ?

    • Yes, but they will go overboard on this one and rightly so.

      They will be the ones that get hung out to dry if there are any more problems.

      Get me into a simulator and I would bet $1000 I could handle it.

    • Thanks. I hope the results are published. Why did EASA demanded it and not the FAA?

      There is no reason why the tests can’t start before Boeing deliver their fix!

      • I might add:

        The question I think EASA is asking is as follows: Is the pitch instability so bad that MCAS must be designated as a primary control system as opposed to a secondary control system. If the answer is the former, a primary control system, then Boeing are done. MCAS doesn’t have the fail-safe, the redundancy to be a primary control system.

        EASA’s request/demand at this late stage does indicate that Boeing are not cooperating especially when it is known that Boeing didn’t provide adequate documentation on the software.

        It is now entirely clear there is no agreement of any kind.

        • I agree 100%. Let’s see how the “naked” 737-MAX flies. If the ‘abnormality’ is flight critical, then Boeing needs to fix it with full adherence to FBW certified software standards for MCAS, or some sort of hardware solution.

    • Philip regarding “Why did EASA demanded it and not the FAA?”

      Perhaps the FAA have done these tests in the air, perhaps they just went with a simulator, or perhaps they just relied on BA to do it for them.

      If they do full stall testing at various altitudes and speeds and windup turns all with MCAS turned off, then make the results public (Video), they’d go some way to reassuring the public that the aircraft was safe to fly.

      In the EASA document in Significant technical issues: they mention the trim wheel issue, but in Latest status: they don’t mention it. I wonder if BA have a resolution that EASA and the other regulators accept ?

      Peter Lemme commented on the stick-force-slope on Twitter https://twitter.com/Satcom_Guru/

      • Your points are well taken.

        But if the tests were done properly, the technical data would already be available. Specifically, it should be remembered that test airplanes are instrumented. Over the course of the flight test programme, terabytes of data are produced. That means the data should be there and available to EASA.

        With regard to the trim wheel. It’s not clear if EASA is reissuing it’s list or adding to the list. Indeed, I don’t think EASA has really started it’s list. Why?

        If you think about the request/demand it is a request/demand that says let’s start from the beginning. Let’s see what the instability is and then take it from there. Once the data is there, EASA may have an awful lot to say.

        I’ve also beeen having a think about the trim stabiliser AND deflections. The maximum deflection is 12°. It’s starts at 2.5°, the standard setting. That’s a lot. Then MCAS 1.0 uses 2.5° increments. That’s a sledgehammer.

        Why the sledgehammer. The trim stabiliser is slow, elevators are fast. So we come to the magical 4 seconds thinking time and the 3 second response time. MCAS only gets one go because the trim stabiliser isn’t responsive enough.

        But then we come to the accident reports. They suggest that the elevators were in trouble after one increment and completely inoperable after two increments. So an AND of 5° means the elevators are in trouble, 7.5° means they are inoperable.

        Upon thinking about this, I think EASA has gone all the way to the beginning.

        Let’s do the tests again, chaps, and take it from there.

        • Boeing seems to be holding back data from the public, Airlines, Pilots, EASA, and the KNKT (Indonesia’s NTSB). If they have so great a fix, I’d want it displayed it in front of the world with great fanfare. Apparently, Boeing want’s to keep it secret. Which makes me think that their great ‘fix’ isn’t so great.
          In a separate statement on August 9, 2019, KNKT’s lead investigator on the Lion Air crash Nurcahyo Utomo, noted that the agency is still awaiting data from Boeing: “When we get that data, it will go into our draft of the final report that we’ll send to stakeholders, including Boeing, Lion Air and the US Federal Aviation Administration for feedback,” he was quoted as saying by Channel News Asia citing AFP. According to Utomo, he expects the report to be released in October 2019

      • I should of read the PDF more closely. EASA want to actually test runaway trim stabiliser in actual flight tests. Page 16. As part of the test they want to test manual trim forces.

        That’s going to be interesting if Boeing have not addressed manual trim. The Yo-Yo maneuver in a real 737 MAX that is actually flying.

        Volunteers please? Please write your Will giving me all your dosh!

        I think the WSJ article, as identified by Doubting Thomas, is right. Meetings are breaking up in disarray.

        • If I was BA and I believed in my product, I would video all flight tests. Cameras in cockpit, 4 or 5 views from stable chase aircraft, continuous coverage of flight control surfaces, full instrumentation views, all time coded, synchronised. Full audio uncensored.

          Recruit Sully if possible as objective observer for a large fee to go to charity.

          Perform flight tests, shoot video, post all video on the Internet unadulterated.

          I’d probably ask James Cameron to film everything on IMAX as well to confound the conspiracy theorists that will say that video is easy to fake or alter.

          In fact I’d go one better and stream it live on the Internet.

          Would that help restore confidence?

      • If MCAS is there just to deal with a stick-force-slope issue .. then simply have MCAS apply the appropriate amount of stick force to the yoke. Not fire off any commands to the stabilizer trim.

        • Good point, something like help-stick-pusher instead of huge amount of move of stabilizer.

    • Finally someone will officially check how much 737 MAX is “unstable” “uncontrollable” without MCAS. Thumb up EASA! That’s for beginning. Later othet issues as sim training, trim weel… etc.

      Sad thing, which tells much about Boeing and his safety culture, that this is only possible way to bring back MAX safely to the sky, and it will be done clearly against Boeing will or agenda.

    • Does anyone but Boeing believe that the MAX will be certified for flight again this year?
      The FAA is certainly not making any comments along those lines. Airlines don’t appear to believe it by their flight scheduling. Everyone is asking Boeing for more data or more testing. No final accident reports have come out yet (Indonesia is waiting for data from Boeing). Everyone is focused on when the MAX will take to the air again . This question shouldn’t be the one that is being asked. The question that should be asked, is what are the new changes Boeing has made and are they safe. Not, When is the MAX set to fly again. Boeing managers seem to be able to answer the When, much more so, than the What.

  25. Another Norwegian 787 RR engine issue


    It may be nothign, or …….

    With the history of the Trent 1000 they should have gone for the nearer airport.

    You just don’t know when those engines are going to fail.

    The running one gets highly stress in this situation and they have proven they can’t handle normal stress. .

  26. By March 2019, the 737 MAX had been involved in two fatal accidents within five months, (see § Accidents and incidents, below) raising safety concerns and prompting airline users and regulators around the world to ground the aircraft. In both accidents, attention focused on the 737 MAX’s new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which can automatically lower the aircraft nose when a sensor indicates that a stall may be imminent. Satellite tracking data showed that after takeoff, both aircraft experienced extreme fluctuations in vertical speed.

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