Pontifications: Next few weeks critical to aerospace industry

By Scott Hamilton

Sept. 9, 2019, © Leeham News: Reports increased last week that Europe’s EASA safety regulator may go its own way in recertifying the Boeing 737 MAX.

The head of IATA, the international trade group, and CEOs of several airlines and one lessor expressed fear and concern EASA won’t act with the Federal Aviation Administration to lift grounding orders of the MAX.

At the Regional Airline Assn. annual conference last week, buzz among journalists focused on one unverified report, based on EASA’s doubts reported during the week yet to hit the media, could significantly extend the grounding—measured in months, not weeks.

I know efforts are being made to verify the information.

If true, the effects would be devastating.

Impact of extending grounding on airlines and lessors

Boeing, airline and lessor customers, suppliers and, yes, shareholders, are counting on the FAA lifting its grounding order as soon as next month.

From a technical basis, this could happen. But if the FAA acts alone, this will hardly remove the global doubts over the safety of the airplane and lawyers will have a field day over why the FAA thinks the airplane is safe but other regulators do not—especially if there is another accident, regardless of the cause.

The airplane could be parked and smacked by an errant ground truck and irresponsible media and attorneys would find some way to blame the plane and its safety.

FAA-only approved recertification will be an operational nightmare for some carriers and may not help lessors at all.

The MAX would have to fly within the US states and territories. They couldn’t enter non-US airspace—not even trans-border to Canada or Mexico, let alone potentially trans-Atlantic service.

Lessors, whose customers are mostly non-US airlines, could not deliver these airplanes to these airlines.

US airline employees will have a hard time explaining to passengers who ask why the airlines here are flying the MAX when airlines elsewhere cannot.

Impact of extended grounding on Boeing and suppliers

If the grounding is extended, either partially outside the US or globally if the FAA doesn’t act alone, and an extension is measured in months rather than weeks, the impacts will be devastating.

Boeing in my estimation won’t want to continue to build inventory by producing and storing 737s are the rate of 42/mo—or, perhaps, any rate at all. The cash bleeding must stop.

Suspending production, as Boeing warned is a worst-case scenario, would mean about 10,000 layoffs at Boeing (this number may be high). The disruption of stopping production and restarting (whenever) would be immense.

Layoffs at suppliers, here in Washington State and across the county, would ripple and likely go into waves. Smaller suppliers may even go under.

When will we know?

When will we know what EASA will do?

Not until just before the FAA is ready to act, if the information shared on the RAA sidelines proves true.

The next few weeks may prove critical for the entire aerospace industry.

MAX name is toast-readers

Fifty-three percent of our readers  taking our poll last week think Boeing should drop the MAX name and market the 737 by its numeric designations: 737-7, 737-8, 737-9 and 737-10.

Only 20% think the MAX name is OK.

It would be a huge blow to Boeing’s corporate ego to do this.

But business is business.  The MAX name appears to be toast.

304 Comments on “Pontifications: Next few weeks critical to aerospace industry

  1. Ok I get your point about the devastating effects but what if EASA has credible grounds as to why the recertification by them would take longer? EASA as well as the other global regulators have a point to make vis a vis the FAA. I hope this isn’t just dragging their feet to make that point but that it has value in the sense of safety too.

    • The main point was made months ago when the rest of the world’s regulators grounded the MAX against the wishes of the FAA. Everything revealed since has pretty much trashed the global view of the worth of US certification.

      Having done that, logically speaking the only way the EASA and everyone else can let the MAX back in the sky is if they see substantial evidence of a change in practices in Boeing and the FAA. It’s not clear that such evidence has been presented, either by the US administration, congress, FAA or Boeing. It’s a big thing to change a political and regulatory system.

      • I think this is the Sky is Falling thing and wrong.

        To throw in the possibly if a crash is a method used by the tabloids. Its not Germain to the situation . I could say the same thing but use an A350 and what would happen?

        And regardless of how events unfold with AHJ, for back in the air, if a landing light burns out its going to be headlines. A food CB trips its going to be headlines. You are not going to avoid that. Its built into the sensualists press which Leeham has lowered itself to in this case.

        The public is not going to care.

        If the FAA list it the MAX will be blown by some of the best pilots in the world. And you can bet there will be feedback because they are vocal and union protected (unlike the many elsewhere)

        If FAA approves, some AHJ will follow FAA, some will follow EASA and some like Japan will make up their own mind.

        We will get to see the varying views on it and that is all to the good. Group think is invariably bad think.

        Brazil will be a good one to watch (I was most impressed that they caught the adding of the MCAS and made Boeing put it in the books)

        This is totally speculative, like most fortune telling its going to be wrong.

        It sure stirs up comments doesn’t it.

        So lets see what happens and how it plays out.

        • Right now there is no positive outcome for Boeing in this, the best they can hope for is to get away with fairly lightweight modifications and to write off the $15-20billion it’ll have cost them. The “let’s see what happens” stance is simply one of “it’s already cost them a disastrously large sum, will it be more?”.

          If just a few key people in the EASA, CAAC, etc. stick to their guns and demand proper changes, $20billion could end up looking like a forlorn hope. Remember that these key few people have already differed with the FAA’s opinion and acted other than the FAA wished. Having done so, they **personally** cannot afford to make any mistakes in handling the MAX’s return to service. They are predisposed to play hardball, and ensure that the new aircraft configuration is defensibly safe.

          • I do remember a circuit breaker panel that caught fire, which is not surprising that it made headlines. Unfortunately, I cannot remember any story coming out about any CB switch tripping. I don’t know how anybody would even find out about such an event, unless a crew member or mechanic were to inform someone in the press. When you write food circuit breaker, I assume you mean one for the galley. If that were the case, one of the cabin crew would just reset it and off they go. If it were to repeatedly trip, it would be reported to maintenance for repair. I don’t see how it would escalate to a news story.
            If you don’t mind, could you please provide some examples of what you are asserting?

            Also, it seems I wasn’t clear enough in my first comment. I strongly disagree with your judgement that Leeham has become sensationalist.

        • “Its built into the sensualists press which Leeham has lowered itself to in this case. ”

          What are you talking about?!?!?

          First off, please oh do tell me when any Circuit Breaker whatsoever tripping has caused headlines? Same for a landing light burning out?

          Talk about sensationalizing.

          • The 787 was the last example.

            While its issues were definitely news worthy, after than any time there was any system issue, it went global.

            You see it time and again.

            If you do’t think so you are in PSN (press sensationalism denial)

      • ‘[L]ogically speaking the only way the EASA and everyone else can let the MAX back in the sky is if…’ the design accords with local airworthiness requirements. ‘Twill remain thus until such time as we have, er, harmonized global regulations – which would, of course, need multi-lateral tolerance of, and accommodation for, historically perceived liberal or conservative philosophies in rule-making.
        Which is the appropriate aerospace/aviation industry-wide agency to broker such consideations? Discuss.

        • The situation today with national crash investiation adminstratioms that is almost fully funded and the FAA+EASA gives certified aircrafts that has been much safer and enviromentally friendy year by year. It is vastly better than the shipping industry under IMO and a few classification socities like Lloyds and DNV.

          • Claes – I agree that FAA and EASA requirements (and all those national aviation authorities who have adopted, or based their own on, either set) account for a large part of the world. Let’s try to get to the point where, by agreement, we no longer have to anticipate or accommodate the response/reaction of these other countries that have been cited several times during Max-grounding discussions, yes?

          • DNV et al is why you should never privitise compliance. They came into existance for the insurance induatry and these days are more about reducing liability than safety. Nowadays they also represent governments. A one stop shop, which is an ecomomically compelling solution. The problem? Seen lots of stuff where money obviously changed hands. If they make an honest mistake, there is nobody to correct it.
            Then they are trying to enforce regulations in which var nations have insisted on loopholes for their own national interest. Authorities love to say shipping is getting safer, they love to forget that so is everything else. All the while omitting tbat shipping has seen a revolution in safety tech unrivalled by any industry, leaving one to conclude that safety management at sea is going backwards. Not a framework which you want to copy and FAA’s reliance on financially compromised info for certification is terrifying.

        • We used to have just such a global system, right up until it became apparent that one of the key players wasn’t doing their job. I’d say it’s not a clash of liberal or conservative philosophies. The way in which the FAA effectively delegated everything to Boeing meant they had no thoughts of their own any more.

          Plus, a decent regulatory regime is informed by objective analysis; there’s no room for a philosophy as such. The numbers are the same no matter how one views risk.

          • Matthew – my refs to liberal and conservative philosophies are inevitably subjective but, based on impressions from 40 or 50 years ago, it seemed to me that BCAR-based regulation was frequently perceived as more demanding of OEMs and operators than rule-making based on FARs. Hence operators might register there aircraft in the U.S. because that was pragmatically easier. All may have changed…
            Please say more about the regulator previously not ‘doing their job’: when was this ‘global’ system operating?

          • Pundit, fair enough. There are of course different ways of appraising risk, no doubt involving more or less onerousness. However, the net result is broadly similar – margin is built in, and actual risk is not significantly under or over estimated.

            A charge fairly levelled at the FAA is that it wasn’t doing its job properly with the certification of the MAX. This charge has in effect been leveled by the Federal government and US prosecutors – hence all the investigations, both governmental and legal.

            We did have a global (well, Western sphere of influence) aviation safety system; mutual recognition of each other certifications, ADs, etc. Even the CAAC has joined in with some recent agreements. That partially, and perhaps completely, ended with the Ethiopean crash.

      • Matthew – how do we know FAA opposed other regulators re grounding? It had insufficient info to justify suspension, which it then invoked when additional data was available. Now, when it again has sufficient and appropriate information, the FAA will certify – but not until.

        • We know, because it was reported at the time. What the FAA called “insufficient information to justify suspension”, everyone else called “more than sufficient”.

          • Matthew – just so long as all commenters are happy for FAA to suspend a future certification on the same level or degree of – I suspect the agency might think – circumstantial evidence. (Me, too..?)

      • EASA has two ways to flag their goodwill independantly from FAA in an acceptable way to the rest of the profession : (1) either work hard and conclude giving the MAX its airworthinss certificate BEFORE the FAA has reached their own conclusion; or (2) work hard and come up with a list of items needing to be further amended and why BEFORE the FAA etc … all other avenues involving postponements of EASA’s conclusions till AFTER the FAA comes forward with their conclusions will be regarded as EASA being influenced by FAA if the conclusions concur or as EASA being unefficient or nitpicking if dragging on behind FAA too long.

    • Agree wholeheartedly. I trust EASA now more than FAA provided they are not doing it to stick it to Boeing in favor of Airbus.

  2. It’ll be interesting to see what the issue or deviation is (from EU presentation EASA seems to be worried about the AoA sensors – are they not happy with 2 (I think 2 is odd from software perspective – how do you know which ‘1’ is incorrect – 3 seems to make more sense from a cascade perspective)… Guess we’ll have to wait.

    • I think the logic is that if they differ you use the unreliable alfa procedures. 3 is better as you would exclude the odd one. The 3rd can be of a simpler type with a fixed vane “mini canard” and 2ea static ports measuring the Pdiff and with other instruments including the existing Pamb and Ring laser gyros you then derive a calculated alfa.

      • I would imagine that BA are still trying to hold onto the common type certificate, and would thus be resistant to modify anything that would mean a different type certificate to the NG.

        A software change to use two existing inputs, would of course be a lot cheaper, and quicker than adding additional hardware, and further software changes.

        In https://www.investors.com/news/boeing-737-max-new-demands-easa-european-regulator/ there’s an interesting line:

        “Regulators from the U.S., Europe, Brazil and elsewhere cut short an August meeting with Boeing over the lack of technical details and answers to specific questions regarding the proposed 737 Max software updates, sources told the Wall Street Journal.”

        If that’s true, BA may think that they’re ready for the MAX to fly again, but the FAA , Brazil, and others may not quite agree just yet.

        The EASA disclosure may also have been to help the FAA position as they will be under a lot of pressure if BA says “we’ve done enough, time to lift the grounding”.

        It would be good to get a status update directly from the FAA. Is anyone monitoring flights of BA’s test 737-7 ?

        • Hello JakDak,

          Regarding: ” Is anyone monitoring flights of BA’s test 737-7 ?”

          According to FlightAware, the most recent 3 flights of 737-7 #1 N7201S were as follows.

          9-6-19: BFI to BFI, 10:01 AM to 11:10 AM PDT, out over the Pacific Ocean and back with see-saw altitude and speed pattern for about 15 minutes.

          9-5-19: BFI to BFI, 10:20 AM to 12:17 PM PDT, out over the Pacific Ocean and back with see-saw altitude and speed pattern for about 1 hour.

          8-29-19: BFI to BFI, 9:44 AM AM to 12:07 PM, out over the Pacific Ocean and back with see-saw altitude and speed pattern for about 55 minutes.

          BFI = Boeing Field Seattle.

          https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N7201S/history/20190906/1701Z/KBFI/KBFI

  3. I don’t think it’s rumour. There is a PDF of a presentation by EASA to the EU. The PDF demands that Boeing prove that the airplane is stable in pitch without MCAS. The PDF also demands that Boeing prove that the airplane is recoverable from a stabiliser runaway. The issue of pitch stability and the issue of stabiliser runaway are separate issues.

    The proof is to be provided by flight tests with EASA present to verify the tests.

    Equally EASA want to prove MCAS is safe, so the tests are to be performed without MCAS and with MCAS engaged.

    I don’t see how a publically available document comes across as rumour!

    As another poster suggested, the reason may be to prepare the world for the reintroduction of the 737 MAX. My view is that outside regulators don’t believe Boeing or the FAA.

    • I’ve looked for this – and indeed there is a presentation dated September 3rd 2019 which says that FAA was informed by EASA in April 2019 about their conditions for a return to service of MAX.
      The conditions are as follows:

      1. Design changes proposed by Boeing are EASA approved (no delegation to
      FAA)
      2. Additional and broader independent design review has been satisfactorily
      completed by EASA
      3. Accidents of JT610 and ET302 are deemed sufficiently understood
      4. B737 MAX flight crews have been adequately trained

      With that, I’d say it’s a given that EASA will do their own re-certification.

      • You have answered my question below, EASA set the conditions some time ago. How can either Boeing or the FAA be surprised if the certification is not forthcoming when these conditions are not met. We still seem to be operating in a netherworld of denial at Boeing. I note Scott’s exasperation in his prose, thousands of jobs are at stake and Muilenburg fiddles while Renton burns.

        • And what if it’s not denial? What if Boeing can’t meet the demands of EASA without substantial changes?

          • Stability throughout the flight envelope without MCAS seems to be an issue here. Flight test pilots had some comments about it but articles I saw just said FAA won’t accept it, without stating whether the issue was keeping rhe NG rating or for meeting cert reqs.

          • Maybe the FAA is not surprised but is going to let it fly anyway?

            I don’t have an issue with the decision on either side. It makes clear the issues and will lead to a proper resolution .

            The AF447 crash was just put entirely on the pilots

            From my standpoint while the pilots were a major aspect, how they got there and the weird workings of mode protection by Airbus are also factors that were not addressed.

            When a lot of pilots screw up the same condition, then its a system issue more than a pilot issue.

            I have my views on the system issues that may not be agreed to by others, but training and testing clearly was at fault as far more than one crew has screwed up the correct response to pitot freeze up.

          • Hey guys, these are not demands, they are conditions.

            Of course the 737MAX should be and I believe will be flyable in the approach to stall.

      • …that said: The same document also suggests that the EASA certification effort is already ongoing, with frequent communication about findings between EASA , FAA and Boeing.

      • And indeed they should. We all know that by now the FAA turned a blind eye to the certification of the Max 8. Should EASA and others fail to re-certify this bird, no doubt the u.s. will play the nationalist card and pitifully get our “president” involved. The fate of Boeing rests in the hands of the FAA foreign equivalants.

      • I all. They clarified their conditions on the 3rd September. JakDak posted the link elsewhere. I copied it to this article below. As I said below, page 16 is the key page.

      • I can find no fault in the requirements/demands of the EASA, can anyone? And how in the world can you deduct a “political” motivation here? Are these requirements “political” because they don’t accept the “superior-exclusive-know- and-understand-everything-about-airplane” of Boeing? Are they “political” because the put passenger and crew safety before shareholder value?

        This trouble should be no surprise to anyone here. Have we heard anything from Boeing about how they mean to solve the key issues about flight control and stability or a detailed explanation how they view these points, what they see as the real problems and how exactly they will solve them for good?

        No, they haven’t. And why not? My take is that they have not solved them properly. Maybe they have taken the edge of some of the problems and covered the rest in such beautiful explanations that the FAA would buy it. Well, I sincerely hope that the EASA will not be blinded by the topping, but will want to see exactly what’s inside the cake.

        Again, I can absolutely see no fault in that demand and no politics involved. All I can see is a neutral agency doing their job properly.

        • The no delegation to the FAA clause would mark a major shift in policy by the EASA. Up until now, the EASA’s regulations were modeled and indeed often taken word for word from the FAA such that each agency accepted the flight worthiness of the other. This was partial done to depoliticize the certification of aircraft and remove nationalism from air safety (e.g. where the FAA delays certification of an Airbus jet not for any safety reason but to give a Boeing an advantage and vise versa).

          The safety demands are not objectionable, the withdrawal of reciprocal certification introduced a political sea change in certification. The EASA is saying the FAA is no longer a competent regulatory body capable of following its own rules or the EASA’s mirror image of those rules. That has major political implications.

          • First off, it is not so cut and dried that when one certifies an aircraft, the other follows suit automatically without questions.

            I found that out during the A350 design phase when Airbus wanted to introduce pictogram emergency exits (green and white sign of a little fellow running for a door). We were told that the FAA were at first unwilling to accept this, until it was pointed out to them that such signs were already commonly used in buildings in the USA.

            I see your point on the political implications of EASA implying that the FAA is no longer a competent regulatory body but then again, what has the FAA done throughout this whole situation to give an outsider observer the impression they are one. Or perhaps it is their independence that is in question.

