Oct. 11, 2019: The international study group that was named to examine the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX and the MCAS system was issued today.
The New York Times obtained an advance copy. It wrote that the study is “damning” to Boeing and the FAA.
LNA now has the full study. It may be downloaded here: Final_JATR_Submittal_to_FAA_Oct_2019.
I think “damning” is quite strong. A lot of “learning lessons” for sure. Also, I think other various aviation authorities will (hopefully) learn and implement a lot of the recommendations from the report as well. It seems (as usual across many fields) technology has progressed much, much faster than the rules, regulations they are intended to guide for.
I’m glad this was done however unfortunately it took the (unnecessary) lives of many people for this to happen. It should NOT have taken shattered lives/families for these recommendations/steps to happen.
If not damming what then?
“Boeing failed to adequately explain to regulators a new automated system that contributed to two crashes of the 737 Max, and the Federal Aviation Administration lacked the capability to effectively analyze much of what Boeing did share about the new plane.”
It would be damming in any regulated industry:
“PharmaCorp failed to adequately explain to the FDA how their new drug worked and the FDA lacked the capability to effectively analyze much of what PharmaCorp did share about the new drug. ”
“BankingBrothers failed to adequately explain to the SEC how their new financial product worked and the SEC lacked the capability to effectively analyze much of what BankingBrothers did share about the new product.”
“GeneralPower failed to adequately explain to the NRC how their new nuclear reactor worked and the NRC lacked the capability to effectively analyze much of what GeneralPower did share about the new reactor.”
“I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.” For forty years we’ve heard the mantra “Let’s let business do what business does best, Make MONEY.” Two quotes from two illustrious Presidents. Maybe it’s time to re-examine oversight even as these forces continue to gut it.
Any word on when airlines will be required to have properly trained pilots fly the aircraft?
was something about that in the report?
ET302 and Lion Air 610 pilots clearly made some minor mistakes but it’s completely understandable . The pilots of Colgan Air 3407 had 3220 and 2200 flight hours yet they still Ignored the stick shaker and stalled the aircraft. The probability is that even a heavy trained crew could’ve crashed these MAX aircraft. Its said that if the MCAS problem wasn’t identified and resolved within 40 seconds that the aircraft would be in such a steep, high speed dive it was impossible to manually trim up the stabiliser. Aircraft instruments adjust speed indication according to angle of attack information to compensate for pitot tube intake angle of attack, therefore if the alpha vanes fail the speed indication goes erratic as well. Without a proper alarm system the pilots will be receiving stall warnings, erratic speed, erratic angle of attack information and warnings from the autopilot. Imagine the yoke pulled into your guts with 20lbs or more of stickforce while you fiddle with an undersized trim wheel that’s rigid with your free arm. The max is a an unsafe aircraft as designed and has no place in today’s world if a pilot needs more than 300 hours flying hours to fly safely. There is either something wrong with the pilot or there is something wrong with the aircraft if more than 300 hours are needed. Airbus with three alpha sensors all properly crosschecking still had many failures of multiple sensors on aircraft in which false data sent the aircraft into a shallow dive of about 4.2°. Unlike the MAX MCAS the flight control system limited the dive angle and the sensors eventually unfroze or the crew were able to resolve the problem because they had time. There aren’t going to be enough highly trained pilots in the world. Not possible. if Boeings marketing strategy is going to rely on magical thinking and those 3000 hour pilots existing than they actually have no market and should leave it or state in their sales literature that FAA 1500 hours standards are needed. They won’t because sales were freaking out over a few hours of simulator training needed to handle a couple of extra alarms for MCAS if they had of done the right thing and added them.
Super human heroes with magical skills don’t exist and people can’t be trained as such.
Blame anyone but Boeing?
or at least properly informed pilots …. Boeing intentionally hid the MCAS system from the airlines and pilots. It wasn’t an oversight. And they didn’t properly inform, notify and file the proper paperwork with the FAA on the last minute, ‘minor’ change to MCAS increasing the speed to 2.5 degrees per second. That may have set off a red flag in the FAA certification branch, if they did. As in, “why are you making this change?” Boeing needs to step up and take responsibility for this.
After Boeing gets its stuff together.
With the current state of things even super perfect trained full American hero pilots with 100k hours flying time
won’t make a difference.
i.e. peddle our partisan stuff elsewhere, please.
“It seems (as usual across many fields) technology has progressed much, much faster than the rules, regulations they are intended to guide for. ”
What has progressed exceptionally well is the subversion of the certification processes by Boeing ( and aided by US politics.)
GFC, “Bringing democracy”, WoD, WoT, … is “family”.
What others can learn is : do not trust things that are influenced by American culture.
737 MAX may fly again but the public will never trust BOEING AGAIN. I doubt the BOARD AT Boeing will ever grasp that lesson
If the Max flies again with only computer updates, it will be because of a successful PR campaign and the too big to fail ideology — not prioritizing safety. I realize, though, as a consumer, I’ll have a choice:. Fly Delta.
or Jet Blue
Or fly ALASKA A/L who are blessed to operate the A321XLR
Hi Simon, love your Ju 390 work. Folks still trust B787 and B777 and I suspect that the nice girl who cut my hair yesterday doesn’t know what a MAX or an NG is. She’ll get on any QANTAS or Virgin Australia flight. (Hopefully QANTAS now checking the pickle forks on their soon to be needing replacement 75 B737NG) MCASgate will cause a few boycotts by individual customers for sure and maybe a few airlines will switch. I expect damage repair will take up to 5-7 years. There is clearly something Systemic wrong in Boeing, not just an accident. They seem to be understanding that. How much more expensive would MAX have been if done properly?
cost would have been in training for a no longer direct 737 derivative.
The driver imho was losing face in the always “better than the Joneses” self reflection via Brothers Grimm mirror ” Who is the … in our domain”.
the fact that JOE average does not know pointy end of a BOEING from the BLUNT ENDY THING, is exactly why Boeing can’t be let off the hook.BY THE WAY I loved the NG, EASY TO FLY.
FOR YEARS I maintained MH370 search was being misled TO protect BOEING. people called me nuts but BOEING’S effort to DEFLECT & DENY 737 MAX failures lends credence that MH370 suffered a hypoxic design failure (open MEC override valve) is corroborated by MAX reaction . POINT TO NOTE: If Zaharie had disabled hisSATCOM then the SDU would have generated a log- off request. MH370 never did so. mud in the eye for suicide theorists. MH370 had no power to its Left AIMS cabinet. Never HEARD OF anyone navigating airways waypoints at night by dead reckoning, either?
If anyone is curious how electrics died so suddenly on MH370 READ UP ON 2007 MEC fire at HEATHROW. A B777 can delay under-voltage, or undercurrent shut down for 16 minutes with no master caution alarm. long enough to get a crippled 777 away from the gate , off the runway before the electrics all die.
The public knows nothing about what plane they fly on. I have no qualms about flying on the MAX. With all the work being done on the plane, it will be one of the safest planes in the sky.
There was a story in the NYT on how pilot training and maintenance were sadly lacking on those two carriers that suffered the loss.
No American carrier had issues that the other two had with the MAX.
