Minimum 3-6 month 737 MAX production shutdown seen

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 17, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing announced yesterday a suspension in production of the 737 MAX line. It didn’t put a timetable to the shutdown.

But one aerospace analyst predicts the shutdown will be a minimum of three to six months.

The reason? Boeing listed as its new priority, after recertifying the airplane, as clearing out the inventory of 400 stored new-production aircraft.

  • LNA was the first outlet to raise the prospect that Boeing was nearing a decision point on whether to reduce or suspend production. The post has two graphics: one shows where the MAXes are stored and the other shows deliveries vs production.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey made the prediction in a note issued after Boeing’s after-market announcement yesterday.

Huge ramifications

The ramifications of a lengthy shutdown are huge—to Boeing and to a supply chain that at this writing still has no word from Boeing what they will need to do or how they may be protected by Boeing during the production halt.

There are more questions than answers in the wake of Boeing’s decision.

Boeing announced the decision late Monday. It said it won’t furlough employees at the 737 production plant “at this time.”

But little is known about the impact on the supply chain.

JP Morgan wrote that it expects Boeing to continue supporting the supply chain. But there has been no word publicly from Boeing. The Puget Sound Business Journal reported the suppliers it contacted after the announcement hadn’t heard anything from Boeing.

Spirit Aerosystems makes the 737 fuselages. It had no update for its employees late Monday, but was planning to meet with its unions Tuesday morning to explain its plans. Its initial communication with employees was an offer to extend holiday vacations for those who want to take it.

LNA is told that as of this morning, Spirit has no word from Boeing. Spirit has 90 fuselages in storage.

Other suppliers contact also have no word from Boeing, LNA is told.

This is a continuing developing story.



383 Comments on “Minimum 3-6 month 737 MAX production shutdown seen

  1. “But one aerospace analyst predicts the shutdown will be a minimum of three to six months”

    I think this is an overly pessimistic prediction. My guess is that restart and ramp-up of the production line will be concurrent with the ‘completion’ and recertification of the stored aircraft.

    Production line workers do not require the same skills as flight line employees, generally speaking, which is why Boeing has been out hiring flight line qualified technicians – recent retirees, probably.

    • Completion and recertification May very well take 3-6 months. Especially beyond FAA.

      • I am looking 3-4.

        I would not be surprised at 6 but I think most of the work is done or in process.

        Big question is do they address the manual trim or not?

        • I think they would not risk disruption in supply chain if there were only 3 months or so. Halting production itself is not a problem, storage is not a problem. They could produce MAXs at lower or even at same rate for 3 months. So I suspect they are bracing something bigger.

          • Halting production is a problem

            Resuming production is a problem

            Storage is a problem

            Getting the accumulated/stored ones delivered is a problem

            Airlines ability to absorb aircraft is a problem.

            What part of a problem is not understood here other than a bent to saying they will never resume? Which you should just say.

          • @TransWorld

            What I was ment that real problem, real reason is not a storage or halting production etc. That’s are only drawbacks for me, some more serious then other, but not a real problem.

            The real problem are only underlying causes of lingering grounding of MAX which are needed to be addressed properly – about which Boeing is not talking (=is not doing anything apart MCAS fixing) – that’s why I wrote they are bracing for something bigger.

          • Again there is a huge logistical issue in delivery of what they have made.

            Thge delivery itself is a complex process of proving flights, custyomer flights, all the leagiite of payment in order and signed off. You can add in customers wanting certain process that is not the same from customer to customer.

            Each customer is different, so you have a staff and facilitates (two only) that his occurs at.

            Just delivering the backglog let alone more each month is a bottleneck. Its not someithng you can hire poeple to do, its a traing period for boht the genral process and each cusotmers MO. When they pick up an aircraft its a big deal and they want to be treated that way.

            So you have two faclites setup to deliver and a limited number of peole on Beoing side qualied to do so.

            Then you have the ability of an airline to integrate only so many new aircraft at a time into their fleet.

            That has been set and is stacking up but the ability to absorb and deal with is still fixed.

            And the more you store the more you have to maintain and be ready to bring out of storage to 100% capable for delivery, that is unheard of.

            As that is not part of the process you have to find people to maintain them and get them ready to go fully checked out.

            At some point it cams over and you have to stop production until you have caught up and its not going to be each with the numbers stored (or on site with airlines who have taken delivery and feeding into their operation) so it is fully explainable without any mysterious issues.

            There is a lack of understanding of logistics. You don’t just fire up an App and its a done deal, real work and major time is involved and that is repeated 400 x now.

        • Totally agree. If EASA stick to their guns and require the manual trim forces to be addressed, then even a 12 month halt it wildly optimistic.

          • @Transworld:
            NG doesn’t use the trim in the same way as MAX uses, so, the standard “runaway trim” case would cover it.

            The distinction between a runaway trim and MCAS kick in is very simple: in runaway trim, you have a trim motor that runs non-stop at constant speed. It’s a lot easier to diagnose such a case than 3 degrees trim, 10 second stop, 3 more degrees of trim, again 10 seconds of stop. The plane is expected to do exactly this, during a take off climb. But, it should be 1 degree up, 2 degrees down (or vice versa) etc. to compensate for the change in air density, speed and altitude. NG and MAX are different planes and they should be threated so.

    • It is just idle speculation by a wall street analyst who is not privy to any insider information. In other words it is worthless.

      • But that is what analysts get paid for, predict things they are wrong about.

        Its an interesting racket, wrong 9 out of 10 times and you still get paid. Just insert fortune teller here and you have it spot on.

        I was in the wrong business. I had to get things right.

        Never was able to talk a piece of equipment into workign when it had a problem. I actually had to assess the problem (correctly) , then fix it before it would work or I was out on my keister.

  2. The only question is:

    Are we looking at the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning for Boeing?

    It all depends on the scope of hardware modifications which SHALL be required, and the related recertifications. It seems clear B is bracing for this, retaining labor AND ramping up hiring of mechanics AND focusing on delivering built hulls.

    Only surprise is they kept the dividend going. Given the expected hit on the price, I would have thought a bold management wo7ld have swallowed that pill now. Wait, what am I saying! Bold management?!

    • “”Are we looking at the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning for Boeing?””

      That depends if Boeing can be competitive without cheating in the future.

      They were not competitive with cheating.

      • Boeing did not cheat. They violated, multiple ways and levels.

        787 wing lightening protection is a violation.

          • Cheating is not a legal nor a technical term, its what people do at Monopoly in a game.

            Violations are what gets you fined and taken to court. They have monetary concsequ3s, and can have penalties to include jail time.

            Husbands and wives cheat on each other all the time but there is no legality that says they can’t nor jail time.

          • TW,

            we can also talk in my mother language if your understanding is so limetted.

            Sometimes TW is reminding me of Bobby Kopas.

  3. I accept that Boeing are telling the supply chain and analysts that it’s all about drawing down the inventory. So Boeing do expect certification in Q1 2020.

    But whilst Boeing are of the view it’s all done and dusted, international regulators appear to have the view that it’s not even started.

    We were told EASA would conduct it’s own flights in October, then December. Now when? Indeed will Boeing let EASA do it or will Boeing cite reciprocal arrangements that make clear that only the FAA need to certify the MAX, EASA and others must follow. EASA and others don’t have to follow, but reciprocal arrangements would break down.

    Inventory drawdown does suggest at least 3 months and 6 months isn’t far off the mark. But when does the drawdown start? The FAA has said Boeing can’t certify a MAX. So no MAX can be delivered with FAA approval.

    • “So Boeing do expect certification in Q1 2020.”

      They’ve been expecting many different RTS dates. They’ve all been wrong so far. Eventually they’ll get one right.

    • “”Indeed will Boeing let EASA do it or will Boeing cite reciprocal arrangements that make clear that only the FAA need to certify the MAX, EASA and others must follow. EASA and others don’t have to follow, but reciprocal arrangements would break down.””

      The FAA has the chance now to act as a real regulator, Dickson is doing that now. If EASA can’t flight test itself you have to assume that the MAX would not pass the test. US can then let the MAX fly on domestic routes.

      Beside that EASA could flight test a MAX from Lion Air or Ethiopean.

      Everybody knows that something is wrong, only needed is to prove it, otherwise production wouldn’t have halted. Boeing lost the poker game.

      • Its far too soon to say what Dickson is or is not.

        He waffled completely on the 787 lightening protection.

        Jury is out.

      • EASA can do anytyi8ng they want in regards to flight test of a MAX.

        They have chosen not to.

        Plenty parked in Europe, pure nonsense they have to get Indonesia or Ethiopian.

        They have looked at the data. The only two areas of issue are the MCAS 2.0 and the manual trim.

        If they refuse on manual trim then they will have to explain the 5000 NG plus others that have the same system and are allowed to fly.

        EASA is as political as FAA

        • It’s quite nonsense.

          EASA can’t take a private aircraft for a test ride. Testing is a dangerous exercise and stressing airframe. You can’t install additional sensors or any other way ingerate in aircraft.

          MAX are grounded so there is no present danger that would justify such crazy move.

          Boeing is feel free any 365 days a year to deliver ready to go MAX for testing. It just choosed not to. So EASA is patiently waiting.

          There is a procedure called certification, it has to be followed to be valid.

          So, not political thing. Just common sense and procedure.

        • Err no, EASA is being constrained by politics, they are unwilling to rock the boat too far and are hoping that Boeing will address matters to their satisfaction without doing so.

          • Pile of BULL

            EASA can ask for an aircraft from anyone.

            EASA ha seen the data from the MAX and BEFORE the MCAS was installed.

            They can repeat that test if they so choose.

            They will repeat those tests at some point.

            So they can request and any airline that has a MAX will comply

            And not it does not stress the air-frame. Its a standard test for sale of the aircraft.

            It just does not fit into the conspiracy so the waffling begins.

          • I don’t think EASA are being constrained by politics.

            I think EASA want to work closely with the FAA to ensure that a safe MAX gets un-grounded, and that the regulators are seen to be co-operating.

            I think Patrick Ky is helping Steve Dickson resist pressure. Together they are stronger. I suspect everything the FAA is seeing is being run past EASA.

            If the FAA is not allowed to do it’s job, and political or commercial pressure forces their hand, I think you’ll quickly see EASA step away from the FAA, and declare that they will certify the MAX themselves if it’s to fly over Europe.

          • JakDak, I agree, it’s in everyone’s best interest to cooperate, so I think both FAA and EASA are keen on that. So Boeing may feel they have two or more masters right now, but there is really no other way out of this with an intact international system.

            Should be an indelible lesson for Boeing to seek permission up front rather than forgiveness later.

          • “”I think Patrick Ky is helping Steve Dickson resist pressure. Together they are stronger. I suspect everything the FAA is seeing is being run past EASA.””

            Exactly JakDak,

            EASA is supporting FAA to stand the pressure. FAA can point to EASA. That’s why EASA is in control and Boeing stopped production.
            The rest of the world is watching EASA and EASA is also supporting Ethiopian investigators.

        • EASA needs to do NOTHING.

          Boeing wants to get a certification, so they have to provide everything which is needed. At this time the software audit might still be missing. Boeing NEVER provided a software audit before, makes me think what kind of amateur Boeing is.

          The trim wheel was changed, it became smaller. This is an event which regulators must not accept. Especially when the Boeing clowns assured that the trim wheel could be used and is working in every case. If I were a regulator and Boeing would do that to me, I would fine the LIAR millions. People died because of Boeing’s stupidity and providing wrong information. This will surely be a point in court.

          Same as Boeing touched the stab/elevator and made it stronger obiously because of increased forces. Regulators should check the whole system. You can’t change parts without a new certification. It shows how reckless Boeing is doing business. Thank God EASA stripped Boeing’s certification business.

          That’s why EVERYTHING Boeing did needs to be checked now.

          • I believe the trim wheel got changed on the NG.

            Regardless the size is not enough to be an issue of it working or not working.

            Yes manual trim is an issue, its an issue for 5000 plus air craft and aircraft mad in Europe.

            It should have been addressed 8000 hulls ago.

            Now what?

            Cherry pick the MAX while its still in issue for all those other aircraft?

            Instead of bleating, what is your answer?

            If the MAX can’t fly, then any aircraft with the same system can’t fly.

          • haha my God,
            the trim wheels were meant to be used only for fine tuning, not for changing degrees.
            But the Boeing clowns suddenly said, hey, no problem, switch the electric motor off and use the manual trim.
            GONG SHOW haha

            You know, the real clowns are crying every day. Boeing clowns will do that too when they are behind bars.

          • Leon, actually I believe the trim wheels have a greater range of stabilizer control than the automatic systems. So it’s not true that they were intended only for small adjustments. They wee intended as a full backup for he automatic systems.

          • Leoan:

            YOu have a fundamnetal misudnestaind of the 737 and its systems.

            The manual trim is a requirement as its the (supposedly) safe reversion for backup if there is a problem anywhere in the motor trim system and its associated bits and pieces.

            The 737 was certified with a couple of computers but still can be flown without any computers (in fact a FBW aircraft cannot, one has to be working or its virtually unmanageable in level flight and close to impossible to land)

            Runaway trim in fact requires turning the stab off and using the manual trim.

            You are also incorrect about degrees. In fact the stab only moves a few degrees.

            The manual trim moves a lot but the stab move little in response.

            As the manual trim is geared the gearing is high so they can move the stab (in most conditions)

            Its really good to understand the basics involved as it then allows an understanding of the in depth issues and then not posting wrong basics.

          • Were the manual trim wheels on the 737-200 used on every flight?
            Was this often use also a reason why there are scales with x.xx degrees?
            Was the rollercoaster introduced later?
            Were manual trim wheels very seldom used because of introduction of other systems later?
            Did the rollercoaster disappeared from manuals later because it wasn’t needed anymore?
            Why was the rollercoaster not introduced again if trim wheels can’t be moved now?

            What needs to be checked is the usage of the manual trim wheels of the 737-100 and -200. Then the time when the rollercoaster was introduced. Then how the forces increased during the evolution of the 737 and all certification steps the trim wheels took.

          • Leon, the roller-coaster method was only ever needed in the situation where you had high-speed/high-loading of the stabilizer, but no electric trim available to correct it.

            That was always a rare situation, and became even rarer as training and other safety measures and procedures became more developed.

            The trim wheel forces became a factor in the Ethiopian flight because the airspeed got out of control, and pilots followed the Boeing checklist without correcting stabilizer with electric trim before using the cutout.

            Then when they could not move the wheels due to overspeed, they turned electric trim back on, but still did not use it effectively to counter MCAS. We don’t know why they did that because we don’t have the final report.

          • “”Then when they could not move the wheels due to overspeed, they turned electric trim back on, but still did not use it effectively to counter MCAS. We don’t know why they did that because we don’t have the final report.””

            ET302 knew little bit about MCAS and ET had one of the only few (4?) simulators worldwide. Stupid to think that ET302 pilots didn’t use sim training. But as we know now, even the sim wasn’t working correct because Boeing was lazy and rushed things with undue pressures.

            So ET302 had problems. FO tried to use the manual trim wheel like he might have done in the sim training which solved the problem, but now in flight the wheel wasn’t moving.

            Then there was the crimial Boeing Buletin, it was two pages long. You have to imagine that pilots needed to read it fast because they didn’t have the time. There was written that electic trim could be used to counter ALL the trim MCAS had done before, but it was missing here that MCAS starts again after 5 seconds. The 5 seconds were mentioned on the OTHER page.
            Boeings Buletin was a booby trap.

          • Leon, the trim wheels didn’t work well in ET302 due to overspeed. I don’t know what training ET pilots did in the simulator. If they trained at above 300 knots at 10,000 feet, they would have seen that behavior in the trim wheels. But my guess is they wouldn’t have done that case. No reason to suspect that was going to happen.

            ET pilots had over two months to read the bulletin, same as every other pilot. One of the comments made by Mentour Pilot, was that if an accident occurs with your aircraft type, you review it thoroughly so that the same thing won’t happen to you. So I’m sure the ET pilots would have read the entire bulletin, well before the accident.

          • “”the trim wheels didn’t work well in ET302 due to overspeed””

            IAS was unreliable, that was what pilots knew.
            If trim wheels are needed they should ALWAYS be moveable easily. If not it’s a bad design and I’m sure it’s not following regulations.
            In the sim the trim wheels moved easily always.

            “”ET pilots had over two months to read the bulletin””

            If I read the Buletin I know I can use electric trim till all MCAS trim is reversed because the 5 seconds are not mentioned in this chapter and it seems the 5 seconds don’t apply in this case.
            Not easy to express knowledge so that people who knew nearly nothing about MCAS can understand. Of course Boeing was hiding and they wanted MCAS activation no matter what. Maybe Boeing should let professionals write Buletins.

          • Massive miss trim and the forces created
            via compensating by way of “fully turning the elevator the other way” creates blocking forces on the trim spindle. Overspeed “helps” but probably is not mandatory.

        • @TW

          You do like to create an artificial equivalence game. You seem to be suggesting that the EASA is responsible because it is not actively going out to test the MAX. Surely it is incumbent on Boeing to come to EASA with an aircraft and a fix and a clear response to each issue raised by the EASA. Your blind assertion that the EASA is political is wide of the mark. All institutions of this nature are buffeted by politics but that is fundamentally different to suggesting they operate with a national bias. If there is one thing EASA is guilty of it is accepting the certification of the FAA but if you wind back the clock to original certification of the MAX any such delay or questioning would have been considered a treacherous, protectionist play by the American media, Legislature and Boeing

          • Sowerbob:

            I see a lot of mud flinging and in fact the FAA criticism is fully justified.

            But on the flip side I see people posing that the EASA is some paragon of virtue and like the White Knight, they will ride in and are saving the day. In fact China shut down the MAX not EASA.

            In fact, EASA has made some extremely really dubious if not downright stupid decisions (which I have listed). Now is it political or is it poor functionality?

            So for an in depth aspect that lead to a crash, EASA approved the FBW A320 and included in that was the reset the breaker on the RTLU which had been malfunctions regularly and then almost continuously.

            But the response was to reset it, not, ok, if this thing has a history of problems, then after 5x, FIX IT! No, reset it forever was the answer.

            Did you know the A320 did not have a two engine out procedure? If not for the APU start Sullenberg wold have been trying to control a degraded law aircraft.

            From the decisions I see out of EASA, there is huge politic going on, so don’t tell me that they are some paragon of virtue saving the world.

            Equally we are seeing this they have to fix the MTW issue, but just on the MAX.

            That clearly affects NG as well, and I am fine with grounding the entire worlds aircraft that have MTW and have issues using it.

            But we won’t see that because of the impact. There is a balance involved and it may indeed fall on the side of operations continuing vs pure safety.

            But to contend the EASA is going to stop MAX until that is resolved? Really?

          • TW:
            “Did you know the A320 did not have a two engine out procedure? If not for the APU start Sullenberg wold have been trying to control a degraded law aircraft. ”

            you don’t “know” either as you had to invent that “fact” 🙂 ( go down to dual engine failure, and look at the references.)

            What Sullenberger did was advancing APU start to the top of the appropriate checklist.
            In the specific circumstances a Good Thing (TM) to do. This kept the plane in Normal Law. All aiding protections active.

    • The MAX software audit is underway and the EASA test flights cannot begin until that is complete. So the delay is in the regulator’s hands, not Boeing’s.

      International regulators continue to state publicly that the process is proceeding, but without a timeline. No regulator has announced a rejection of MCAS or the other changes that Boeing is making. They are participating in the testing and will continue to do so.

      • @Rob

        “So the delay is in the regulator’s hands, not Boeing’s.”