            The fact remains that they were the very last regulatory body to implement a grounding of the aircraft for which, as many here want to state it, they were responsible for.

            Hardly makes most people want to put a whole lot of faith in them.

          • No issue in this case with EASA taking back the process. The world was burned by FAA and Boeing.

            I think its misunderstood about the agreement to recognizance each others process.

            Its based on the assumption its a rigorous and valid process and that while there may be subtle difference, the end result is a safe aircraft.

            The overall intent was to not have duplicate work that added nothing to the end result.

            When (if) the agencies do their job that is laudable.

            Unfortunately in the politic and business climate mix, the FAA has not.

            However, is EASA lily pure ? I have seen a number of aspect that they should have nailed as well as ones the FAA should have nailed.

            Overall we may well be better off with an challenge by all agencies to review this stuff.

          • Garrett – about what proportion of EASA regs were lifted from FARs, would you say – were not at least some based on the preceding Joint Aviation Authorities’ JARs?

        • Thank you!

          As with almost everything else these days, the smoke of efficiency, profitability, productivity, etc. blinds us to the core issue: Boeing going with updating the 737 rather than designing a new aircraft 15 years ago. Is the airplane safe? Or is it a jerry-rigged lemon? How can anyone not want the regulatory agencies to do everything to protect us from incompetence and greed?

        • you can’t be too naive here . . . politics is always involved . . . politics of nations or politics of bureaucrats trying to cover their behind for any perceived uncertainty irrespective of level of risk

          • There was a very expensive looking red arrow hinting about differences of opinion between Boeing and the EASA on the subject of AoA integrity…

          • Also I see nothing in there to suggest that the EASA has been shown a viable solution to the trim wheel effort problem. Slide 14 says that the trim wheel forces are too high, and that this was communicated to Boeing and the FAA back in July. Slides beyond that don’t say that they’ve had an acceptable proposal from Boeing on what to do about that.

            It’s worth contemplating what the fix for that is. Bigger wheels with more leverage? Power assistance?

            It’s already quite well known that the wheels were shrunk on the NG because of space constraints in the cockpit. If bigger wheels are the answer, the MAX is going to need a cockpit layout revision, or just a bigger cockpit. Both are veeeery expensive, and maybe impossible within the current airframe design.

            Power assistance brings its own problems, and isn’t that what the control column switches are supposed to be all about in the first place? Also if power assistance has to be completely separate from the existing jack screw motor (so as to be a truly independent means of control, which is what the trim wheels are supposed to achieve), that’s a major revision to the tail end of the aircraft.

            My point is that this “significant technical issue” would seem to be enough to keep the MAX grounded if the issue is not addressed. Boeing have had since July to come up with an answer. AFAIK there’s not been a single hint from Boeing or the FAA / EASA that an acceptable solution has been arrived at. And if this is indeed the case, then Boing have known since July-ish that the scale of fix needed for the MAX is unknown, but likely very damaging to the prospects of the aircraft. But they’ve not been telling their shareholders this at all, instead it’s been “maybe September”.

            A return to flight in September may well be accomplished, but I doubt it. This presentation from the EASA is dated 3rd September, and says that it’s had no acceptable proposal from Boeing on AoA integrity. There were 27 days remaining for that situation to change, 20 days from now, including conducting all the flight tests.

            No wonder Scott said the next few weeks are critical to the industry. They surely are. It’s possible he’s undercooked the potential severity of the impact on the industry.

            The other point implicit in the EASA’s presentation is that the NG is under threat. If the wheels on the MAX are too small and there’s no fix, then the wheels on the NG are also too small and cannot be fixed. The fact that there are wheels at all on the NG suggests that they’re a necessary component for safe flight should a fault arise elsewhere in the aircraft’s systems, but they’re likely not operable. If there is any mechanism whatsoever where the stabiliser can get to a large pitch-down position, then the NG shouldn’t be flying either.

  4. If the buzz is correct and there are reasons that EASA won’t allow the MAX back into the air EASA will have to be able to back up their decision. I can’t believe that they would take a decision to keep the MAX grounded lightly.

    Why would we only know when EASA will act just before the FAA is ready to act?

    I understand the concerns that IATA have regarding a non-uniform lifting of the grounding. I would have thought though that their over arching concern would be safety. If EASA has a point it should be addressed shouldn’t it?

    Have any of the other authorities raised any concerns, or are they letting EASA take the lead? If EASA were to fall in line with the FAA, would the CAAC also fall in line, or would they raise their own concerns?

    From BA’s point of view, they will make sure the MAX is safe to fly, they must be acutely aware that doing the minimum required to get it back in the air will not work if there is any further accident that can in any way be attributed to the design or certification of the aircraft.

    • “Why would we only know when EASA will act just before the FAA is ready to act?”

      If the reports are true, EASA set out the conditions for return 6 months ago. And if it is now apparent that the FAA are going to approve the MAX’s return ignoring EASA’s concerns, it is at this point that the EASA will be looking to go their own way.

      It would seem like EASA gave the FAA the chance to regain trust but if the FAA/Boeing decidedly skipped those concerns, the worse has come to the worst.

      • It would seem like EASA gave the FAA the chance to regain trust but if the FAA/Boeing decidedly skipped those concerns, the worse has come to the worst.

        True – I’m not sure it’s THAT likely to happen, though. Maybe they won’t recertify on the exact same date (pretty sure they won’t, actually), but I doubt they’d be 6 months behind.

        According to the presentation (linked above), EASA has 20 people dedicated to the MAX at this point, they’re having 2-3 status calls a week with Boeing, they’ve already conducted simulator tests with Boeing in June/July, still found issues they categorised as “significant” (see slide 14) and communicated them to FAA and Boeing in July and will conduct one full week of dedicated EASA flight tests at Boeing’s Flight Test Center soon (no date given in the slide deck).

        In other words: They’re working quite hard on this and are making sure that everybody’s always on the same page. But it seems they’re also more than a few weeks away from clearing the plane again… which Boeing is very well aware of if the EASA presentation is correct.

        • I will disagree.

          Its two entities viewing the same situation and coming to different conclusion

          Its good and healthy to do so.

          The Trent 1000 is clearly unsafe and can’t even get its inspections intervals right and safe and should be grounded. EASA does not agree.

          I sincerity hope we don’t have a Tent 1000 787 go down because both engines failed when they knew they had a problem and did not act.

          • I’m not sure the entities have a different opinion. Not heard much from the FAA, they could be in total agreement, for all I’ve seen.

          • Here we go Trent 1000 again by @TransWorld, how about 777 and GE engines problems? How about that inspections of Trent 1000 has been already mandated,@TransWorld?

          • Pablo: While you are knocking Boeing and the FAA you are ignoring a European crisis in dealing with the same air safety issues.

            You don’t get to have it both ways. Either you are for air safety or you are not. In this case you are trying to cherry pick air safety.

            You clearly did not read what happened with Norwegian 787 out of Rome.

            The engine had been inspected, they were in approved service area and one still blew up.

            So, you tell me, what good are your inspections if they don’t catch the problem WELL BEFORE THEY BLOW UP?

            And to add a critical twist. The OTHER engine was CLOSER to the limit than the one that blew up.

            So you had one blow up when the so called inspections said it was fine. The other one was closer to the next inspection and it was suddenly hammered to do the job of two. You say that is SAFE?

            The other one was even close to blowing up.

            You believe that two dead engines on a 787 is NOT as critical an issue as the MCAS?

            I challenge you to try to land an aircraft safely with no engines.

            And I challenge you to apply your disdain equally not with selectivity.

          • @TransWorld

            “European crisis in dealing with the same air safety issues.” are you serious with B787 ???

            Home regulator proper to Boeing is not EASA is FAA, carrying about B787 safety is FAA job.

            In other words you are saying that FAA has crisis in dealing wuth safety issues. Well, nothing new.

            I’m aware what happened with B787 as well as with B777 and GE engines.

          • Transworld – ‘The Trent 1000 is clearly unsafe…’ Is that a personal view or an FAA position, please? (Forgive my ignorance on this particular.)

      • Everything might not be required to be fixed Before 737MAX revenue flights starts, alot can be required to be incorporated at a later date like normal AD’s that references 1 or more Service Bulletines with the last in the list as terminating action. So maybe 1/3 of EASA requirements must be incorporated as part of lifting the grounding, 1/3 to be incorporated within 12 months and the rest at next P4 or similar check as large mod kits will be readily available.

        • @claes

          I don’t see any of these vital requirements to be implemented later – all are safety critical.

          Any kind of dispensation (by regultor, presidente or pope, choose whatever you want) in critical safety matter would have disastrous consequences for future safety – after Boeing, Comac would ask some exemption, Irkut would ask some, MITAC, Airbus etc. etc. It would be a very bad precedent.

          • Temporary concessions are not without precedent in the industry and airworthiness directives usually specify a time limit fir action. So long as there is a way to manage the risk in the interim concessionary period.. For instance aircrew could be simulator drilled to handle MCAS upset rapidly in various scenarios. This will give Boeing time to develop an engineered solution that can be retrofitted 12 months latter or so.

          • @William

            In safety critical matters there can not be any concession – temporary or not.

            Your example is exactly what would went really wrong with AD and should be avoid at any cost. MCAS which can move a stabilizer with inoperative manual trim is just a ticking crash bomb.

        • @William, I agree fully, EASA classifies the risks and amount of flying before actions are required. Some requirements might be fulfilled before first flight like showing dual alfa readings and disagree light, while others comes later.
          EASA might want to disable MCAS totally for some time and have pilots train in simulators on the non linear stick force behaviour at certian c.g. and angle of attacks and when MCAS system is deemed safe have the MCAS modifications incorporated and pilots retrained in the simulator on the revised system reintroducing commonality with 737NG’s. That ruling will only apply to EASA countries and “hang arounds” while FAA can have different ruling satisfying Boeing and SWA saying it is “the same as 737NG” with the new MCAS 3.0.

    • A decision to keep the MAX grounded will indeed not be one taken lightly. It’s a seriously big deal.

      However, for the personnel in the EASA, CAAC, etc. the decision to lift the grounding is even more heavywieght. If they lift the flight ban, and then one crashes for similar reasons (or indeed any design fault), in Europe and China the fault will be wound all the way back to the EASA’s or CAAC’s failure to spot the design fault. Overlooking design faults on the MAX now is nigh on unforgiveable given the circumstances of the crashes and grounding.

      In China, such unforgivable mistakes might result in a death sentence. Europe is more forgiving, but no one wants that on their record. They’re not about to lift one single finger to do the FAA / Boeing any favours.

  5. If EASA goes it alone then it would be a political move. Hardly surprising given what the current US administration has been doing with Europe.

    Sad. No one to blame but Boeing.

    • That cuts both ways; if FAA acts unilaterally, without agreement from other authorities, then that would also be a political move.

      • Example from real life:
        Driving “DUI” is not really a thing that allows bilateral decission, right? Police will stop your rather unilaterally 🙂

        • More to the point, EASA set out their case months ago and it is probably impossible to back down. Imagone an accident in 5 years touching an EASA point?

          • And how many Trent 1000s have shed the turbines in flight and nothign has been done abut it by the EASA other than wring their hands?

            It cuts both ways.

            I don’t disagree on the FAA, but its their take.

            EASA has a valid different view and I am happy to see it play out.

            But there is a Etu Brutai involved here where one severe safety issue is ignored and another is full on press (which is right)

            Cherry picking safety is bad for anyone no matter who is doing it.

          • Plenty of engines have uncontained failures or even just chew up the rest of the compressors or turbines. You obsess over one manufacturer ignoring the CFM56 ,the CF6 or PW4000 or GTF or even GP7200.

          • Duke:

            Rather than address the Trent 1000 you attempt to divert the dissuasion.

            The Trent 1000 is the most inspected engine in history and it still continue to blow up sooner than the predictions for safe inspection periods.

            So does EASA have an agreement with thew FAA that you don’t ding our engine and we won’t ding yours?

            Now if you want to open a discussion about other engines feel free (you are) to do so. But address the Trent 1000 in my post.

          • @TransWorld

            I think your worries already has been addressed few days ago by FAA by new AD.

            But worries about GE engines not.

    • To clarify, when you say it will be a political move do you mean it will be perceived as such or that the EASA is operating with instruction from the EU please? I would be very surprised if it was the latter but intrigued to know if it was the case.

      • Yes I do believe it will be with instruction from the EU. Firstly, this won’t be the first time politicians will use regulation to beat each other up with. Secondly, it is the perfect stick to beat this US administration with. It’s been handed on a plate to them, they’d be mad not to use it. I doubt they’d admit to it. Back channel communications etc etc

        • See, that’s what you guys don’t get about the EU and Europe. Our powers are sonicely separated, or fractured if you will, that such an influence is near impossible to generate. Have you ever had a look at the institutions of the EU? You will find they are very diverse, self sufficient and powerful. They often contradict European governments, spell out fines, overrule national laws etc. You try to show me a path how to take influence in the EASA and then we can discuss further. Throwing out cheap suspicions will not do in a meaningful discussion.

          • These are unusual times, and unusual things follow. The Europeans will find a way to unite and send a message to the current administration. They’ve all been offended and rebuked by head of the United States. Face to face and on social media.

          • You seem to think that firstly the EU would use a safety issue to send a wider message and secondly that the EASA would heed the EU. I don’t think that is true.

          • People start doing strange things when they are constantly attacked and badgered.

            Trump has been playing footsie with Putin and attacking all our allies. The impulse to retaliate is very deep in the human psyche and we humans don’t fully understand our illogical motivations.

        • Just who in the EU (country and politician/bureaucrat) do you, with your conspiracy theory here, believe would have given such an instruction to EASA?

          And just how do you think such a message would have been phrased?

          Lastly, what do you think the reaction at EASA headquarters in Germany would be to any sort of instruction of such a nature?

          Don’t feed the trolls!!

        • Worth remembering how EASA first became involved: the Ethiopian regulator asked EASA to become involved as an independent adviser. Had the Indonesians done the same after the Lion Air Crash the Ethiopian Air Crash May never have happened. EASA was actually slow to ground the type. The Chinese, who operate hundreds of MAX and are sophisticated enough to develop the COMAC C919 and to certify it with FAA and EASA.

          I fear the B737 May simply not meet the regulations of either the FAA or EASA. I fear it will need significant re-engineering and I fear it will no longer maintain type certificate after that re-engineering. I fear that once the delays exceed 1 year and the type rating is not maintained customers will be able to pull out.

          It may be conceivable that the B737 MAX May be given some kind of conceded certification in spite of it not meeting regulations on the basis that runaway stabilisers didn’t dive any B737NG into the ground and that MCAS is highly fault tolerant and no longer aggressive.

          • “It may be conceivable that the B737 MAX May be given some kind of conceded certification in spite of it not meeting regulations on the basis that runaway stabilisers didn’t dive any B737NG into the ground…”

            We don’t know that for sure, there are at least two questionable crashes that may prove that wrong:
            There are at least two nose-dive crashes involving the 737 NG in recent years, namingly Tatarestan Flight 363 (in 2013) and FlyDubai Flight 981 (in 2016).
            The former was (controversially) attributed to pilot error, the later is still an open investigation.

    • There’s a difference between the FAA and EASA, FAA answer to the US Government, EASA answers to the EU.

      The EU often acts like a large committee and it’s very difficult to get a consensus. It’s very unlikely that this is a political move by EASA.

      EASA have been given a safety brief and they likely feel that they have been exposed by trusting in the FAA to ensure a safe 737-MAX. They’ve been put in the position where they have to be squeaky clean in performing their brief.

      Tit for tat political spats are not in the interests of safety!

      I can’t see the FAA willingly deciding that they want to re-certify the A320NEO without any reasonable grounds to do so. That wouldn’t help restore faith in their regulation.

      I would hope that the FAA have double and triple checked the EASA certification of the NEO, they may not have had the resources to do so. I would expect that when they do have the opportunity, they would look at the NEO again to be very certain that they haven’t missed anything.

      It’s in the interests of everyone getting onboard an aircraft that the manufacturers and regulatory agencies have done their jobs.

      If two NEOs had crashed within months in the same way as the MAX and AB and EASA had acted exactly the way the FAA and BA appear to have acted, do we seriously think that the FAA would be leaving it to EASA to be the final word on getting the aircraft back in the air?

      No the FAA would be checking everything and they’d be right to!

      Let’s leave the politics and nationalism out of this, stick with the facts and get a safe aircraft back into the skies.

      • This is costing Safran a fortune, France would never stand for EU to halt approval.

      • JakDak – ‘Tit for tat political spats are not in the interests of safety!..’ Quite. I seem to remember a European example in the 1970s when France would not certificate Britain’s HS-125 executive jet and the UK would not approve the competing French Dassault Mystere – although I am sure each defended its position on a safety ground: almost certainly re a philosophy such as requisite numbers of sensors, back-up systems, whatever…

  6. Its their job to use all their knowledge and routines to make sure it meet all certification requirements by reviewing data from Boeing and the FAA to find where new tests/analysis reports/documentation is required to meet certifiation requirements. They seem to have done some rubber stamping last time around so this time the eyes will be on the EASA to show that they add value.

    • Both the FAA and the EASA rubber stamp each other. That’s been the system in place for the whole existence of the EASA until now. Certifying an airplane is hugely costly and time intensive.

      I very much worry about this monumental change in the EASA and the politicization of US agencies and the highly stupid and damaging US trade policy. I am looking to Europe for global stability in this moment where the US is unstable and this is not reassuring.

      This very much is looking like countries could start using their nonpartisan and non-partial regulatory bodies as tools of their foreign trade policies. That would damage world aviation immensely.

      • The success of the US aviation industry thus far has depended entirely on the reputation of the FAA for competency, it’s safety-above-all-else approach. It *was* a terrific global brand with global influence, and allowed the likes of Boeing to achieve considerable market success around the world.