Boeing will continue to produce planes like the 757,767,777 and 787 that have been very successful.
Putting 21st century engines on a 50 year old plane is like putting socks on a rooster. It’s embarrassing and all the PR and trolls in the world can’t fix that.
your response: shame about the colateral damage from this learning opportunity is just not good enough in civil aviation. In light of MH370’s loss, when a BOEING 777 was lost who ican say the massive electrical failure it suffered after 17:22 UTC did not cause the EQUIP COOLING OVRD feature to leave the MEC OVERRIDE VALVE open causing a hypoxic tragedy all thanks to FAA’S light handed certification?
What I found noteworthy in context of MH370 was the absolute invisibility of Boeing. Contrast that with Airbus intense effort to resolve the AF447 disappearance.
Boeing lives in a culture that will never really accept responsibility for their deeds or, and that is very relevant here, take advice from others. This poisons the relation to other cert authorities and makes it difficult to improve the situation.
They didn’t want to find MH370. Disregarded eyewitnesses, disregarded the fact that MH370 changed the route many times, disregarded that altitude changed often. Then from the Andaman Sea on they calculated a straight route with a constant altitude, searched much too far and let important time pass by.
Cover ups are politics. UK and Australia who are close partners of the US contributed much to this failed search.
Another cover up was TWA800. An eyewitness saw a missle strike from a coast guard ship. You would bet that the coast guard would go to the crash site, but this coast guard ship went away fast in the other direction.
Check what eyewitnesses said about MH370 and you might know.
Ahh yes, the famous eye witness missile strike that did not show any sighn in the wreakage.
You just have to hate evidence if you are creating conspiracy theory.
MH370 is so much better where the evidence is easier to (and has been) twisted and no final find.
I can top that, two hydrophone arrays one on AMSTERDAM island another at Cape LEEUWIN Australia detected impact at 45.15’12,69S, 87.53’40.53 ATSB were well aware of those hydrophone detections and search planes sent by the AMSA Found approximately 500+ large metallic floating debris first spotted by satellites in same approximate location including an infrared image of floating debris found by USN P-8 Poseidon obtained by FOIA REQUEST(IMAGE DATED 21ST mARCH 2014) ALL IGNORED BY ATSB who searched seabed460nm north of hydrophone located impact, Your conclusion that clues were disregarded deliberately to protect Boeing are neither irrational nor unreasonable. In fact only a hypoxic flight had the fuel endurance to fly so far south. The JIT argued that this impact location did not fit with their theory!
yo dudes- this is NOT the MH370 conspiracy /alternate reality site- please take your MH370 stuff elsewhere.
Fit hitting shan- some time ago the NYT ran an article that blamed the crew- and was promptlky refuted by a moonoveralabama site almost line by line
But now Sullenberger chimes in with more FACTS , having done the Lionair and Ethopia scene in an level D 737 MAX simulator
In “What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 MAX?” William Langewiesche draws the conclusion that the pilots are primarily to blame for the fatal crashes of Lion Air 610 and Ethiopian 302. In resurrecting this age-old aviation canard, Langewiesche minimizes the fatal design flaws and certification failures that precipitated those tragedies, and still pose a threat to the flying public. I have long stated, as he does note, that pilots must be capable of absolute mastery of the aircraft and the situation at all times, a concept pilots call airmanship. Inadequate pilot training and insufficient pilot experience are problems worldwide, but they do not excuse the fatally flawed design of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that was a death trap. As one of the few pilots who have lived to tell about being in the left seat of an airliner when things went horribly wrong, with seconds to react, I know a thing or two about overcoming an unimagined crisis. I am also one of the few who have flown a Boeing 737 MAX Level D full motion simulator, replicating both accident flights multiple times. I know firsthand the challenges the pilots on the doomed accident flights faced, and how wrong it is to blame them for not being able to compensate for such a pernicious and deadly design. These emergencies did not present as a classic runaway stabilizer problem, but initially as ambiguous unreliable airspeed and altitude situations, masking MCAS. The MCAS design should never have been approved, not by Boeing, and not by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The National Transportation Safety Board has found that Boeing made faulty assumptions both about the capability of the aircraft design to withstand damage or failure, and the level of human performance possible once the failures began to cascade. Where Boeing failed, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should have stepped in to regulate but it failed to do so. Lessons from accidents are bought in blood and we must seek all the answers to prevent the next one. We need to fix all the flaws in the current system — corporate governance, regulatory oversight, aircraft maintenance, and yes, pilot training and experience. Only then can we ensure the safety of everyone who flies.
Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger
IMJ the JTAR report shows tht Boeing plain botched:
– failure to integrate factors,
– failure to coordinate internally
And Boeing and the FAA didn’t coordinate well with each other.
The JTAR report shows that.
Off topic question: 767-X study, an indication of demise of NMA?
Maybe as a cargo aircraft for those who operate alot of 767BCF and new 767F’s.
It is an old design, a generation behind the A330, still a bit lighter and smaller diameter fuselage helps when you “cube out” before hitting MTOW. It is high risk for “design creep” once you let the engineers used to the 787 systems and composites get their hands on it.
Big MAX. KC Y tanker contender.
KCY ? Not even a requirement yet .
When you look at the MTOW, the 767-400ER has only 5000lb more load than the 767F ( although new engines provide more offload fuel, the receiver planes mostly only take tiny amounts)
USAF isnt going to be interested .
Uh, ‘Dukeofurl, reality is that USAF wanted a large tanker to support big bombers. IOW, a replacement for the KC-10s. (Maybe even support 747 command posts (such as the ones used for Air Force One flights) if they had a refuelling probe.)
Replacing KC-135s was their first priority, hence the KC-46. Bigger tanker to come later. (Somewhere in the timeline is a second batch of KC-135 replacements, IIRC first batch is to replace KC-135s that have JT3D engines, second batch to replace KC-135s that have CFM-56 engines, KC-135s with turbojets long gone I believe.)
You have fighter-plane blinders on.
And, since their is no Reply button on my comment to your, I’ll add here:
PS: USAF has been offered 757-size engines for B-52s – 4 replacing 8, on lease IIRC. Turned down at least two offers. I recall that would have eliminated refueling on an intercontinental mission round trip. Now I hear USAF plans to install 8 of a different engine, hoping to avoid major structural work on pylons. It’s pitiful that the B-52 is still operating with 707 vintage engines. (Presumably turbojets long gone, I recall being at the Abbotsford air show and seeing one with turbojets – but limited use perhaps training, one with the JT3D turbofans.)
In the 1980s USAF was buying used 707-320Cs to get structural and yaw damper parts, and probably engines, to upgrade KC-135s, that pushed the price of the 707s up.
you need lots of balloons to uplift share value now.
Is this another rumor floated to protect from the fallout of this report? back to the 787 ( one instance of many) it was “Air Berlin buys more 787” 2..3 days ahead of the (damning) NTSB battery report.
Then the share value didn’t much drop on the following Monday. Lets have a look this Monday.
Claes: Cube out reeres to larger fusalge not smaller.
Ergo, the A380F would have suited FedEx and UPS (DHL latter maybe as 5 were on lease order).
In tha sense an A330 would work vs a 767.