        I think you misleading again. Boeing didn’t officially submitted MCAS or whole MAX for testing or certification. And how tou can call regulators are in delay when according to your words “MAX software audit is underway” they were doing their job??? It contradicts. It’s twisted.

        • Currently the ball is in the regulator’s court. That’s all I meant. It’s been repeatedly implied here that Boeing is deliberately avoiding the requested EASA tests, which is consistent with the various concealment conspiracy theories. That is a false assertion so I try to correct it whenever it pops up.

          • Rob,
            Are you sure you’ve only worked as an engineer? You don’t write like one.

          • Well one of my job titles was engineer as well, we don’t have to write pure technicality as we got used to dealing with laymen who did not have a clue on the technicalities and you had to put in in simple terms.

            For better or worse Boeing has put out response to the FAA.

            Ball is in FAA hands to test or ask for more and test what they can.

            Right now we are not hearing what the FAA response is other than it takes time.

            I would like to see a weekly progress report.

            Are they just sitting on this for political purposes?

            What is the interface with the EASA, is it all going through FAA as seems likely?

    • Especially when you see 2 months of production, about 100 completed fuselages racked up in Wichita…

  4. Just to clarify, are we aware of the software and hardware changes necessary for recertification? As I see it we should be focusing on each step at a time. Why even talk about restart or ramp-up until the fix is known and accepted by FAA/EASA. Management by wishful thinking rarely ends well

    • “Why even talk about restart or ramp-up until the fix is known and accepted by FAA/EASA. Management by wishful thinking rarely ends well”

      I agree 100%, but I think it may even be worse than that. I mean, I think that the regulators are not even 100% sure of why the MCAS even exists! According to Boeing, “The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law was designed and certified for the 737 MAX to enhance the pitch stability of the airplane – so that it feels and flies like other 737s.” So what? Really….so what? Boeing never describes why MCAS is essential – or if it is even essential.

      In short, there is a deadly system installed on the 737 Max that hasn’t even been shown to be essential. How are you going to evaluate that? Against what standard will you know you’ve “fixed” the system? Etc..

      • Regulators will have a remediated MCAS to test, and also be able to test without. That should provide clarity. We know that MCAS 2.0 works as that has been reported by all the pilots who have flown it. The question will be how it fits into the regulations. That is at the heart of the reclassification issue.

        The recertification has two parts, one addressing the problems that were identified in the accident chain, and then the other certification issues which may arise from the review, including recertification. The first part we know fairly well, the second is open-ended.

        • “Regulators will have a remediated MCAS to test, and also be able to test without. That should provide clarity. We know that MCAS 2.0 works as that has been reported by all the pilots who have flown it. ”

          Well, more testing will be a good thing. But..back in September EASA indicated MCAS ain’t workin’ satisfactorily – and no one has said that a major fix has been applied since. So what’s the point of testing MCAS again?

          Also, why didn’t they (EASA/FAA) fly a 737 Mac without MCAS back in April? I mean, Boeing doesn’t seem to want to come out and just say why MCAS is essential, so why wait for Boeing to do the tests on a system with dubious purpose…just do your own testing?

          Unless…EASA and the FAA are stringing Boeing along – and I think there is good political reasons for them to do this. First, the regulators know Boeing is politically powerful, so why not let Boeing expend as much political capital as possible before the regulators try to wrest power from Boeing? Second, Boeing has been very helpful at politically “digging it’s own hole” during the entire time, so why stop them? Third, the longer this is dragged on, the more financially desperate Boeing will become. Eventually, I guess it is hoped that Boeing will relent and a “Come to Jesus Meeting” will then occur.

          And the Chinese Regulators (CAAC), they are on board, too – and they will not be a “push over” like the FAA has been in recent history.

          • The EASA statements in September were regarding their desire for a third AoA sensor for further redundancy. Patrick Ky also said they were considering a transitional period for that.

            With regard to their comments on MCAS, that was regarding the classification issue I mentioned. To help determine that, they want to test with and without. Those tests are still forthcoming, after the software audit is complete.

            The issue would be that if they can assert that MCAS is stall prevention, that subjects it to a different set of rules, for which it might not be compliant. That’s part of the uncertainty.

            Also that is more of a rule-based issue than function-based. I’m confident the function is ok, but a rule change might overturn that.

          • You keep saying that but the initial certification flight with the MAX had NO MCAS.

            This is just repeating the sky is falling

          • TransWorld :
            “but the initial certification flight with the MAX had NO MCAS. ”

            So why did Boeing add the “MCAS deathtrap” after it had a certificated plane at hand?

            I’d really like you to stop posting patently false information.

          • Uwe: You are the poster child for false hoods.

            Facts are not false information. What I have put is factual, you in turn simply throw out stuff.

            If you actually read how MCAS came to be, you will find that the PITCH UP SHOWED UP IN TEST.

            Boeing in fact did not feel it required ANY FIX. The FAA disagreed and said fix (fatal feature) was installed.

            If not MCAS then no crashes.

            You also fail the logic test.

            If MCAS can be turned off its not needed. MCAS 2.0 can now be turned off automatically with an AOA disagree and they can still proceed a normal flight.

            But like all TFH types you don’t want the Facts, you want to silence l the bringer of facts and enlightenment and that is not happening.

            Rant on all you want.

            I can and will bury you with the facts.

          • Uwe, TW was referring to the flight testing of the MAX that was leading toward certification. It was that testing that revealed the non-linearity in the pitch stability curve, which ultimately resulted in Boeing’s use of MCAS as a solution.

            Since that testing obviously did not have MCAS, that data is available from Boeing. I think the position of EASA is that it’s not sufficient to answer their questions, so they want to do their own testing. Boeing has agreed to that and everyone is waiting for the completion of the software audit to proceed.

          • Jimmy,

            “”Also, why didn’t they (EASA/FAA) fly a 737 Mac without MCAS back in April?””

            Boeing was already working to fix MCAS.
            JT610 final report wasn’t out yet.
            JATR just started working.
            EASA mentioned the slow engaging and disengaging AP. Also the FCC configuration change. Boeing did NOT offer the MAX for certification at that time.
            JATR then found many problems, while Boeing continued to hide information.

          • “Boeing in fact did not feel it required ANY FIX. The FAA disagreed and said fix (fatal feature) was installed.”

            I don’t believe it. Show me.

          • Rob, if Boeing went into _certification_ flights pretending no knowledge of unexpected pitch up resp. lightening of controls they are even more dilettante than visible _or_ they had an excess amount of chutzpa from being certain to have the FAA system in their deep pockets.

            i.e. with certification flights you show conformance to the certificating authority.

            With test flights up front you establish the correctness of your expectations for the design.

            This is two different things.
            clapping shoe on table and waiting for TW burial 🙂

          • Uwe:

            The only readon to comment on your falshoods is to keep the recredo clear, I hve no hopoes oif chanign you.

            The reason we have flight tests is to validate the computer models. Computer models are not perfect.

            In fact, teh model hinted that there might be more pitch up.

            That was not only confimred in flight test but i was more pitch up than the computer model indicated.

            That is how computer models are refined, you model ahead of time, you preeict and then you real world test.

            Simple fact.

            Also the trim speed computer could fail, so it HAS to be tested without that.

            It WAS TESTED with NO MCAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!S

            Other than pitch up no issues. None, nada, zip.

            So MCAS is not needed and while a novel idea, it was just a slightly different use of speed trim.

            What made it bad was HOW it was done, not the fact it was there and the aircraft was vastly safer without it.

            You can harp all you want and you can shuck and back fill all you want, the fact is you have no legs to stand on.

            We have no input from FAA or EASA where things stand, period.

            Not only is what you cite out of context (first step in propaganda and an agenda) its dated out of context.

            The fact will set you free

          • Ok boys, I think this is a semantics issue. TW used the term “certification flight” but meant “test flight”. He didn’t mean to imply that an attempt was made to certify the MAX without MCAS.

            TW was responding to the oft-expressed view that Boeing has withheld the no-MCAS test flight data, or that the data doesn’t exist.

            It does exist and regulators have seen it, but it didn’t answer all their questions, so they want to do more testing.

            No need to fight over this, it’s a minor point. I know you both have a good understanding of what happened.

          • Really?

            This from the sky is falling group?

            Now that is funny

  5. I wonder if this will affect Spirit’s ability to close the deal to acquire the Bombardier manufacturing facilities?

  6. So is B going to increase NG \ P8 production to try to fill some of the gap? or will those rates remain constant?

    I have lost track of the NG skyline, so I don’t know if they run out of NG deliveries soon.

      • That makes it awkward, as the P-8 has its own small Fal at Renton , it includes its wing assembly area using the old jigs, however the fuselage was part of the flow at Witchita with the small changes ( air refuelling, bomb bay, sonobouy bay) done as a ‘pull aside’.
        Without a 737 fuselage flow with Spirit continuing there cant be P-8 production either. Its complicated that the last P-8 builds would be happening in the next 9 months or so.

        • Keep in mind that Boeing is selling P-8 to other countries, UK, India, Norway, NZ and a few more

          Other significant prospects.

          Those builds are taken from within the line (ie Navy gives up a series of deliveries) so that countries get them soon.

          Navy can manage P-3 and the P-8 is not fully up to full standards as that is a spiral development.

          I suspect its got 5 minimum years to go.

          • Its possible that MCAS software was written in India for purposes of offsets for the Indian P8 acquisition?

          • It is irrelevant if it was written in India or not. Boeing is responsibly for everything it puts in their aircraft.

          • That is absolutely correct.

            I have worked with Indian software results.

            It alwyas had to be scrubbed.

            I won’t say in the one case it was their fault, you simply cannot write software to specs that need to be interpreted because the engineers who wrong it had no clue as to what implementing their stuff meant (the engineers with letters after their name)

            The other was a bigger issue and was simply bad.

            Of course companies persist in they claim they are saving money and cost more but it sells good to the board.

            Boeing had the same issue with the 747 they outsource to Russia, it all had to be done in house as it was mucked up. It just does not work.

          • “Boeing had the same issue with the 747 they outsource to Russia,”

            That seemed to have been caused by false/wrong/lack of input given from Boeing’s side.
            ( Mismatch between paper trail and the real 747 as built. At the time it fit in quite well with the interfacing issues on the 787 due to MBA levels across partners working as information interchange.)
            If you can’t express your wishes in a complete and unambiguous way .. my guess is this is more of US cultural thing (lockin) than anything else.

      • I believe the B737 MAX 10 doesn’t require MCAS, presumably because of the longer tail moment arm. I wonder how far away from manufacture that is?

    • Mr Leon just remember that Airbus will build a new plane in the future and don’t complain when they are subject to the same scrutiny. Who know how to build safe airplanes, manufacturer or regulators. Every now and then serious mistake will happen.

      • @Daveo
        What we know now is that the level of self certification permitted in the US is a failure, so lets hope all regulators will be forced to operate independently enough to ensure only ‘safe’ aircraft are delivered to the airlines.

        From safety perspective the more scrutiny the better.

        Given the low regard FAA is current held in internationally, for the sake of global confidence the EASA should conduct its own tests to confirm the MAX complies with its own set of published regulations – and the result should be made public for everybody to see.

        Only a truely open process can restore trust now, .

        For those who remember, recall the delays imposed A400m engines because of poorly documented software. Lets hope for the flying public’s safety the same level of diligence needs to be applied here and for all future certifications.

        • Well that an they allow two bad Trent engines on a 787.

          Etu Burtai.

          Even the so called bad FAA is now making them fly with at least one good engine (arguably no aircraft they should ever fly with any iffy engine and that include GTF)

          • @Transworld

            The A400m is powered by Europrop TP400-D6 turboprops, not Rolls Royce Trents. In case you missed point my comments relating to the delays caused by the regulator ensuring engine control software was written, tested and documented to the required standards – something that MCAS 1.0 was certainly not.

            While I, like most impacted by the on going Trent problems yours comments concerning the Trent comments are fatuous and out of topic.

          • With regard to the TP400, overall design and regulatory authority didn’t lie with RR to begin with, but now does. RR ended up with design and regulatory authority because of design and regulatory issues with the TP400.

            The TP400 is fine I think, provided they have sorted out the gear box.

          • I am referring to other high crimes and misdemeanors per the so called wonder EASA that everyone is fawning over.

          • My reading is that they laid out clearly the issues that require addressing, what I mean by being constrained is that they are unwilling to act until they have absolutely exhausted any and all avenues. At the same time they must have those issues they raised appropriately addressed. Boeing have had many months to address them, have they satisfied EASA? I am not sure about that. I can’t believe that EASA are playing any game beyond being extremely careful in their utterances as Boeing, Trump and the whole MAGA mentality will rip the consensus in aviation safety apart. So less of the bull please.

          • While the Orange Clown put his hair into the final situation, none of the issues with Boeing and the FAA had anything to do with that stupidity.

            They stood on their own creating it.

          • Well, we need to give give credit where it’s due to Donald, he pulled the plug on the MAX, despite Dennis on the phone telling it’s all unfair. He seems to know a little more about aircraft than the average Joe. For the rest, it’s incredible this man got ever elected.

      • MCAS in an environment of unchecked input was no “mistake”. It existed because the (faulty) prerequisites were carefully set up by management ( and premature exposure hindered by “‘cubicle’ing” engineering and(from) test pilots. “Who could have known that straw burns?”
        OT: I find these “little mistake”, “third world pilots ..”, “Euros dragging just for spite” insertions absolutely distasteful.

      • Daveo,

        if I eat pop corn I want healthy corn, it doesn’t matter if it grew in EU or US. I complained about VW/Audi/Porsche/Mercedes/ BMW too and there are many others and won’t buy them again.

        • VW with a non roller drive chain on an oil pump balance module going twice engine speed?

          I don’ think, you can even get that chain since about 1903.

          Still it handles and drives really well.

          • Zahnkette: no rollers. ever.
            Tooth chain

            “The tooth chain is a form-fitting belt drive. It engages in the toothing of the sprockets with its toothed lugs. These take over the traction. A key design feature is the two-part weighing joint. When the chain links are angled, the two pivot pins weigh and roll on each other. The tooth chain is known for its quiet running and is also known internationally as the silent chain. “

          • I loved the Mercury Gina drove in Miani Vice, a white one. Of course that was only style and fashion, not the brains inside. Then production stopped.
            I watched the Tarantino movie Jackie Brown with that crap VW camper. My God was that crap, but it seems not bad at that time. At least VW improved on future generations which Boeing could not.
            But as I said, never VW again and Boeing crap too, never.

      • Hilarious.
        FAA and other US institutions have been rather busy
        loading (foreign) competitor shoulders with the weight they have taken off Boeing.
        i.e. FAA has raised sensible and on occasion over the top frivolous concerns and pressed for “conformance”
        even in situations that should have been coveered by the mutual acceptance environment. EASA certificated the 787 in sync with the FAA while A350XWB certification saw the FAA lagging “hemming and hawing” quite a bit behind the primary cert authority.

        To wit: what you hold up here is nothing but a drive for vindictiveness, can’t have Boeing called out on their institutional subversion.

  7. Will there be a revenue flight by 6 months, June 17th? Will there be a revenue flight by 12 months, Dec 17th? If there is a mandate for a new manual trim wheel or second motor, or a third AOA vane, a year might not happen. What’s a tangential issue of improvement on an Airbus or Boeing? That is where this is headed. Airbus will be held to a similar standard at some point.

    • Fully agree with the sentiment but Airbus has one critical advantage amongst many. That advantage is that they have progressively developed a FBW system across multiple platforms and have what is in some ways the state of the art system (lack of back driven throttle excluded). This consistency of design philosophy is a fundamental advantage in terms of building a full and deep understanding of the working of that system and the computer/ pilot interface.

      Here we have a terrible example of attempting to do a least cost, minimal change rush job whilst working within limitations of a 50 year old design that cannot be changed without damaging sales or margins to its biggest customers. Boeing allowed itself to be corralled into a space even it’s much lauded design team could not make good.

      If you are talking politics then that is a sad argument, I don’t think the EASA or even CAAC are predominantly driven by politics, they are driven by safety

      • Is a back driven throttle regarded as a safety improvement by the aviation industry and Airbus, or is that not settled? If a safety measure is what you want, it’s science, if not, it’s politics. Or who would quantify putting back driven controls on the A320, versus putting a second trim motor on the 737? All the numbers are built on assumptions, leading to manufactured statistics to tell a desired story. I’m all for consistency and safety, but who gets to be the arbiter of the objective truth? Sullenberger?

      • And the System/Pilot interface on the AF447 was good how?

        Or QF 32 after over 1.5 hours they finally decided to just land the damned thing? Great system that is all alarms and not help.

        Or interesting on this crash:

        So with a total power loss you have to bring system back on line?

        And two inputs canceled each other out ensuring you stay stalled?

        I don’t think Boeing system is superior but Airbus has holes the size of a Mack Truck.

        • Hull losses B777 seven, A330 six. I cheerfully fly both. Each hull Lois us followed by a careful review. I am tired of reading hate messages

        • The “alarm overwhelm” as you call it on Qantas Flight 32 is actually a piece of evidence pro EASA/pro Airbus:

          Obviously many systems were not functioning appropriately after the uncontained engine failure, but the system successfully supported pilots in addressing them one after the other ranked by importance and eased handling the situation. In the meantime the aircraft remained stable and continued to fly straight.

          This cannot be compared to a situation where the plane suddenly out of nowhere makes some unattended maneuvers by itself.

          • You miss the fact that the Independent board said alarms overwhelm

            From a pilots experience says, get it on the ground, you don’t know what the hell is going to break

            From my standpoint they sat there and looked at alarms for over 1.5 hours while the engine could have fallen off or the wing broke.

            The alarms told them nothing, you have a mess out there.

            They were simply fortunate as things were continuing to go to hell on that wing.

            Further exemplify the stupidity, they tried to make it land on auto pilot. Which kept kicking out as it won’t let you fly auto pilot with all that mess up equipment.

            They finally took over manually 1500 feet when it kicked out again.

            As it was never tested, they had not a clue that it might just turn them upside down and do a loop into the ground (other aircraft have done bizarre things they should not do)

            Bjorn has explained that its all about check lists and I see that.

            What it means is that common sense and good piloting are not part of it any more.

            The point is while you are messing with irrelevant alarms per Indonesia and Ethiopian, you can (and did) crash)

            AF447 was going to slow for a stall warning to stay up.

            Right, that helps how? Maybe if it kept staying stall it would have gotten through someones head they were stalled?

            Lets see, if I can be stalled below 100 knots then turn off the stall thing as ?????? well you tell me.

        • “And the System/Pilot interface on the AF447 was good how?

          Or QF 32 after over 1.5 hours they finally decided to just land the damned thing? Great system that is all alarms and not help…..”

          And a Tu Quoque logical fallacy spewed like ink from an octopus helps clarify the issues…how?

          • Jimmy, it is easier to throw stones indiscriminately than to address the issue

          • “.. to throw stones indiscriminately ..”

            The impression is of a well head inclusive of the preventer valve blown off. 🙂

          • Sowerbob:

            A lot of stone have been thrown here.

            I have no disagreement (just the apposite ) as to Boeing and its criminal conduct.

            That in turn has been spun into a conspiracy theory of Biblical proportions by a group.

            I think its fair to point out that the lovy dovy EASA and Airbus are also not perfect.

            Or we can get back to facts. Their choice.

      • CAAC not driven by politics?

        You have not been to China obviously.
        I would never trust such a critical piece of hardware (plane) with my life as long as China is a one party system (ie, a diktatur).

        • My take as well.