        Without it, Boeing et al would have had trouble selling anything anywhere. Oh, look! No MAXs being delivered…

        It is well known that there is strategic and market advantage in having a strong, commercially / politically independent regulatory body overseeing the industry. Strong regulation = safer aircraft = aircraft that can be sold anywhere = greater sales are possible. The reverse is, weak regulation = potentially unsafe aircraft = global doubt = fewer sales.

        What we’re seeing is the consequences of political interference. The FAA has been underfunded for decades, and has a politically appointed head. When it absolutely had to be paying attention and on the ball, it was unable to prevent a company selling (irrespective of company intent) a dodgy product.

        The fact that the USG has kicked off various enquiries into the MAX certification suggests that they recognise (belatedly) that the FAA is critically important, but had forgotten this for the past 30 years. The fixes, i.e. political independence, a budget free of political interference, and a statutory obligation to actually fulfill the regulatory role rather than simply delegate it to Boeing, are kind of obvious. However, given that a lot of these changes are basically un-American, I don’t think we should get our hopes up anytime soon.

        I strongly suspect that this salutory lesson will be heeded in Europe, and China.

        If the CAAC can be brought up to a point where its competence is unquestioned, the Chinese aviation companies could be ferociously competitive. Any hint that the Chinese communist party is mucking about with this, and they’ll have trouble selling aircraft.

        If the European politicians were to start interferring in the EASA’s operations, a lot of people would start questioning the safety of Airbuses (and as a European, even I’d say quite right too). Short term gain (perhaps), long term consequences (guaranteed).

  7. How has it come to this? Surely Boeing knew they were in an indefensible space. The suggestion in some of the leaks coming out in the press seems to be that Boeing have still pushed an agenda of they know best. There are unconfirmed reports of the last meeting going badly with Boeing still being suspected of withholding information or at least being economical with the truth. The handling of the fiasco has been appalling. How long have these demands from EASA been on the table? Did Boeing just ignore them or have the goalposts moved?

    On a wider note this brings the whole global regulatory process into stark review. It will be played as being prone to regional or national bias. I sincerely hope this is not the case both in fact and in perception. EASA and FAA as the lead regulators must sing from the same hymn sheet going forward. It all plays into the narrative of global political decay.

    So the questions that needs to be answered pretty damn quick are, does Boeing have a case to answer for? How will the regulatory authorities move forward constructively? Do we need a supranational organisation that effectively operates above politics.

    • “Surely Boeing knew they were in an indefensible space.” If the KC-46 is a guide to Boeing Commercial Aviation, Boeing’s corporate response is to refuse to fix, bully the government, and stand by their engineering without changes even though Boeing had to extensively redesign because of flawed engineering. The goal is to force their counter party to blink and accept the Boeing corporate line.

      • Garrett – ‘The goal is to force their counter party to blink and accept the Boeing corporate line…’ That rather sounds like an implied attitude of ‘Boeing first, Boeing only, Boeing always.’ Now, where have I heard something like that before?

      • and today sept 11, we find out the cargo locks/latches on the 46 have a problem- AF says NO passengers, NO cargo till fixed

  8. This isn’t really that big a surprise, is it?

    FAA has not really shone on this one, neither by certification, nor when it came time to call for a grounding.

    I see that many commenting on the Seattle Times website about the relevant article are accusing EASA of playing politics. To me, it seems they are actually being careful not to give such an impression to anybody but the extremely casual and perhaps also the somewhat less than objective observer.

    I certainly believe that consequences are dire for Boeing, more the reason for them to take a fresh look at their relationship with the FAA, as well as other certifying agencies, and perhaps take them a bit more seriously.

    Saying that, must also consider the story as one reads it from afar: The FAA has let Boeing tell them what is necessary for certification on this, and other, aircraft. The FAA, not having sufficient resources that have in depth knowledge of these systems, cedes this decision making to Boeing. Now the FAA claims it has made an extremely in-depth study of the revised system as well as other little bits and pieces, and lo and behold, they are satisfied with what they have found.

    Where did this newfound experience and detailed knowledge all of a sudden come from, in order for them to be able to make this judgement?! I am certain I am not the only one asking this, and many other relevant questions.

    This is only EASA that we have heard from. What about certifying agencies from other countries? Especially China?

    I wonder how much the FAA, and especially Boeing, have been listening to the certification agencies around the world.

    Slight addendum to the MAX naming. Even though an overwhelming majority of readers here feel the MAX name has to go, I imagine the general flying public will not keep that name in their head in a negative way for very long once the MAX is back in service.

    • Scott – ‘Fifty-three percent of our readers … think Boeing should … market the 737 by its numeric designations: 737-7, 737-8, 737-9 and 737-10…’
      I suppose a practical consideration might be possible confusion between 737-7 and 737-700 (etc) references, however few the ‘differences’ betwixt models? Just a thought.

  9. Flawed analysis, failed oversight was found in the 737MAX certification process and Lionair crash handling. It is logical that other authorities took their responsibilities. I would worry if they didn’t.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/failed-certification-faa-missed-safety-issues-in-the-737-max-system-implicated-in-the-lion-air-crash/

    EASA made clear some time ago the requirements it set to allow the 737MAX to operate again in it’s skies.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/european-aviation-safety-agency-sets-strict-demands-for-737-max-return-to-flight/

    I assume those requirements are reasonable, firm and Boeing and FAA seem to have agreed on them so far. So they are working to implement improvements satisfying those requirements.

    Applying pressure (competition, inventory, costs, jobs) to make shortcuts on those improvements, seems very risky from a passenger, Boeing and FAA perspective.

    That could indicate things didn’t really change and we are watching mostly window dressing.

    Airlines like AA, United and Southwest scheduled MAX return end 2019, January, not next month.

  10. Interesting.
    This is 110% owned by Boeing and the FAA.

    But EASA is increasingly painted into the bogeyman corner.

    When they make a movie in the future it will be EASA’s fault at the core. 🙂

    • The whole point is that, having been forced into taking responsibility when the FAA proposed inaction, resulting in the grounding, the EASA is not about to do something rash like let it fly again unless it meets their safety requirements. Ideally the FAA would concur with those requirements. The same applies to the CAAC, etc.

      A number of us have been warning of this potential outcome for some time. Boeing management should have recognised this months ago.

      • Mr Ky, top of EASA, seems to have stated that this is less of
        an unfortunate oversight but a major fail in procedures ( as set for FAA )

        One should look at the path that allowed the GFC: defunding supervisory institutions while promoting self certification.
        Another aspect is shaving all margins to homogenous “single molecule” thickness: margins are expanded but a fault will turn catastrophic.

        What remains: How many of these pseudo ( as in intentional ) careless design thingies are hidden elsewhere?

  11. Two can play at this game. Pull the FAA certification of A320neos with the Space Flex cabin, and ground them indefinitely. “Slow, slow walk” a detailed, full review of all original A320neo flight test data. Absolute “safety first”, you know. Oh, and have the U.S. Justice Department “go it alone”, and announce a $5 Billion fine in the European slow-walked Airbus corruption case. LOL

    • Do you really think this is a deliberate act of obfuscation by the EASA? I get the feeling that they are well aware of the massive import of what they are proposing. What do you propose that they do if conditions they stipulated 5 months ago have been ignored? They cant simply cow to the demands of Boeing and the FAA. I am guessing that the EASA are playing this straight unless you have anything to suggest the contrary.

    • That’s called shooting yourself in the foot. The overwhelming majority of sales are outside the US. Boeing sales will be restricted to the US. Airbus will lose sales in the US but have a free lunch thoughout the rest of the world. Airbus will jump with joy at your idea. So will COMAC.

      Boeing must convince the regulators outside the US or they are done.

    • Your argument is ridiculous patriotism, but I can definitely see extra punishment coming for Airbus corruption. The MAX really is too big to fail, it will be flying before the 1st anniversary of its grounding come what may. You ain’t seen nothing yet when it comes to political pressure being applied.

    • MontanaOsprey, that’s asinine. I’m an American, and while, as an airline guy, I will choose whichever aircraft works best economically, without regard to national origin, as an American I recognize Boeing as an important part of our technological and industrial heritage.

      Boeing & the FAA deserve everything they get in this regard. They clearly screwed the pooch with the 737MAX, and as an American is enrages me that they would ever put at risk, not only passengers, but also the reputation of a once-great company like Boeing.

      Cooperation between the FAA, EASA, etc, is based on reciprocity, but more fundamentally on trust. In the wake of the MAX issues, the FAA clearly does not deserve that trust and it is entirely reasonable that other countries do their own work.

      As to the suggestion that the FAA then ground the NEO, not only would that be unjust (there being no suggestion that EASA has ever played fast-and-loose the way that the FAA did with the MAX), it would also gratuitously damage innocent US operators of the type.

      I do NOT see EASA wanting to do an independent analysis as political. I see it as only to be expected and rational. Boeing did a bad job on the MAX, the FAA failed to provide adequate oversight.

      My view is that the FAA would be insane to recertify the aircraft without the concurrence of at least one other similar body – e.g. EASA – and that Boeing would be equally unwise to do so.

      But Boeing, clearly, is driven by financial concerns and by this point may be getting increasingly desperate, so may be sorely tempted to push the FAA to go it alone. That the FAA can be so pushed is, of course, the original sin in this sordid tale.

      • Well said.

        We the people of the world – I’m a Brit – do know that the overwhelming majority of Americans are fabulous people.

        But it needed to be said. Well said.

      • The way I read it now, is that it’s possible that EASA is just not getting the answers to it’s questions. There seems to be some evidence that the FAA, and other regulators are not getting answers from BA in a timely manner.

        EASA may be concerned that they are going to be presented with a de-facto return to flight with the expectation that they will be forced to go along with it.

        Their slideshow may be two things:

        1) If politics intervene, and they are forced in some way to back down, they can point to the fact that they were trying to do their job before they were over-ruled.

        2) They are laying down a marker, and stating that they will not give way, it’s not business as usual anymore.

        I just can’t see the first option happening. The EU would take months discussing any potential over-ruling only to be unable to agree when they finally got to a vote.

        You have to remember that EASA isn’t just an EU organisation, the European Free Trade Association also participate. There isn’t currently a president of the United States of Europe that can decide to use EASA as a political football.

        Spare a thought for all the innocent workers caught up in this fiasco.

        I would hope that BA would be open, do the right thing, and solve any issues regardless of how long it takes. Keep up production, it’s abundantly clear that the market will not punish their stock price in the long run.

    • I don’t think Patrick Ky of EASA is the bad guy or using Boings predicament to promote Airbus. That’s because Airbus needs Boeing to keep the duopoly going. It will be COMAC and Irkut that will benefit. I think everyone is aware that playing trade wars with certification will backfire.

      If the MAX is recertified but another MAX crashes it could be the end of the President. It would also end EASA’s credibility in the eyes of the rest of the world.
      1 Very disturbing to me is that runaway stab trim or MCAS upset could trim the B737 MAX into a dive exceeding 220 knots at which point the manual trim is inoperable and the dive irrecoverable. Manual trim may be useless. These tiny trim wheels started with the 737NG.
      2 EASA likely will require simulator training for the MAX for pilots flying into Europe.
      3 I’ve been through this kind of thing in my own career. They’re going to demand a signed of test document verifying everything.

    • Hello Montana Osprey and Sowerbob,

      Regarding: “Two can play at this game. Pull the FAA certification of A320neos with the Space Flex cabin, and ground them indefinitely. “Slow, slow walk” a detailed, full review of all original A320neo flight test data. Absolute “safety first”, you know.”

      and

      “Do you really think this is a deliberate act of obfuscation by the EASA? ”

      As I see it, what is critical is not what I or either of you think, but what current US President Donald Trump will think if Boeing has to lay off 10,000 people as the election season for the next US Presidential election is warming up. My guess is that the type of response suggested by Montana Osprey is far more likely than “whatever happens, we should make sure there is no political interference in aircraft certification, and make sure that the US continues to fully honor all reciprocal certification agreements even though in the case of the 737 MAX, EASA did not honor reciprocal certification”. I am not stating what I think should happen, just what I think is almost certain to happen.

      Remember, this is the President who has unilaterally pulled out of NAFTA, the Paris climate accords, and the Iran nuclear agreement, has grievances against NATO and the EU, thinks BREXIT is a really good idea, thinks the other side is always cheating against the US in multi-national agreements, and doesn’t like multi-national agreements or the US surrendering any authority to any multi-national body in general. I think it is pretty naive to think there won’t be politically based retaliation from Trump if EASA does not re-certify the 737 MAX when the FAA does, as in, it will be the end of reciprocal certification with EASA as long as he is President.

      • I think we all agree Trump knows how to throw a tantrum. Have they worked. No.

        It won’t be 10,000 layoffs. It will be a lot more if Boeing don’t come to their senses and put together an aerodynamic/mechanical fix. It means late spring/early summer next year.

        Trump will throw a tantrum. But the world won’t budge. Those days are gone.

      • If the US administration does such a thing, that’ll be the end of mutual recognition of certification. The world would likely split into US and non-US spheres of certification standards. That’d be the end of Boeing’s participation in the global airliner industry.

        The US cannot force it’s (sub?)standards on the rest of the world, except through belligerent means.

        As it happens I think the situation is the fault of many US administrations and congresses, under funding the FAA for decades. Boeing’s management have taken advantage, and could themselves pay a big price (jail). The ultimate conclusion is that the US is no longer a good place to do business; well, we already kinda know that.

        That Airbus hasn’t taken advantage of light touch regulators in Europe is probably an enormous relief to their management.

      • @ AP_Robert
        “As I see it, what is critical is not what I or either of you think, but what current US President Donald Trump will think if Boeing has to lay off 10,000 people as the election season for the next US Presidential election is warming up.”

        Washington state is a deeply blue state and a lost cause as far as Trump campaign is concerned. He wouldn’t care if 10,000 people get laid off in Seattle area, since 10,000 votes won’t turn the tide in WA one way or the other.

    • Hello Montana Osprey,

      Regrading: ““Slow, slow walk” a detailed, full review of all original A320neo flight test data.”

      I don’t believe that current US President Trump would “Slow, slow walk” anything. That is what a traditional politician would do, i.e.: slow walk compliance to apply pressure to speed up 737 MAX certification while pretending that you were complying with and fully supporting reciprocal certification. I think it would be more Trump’s style to issue an executive order immediately suspending reciprocal certification of EASA aircraft, on some type of questionable national security grounds, because he was sick and tired of EU countries taking advantage of the US by cheating in multi-lateral treaties and agreements, and that the executive order would, of course, be announced on Twitter. I am not stating my opinions, but rather my prediction of how Trump would react.

      • I am afraid you may in deed be right, or at least not far off the mark.

        Two very good comments AP_Robert (this one and the earlier one).

      • President Trump has not taken a wrong step in this Boeing/FAA/Congress created fiasco. He personally and publicly grounded the B737 MAX taking the pressure of the FAA director. In private he reemed US airline executives for not being loyal enough to Boeing, In public he criticised Boeing for producing an aircraft that over rode the pilot. He can not and will not intervene on Boeings behalf. If just one more MAX crashes it will bring down the administration and destroy his legacy. He may become involved in the coming Boeing bailout.

    • @Montana Osprey

      I see a good portion of unreasonable venom in your words. Nothing that would have connection with EASA towards Boeing actions that we are talking about now. If you have any reasonable arguments against I’ll be happy to know them.

      I think that EASA concerns followed by requirements towards Boeing are totally valid.

      This is exactly what should had be done earlier by FAA and publicly, but haven’t been done. And this exactly what I expect from EASA – a good, professional, complex thinking and then execution. I didn’t see it nor from FAA nor from Boeing.

      • Agreed on the FAA but ignored is EASA and the Trent 1000 debacle.

        You are not allowed to cherry pick, either its safety first and the Trent 1000 is grounded or its all a who can get away with what.

        The Tent 1000 has not just failed, its blown up at least 6 times and left a 787 with a single engine that could then fail and put them into the ground.

        This is going on 4 years now an you ignore it as an issue.

    • And if the EU decide GE is cutting too many corners? Without their part od Leap they’re gone.

      • I agree fully with FAA aspect.

        But so far everyone in the EU rejects the issue with the Trent 1000 as being equally lethal as the MAX was.

        If we are going to chastise one side, rightfully or not, we also need to be aware of the shortcomings on our side as well.

        India was the only one that said, no, you can’t fly a NEO with two know problem engines. Ain’t happening. You are not going to fly an aircraft that we know both engine are iffy one.

        Frankly you should not be allowed to fly an airplane that has an iffy engine period.

        So both the EASA and the FAA et all were complicit there.

        But 787s with two known problematic Trent 1000s are allowed to fly?

        There is clearly elements of hypocrisy involved here.

        If I can agree wholeheartedly that Boeing and the FAA are at full guilt here, then the EU types should agree that its not right for the Trent 1000 issue to be played out on Russian Roulette terms.

        • You’ll be pleased to note that RR commercial engines are moving to German certification.

        • Rolls Royce’s engine problems relate to premature failure of a HP compressor blades due to erosion of their corrosion resistant coating from exposure to Asia pacific atmospheric pollution.
          Rolls Royce and EASA worked together to keep most B787 flying.
          1 Blades fail prematurely so engines are inspected early on basis of cycles.
          2 Engine maintenance is brought forward
          3 Blades are replaced by a new model made in RR Rochdale plant which is unaffected.
          4 Worst case high hour airframes are grounded. There are about 37 of B787 grounded.
          5 Rolls Royce has placed restriction on the engine and limited full thrust flight to 140 minutes (leading to a revocation of E-TOPS above 120)
          6 So far no one has died from a Trent 1000 failure.
          7 Not all Trent 1000 are effected by the problem and most are now repaired.

          There is a path out of this for Boeing. FAA/EASA can grant Boeing a temporary concession to prepare a fix. This has been done before. A worthiness directives always allow a certain amount of time. This would allow the B737 to fly for 1 year while hardware is prepared. I can see a battery driven back up stabiliser trim and maybe an additional alpha vane.