However more to it than that as its cost, weight, fuel use of that weight and capacity for the routes (you don’t want to run too empty) ergo an A330 has not been a choice yet.
The mention is to keep changes minimal and the 787 Cockpit is already in production for the KC-46 so that change is not a cost issue.
The 400 would lend itself to more volume for the package ops, now have to put Amazon in there with FedEx, UPS and DHL .
I don’t see the KC-46 morphed into this, engine use is not that high for tankers and it then looses commonality with current 2C that was build specifically for the KC-46 (or whatever reasons its not a standard fuselage length)
The logic for the 767-400MAX-F was that filled wth cardboard packages of low weight it is pretty lightly loaded, i.e. it is filled way before hitting MTOW and in addition does medium range flying. Compared to a A330F that is bigger and heavier optimized for longer range flying of heavier load. So the narrower fuselage and lower empty mass helps the mission cost for these missions. The A330-Beluga would flying boxes for Amazon and would be another story if you could fill it every night.
Maybe 767x will be a quick and cheap solution to NMA need by Boeing, in order to make a space for quickest development of NSA ?
Just a theory on posible long term strategy for Boeing. It could be the first positive information, but maybe I’m too positive man towards Boeing, and that would mean something totally contrary.
The 757 was built before the McDonnell Douglas buyout of Boeing. I don’t think they could produce a 757 again. Most of the folks who know how to build a 757 have left the company or have been outsourced.
see page 15 & 16 of this white paper that lays it out in black & white
(from the Seattle Times
in reality- the 757 was/is really a 707 with two instead of four engines
Well perhaps in range, fuselage, and capacity, but its parentage is different.
The 757 began as a 727-300 (paper airplane never built), then morphed to wing engines and regular tail. It had the flight deck and windshields of the 767 squeezed into its nose which is a much better shape than 737. (So supported a common crew rating.) Only the nose and fuselage diameter is the same as the 707.
Like Leeham I think it is a too old design to be competetive as a pax Aircraft even with new Engines/nacelle/carbon wing. But for a FedEx/UPS domestic freighter for a low purchase price it might work as there are few competetive light weight widebody Aircraft available like A310F’s. There is a risk that Boeing start suffing a 767-2C derivative 767-4F with modern 787 systems and boxes driving up cost.
Maybe as the 787-8’s falls out of favour for the -9/-10’s it could be a 787-8BCF with derated Engines and lower MTOW.
Am I right in thinking that Recommendation 6 means, “no grandfathering”?
I’ve done a bit more reading. To me it seems to be saying that, when you’ve changed something on the aircraft, you have to consider the impact of that on the whole aircraft and crew, not just the change by itself. Recommendation R6.2 reads, “… The FAA should evaluate the impact of the hazard and its mitigations at the aircraft level, including the impact on the crew and cockpit environment, to determine if additional mitigating design features are required”.
Yes, a full Failure mode effect and cause analysis is trigged as soon as you have changes to systems, specially those with only one external sensor trigging a major aerodynamic surface, surprised it can still be allowed by the FAA.
It is strange the one sided Boeing bashing when the FAA are the ones that certify the aircraft and should have asked the right questions, double checked the analysis results, testing results and followed a logic making sure the aircraft is safe.
Boeing should have recogined the FAA did not have the deep understanding of the aircraft and swallowed what Boeing fed them making it even more important Boeing followed its own routines since the 50’s and not race to certification but followed the logic and footsteps from Sutter, Schairer, Blumenthal, Pennell, Wells, Carlson, Whittington and would add Alan Mulally. Alan might be the right person to get Boeing commercial aircraft right again, like when Sir Stanley Hooker came out of retirement and led RR out of troubles.
Ha, Recommendation 1 is all about grandfathering, rather forcefully so.
They went further than grand fathering and got waivers ( not public notified) for requirements they did need . It seemed to be for cost reasons.
So Grandfathering AND a new category called ‘Spoilt Teenager ‘
So, what does this mean for the 777X?
There must be a ton of certification work done already on that, but presumably that counts for very little if the recommendations of this report are to be embraced wholesale.
For instance, if Recommendation 5 is adopted wholesale and the ODA engineers take a fresh look at something, this time without Boeing’s management breathing down their necks, there’s a chance that they’d find some things about the current design of the 777X that they don’t like. What then? Redesign it? If this happened a lot, the impact on timescale could be devastating.
If this report were to be embraced, it could take ages to implement the recommendations and re-run the programme through the revised process.
777X is a whole new category , previous 777 fully FBW from the beginning so flight control issues can be managed. As well with a new carbon fibre wing can have engine position issues and big fan clearances resolved at beginning of design.
My point is that a lot of certification work has already been done on all that new stuff, but this report is damning the regime under which that work was done. If they change the regime to adopt this report’s recommendations that work will have to redone, and a lot of that new stuff might be judged inadequate. There’s the new electrical system for a start.
Its not saying you have to grandfatehr the grandfather.
Its saying the grandfather in the future has to be looked at and detmeinrtin made.
BY the logic you are staign tghen the A320NEO and the A330NEO shoujld be redone.
Clealry there is a break in whats occured since the early 60s and the FBW (A320, A330, 777).
A Model T does not begin to meet today’s safety standards for crash resistance.
Has enough structural changes been made on impact that the 737 no longer does? (would be one).
I am still reading and checking the synopsis but its a well done and well thought out report that is a good aspect for any mfg.
Don not over jump the issues nor spiral into the sky is falling. Its major food for thought that deserves a lot of discussion and consideration.
If there had been a cutout for this sort of thing Boeing would have replaced the 737 before the NG.
That is where the regulations come in, it levels the playing field and it deals with shareholders and management slight of hand (tough, you have To replace it)
Still to be dealt with is manual trim issues.
Still reading it, but R2.7 makes clear that the trim stabiliser was being using in a fashion that it wasn’t designed for. The word used is “novel”. I think I can agree with that, although I would have preferred a stronger word.
The purpose of this novel use of the trim stabiliser is explained in the opening paragraphs of the report: To address high speed, wind up turns (original purpose) but then to address pitch up tendency at higher AoA at low speed (added later).
In other words, the purpose of the novel use of the trim stabiliser was not to trim the airplane. Equally, the implication of the words used in the opening paragraphs means the issue being addressed is at a lower AoA when at high speed and wind-up, but at higher AoA at lower speed.
The report make clear that Boeing’s use of the trim stabiliser in this fashion needed proper examination. Which means it wasn’t properly examined.
Still reading. I’m on page 33. But so far, the report uses constrained language. Taking that into account means the report is beyond damning. I think by the end it will say everything was done wrong nothing was done right.
No unusual in its self to re-purpose flight control surfaces for new purposes, FBW planes do it for load alleviation and other things and doesnt the 737 Max use its new FBW spoilers as a ‘landing attitude modifier’ ( among normal uses)
1) At flap 15-30 if the thrust is near idle it will slightly raise the flight spoilers to increase drag to increase thrust above idle.
2) At flap 30 or 40, the flight spoilers will raise slightly to reduce lift necessitating a higher AoA and hence nose attitude to give an “acceptable nose gear contact margin”
But of course the key word was ‘FBW’
Then the experts wouldn’t refer to as novel. I’ll go with the experts.