          They failed miserably on the path to certification’s with the FAA (as bad as the FAA is) and are now shopping Europe EASA.

          Who knows what kind of a deal they will cook up there.

          Take all those left over A380s showing up and a lot more A330/350s?

          • Trump backed them into a corner, they’re not going to forgive that, plus an A330 finishing centre in need of airframes=real big A330 order coming, I think.

          • You think the American idea of “tilting the table” only means FAA advantaging Boeing? Think again.

        • Which trains would you rather ride, Amtrak or China’s high speed rail? And don’t forget who was first with the guts to ground the MAX.

          • Amtrak train sets seem to be mostly Canada and France manufacture 🙂
            If you don’t crash them via massive overspeed .. quite good and reliable.

        • “I would never trust such a critical piece of hardware (plane) with my life as long as China is a one party system (ie, a diktatur).”

          Well…I don’t know. I mean, I figure any country willing to execute famous Billionaires has at least got its heart in the right place. For example, consider the photograph beloww of Chinese “Regulation”:

          See that man? See how sad he is? He is a famous Billionaire who finally understands that his days of corrupting government officials, sipping Dom Perignon, driving in his Ferrari and cruising around in his private jet and hurting people…are over. In fact, he was such a bad boy that his days are just plain over…period.

          Ya’ see, in some places, money only goes so far – and I’m sure the CEO of COMAC knows that and I bet he has been a good boy while the C919 has been developed. I don’t think the CEO and Management of COMAC will be ignoring any safety issues!

          Now…why didn’t we do some of that over here in America when the Banking System crashed in 2008?

          • Amtrak: It has the NTSB looking at it and it goes slower.

            You think China would tell you if they had a problem? Right.

          • I thought Chinese magnetic fast train from Shanghai to another city was a German model.

        • Sorry but I have worked there briefly but worked with Chinese companies and individuals for 10+ years. A different mindset, heavily influenced by politics yes. But it is far too easy to say every time they make a decision that it is based on a long term aim for total world domination, that is a trope too far. I think a fundamental issue missed here is the high exposure China and its airlines have to the MAX. Nobody is arguing that the grounding was not justified. So in reality the politics are heavily internal on this one, being seen to protect its own population from a dangerous product. If you know China as you infer then you will appreciate the nuance of Chinese internal and consensual politics. And of course Boeing is an easy target in much the same way as BP was in the US, win win

          • I would call the Chinese extremely selective

            If its a party member running a factory that is putting poisen into a product killing Chinese that is fine.

            If its Boeing that has killed people then no.

            Notice how fast the Malays 370 went under the radar and the Chinese have made no effort to add to the search?

            And that was heavily Chinese on that flight.

      • @Sowerbob

        Well said.

        An accurate summary and timely reminder as to the true role of the regulators – which have a duty to ensure the safe operations of the civil aviation within their control. The less politics the better.

        • No disagreement but to think there is no politics is naive.

          Nor to think EASA is some paragon of virtue.

          There is good and bad in all organization and there is politic in the most amazing places.

          I researched a possible greasign issue and we had been sold a crock of what the grease we were using was (and its lack of compatibility with all other greases)

          I wrote a report, ok guys, you think we have excessive bearing failures and that is a possible cause or contrition to it.

          We need to replace it with a grease that is compatible across the board with any bearing mfg as we don’t know what bearing mfg we will use and what grease they use (or if they switch). .

          Answer: We can’t do it, that would admit we were wrong!

          So, rather than admit that we will incur more bearing failures, why the hell did you ask me to look into the failure problem?

          Politics, bonuses, stupidity.

    • I think its not the case that EASA is the cause of the delay in MAX recertification and that they are using this to hurt Boeing in favour of Airbus. The FAA is clearly extremely concerned and there are other regulators (China, India, Brazil). I think Airbus had a close call with the A330 ceo (AF447) and (QF72) but in that case the aircraft had had years of trouble free service rather than two accidents early in its life and at least in the case of AF447 there was a degree of inadequate pilot response(from inadequate training protocol). EASA’s stamp of approval would do much to restore faith but it would be reasonable for EASA to take a month or two longer. Also the Chinese, biggest MAX customer, tend to take their time. No one want’s the system of joint recognition of approvals to break down. It would be a pain for both Airbus, Boeing, America and Europe. Personally If I was global benevolent dictator I wouldnt allow any Airbus or Boeing aircraft in the air without synthetic air data or a minimum of 4 diverse sensors (rather than just 3)

      • I wouldn’t accuse EASA of malicious intent, any more than I would Boeing. But depending on how deep they choose to dive in the previous certification, in theory we could repeat that process over from scratch, which would be a very long delay, that probably isn’t warranted from a safety perspective.

        There is balance to be found in the middle view. I think if they focus on the accident faults initially, plus maybe some things they feel are obvious or feel strongly about, then they could make a second pass at the other things, after RTS. Not everything they find would be cause for grounding, in the vast majority of cases, faults are resolved with directives without grounding. I’m hopeful this will be their approach. But we’ll have to see.

        That’s what would happen in a traditional accident investigation and remediation, outside the media circus. Obviously we are far from that here.

        One thing that is clear, is that uncertainty itself is disruptive. So anything we can do to move toward certainty and clarification is beneficial. The regulators are resisting this to ensure that Boeing will not control the schedule, but that resistance has a cost as well. I think they could be responsive to the world in general without being responsive to Boeing directly.

        • I don;t think EASA is any worse or better than the FAA.

          They to dance to political drums.

          Allowing two known bad engine on a 787 and refusing to make the P&W GTF fixes per the FAA are just two.

          The Alarm Overwhelm is not just a Boeing issue, its there in spaced with Airbus product and the EASA has not addressed that at all.

          • @TransWorld

            FAA is a home regulator for 787s. And FAA is issuing again and again ADs.

            Canadian TCCA is home regulator for C-Series and they issued ADs as well.

            But you like anyway bitching on Europe. EASA is not like FAA.

          • Pablo:

            I can and have cited half a dozens of failures of action by the EASA.

            So no I am not buying you live in some Golden Paradise of purism.

            They in fact allowed the poorly designed FBW logic of Airbus.

            The Joint report talked about overwhelming alarms and Airbus is famous for that.

            Etu Brutai.

        • @Rob

          Again you contradicts yourself in the same sentence.

          “I wouldn’t accuse EASA of malicious intent, any more than I would Boeing.”

          So anyway you accuse EASA of malicious intent. Because they are doing well a job. Excellent idea. Let EASA allow half-safe aircraft fly again.

        • Rob,
          We must ask: why is there a media circus in this case?

          It’s because of early reports by the Seattle Times that showed some profound and significant problems in the development of the Max. Meanwhile, Boeing has largely responded with spin, and legions of internet trolls equipped with patriotism, pseudo-centrist positions, superb writing skills, a misleading knowledge of engineering, circular reasoning, and spin!

          Meanwhile, after one year, we still don’t know exactly what MCAS was for! This is not a case of poorly engineered windows!

          So, I’m sorry. This is more than a media circus. It’s about a powerful company that goofed in a big way and manufactured and oversold a lemon.

          • The only people who do not know what MCAS was for are in denial.

          • Well, it’s nice to know you think I write well, despite all my other faults. 🙂

            I think everyone will understand what the circus is, and how it affects and expands the process. As it calls integrity into question, greater and greater efforts must be put forth to assure the public that a fair process is in place. And the process must be slowed down to assure visibility and thoroughness and integrity.

            That same thing plays out in these forums. People have their credentials and intentions questioned, which requires them to mount a greater defense, and extends the argument needlessly.

            The formal term is “argumentum ad hominem”.

    • Ted,

      You said: “What’s a tangential issue of improvement on an Airbus or Boeing?”

      The Max presents its own particular set of problems with so much grandfathered in, and it also not being a fly-by-wire system that’s easily tweaked.

      But I think you’re thinking about this in the wrong way. The wrong way. Regulations are protections. I’m not interested in a political war — though I do think that strong labor and unions are essential in all of this; and Europe has them (except where it gives some manufacturing to the US). But all were are interested in are airplanes that are as safe as they can possibly be — not airplanes that are the result of a process where protections were treated like hurdles to get around.

      • That is fair enough and is a good assessment of Boeing current thinking.

        That is whey they need a complete clean out.

  8. Boeing’s Muilenburg cozy’s up to Big Gov to impose 300% duties etc to squash Bombardiers C- Series and keep them out of competition. This in order to protect their trash product.
    Now it is costing Boeing ONE BILLION a month.
    Karma is a bitch.

  9. I would agree with the 3 to 6 months as a minimum timeline. So, the supply chain is pretty much left in the dark about what happens next. Expect compensation claims from the suppliers and the weaker ones looking for a bailout. With no ramp-up planned for over 52 aircraft a month in 2020 and Boeing concentrating on clearing the backlog, what happens to the delivery schedules of aircraft that were planned for delivery beyond the current time frame. I expect a ripple effect in the production/delivery for the next couple of years. It’s not going to be over once the parked aircraft are delivered, the problem is going to be the late delivery of new build aircraft off the production line down the road. Can Boeing afford to pay compensation to current Airlines, suppliers, and the Airlines that are were originally scheduled to get their aircraft in 202/21?

    This is one hell of a disaster for Boeing, and it hasn’t peaked yet.

    • Now that is all True.

      787 Lightening protection debacle lurking in the wings.

      • The lightning problem is interesting. Boeing is relying heavily on the inerting system for the wings, rather than surface conductivity, as well as estimates of the zone of attachment. The aircraft moves forward farther than its length during a strike, so the damage can be scattered across the surface, but tends to attach at endpoints. Unpredictable though.

        • I would call it extremely shocking. Boeing did it without approval (the grid removal).

          You can currently fly with the Inerting system failed.

          That logic is based on the fact you had other layers of protection that are gone.

          I disagree you should be able to fly at all with an inop Inerting system, AOG until its fixed, divert if it fails.

          And that is with properly sealed fastener and the grid.

          EASA should have stepped in here as well and did not.

          Tell me its not political.

        • The dangerous “time delay action” trailing the removal of that highly conductive copper foil is less in igniting fuel but in damaging the CFRP when dissipating the high currents of a lightning hit. CFRP is just conductive to move the current into the wing skin volume and lossy enough to enable dissipating large amounts of energy in the wing skins itself.

          This will create damage difficult to inspect, find and access.

  10. Boeing is trying to sell 787s as compensation, but I notice that Jetstar are already selling some of theirs. Given that the 787 line is holding BA afloat, that they’re struggling to fill production gaps and future 737 margins are likely to slip, used 787s starting to hit the market might well add to the pain. I’m surprised analysts have been so upbeat.

    • There upbeat because they’re still getting their dividends. Watch this space when the tap is turned off.

        • Article I saw said they were for sale. Why isn’t the point, it effects new aircraft prices/margins/desirability at a time whem BA need 787 demand to go up rather than face competition from second hand airframes.

          • Martin A:

            So what you are saying is that if you lie no matter what the fact is its just fine?

            You are wrong. You should be ashamed of yourself. That is in the finest propaganda output of the Russians.

            What you did was twist the 787 as a desirably product into vs a Work Action that Jetstreasm says, we will dump those routes that are marginal.

            Not because the 787 is marginal, undesirable or has problems but because that route is marginal.

            To say otherwise is a crock.

          • You miss understand me, I’m not saying anything at all about the 787 as an aircraft, I’m saying it is lousy timing, from Boeings point of view, for used aircraft from a Blue Chip group to hit the market.

          • And you continue to deny the specific facts that make that a non issue.

            Its not the same as Qantas saying they are going to sell all the 787-9 they have.

            Its twisted at best and totally disingenuous

            In short, it has no relevance whatsoever, its 100% a Jetstar issue.

            Boeing has issues, big ones, massive ones, major ones, that absolutely is not one of them.

          • “… that absolutely is not one of them.”

            * 787 is the only program that currently brings in cash for Boeing.
            * Rate 14 production will be reduced by 2 to rate 12.
            * Nonetheless untaken production slots are looming on the horizon.
            * 787 aren’ selling all too well either ( to fill those open slots ).
            *** availability of used frames is a detractor for selling new frames in a landscape of limited interest.
            Whatever problems Boeing has lackluster 787 prospects amplify the effects of those problems.

        • JetStar flys 787-8, QANTAS fly 787-9. JetStar is QANTAS’s LCC. JetStar recently purchased A321LR and A321XLR with the mooted intention of moving the 787-8 to QANTAS. It seems the long range LR XLR versions could handle most of JetStars Asian holiday traffic. I don’t know why they would want to get rid of the 787-8

          • William:

            Read the article. Its a marginal route for Jetstar.

            They are pushing it so that if the labor action continue they will kill it and kill those jobs. Plane and simple.

            Qantas has no route for the 787-8 so yes Jetstar would sell them.

            Routes are marginal because of too low a pax demand

            If it has the range the A321 might work as it carries fewer passengers .

            That said, Jetstar is a pretty messed up operation. They bought a bunch of A320 that were going to be based out of Hong Kong in a separate company.

            they had no certifiable to fly out of Hong Kong and no path to get one.

            Read no more into it than there is.

  11. Poor Boeing…
    – Airbus is chosen as the winner in coveted Qantas Project Sunrise order
    – Orders for the 777 classic have dried up
    – Orders have stalled for the 777X
    – Orders for the 787 are drying up
    – Now The Max production is suspended
    – The Airbus 321N is single handedly destroying both future 737 sales and also the often proposed but most likely never to be launched NMA
    – Layoffs are imminent
    – Boeing is hemorrhaging cash
    But yet somehow, someway I bet the top executives will still get a bonus and a raise this year…go figure…

      • Ahhhh, isn’t that touching. And it only took 347 dead people and months of arm twisting.

        And his bonus, poor baby. How about all the lucre he acquired before that?

        And that compares to the 347 dead how?

        Now if he quit his job and went and served in the Ebola districts in Africa for the rest of his life, that would have some resonance.

      • If it were any other company then I would agree with you but I’m sorry to say that Boeing just hasn’t been too honest lately…

        I simply don’t believe anything they say anymore…

          • I see you’ve become extremely critical of Boeing since I posted about Boeing’s history of confronting the FAA with fait accompli (the one with that link about the 787 lightning protection issue).

          • I do thank you.

            I have been critical of Boeing management for a long time if you will go back and review my posts.

            I have gotten more so and I did not think that was possible.

            Yes the lighting protection removal is another major line they have crossed. I think its the worst as they just did it. No even trying to cover it up, flipped off the FAA and it was, try to stop us.

            I did not think I could be shocked (bad pun) by Boeing any more than I already have but that did indeed do it.

            I have felt Boeing needs a house cleaning top to bottom, I did not think I could feel strong about it, but indeed that has been an adder.

            Its like Forest fires, I have seen forest fires in the past and they scared me, the newer ones that are total infernos takes that up many notches I did not know existed.

            Same with the FAA.

            And its a marker, what Boeing does and what the FAA does will tell us if they are starting to reform or its just more of the same o same o.

      • The cart of manure that was the MAX certification and design program was set in motion years before Denis Muilenburg stepped up as CEO it just tipped over on his watch. It’s hard to see what he could have done short of a revue on gut feeling and the attendant delays that would bring. I think its just bad luck and he might have made a fine CEO. Where he is open for criticism, and this must weigh hard on him, was the decision not to ground within 2-3 weeks of the lion air preliminary crash report. That would have prevented Ethiopian. Its not unknown to ignore a crash as an outier, happened in the DeHaviland Comet 1 decompression issues. By that time there is a group think and the company just cant see outside of what it thinks is perfectly good engineering.

        • “”I think its just bad luck and he might have made a fine CEO.””

          You think Muilenburg didn’t know when in 2016, 40% of the engineering staff expressed undue pressures?

          Before Congress hearings Muilenburg spoke with victim families. Did he lie to them, telling them not knowing?

          In public Muilenburg said that the MAX was designed same as it ever was producing safe planes.

  12. Since Boeing made the announcement without advance notice to the suppliers, it appears that part of the calculus is that Boeing no longer has the space or ability to on-shore risk to its balance sheet for undelivered aircraft and now wants to pass that risk off to the suppliers to build the parts but not deliver them or delay building intermediate assemblies along with Boeing’s production pause.

    So Boeing is extended the pre-existing holiday shut down past the usual two weeks. I expect that many of those employees will be retrained to perform re-work on the 737s stranded in employee parking lots and elsewhere. I would hazard that Boeing went looking for new hires to re-work MAX’s and found that they couldn’t find enough. The assembly line has to be paused instead of running at reduced capacity so those FAL employees can help fix and deliver all those parked MAXs.

    Boeing has been studying 737 deliveries at 57/mo for ages. I would expect that Boeing will increase production very quickly to draw down the parts inventory they are now buying but storing at their suppliers’ factories.

    This feels like a production pause of more than 1 month, but less than 4. FAL employees will spend a few weeks getting trained and 1-2 months returning jets to service.

    • You seem very confident that fixes are known and immediately feasible. I wasn’t aware that any fix has undergone scrutiny never mind the concerns raised by the EASA so many months ago have been adequately addressed.

      • Fixes not undergone scrutiny? 1800 hours of flight testing and 1200 in sim, of which at least 240 are regulator time. Software audit in progress. EASA-specific flight testing scheduled for audit completion, as requested. There has been a great deal of scrutiny, with more to come yet.

        • Apologies, shorthand nonsense on my part, scrutiny yes, acceptance in detail and even in abstract is missing, have Boeing satisfied the regulators as to the scope of the problem? I believe there are still questions. Boeing are being deterministic in their testing, ie ‘making MCAS safe’ whilst the regulators appear to be ever widening the scope beyond that testing.

          • I think Boeing is responding to the issues they know about, while waiting for the regulators to identify others. Boeing believes the MAX has already passed certification, but with the MCAS problem, which should never have passed. So they addressed that and are waiting on a ruling as to other certification issues that may exist. The ever-widening part is what’s causing the uncertainty.

          • Sowerbob:

            I think in fact the situation is narrowing.

            I think its pretty well defined.

            AOA vanes may be done latter but I disagree for that need. Disable MCAS and they are not an issue, so program it so that any discrepancy simply disable MCAS, done deal.

            Manual Trim is not going to be resolved soon as they have let it go all these years with 5000 plus aircraft in the air they have to ground if its an issue on MAX its an issue on the NG and a whole lot of others as well.

            Now if they deem it critial to safety and ground them, I am good with it.

            However, they also have a hell of a lot of explaining to do as to why they let it go this long

            And why did not Europe pick up on the Simulator changes?

            I want to know why it got by the FAA as well.

            Having worked around simulators I am stunned as test procedures are supposed to be run regularly to ensure fidelity .

            That should have stood out like a Volcanic eruption vs some of the things I have seen cause problems.

            So why are the European group not asking why their EASA failed?

            Hypocrite come to mind.

      • I think the outline of the fixes is and are.

        What people refuse to address other than a slap at the MAX (which is no at issue) is the manual trim.

        But what they fail to do is address the 5000+ aircraft flying tghat has the same manual trim, including NG, Classic, 707, KC-135? – and how many other aircraft of other mfg? Ground em all?

        They don’t have the cojones because that would mean they allowed that (EASA included)

        So the manual trim has what done for and to it?

        It will be interesting.

        And people focus on just the high speed part (which has a sort of fix) but not the clutch breakout.

        • IMU EASA can show a range of interventions (FAA: xyz is a problem) that where either brushed aside or
          promised a fix and then ignored.

          MAX is not the first chapter in this story.

      • I don’t know what conversations going on behind the scenes at Boeing, the EASA or the FAA; but I can look to how Boeing and others are responding to those conversations. Boeing wouldn’t propose a fix that hasn’t been given the green light from the FAA or EASA and wouldn’t continue to build jets unless they were positive that they could certify and deliver them.