          The idea that the B737 can continue on the same type certificate without simulator training seems fruit cakes.

          • However it is possible to mitigate well Trent 1000 mild flaws by ADs, as @William enumerated, I don’t see any of EASA requirements to be implemented later – all are safety critical – eg. I don’t see that stabilizer inefficiency serious problem can be resolve later, or pilots sim training etc.

            Any kind of dispensation (by regulator, presidente or pope, choose whatever you want) in critical safety matter would have disastrous consequences for future safety – after Boeing and 737, Comac would ask some exemption, Irkut would ask some, MITAC, Airbus etc. etc. It would be a very bad precedent.

            And also would be very bad precedent from the “educational” point of view – it will show OEMs (no matter it will be A, B, C, E, I or any other letter) that new aircrafts doesn’t have to be well designed or tested or safe from the start. All the flaws of 737 MAX should have been eradicated before it gained certification, not after.

          • Think you mix up a bit. The T1000B/C has problems with IPC stg 1 and 2 blades and disk cracking, HPT blade life and IPT blades internal sulfidation and disk post cracking. The T1000-TEN mostly with early HPT blades detoriation. Some operators want longer Life on its Life limited parts.
            You have to make a distinction on parts in the Engine that can be inspected and managed on-wing vs. other problems that cannot be inspected on wing like the IPT blade where RR and the certifying agencies had to derive a hard Life for replacement and now revised that limit for the few engines remaining to get new IPT blades. Frequent Engine replacements due inspection findings are not a certifying issue.

        • @TW

          ‘But so far everyone in the EU rejects the issue with the Trent 1000 as being equally lethal as the MAX was.’

          Call me old fashioned but to be lethal the engine in question has to have killed someone. So you can call the CFM56 lethal if you wish (swa1380) but not the Trent 1000.

          You can call the MAX lethal as well if that really needs to be clarified

    • I hope the FAA does not think like you do. If such playground politics is what the FAA bases their decisions on, they do not deserve a single ounce of credibility and the world ought to be looking past them for aviation safety.

      • Hello nyx,

        Regarding: “If such playground politics is what the FAA bases their decisions on …”.

        I don’t think that the grave danger to reciprocal certification lies in what career FAA engineering types think, it lies in what the President of the Unites States, at whose pleasure the FAA Administrator serves, thinks. Career engineers and scientists will tend to take engineering and scientific approaches to problems, politicians will tend to see problems politically and take a political approach to them. Boeing laying off thousands during the US Presidential election season will be a a headline political issue to which politicians will respond politically. This includes not only the US President but also congress members and Senators from states with large number of Boeing employees.

        I don’t think that many in the US Environmental Protection Agency thought that pulling out of the Paris climate accords was a good idea, or that many US State Department Nuclear Arms Negotiators though that pulling out of the Iran Nuclear deal was a good idea; however, that didn’t stop their boss, the US President, from ordering the US out of both of these agreements.

    • Some apparently regress to tribal thinking. not unexpected from “the anointed”

    • MO – as you know, that would be purely vindictive, not to say grossly unprofessional.

    • “Two can play at this game. Pull the FAA certification of A320neos with the Space Flex cabin, and ground them indefinitely.”

      Remember: 1) the Max was grounded because of two horrific accidents 2) US airlines also fly Airbus planes. What airline wants to be stuck with only being able to fly the Max?

  12. If indeed B is still being disingenuous when dealing with regulators on the MAX recertification – as now reported rather widely – they do deserve to suffer from whatever additional delays result. As Scott remarks the collateral damage for shareholders, employees and contractors will be huge. Are there any signs yet that the C suite is for the chop?
    One of the telling indications that B is indeed caught in a bind is the start of the whining blame game – EASA did it ! – and finger pointing, before even actual facts have come out regarding the plane’s performance when “naked “ of MCAS. Rather pitiful from what used to be a prime engineering outfit.

    • The fact the C-Suite is still there tells you the problems aren’t over. They will be in place until they dirty laundry has been washed.

      Boeing doesn’t want the cost or image problem of two rounds of sackings; once the issues are sorted, then they’ll be the (well-rewarded) scapegoats.

      • Bingo, my guess is that there’s something really ugly, probably in relation to Boeing’s action/inaction after the Lion air crash. This is potentially a good reason for the pressure to get the MAX back in the air before the accident investigation is published.

  13. The findings of the 737 MAX crashes and their solutions should be fully implemented. No short cuts.

    Next to Boeing, the FAA is under investigation. As long as results are unknown, it seems the right thing local authorities in Europe and Asia don’t rubber stamp FAA decisions.

    https://www.businessinsider.nl/boeing-737-max-crisis-list-lawsuits-investigations-faces-faa-2019-5?international=true&r=US

    It think it is totally clear who might try to play politcal games here. And it’s not EASA.

      • There’s a pathway out for RR,ADs,extra inspections, changing parts early, all kinds of risk mitigation,etc.Even if it ends up grounded or partially grounded they know what they have to do. Boeing is stuck.

        • So, we understand why the Trent 1000 blows up but we can’t predict when? Great!

          As for trhe 737, that is an interesting issue.

          As far as I am concerned MCAS is dealt with.

          The $64 billion dollar question is the Manual Trim that so many are finally catching on to (I guess better late than never but as so many non pilots are posting I guess technical ignorance is understandable )

          So, where was EASA on the NG?

          I fully admit I have no answers.

          You just have to accept that if NG and MAX are grounded the massive impact that has.

          And EASA is as complicit in that as FAA.

          • I’m not sure MCAS is dealt with. It was supercharged at the last moment to deal with low speed handling deficiencies and has now been downgraded again.Perhaps I haven’t been concentrating and maybe it was only done for certification purposes but I can’t see a logical way out of that without changing serious bits of hardware.

      • Okay, I try to ignore your devotion to bashing RR over the T1000. But I think we should look at a few fundamental differences if you wish to conflate this with the MAX debacle.

        1 the MAX has led to 347 deaths and two hull losses, the T1000 may have resulted in a lot of red ink for RR and inconvenience for airlines but that is the worst of it.

        2 Boeing knew of the weaknesses in their design and subsequently appear tohave done everything to limit the effort to put things right whilst looking to blame 3rd parties. RR have fully accepted fault and worked with the regulators to put things right.

        3 Boeing have been economical with the truth and tried to aggressively manage the media and investor relations to present an alternative version of the truth.RR have held their hand up and been open about the problem and the path to solution.

        On a wider note all engine manufacturers have had significant problems with more recent designs and to pick out RR singularly suggests an agenda which is not impartial. I fear you suffer from Rollsphobia, a pathological hatred of RR…….

  14. This is the link given by JayDak in another post. It’s a PDF dated 3rd September 2019:

    https://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/186500/20190903_EASA_Ky-original.pdf

    Page 16 is the important page. It makes clear that EASA wants test flights to test pitch stability and stabiliser runaway,x with and without MCAS engaged.

    Boeing only have themselves to blame. They have resisted transparency all along. Now outside regulators simply don’t trust what they are being told.

  15. Your argument is ridiculous patriotism, but I can definitely see extra punishment coming for Airbus corruption. The MAX really is too big to fail, it will be flying before the 1st anniversary of its grounding come what may. You ain’t seen nothing yet when it comes to political pressure being applied.

    • Your nearly right Grubbie. As I said awhile back. It’s going to get nasty. But I don’t think EASA will give in. It’s public what they want. How can they back down.

      I do think EASA do have the support of other regulators. As an example, Boeing mislead the Indonesian regulators after the Lion Air crash causing an invalid interim report. That won’t go down well with any outside regulator.

        • Yes,

          The inoperability of the elevators were not disclosed. The inoperability of manual trim…. and so on. It only began to come out after the Ethiopian Airline crash.

          The interim report into the Lion Air crash talked about the engine power and so on. We now know it isn’t relevant. Anything circa 200-250 knots and above and you are done. It

          Expect the full report into the Lion Air crash to completely exonerate the pilots. The interim report didn’t blame the pilots but it left certain things open. Boeing were pushing pilot error during that period.

  16. There is a poltical sphere to this but a valid one. I think the 3rd September document is in response to Boeing’s behaviour. EASA and other regulators have got nowhere in private. So the response is a public document.

    That’s the way with international politics. Someone makes a public statement, gives a public interview or publishes a document. The 3rd September document is that document. But it is in response to Boeing’s behaviour.

    Is there anything unreasonable in the document. No. It’s all entirely valid. EASA and other regulators want to see the proof that the 737 MAX is safe. What’s wrong with that!

    It’s going to get nasty. But I don’t see how EASA can back down. They have made it public that they want the proof.y

    • Nor should they – but they also need to be sure they have their own act in order.

      It took India of all country to point out flying an NEO on a known bad engine is unacceptable.

  17. I think it is a fiction that the FAA is still in lead with the recertification of the MAX.

    Remember, they were one of the last to ground it.

    If they want to restore credibility, their procedures they have to be consistent and strict now. Either they have a clear methodology and it is followed 100% (meaning not 99,9% but 100%) by Boeing or they are dead as an institution.

  18. OK, so try this one,US 2020 elections.The grounding is already affecting the economy ,a shut down for 6 months is going to do serious damage to Trump.

  19. On the topic of suppliers, this should be a huge wake up call for those wishing to do the majority of their business with a single partner especially if it is one that screws you over for “success”.

    • nyx – re supplier vulnerability/exposure to hypothetical Max production stoppage, is it too-o-o much to hope that Boeing might be altruistic and to continue accepting/paying for parts/components from small-business suppliers?

      • Yes it is. And inevitably they will be moaning about supply problems when those companies are no longer around.

  20. Unless I’ve missed it in this Comments thread, I see a practical problem which would render a US-only clearance meaningless. Think of all the code-sharing passengers arriving each day from outside the US who are connecting in the US for beyond cities. Presumably, foreign airlines would cease selling such tickets if the journey continued on a MAX (for their own legal protection reasons), thus creating a logistical nightmare.

  21. Afaics the rumors from the US especially coming from “near” Boeing for an imminent return to service of the MAX ( and the EASA as big frustrator ) are designed to work the environment for the next Quarterly report Q3.
    A mirage.

    • Uwe – Boeing ‘work the environment for the next Quarterly report…’? Never, surely not? 🙂

  22. US FAA is a far bigger organization and more experienced than the EASA. If a mistake happens it is easily corrected by the OEM and certifying body. Boeing is a for profit business and have more expertise than both the FAA and EASA combined. A lot of our European friends are having a field day at the expense of Boeing and the US. Element of jealousy is very rampant with their post. What happens when an Airbus crashed.

    • Wow, I find that statement arrogant (and yes I am a US Citizen though maybe my German ancestry has me biassed) .

      If there ever was a case for a US Corporation forcing through a bad product (MCAS and the manual trim issues ) and killing customers its the MAX.

      Don’t conflate the bias witgh the factg that Boeing and the FAA screwe up bitg time and a lot of people died.

      Granted I see a lot of excuses for RR and its lethal offering in the Trent 1000 and it should be grounded for the same reasons the MAX is, but that does not preclude it being legitimate and spot on criticism of Boeing and the FAA.

      • For an offering to be lethal doesn’t it have to have killed. If you want a lethal engine let’s go for the CFM56 on SWA1380 or doesn’t that fit in with your biased narrative

    • What is the weather like in LaLa Land? 😉

      EASA bundles the experience of its national predecessors.
      Boeing is a for profit company … at all cost.
      Nothing will come between Boeing and profit. prepare to be walked over.

      This is not condonable.

    • FAA does many things including Air traffic control. Certification is only a small area of the organisation, indeed its commercial aviation certification is in a small building not far from Seattles main airport.
      EASA , whos HQ is in Cologne is soley involved in aviation safety and theres no reason to think its commercial certification area is less qualified than FAA’s.
      Have you been following the media on how the FAA has ‘devolved’ a lot of its work to Boeing employees – who are supposed to work under FAA oversight , but havent. There has been no field day , just amazement, even amoung US pilots and other FAA staff, about how on earth the 737 Max got its type approval.

    • I think it’s fair to say that when Airbuses have crashed that US authorities have been very fair. These crashes happened on mature aircraft with a long track record of excellent safety with a significant element of pilot error. The MAX happened to a new aircraft type within 6 months of service.

      Hence I don’t think Patrick Ky, the French born head of EASA who is of Vietnamese heritage with most of his qualifications consisting of US earned degrees and working out of Cologne Germany is being unfair or anti US.

      His agency has asked some questions referred to as Conditions. (Not demands) which are really just a way of letting Boeing know the basic parameters for EASA certified flights in Europe.

      Remember EU pilots can be 1st officer with only 280 hours so adequate simulator training is critical.

      Unfortunately these questions when answered will reveal serious flaws. Even if EASA withdrew its questions and ceded full authority back to the FAA the cat is out of the bag and it’s not going back in. You can’t walk this back. There is even a criminal investigation with a Grand Jury.

      I hope that the B737 MAX is granted temporary concessional certification. During the concessionary period risk will be managed by flight crew simulator training. At the end of 1 year Boeing can retrofit it’s engineered fixes. About 1000-1400 of Boeing’s 4000 orders will effected.

      • @William

        What concessions you would like give exactly?

        I think what you propose is a stupidity.

        Eg: How simulator training will help pilots in situations when they will be not able to trim aircraft by hand on low altitude??? On many airport at higher altitude in a heat weather – you can’t slow down aircraft. And you can’t make yo-yo because is to close to the ground. And you have no time.

        • No need to get your nickers twisted.

          Here is the reasoning
          1 Runaway stabiliser was not an issue on the B737NG as proven by only 0.06 fatal accidents per million flights over 120 million flights. This is irrespective of the theoretical concern with irrecoverable dive from stab trim down not being possible to manual trim wheel forces being to high as well as ineffective elevator. (Statistical reality from NG this Doesn’t happen due to say switchgear seizure)
          2 MCAS on the B737 MAX caused runaway stabiliser which lead to ineffective elevator and non trimmable stabiliser due to speed of dive.

          Henceforth MCAS 2.0, even in the unlikely even it does run away (as it is now using two sensors) will not cause ineffective elevator or a dive nor likely to produce manually un-trimmable stabiliser since the down trim is limited to allow a 1.5 G (NET 0.5G) pullup via elevator. This reduces manual trim forces as well.

          The remaining concerns are more theoretical.
          1 Can not pull out when trimmed into high speed drive (wont happen due to MCAS 2.0 limiting trim and using two sensors)
          2 Remaining concern is that aircraft can not be flown safely without MCAS.

          Both 1 and 2 above can be dealt with by ensuring pilots have been simulator trained and drilled to fly the MAX without MCAS active and divert to nearest airport in event of MCAS issue, perhaps a 1 hour ETOPS. The pilots will also be drilled to respond rapidly by simulator and they will also be taught for instance the traditional bunting manoeuvre to release yoke, trim up and then pullup.

          Safety can be achieved many ways.

          In good time Boeing can retrofit 3rd alpha sensor and secondary electric trim motor in the trim wheel console.

          There may be other issues but that is how it might go.

          • Some thoughts.

            DGCA appear to want simulator training for MAX pilots, it seems that EASA may also require this.

            The ‘yoyo’ manoeuvre is all very well, but the pilots should practice this in a simulator, not just see how it’s done on an iPad.

            The ‘yoyo’ manoeuvre is going to be of limited use 1000 ft AGL.

            BA have potentially 280 million reasons to resist MAX pilots requiring simulator training if the rumours are correct.

            “Statistical reality from NG”, I would be reluctant to use statistics from one aircraft type as the basis for safety of another. If there were no aerodynamic changes between the NG, and the MAX, I’d agree with you.
            Trim stablizer run away stats yes, but comparing the effects if there is an issue, no, there are differences in the aircraft, so the risks are different.

          • @William

            I see few weaknesses in you teory:

            1) MAX is not NG – there hace been changes implemented, not only changes in engines placement or thrust, but among many, others, like wiring of trim cutout switches or FCC logic and his architecture, and now FCC software because of MCAS is being changed once again, so my conclusion is MAX is not NG, it’s a different aircraft so relaying on “grandfather” safety record is a bad idea

            2) MCAS in not the only system that can move stabilizer, if it will be moved and then pilots will have to use trim cutout switches, it will be impossible to trim back aircraft – you remember that in NG there were 2 separate switches to disable separately first computer signals and then electricity from trim engine motor? well in MAX it is impossible – there is 1 switch who cuts both computer & motors at once

            3) if MCAS fails, or any other part of software fails, and aircraft will be out of trim pilots will need to trim back aircraft manually and do this very quickly – and its rather impossible in MAX – please remember that in case of airports placed at high altitude, in very warm day, it would be rather impossible to slow down sufficiently, and you will have no time or space to make yo-yo because you will be at low altitude heading to ground or heading to mountains for example

            4) As some people pointed out here at LeehamNews, some NG’s crash investigations shall be reopened because it is probably that impossibility to manually trim NG at least was a contributing factor to a crash

            5) You assume that pilots will rapidly, in few seconds, will diagnose what is really going on, and counteract – as Lion and Ethiopian crashes proved – it is not so simple, sometimes to many alarms, some faults, some true, will delay it. And if it’s not a combat fight you can’t be 110% concentrated for a long time.

            I don’t see your teory of temporal concession will be safe in practice. MAX flaws are safety critical – has to be fixed for good then return, or not return at all. It’s a simple consequence of not designing a safe plane in first place by Boeing.

          • JakDak – re your Sept 13 comment to William below (there’s no provision for ‘reply’ there…) – ‘DGCA appear to want simulator training for MAX pilots, it seems that EASA may also require this.,,’
            Which national DGCA do you have in mind, France perhaps – or A N Other?

    • The words that concern me the most are as follows:

      “no appropriate response to angle-of-attack integrity issues”

      But it’s part of a paragraph that is about progress made by Boeing. Anybody interpret the paragraph as a whole for me. Can FlightGlobal help.