Boeing have repurposed a secondary control system and elevated it to a primary control system because of pitch instability. As the report said, it should have been examined.
Your comments re the spoiler are correct, but the reason is the height of the airplane. Not good. But at least it’s minor.
To add. We can all be creative with control systems. The question is whether the creativity is good or bad.
The trim stabiliser needed to become an all moving stabiliser, very often called a stabilator. It does’nt have to be FBW to achieve that.
It would need all new servo actuators to achieve the necessary precision and speed. Oops the existing stabiliser doesn’t have hydraulics. It’s driven by an electric motor that has the speed of a tortoise. And so on for I could go onto the FCCS computer architecture.
Even better remove the pitch instability by making the necessary aerodynamic changes.
I wouldn’t have used the word “novel”. I think the word “stupid” is more accurate or, in the alternative, “bonkers”.
But the report is using constrained wording.
I’ve mused as to how Boeing might have introduced a stabilator into the MAX. Assuming that the FAA would require a quadruplicated system as they did with the L.1011 Tristar it could be actuated perhaps by 2 x EHA (Electro Hydrostatic Actuators with an addition two 2 EHBA (Electro Hydrostatic Backup Actuators). The EHA are powered by existing AC buses. The EHBA are powered by the same electrical buses plus have backup from the existing hydraulic systems. (EHBA can be powered electrically or hydraulically) A RAT would probably be required and maybe a thermal pyrotechnical battery. Issues of hydraulic and electrical system redundancy and cross connection would have to be looked at. We’re now into a new level of automation, alarming, fault indication for the more evolved electrical and hydraulic system needed to support the stabiliser. Now a new ECAM like alarming system is needed and Boeing avoided that even though MCAS needed it. It’s rather hard to do the MAX safely without an entirely new FBW system similar to the B787.
“Even better remove the pitch instability by making the necessary aerodynamic changes.”
Bjorn is his Steel or Wire Series 12 suggests ventral fins
“One could argue we should find a base aircraft solution to the problem, like an aerodynamic fix. Such a fix would probably look like the ventral fins on the underside of the aft fuselage of a Learjet or on a Boeing 737 Wedgetail.”
I’ve changed my mind with regard to the use of the spoiler for the purposes as described. Needs examining as to why?
Can’t be bothered to guess anymore.
Recommendation 1 & 2 screem GrandFathering Miss used. Specially on interaction and (human) interfaces of seperately certified components and sub systems. As expected.
The 777-9 is the most radically Grandfathered aircraft I know (new wing, engines, fuselage, landing gear, tail and cockpit. And yet to be certified.
The 747-8I/F also had an all new wing and an extended fuselage.
More of a major wing redesign than a new wing as I understand they kept the center and torsion boxes https://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/articles/2010_q3/2/
Advanced technology airfoils for improved overall performance and greater fuel capacity.
Fly-by-wire spoilers and outboard ailerons to save weight.
Double-slotted inboard and single-slotted outboard flaps to improve low-speed performance and noise.
Advanced-technology raked tip to reduce cruise drag.
Aileron droop to reduce noise and provide improved low-speed performance.
Redesigned flap tracks with optimized flap-track fairings to improve low-speed performance and noise.
Redesigned Krueger flaps with gapped configuration to improve low-speed performance.
The wing was slightly larger span too which moved it from Airport Code E ( less than 65m) to Code F ( so they got waivers)
Shades of Trent 10, pretty much all new.
First run of the Trent 1000 ( for the 787) was Feb 2006,and certification was Aug 2007.
A newer version 10 years later updating major components isnt unusual, especially since the Trent XWB came in between. Watch GE do much the same for its GEnx after the GE9X( finally) gets into service.
The CFM56 was still being upgraded from 2011 with significant changes in blade and vane counts for both turbines
Anyone know what force this report will have? Can it be waved off or must the recommendations be implemented?
The only thin they have to implement would be an act of congress (and that seems to be in doubt these days as wel)
Well, if they don’t implement it then the rest of the world has a very good reason to reject future (and maybe current) FAA certifications and ADs. That would destroy Boeing, pretty much.
It’s not even a matter of choice for the rest of the world. Having helped write the report, letting Boeing and the FAA get away with it passes the liability onto the EASA, CAAC, etc.
So either both Boeing and the FAA adopt it, or Boeing are having to get their aircraft certified elsewhere (which will work only so long as Boeing have adopted the report independently from the FAA).
So we might have the amusing spectacle of Boeing lobbyists pressing a distracted and reluctant US Administration to spend more money on the FAA, reversing decades of them doing the opposite.
The charter was not that strong though:
“The charter did not require consensus recommendations; the recommendations provided in this submittal are a compilation of team members’ recommendations.”
This makes it hard to know how strongly the panel as a whole feels about any given recommendation.
The report feels more like a list of things the FAA should look at rather than directives.
Any news to how the rear cargo blown off the test rig a few weeks ago was it short circuit to the S2 switch that started the motors just on the united flight 811 over the Pacific ocean in 1989.
Muilenburg removed as chairman.
Instead of picking out individuals, it would be more helpfull for the flying public to review 2011-2018 aircraft certification and requirement change process. Including congress.
Only the Boeing Board of Directors would choose an ex-GE executive to be the new Chairman.
Boeing is a textbook example of the need for activist investors. Where’s Carl Icahn when you need him?
Just when you thought it could not get any worse someone brings up Carl.
Activist investors are the ones at the root cause of the US major corporations putting share price as the top 5 objectives. -number 6 is cut prices !
So far it has been just Boeing and the FAA in the firing line. And yes the poor implementation of MCAS is a mess of Boeing and the FAA’s making. But no product exists without customers and the airlines also bear some responsibility. They were the ones willing to accept an aircraft with grandfathered safety standards to fly their passengers in. More than willing, pushed for it.
It is interesting to contrast the customers of the KC-46 with the 737 MAX. The airforce insisted on having the KC-46 flight deck updated to that of the 787. The airlines on the other hand told Boeing they would not be willing to pay for a modern cockpit design. Would not even want an improved cockpit at the same cost if it required any crew training.
Looks like the Airforce paid for the new B767-X ie NMA. If they apply the same technology to the 767 that they applied to the 777 to create 777-X it might work. Will they introduce FBW and composite wing.
mulienberg just lost his job as Chair of Board- so as CEO he can ‘ focus” on fixing 737 MAX..
Instead they put an ex GE Engine type as Chairman of Bored of Directionless- elevating him in accordance with peter principle.
I’ve been looking, but, I haven’t seen what determines when a new type certificate is warranted. Can I mount LEAP engine’s on a DC3 and call it a DC3 MAX with just a STC?
Now you are being silly. Of cause you can or is it can’t. If it’s Boeing then you can. It’s called being “novel”.
Philip, I’m serious. What determines when a new type certificate needs to be issued? Does someone at the FAA just make a determination on what seems right to him, or are there some specific requirements detailed out somewhere? I haven’t seen any true specifications. I’m assuming there are some, but, so far, I haven’t even come across vague references. This is what I have found
for an STC…
For complex design modifications, the Aircraft Certification Office may ask that you follow the Original Design Approval Process.