        I would not have expected a production line shut down. That is an extreme measure. Production lines are hard to stop and hard to start and expensive whether they run or don’t. It is always cheaper to built the product and then recall/repair then to stop the line to redesign on the line so there has to be a reason why stopping production is the cheaper/better option.

        • I was not surprised at a ramp down but complete suspension? Phew.

          And the legalities with the suppliers that get paid as well as the work force they will have sitting around doing nothing (you really think all those wiring bundle installers can go work someplace else in Boeing? no way, all the re-training and then go back to MAX.)

          And getting it started again is a tough tough one.

          So no cost savings.

          I think it came down trying to managing 400+ parked aircraft and more pouring into the fields each day.

          So the ban lifts and you have to get each one working (based on who is ready to take it) and do the flight tests.

          How big a flight department will you need to flight test 42 a month as well as all those parked? Huge – and then lay most of them off in two years?

          Each delivery requires a dedicated team for inspection, legal for the money to pay for it and any repair issues that come up.

          And they have one delivery center (though they can use Charleston on a spot basis)

          No room, no space and bottlenecks. Ungh

          • I’m hazarding a guess here but I think BA have been studying how quickly customers will accept new aircraft after the ban has lifted and have concluded that it’s going to take 6-12 months just to deliver the ones they have. Old aircraft have had their leases extended. Heavy maint has been done instead of scrapping etc. so a lot of operators have replaced those undelivered MAXs with arrangements which can’t be unwound straight away.

            My thinking is thay the FAL will be closed until second half of the year and workforce deployed on getting the stockpile of aircraft into service.

          • I am tending to agree.

            As you noted, how many can an airline take, they to have their limitations.

            Boien is setup to delviery only so many.

            As they are (were) headed to rate 57, they can start to adjust and do that, but all the delivery work that takes place just before (accpeialn flights by Boeing and the airliens) and the hand off itself take a team.

            Those teams also know what the peculiarities of the Airlines are, new people would not know that. So they have to be trained and brought up to speed. Its not that a new crew could not do it, they would be a whole lot slower.

            Between those two factors (airlines ability to take and manage the fill in they had done to deal with it and Boeing bottle neck) I see Boeing had no choice. Probably should have done this a couple of months ago.

            This may be head rolling time now for Boeing top management as they were the ones making the recommendation to the board and had all those facts in hand.

        • Garrett, I agree with your view. Others have mentioned the shortage of qualified labor to bring the stored aircraft online. If you continue to produce and store, without being able to increase the labor pool, you end up projecting restoration farther and farther into the future, which means even later deliveries.

          On the other hand if you stop, then your labor force can be redeployed to more effectively restore aircraft, and as that winds down, you can resume production at low rate and ramp up. That would explain the lack of layoffs.

          The challenge is in the supply chain. I have to think Boeing will absorb costs as needed to keep the critical elements of that going. So they may store parts rather than assembled aircraft, at least for awhile.

          • The labor force is not trained in (nor certified as) aircraft mechanics.

            Other than some grunt work, they are useless to bring aircraft back on line.

            It takes a specialized team just to deliver an aircraft.

            Ergo, shutdown is the bottleneck of delivery that they can’t build up and then throw away (who will sign on?)

            An aircraft delivery is a big dance with flight tests (Boeing and customer), customer acceptance, pay off with all the legalities signed off on.

            the delivery people know the airlines and the drill and dance for each one.

          • TW, I read that Boeing does not complete some aspects of interior installation for aircraft that go into storage. They send teams out to the planes to finish just before delivery, So I was thinking of that, and other non-mechanic prep work related to storage.

          • Rob:

            Even if true and I suspect not, its a limited group of people qualified to do interior install and the aircraft has to be at the delivery center as that is where all the materials and the tooling are.

            There are 12,000 employees that are pretty job specific. Nothing for them to do but grunt fill in.

            I have been in a few of those on a smaller scale and we stood around and twiddled our thumbs because to be effective took a lot of orientation that by the time it was even tried, it was too late.

  13. The “SOAP OPERA”, called B737 MAX, Boeing has created out off pure Idiocy, and a deceiving flop in their Public Relations/Marketing on the future solutions and return of this Fiasco of an aircraft. Clean Sheet designed model may be your wakeup call!

  14. LNA would not have printed this story if this was utter utter nonsense.

    The **real** problem is BA does not know when the FAA will re-certify. BA had to act. FAA would be good enough for a re-certification start — BA can ship in the US, restart roll outs. Rest would follow x(x) months later. Forget about China. For them, it will be political pressure, you can bet on that.
    Passengers would fly, they can’t spell 737 MIN or MAX 🙂

    i) Suppliers have known this was a quite possible outcome. Many have long term contracts, BA will have to pay on delivery. Not all of course. Some pain is really coming.
    ii) 3 month shutdown is very realistic — you do not shutdown for 4-8 weeks. Too painful. 6 months? Possibly; less likely though.
    iii) Everyone talk about hardware changes? We have no real news about that except vocal ‘pundits’.
    iv) It takes time to certify software to be ‘absolutely’ sure. The FAA is doing its job. And overdoing it. They are right to do so. The new administrator called BA’s bluff and the boys’ cosy network failed to prevail for now. It’s now an opportunity for the FAA to show the world they are doing a very good job (and documented) and it takes time. BA has to wait.

    So much for financial engineering (a la IBM) and hollowing out the company. The management and entire board will go (in due time).

    • I am going to basically have to agree with that.

      Seeing as how MAX fix is indefinite Muilenberger and gang can go now.

  15. It should be clear by now, this is not about the MCAS software fix.

    It’s about the Boeing certification process, FAA independency & stall testing without MCAS.

    The house has been looking tough so far, but have been divertion attention, minimizing their own significant role in this drama. This painfull 2011-2018 “Streamlining” process will probably now make it’s way on to the table.

    • Keesje, you’re right on about those items and not about the actual MCAS fix.
      So now we have the following
      – House investigation to show that they are doing “something” to look at Boeing and the FAA
      – New spending bill that FAA gets more funding to look at certification issues and hire more employees
      – Boeing not saying anything about when the Max will be certified and now their 737 production plan aligns with the FAA
      – FAA saying that they are in charge of the process and scolding Boeing that they shouldn’t interfere

      But now the political pendulum shifts back to the FAA
      Boeing cutting production impacts up to 1 million jobs and can impact 0.5% of US GDP. Any long halt in manufacturing in a election year is bad politically for the FAA if there is a reasonable fix in place.
      Unfortunately, it’s hard to separate politics from aviation. Can’t just be fix the problem and move on .

      • “it’s hard to separate politics from aviation”

        Well, in theory the main purpose to create an independant FAA was exactly to separate politics from aviation safety.

        Muilenberg calling Trump to make him tell the FAA not to ground the MAX shows how daring Boeing got and how much they have perverted the system on a daily base already. Imagine this happening in Russia or Romania and what the American public would say. Or imagine a citizen calling POTUS to tell the State Attorney not to open an investigation against him.

        • Once again for about the 50th time, MAX was repeatedly stalled without MCAS dozens of time in the initial testing as MCAS did not exist.

          It was EXACTLY the testing that indicated to FAA they wanted more predicable handling.

          That you can not safely stall a MAX without MCAS is pure Bullshit.

          • Wasnt MCAS installed from the beginning , as indicated from wind tunnel testing and computer simulation. The final version with the increased control was only added once the flying testing had started to cover slightly different circumstances

          • No, a hint of pitch up was indicated in the modeling.

            It was more pitch up than the modeling showed.

            The 737 MAX was flown extensively including many stall series BEFORE MCAS was installed.

            If fact, stalls and edge of handling are the main testing done, level flight does not tell you anything.

            Nothing was revealed other than some more pitch up than models showed and Boeing did not think it needed a fix (it turns out in that regard they were right) 347 poodle would still be alive sans MCAS.

          • Duke, MCAS wasn’t present until the flight testing showed it was needed, at least according to the reporting. The pitch behavior was identified by a test pilot for the high speed case. Then MCAS was implemented with the lesser authority for high speed. It’s possible this received some wind tunnel or sim testing.

            Then at some time later, a different test pilot identified a similar issue in the low speed case. So MCAS was altered and given greater authority, and also a safeguard (the G-sensor) was removed. This was the version that didn’t get the fault analysis that was needed.

          • This timeline agrees with my earlyversion of events
            “Early in the development of the 737 MAX, engineers gathered at Boeing’s transonic wind tunnel in Seattle to test the jet’s aerodynamics using a scale model with a wingspan comparable to that of an eagle.

            The testing in 2012, with air flow approaching the speed of sound, allowed engineers to analyze how the airplane’s aerodynamics would handle a range of extreme maneuvers. When the data came back, according to an engineer involved in the testing, it was clear there was an issue to address.

            Engineers observed a tendency for the plane’s nose to pitch upward during a specific extreme maneuver. After other efforts to fix the problem failed, the solution they arrived at was a piece of software — the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) — that would move a powerful control surface at the tail to push the airplane’s nose down”
            The MCAS system was installed from the very first Max flight

            Please guys if you going to make categorical statements , have backup ?

          • Duke, it appears to depend on the source.

            The New York Times says that Ray Craig flew the MAX in simulations in 2012 before MCAS, and found the pitch behavior for the high speed case. He recommended an aerodynamic solution, which then went to the wind tunnel team to try various options.

            None of those was reported to work, and the military guys then suggested the MCAS option based on the KC-46 tanker, which already had its own version of MCAS. So MCAS was implemented in the MAX for the high-speed case, based only on simulator performance.

            Then in 2016, as the MAX began test flights, it already had the high-speed MCAS. But Ed Wilson found that it had a similar problem at low speeds, so MCAS was adapted for the low-speed case.

            So this means there would be only simulator data for the MAX without MCAS. I hadn’t realized that before, I thought Craig had flown actual test flights. But since the MAX did not fly until 2016, that would have been impossible.

            So thank you for pointing this out, it all makes better sense now, including the EASA desire to fly actual tests.

          • Yes Rob. The second problem involving lower speed flight during actual Max flyingn showed up. It’s then that the Mcas already installed was proposed but with some changes included removing a G force sensor.

          • Yes, the critical missing info was that Craig was in the simulator. That fact was omitted from other stories I read. They just mentioned test flights and test pilots, so I thought that meant actual flights.

            The 4 year span between high and low speed MCAS modifications also helps to explain how the certification snafu occurred, with different people involved at different times. Low speed case was viewed in terms of the analysis for high speed case, which was thought to be long established and settled. People on the certification end did not realize the impact of changes made on the engineering end, and the training people were left out altogether.

            Should never have happened but you can see how it might. Alarm bells not being raised in any of the participants because joint knowledge was required. Internal disorganization and disconnect.

          • Duke:

            Good summation, I mis-remembered parts of that, so well done.

            But I also have read a great deal about aircraft testing and stalls with and without various parts of the system working are the norm.

            I believe they still have or will test without MCAS as it can be disabled (now more than ever)

            Could be wrong but itw worth reading flight test ops and how scary they can be the first time.

            However, once an airframe combo is tested solid, it takes a hell of a lot more than a bit of an engine move to turn it into some kind of monster.

            Aircraft are not snap acting devices.

  16. Hull losses B777 seven, A330 six. I cheerfully fly both. Each hull Lois us followed by a careful review. I am tired of reading hate messages

    • Difference between the A330/777 and the MAX being that the hull losses didn’t have the specific behaviour of a specific module at their core.
      Also, the first hull loss of a 777 in revenue operations happened in 2008, 13 (!) years after EIS with almost 750 in operation. The first hull loss in revenue operations of an A330 (ignoring an incident where corrosive liquids damaged a plane beyond repair) happened in 2009, over 15 (!) years after EIS, with over 650 in operation.

      MAX had two fatal crashes within just over 2 (!) years of EIS, with fewer than 400 in operation, and the specific behaviour and design of the same specific software system played a central role in the exact sequence of both crashes.

      • British Airways 777 crash at Heathrow in 2008 was an engine fuel control problem, so was a specific module in the sense you are meaning .
        But of course your main point was the 777 has an outstanding safety record. We also have to consider a large widebody has best pilots who might have started their career with TP or other single aisle.
        I see that Qantas for its long haul flights , has 1 captain , 1 First officer and unusually 2 ‘second officers’ – they dont do takeoffs and landings and only do high altitude cruise flying. It seems that cost saving predominates over more flying for qualified 1st officers.

      • The A319, CRJ7/900, and E175 families also have extraordinary safety records. Especially the Airbus A319, with 1,500 in service and introduced 25 years ago, and still without a single fatal accident; especially considering the type is used extensively into the world’s most challenging airports.

        It is also worth noting that no other aircraft designed in the 21st century has had a fatal accident. With the obvious exception of one type. Let’s hope when the MAX returns to service it goes many years without an accident, and that it’s safety record so far is the exception, not the trend.

  17. I do find it interesting that some believe that the solution, MCAS, has been agreed by all and it’s now all about execution. If that were the case, then the regulators would be saying precisely that.

    Instead, international regulators are continuing to issue messages of concern. The Chinese and the Indian authorities being the most recent. This comes to the FAA. The FAA is saying it thinks the MAX will be certified sometime in 2020.

    The certainty, confidence and enthusiasm coming from the regulators is overwhelming. I say with sarcasm.

    The MAX is heading for 10 months on the ground with no end in sight. By now, there should be certainty about the solution, even if there is still work to do with regard to executing the solution.

    • One part of the MCAS system that Boeing hasn’t seemed to have mentioned is the Trim wheel. Which EASA has mentioned. Part of the MCAS runaway trim procedure doesn’t work currently. So, what are they going to do about the trim wheel not working through the entire flight envelope? It needs to not only be working, but, working quick enough to save the plane. With only one Trim motor, shutting that one motor leaves the pilots depending on the manual backup system. It’s supposed to work over the entire range of the trim settings. Can any regulator certify the MAX with the current manual trim wheel arrangement, knowing the possible consequences?

      • I know what the EASA said re: trim and will parrot a bit of TW here; there are thousands of 737, 707s, C-135s with the same trim wheel and that has never been identified as a fault. I also know the interplay between elevator control, DCAS, and trim that leads to fatal results.

        Trim control is a supplementary flight control. If an airplane has elevator control that provides control over the full envelope, controlling an aircraft through trim is not a flight safety issue. There is a converse risk of giving a pilot too much trim authority and s/he overtrims to an unsafe attitude–which is what DCAS was doing without pilot knowledge. Does a regulator require Boeing to disable full trim travel when no pilot manually trimming an aircraft has ever overtrimmed himself into a hole in the ground? I think the manual system has been shown to work.

        So long as the primary flight control is effective and not undermined by automated flight controls, I don’t see inadequate trim control as a critical fault that will jeopardize an aircraft.

        • The trim wheel was changed, it became smaller. This is an event which regulators must not accept. Especially when the Boeing clowns assured that the trim wheel could be used and is working in every case. If I were a regulator and Boeing would do that to me, I would fine the LIAR millions. People died because of Boeing’s stupidity and providing wrong information. This will surely be a point in court.

        • Garrat:

          I am having a problem unraveling the test here.

          The Manual Trim uses the Stabilizer not the Elevators

          Full stab down seems to be more than elevators that are linked to the You can handle. Auto0 pilot also uses the elevators for its work.

          My understanding is you can move the Stab via the Manual Trim wheel in high speed conditions and have to dump the nose to unload it.

          There is also a gear Assembly involved that the motor attaches to.

          That has a clutch that is supposed to be able to break free if the manual trim needs to be used and the motor is frozen.

          All of this was know and certificated by EASA and China etc (as well as FAA)

          Now at issue is can you get to the point with the Stab you can’t get out of with elevator or the stab has not moved enough you can’t.

          Its an odd area.

          Its fair to bring it up but it is also a fact as have stated (and you concur with) that 5000 plus aircrat have it and its NOT A MAX direct issue though it also is in the Max.

          So I would like to hear someone defend the so perfect EASA on that aspect.

          If they stop the MAX from flying (which is their right) then they have to ground all NG, Classics, 727, 707s and any other aircraft that uses that system.

          Otherwise its two faced.

          I believe they will just pretend its not an issue or more accurately slather it over with training and sim work to ensure the pilots can deal with it (hint hint, wink wink, nod nod) as its a feature of European aircraft of the past as well.

          • TW, thanks for that education/clarification.

            MCAS 2.0 could and should introduce an additional safety margin to keep the tail from wagging the dog into a smoldering hole even if the design still has an inherent risk that cannot be mitigated.

            The 737’s safety record pre-MAX shows that while trim authority contains a weakness that was exposed by automation in MAX, it is not inherently dangerous until you automate it very poorly.

          • If you change grandfather’s knees the regulators can ask to change the whole legs and maybe the hips too.
            If you want to keep grandfather it’s stupid to touch him.
            Boeing was in the regulation business and they abused and raped it, but EASA stripped that now. Good EASA did that. That’s why Boeing stopped producing.

          • @TW

            Critical point you make ‘of the past’, this gets to the crunch issue with the MAX. Simply it is ‘of the past’ by design. To gain the grandfathering and keep down costs and satisfy demands of major buyers the MAX has intentionally not reflected improvements in safety that other aircraft have. There is still a clear rationale to say that an issue from past aircraft can and should be improved upon. It should have been demanded at original certification.

        • When Boeing designed the 737-NG series, they changed the cockpit panel to have flat panel displays. TV screens if you will. When they did that, they decreased the size of the trim wheel diameter. The 737-NG doesn’t have MCAS. When they designed the 737-MAX, they took out the yoke-jerk column switches, which in the past would stop the automatic trim system from a runaway condition. They also don’t have an OFF switch for MCAS. An automated system that can only be stopped now by shutting down the one electric trim motor. When MCAS fails (it should fail less than before, but, still can fail), there still is no OFF switch. No column stop switch, only the trim motor cut off switch. So, you are left with the smaller manual trim wheel. If the ET302 pilots were around today, I think they’d have a comment or two about this arrangement and Boeing’s trim runaway procedures. An OFF switch for MCAS would allow the yoke switches to be used. A yoke jerk switch on the column with 100 lbs of force would also stop a runaway MCAS. A shifting gear or other way to gain mechanical advantage over the manual trim wheel, to quickly change the trim setting. MCAS uses the high speed setting of the trim motor. An MCAS ACTIVE light is also indicated. We’ve known about this for over 6 months now. I don’t know why these haven’t been done.

          • RD:

            They do have an off switch for MCAS.

            Its the two stab switches. I believe they are redundant. either one off kills the trim motor (vague memories of the second motor back on the classics so two were needed)

            Ethiopian lost their speed awareness and they could not trim due to high speeds so they turned it back on.

          • “They do have an off switch for MCAS. ”

            They have an electric trim cut out switch.
            If you kill the bovine you don’t have mouth and hoof disease anymore either.

    • Philip, your argument is that the delay and uncertainty surrounding recertification reflects the regulators’ lack of confidence in Boeing’s proposed solution. Yet when asked about that, the regulators have said they are being thorough, and it takes as long as it takes.

      There have been some dissenting voices from within the regulators regarding Boeing’s solution (specifically MCAS). The regulators have said those don’t represent an official position or finding. As of now, there is no official position or finding.

      We know that Boeing’s solutions have been submitted for evaluation, and that evaluation is underway. The software audit is underway. EASA requested test flights are scheduled for audit completion and have been since the request was made in October. The 1302 testing has proceeded. Other flight and simulator testing is also underway, including regulator participation. So it appears that things are proceeding as expected, just much more slowly than excepted.