      Scott, your a journalist. How is that paragraph to be interpreted?

      • Angle of Attack Integrity: This falls into two areas. One is the cherry picking of Boeing (and allowed by FAA?) for failures (internal vs all failure)

        That is a lawyers dram hair split but it does not meet the intent nor the correct framing of AOA failures that then caused the MCAS to activate.

        That is a core aspect of the failure assessment. Truly some ugly cherry picking that needs to be purged from the system.

        What is interesting is that the Manual Trim cascade over to the NG and nothing has been said about that.

        “Because through this bilateral aviation safety agreement, those are domains which we had not completely certified ourselves, because we had delegated some of the tasks to the FAA.”

        Smack down.

        I am particular interested in the manful trim issues as the rest is good software writing.

        Missed is that with a single motor drive setup, the motor has a clutch.

        If the motor seizes you have to have enough break out force to break the clutch out so the Trim will move.

        This has been reported as impossible even with two pilots turning. They gave up as it was assumed another problem.

        And it has to be workable for the worst case which would be two female right hand pilots (most people left hand is not as strong as their right if they are right handed)

        And that does not deal with the high speed aspect.

        Nor NG.

        • Read an article which claims the two autotrim cut off swich funtions where modified for the MAX. Originally one of them only shut off the computers control, the trim motor then ran directly from the pilot to the motor with nothing in between. BA said the change was made to having both switches doing the same thing as all the proceedures say kill them both. I’ve asked on this forum if it is true. If true, then NG pilots have a way of trimming denied to MAXers.

          • Yes, on NG first switch cuts out computer functions, second switch cuts motor – can be used separately. On MAX switch cuts both computer & motor together.

            Boeing according to many, and it is logical to me also, made that change to make MCAS impossible to disable. I don’t but Boeing story that was to avoid overload pilots – those switches were there from 1960s.

      • Philip – taken at face value, there seems no mystery over the first two parts of the para: ‘good’ and ‘some’ progress…
        Re the final part, which might appear ambiguous, nuanced, or subtle (euphemistic, even): if the author meant ‘EASA notes no response to a-o-a integrity issues’ I think he/his sub-editor would have said that, which leaves the wording as published; ref to an ‘appropriate’ response implies/invites inference that EASA does not regard Boeing’s (unquoted) response as adequate(?), relevant(?), helpful(?), to the point(?), meaningful(?) useful(?)… Choose any one from six. Hope that helps.

    • Hmm, the likelihood of the 737 MAX not being re-certificated outside FAA jurisdiction (US airspace) until the 2nd half of 2020, or later, is increasing.

      https://leehamnews.com/2019/07/15/pontifications-boeing-cant-catch-a-break/#comment-277915

      It would appear that just “fixing” the software is not going to make the cut:

      “On our findings, we found significant technical issues [with the 737 Max],” Ky says. “Basically, we identified critical items that absolutely need to be corrected before the aircraft can be considered for return to service.”

      The significant technical issues found by EASA included: “A lack of exhaustive monitoring of the system failures, resulting in stabiliser runaway; too high forces needed to move the manual trim wheel in case of a stabiliser runaway; too late disconnection of autopilot near stall speed (in specific conditions); and too high crew workload and risk of crew confusion in some failure cases.”

      • It’s exactly the same points already raised in June/July that Ky still presented in that slide deck a few days ago.

  23. Well, FAA certification is normally the first, then other regulatory authorities approve with potential for disagreement.

    In recent years there’s much more coordination before hand, so much less delay, I understand, including people trying in this case though no guarantees (bureaucrats are often arrogant).

    I thank leaders Craig Beard and Gerry Marsters for greatly improving the atmosphere between FAA and Transport Canada in the 1980s, other countries followed that lead. Prior to that there was a bad period where TC thought it could do better, motivated by a bad crash of a DC8 upset in the air.

    (Not the crash where pilots moved to arm the ground spoilers at a low altitude, but accidentally deployed them. Airplane hit hard, crew initiated go-around but
    The pilots unwittingly proved the reason for the procedure to arm ground spoilers at significant altitude – provide time to reverse an incorrect action (or a malfunction), some AC pilots thought they knew better out of concern for spoilers being deployed by brushing gear though trees (strut compression or wheel spinup, I forget the details).

  24. Doubt if MAX will fly again outside the Americas until EASA sign off, but I wonder if/hope the Chinese will accept EASA’s decision? Better for BA if they get EASA on board at the same time as the FAA reapprove MAX , otherwise it will take forever to restart dels to China, BAs biggest export market.

  25. What I mean is if FAA & EASA don’t sign off together China will have a good excuse to delay a year.

  26. There’s another regulatory organisation, in China. They were the first to ground Max. Will they join EASA or even make tougher demands?

    • China and Russia will be reasonable, practical and fair. Apart from the ethics of this they both want fair and reasonable certification of COMAC 919 and MC21.

    • Other than the FAA, there is EASA, as well the equivilent of the FAA in Canada, and China’s regulatory org. Though badly maligned in the debacle, the FAA replete with being throttled with funding will most definitely side with Boeing, the others, well we’ll see but the much heralded FAA really doesn’t have the cred it once had. We’ll no doubt find out soon.

  27. This is truly an interesting one. Documents are Boeing’s not the pilots – he will go down in flames though Boeing has to provide those documents and not even sure whey the pilot is in on that apart (he can refuse to testify against himself)

    https://simpleflying.com/boeing-official-fifth-amendment/

    that said its also a strange career as there is no test pilot aspects in his patch but then suddenly he goes to work for Boeing and just as suddenly goes to work for South West. I smell a fish here.

  28. @Philip

    “The words that concern me the most are as follows: no appropriate response to angle-of-attack integrity issues.”

    It simply means that EASA wants the input to come from three AoA sensors whereas Boeing and the FAA are happy with two.

  29. Let’s take a step back from heated rhetoric. We all want the plane to be safe when it returns to service, it’s in no ones best interest that it not be. If EASA blocks entry into service once this has been proven then call it political, but I will hold out believing that they are trying to make sure the concerns are addressed, acting as the “uninfluenced third party” in this to add credibility to a fix and make sure an unsafe or incomplete fix is not expediently applied. Do they have some issues (T1000, AF447 outcome)? Yes. Does that make them unable to serve a role here? No. For the record, I think saying the FAA was last to ground is misleading, they waited til they had the facts, and it could just as easily have blown up the other way and it sets an unfortunate precedent. I do worry a bit for Boeing’s cash position, they have a LOT of inventory they need to clear, and they can’t keep building forever.

    • AF447….wasn’t that investigated by the French accident investigation bureau not the EASA?
      The US uses the NTSB , separate from the FAA, for the same reason, although the ‘routine’ accidents are done by the FAA.

      • Bulldog:

        I disagree on the so called waiting for all the facts.

        You look at the situation and base a decision on what is in front of you.

        In the Lion air case there was plenty of preliminary data that said there was a critical air safety issue that needed to be dealt with.

        Waiting for All the Fact is a standard politico cop out.

        • TransWorld – I’m sure you are not advocating a kneejerk response ahead of adequate knowledge…

  30. @Keith Sketchley

    KS: “I thank leaders Craig Beard and Gerry Marsters for greatly improving the atmosphere between FAA and Transport Canada in the 1980s, other countries followed that lead.”

    The FAA had problems with then DoT airworthiness director Ken Owen, whom had the backing of his boss Walter McLeish. After these gentlemen retired the relationship could only improve. For they were not very flexible, to put it mildly. But there was a reason for their unyielding attitude. See the following paragraphs for an explanation.

    KS: “Prior to that there was a bad period where TC thought it could do better, motivated by a bad crash of a DC8 upset in the air. Not the crash where pilots moved to arm the ground spoilers at a low altitude, but accidentally deployed them.”

    Yes it was after that specific crash (July 5, 1970). Following the inquiry Justice Gibson ruled the Canadian government had a responsibility to make a “reasonable inspection” of all types of foreign-built aircraft before they were certified in Canada.

    In 1971 the US government tried to develop a multilateral accord with the rest of the world. That agreement was meant to make it easier for all countries to certify their aircraft abroad. But Canada was the only country not to sign.

    Instead DoT decided to conduct their own inspections of every new aircraft seeking certification in Canada, including airplanes coming from the United-States. DoT decided to put test pilots into the certification programme from the start rather than let a manufacturer use a DER (Designated Engineering Representative).

    When time came to certify the Challenger business aircraft the FAA said to DoT “we are going to get even with you guys” and they did.

    • Certification usually means all 3 three of :
      Type Certificate
      Production certificate ( can be as difficult as the type certificate)
      Airworthiness Certificate

      The difficult path , even for experienced manufactuers, is the reason why I think those new EV plane promoters are ‘dreaming’ with their ambitions much greater than their ability and knowledge.

      • The above should read like this: “Following the inquiry Justice Gibson ruled the Canadian government had a responsibility to make a reasonable inspection of all types of foreign-built aircraft before they were certified for airworthiness in Canada.”

  31. ” Very disturbing to me is that runaway stab trim or MCAS upset could trim the B737 MAX into a dive exceeding 220 knots at which point the manual trim is inoperable and the dive irrecoverable. Manual trim may be useless. These tiny trim wheels started with the 737NG.”

    In the opinion of this SLF about the trim wheel issue which seems to be ‘ ignored’ by many- most whden it was first mentioned in march- april andf then resurface with the EASA mention of trim wheel forces .. I offer the following

    A) The trim wheel issue did NOT start with the NG- its been there for about 2 decades butnever surfaced until the fubar MCAS implementation simply becasue until then, pulling back on yoke ( or in opposition to trim direction disconnected and stopped the movement. Thus the long since discarded ( non trained ) yo yo / roller coaster ‘ fix’ was never needed since flipping at least one switch stopped all. And used to be two ‘ motors ‘ on the stabilizer.

    B) Then somewhere in the NG game- went to one motor- but still had a electric shutoff and a autopilot shutoff in addition to an AOA disagree- again making the attempted use of manual trim unlikely.
    see https://www.satcom.guru/2019/08/ for some background

    C) Since the MCAS mess surfaced the UNuseability of the trim wheel at almost any flight speed -How long to rotate wheel 30 to 40 turns to regain near trim while in a nose down position at less than maybe 5000 feet – assuming one can even move it at all ??

    D) then brings up the question of not only MAX, but what if the NG has for a different reason ( no MCAS but some other mishap resulting in a runaway not obvious in the ‘ 3 seconds ‘ time frame ) the same issue ?

    EASA mentions Trim wheel forces – but what about x thousand NG with a near useless trim wheel except at taxi speed or less . ?

    E) To fix- certify the MAX via software may be acceptable up to a point, but what about the trim wheel issue.? Fix it on the MAX somehow and ignore the NG ?

    I dont think so !!!!!

    Just my .00000006 cents worth –

  32. Bulldog, Mike Bonhet, Daveo

    The FAA didn’t wait for the facts they ignored the facts. Every regulatory authority in the world knows that and many posters here know that.

    But it’s worse than that, Boeing didn’t give the FAA many of the facts. I still remember the startled emergency AD issued by the FAA after the Lion Air crash. It’s clear the FAA didn’t know many, many facts

    Hence a breakdown in trust and hence the independent actions of EASA and other regulators.

    There are significant indications in the PDF that Boeing are not responding to EASA’s concerns. Indeed, in my view, the PDF is an orchestrated public rebuke of Boeing – and the FAA – for failing to respond to EASA’s concerns.

    The PDF uses the words “significant technical issues” and “still no response to angle of attack integrity issues”. Those words are severe in the world of international relations.

    I hope we can at least agree that international relations downplay words not upplay words.

    EASA’s requests are entirely fair and proper. But their judgement will be much, much harsher. As will all of the other outside regulators

  33. During this MAX saga, now and then I think back on Turkish Airlines 1951.

    A single sensor failure, reliance on pilots quickly taking action, an aircraft allowing to be stalled at low attsitude, the system overiding a confused crew several times, and most of all: the soft powerplay from the manufacturer to protect its interests.

    Buying time, having others wait for investigation reports while playing the media themselves. I feel less and less comfortable with that TK1951, now the process is being exposed on the MAX investigations.

    I feel TK1951 was handled like JT610. Turkish had a huge backlog and growth ambitions and had to look forward.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Airlines_Flight_1951

      • Duke:

        Actually in the US the NTSB is often at odds with the FAA.

        FAA is mandate to promote air ops

        NTSB is not, they are fully independent and they are mandated purely for safety.

        Somewhere is a balance and often the FAA side with the air ops to the publics detriment. That is long standing.

    • Hello keesje,

      Regarding: “A single sensor failure, reliance on pilots quickly taking action,..”

      The following is from the link you provided.

      “At 144 kt, the pilots manually increased thrust to sustain that speed,[37] but the autothrottle immediately returned the thrust lever to idle power because the first officer did not hold the throttle lever in position. The throttles remained at idle for about 100 seconds while the aircraft slowed to 83 knots (154 km/h), 40 knots (74 km/h) below reference speed as the aircraft descended below the required height to stay on the glideslope.”

      I wouldn’t consider expecting at least one of the two supposedly professional pilots to be looking at the airspeed indicator often enough to notice a 61 knot decrease in airspeed that occurred over a period of 100 seconds ( 1 minute 40 seconds), and a 40 knot deviation from target airspeed, while on approach, to be “reliance on pilots quickly taking action”, but rather expecting the flight crew to not be so grossly incompetent as to go many tens of seconds without someone looking a the airspeed indicator while on approach. If I was on a private charter and I caught the pilots neglecting their instrument scan in this fashion, I would demand that they land the aircraft at the nearest suitable airport, report the charter operator to the FAA, and refuse to pay the charter operator since I had contracted for an aircraft operated by pilots meeting FAA Commercial Pilot standards as required by US law, and the operator had failed not only to do that, but had not even provided a flight crew who could meet the checkride standards for US Private Pilots.

      The following is from the FAA Checkride standards for US Private Pilots (a lower skill level than Commerical or Airline Transport Pilots).

      “Maintain manufacturer’s published approach airspeed or in its absence not more than 1.3 VSO, +10/-5 knots with gust factor applied.”

      https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/acs/media/private_airplane_acs.pdf

      For Airline Transport Pilots, the checkride airspeed tolerance on final approach is as follows.

      “Maintains a stabilized approach and the desired airspeed/V-speed within ±5 knots.”

      https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/test_standards/media/atp_pts.pdf

      Note that for ATP’s , at least one instrument approach must be flown (oh my god!) with the autopilot off.

      “Two precision approaches, utilizing NAVAID equipment for
      centerline and glideslope guidance, must be accomplished
      in simulated or actual instrument conditions to DA/DH. At
      least one approach must be flown manually without the use
      of an autopilot. ”

      Could the crews of TK1951 or Asiana 214 have passed this part of an FAA ATP checkride?

      If the crew of TK1951 would have been on a US Private Pilot checkride they would have been failed for gross incompetence, because they allowed an airspeed deviation of 40 knots, far in excess of the Private Pilot checkride standards of staying within plus 10 and minus 5 knots of approach speed. Everyday many Private Pilots in the US demonstrate their ability to meet these standards and pass their checkride, without the aid of a fancy autopilot, autothrottles, or fancy computer displays. When you don’t have fancy automation, you will have a not very long life expectancy, and will not pass your checkrides, if you are not constantly and alertly scanning back and forth between your windshield and your basic flight instruments. Does idiot proofing of transport aircraft have to be carried to the level where the aircraft will save itself from pilots who couldn’t pass a US Private Pilot check ride and who go minutes without looking at the airspeed indicator while on approach?

      Regarding: “At 144 kt, the pilots manually increased thrust to sustain that speed,[37] but the autothrottle immediately returned the thrust lever to idle power because the first officer did not hold the throttle lever in position.”

      I don’t know what Turkish Airlines pilots are taught, but as a student private pilot if I took my hand off the throttle on approach or landing for any reason other than quickly adjusting another control, I could count on my instructor shoving the throttle to the firewall, or pulling it back to idle, whichever would cause more trouble, and yelling at me to ” get you #$!#ing hand back on the throttle”. By what I was taught as a private pilot student, taking your hand off the throttle during takeoff or landing, except to quickly adjust another control, is not acceptable. You needed to be ready to detect and correct deviations within a few seconds when you were moving at 50 to 100 mph (in a piston engine trainer, 0.8 to 1.7 miles per minute) close to the ground. I’m curious, if you drive a car, do you take your hands off the steering wheel or your feet off the brake pedal and accelerator when you are driving down the street? If you are using cruise control do you take your feet off the brake and accelerator, and look down at your smart phone or some fancy computer display on the dashboard for more than a quick glance, or do you keep your feet on the brake and accelerator and hands on the steering wheel and keep alertly scanning the windshield and your mirrors, ready to take quick action if traffic ahead suddenly slows or a child runs out from the side of the road chasing their ball or pet dog? Does operating a jet transport that operates at speeds of 2 to 10 miles a minute, require more or less alertness from its operator than does a passenger car that operates at o to 1.3 miles a minute and has much less inertia?

      Also from the link you provided.

      “The final report was released on 6 May 2010. The Dutch Safety Board stated that the approach was not stabilized; hence, the crew ought to have initiated a go-around. The autopilot followed the glide slope while the autothrottle reduced thrust to idle, owing to a faulty radio altimeter showing an incorrect height. This caused the airspeed to drop and the pitch attitude to increase; all this went unnoticed by the crew until the stick shaker activated. Prior to this, air traffic control caused the crew to intercept the glide slope from above; this obscured the erroneous autothrottle mode and increased the crew’s workload. The subsequent approach to stall recovery procedure was not executed properly, causing the aircraft to stall and crash.[50] Turkish Airlines disputed the crash inquiry findings on stall recovery.”

      So I gather that you believe that the Dutch Safety Board is part of the evil US/FAA/Boeing conspiracy?