So are the changes to the 737-MAX a “complex design modification” compared to the original 737 classic type certificate?
Who or what determines that?
Would modifying a DC-3 to have jet engines be a “complex design modification?
I know your serious, it’s just the way you explained it. Grandfather in is a very serious issue, but Boeing went further than ignoring grandfather in requirements with the 737 MAX. I’ve always thought it was the case, which is why I haven’t posted much on grandfather in.
The keywords in the report are:
“Holistic, integrated aircraft-level approach”
It didn’t happen. There was tunnel vision that was beyond out of order and beyond out of control, and therefore beyond dangerous.
I’ll write it up later today on this site. But it’s way beyond an issue of grandfathering.
As I said elsewhere, the language of the report is constrained but the more I read it the more assertive it becomes.
Diabolical what happened.
Phil, The ODA reporting chain is one area I really want changed. The FAA Reps need to report to the FAA not Boeing PERIOD. Another is an explanation from Boeing, of why they changed the cut-out switch wiring. Peter Lemme, a very experienced former Boeing engineer has puzzled over this also. And he has much more insight and connections within Boeing that I do. If the pilots had a way to turn MCAS off, as the original stab cutout switches were designed to be able to do, then there’s a good possibility that Boeing would have issued different procedures to deal with an AOA runaway condition, having the pilots able to just switch off the autopilot trim commands without taking away the manual yoke switch commands. As a pilot, I would demand this on any new MCAS. As for how many changes can you make to an original type certificate, I”m still puzzled. Here’s a copy of the 737 type certificate. Originally it had the JT8D engines (see page 1), then on the MAX it has the new LEAP engines, which are double the thrust, on basically the same airframe (see page 64).
Quite a difference. But, on the FAA web site, they just refer to minor changes between the 737-NG and the MAX, not changes between the 737 Classic and the MAX (see the bottom of the page “The Boeing 737 MAX Certification”)
Someone is really trying to sell the MAX as a ‘minor’ change, requiring 5 years for an amended type certificate.
And I’m sure you’re wondering about the DC-3’s type certificate.
Here it is. (grin) ..
I’m still working on the amendment for the LEAP engines for it.
I wonder if Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer followed all these regulation rules. If they did then Boeing should not be exempt. I don’t want misregulated planes fly over my head.
It will take a long time till the MAX can fly again in Canada, EU and China. Then the NGs will likely checked too. If 787 and 777 were misregulated too it will be the end.
From what I hear, Airbus engineers have no problem telling management if there’s a problem with a design. That, fundamentally, is the single requirement on an organisation, to be ruled by the engineers, not the bean counters.
Also recall that Airbus’s entire FBW philosophy is founded on some thorough human factors work done a long time ago, which found that pilots generally are not superhuman, supercapable test pilots, they’re just ordinary joes who’ll get overwhelmed fairly easily. From that flowed the need for lots of redundancy in the flight controls, resulting in full FBW. Basically the goal was, and still is, to keep the aircraft working long enough for the pilots to work out what to do.
Sully remarked on this, saying that being able to trust the alpha protection (even with 2 engines off) meant he could concentrate on what mattered (keeping the wings level) whilst letting the aircraft do the other important part of a ditching; gently flop into the water, and don’t stall.
What was so bad about the Air France crash into the Atlantic was that they had plenty of time, and never focused on the basics.
What’s been so bad about the MAX is that the design, when an AoA failure occurred, gave the pilots next to no time (seconds) to do anything positive about it whilst distracting them with a ton of other extraneous warnings and alarms, and that was coupled by 1) pilots not being told about MCAS, and then 2) poor advice from Boeing to use the manual trim wheels when in fact they’d be unmovable.
Matthew: What’s been so bad about the MAX is that 2) poor advice from Boeing to use the manual trim wheels when in fact they’d be unmovable.
After the LA610 crash Boeing and FAA in the buletin and AD adviced pilots in the wrong direction, using electric trim without mentioning that McAss will kick in after 9 seconds again, ET302 did exactly that. They failed to mention that minimal flaps would deactivate McAss. Now when there are ferry flights during the groundings other regulators ask for flaps flights.
The Air France crash re-enforces that AirBus is on the correct path. Humans are very quickly over whelmed and are especially poor at going from rapidly stepping into a developing emergency and correctly performing co-ordinate actions.
The lessons were:
* Give pilots sufficient time to take over. In this case a synthetic airspeed system as in the new Boeings would have helped a lot. Having synthetic air speed as a backup means if the primary airspeed system is flagged as unreliable the autopilot can remain engaged for some time giving the pilots more time to take over and decide on next steps.
* Cross link the side-sticks to ensure co-ordination between crew
Think the inital A320 FBW was based on the Mirage 2000 FBW system. For its time a good system, but might need a major update like William notes below to be current with the best (like Gulfstream’s):
Thales’s FBW solution consists of two digital Flight Control Computers (FCC) and one Backup Flight Control Unit (BFCU), which make up the core of the G600’s FBW flight control system.
BAE Systems’ Active Control Sidesticks (ACS) are the first active inceptor pilot controls chosen for commercial aircraft – the Gulfstream G500/G600, Bombardier 7000 and 8000, and Embraer KC-390 – giving pilots the situational awareness of tactile cueing, programmable control features, and the confidence of quadruplex redundancy.
Independent of Airbus FBW showing room for improvements: what do you expect to achieve with
elements of a different philosophic approach to aircraft control stuck on a system that does not work that way?
Airbus FBW is afaics a “command” interface.
you _command_ roll and g the plane will follow to its limits.
It has been established to work rather well.
clashes are reported from those that can not disassociate themselves from the canvas and wires approach of early flying hardware.
Oh, Leon, and regarding your last paragraph:
“It will take a long time till the MAX can fly again in Canada, EU and China. Then the NGs will likely checked too. If 787 and 777 were misregulated too it will be the end.”,
I completely agree. This is an existential problem for US airliner manufacturing, and they’re on a knife edge of dropping out of the business. There are politicial, industrial and cultural lessons to be learned from this situation, reinforced if Boeing does collapse.
Bjorne’s “Fly by Steel or Electrical wire” suggests to me that the FCS systems in the Embraer E2 series and A220 series have moved ahead of A320. Even the B787 with its alternate air data system has added important safety feature. Let’s hope that in 20 years Airbus progressed.
The “synthetic airdate system” could well be a solution that EASA does not accept inside its own decision horizon.
One could view the merging of physical airdata sensors with GPS information as more dangerous and another aspect of shaving safety margins down to microns.
I disagree. EASA has had to confront a few situations where 3 sensors was not enough. For example the cases where 2 AOA vanes were frozen overriding the third correct one or AF447 where multiple pitot tubes iced over.
The “synthetic airdate system” has the potential to provide additional inputs in cases of sensor disagreement resulting in better decision by the systems.
you mix air centric data with geoid centric data.
Then you would need a proper Kalman filter to merge and evaluate data as to error “strength”.
This is nice on paper. but it also adds more components
in the failures path.
The strange ADIRU errors that an A330 experienced shew something of the problems.