      The FAA has listed requirements for recertification. Some of those are redundant and are repetitions of reviews that have occurred before, due to new changes that may occur. But if you look at the scope of the requirements, they are unprecedented for any other commercial airliner. Nothing close to this has ever been required before, except perhaps for the Space Shuttle disasters. Then as now, it was necessary to restore confidence before flight.

      So FAA is trying to rebuild trust that their process is complete and thorough and transparent and free of bias. Also to ensure that all stakeholders have a seat at the table. This prevents groups (including Congress) from coming back at them with recriminations.

      Unfortunately this also means extended delay and uncertainty for Boeing and the MAX. It’s a trade-off but I think FAA has decided that confidence takes precedence over other concerns.

      Pressure against that decision may mount if an extended delay creates public economic hardship. People thrown out of work, will say that Boeing did their best to keep them employed over 9 months, and blame the regulators for the delay, however fair or unfair that might be.

      My own view, is that the FAA strategy is good as long as everyone retains focus on the goal of having a safe 737 MAX, within the bounds of reason and by objective standards, and with steady (even slow) progress towards a resolution. But it could backfire if it erupts into the kind of discord we’ve seen in these forums, or if progress grinds to a halt. So a lot depends on professionalism and conduct. We’ll just have to see.

      • You missed saying that us Aerospace is dependant on the FAA’s credibility. That means Airbus, Northrop, Lockheed, GE, Pratt, Textron etc etc. They have to get their preceedures up to scratch or a lot more than Boeing will be in trouble.

      • Rob,

        They, the regulators, are being thorough. But their public statements are beyond less than enthusiastic. Ergo, they don’t want to do this. Ergo, why are Boeing demanding they do it. By inference, they are telling Boeing to do something else.

        It’s called deplomacy

        • I will add. Just understand the word diplomacy. People are trying to be nice.

          The MAX sucks.

          The regulators would prefer not to have the problem

          • Well that was brilliant.

            Regulators are are paid to deal with problems. People like them and me live and breath to solve and deal with problem (well I did)

            As the Inspewor General for the US Department of Justice said, I knew when I got into this it was not a popularity contest.

            If you can’t stand the heat don’t go into the kitchen.

            Or as I alwyas said “bring it on” there is no problem that does not have a solution.

            Laymen think so but its not true, there is always a solution (sometimes it just costs a lot)

          • TW

            Haven’t you worked out I’m immune to your insults. I like Pablo’s description of you as the Sheriff.

          • Philip, in fairness to TW, I was the one condemned as being Sheriff, for my thesis on truthfulness. TW is innocent in that regard.

          • Rob,

            I respect your wish to take responsibility for TW. But insult is insult. TW has a long history of it, well before your time.

            After the Lion Air crash, I said within days the MAX must be grounded. TW’s response was biblical.

            The MAX must not fly.

          • Philip:

            They are not insults. Just accurate observations about someone who is obsessed and can’t get over it.

            Just the facts mam

        • It sure seems to this SLF that there is much more than a ‘ software’ fix. Consider that if it was only software, then once tested and certified- ( and not counting the normal maint and clean and ” out of storage” items, A new software load could problauy be installed in a few hours, and a few hours more of automated testing of the new load would probably take a full half or 1 day. recover from storage will take a few days but much – most could be done before computer whiz shows up with new software to plug in and recalibrate. Computer whiz no doubt needs at least one other tech- mech to help checkswitches And results and movement of everything.

          Fielding 10 teams – probably each team upgrades 1 per day, 10 planes per day = 40 to 50 days to do 400. Thats two months at BEST. Now add in flight test ( separate team ) and anything less than 3 months to get em flying is wishful thinking.

          Now add in some unknown additional parts- hardware- trim wheel issues and 6 months to clear current non delivered is IMHO a minimum before bringing most crews back to seattle to do ditto on production …

          My guess – WARN notices go out in Feb …

  18. One half of me does wonder if there is further political games being played…

    Boeing keeps pushing for recertification date, gets a slapped wrist… Boeing throws the toys out of the pram, ‘see how you like this then’….

    tens of thousands of jobs at risk, 0.5% hit to the economy… It’s an election year and (to the outsider at least) Trumps main card is the economy continues to do well. Certain states start loosing jobs and it could be an interesting mix.

    That’s one hefty hand grenade

    • Boeing seems to have the objective of getting the 737-MAX re-certified and flying again. I think their objective should be to build a safe plane. Time will tell which objective prevails.

      • Richard, the two objectives are not mutually exclusive. I would hope they will converge, and the 737 MAX will return to flight as a safe plane.

        As far as political games, we have to hope that doesn’t start up. We just need technical solutions to technical problems. Politics will only make things worse.

        • Thee is always some or a lot of politics.

          Sometimes it actually is part of the right solution due to the pressure politic can bring to bare.

          PM in my world is supposed to refer to Political Maintenance .

          I alwyas told the management it stood for Political Maintenance.

          It was amazing how often a simple mechanical issue got turned into a political one (first attempt alwyas to sweep it under the rug)

          So, we would do PMs find problems and as long as it was low cost no issue.

          As soon as it got expensive fix, then it got swept under the rug.

          My question of course was why do we bother to do PMs?

          Or, sorry guys, this can’t be made to work the way you want, you are going to have to replace it.


          But it never was a popularity contest and it was amazing how you got chewed out for finding a problem that you had nothing to do with creating.

    • “”One half of me does wonder if there is further political games being played…””

      The TAB clowns are surely a political part. They said MCAS follows regulations and is safe.
      Maybe one reason why Jim Marko’s email became public … to tell the clowns they are clowns.
      Since then it seems EASA is in full control.

      • You and the ever wondrous EASA.

        I have shown where they have failed miserably, they can’t even pick up on a huge fidelity change in Flight simulators.

        Pathetic, its a basic part of their job.

        • There are still many uncovered and unruled crimes from WWII which Germany, Japan, Russia and even USA did. Not easy to uncover everything.

          But now EASA is in the position to check everything. Before EASA trusted the work FAA did. Now we know that some exceptions from regulations were kept secret. EASA will not find every mistake but most.

          I don’t know how it is in aviation but in other fields the law requires that producers have to follow every regulation and if one regulation is not followed the producer needs to mention and explain why it is not needed or which other system can provide an equal result instead.
          If a producer includes an exemption into a drawing but failed to mention the exemption in detail in the description and the certificator doesn’t recognize the exemption it’s not the certificator who failed by law.

          So Boeing is hiding and cheating with criminal intention and you want to blame the certificator, good luck with that. I”m curious how many billions in fines Boeing has to pay. Stupid that a JT610 victim accepted $1.2m only, that’s what criminal Muilenburg earns in 2 weeks.

  19. I’m still trying to make sense of the MAX assembly line halt.

    We know that the assembly line at Renton will halt in January, we’ll have to watch Spirit to see if they keep producing fuselages, and storing them.

    “We believe this decision is least disruptive to maintaining long-term production system and supply chain health. This decision is driven by a number of factors, including the extension of certification into 2020, the uncertainty about the timing and conditions of return to service and global training approvals, and the importance of ensuring that we can prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft.” from the BA press release.

    The least disruptive option is to continue production. Neither money, not storage space appear to be an issue.

    “importance of ensuring that we can prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft.” might be the real reason, it could be that some airlines may be in a position to cancel, or at least re-negotiate their purchase contracts if their aircraft are not delivered a year after they were supposed to be.

    I don’t see Boeing halting production to clear the entire backlog of stored MAXs, or anything near to that. The airlines can only take new aircraft at a particular rate, and I am sure some airlines have now got aircraft leased, or have not handed back aircraft in order to mitigate the effects of not having their MAXs delivered on time. I don’t see these airlines suddenly wanting to take tens of MAXs in very short order.

    Of course there is also the issue of training, no-one seems to know what that might be at the moment, but if additional training is required, that will also affect how quickly an airline will accept delivery of it’s MAXs.

    There is an outside chance that the MAX may need more than a software fix in order to be un-grounded. Stopping production in such a case would make sense. If you already have over 400 airframes that you are going to have to modify, it certainly wouldn’t make sense to carry on producing aircraft that you know you’ll have to modify later. (Especially if you don’t yet know how extensive the modification may be.)

    As I understand the certification process, none of the certification authorities tell the airframer how to address a failure to meet a regulation. It’s up to the manufacturer to meet the regulations, and present the aircraft to the authorities for certification.

    The FAA, and the other agencies will certainly have been paying attention to all of the other issues where it’s been reported that managers appear to have over-ruled safety staff. I’m sure hazard assessments have been thoroughly checked, I can’t see the FAA, or EASA ignoring anything that they now find to be a major problem.

    I think the FAA is under enormous pressure from both sides (the first is obvious, and the other is from EASA, and the other authorities).

    My prediction is that the FAA will do their utmost to certify a safe MAX, and un-ground it when that’s done. EASA will follow shortly after as long as they believe that the FAA have been able to do their job properly. I expect EASA will do their own certification if they are not satisfied with the FAA certification.

    The CAAC ? I really don’t know, that’s much more complicated !

    • JakDak, good analysis. I agree that uncertainty plays a role, since the final fixes are not yet known. Also their ability to address stored aircraft.

      Boeing had previously said they had the resources to handle that, but now are trying to hire mechanics, and may have found the reserve supply is limited.

      This would also line up with the FAA withdrawing airworthiness certification from Boeing, over concerns that Boeing wouldn’t have the quality control in place to do it adequately for the large number of stored aircraft.

      There is also optics, Boeing cannot afford to have stored aircraft failing to meet airworthiness, they basically need 100% on those inspections. So that process will require a lot of attention.

      So I think you’re correct that it’s a lot of factors taken together, rather than one overwhelming reason.

  20. “As I understand the certification process, none of the certification authorities tell the airframer how to address a failure to meet a regulation. It’s up to the manufacturer to meet the regulations, and present the aircraft to the authorities for certification.”

    Now what if the airframer is sponsoring, pushing the rulemakers to tell the certification authorities to shift responsibilities to the airframer and adjust regulations so they meet the timeline of the airframer?

    What if in reality the certification authorities are airframer employees with a FAA hat on, having to decide if to reject modification developped by their bosses.

    Congress, Boeing and the FAA stood shoulder to shoulder to fight of competition and save jobs. Implementing the best available safety systems became priority #5 or #6.

    • Keesje

      That may well have been the case !

      What I’m saying is I think there is too much at stake for the FAA, EASA, and others now. They are having to make very sure that they don’t miss anything.

      The FAA are in a difficult position, they are responsible for safety, but also promoting aviation, it’s a difficult balance, and potentially conflicting interests, and political pressure.

      EASA are in a different position, much less politics*, and they are really only responsible for aviation safety. Their problem is that they thought the FAA were doing their job well, now it appears they didn’t have the resources or control they should have had. EASA is embarrassed, and they wont want to make any mistakes, they will be watching the FAA’s work very carefully.

      I hope that I am wrong, but my 2 cents worth would be that the software audit is what’s currently holding things up. If you can’t prove that the software is safe, you really can’t proceed.

      *EASA is an agency of the European Union (currently 28 members), but also participates with EFTA (4 members), and Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. There’s no direct figurehead that they report to, no one person can politically influence them. In a way they report to a committee, and I’m pretty sure its’ the same the world over, committees have great difficulty agreeing to pretty much anything.

    • Duke, and TW,

      I wasn’t saying that EASA is run by a committee, Patrick Ky is the executive director.

      What I was saying is that EASA isn’t subjected to as much political pressure, as they in essence report to a committee.

      There is currently no President of the United States of Europe, no one person who can apply pressure to EASA to make it change it’s mind about a safety issue for a political reason.

      The EU, EFTA, and the rest would never agree to force EASA to make a safety decision on the basis of politics.

      EASA also doesn’t have a remit to promote aviation, it’s only concerned with civil aviation safety.

      I think there has to be some self certification by the airframers, but it has to be reformed, and there has to be strict oversight.
      A few quotes from Patrick Ky to the EU Parliament Committee:

      “Yes, there was a problem in this notion of delegation by the FAA of the MCAS safety assessment to Boeing,”
      “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.”

      I think that’s a very salient point. I would expect that the FAA/EASA/CAAC/TCCA etc. would want to be convinced of the reason for removing a number of levels of lightning strike protection from the 787. I would expect that they’d want to see the science, and the data, not just the amount of time, and money it would save during production, or maintenance after a strike.

      I think also that those doing the self-certification at airframers, even thought they are paid by the airframer, should report to the certification authority directly, not via management of their company, and on to the authority.

      I would also modify the reciprocal certification arrangements, so I would expect the FAA to certify for instance the 777X, and for EASA to not just rubber stamp the certification, but to go through, and verify the certification to ensure that nothing had been missed. I’d expect the NSA from Airbus to be certified by EASA, and for the FAA to double check everything.

      And yes I would expect funding of the certification authorities to be addressed as the airframers would pay for the certification, they can certainly afford it !

      • I whole heartedly agree the inspectors should report direly to the FAA and not Boeing

        I do disagree that EASA is not exposed to politics, too many of their decision indicate that (including the manual trim issue)

        Further, any time Boeing comes up with a novel aspect (be it batteries or MCAS) it should be put to a relevant group to resolve it in the best interests of safety.

        The bums rush and things like removing a safety items from the 787 wing is beyond disgusting in letting it go.

        No disagreement we need reform, I agree the FAA should be separated from Aviation promotion, that is insane.

  21. I’m not confident the Max will fly again as a passenger plane in the US. Some here say passengers have a short memory and don’t know what the Max is. But the passengers aren’t the ones buying the plane; the airlines are. And if I were an airline, I wouldn’t want it. Sadly, it’s a lemon — no matter how much some engineers argue for its viability. The problem is that it was priced as a bargain — efficient, inexpensive, required no retraining of pilots. All of those things might be gone with potential fixes. From the beginning, Boeing’s path has been somewhat obvious. End the Max. Fire upper level executives. Start again with something bold and new. The company is in big trouble and it has made too many bad and questionable decisions. It can’t rely on the Max to save it. Anyone can see that clearly. They just don’t want to admit it because it will be hard. It will be messy.

    • Airlines will take it if its approved by the FAA and they feel its safe.

      There is ZERO evidence that the MAX is anything other than safe.

      Take out MCAS and you could fly it just like an NG and never see an issue.

      Well program the column switch back in so that the Stab motor quits moving.

      Heck keep the cross computers and dual input AOA, all good stuff!S

        • Me either.

          I think you do a disservice to the basic solid nature of the 737.

          More like my 60s Ford Bronco. solid, but not what a modern machine can so but it sure was reliable.

          • I’m watching Southwest… their commitment to boeing just may be fading. Definitely one to watch.

    • RealSteve, I think the point of the extended evaluation process is to assure the public that the MAX has been reviewed, corrected and is safe. The public will accept that if they see the evaluation has been fair and objective, and is supported by the major stakeholders.

      Airlines will also do their part to present that case to the public. They will offer options for persons such as yourself that don’t want to fly.

      Your view of it as a lemon is your opinion. It flew just fine and was regarded as a success before the grounding. The cause of the accidents is well established and understood, and the solution is in place. There is not reason outside of the forthcoming evaluation, to believe that the MAX would be unsuccessful when returned to service.

      If the evaluation is that it can’t or shouldn’t be returned to service, obviously that is another matter. But I don’t see a reason for that to be the likely result, in view of all the effort put forth by all parties, to work toward a good outcome.

      • Rob and TW,
        The Max is a lemon that never should have been conceived. Can’t you see that it’s a problem if you have to make an argument FOR the safety of a plane? This is not just a PR problem. It’s doubtful now that the Max can deliver on its thrifty promises. I’m not even sure the NG does. It, too, might be much more expensive to operate than originally thought. I’m sure some start up companies in developing nation’s might want it if it’s given away. If it flies again, other companies might be stuck with it, but I’m not sure they’ll be happy. Instead they’ll be looking at the 3rd little pig — Delta — with envy. Spin it all you want. A lemon’s a lemon. 🍋 Maybe a safe one, but still. By the way, saying this doesn’t make me happy. It makes me sad and terrified for the coming economic tsunami produced by this tragic corporate debacle.

        • Real Steve:

          I am more than a bit amazed at your posting,

          A lemon is a vehicle of whatever type that is failure prone. No unsafe but it often does not start, trany goes, rear end goes, engine fails etc.

          All data on the NG said it was equal to the A320CEO for economics (which includes dispatch)

          What I an tell you is relay ya logic is a lot easier to trouble shooting than whiz bang Electronics (FBW). Finding an intermittent can be a real pissero.

          After the 2nd reset you start pulling shit out if you can’t isolate it. The last thing you pull that fixes it is the problem (you tag the other stuff as suspect until you figure it out)

          On the other hand modern electronics per aircraft are very solid and don’t do that a lot.

          So its a coin flip, modern whiz ban solid stuff vs old reliable stuff.

          Boeing was full of BS that the 737 was ever better than the A320 (maybe the early A320 were not as good)

          but numerous airlines that operated both types said they were equal, One day one got better economy, the next day it flipped.

          A320 has had a number of times its front gear did not rotate so they went a bit far where you have to have it turn 90 degree once its down but its fairly rare.

          What it says is aerodynamics have failed to come up with anything better when a 60s jet can compete with an 80s jet and no one has come up with better.

          Overall 737 has been an equal match to the A320. Not better, but equal with some trade offs as to where they get their reliability.

          I worked with a number of systems that were relay logic (like them), hybrid, or all electronic.

          done right they all were good.

          Done wrong, they can suck. I had one Carbon Monoxide detection system (electronic ) that was pure crap, there was no way it would stay in calibration.

          Had to replace the whole damned thing.

          Another system was iffy, two were rock solid.

          • I readily admit the 737 is a great jet. It’s the first plane I ever flew, and there is something I still love about it. But I think it has been somewhat disgraced by the Max. A lemon can be a lemon for many reasons — perhaps it doesn’t perform well or as promised. Perhaps it requires too much maintenance and is a pain in the ass. I’m not so sure about the NG and whether the hamster mouth engines are the engineering miracle they are thought to be. Fuel consumption is not the only factor. And even you, TW, mention the trim wheels as being a problem consumers might be stuck with. The Boeing 737 Max is a lemon because two brand new airplanes crashed within months of each other and for engineering reasons. It’s a lemon because it has been grounded for an unprecedented and indeterminate length of time. And it’s a lemon because if I were an airline like Delta, I’d be glad I don’t own any, and if I were an airline like Southwest I’d be jealous of Delta and terrified for my future with this airplane. When I was a child, I begged my mother to buy an AMC Pacer. I thought it was cool looking and I liked the commercials. And though there still may be some AMC Pacers on the road, I’m glad she didn’t. And

          • Real Steve:

            A lemon in mfg terms is an unreliable machine over all.

            The 737 is reliable and the NG had the same issue with Manual Trim that the MAX has.

            One really crappy piece of logic/software does not make the MAX a lemon.

            Don’t like it, fine, Lemon, no.

    • I regular old crane loads these on the trains? You’d think they would have something cool like a hovercraft crane with suction cups floating around the yard.

      • Ted,

        Kind of reminds you of that ole’ jack screw taking orders from some newfangled software program. We don’t live in a frictionless world — despite what “they” might want us to think.

  22. The RTS volumes might be easier to handle as some customers have started walking away from the MAX. Irish lessor Timaero just sued B to void the purchase of 22 MAX .
    This may be the start of the stampede for the exit…
    Scott, have you picked up any other rumors of further defections?