      • This left seat pilot, in the very professional FinnairMD-11 flight crew in the video at the link below, has his hands on the throttles all through the approach and the go-around, except for short breaks of a few seconds to adjust or check controls or deal with the itchy spot on his face. This pilot would thus know immediately if the autothrottles, if engaged, did something unexpected. My private pilot instructor would be happy and not yelling. Because his hands are on the throttles, and he is at proper airpseed and on proper glide path, he is also able to easily make a successful go-around from about 100 feet, rather than crashing into the runway like the way too slow, way too low, hands off the throttles crew of Asiana 214.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcmqy6UObLo

        • AP:

          Very good points but I will point out that automation and the hidden aspect of the modes does lend a twist to things.

          In the end the question is should automation crash an aircraft?

          While the pilots may suffer, its lot of passengers killed that is the end result.

          Both AF4476 and Asiana 777 into SFO were aspect of that.

          NTSB has cited Boeing for their Auto Throttle drop out (FLCH Trap) as a result of another mode selected.

  34. That worries me. The half informing, bullying, won’t happen to us, the latent discrimination, you need to train better, arrogance, creating perceptions. It really has little to do with aircraft safety, finding root causes, enhancing procedures. Very much like the LionAir crash.

    We probably would still be waiting for the final Lionair MAX investigation report (“facts”), if Ethiopian hadn’t happened. And if it was up to Boeing and the FAA, the MAX fleet would be in full operation today & Boeing would be paying dividents to its share holders.

    “The crash was caused primarily by the aircraft’s automated reaction, which was triggered by a faulty radio altimeter. This caused the autothrottle to decrease the engine power to idle during approach. The crew noticed this too late to take appropriate action to increase the thrust and recover the aircraft before it stalled and crashed.[10] Boeing has since issued a bulletin to remind pilots of all 737 series and BBJ aircraft of the importance of monitoring airspeed and altitude, advising against the use of autopilot or autothrottle while landing in cases of radio altimeter discrepancies.[11] ”

    The crew had limited outside view/ awareness, the aircraft told them to lower the landing gear, the broken altimeter was flaring the aircraft hundreds of feet above the ground. Workload under emergency conditions?

    Of course the pilots made mistakes, but using that as an excuse forget the rest is not the way forward.

    https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Animatie_Turkish_Airlines,_Neergestort_tijdens_nadering,_Boeing_737-800,_Amsterdam_Schiphol_Airport.webm

    A 787 won’t let its pilots stall the aircraft, why does the 737 anno 2019?

    EASA is looking at MAX crew workload too, similar safety systems, not only an MCAS quick fix. How about the FAA? Pilots must be trained better?

    • Interesting read.

      I suppose you can argue that the pilots should have been more alert.

      But the radio altimeter malfunction was a silent malfunction and indeed, with the exception of a single audio message TOO LOW! GEAR!, everything on the flight deck was silent until the stick shaker went off. By then it was too late.

      What’s TOO LOW! GEAR! got to do with a radio altimeter malfunction?

      The MAX crashes were the opposite. Total bedlam on the flight deck with repeated messages that were entirely wrong and entirely conflicting.

      It bothers me like it bothers you. Single point of failure but the FCC doesn’t help, it confuses. In other words the FCC doesn’t improve pilot awareness it reduces pilot awareness.

      But more seriously the FCC does things that are unexpected.

      We know what the FCC did on the MAX crashes.

      In the case of the Turkish Airlines crash the autothrottle unexpectedly went to retard. Bet that’s not taught in training..

      The pilots do need to be alert. The FCC has a mind of it’s own. So Boeing are right. Pilots do need to keep a close eye on the FCC because it can’t be trusted.

      I’m increasingly of the view that the FCC should be withdrawn. Let the pilots fly the the 737 without ‘help’ from the FCC. I’m sure the pilots will remain alert. If the pilots can’t fly it because of stability issues, ground it foreever

      • In an automated world it is harder than anybody would believe to stay alert. The reports of pilots falling asleep, inc Tesla ones, keep increasing. Old problem in shipping.

        • The automation on the MAX is frankly fixed.

          The stall is a non issue. Push forward when the stick shaker goes and you have no problems.

          Stall behavior is not an issue if you don’t stall and you are trained not to stall. That is as basic as checking your engine oil before flight.

          The remaining issue is really the Manual Trim wheel.

          Do we grant a waiver while that is worked on?

          15 year history of not an issue but it clear CAN BE a critical one.

          Boeing aside, there is a massive impact to people getting around as well as the economic impact that many airlines swill simply fail which cascades it.

          Boeing at worst declares bankruptcy and that leaves the rest with nothing.

          The worlds AHJs have clearly failed here.

          We see Trent 1000s flying every day that are arguably going to fail and so far before the inspection dates.

          Is that any different than NG and MAX flying with manual trim (rare cases es) needed and in failure modes that are either mitagatable and allowed (yo yo) in one case and totally iffy in another.

          What is the answer?

          What does EASA as its the lead on the manual trim now think is the fix?

          • No on a waiver. Period. This bird, Max 8 is doomed to fail if our worldwide neighbors fail to okay it’s re-emergence to the flying public other than here.

  35. If there are any genuine aero engineers on here, how do you interpret the following comment ?

    “… in addition, the spoiler system has gone to fly by wire as a result of some of the engine changes”.

    • Spoilers are a secondary control systems as opposed to a primary control systems. In other words spoilers are not needed to fly.

      Secondary control systems don’t need to have redundency. In other words they don’t have to be fail-safe. Primary ones do need redundency, they need to be fail-safe.

      So why FBW? Perhaps weight saving. But, given the wording, perhaps the wing/engine mounting meant the cables had to be removed and the hydraulic pipes had to be removed.

      But it wasn’t done for safety.

      With regard to removing hydraulic pipes. It would mean the electric motors have self-contained hydraulics. Moog are world leaders. Look them up if interested.

      Other than that, Dunno

      • Thank you Philip, you may well be right about moving hydraulic pipes.

        I can understand FBW to save weight, but I couldn’t understand why spoilers would have anything at all to do with the engines.

        I wonder if there is extra hardware in the form of CPU to handle the FBW spoilers, or if that code has been added to the software that handles speed trim etc.

        • Added to the software that handles speed trim. That I do know.

          The CPUs are not big enough to provide a fully functional FCC/FMS.

          So, I’m sure you are aware – as the industry says – there must be compromises. But the compromises are between death and today we are very, very lucky to be alive, but that may not be the case tomorrow.

          I wasn’t aware of the Turkish Airlines crash. The autothrottle – part of the FCC – moved to retard in contravention of the instructions of the pilots. And it did it silently. I’m sure the pilots were not trained for that one.

          It’s not surprising Boeing are telling pilots to be alert. The FCC is the grim reeper. It does whatever it wants regardless of what the pilots want.

          The FCC is supposed to reduce pilot workload not be a crap shoot for flying. Boeing need to sort it out or withdraw it. If the 737 doesn’t fly without the FCC then the 737 doesn’t fly.

        • Does it matter if its good working software?

          Loosing sight of the reality of backups and safety and how these work in a manual aircraft (steel wire) vs FBW.

          They are not the same and the answers to how to make them safe are different.

  36. The demand of the EASA that the MAX must be tested with MCAS switched off is especially interested. I sincerely hope that the public will be informed of the results of those flight tests. Then we will finally know if the MAX is sufficiently stable or not, as has been discussed here extensively.
    My bet is still on “not sufficient stability” without MCAS. And what then?

    • A very loaded question…. if EASA is correct and wants testing done without the MCAS being activated, I’m for that. The really big question that lingers in the back of my mind is how far can an a/c manufacturer use the grandfathering clause with a new model of a bird some 60+ years old?

  37. Hmm- actually – if I understand MCAS- it normally is off and has NO effect unless at the extreµe edge of flight envelope such as a high speed, high alt steeply banked turn with AFT CG.- At least thats what it was supposeldly designed for. And it was supposed to ‘ level out’ or make the yoke pull force increase at a unikform rate ….yada yada.

    So other than flying at that corner, no effect on flight. So the real drill would seem to be ( at altitude ) to cut out MCAS, puu up and bank and see hosw bad the stall really is . . . or via special switching ‘ inject a false AOA, etc and perhaps cut all out and retrim using only trim wheel by ONE pillot . .

    IMO – this SLF thinks the trim wheel one pilot ‘ recovery ‘ from point x degrees mistrim might be” interesting”…

    • Apparently Boeing justified hiding MCAS with the explanation that it would activate only in such extreme corners of the flight envelope that it would hardly ever activate. So it would only be relevant for test pilots and maybe at airshows, right?
      At the same time Boeing justified hiding that same system by telling that it is meant to provide the pilots with the same handling/feel as the NG. This would indicate that it is quite active in normal operations.
      So what is it?
      The flight test with MCAS off should reveal its true characteristics.
      There are basically three possible outcomes:
      1) Both the EASA and FAA find the plane safe.
      2) Both agencies find it is not.
      3) FAA says its acceptable and EASA says its not.
      If 1) Great, everybody can go back to work.
      If 2) it’s to anyone’s guess as how Boeing might solve that situation.
      If 3) things might indeed get political. But I would expect that most other agencies will stick to the EASA and not the FAA findings.

      • @Gundolf: “Apparently Boeing justified hiding MCAS with the explanation that it would activate only in such extreme corners of the flight envelope that it would hardly ever activate. At the same time Boeing justified hiding that same system by telling that it is meant to provide the pilots with the same handling/feel as the NG. This would indicate that it is quite active in normal operations.”

        Not necessarily so. My understanding is that MCAS was designed to give the Max the same flying characteristics as the NG when entering these extreme corners of the envelope and not in normal flight. But in order to validate this statement we would need to see entire flight recordings of MCAS activation during normal flight.

        Also, there seem to have been two different evolutions of MCAS (not counting the current redesign). Again, my understanding is that the first iteration was to give the Max the same feeling as the NG. But during test flights it was presumably discovered that the Max was prone to stall abruptly, or to pitch up, under some extreme conditions and that’s why they presumably decided to change the displacement amplitude from 0,6 degree to 2,5 degrees because a fast and powerful reaction was required in order to prevent a stall.

        So in my opinion when people say that MCAS is not an anti-stall device they would be right only if they are talking about the first iteration or the reason why it was implemented in the first place.

        • The issue is misstated.

          There was noting wrong with the finding and the solution.

          Where it went haywire was how the software was written and its reliance on a single AOA sensor.

          Kind of like your car has an over speed issue and the solution is to trigger bomb in the engine compartment to stop it.

          Its not the over speed that is the problem its the bomb used to correct it.

          On diesel engines its not an uncommon issue and throttle rack back is one answer, another is to trigger a flapper over the intake. Sometime both are used. It does the job and it does not destroy anything.

    • MCAS is always active. But it only engages under conditions that none of us know. But then EASA doesn’t know because Boeing have not responded with regard to angle-of-attack integity issues, as made clear by the PDF.

      But it always there. Watching. And will engage even if the pilots don’t want it to engage.

      • @Philip: “MCAS is always active.”

        In order to be active the MCAS needs to be triggered by the AoA sensor, among other things. And this should normally occur only in extreme flight conditions, or in a situation where the input has been corrupted by false data. What is always active is the FCC of which the MCAS is part of as a module.

  38. This is an example of the lax approach by all AHJs

    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/electrical-failure-on-737-highlights-risks-of-defect-460760/

    If you depart with one bad Generator, then you are down to a failure scenario where another failed unit means you are down to no backups.

    Ergo, they all should be working to start with.

    The system is rife with these kind of issue and they just get blasaied over by EASA, FAA, Japan, China etc because they are inconcenient.

    • Didn’t you read the article? They had the APU running as second generator.

      • Yes I did. I worked with duplex and triplex redundancy.

        Duplex redundancy is no redundancy. Its ok for non criteria but not cri9tical .

        If one quits (starboard unit removed) then you have a single point of failure.

        Do you have N+1 or N+2 for an aircraft?

        In this case the APU is not fully redundant and they lost a lot of system and had bizarre events.

  39. Boeing and FAA say:
    MAX doesn’t handle the same way as NG in a some areas of the flight envelope so we have added MCAS
    NG pilots can fly MAX without additional training because we have included MCAS, so nothing new to learn
    If the pilot has problems with flight stability just turn off MCAS

    Surely there is a conflict here. If a pilot is told to turn off MCAS and continue flying, surely that pilot should have been given simulator training on those areas of the flight envelope where MCAS was assisting the NG trained pilot?

  40. Below are some excerpts from a Bloomberg article on EASA’s test plans for the 737MAX that I found interesting. See the link after the excerpts for the full article.

    ““EASA intends to conduct its own test flights separate from, but in full coordination with, the FAA,” Janet Northcote, an agency spokeswoman, said in an email in response to questions. “The test flights are not scheduled yet, the date will depend on the development schedule of Boeing.”

    “EASA is also examining whether Boeing’s use of two vanes is sufficient, Northcote said. The regulations don’t necessarily require an additional one must be added. Safety could be addressed “through improvement of the flight crew procedures and training, or through design enhancements, or a combination of the two,” EASA said.”

    “While the major regulatory agencies normally defer large amounts of the certification work to the nation where the plane is being built, it’s also not uncommon for them to conduct additional reviews and separate flight tests.

    The FAA, for example, used its own pilots to conduct tests of the Airbus A380, A350, A330 neo and the A320 neo before certifying them for use in the U.S., the agency said in a statement.”

    “The FAA is likely to conduct its certification flight for the 737 Max in October, according to people briefed on the matter. ”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-10/boeing-737-max-jet-to-face-separate-flight-test-by-eu-regulators-k0e0frs7

  41. Thanks Bubba – my point was rather the conflict between the 3 stances taken by Boeing and FAA … they appear to say:
    1. MAX doesn’t handle the same way as NG in a some areas of the flight envelope so we have added MCAS.
    2. NG pilots can fly MAX without additional training because we have included MCAS, so nothing new to learn.
    3.If the pilot has problems with flight stability just turn off MCAS

    Hence my view there is a conflict here. If a pilot is told to turn off MCAS (3) and continue flying, surely that pilot should have been given simulator training on those areas of the flight envelope where MCAS was assisting (2) the NG trained pilot as it is no longer active.

    • Here is what EASA is now saying

      https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/european-regulator-plans-its-own-test-flights-of-boeing-737-max-in-sign-of-differences-with-faa/

      ” By Dominic Gates
      Seattle Times aerospace reporter

      Europe’s aviation regulator will send its own test pilots and engineers to fly forthcoming certification flight tests of Boeing’s newly modified 737 MAX, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said Tuesday.

      In addition, EASA said it favors a design that takes readings from three independent Angle of Attack sensors rather than the two-sensor system in Boeing’s proposed upgrade to the MAX.///”

      Goes on.

      AS to turning off MCAS – sure – but ONLY when you regain near trim with thumb switch- unless your copilot is superperson – faster than a speeding trim wheel and more powerful than out of trim stabilizer at 250 kts

      • Oh I like it…

        “AS to turning off MCAS – sure – but ONLY when you regain near trim with thumb switch- unless your copilot is superperson – faster than a speeding trim wheel and more powerful than out of trim stabilizer at 250 kts”

        Perhaps this could be included in the updated iPad training literature

      • It would appear that Boeing, with the assistance of the terminally discredited FAA, has been fighting tooth and nail for regulators to approve a software-only fix for the MAX — a calculated strategy to circumvent regulatory compliance that essentially requires expensive and time consuming hardware changes.

        Although EASA said it’s not mandating how Boeing must address its concern over the Angle of Attack system redesign, Tuesday’s declaration that it would prefer a three-sensor system was a more specific critique than that laid out in Ky’s slide presentation last week, which said Boeing had “still no appropriate response to Angle of Attack integrity issues.”

        Installation of a third Angle of Attack sensor in the MAX could be an expensive and prolonged process and might affect not only the new 737 MAX jet but the thousands of older model 737s in service around the world, which all come with just two such sensors. Boeing declined to comment.

        EASA’s elaboration Tuesday of its differences with the FAA is a further sign of the differences that have emerged since the October and March crashes that killed 346 people and caused the plane to be grounded worldwide.

        According to insiders, the FAA is all but set to approve Boeing’s proposed MAX redesign.

        The European regulator’s concerns include the ability of pilots to handle an angle-of-attack failure during takeoff or other critical phases of flight. In the two 737 Max crashes, the erroneous data from failed angle-of-attack sensors prompted multiple cockpit alarms, including a false stall warning and altitude and airspeed gauges that didn’t agree with each other.
        “We are not being prescriptive in the way these concerns should be addressed,” Northcote said.

        • “a calculated strategy”

          I see it in the same way – to bully everyone and duck with only MCAS software fix.

      • Thanks for the link Bubba.

        In that article Patrick Ky is quoted as saying “Yes, there was a problem in this notion of delegation by the FAA of the MCAS safety assessment to Boeing,” Ky told the EU Parliament committee.

        “This would not happen in our system,” he insisted. “Everything which is safety-critical, everything which is innovative … has to be seen by us and not delegated.”

        That clearly makes sense. I wonder if the tasks delegated to Airbus for instance are reported directly to EASA, or if they are reported to Airbus who would then report to EASA ?

        It seems sensible that the tasks that the FAA delegate to Boeing are reported directly to the FAA, and not to Boeing as it appears is currently the case.

        EASA still appears to be leaving the FAA room to maneuver, they “would prefer a three-sensor system” and “still no appropriate response to Angle of Attack integrity issues.” but they “are not being prescriptive in the way these concerns should be addressed”.

        So if you only have two sensors, and the readings disagree, how do you resolve this, is it critical that you know your AOA (in general flight not MCAS) or can you just disregard the readings as you can’t know which is actually correct.

        If the answer is that it’s critical to know your AOA, the conclusion is that you need three sensors isn’t it ? If not, what “improvement of the flight crew procedures and training, or through design enhancements, or a combination of the two” would address this ?

  42. It seems Grandfathering requirements and design have kicked in, again. The MAX inherited two sensor AOA from long ago and fabricated MCAS around one of them.