IMU the difference between Boeing and Airbus is the unending effort spent ( by Boeing aligned interests ) on pushing errors onto the manufacturer for Airbus and onto the pilots for Boeing products.
You see similar protective folk lore to the advantage of GE. Seems to be linked to American “Alternate truth” culture?
You can bet that the FAA pressured for meeting regulations and then some when handling foreign competition. Some nice stories in the
big “A380 book” covering FAA overreach.
Winston Churchill once said:
“Americans will always do the right thing, only after they have tried everything else.”
Come on guys, speed it up a bit.
I agree a re-engined 767-300/400 and a 787-9/10ER to put the wind up Airbus with regard to widebodies.
But a NSA, now. I see no other choice, given this report.
Anyway to the report. Damning all the way through. Basically, engineering changes were not checked as consistent with engineering principles, in particular with regard to safety.
I’m not sure that a re-engined 767 would frighten Airbus. A 787ER might them more interested, but there’s a lot they can do with the A350; length, MTOW, etc.
But a new single aisle is more interesting. If the MAX is binned, it would be very expensive to do the NSA (all those cancelled orders), and it would take at few years at least. However if they manage it then there’d be a new Boeing small aircraft, probably very competitive, going up against the A320neo and probably beating it (possibly it’s carbon fibre, updated aerodynamics, etc).
Airbus have a lot of orders for the A320neo, and suddenly their customers would likely prefer the Boeing.
So, if Boeing do start an NSA, Airbus will have to as well, and that’s not in their current game plan.
The balance is still all Airbus though – they’ve not blown billions on a grounded aircraft, Boeing have.
Boeing must climb out of their hole. No point in sitting in it.
Your words with regard to the report and the 737 MAX are the relevant words. Outside regulators have damned the 737 MAX by writing the report. If they let the 737 MAX fly without hardware changes, they will be acting contrary to their own report.
Boeing have two options. Do hardware changes on the 737 MAX or a new NSA. Perhaps both.
This is not an easy hole to climb out of, despite Boeing’s statements that software alone will work.
My take on Boeing dropping in NSA and going with MAX was they ignored the publicity factor of a new aircraft.
Old aircraft don’t get headlines, new ones do.
In that case they still have a capable NG though.
Now they have no product they can deliver (and have to see what the AHJs say) – NSA is at least 5 years off.
Theoretically they could go back to NG as they are making a few still. Be a huge disruption.
Boeing certainly put themselves deep in a hole on single aisle.
Oddly Airbus could not take advantage of it as ramp up for the A320NEO is still having issue and the A220 supply chain is still working its way up.
Transworld, your last para touches on something that I’ve never understood about the decision Boeing took to go with the MAX instead of doing an NSA, back in 2012. They had a big opportunity then, but didn’t take it. Surely that’s a mighty big failure of corporate imagination to have not grasped the opportunities offered by a new aircraft?
Boeing might very well have to go back to the NG, and airlines may be forced into accepting them, and may indeed be grateful to have something, anything they can fly. With the entire Boeing-borne half of the short haul aviation market being in the same situation, it might even be nearly market neutral. It’s not like there’s going to be tons of spare seats on Airbuses all of a sudden; some people are going to have to go by Boeing. The financial pain would be immense though.
The reason Boeing did the MAX is very simple. Large 737NG customers told them “If you do a MAX with no changes in training requirements we will buy it without even looking at Airbus. But if you do a NSA it will need to win against the A32x family.”
Boeing’s plan was do the MAX, then do the NMM and figure out a new production system with a step change in cost, then do the NSA with that technology. This would have let them ramp the NSA quickly because the new proaction system was figured out.
It was actually not a bad plan but for two things:
* they let Airbus get the C-Series
* they messed up MCAS.
They should have bought the A220 for say a billion. And MCAS well they should have done a better job.
In that world they would have now have dropped the 737MAX-7, be pushing the B-300/100, be offering a NMM and in 5 years be offering a NSA based on NMM technology.
There is no going back to the NG, it’s a step backwards and it seems the MAX is nearing its completion. Boeing has had plenty of time to right the wrong and making judgements before the finished product is done is just blue sky talk.
Boeing didn’t want to spend money until they were forced to by American Airlines buying Airbuses. Then, they had to scramble. They brought this on themselves. They were short term oriented thinking in a long term oriented industry. They are managed by financial folks rather than industrial folks. Spreadsheet management is what I call it. They only want to improve the numbers on the spreadsheet with no knowledge of what goes into creating those numbers. In Chess they’d be only thinking one move ahead. A friend of my refers to this as having the scorekeeper coach the team. He’s focused totally on the score with no knowledge of the game or the players. Boeing’s board doesn’t have any pilots or engineers, that I know of. They are money folks, CEO’s, and politicians. It’s no wonder they have trouble making the tough decisions on engineering problems.
This is Boeing’s board of directors view of the world
Broken down into ‘spreadsheet’ like tabs. All in nice boxes. “corporate governance” / “employment data” (to show politicians) / “state impact” (again to show politicians) / “global impact” (again to show politicians) / “airplane orders and deliveries” (to show investors) .. nothing about making their airplane line and engineering. That’s all been outsourced. At the 100,000 foot level in the boardroom they probably have never even set foot in a simulator, never mind a real plane. A real change from the days of Bill Boeing and Fred Rentschler, when aircraft companies were run by pilots and engineers. It’s no wonder they can’t make good decisions on aircraft designs. They don’t know how. They only know how to influence Washington politicians and Wall Street bankers. How to make a good airplane, they have outsourced from the board room.
Boeing is totally unprepared for an NSA right now, both financially (FCF) and personnel-wise. I have very little confidence in K. Hadi/M. Sinnet and their cronies being able to produce a competitive single-aisle design. The engine companies also don’t have anything ready that is close to what would be needed for an NSA, and their best 2030 technology projection will lead to a new airplane with only marginally improved fuel burn vs. the MAX/NEO.
As much as a good NSA would make sense right now for Boeing, its not a feasible strategy in short or medium term. The lost decade of responding to an insignificant market with infeasible twin-aisle designs (NLT/MOM/NMA) has wasted precious time and R&D resources that Boeing should have invested in seriously studying and improving the NSA concepts. Chickens have come home to roost now: Boeing product strategy is in an increasingly unsustainable situation, with no easy way out.
Not to mention that AirBus can develop a new carbon wing for the A320 optimized for the larger and longer range variants. Then green light the A220-500 to address the lower end of the market. The Boeing NSA needs to cover the smaller size because the E195 has no growth potential.
jbeeko, when you put it like that it really shows what a position of strength Airbus are in, and how perilous Boeing’s position is.
Airbus acquiring the C Series programme for €1 is looking more and more like the best deal ever. And to think that Boeing had a prior opportunity to snap it up.
We’re passing through a tumultuous period in aviation history, and with the Chinese possibly entering the single aisle market I can’t see it getting quiet anytime soon.
Both Boeing and Airbus declined the original Cseries offer, so it looked like it was heading to Comac. Then Trudeau stepped in and Bombardier made a different JV offer that Airbus liked.