    • You would think Boeing would just give everyone the option to cancel free of charge. Why not? More 737s for everybody else. At this point the schedule and production is in total flux, so what does it really matter.

      • Why would I cancel if I feel Boeing can’t deliver and they have to compensate me.
        They need to compensate me that I didn’t order Airbus with the promisses Boeing made. Now I’m thousands of spots behind on Airbus’ order list.

  23. $$$$ Cash is the answer, what with refunding payments, paying indemnities etc…

  24. What if? What if MCAS is a system – a system that’s not even essential to fly the 737 Max relatively safely? What if all it would have taken to insure the 737 Max was safe was some simulator training to get the new 737 Max pilots acquainted with the 737 Max’s handling characteristics: simulator time that Boeing did not want the customer to have to buy. Hence…Boeing created MCAS: a non-essential system designed to eliminate the need for additional pilot simulator training. Now Boeing could brag that the pilots could switch over from the 737NG to the 737Max at virtually no cost to the airlines.

    • Do you think FAA engineers are stupid. They would lose their jobs if they ask for something which is not needed, especially with the power Boeing had.

      • “Do you think FAA engineers are stupid. They would lose their jobs if they ask for something which is not needed, especially with the power Boeing had.”

        Where has it been documented that the FAA ever asked Boeing to include the MCAS System?

        • Of course the FAA can’t ask for McAss, they ask for a linear flight behaviour which is written in the regulations.

          If you allow exceptions from regulations it’s the same as government funding.
          Since the government allowed Boeing to self-certify this might be a subject for the WTO too, that would be a landslide.

          • Would that be like the same government funding for all the Airbus products?

    • I think Boeing wanted the MAX to have good characteristics that would meet the regulations. The NG also had those same characteristics. If both aircraft met the regulations, then it follows they would have similar handling. I don’t think Boeing’s goal with MCAS was to avoid pilot training.

      • Rob,

        What you wrote is gonna take a bit for me to unpack, so I’ll answer one statement at a time. Thanks for your patience.

        “1. I think Boeing wanted the MAX to have good characteristics that would meet the regulations.”

        Any aircraft which meets regulations by definition handles “Well Enough”.

        2. “If both aircraft met the regulations, then it follows they would have similar handling.”

        A lot of aircraft meet regulations, yet they do not necessarily have similar handling. If that were so, then the A220, the Embraer Aircraft, the A320, the 737NG etc. would all have similar handling – because they met the same regulations of which you speak. However, they all handle differently, but acceptably. The 737Max handling is the exception: it violently overwhelms the pilot and proceeds to do…very unappropriate things.

        3. ” I don’t think Boeing’s goal with MCAS was to avoid pilot training.”

        I think you may be right on this one. I don’t know. What I do know is that Boeing has several options to try to fix the problem, namely: (at least the ones I’ve thought of)

        A. Fix the MCAS Software
        B. Remove MCAS and fly without it.
        C. Develop new MCAS Computers, Sensors and Software
        D. Make an Aerodynamic fix on the plane itself.
        E. Develop a New Small Airplane
        F. Yoda

        Let’s talk about each.

        A. Fix the MCAS Software
        Probably not possible. I think if Boeing could have done it, then they would have done it by now.
        B. Remove MCAS and fly without it.
        Probably not possible. I think if Boeing could have done it, then they would have done it by now instead of continuing to accrue losses.
        C. Develop new MCAS Computers, Sensors and Software
        Maybe this is possible, and I’ve read that it may have to be done. But it will take a Looooong time to develop the System and Qualify it. Lots of money lost while this happens.
        D. Make an Aerodynamic fix on the plane itself.
        May not be possible. I read that Boeing already tried this, but failed (but this isn’t anything I can confirm). Also, I think Boeing would have already put this fix forward if it could be done instead of gathering more losses.
        E. Develop a New Small Airplane
        Wow…just wow! This has got to be the worst case option. It would take Boeing a Corporate Fortune – much more than what was spent on the 787 – to pull this off. Because Boeing is a company that can no longer develop aircraft worth a snitch. I mean, the 787 Development Debacle, the KC-46 woes, the 777x blowing its guts out during Wing-Load Testing and the 737Max auguring into the ground at Mach 1 aren’t accidents – they are the result of Boeing’s new method of developing aircraft.
        F. Yoda
        There is only one man alive that has proven that he has the superpowers to save Boeing: Louis Gallois, the former CEO of airbus. Not only did Gallois bring Airbus back from the simultaneous A380 and A400 debacles, but he also was the first man to make the French Train System run on time. Anyone who can tame the French and work with Germans is a Baaaaaad Dude. I don’t think its an accident that Gallois looks like Yoda – I think the force is strong in him.

        • Jimmy, I could only respond that Boeing has already done Option A (fixed MCAS), and tested it extensively, but we are waiting now to see if it will pass muster with the regulators.

          That will depend on how it’s classified, which is why EASA wants their own test flights. Under the existing regulations for a trim & handling system, it should pass. If it gets promoted to a stall identification system, then it may not pass, and there may be no way to make it pass in the existing form (operating the stabilizer).

          There would be several alternative options possible then (your B, C, D, as well as others), but things become even more unpredictable, as it’s starting over from scratch.

          I guess my thoughts are that since there is a pre-existing case for successful MCAS (KC-46 tanker), the focus should be on making sure the MAX version of MCAS is safe, rather than on a rule-related change. But it’s up to the regulators to decide.

  25. Here is some deduction reasoning using functional hazard analysis, FHA.

    There are four levels of hazard, “minor”, “major”, “hazardous” and “catatrophic”.

    A “minor” hazard isn’t reportable. This is what happened. Boeing deemed the pitch instability to be “minor”. They didn’t report it to the FAA. Instead they said to the FAA they would develop improvements to the speed trim system, called MCAS, that would make a MAX feel like a NG.

    But has “minor” hazards are not reportable, they are never a reason for grounding. So the regulators don’t think the pitch instability is “minor”.

    Is the pitch instability a “major” hazard.

    If a “major” hazard can be contained then it is a “major” hazard. If it can’t be contained, then it needs to be re-categorised as “hazardous” or “catastrophic”.

    Grounded for ten months and counting. So Boeing are having difficulty convincing the regulators that the pitch instability can be contained. Ergo, the regulators think the pitch instability is “hazardous” or “catastophic”

    Why? On a calm, clear day with verything working, I think the pitch instability rates as a “major” hazard. But when something is broken the flight deck goes into meltdown. So then the pitch instability becomes a “hazardous” hazard. But if it becomes broken at night, no moon and an ice storm, then the pitch instability becomes a “catastophic” hazard.

    So sum up.


    Grounding should only occur if the hazard rates as “hazardous” or “catastrophic”.

    As stated, “minor” hazards are even reportable.

    A “major” hazard that can be contained is subject to an AD, the purpose of which is to contain the hazard or reduce the hazard to “minor”.

    A “major” hazard that can’t be contained must be re-categorised as “hazardous” or “catestophic”, causing the airplane to be grounded.


    The regulators believe that the pitch instability is “hazardous” or “catestrophic” when a flight deck meltdown occurs because something breaks. Boeing have not convinced them otherwise.

    In other words Boeing have not convinced the regulators that it’s a “major” hazard but it can be contained or reduced to a “minor” hazard by the miracle of MCAS.

    Ergo, remains grounded

    • JATR doubted MCAS in the report. It just takes so much time because of the audit delay. EASA will flight test it someday and prove what it is. We all know what to expect.

      • And when EASA do flight tests they will find the pitch instability to be a “major” hazard, which becomes a “hazardous” hazard when the flight deck goes into meltdown because something is broken, which then becomes a “catastophic” hazard in a ice storm, at night with no moon.

        Boeing declared the pitch instability to be a “minor” hazard. If true switch off MCAS. Can MCAS be switched off? It happens every time the flaps go down. So yes.

      • “”It just takes so much time because””

        Dickson asked for all certification documents, Boeing self-certified 96% of its work. I wonder how long it will take for Boeing to provide the documents because these documents might show the calculations with undue pressure.

    • Philip

      If you’ve not already read it, have a look at Peter Lemme’s post here:

      “Boeing had declared MCAS malfunction a MAJOR hazard.” so it was always a MAJOR hazard, Peter Lemme looks at why it was not classified as HAZARDOUS.

      A few remarks from the article:

      “Repetitive MCAS malfunction should have been declared HAZARDOUS.
      The combination of air data, stall warning and MCAS persistent malfunction should have been declared CATASTROPHIC.”

      • JakDak

        Peter Lemme is very much part of the evidence. He’s a respected control engineer. So I have read. But thanks.

        I’m an engineer. I’m retired, but my education won’t end until I end. I sure you are of the same reasoning.

  26. May I address the burden of proof. Scientists have the burden of proof with regard to their science. This is law in all civilised societies.

    To use medicine for comparison. Doctors must prove their medicine works and is safe. The same applies to engineers. Engineers must prove their engineering works and is safe.

    So Boeing must prove that the MAX works and is safe. Not the other way round. In other words, ‘We The People’ don’t have to prove the MAX doesn’t work and is unsafe.

    The culprits are the Boeing lobby. The Boeing lobby persistently turn the burden of proof upside down by saying prove it. Boeing have to prove it.

    Clearly, Boeing are having difficulty proving it. There is no evidence that the regulators have approved MCAS as the solution. All the evidence suggests the regulators have, to say the least, the gitters with regard to approving MCAS as the solution.

    But it goes further, we are being told that MCAS isn’t necessary for safety. It’s merely there to let pilots think they are flying a NG when they are flying a MAX. Ten months grounded and counting for that! Bonkers.

    The most damning evidence is in the JATR report and the Lion Air crash report. Both reports are persistently ignored by the Boeing lobby as if they don’t exist. The posts of the Boeing lobby on this web-site prove that.

    Other evidence that the regulators have the gitters first came from European regulators, then Canadian regulators, then Indian regulators and lastly Chinese regulators.

    We are told this other evidence doesn’t count because it doesn’t represent an ‘official’ position. That’s not been said by the regulators that’s been said by the Boeing lobby.

    So the Boeing lobby are ignoring damning evidence in official reports and declaring all other evidence as not an ‘official’ position. There are two words for that: Orwellian and Machiavellian. The first is the manipulation of words to avoid the truth, the second is the manipulation of the state to avoid the truth.

    To the Boeing lobby:

    It’s been done before. That’s why we have words for it.

    Dear me!

    • Philip, with regard to the burden of proof, I think Boeing has worked diligently to prove the MAX is safe. They have conducted 40% to 50% of the testing required for a new aircraft certification, to check their remediation work. That is not trivial or lacking in proof or evidence or data.

      Boeing went successfully though the entire MAX certification process the first time. We know that process was flawed with regard to MCAS. That flaw now has been projected onto the entire certification process. If we didn’t know about MCAS, what else don’t we know?

      Note that there is not significant evidence that this projection is valid or warranted, as it amounts to guilt by association, but it’s an understandable concern in people’s minds. It goes to the notion of trust, and trust in our certification system is paramount.

      So ok, we accept that, and define a recertification process. We invite EASA and other regulators, NTSB, NASA, Air Force, anyone who has expertise in this area, to participate. We create new agencies such as JATR and JOEB, and ask them to investigate and comment. We establish multiple levels of review, far beyond the FAA approval that is legally required.

      This is an unprecedented step, but it avoids the perception that further mistakes will go uncovered, or that there is a whitewash or automatic pass of the MAX, or undue influence by Boeing. Or that certification can’t be trusted.

      So now that process is playing out. We have the reports that were requested, except for Ethiopian which is still pending. The reports more or less concur on the accident chain, as well as other contributing factors. They reinforce & confirm what we already knew, an improper design and implementation of MCAS was the most significant contributing factor in the accidents, but by no means the only factor. So it has become the primary focus of concern for the MAX return to service.

      Boeing has worked to address the MCAS issue, and has done extensive testing to show that the remediation was successful. Their work is now under review by the recertification process.

      The involved agencies have made no comment regarding success or failure of Boeing’s efforts. They are reserving judgement until the review is complete, which is a prudent action. They have only said that work is progressing, and have acknowledged they are moving toward ultimate recertification, but have not yet established what that will mean or require. So the result is far from certain.

      Importantly, they are verifying the offered proof that the MAX is safe, not trying to establish that it’s unsafe. They will either verify that proof and accept it, or dispute it and reject it. They may also uncover new certification issues, but Boeing cannot respond to those or offer proof until they are identified.

      So that is where we are. Boeing has cooperated fully and provided the evidence that’s been requested. If they didn’t, the FAA and NTSB have the legal power to compel them. That hasn’t been needed. They have worked to develop data and proof to support their position.

      The burden always remains on Boeing to prove safety, with evidence, and by the objective standards that are accepted within the industry. Within that framework, there is room for interpretation. But that is an authority only the regulators have. None of us here can resolve the final decision, only the regulators can.

      To say more than this, that regulators have the jitters, or that Boeing is struggling to offer proof, that reports are being ignored, that the MAX can’t be fixed, or any of the myriad other things that have been said here, is either speculation or opinion.

      Or to imply that the length of time in the process predicts a negative result, when the regulators have said they aren’t on a timeline. Boeing tried to prod the regulators and were properly rebuffed. So I think they aren’t going to be influenced one way or the other, which is as it should be.

      Lastly with regard to the “Boeing lobby”, I would hope you’d be aware that we all occupy a position on the line of relative support or opposition to Boeing. Further if we are reasoned beings, that position may shift back and forth depending on the issue. The best position on that line is the one closest to the facts, with desire for improvement. The worst position is that defined by anger, with desire for destruction. We all have to decide where we want to be.

      • It isn’t speculation. It’s deductive reasoning, often referred to as differential reasoning.

        All engineers are taught deductive reasoning, but then all scientists are taught deductive reasoning.

        It’s all set out in recommendation 3 of the JATR report. Specifically “minor” hazards don’t need to be subject to detailed analysis and are therefore not reportable.

        If EASA fly the airplane and define the pitch instability as a “major” hazard or worse your entire argument collapses. Specifically EASA will say that MCAS must be treated as a primary control system. Boeing have not provided the upgrades necessary, as defined by regulations, to comply with the definition of a primary control system. MCAS is NOT a primary control system.

        So we come to deductive reasoning. If the pitch instability is a “minor” hazard there is no need for a grounding that will last at least a year and now cost at least $20 billion. Ergo, the pitch instability is more severe than a “minor” hazard. Ergo, MCAS must be treated as a primary control system but it doesn’t have the upgrades necessary to be a primary control system. Ergo, the regulators can’t allow it.

        This comes to Orwellian and Machiavellian behaviour. Manipulate words and the state – regulations and the regulators – to avoid the truth. In short, the Boeing lobby are rewriting regulations to claim the MAX is safe. There is a long history to it. That’s why the behaviour has names.

        If it’s established by EASA that the pitch instability is more severe that a “minor” hazard then MCAS is in contravention of safety regulations with regard to more severe hazards.

        Please read and take on board recommendation 3 of JATR. Your entire argument and the argument of the Boeing lobby collapses unless regulators agree the pitch instability is a “minor” hazard.

        By deductive reasoning that’s not going to happen. If the regulators were agreeable to define the pitch instability as a “minor” hazard, they would have done it months ago. The MAX would be flying. The pitch instability is more severe than a “minor” hazard.

        Deductive reasoning, differential reasoning is not speculation.

        • Philip, the third recommendation of the JATR report pertains to 3 concerns raised in context of the regulations:

          1. Flight Guidance Systems – that MCAS did not meet requirements for pilot interface, awareness, override, engagement & disengagement, and control capability for automatic flight guidance systems such as autopilot and autothrottle.

          2. Airplane Flight Manual – that MCAS was not properly documented in the flight manual.

          3. Stall Demonstration – that the required demonstration of aircraft stall performance may have been altered or impacted by MCAS, such that true unaltered and unaided compliance of the aircraft in stall was never demonstrated.

          The second of these concerns can be easily addressed and likely has been by Boeing.

          The third concern can be addressed in the upcoming test flights without MCAS. If the aircraft has acceptable performance in stall without MCAS, then the presence of MCAS is arguably not related to stall. If it cannot meet the stall performance requirements without MCAS, then MCAS is arguably related to stall prevention, and would need to meet the separate regulations for those systems.

          The first concern may depend on the results of the third, as well as other evaluation criteria, as to whether it is a flight guidance system, or a trim and handling system. Other automatic trim systems, such as STS and MT, are not held to the first standard as flight guidance. So MCAS must be evaluated to see if falls under that umbrella as well.

          As we have said many times, only the regulators can make these determinations. So we are back to wait and see.

          Bjorn and others have opined that the MAX should still be acceptable in stall without MCAS, and they are the experts. There should also be simulator data from the original Boeing testing without MCAS. But ultimately the only opinion that matters is the regulators’, so they must evaluate for themselves.

          • “The third concern can be addressed in the upcoming test flights without MCAS. If the aircraft has acceptable performance in stall without MCAS, then the presence of MCAS is arguably not related to stall. If it cannot meet the stall performance requirements without MCAS, then MCAS is arguably related to stall prevention, and would need to meet the separate regulations for those systems. ”

            10 Months and counting since ET 302. Over a year since the Indonesian crash. Sure is taking Boeing a long time to bring off a simple Demo, huh?

            I smell smoke.

          • Jimmy, the testing cannot be performed until the software audit is compete. Boeing did not finish the FCC reconfiguration to dual-master until October. The audit began in November but was delayed by a month because the auditors wanted the documentation in a different format, which Boeing has now done. So there is no smoking gun.

          • Jimmy,

            “”10 Months and counting since ET 302.””

            One month ago Boeing thought that they were still in the regulatory business. But EASA didn’t accept regulatory delegation to Boeing. On November 27, the FAA has taken further control over certification of individual 737 Max aircraft, saying it will not allow Boeing itself to issue the airworthiness certificates that permit specific aircraft to be flown. On December 12, Boeing was told to provide ALL documents about their self-certifications. This means EVERYTHING could be checked. On December 16, Boeing stopped production.

          • Rob,

            This is where you betray yourself.

            Testing can begin and must begin before the software audit.

            Your back to front. But then verything is back to front with regard to the MAX

          • Leon, just to clarify, Boeing was making public statements & predictions about RTS, that FAA felt were unhelpful to a rigorous and undisturbed professional review.

            So FAA told Boeing that if they wish to accelerate the process, the best method is timely responsiveness to FAA requests. This was a reference to the month-long delay in providing the software audit documentation in the requested format. FAA was pointing out that Boeing has been a contributor to the delay. Also that the regulators aren’t going to be pressured by public statements that raise expectations.

            So FAA drew a line in the sand, but did not make a new demand for documentation. Boeing has never not complied with those requests, they have no standing to do so.

            Boeing stopped production because the end of the year was the last timeframe in which they could reasonably continue. That’s why they were focused on that date for approval. Once that was ruled out, they had to make decision.

          • Philip, the software audit may result in changes to the software that would alter the tests. Therefore all changes must be complete and the software in near-final form for evaluation.

            This why the request in October, was originally scheduled for mid-December, after the software audit. But that was delayed by the documentation format issue.

          • Philip,

            “”Testing can begin and must begin before the software audit.””

            We all want to know the results what MCAS is. But that’s not the way EASA should work.

            EASA should do a normal certification process and assume that MCAS follows regulations. So first the software audit must be checked and accepted. If the software is ok it can be flight tested, otherwise flight testing is a waste because the software can have failures and if there are failures it might be even dangerous for the test crew. EASA might even check all other Boeing-certification documents before flight testing. Flight testing should be the last step.