    Modern aircraft have 3 AOA sensors, like the Boeing 777, 787, A320, providing redundancy and better fault logic. Boeing could have easily included it on the NG and MAX 10, 20 years ago. Why not? Ask them.

    FAA seems pressured by Boeing, congress and everybody else, to approve supplemental certification on what Boeing proposes. Held against grandfathered requirements from an other era.

  43. Pleased EASA is doing a lot of thnking.

    AoA integrity means 3 alpha vanes. Hopefully it also means each of tHe two FCC computers are connected to each of the 3 vanes and the two computers are connected for dual channel. The two computers have dual cores running active/passive. That’s about enough for fail-safe redundancy.

    This will address the bedlam on the flight deck because AoA integrity is virtually guaranteed.

    It also means MCAS is given the same guarantee. That is good.

    But the question of MCAS remains open. Why does it exist? EASA want to find out by testing pitch stability with MCAS on and off.

    So even if Boeing agree to a 3rd alpha vane there is still more to the answer. But let’s not forget stabiliser runaway.

    Implementing the 3rd alpha vane? Nine months minimum. Probably a year. That’s without retrofit to airplanes already built

  44. Hello Philip,

    Regarding: “AoA integrity means 3 alpha vanes. ”

    See below for some statements about 2 vs. 3 AOA sensors attributed to EASA Head of Communications Janet Northcote in the 9-10-19 Bloomberg article at the link below.

    “EASA is also examining whether Boeing’s use of two vanes is sufficient, Northcote said. The regulations don’t necessarily require an additional one must be added. Safety could be addressed “through improvement of the flight crew procedures and training, or through design enhancements, or a combination of the two,” EASA said.

    EASA said two vanes are considered “the bare minimum requirement to meet the safety objectives,” and in the agency’s experience “an architecture with three vanes can more easily be found compliant with the regulation.””

    ““We are not being prescriptive in the way these concerns should be addressed,” Northcote said.””

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-10/boeing-737-max-jet-to-face-separate-flight-test-by-eu-regulators-k0e0frs7

    • It’s a lot more complex than that. The bedlam on the flight deck exists because the FCC’s error logic is sub-standard or missing. In other words the failure of the alpha vane caused all sort of crazy things to happen just to confuse the pilots even more.

      In the immediate aftermath of the Lion Air crash I said the FCC went into meltdown. It did the same in the Ethiopian Airline crash. Those words are separate to MCAS. To turn it round, MCAS is only one of the crazy things that happened.

      The addition of a 3rd alpha vane reduces the chances of the FCC needing to apply error logic. So yes, EASA may say 2 alpha vanes are enough provided Boeing eradicate all of the other crazy things in the FCC.

      To give an example, the FCC thought that a 75° AoA was valid. It’s never valid. To it’s crazy to accept it. But the error logic wasn’t there to isolate the error and discard it as an error.

      So EASA may say eradicate errors like that and we will allow 2 alpha vanes, but only if errors like that are eradicated.

      In other words I do accept there are other solutions to fail-safe redundancy.

      But to return to the crashes. The left alpha vane was a single point of failure. But it was compounded by the FCC having no error logic to isolte the failure. The consequence. Total bedlam on the flight deck.

      As software engineers will tell you, success logic is small in comparison to error logic. So, if Boeing are required to provide comprehensive error logic, will it fit into the CPUs? Unlikely. It’s why it wasn’t there in the first place. There is no room.

      But I can go further. If EASA insists on at least 2 alpha vanes with two channels, then it should insist on 2 altimeters and 2 pitots with two channels. With regard to the crashes the left altimeter and the left pitots were also single points of failure and my guess is they don’t have error logic to isolate their failure, either.

      So yes, there are different answers. Three of each reducing the need for error logic. Two of each but with error logic.

      Airbus have three of each and error logic. So the example of a 75° AoA would have been isolated as crazy.

      The crashes occured with one of each and no error logic to isolate failures.

      Please note, what I written is separate to the MCAS (pitch stability) question and to the runaway stabiliser question.

      The question I’m addressing in this post is bedlam on the flight deck caused by the FCC going into meltdown.

  45. For the sake of the global aviation industry – emphasis on global – thinned to have all regulatory authorities aligned is an important factor in the flying public’s perception of safety.

    Boeing’s management need to be held accountable for their original decisions to ‘fast track’ certification and essentially bully the FAA into accepting Boeing’s input.

    The ongoing regulatory capture by corporations from the Federal Government needs also to be addressed by the legislature. Because many federal bodies such as the FAA and others are being slowly starved of funding and thus have no option but to be beholden to the very corporations they are meant to be holding to account.
    We saw this with the rescue plans of BP, Shell, Exxon, in the Gulf of Mexico disaster a few years ago. Where again the Oil Majors’ recovery / disaster planning was signed off by the Federal authority in question.

    There is something rotten in the US and in US corporate culture that increasingly prioritises profit (for the few) over almost every other major stakeholder. This corporate and financial permissiveness needs to be addressed as those independent bodies that should hold these players to account are simply not able to do so.

    In short, Boeing’s management needs to be held to account and if it is not going to be the FAA that hold it to account lets hope that EASA will be the party doing so. Ideally both regulatory bodies will work in tandem to ensure that the flying public have and maintain their full faith in the regulatory system.

    • @DN

      I don’t feel that Boeing (or FAA) care much about global aviation industry in future. They only care about bringing MAX to the sky at any small cost even possible and faster then even possible. Bitter observation but I’m afraid a true one.

      • Well, it appears that the MCAS scandal (or should we call it the MAX scandal?) has turned into a fight for life or death of Boeing. Death being chapter 11. No wonder that Muilenburg and his colleagues are fighting tooth and nails to bring the 737 back into service.
        I don’t think it’s much about cost any more. If they could buy a quick solution, I’m sure they would, no matter the price. But it looks like the EASA is not for sale.
        Now they face the problem that with so many already delivered planes, many more in the parking lot and even more in the pipeline, implementing substantial hardware changes will not only be a logistical nightmare but will take what – half a year, a year? And then ad further delays due to the re-certification, new simulators and pilot training.
        In Germany we have a saying “the paint is off” from the 737. Even if from now on all goes well, its image is seriously dented and sales will not recover. It may sound absurd and totally counter intuitive, but I think this is the time for Boeing to make a U-Turn and try to take back the initiative by starting the development of two brand new single-aisle planes.

      • Pablo – For ‘Boeing (or FAA) [to] care much about global aviation industry in future’ would hardly be consistent with ‘America first, America only, America always…’ methinx.

    • D N – ‘…if it is not going to be the FAA that hold [Boeing] to account lets hope that EASA will be the party doing so…’ Quite; absolutely (but dare anyone hold breath…?).

  46. What was the effect of an AOA failure on speed trim or mach trim and potential bad elevator input that had to be corrected by the pilots?

    • It does come back to the elevators.

      My theory is the elevators become increasingly inoperative with AoA. The basis of the theory is that the elevators progressively become inoperative with increasing AND deflections of the stabiliser.

      If my theory is right, it’s the reason why MCAS uses the stabiliser. Specifically MCAS can’t use the elevators because they don’t have the necessay authority.

      EASA has demanded to know. They have demanded test flights with MCAS on and off to demonstrate pitch stability.

      Let’s see. The question is: Will Boeing agree to allow the test flights to happen?

      • So should the NG be grounded until the AOA solution is implemented?

        Or is the need for correct AOA only relevant to the MAX and MCAS?

        Is this about safety or punishment? If it is about safety, does EASA have the will to ground the NG if they take a logical safety path no matter where it leads?

        • Good questions. I don’t know. I would not support punishment as the reason for grounding. Indeed I would be vehemently opposed.

          I want the answer to MCAS. It needs to be answered. Trim stabilisers are the tortoise to the hare, the hare being the elevators. If you are going to move away from a stall you use a hare not a tortoise.

          With regard to the NG and the MAX, there does appear to be a difference. Someone else suggested that it’s the wake from the wing/engine mounting on the MAX enveloping the stabilisers and therefore the elevators. A theory but it fits. It needs to be known. What is MCAS correcting and why the trim stabiliser?

          It’s not surprising EASA want answers with regard to MCAS.

          The FCC is a different matter. The alpha vane was a single point of failure on the MAX crashes. The altimeter was a single point of failure on the Turkish Airlines crash, an NG. Presumably the pitot (airspeed) is also a single point of failure.

          It’s not surprising EASA want answers with regard to the FCC.

          And then stabiliser runaway. The YO-YO manuever. We can’t seriously teach pilots the YO-YO manuever, can we?

          It’s not surprising EASA want answers with regard to the stabiliser runaway.

          EASA are tarketing technical issues that need to be addressed. They are thinking properly.

          Grounding only for technical reasons. No other reason, never.

        • Grounding of the B737 NG is not in question because it has an excellent statistical safety record of only 0.06 per million flights accumulated over a 100 million flights. That’s one big reason why the A330 was not grounded after QF72 or AF447 as the type had years of safe opperation. (The other reason, Boeing take note, was that the manufacturer was seen to take aggressive action). There are possibly 2 crashes possibly implicated by the inability to trim a fast diving B737NG. An Airworthiness directive might be issued either requiring updates of procedure or training. At worst EASA could require a modification within a certain amount of time. If they made the training for the NG same as the MAX perhaps the type rating could still be the same?

          • I think quite a number of NG incidents will be re-examined. Boeing said pilot error, the FAA fell into line. Job done.

            Job not done.

            But yes statistically the numbers are good.

      • I suspect that you suspect that the big forward mounted LEAP 1B engines are creating stagnant air behind them at high alpha (15 degrees) that is blocking the airflow across the stabiliser and elevator. The proper way to deal with this is an all flying tailplane. If that’s the case I can see why there are some really deep problems.

    • As opposed to traditional communism which gave us China’s and Russia’s Aeroflot safety record as well as Chernobyl? If you’re good with a hammer every problem looks like a nail. If your good with ‘wok’ like the guardian everything looks like a problem with capitalism and cis males of a certain pallor. There are fundamental human tendencies that transcend. A study in human psychology, drawing office review practice, the problem of documentation distribution and version control and quality control systems will be far more revealing.

      I did read the article and was aware of the clear stacking of the board with politicians though I felt my brain was being abraded of 10 points as I did so. The guardian made a big fuss over ‘Republican’ Nickey Haley being on the Boeing board but failed to mention their own ‘Democrat’ Caroline Kennedy. I find both these creatures hideous but they are obviously there for a reason other than their knowledge of aerodynamics and financial control. It reminds me of Steve Jobs comments on how companies eventually ruin themselves by allowing sales and marketing or other similar types completely dominate the product developers in total ignorance of how products are developed.

      • William,
        so you think there is only two ways to run an economy? Either “free” capitalism or communism?
        Maybe you should try to open your view on the world a bit and you will find everything in between these two extremes.
        I’m really sorry for wearing our your brain, but the real world is indeed quite complicated and looking into the past and future won’t make it easier.
        I totally agree with you and Steve Jobs that high-tech companies will fail when they are abused as a money machine. But isn’t that exactly the point of that article in The Guardian too?

  47. After reading the article and comment section, I can’t help but feel we might be taking Boeing’s planning statements (on MAX return to service) more serious than we ought to.

    Boeing tends to publish delays in bite sized chunks. Is Boeing’s return to service planning for the MAX a realistic one, or one aimed at managing expectations of investors?

    • It comes in quarterly ‘bite sized chunks’. Thats because they have to file on that time scale.
      Im my part of the world , quarterly is practically un -heard of for large companies and if they have six monthly its up to them what to reveal.

  48. “Dennis Muilenburg acknowledged that regulators may not all agree when to allow the planes to fly again.”

    “I think the phased ungrounding of the airplane amongst regulators around the world is a possibility,” he said.

    “The questions don’t “necessarily mean hardware changes,” but that they can likely be answered with simulators and software, if needed, he added.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/11/boeing-737-max-may-not-be-cleared-by-all-global-aviation-regulators-all-at-once.html

    I understand he’s talking to the investors …

    “Boeing shares were up by about 3% in afternoon trading.”

    If EASA has valid concerns, BA need to address them satisfactorily.

    • “We’re going to respect individual questions from different regulators,” Muilenburg said. “EASA has brought up some questions that we’re working our way through. I wouldn’t see those as divisive.”

      Isn’t that nice of him? May I ask anyone near him to drag him from his throne, take the laurels off his scalp and wisher in his ear “you are mortal”?

  49. An increasing percentage of the comments I see on the MAX situation on this and other aviation boards consist of long-time posters who (1) do not have access to the design documents, regulatory rulings, accident investigation material, etc (2) have development a theory, generally involving deep and unfixable fundamental flaws in the MAX design (originally aerodynamics, but lately electronics as well) (3) have argued so long and so forcefully in favor of their theory that they are now convinced it is actual fact (4) have started developing additional corollaries of “next steps” and “consequences” (usually involving withdrawal of the MAX from the market) based on the assumed truth of their original – unconfirmed – theory.

    This is not healthy.

    • Some of the future ..well make that most…speculation of what will happen with Max and Boeing is over the top.
      The current events seem well informed. if it seems bad thats because it is. Boeing has engaged reputation management /PR spin doctors . They are fully capable hanging out the good news on the washing line without it looking like its ‘official Boeing’.
      There is no clean washing in Boeings basket to hang out on the line, I wish there was but as time goes on the issues seem to be now having a shadow over the NG and its stabilizer configuration and correction procedures.

    • @ sPh
      I’m afraid that I have to disagree with you. What we have going on here reminds me of discussions between scientists who develop theories which are based on what they know in combinations with their own experience and imagination. Then other scientists try to refute them. As long as they can’t be refuted they stay alive, say like the big-bang-theory. (Which can never be “proved” as we can’t go back in time, but can never be refuted either, so it stands valid).
      Now, instead of calling the development of theories unhealthy it would be much more interesting to see you refute the theories you oppose.

    • Your words imply there are no facts. I won’t go through the list, but here is a couple.

      1. The elevators become increasingly inoperable with increasing AND stabiliser deflections.

      2. Alpha vane failures are not checked and isolated (Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines) , radio altimeter failures are not checked and isolated (Turkish Airlines)

      Yes I am one who is offering theories. But they are based on a long list of facts.

      I admit, to get the facts from Boeing has been like drawing blood from a stone.

      I don’t think we know the full story. I think there is still an awful lot more to come. EASA are on the right track. But it should be the FAA not EASA.

      But as it stands, the current facts warrant the grounding.

        • SPH is correct.

          Philip in fact has propounded the wildly aerodynamics instability 737MAX when in fact the only change is at stall and all LCA jets exibit some pitch up in some modes (full throttle).

          The simple fact that a LCA does not operate at stall or even close escapes them in their enthusiast of their theories.

          The facts are that MCAS was piece of garbage as written.

          The stall behavioral had nothign to do with the crashes.

          There are other issues in regards to Manual Trim that they all ignored until recently (nice to see them recognition it at last) I guess better late than never.

          But that same trim aspect has been there since day 1 of 737 original (and others ) .

          So there is an AHJ aspect involved here (well all of them in fact)

          Missing is how Simulators got programed without the real feel to the Manual Trim in various speed modes or motor seize (and they still don’t understand clutch breakout so they ignore it and only mention the speed part which at least has a possible solution that was approved and trained on at one time ) .

          AHJs are supposed to test simulators for their fidelity

          Boeing is clearly complicit in the MCAS. They deserve what they get.

          But all the AHJs from EASA to Japan to China etc are also involved here as they were not doing their jobs either (in many ways) – why was this allowed to occure.

          There is also an extremely serious issue when aircraft are allowed to fly with bad problems and its a wink wink nod nod and we hope no one dies until they fix it 5 years from now.

          That is where it broke down and a lot of AHJs need to be held to task.

          Just blaming Boeing does not get to the roo0t of the rot. Sure its fun, its always harder to look in a mirror or do the heavy lifting that it takes to correct things.

      • MCAS 1.0 was implemented to solve the requirement for the MAX to ‘feel’ like an NG at high angle of attack, to smooth the curve.

        Now in a FBW aircraft you’d just have the systems reduce the amount of up elevator nice, and smoothly in line with the angle of attack so that you don’t exceed your max. You have fault tolerant / redundant sensors, and enough computing power to do this sensibly.

        Correct me if I am wrong, but stabilizers are adjusted to trim the pitch of an aircraft, elevators are a primary flight control.

        As the MAX is not a FBW aircraft, you can’t modify the position of the elevators independently of the yoke pull or push as it’s connected with cables.

        This means that if the aircraft is approaching too high an angle of attack, you haven’t got any option but to use the stabilizer to modify the pitch angle.

        Speed Trim on a 737 already modifies the stabilizer angle in flight so it’s no great surprise that MCAS would become part of Speed Trim.

        What I still don’t get is why the stabilizer doesn’t move relative to the angle of attack, is it a lack of computing power ? You’re trying to smooth out a curve, but you’re using a pretty steep bunch of steps to do it ?

        At this point it seems to me that you’re using the stabilizer as a primary flight control, and it should then have been certified as such.

        Pilots who flew the BA simulator with MCAS 1.0 were reported to be surprised at how aggressive MCAS was in action.

        I understood the aim to be to make the yoke progressively harder to pull back on so that the MAX would ‘feel’ the same as an NG. Forcing the nose down firmly as you approach a high angle of attack doesn’t seem like it would ‘feel’ the same as an NG.

        In it’s 1.0 incarnation I can see how it may well look like an anti stall device !

        I sympathise with the BA engineers who had to try to solve the issue. I don’t think they should ever have been put in that position. If I’d have been given a software specification for this, I’d have had to walk away.

        • Sorry JakDak, I do need to correct.

          Think of power assisted steering on a car. The yoke is power assisted. So it can be corrected or to be precise calibrated. The OEM calibrates the yoke.

          Which then comes to who moves the yoke. Well the pilots. But also the FCC.

          When the FCC is in control it moves the yoke. The pilots see this. The FCC also moves the throttle. The piilots also see this.
          It is a physical movement. The pilots do see it.