Also, working not in favor of a new NSA from Boeing is the B737 MAX marketing success: Essentially, they have approximately $200 – 250 Billion dollars in undelivered MAX sales. It would be close to unheard of a company walking away from that much revenue. But after the MCAS fix, it could be a workable piece of equipment for the airlines.
As time goes on, it becomes more and more clear that the constant modifications of the 737 was a big con beginning with the Ng. Airbus 320 neo was a better, safer, more fuel efficient aircraft. Boeing did a hell of a pr and marketing job — it’s still doing it. I guess this is the lesson of Naomi Klein in her book, No Logo. Companies began spending all of their resources on marketing the brand as the product itself dwindled in significance.
Who cares about revenue if they can’t earn a cent from it. They just produced 300 planes for a parking lot, planes which will never fly. If Muilenburg was honest when he said that the MAX was designed the same way they designed other safe planes much more will come. Boeing can’t hide behind FAA anymore, that plane has crashed. Independent regulators will sort this out, nobody wants misregulated planes flying over their heads. The MAX won’t fly in Canada, EU and China next year. I wonder about the fines the bean counters will have to pay for each flight with 911 death planes.
If all those sitting 737MAXes aren’t delivered, the country will follow Boeing into recession. From what has been stated the plane should do the job safely now. Have to find Klein’s book on branding. Makes sense to me.
Sam, you didn’t read the report. It’s interesting to read. If you would have read it you would know that so much is wrong, like nearly everything is wrong. You would have the impression that Boeing knows nothing. If you are a regulator and responsible for safe flights in your country you would not stop with the MAX. Because you think Boeing is stupid you would check the 787 certification too and I’m sure you will find something and ground all 787 too.
There are rules and if you don’t follow these rules and people die it’s slaughter and you will burn for this. You will see.
The classification “minor” means safe and reliable, that’s not the case for the MAX. Independent regulators will check this. It will take a long time, last month Boeing was still hiding. The longer it takes the more comes to light the more people know about Boeing.
EASA will make test flights and they will check everything. If something doesn’t follow the rules and Boeing was cheating and hiding there will be no excuse.
Having looked at the news overnight, I still believe Boeing’s board lives in a world of it’s own. Yes, Mulienberg is no longer chairman. But have the board read the report.
There is a good cameo of the problem that still exists today. Apparently 787 slats are freezing in cold weather. Boeing used the word hypothetical in a press release. The FAA have issued an AD, effective immediately, based on five reports that the slats have frozen. So which is right, hypothetical or actual. Clearly the FAA think it’s actual.
That is a typical AD on an issue there is no certain cure or.
Slush freezes, simple as that.
Airfcraft affected obviously noted the slats were not going to the commanded positions.
De-ice and frozen water materials on wings and surfaces has been an ongoing battle since the first winter flight.
Wings don’t fly without de-ice and its been a battle to figure out de-ice, anti ice (not the same) and holdover times before treatment is needed again.
Applies to all aircraft.
Caravan is notorious for picky on ice. ATR had a built in ice issue that took a crash to correct (737 into the Potomac to make them deal with hold over times)
I worked de-ice supply systems for 15 years and its something of a nightmare trying to maintain the delta F needed just for that let alone the hold over anti ice. And pilots are responsible for it workign or not with no instrumentation.
DC-9 wings would freeze up the de-ice and took a special handling protocol.
I believe that went on over into the MD variants as well. Fuel tanks would cold soak at altitude and de-ice done for ambient and the wings were still at -40.
I think the issue is not so much that they freeze up, but rather that they will freeze up and not deploy to the command position without a cockpit warning.
Hence the sensor and actuator changes.
With a subtlety on the MD-80 IIRC of an area of the inboard wing that was prone to icing which could shed into the engines.
Something in that accident report about an automatic system messing up what the pilots were trying to do (IIRC a computer pushed engine thrust back up when modest thrust was needed to keep engines pushing without breaking).
And note the first DC9s and CRJs did not have LE flaps, which made them more sensitive to over-rotation and – I speculate – icing.
Now there’s an airplane that morphed a long ways:
– original simple small regional jetliner, in effect
– improved DC9-30
– bigger DC9-50
– MD-80 with higher bypass ratio engines (JT8D-200 series)
– later MD-8somethings with different brand of engine
Some trickiness, recall Douglas almost lost one in flight test, crew managed to thump it onto a runway, IIRC tail broke in that landing.
Check out Michelle Kobke in the UKs daily mirror. Someone’s taking the mick,or perhaps Boeings new media strategy.
I want the whole plane recertified. Given the FAA granted exception to its own regulation about cockpit environment (warnings, displays, etc) I just wonder how can a new plane be certified in the 21. century not meeting 21. century standards.
And I want that every authority reassess grandfathering. I have no clue how this is handled in Europe, but I want everyone to reconsider and review their procedures.
I thought this was most interesting quote from the report.
“However, because the information and discussions about MCAS were so fragmented and were delivered to disconnected groups within the process, it was difficult to recognise the impacts and implications of this system,”
Spot on, all that shuffling and moving people here and there for whatever reasons.
At one time it was well stated that you wante3d all the people involved from build to engineer on the same site.
Many of the accounts read just that the test pilots did not know what they had so did not know or campaign for different testing (though that should have been built into the process)
I also see indications that all the add on they do with automation needs a foundation of commonality and approval not just we can do it.
At some level – yes, but there where responsable single persons or single committees for deciding single changes, then implementing, then testing, then oversight, then report. All those peoples made every each step by deciding (gathering information & thinking with common sense and technical knowledge) and failed deadly.
I’m against to let them get out of it and water down theirs responsability. This quote proves how disfunctional Boeing is organized from top with no redundancy in design process.
Richard, this is my take on the 737 MAX now that the report has been published. The keywords to me are:
“Holistic, integrated aircraft-level approach”
Starting from the beginning. I now believe that wind tunnel tests showed a pitch up tendency in nose up high speed turns. So the tendency to pitch up was known before the 737 MAX was built.
Boeing decided to develop MCAS to address the pitch up tendency making clear they were doing it so that pilots could fly the 737 MAX as if it was a 737 NG. In other words, MCAS was just a conveniencertain for pilots.
Boeing then designated MCAS as “minor” as defined by the FHA (Functional Hazard Assessment). In doing so, Boeing removed all safety regulations as stipulated by the FAA. See page 17 of the report.
By inference, Boeing also designating the pitch up tendency as “minor”. That in turn meant there was no need for a holistic, integrated aircraft-level approach to the issue of pitch up tendency. Issues designated as “minor” are no more than an inconvenience for pilots if they occur.
But let’s turn it round for the purpose of discussion. Let’s say the pitch up tendency was “major”, thereby triggering all FAA safety regulations. Boeing would have two options eradicate the pitch up tendency by making aerodynamic changes or control it using software with end-to-end fail-safe redundancy.
My preference is the first option. Therefore raise the airplane and lower the engine to remove the forward lift generated by the nacelle. Or, increase the size of the stabiliser to dampen the pitch up tendency. Both would require the elevators to be resized to work in all parts of the certified envelope.
I don’t like the second option, but let’s examine it. It would need for end-to-end fail-safe redundancy:
1) Upgraded CPUs for each FCC. Specifically, two upgraded CPUs per FCC, running active/active (symmetric muilt-proccessing) with each FCC linked for dual channel processing.