            Boeing made the stab/elevator stronger. If EASA can’t accept that Boeing needs to fix the tail first, before flight testing. That might be also a reason why Dickson asked for all certification documents.

            Only with flight testing being the last step EASA would know the complete system and what needs to be flight tested, it’s not only about MCAS, especially if Boeing is still hiding. EASA wants to uncover all mistakes Boeing made, not only MCAS which we all assume might be a stall prevention system.

            That’s why Boeing stopped production, because EASA will check everything.

        • Rob,

          Jimmy is right. It’s your number 3. Pleased you have some understanding.

          Will the regulators describe the pitch instability as a “minor” hazard? Long time on the ground for that.

          Pleased you have some understanding

        • Rob,

          I’m sorry. A software audit doesn’t address design issues.

          MCAS.1.0 was written according to design. The design didn’t work so the software didn’t work.

          The same applies to MCAS.2.0. The design doesn’t work so the software won’t work. Specifically, MCAS does not comply with safety regulations with regard to a primary control system

      • Rob,

        I will add. I’ve said it will go to the courts. So to lawyers, acting for the bereaved, this is the first question to regulators: Is the pitch instability a “minor” hazard as defined by a FHA? If the regulators say it more severe, Boeing are culpable. MCAS does not comply with regulations for more severe hazards. More severe hazards require a primary control system as defined by regulations.

        • I would be very surprised if Boeing don’t reach a financial settlement with each, and every one of the families of the victims of Lion Air 610, and Ethiopian 302.

          The DOJ investigation will be a different matter, how much can/will that be influenced politically I wonder ?

          • “”I would be very surprised if Boeing don’t reach a financial settlement””

            Boeing already paid $1.2m for a victim of JT610. Not much. For some people (Trump’s friends in China) a court ruling would be worth much more, to make Boeing’s failures public.

      • Rob,

        What about those who clamor for justice?

        Boeing shills might ignore or might not understand how some of us might feel about this. Of course I am American, and I used to truly believe in Boeing. When I was 7, I remember dreaming as we vacationed in the home of flight attendant who had a poster of a United Boeing 727 on her wall. My brother taught me the parts of the airplane using that poster. For me, it was a given that Boeing was inherently better than airbus. And I believed the analysis of Sully about AF447 saying that the accident would not have happened in a Boeing because of its design philosophy — because the yokes were connected. I was proud.

        So, Boeing shills cannot understand the sense of betrayal I feel by short-sighted, greedy corporate executives.

        The decision to constantly renew the 737 beyond what was reasonable was not only greedy and short sighted; it lacked inventiveness and creativity. It was the move of a carnival huckster — a snake oils salesman — who believes there is a sucker born every minute.

        I was first drawn to this issues because the idea of using software to remedy aerodynamic problems in this way is fascinating to me. I research the interface between humans and technology. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that there is nothing unusual about correcting slight aerodynamic problems with software — if the system is robustly designed that way. I learned that trust in fly by wire is no longer an option; it’s an eventuality. It is a fact of life. I learned that Airbus is not the enemy if it stands for the right things: a belief in strong labor, creativity, long-range planning, and engineering. Despite what some may say, Boeing’s major product isn’t its stock. ( Boeing has the influence it has because it is a major employer and has responsibility to those employees. Boeing is an engineering company that takes something inherently dangerous (much more dangerous than getting into a car — flying 30,000 feet at nearly 600 mph isn’t safe!) and renders it safe (safer than driving in a car). So, Boeing has a tremendous responsibility to every passenger who climbs aboard one of its aircraft. So, it is not just in business to make money. It’s in business to employ worker and grant them a high standard of living and it’s in business to make excellent and safe airplanes. If it does not understand this, it should ceded the business to the socialist and quasi socialist economies of Europe, Japan, Russia and China. Short term profits aren’t cutting it and the 737 Max — that awkward, antiquated looking 50 year old airplane with new engines (like socks on a rooster) — isn’t cutting it.

        So shills , who wrap themselves in the rhetoric of patriotism and say you are either for us or against us, don’t understand how much they and Boeing have betrayed us and our dreams with a sorrowful, ill-conceived lemon like the Max, which may indeed carry passengers again. The executives at Boeing made a pitiful decision by opting to compete against Airbus with the Max. It’s an embarrassment to Boeing and to the US. And they have compounded things by trying to bury their original bad judgment in PR in the hopes of maintaining investor confidence — thereby transforming what was first really bad judgment into what looks like a Ponzi scheme.

        There are not two sides to every argument. Sometimes, what looks like an argument really isn’t one. The problems with the 737 Max are hidden in plain sight. Boeing tried to compete in the fast paced, 21st century world with a 20th century airplane that was only financially viable because it did not have to face the same certification requirements as new aircraft. Then, two brand new aircraft crashed and forced regulators to look more closely at the way this new/old aircraft circumvented best practices and modern regulations.

        So, maybe the Max can be fixed. Maybe it will fly passengers again. But its a shame that American corporations have come to this. It is emblematic, perhaps, that we continue to stake our future on antiquated relics of the past.

        • Who are you? I ask that admiring your posts.

          I know who I am. I have a degree in aeronautical engineering. I then went into designing and developing computer aided design, CAD, systems for my strengths were in applied physics and applied mathematics.

          I admire your posts. Your post means you know. Who are you?

        • Rob,

          Excellent post. Thank you.

          However, here’s something I want you to consider: What if Boeing didn’t betray the aspirations of the American People? What if what you see in the 737Max (with all its hucksterism) is actually a reflection of America’s unspoken values?

          • Rob,

            Unspoken values? My favorite writer calls P.T. Barnum our greatest (or at least most influential) philosopher!

          • “Unspoken values? My favorite writer calls P.T. Barnum our greatest (or at least most influential) philosopher!”

            OK. You hooked me. Who is the writer? I think I’d lie to read a bit of what he says.

        • Thats some interesting comments Steve , however I think you kid your self that is only Europe that ‘semi socialist’

          As well if you look in the economic sphere , the US is a mixed economy, like Europe.
          “The United States has a mixed economy. It works according to an economic system that features characteristics of both capitalism and socialism. A mixed economic system protects private property and allows a level of economic freedom in the use of capital, but also allows for governments to intervene in economic activities in order to achieve social aims and for the public good.”

          We can see this in aviation, where local and state governments fall over themselves offering public benefits for private companies, NASA funds basic and airliner specific research . Boeing was funded to develop a carbon fibre fuselage barrel and the associated manufacturing technologies, and yes carbon fibre was invented at a -socilaised-British aviation research institute, not Nasa as the Smithsonian suggests.
          Not really relevant here , but US agriculture is massively supported by government.
          The US Air Traffic control system is strangely still run along socialised government bureaucratic lines when most of the rest of the world has turned to public owned corporations run using market and business principles. Private flyers dont seem to want ‘user pays’ when the taxpayer is involved.

          • Real Steve”

            Justice is a thing that the law is not about.

            The law is about stability and strucutre and much of it is written for and by those who benefit from not going to jail.

            It written to keep the rabble in their place and let the so called white color crimes go unpunished.

            Once you realize the difference then you can deal with it accordingly.

            Vast numbers of people each day suffer injustice and their perpetrators will never see a charge one.

            In this case the only aspect the victims get is the compensation.

        • RealSteve,

          So, what you’re saying is you are now a radical convert to the religion of Airbus fandom? That’s all well and good but really adds nothing to the debate.

          “There are not two sides to every argument.”

          These words or words like them have been used throughout history to justify killing orders of magnitude more people than the MAX ever will. You should know how these words might sound, as someone who claims to deal in “images and ideologies”.

          • Mike B0hnet,

            I’m not sure what you are saying exactly. Are you calling my post “hate speech”?

            What hateful thing do you think I’m advocating?

          • I think Mike was just objecting to the usage of “not two sides of every argument”, because it can be used to reject any opposing argument, without having to specifically refute said argument.

            That’s been a running theme in these discussions, that I have noticed as well. I don’t think it’s being done maliciously here, it’s just an expression of strong emotions.

            You obviously feel very strongly about your arguments, and you are not accountable to any of us here for your feelings. They are yours and only need to be justifiable to you. You also have every right to express them here.

            I think your intentions are good and you are truly outraged by the accidents and Boeing’s behavior. I wouldn’t be quite as expansive in my conclusions as you are, especially in regard to motivation or intent, but otherwise several of your basic points have merit.

          • RealSteve,

            “Hate speech” didn’t really cross my mind.

            The tone of your post and how some of your ideas were presented as well as the sentence I quoted, struck me as similar to how radical religious “arguments” are often presented.
            Let’s check some boxes.

            Anger obviously permeates your post.

            You identify and vilify an enemy: Boeing and people who you perceive are supporting Boeing.

            You characterize Boeing “supporters” as shills. Remember you are doing this in a post that is a reply to one of Rob’s comments, not in an independent comment to this article. So, are you calling Rob, or other commenters here shills if you perceive them to support Boeing?

            You characterize the enemy, Boeing, as a “carnival huckster — a snake oils salesman — who believes there is a sucker born every minute.”

            You share your conversion story. How once you sided with the enemy but now you’ve seen the light and are speaking out so others will see the light too.

            Your criticism of a Boeing product, the MAX, is not really based on any solid provable technical or economic merit, but your own filtered perception of how the MAX looks; antiquated relic of the past, awkward, socks on a rooster,
            sorrowful, ill-conceived lemon, embarrassment. You caricature based on appearance.

            The only real part of your post that comes close to a technical or economic argument is:

            Boeing tried to compete in the fast paced, 21st century world with a 20th century airplane that was only financially viable because it did not have to face the same certification requirements as new aircraft.

            But this comes across as a faith based statement. What safety requirements does the MAX fall short on that give it an unfair edge. Do you truly understand what grandfathering specifically means in the MAX context, or are you just taking what other Boeing critics say on faith?

            Then there is my favorite. “There are not two sides to every argument. Sometimes, what looks like an argument really isn’t one.”

            It’s like you are saying: “I know the truth and if you don’t agree with me than you are just an ignorant shill and your view deserves no consideration at all because you are an evil Boeing supporter.”

            Like I said, to me there ware som radical religious overtones in your post. And, predictably, the other faithful lapped it up.

          • “”Your criticism of a Boeing product, the MAX, is not really based on any solid provable technical or economic merit””

            I know, Boeing’s mistakes hurt, hurt so much that people forget the mistakes. Forgetting is a way to heal a trauma. Mike should read the reports JATR and KNKT again.

            Lets laugh. On March 13, Boeing stated it “continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. However, after consultation with the FAA, the NTSB and aviation authorities and its customers around the world, Boeing has determined – out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety – to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 737 MAX aircraft.”
            With all we know now about the criminals, how does this sound, OUT OF AN ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION?

            “”What safety requirements does the MAX fall short on that give it an unfair edge.””

            There are many. Stupid to ask this.
            One Example: Boeing NEVER provided an INDEPENDANT software audit. This must be written in regulations, otherwise how can EASA ask for an audit. The edge is time, to sell the MAX earlier.
            If mistakes are found, it means Boeing is not able to provide safe software. Then audits of all other Boeing aircraft in service should be provided. It’s a regulation requirement still unfilled.

            “”Boeing went successfully though the entire MAX certification process the first time.””

            With cheating, self-certification with undue pressures. With exceptions and keeping them secret, which is cheating too.
            That’s why Boeing has to provide ALL self-certification documents now. As if EASA won’t find mistakes. If EASA checks all documents, China might want to see the documents too, CAAC might be laughing already.

        • Hats off to you, Steve.

          I can very much relate to your feeling of betrayal; I could not have expressed it so excellently though.

          • M. Bohnet,
            This is an old thread that probably won’t be read
            I’m not sure my rhetoric scaled the heights of religious zealotry that you claim. In fact, the Manichean divisions you refer to aren’t mine. I did try to place a spin or imagery on some of the issues — in some places, I saw it as a counter spin to all the PR money being spent on this issue, which is muddying something that is painfully clear or hidden in plain sight. Socks on a rooster refers to the short sighted decision to compete with a newer airplane by relentlessly updating an old one. To me, Boeing’s decision is reminiscent of the old folk tales we were once taught — The Tortoise and the Hare or The Three Little Pigs. This surprises and dissapoints me because I thought we had done better. But, I don’t think it is religious zealotry not to be caught up in the American corporate hype and to be critical of a decision that I think has led to perhaps the biggest corporate debacle of all time. I could be wrong. And time will tell.

          • @Mike @RealSteve, Everyone:

            Religion, politics, drought, pestilence, etc. are off limits. Stick to the topic at hand.


        • I thought Boeing is doing everything they can to fix the MAX,
          instead they are playing in space.
          Every day without big news on the commercial side
          makes me think Boeing is leaving …
          As Scott said, I get the feeling that Boeing is done.

      • “Boeing went successfully though the entire MAX certification process the first time. We know that process was flawed with regard to MCAS. That flaw now has been projected onto the entire certification process. If we didn’t know about MCAS, what else don’t we know? ”

        Rob, that’s really it. We know MCAS was poorly specified and designed, insufficiently documented for airlines and pilots, and the revised behaviour not disclosed to the FAA.

        But the certification process itself, besides being based on 1960s safety standards, had been heavily compromised by being executed by Boeing engineers only, who were reporting to and managed by Boeing management only.

        So the question is indeed, what else was missed? And you cannot blame the global regulators for asking this question.

        • Thysi, I don’t blame the regulators at all, and I understand the question. I would still do the verification in any case. But I would probably presume things were good until I found something wrong, rather then the reverse. It’s more likely that things are ok than not.

          Also I wouldn’t agree that the certification was highly compromised. The MCAS issue was missed both by Boeing and FAA. People at Boeing and FAA knew about the low-speed case, but didn’t connect the dots, so accepted the prior analysis for the high-speed case. The two cases occurred 4 years apart and involved different teams. It’s the kind of thing that should never happen but sometimes does.

          In the ODA process, delegates still report to the FAA, but they are selected and supervised by Boeing. The major issue with ODA now is the tendency for Boeing to act first and report later (the forgiveness vs permission model). They are pushing the boundaries like unruly teenagers, and need to be reigned in like them as well.

          Could also go back to the previous method where FAA selects and supervises delegates.

    • Philip,

      Your “deductions” regarding the FHA are completely undermined by your apparent misunderstanding of what the official reports actually say about the MCAS hazard levels. Please actually read Table 7 on pg. 272 of the KNKT final report and Observation O3.3-A of the JATR report.

      If you do bother to read these, you will find that Table 7 indicates that Boeing assigned a maximum hazard rating of MAJOR for the loss of MCAS function. While they also assigned a minimum hazard level of MINOR in the normal envelope, Boeing has to design for the most severe hazard, i.e MAJOR.

      If you do a word search of the JATR report you will find only two uses of the word “minor” in the entire document. They are both in section O3.3-A. This observation section doesn’t prove that Boeing only thought the pitch stability issue was MINOR. Instead, it points out that because the minimum hazard level was MINOR (again only in the normal envelope), a quantitative analysis was not required in that envelope. Thus JATR questions whether original MCAS was safe and reliable in this envelope because the analysis wasn’t done.

      You also seem to conflate the hazard associated with loss of MCAS function with the hazard associated with uncommanded MCAS function. These are different.

      Boeing assigned a maximum hazard rating of HAZARDOUS to uncommanded MCAS function in the operational envelope and a minimum rating of MAJOR in the normal envelope. One of Boeing’s most egregious mistakes was to discount the hazard in the operational envelope because the probability of being in that envelope is low. This is not allowed.

      However, the hazard associated with uncommanded MCAS function has nothing to do with the hazard associated with the pitch stability issue. That instead is reflected in the MAJOR hazard associated with loss of MCAS function.

      If you are going to constantly claim that the official reports are being ignored by people who don’t agree with your views, you should probably not try to support your views by misrepresenting what they contain.

      Dear me indeed!

      • Mike,

        Dear me indeed.

        Read everything, but I put weight on the recommendations. You should do the same.

        I wasn’t referring to the hazard caused by MCAS. I’m referring to the hazard caused by the pitch instability. Anything above “minor” requires a primary control system. Kinda destroys your entire post.

        The hazard caused by MCAS is a separate hazard. But, for the record, if you fix a hazard by creating a more severe hazard, then the original hazard is now the hazard that you are trying to fix.

        So if the hazard your fixing is “minor” but the fix causes a hazard of “hazardous” then both become “hazardous”.

        Regulations don’t allow that. The fix must always have a lower hazard than the hazard that your fixing. That alone makes Boeing legally culpable.

        So the question is: What hazard does the new MCAS create. If it’s still above “minor”, MCAS must comply with the regulations pertaining to a primary control system.

        Anyway if you had read my posts properly, you would have understood I was addressing the hazard created by the pitch instabiliy.

        But I do accept that MCAS creates it’s own hazard. So it’s been useful to reply.

        Dear me indeed.

      • Mike,

        I’ve always known there are two hazards, the original hazard (pitch instability) and the hazard (MCAS) caused by trying to fix the original hazard (pitch instability).

        When the Lion Air crash report came out, I posted as such because the hazard created by the fix was higher than what it was trying to fix. Never allowed. So I posted.

        • Philip,

          You keep saying that Boeing claims the pitch stability issue is MINOR, even though the reports say Boeing claims it is MAJOR. If you can’t even read that correctly when it is pointed out to you multiple times then why should anyone believe anything you say about the reports?

          The fix must always have a lower hazard than the hazard that your fixing. That alone makes Boeing legally culpable.

          I posted as such because the hazard created by the fix was higher than what it was trying to fix.

          Nope, you are just making this up.

          Aircraft often contain systems that have failure modes rated as more severe than the problems they are there to solve. Anything that fails in a way that requires a time-critical response by the pilot should be rated at least HAZARDOUS. This includes aircraft features such as the trim stabilizer, or the autopilot. The jackscrew for the trim stabilizer also has failure modes rated as CATASTROPHIC. However, not having the convenience of trim or autopilot is neither HAZARDOUS nor CATASTROPHIC. There are many more examples as well.

          So if the hazard your fixing is “minor” but the fix causes a hazard of “hazardous” then both become “hazardous”.

          Again, made up.

          I get that this is a convenient way for you to try and “deduce” that the pitch stability issue is HAZARDOUS or CATASTROPHIC because the original MCAS failures proved CATASTROPHIC but we can all can see right though it.

          • Oh dear.


            The Lion Air crash report stated that Boeing defined uncommanded MCAS as “major”, “sever-major/hazardous”. Page 157 of the Lion Air crash report. But, the JATR report pointed out Boeing were not using an industry standard appoach to FHA. Observation O3.2-A.

            But the hazards are for MCAS not pitch instability.

            Pitch instability

            Boeing equally defined the loss of MCAS as a “minor” hazard. Observation O3.3A, page 37 PDF/page 17 of the JATR report.

            Uncommanded MCAS and the loss of MCAS are two different conditions and therefore two different hazards.

            So what does the loss of MCAS mean. It means that nothing is controlling the pitch instability. Ergo, if the loss of MCAS is a “minor” hazard then the pitch instability is a “minor” hazard. Deductive reasoning.

            Read up on FHA, especially with regard to taking the most severe hazard if the hazards of each part of a complex system are inextricably linked.

            The rest I can’t be bothered with. I think people are seeing through you. An apologist for behaviour that cannot be accepted.

            Boeing will pay the price, even if the MAX does return, which I doubt. Ten months and counting, $10 billion and counting. All because – according to you – of a nose up tendency in the pre-stall region of the envelope. A “minor” hazard, if you are right. But you are not right. The pitch instability is more severe.