          So MCAS as part of the FCC can move the yoke, which means it can move the elevators. But then it can move any control surface.

          Please understand that no commerical airplane works without electricity. Non FBW airplanes use cables. But what do those cables do? Trigger electric motors.

          This then comes to a specific kind of electric motor. An electric hydraulic valve is still an electric motor. Electric hydraulic valves are used to trigger hydraulics on airplanes.

          FBW removes the cables and replaces them with wires. This allows direct commication between the FCC and the electric motor.

          Non FWB requires the FCC to turn it’s electric signal into a cable movement. The cable movement is turned back into an electric signal to activate the electric motor at the other end of the cable.

          In short that’s the reason for FBW. It puts an end to the FCC conversion from electrical to mechanical at the beginning of the cable and the conversion back from mechanical to electrical at the other end of the cable.

          Bottom line: Any idea that the 737 can fly without electricity is daft. Any idea that it can fly without electic motors is daft. Indeed any idea it can fly without electrically activated hydraulic motors is daft

          • Thanks Philip.

            The power assisted steering analogy is useful. As I understand the 737 setup, a pilot pulling the yoke hard back would overrule autopilot elevator actuators?

            If that’s the case it would negate the effort to make the yoke ‘feel’ harder to pull back if you had MCAS intervene using those actuators would it not?

            On FBW aircraft there wouldn’t be two opposing forces trying to control the elevator, the computer follows the rules and moves the elevator accordingly.

            On a non FBW aircraft if you use MCAS on the stabilizer it’s independent of the pilot’s input but should if done correctly result in more effort required to pull the yoke back.

            I don’t understand why BA didn’t just use the Elevator feel shift module?

            Then again even on the NG I think they move the stabilizer AND in a stall as part of SMYD don’t they. So when nearing a stall at high AOA they’re just getting ahead of the game.

          • From my undestanding of the 737 controls, the elevator control computers and the feel motors, it is possible to address the two opposing forces your post addresses. The pilots pulling back, the FCC pushing forward to prevent stall. The FCC should win if stall protection is enforced

            See http://www.737ng.co.uk. in the download section there are some good PDFs, one sets out the controls for the NG.

            With regard to SMYD, I don’t think it is used to move the stabiliser.

            I know you are trying to explain why the stabiliser is used and not the elevators for stall protection. Theories are always good. So no objection from me.

            I’m a cynic.

            Boeing needed to control but also wanted to hide the pitch stability issues. Better to use the stabiliser to hide. Better to use the elevators to control.

            But do the elevators work. They don’t with moderately large stabiliser AND deflections. So perhaps there was no choice. It had to be the stabiliser.

            But I am a cynic

            Read the flight control PDF for the NG on the site http://www.737NG.co.uk. Especially Stall Identification. The Speed Trim System was already using the stabiliser to trim nose down as the SPEED approached stall but appears not to address AoA. MCAS switched it to AoA at any SPEED above flap speed. MCAS doesn’t engage with flaps down

            It’s the 200 knots and above bit that give me the creeps. In other words, MCAS is addressing pitch stability when the airplane is flying at a safe speed. Why does it have to do that?

            I do what to know why. I hope EASA will tell.

          • I was trying to understand why BA would use the stabilizer to address the pitch moment curve to make the MAX ‘feel’ like an NG.

            Why I was looking at the stabilizer was that BA seem to already have a solution to the ‘feel’ / pitch moment curve issue in the Elevator feel shift module, and I couldn’t see why they didn’t just use that ?

            I may have interpreted incorrectly, I thought that it was the SMYD computer that initiated stabilizer movement on entering stall even though it controls the rudder.

            I hadn’t considered the possibility that the elevators may not have much authority at high angle of attack with the stabilizer in certain positions.

            Let’s hope that EASA get to fly the MAX as they are proposing with MCAS on, and then off at high AOA, and in wind up turns. It would be a simple thing that BA can do to demonstrate what is really going on.

            I still don’t get why MCAS 1.0 would trim AND for 9.26 seconds (2.5 deg nose down) when activated, pause 5 seconds then continue. I.e. the movement is not proportional to AOA value, you’re correcting a curve with jagged steps.

          • JakDak

            I don’t understand either, which is why I’m offering theories.

            But you are right, the stabiliser starts at 2.5°, add 2.5° over 10 seconds, after a 5 second wait, add another 2.5 over 10 seconds and so on. Up to 12°, the maximum deflection. But. After 7.5° the elevators become inoperable. At 5° they become sub-responsive. See the interim reports into the crashes. MCAS kicked in twice, that was enough to make the elevators inoperablie.

            Those words are fact.

            Something is messing with the airflow. The only other alternative is that the elevator were never big enough to address large stabiliser deflections

          • ” Non FBW airplanes use cables. But what do those cables do? Trigger electric motors.”

            NOPE – in the case of the 737( 707 etc ) the cables to the elevator and the trim wheel to the stabilizer directly thru gearing- or levers or cams move the elevator or stabilizer- when ALL electric is cut off .

            try

            https://www.satcom.guru/2018/11/stabilizer-trim.html

          • ‘Bottom line: Any idea that the 737 can fly without electricity is daft. Any idea that it can fly without electic motors is daft. Indeed any idea it can fly without electrically activated hydraulic motors is daft”

            Totally and completely wrong wrong wrong.

            Suggest you take the time to study and read many many articles and diagrams on 707 thru 737 and 767 flight controls, reads about Gimli Glider ( 767) , read a whole series of articles

            https://www.satcom.guru/2018/11/stabilizer-trim.html
            on that site

          • Bubba

            Sorry no.

            Flight deck controls are not directly attached to control surfaces through cables. People don’t have the strength

            Light airplane yes. But not a 70 tonne airplane.

            Please read up on the touch and feel elecrtic motors on the 737. They are everywhere.

            Power assisted stearing is everywhere

            So there is no direct cable between the flight deck controls and the control surfaces. One exception, manual trim. But then humans can use it.

            No

          • I always thought that 737 vía cables and pulleys can fly without electricity, in this case everything depends on strong muscles and finesse of a pilot. Because of that has not a RAT turbine, for example.

            It would be a good theme for Bjorn’s Corner – a backup plan for 737 and 320.

      • 6 months have passed, no information,what do you expect?Boeing are obviously stuck in a massive trap. Stand by for a tsunami of PR nonsense.

      • Philip – EASA must plow its own furrow regarding approval of aircraft in its own jurisdiction.
        Meanwhile, it is to be hoped that the accident-investigation final reports will have full explanations of circumstances, causal factors, and recommendations – indeed, that any preceding interim reports will be increasingly revealing to all concerned parties.
        We might never know, unless insiders truthfully relate them, the decisions made by participating Boeing managers nor the actual or declared rationale to support them; perhaps not even Minutes of Boeing board meetings – that perhaps by now should long have been under independent lock and key – will answer every question.

    • This site has the most informed, instantly peer reviewed commentary that I’ve seen on the whole issue. It’s sad that executive and PR types still think the whole thing, from beginning to end, is a matter of perception. Change the perception and the facts will follow, they seem to think. This is not a good principle for aircraft design. In any case, with the exception of sPh comment, this is one of the few sites that has enabled me to see through the massive and overwhelming amount of smoke being blown by the Boeing PR machine which seems to have perpetrated a fraud and competitively sold an antiquated, souped up lemon as a 21st century aircraft. They put socks on a rooster. No level of PR will change the fundamental, physical facts — or the fact that all the other airlines that fell for what looks like a con are wishing they were Delta.

    • @TransWorld

      … and 737s or 787s are waterproof inside???

      Please wait with bitching about any OEM until someone will spill coffee inside your favourite OEM.

  50. Agree the silence is not encouraging, could be digging in. Hopefully nothing popped up & nobody wants to be the messenger.

  51. So it’s mid September now, Q4 is just around the corner and Boeing has not presented their solution to the authorities. I think that’s it for any 2019 service.
    My take is that Boeing know perfectly well that they can’t meet the requirements EASA has defined. So what’s going on? It could well be that they are following two or three different concepts on how to meet the demands, trying to find the least expensive and/or fastest solution. My guess is that nothing that the engineering teams have offered is good enough to satisfy both the authorities and the top management.
    It is quite obvious now that the MAX will not pass the flight test with MCAS off. That means there have to be hardware changes beyond a third AOA sensor, a few cables, buttons and maybe warning light.
    If we rule out new pylons and landing gear, the only remaining solution would be changes in the stabilizer and the speed trim system. Now there’s the billion dollar question: Can the speed trim system be fixed or would it have to be replaced, possibly including new CPUs, new software and going FBW, throwing out the (crappy) trim wheel. And although this may seem an impossible solution as it will take a year or two to implement it, it may be the only solution available.
    Now, who inside Boeing will own that? And would Boeing be able to survive such a long grounding?

    • @Gundolf

      There is still a time to catch up with Boeing latest agenda to present MCAS fix for evaluation in September / October.

      But I don’t see that will be enough to address all flaws and return to service – it’s so quiet about everything else apart of MCAS fix from Boeing. I’m afraid they are in a corner and with lots of PR, connections, bullying and being Bold as Boeing they will try to “convince” at least FAA to bring it back at least in USA – “MCAS fix is a great job done – forget anything else”.

      I’m pessimist (just realist) about MAX’s future and Boeing’s in a long term. Comac will be incredibly happy about that, quickly China will be outsold in narrow bodies market. Btw, Chineses got his own agenda with Trump’s trade war, so consequences for Boeing would be disastrous for decades, they are so quiet because theirs regulator doesn’t have to explain anything to anybody publicly.

      • I understand Muilenburgs comments such that he does not really comprehend how on earth agencies outside the USA (EASA and CAAC) were able to stop his MAX from flying high and now seem to be able to nail it to the ground.
        “We’re going to respect individual QUESTIONS from different regulators,..”
        Would he not know the difference between a “question” and a “demand”? I think he would, so the only explanation is that he doesn’t understand that Boeing does not have to “reply” to those question in their own fashion but have to “fulfill” the requirements set by those authorities.
        Maybe by owning/controlling the FAA for such a long time now he forgot what the term “authority” means. Still be might learn it soon enough.

        At this point I would like to say that I don’t agree that it’s a good idea to let Muilenberg sort out this mess. He seems to be blocked in his upper compartment so badly that this may cause terrible consequences for Boeing. Trouble is he is both chairman and CEO. In this situation he should at least quit the post of chairman, so he would have someone to report to. That might help him understand this situation much better.

        As the situation looks now, Muilenberg is not solving the problem, but only making it bigger, dragging Boeing down with him. Reminds me of a certain Boris J.

        • Surprises me more that he said “INDIVIDUAL” like it were some uncommon topics that only one regulator care but majority is on our side – very clever PR comment, and also prepares ground for future withdrawal of ban only by FAA in case. Boeing is desperate to bring MAX as quickly as possible, and against a will of anyone, with a good PR bomb. I think Muilenburg knows very well what to say – he is executing a well thinked strategy – it’s his last, for now, opening in a battle of bringing back 737 MAX. Of course – my view, my speculations.

        • It’s interesting that several other regulators are now insisting on doing their own review, including flight trials. There is the Indian Regulator and even the Australian one CASA. I’m reading this a rallying around EASA.

    • Gundolf – ‘Can the speed trim system be fixed or would it have to be replaced, possibly including new CPUs, new software and going FBW, throwing out the (crappy) trim wheel. And although this may seem an impossible solution as it will take a year or two to implement it, it may be the only solution available.
      Now, who inside Boeing will own that? And would Boeing be able to survive such a long grounding?’
      And from there, would anyone care to suggest at what point and circumstance the equation between these costs and implications (including reputational cost) begins to be offset by that of dropping Max, continuing to sell as many more NGs as possible to meet residual demand, and developing a clean-sheet NSA (including the perceived value of thus stealing a march on the trad AB and BA market)? At some point in such considerations it becomes no longer worth BA’s while to throw good money after bad. Obviously a major consideration is NMA, but a long-term strategy needs to be divined unless BA is right in any assumptions and calculations it is making now about cost and time required to meet, as Gundolf points out, the requirements of all regulators and management.

  52. @JakDak: “I still don’t get why MCAS 1.0 would trim AND for 9.26 seconds (2.5 deg nose down) when activated, pause 5 seconds then continue.”

    In my mind there is only one explanation and that is to be able to prevent a stall at all times and as quickly as possible.

    The activation of the stabilizer was quadrupled because during flight testing it was discovered that in some extreme conditions the aircraft had a tendency to pitch up and the solution they found to address that problem was to use MCAS and modify it because initially it had only been designed to give the Max similar handling characteristics as the NG and not to prevent a stall.

    Otherwise why would you want to change your design from 0,6 degree to 2,5 degrees in one shot unless you have discovered something unexpected and so dangerous that it would warrant an extremely powerful corrective action to prevent it from occurring while ensuring it is never off for more than 5 seconds at a time?

    And why do you think Boeing does not want to repeat those tests that led to the redesign of MCAS from 0,6 degree to 2,5 degrees like EASA is asking them to do with MCAS turned off?

    The answer is because a commercial aircraft is meant to be stable under any foreseeable condition and the Max does not intrinsically meet this safety criteria.

    • Is it this full programmed trim activate, pause, trim, pause (etc) sequence that I think some folk are characterizing as stab runaway, I suspect mistakenly? MCAS seems designed to apply trim as thus described, whereas (perhaps myself mistakenly) I always thought of stab runaway as arising when an uncommanded stab activation continued uninterrupted to full travel (and then likely stuck in that position). I believe there were some 757 examples, but what do I know…?

  53. It’s about the elevators not about the stall.

    The elevators become inoperable at a much lower AoA than the stall AoA when the speed reaches 200-250 knots or above

    MCAS was written to prevent the elevators from becoming inoperable not to prevent stall.

    I’m still thinking about it. But I’ll will put it out there anyway.

  54. @Pundit: “Is it this full programmed trim activate, pause, trim, pause (etc) sequence that I think some folk are characterizing as stab runaway, I suspect mistakenly?”

    Actually it is Boeing that wants all Max pilots to recognize it, and treat it, as a stab runaway. And they are blamed when not doing so even though they might have little time to react under duress and may need some extra time to identify it as a runaway without proper training because Boeing has convinced the FAA that there were no important differences between the NG and the Max.

    But the thing is that the pilots are used to this constant trim activation because in a 737 cockpit the stab is trimming all the time whether it is activated by the Speed Trim or MCAS, and the latter should never occur because it would mean the aircraft has now entered a dark corner of the envelope.

    Unfortunately, I think it’s the whole of Boeing that has now entered a dark corner of the aerospace envelope, and if they don’t respond quickly they may fall into a tailspin that would be hard to recover from.

    • Normand et al – Re BA in a dark corner and needing a quick response: hence my question to all (in my response to Gundolf above, which see) about the need for a long-term strategy, consideration of which must include analysis of the point at which continuing Max-resolution costs are balanced by those of developing a clean-sheet NSA (including the perceived value and intangible benefit of stealing a narrowbody march on AB).

      • The most urgent thing for Boeing to do is to find a solution for the Max crisis. As for the NSA it should have been done in 2011 instead of the Max. I said it then and more than ever I believe they should have sacrificed the present in order to invest in the future.

        The shares wouldn’t be as high, that’s for sure, but at least it would have put Airbus on the defensive and they would have had to revise their strategy. For now the only threat they are facing is the NMA, and that project has once again been postponed because of the Max crisis.

  55. Normand – ‘The shares wouldn’t be as high…’ Aye, there’s the rub. BA execs and, of course, very many stockholders focus on one thing: too short a term. Perhaps you should re-iterate your sermon in full.

  56. “When will we know what EASA will do?

    Not until just before the FAA is ready to act, if the information shared on the RAA sidelines proves true.”

    Well, it’s logical – countries other than the state of design authority want to know that the first authority is fully satisfied.

    Big question in my mind is EASA expectations for old airplanes, as I hint at in my comment on DC-10 avionics.
    (I don’t know if any old airliners are flying in Europe in airline service, there are a couple of 727s to dump dispersant on oil spills, and likely other special service aircraft.
    In North America there are in freight service, a Convair 440 crashed on an auto parts run recently – that’s the piston-engine original, most last flying in NA were turbine conversions. Might be some Electras still in freight service. Maybe even a few C-46s flying fuel in Alaska.)

    • Keith – ‘I don’t know if any old airliners are flying in Europe in airline service…’ EASA expectations for old airplanes might depend upon definitions. If Boeing is tempted to argue that Max is ‘no different’ from earlier variants for type rating purposes (for example), then does that mean that the design is as ‘old’ as the most recent 737 Type Certificate?

  57. Keith – other ‘countries … want to know that the first authority is fully satisfied…’ That is true, but is there not also a perception that EASA questions might reach parts of Boeing that the FAA enquiries do/have not penetrate/d?
    Once an NAA has covered all the ground shared with a first authority, the OEM must still meet any second (or third, etc) agency’s variant airworthiness requirements. If not exactly countless, there must be many precedents for second/subsequent countries requiring changes to original designs before local certification, reflecting, for example, more-conservative safety philosophies – which doesn’t mean that OEMs would not argue vigorously.
    (In fact, I’m fairly sure there also have been examples of countries declining to certificate each other’s competing designs in slighty childish tit-for-tat ‘I’ll approve yours if you’ll approve mine’ games; European first-generation business-jets come to mind…)

  58. Part or all of the Boeing problem
    From ny times

    . . . . . In August, Boeing met with officials from the F.A.A. and other global aviation agencies to brief them on its efforts to complete fixes on the Max. Regulators asked detailed questions about adjustments to the Max’s flight control computers, which the Boeing representatives there were not prepared to answer.

    . . . Instead, the company representatives began to display a PowerPoint presentation on their efforts, according to people briefed on the meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was not public.

    At that point, the regulators ended the meeting. Weeks later, Boeing has still not answered all their questions.

    welcome to the multi- billion $$$ power point rangers

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