2) Dual channel sensors linked to the dual channel FCCs.
3) Full error logic to isolate sensor failures as well as other failures and act accordingly.
This then comes to control services:
4a) Resize the elevators to work in all parts of the certified envelope.
4b) Turn the stabiliser into an all moving stabiliser. This would require hydraulic servo actuators to be introduced.
So whichever option is chosen, eradicate or control, the cost of this word “major” is huge. In other words, there are significant savings in calling issues/problems “minor”.
But then we come to pouring oil on hot coals.
Flight tests clearly showed the pitch up tendency was worse than wind tunnel tests showed. How do we know? Boeing increased the numbers by a factor of four. Specifically, the first MCAS1.0 used a standard stabiliser deflection of 0.6° with accumulative increments of 0.6° at 5 second intervals. These became a standard stabiliser deflection of 2.5° with accumulative increments of 2.5° at 5 second intervals.
MCAS2.0 will rollback the numbers to less than 2.5°. But that poses a question? Why weren’t progressively larger increments tested to find the optimum number. So why wasn’t 0.8° flight tested. If insufficient, why wasn’t 1.0° flight tested. If insufficient, 1.2° flight tested. And so on. Why go straight to 2.5°?
But returning to “minor” versus major. By designating MCAS and therefore the pitch up tendency as “minor”, they were able to circumvent FAA safety regulations removing the need for a holistic, integrated aircraft-level approach. In doing so, they made significant savings in development costs.
What next? Boeing will need to convince the regulators of the following:
1) The pitch up tendency is “minor” and therefore just an inconvenience to pilots.
2) Flight deck meltdown caused by cascade failure of the FCC, in turn caused by sensor failure, is also “minor” and therefore just an inconvenience to pilots.
3) Runaway trim stabiliser requiring the YO YO maneuver is also “minor” and just an inconvenience to pilots.
4) Elevators not working in all parts of the certified envelope is also “minor” and therefore just an inconvenience to pilots.
Remember this word “minor” means no more than an inconvenience.
If Boeing fail to do the above then the word “major” applies. This triggers all FAA safety regulations.
But, can I make clear, FAA safety regulations do exist and they are world class. Boeing appear to have got round the safety regulations by describing problems as “minor”.
Let’s see if Boeing were right to do so. The report means the regulators will independently verify Boeing’s assessment of the word “minor”.
Too late for 346 people.
Addressing grandfathering. Doesn’t really matter. Boeing can still designate something as “minor”.
I’ve had enough of trying to work out the gibberish coming from Boeing. Clearly those who wrote the report didn’t believe the gibberish. Nobody else should. I don’t want Boeing to fail. But I do want to kick them.
Philip, If in testing the 737-MAX without MCAS turned on, it is found that MCAS is a needed component in order to pass flight certification, then MCAS has to be properly certified for full FBW redundancy etc. Along with the FCC that controls MCAS. If that’s the case, and I think it is, Boeing is going to have to rebuild the entire FCC hardware and software. They’ve done it on other aircraft, so it’s not earth shaking hard, but, it’s going to take a lot of engineering time and effort to get correct and pass FAA and EASA certification reviews. I hope this is the road they are on. If not, they have a lot of engineering ahead of them. If they are hoping they can get a pass without doing it properly, I think they are doomed to failure.
That’s it Richard. If MCAS is needed to have a linear flight behaviour which is mandatory in regulations, then MCAS is needed same as the wings are needed. But Boeing designed MCAS as if it’s not needed, only a convenience for pilots like Philip described it, as if wings are only a convenience for pilots too and not needed, only “minor”.
The ODA FAA representatives, currently (Boeing paid, Boeing managed, Boeing selected, reporting to Boeing),
needs to be changed to (Boeing paid, FAA managed, FAA selected, reporting to FAA).
Below are excerpts from the IATR report.
(BASOO is the Boeing Aviation Safety Oversight Office or the FAA folks specializing in Boeing planes.)
The BASOO delegated a high percentage of approvals and findings of compliance to the Boeing
ODA for the B737 MAX program. With adequate FAA engagement and oversight, the extent of
delegation does not in itself compromise safety. However, in the B737 MAX program
, the FAA had inadequate awareness of the MCAS function which, coupled with limited involvement,
resulted in an inability of the FAA to provide an independent assessment of the adequacy of the
Boeing proposed certification activities associated with MCAS.
In addition, signs were reported of undue pressures on Boeing ODA engineering unit members
(E-UMs) performing certification activities on the B737 MAX program, which further erodes
the level of assurance in this system of delegation.
Based on the JATR team’s observations and findings related to FAA’s oversight by the Boeing
Aviation Safety Oversight Office (BASOO), JATR team members recommend that the FAA
conduct a workforce review of the BASOO engineer staffing level to ensure there is a
sufficient number of experienced specialists to adequately perform certification and oversight
duties, commensurate with the extent of work being performed by Boeing.
The workforce levels should be such that decisions to retain responsibility for finding compliance are not
constrained by a lack of experienced engineers.
The FAA should review the Boeing Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) work
environment and ODA manual to ensure the Boeing ODA engineering unit members (E-UMs)
are working without any undue pressure when they are making decisions on behalf of the
FAA. This review should include ensuring the E-UMs have open lines of communication to
FAA certification engineers without fear of punitive action or process violation.
I say forget the review, change the reporting lines of authority from Boeing to the FAA for the FAA designated Representatives. Who do they work for? Boeing or the FAA?
Reviewing lines of communication, adding IBM DOORS software or changes in manuals aren’t whats needed. Reporting lines of authority are.
Back in 2011 the DOT inspector generals office also issued a good report on FAA lacking oversight over ODA program and inspectors. This has been going on for quite some time.
Now… we are starting to see the cracks at the top. The different reports from experts do add up to the typical pressure to roll heads. Testimony to Congress will be another key events.
If we see more key guys, such as Kevin go soon then we know the end of the year return will be in jeapordy.
I still believe the MAX will make it. Godspeed. After all the scrutiny, i still trust BA does the right thing.
Boy, some program managerS must be wrangling their Hands around The 777x or the 321 XXXXL timelines/certifications. Who knows what will happen to all that grandfathering 🙂
Forget the chinese and russian planes. What cert.? No trust. Even at 33% of the AB BA prices.
One aspect of this is I don’t trust Boeing to do the right “thing”
That is what AHJ and regulations are for.
You HAVE to do the right hing or you don’t get certification’s.
Maconda is an example of believing an organization will do the right thing and finding out that it never does.
Human beings have spent millions of years leaning to pull the wool over the other guys ey7es (and it still works, so much for evoltui9onh)
Ithcy Scratchy needs to put stick between two rocks and then Ungh (our biggest tribesman) needs to stand on it, I will belie the shaft is solid.
Scott, too many garbage commenters in this thread. Conspiracy theories and just plain ignorance, collectivist bashing, and negative fantasizing.
A disincentive to even read it let alone comment.
Garbage commenters are groupies with false self-esteem, they get their self-worth from the collective, thus have to denigrate other collectives, not from living life the best they could, not from content of character.