          • Philip,

            It’s finally good to see you agree with my statement above:

            Boeing assigned a maximum hazard rating of HAZARDOUS to uncommanded MCAS function in the operational envelope and a minimum rating of MAJOR in the normal envelope. One of Boeing’s most egregious mistakes was to discount the hazard in the operational envelope because the probability of being in that envelope is low. This is not allowed.

            It’s also good to see that you agree with another one of my statements:

            However, the hazard associated with uncommanded MCAS function has nothing to do with the hazard associated with the pitch stability issue.

            So, you’re almost there. If you can manage to make it down to Table 7 on page 272 of the KNKT final report, you will understand that there is both a maximum and minimum hazard rating for loss of MCAS function depending on the flight envelope. The minimum is MINOR but the maximum rating is MAJOR.

            By your own admission the most severe hazard must be taken, which is MAJOR. Ergo, Boeing considers the pitch stability issue as MAJOR. It’s not any more clear than this.

            You said:

            Boeing equally defined the loss of MCAS as a “minor” hazard. Observation O3.3A, page 37 PDF/page 17 of the JATR report.

            This is just not true. O3.3-A clearly talks about the minimum hazard level associated with loss of MCAS function (pitch stability issue) not the maximum hazard level which is MAJOR. This observation rightly points out that just because the minimum probability of MCAS loss is consistent with the MINOR classification, it doesn’t mean that the MCAS design could be considered safe and reliable because a quantitative analysis wasn’t done for this envelope.

            Again the JATR report does NOT say that Boeing thought that loss of MCAS function was MINOR. Parroting this fact error over and over again is not going to change what is in the reports.

            I agree that the pitch stability issue is more severe than MINOR. I agree with Boeing that the issue is MAJOR and I’ve never changed my stance on this. So you can misrepresent what I say all you want but I know exactly what I’ve said over these past months. And don’t worry, I’m not going to claim that I lied all along in an attempt to save face either.

            You branding me an apologist doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s not like this is the first time you’ve ever branded someone who doesn’t agree with you or pointed out that you’re wrong. You’ve done this to Rob, TW, and others for a while now. I suspect this won’t be the last time you do this either, which will only serve to further tank your credibility.

            The rest I can’t be bothered with.

            Spoken like someone who cannot defend their claims. I’ll just chalk this up as another failed claim of yours.

        • Mike,
          [Edited, violation of Reader Comment Rules.]

          I’m a nice guy. Think about what you have said. Seriously.

          I’ll give you some hints. Doctors do no harm. Nothing is better than the weakest link or the weakest point. Don’t make matters worse make them better.

          The hazards are linked. I’ve said nothing else. Any suggestion that the hazards are not linked is ridiculous.

          So to what I’ve said.

          A minor hazard (pitch instability) is being fixed by a something that causes a more serious hazard (MCAS). Never allowed. Do no harm, don’t make matters worse etc.

          Ergo, the pitch instability is more serious than a minor hazard.

          To try and claim we agree when we can’t be further apart is ridiculous. Read recommendation 3 of the JATR report and understand it. You are way off that.

          [Edited. Violation of Reader Comment Rules.]

          If Boeing did say the pitch instability was a “major” hazard then they are required to report it. The FAA, EASA and other regulator are making clear they didn’t report it. It’s one of the reasons why they are pissed.
          [Edited. Violation of Reader Comment rules.]

  27. As of December 2019, Air Lease, AerCap and GE Capital Aviation Services, three leaders of aircraft leasing, have recorded record sales for months. The groundings forced many operators to turn to them. “In September, an analyst said, renting a 10-year-old 737 NG, the Max’s predecessor, which consumes 15% more kerosene, cost $300,000 a month compared to $230,000 in January.”

    Timaero Ireland Limited, a Dublin-based aircraft leasing company was suing Boeing in the US federal court in Chicago, alleging fraud and breach of contract in deals it signed starting in 2014 for 22 of MAX airliners. The company said it relied on Boeing’s assurances that the planes were safe and would be delivered on time, but as of December 17, 2019, Boeing had delivered two instead of four aircraft and had refused to refund Timaero’s advance payments on the planes. The leasing company demanded at least US$185 million in damages, citing design flaws that led to two deadly crashes and the grounding of the aircraft.

  28. Another item of interest to the lawyers is the fact that – somehow! – the simulators for NG and MAX both failed to replicate the actual force needed to manipulate the manual trim wheels at speed. This of course rendered invalid , and misleading, any training scenario involving said wheels in the simulator.
    Somehow I do not think the answer Oops, our bad, no harm intended is going to cut it with judges and juries

    • True,

      We keep leaving out manual trim. It’s not a “minor” hazard. It’s far worse than that.

      So true.

      • Under what conditions do the manual trim wheels on the Max and NG work? What are they for if they can only operate in ideal conditions if at all?

        • You turn off the stab motors and they work all the time.

          At issue are two areas, one is higher speeds that require a lot of force to overcome (this was also an issue as they changed the simulator ops that no one caught that did not reflecdt it)

          Another area is if the motor seizes up. There is a clutch between the motor and gears to that manual trim can break out from the motor and turn. Its extremely hard to do, maybe impossible and very possibly impossible for a very small person (male or female and or combinations)

          You can hand friction stop it and I am not sure if you can run against the motor or windup breakout.

          But its not a MAX issue, its an issue back to the 707 and the Comet as well I believe.

          So 5000+ aircraft that have an interesting aspect though I don’t know any losses attributed to it.

          Its only lethal if you con’t have enough elevator to counter the Stabilizer, MCAS ran the stab full down and that was not remotely normal (any runaway trim was identified and you shut the stab switches off)

          Its a corundum on how to deal with it if it needs to be at all but its certainly a question that needs answers.

    • Thomas, this has been described as the simulators not accounting correctly for airspeeds above regulation speed vs altitude, for the trim wheel force algorithm.

      In an uncorrected NG simulator, there are videos of pilots demonstrating increased forces at overspeed conditions, on the order of 270 to 300 knots, with half trim nose down. It was still very difficult for one pilot to turn the wheels. Even without correction, it would be apparent that at Vmo of 340 knots, and full trim nose down, it would be nearly impossible even for 2 pilots. So I don’t think pilots trained in NG simulators would be unaware.

      The pilot in the video (Mentour Pilot) said that this trim wheel behavior was a well known aspect of the 737. A general pilot rule is to interrupt mistrim as quickly as possible. In the video, the pilots intentionally trimmed nose down and did not try to correct, in order to demonstrate the forces. Another element in play is speed control, since the wheel forces increase with the square of airspeed. Thus overspeed multiplies the effect.

      • Re the trim wheel and runaway stab. It appears that what seems to be left out of the discussion and ** possibly ** why no or few reports of ” runaway ” stab is that in the NG ( and previous ), simply pulling or pushing in opposition to stab trim disconnects and stops the ” runaway ” and that muscle memory reaction is most likely within a few seconds. Thus unless a electric fault osr similar in the system happens, the pull or push immediately stops. In the ” rare ‘ case that that did not work, flipping the console switches and reverting to cranking was the ‘ correction”. So rare after a few decades, that the yo yo was no longer trained or mentioned. But the term ‘ runaway’ still stayed, and was harder to recognize and correct in the 3 to 5 seconds reaction by pulling or pushing the yoke or trim switches on the yoke.

        But the MAX implementation cut out- bypassed the yoke cutout switch in addition to implementing HAL secretly. And the rest is history . . and over 10 billion and counting $$$

        • Pilots are trained not to rely on the yoke cutout switch, because it doesn’t correct the source of the problem, it doesn’t remove the excess trim, as the other methods do.

          If you look at the checklist and procedures for trim malfunction, none of them use the yoke cutout switch.

          Lion Air report shows that the captain successfully trimmed against the un-commanded stabilizer deflection, by using the electric trim switches. That is what he is expected and trained to do. The next step would have been the trim cutout switch, as occurred on the previous flight. But he handed control to the first officer and never got the time he needed.

          The yo-yo method was only ever required in a situation with no electric trim available, high stabilizer deflection and loading, and high speed.

          The trim malfunction procedure is to unload the stabilizer with electric trim, before using the cutout switch, which leaves the manual trim wheels in a functioning state. If electric trim is unavailable for unloading, then you have to use an aerodynamic maneuver to unload, such as yo-yo.

          And of course, speed control matters. It was practiced by the captain in Lion Air, but not by the Ethiopian crew, who got distracted. That can happen to anyone in a crisis, so we don’t blame them, but we have to be truthful as well.

          • maybe Imisspoke – My understanding of the ‘ yoke cutout’ switch was such that simply moving the yoke in opposition to the stab movement would stop the stabilizer, eg sudden – significant AND the pilot instinctively pulls back, stopping the movement, then instead of holding the yoke back, he/she uses trim switch to move elevator to make yoke force near neutral- all within a few seconds. But if runaway- eg AND does not stop with either or both methods to neutralize force and/or AND, then use console cutout switches.

          • Yes, but that isn’t possible for the MCAS trigger situation, where the pilot is already holding the yoke back to force the climb that requires MCAS. With the yoke cutout switch, MCAS would be deactivated when it’s needed.

            My point was that the yoke switch is not meant to be a part of the recovery procedures. The checklists don’t advise to pull back on the yoke to activate trim cutout. They advise to use the cutout switch instead.

            As you said, the yoke switch is meant to be an instinctive response protection. If the pilot reacts and instinctively pulls back on the yoke as his only response, it would help save him.

            But since pilots know it’s there and may choose to use it, Boeing should have notified pilots of the presence of MCAS, and that this function would not work for MCAS.

            Part of this issue is “MCAS intended function” vs “MCAS in malfunction”. In intended function, the yoke cutout would be counter-productive. In malfunction, it would have been helpful.

            What that means, I think, is that malfunction has to be addressed in several other ways to account for the lack of the yoke cutout. That was not done for MCAS 1.0, but it has for MCAS 2.0.

        • re ” Rob
          December 20, 2019
          Yes, but that isn’t possible for the MCAS trigger situation, where the pilot is already holding the yoke back to force the climb that requires MCAS. With the yoke cutout switch, MCAS would be deactivated when it’s needed.”

          Yes- I was trying to show -describe how for 2 decades or more, eg NG and Classic – pilots and manuals directly relied on the yoke cutout switchas a FIRST response- virtually instinctive to a sudden significant AND which was probably faster then the electric elevator trim switches.

          But when MCAS ( HAL ) was snuck in without notice or explanation, and when flaps cycled up resulting in major AND, one could hardly blame the pilots for being confused when pulling back on yoke did zip, trim switches worked slowly etc.

  29. Arrogant Boeing with non technical CEO made a complete mess.
    Worst management and technical decisions and extremely poor Software design .

    Have a feeling Boeing is preparing for the worst. Major redesign of 737 Max is on the cards. More likely scenario FAA approves Flight System Software redesign for the existing planes and these planes may be restricted to domestic flying. Foreign agencies may take longer to approve that solution. Boeing to goback to drawing board, redesign quickly to raise the planes height and move back the engines . Anycase , it may take upto 6 months before any chance of resuming flights.

    • Boeing was founded by a lawyer and run by another one in its glory years.

      You don’t have to be super techy, you just need to know how to manage, have good engineers and trust them.

      Engineer tend not to know when to quit and are not business smart nor should necessarily run a business (Mallaly aside)

  30. If things don’t improve soon and the Max debacle drags on and on — what can BA do to keep the show on the road?

    Role back the current production to a NG / Max hybrid model using the old school engine installation to remove the need for the MCAS system and discount their way to market approval?

    Better than doing nothing?

    Medium term solution — 3 to 5 years in the oven — based around a B757 wingbox and landing gear married to a Max style fuselage to allow the new engines to mounted in a conventional manner without the need for MCAS?

    3 years development = base model @ 8 and 9 fuselage lengths + 90 / 100T MTOW?

    5 years development = A321 fighter @ 110T MTOW and 48.5M feselage length. It would look like a B757 but it would have a high volume fuselage architecture and a modern wing / wingbox pairing to take it beyond its fondly remembered predecessor.

    10 years development = New SA pairing to fight both the high volume “8” sized product space and a “HD” big wing model to fight in the growing 5K NM nominal range marketplace.

    Is BA too big to fail?

    When would any production suspension start to bring the company down?

    6 months or 12?

    • FBOT:

      Long time no hear.

      Unrealistic, the world has moved on from a 757 wing box and its all old tech.

      Old engines on a MAX frame is an all new test program when the MCAS may be solved in a few months.

      Long term answer is a new aircraft.

      • TW — you need to read the full post.
        B757 into the mix — I was not offering old but improved.

        BA looks like it is in a real bind — the start of a death spiral.

        They have sand blasted the basic B737 design one time too many and the whole shaky edifice has collapsed around them and the usual BA tactics of trying to keep the show on the road with warm words and platitudes has failed.

        Stopping the line is disaster movie central — seems to suggest that BA are losing their grip on the issue and its solution and that everything is up for grabs.

        Consequently what are the options if the physicals of the Max can’t be certified as the residual MCAS risk is deemed too great?

        Necessity is the mother of invention so what chance they have to return to a NG engine set up just to get the line re-started — supply chain issues no doubt but building nothing is worse.

        Then comes the next steps — B757 architecture clone with a new wingbox / wing / Max style fuselage to improve their offer in the medium term

        Wiki level data has the OEW of the old school B757 at 58T.
        If it can be sweated down to 52T then it becomes a credible A321 fighter.

        The engines will save 2T on their own, the fuselage can be updated and then comes the composites to make big in-roads dependent on the spend available.

        The A321 is now a gold standard at 50T OEW for 44.5M of fuselage.
        Any B757 clone with 47.5M of fuselage would be in the running if money was spent on it.

        Now everything is all about timing.
        New is great but improved is good with half the lead time.

        Huge decision for BA to stop the line.
        Reputation shredded so things must be bad.

        • The NG was a new wing itself but its clear they kept the old wing box for maximum commonalty with the fuselage. Touching that would open up a can of worms. From memory the upper fuselages of 737 or 757 are the same but lower lobes are different, as one was derivative of the 707 while the other came from the low to the ground 727.
          Yes , what you had suggested has been a path not taken.

          • FBOT:

            I did read it. With modern composites the structures are all different so mention an expensive to make 757 with mucking around an design change is like trying to update a Model T. Why?

            You start with a totally clean slate, better yet Sugar high or low or the cabin with the middle cabin vertical braces.

            And it has to be industrialized to produce upward of 60-100 a month.

            A 767 light might be a half way decent airplane but its sill compromised vs what you can do now. Maybe good enough but the 757-737-727-707 setup is badly dated and all needs to go and start in the 21st century and some real changes that improve aerodynamics not just engines.

  31. Maybe one reason for the delays is nobody wants to be responsible for letting the MAX back into the air. What would be the consequences of a MAX crash with in a year or so of being allowed to fly again?

    • If that was true, they could declare the MAX as not airworthy, with no reasonable chance of correction, and ground it permanently. That would assure no future accidents.

      I doubt that they are viewing a future MAX accident as inevitable. I think they are viewing the accidents as having definable causes that can be mitigated, same as any other aircraft that has an accident.

      There are a few cases of permanent groundings or rapid phaseouts, where the aircraft is shown to have structural problems that could not be economically mitigated. Early version of the Comet is one.

  32. Also, I don’t understand the documentation issue. Boeing is a multi-billion dollar company. The documentation on the computer fixes is probably one of the most important single tasks the company has undertaken in its history. Are you telling me they didn’t do what any academic must do when submitting a manuscript, or what any student must do when submitting a paper: read the instructions? This just slipped by a month ago, but it’s unsettling.

    • RealSteve, I think the format was different. Boeing’s internal format did not match that used by the auditors. It sounded like the auditors were coming from EASA, or at least one of the groups that went to Collins was from EASA. Also some of the audit process may be automated, so the format has to be consistent with the automation.

      • And you believe that? Such a thing has happened with work you’ve submitted to outside regulators or accreditors?

        • Have you ever written a technical proposal where the style guide you had to follow had 10 times as many pages as the proposal you were trying to write? I have. It was a stellar example of our government in action.

        • RealSteve,

          I used the word “format” some weeks ago, because of my poor english. With format I meant the audit, nothing else. Of course neither EASA nor FAA is writing the audit. This audit should be provided by an independant person with knowledge and experience writing audits.
          Not seldom audits are not independant and should not be accepted. Sometimes the quality is low and worth nothing. So this takes time and is the reason for the delay.
          This audit should uncover mistakes, which need to be fixed, which will delay everything even further.

          This was the first time that Boeing needed to provide an software audit ever. Unbelievable. What does this say about Boeings flying now. It’s like kindergarden and Boeing needs to be taken by the hand making a “safe” plane even safer.

          • Leon, this is not the first time Boeing software has been audited. They have internal procedures for auditing, as does Collins, who provides the FCC software.

            You are confusing an internal with an external audit. It’s possible this was the first external audit for the MAX software, I don’t know. But it’s not unusual for external auditors to use their own methods, which may be different and require the information to be presented in a different format. This format issue has been widely reported in the press.

            As far as EASA involvement, it was reported that they sent a team to Collins in November. I don’t know if they were the auditors or if they were just there to observe, but EASA is absolutely involved in the audit, either actively or providing oversight.

      • I am invovled in a low level legal actions.

        The opposition lives in a Taj Mahal chrome/teak office atop some of the most expensive real estate in the city.

        Twice now the “forms” were out of date as soon as they were signed.

        It happens. I don’t think its worth any worry. Miner delay at most.

        It needs to be kept in mind that right or wrong the computers now talk to each other.

        Just writing the software, then testing it and document that new interface is a major task.

        I think it was bogus, ok for a long term but 5000 plus aircarf (again) flying and never an issue. I think they ahve more importna things to do.

        As a second clean up move (Manuel Trim maybe as well) I think its fine, but to change things in the middle of the crisis?

        Not that I care about Boeing, but employees, suppliers, and airlines all suffering various impacts from it.

        Are they going to make Boeing change the NG to? Its no different than the manual trim as a legacy issue.

        • “”Are they going to make Boeing change the NG to? Its no different than the manual trim as a legacy issue.””

          What we know:
          – Boeing self-certified up to 96% of its work
          – Boeing put undue pressures on engineers
          – Boeing hid information from FAA and misinformed FAA
          – politic system pressured FAA
          – Boeing abused the system to save $$$
          – Boeing’s reckless manner after the first crash leading to another
          – Boeing used to blame pilots to get away with their cheating

          Now FAA/EASA are checking all self-certification documents, asking for a REAL independant audit for the first time in history. The more mistakes found the more will be checked.

          How were the manual trim wheels certified? They were meant for fine tuning trim, not for tuning degrees. Such a poor engineering if this trim system was meant to change degrees! But now this system needs to change degrees! When did this change from fine tuning to degree tuning happened? If the 737NG needs these manual degree changes for safe operation it will be looked into.

          Same with all the other stuff. The stab/elevator were made stronger for higher forces without making the jackscrew stronger too.

          Boeing’s self-certification mistakes were uncovered which are leading to check everything. On December 12, Dickson told Muilenburg to provide all and complete self-certification documents. Four days later Boeing stopped production. How far will checking go? It will depend on how many mistakes will be found. Because Boeing rushed engineering you have to expect many mistakes,

          I wonder how long it will take for Boeing to provide all self-certification documents because the undue pressures will be found there. 40% of the engineering staff reported undue pressures.

  33. Oh look, now Boeing has “Rosie the Riveter” stuck in space on the wrong orbit…very telling of the overall state of the Boeing Company, the commercial side included.
    Looking forward to see how ”Rob the Boeing lawyer” and/or his PR helpers are going to spin this one. No third world pilot/airlines to blame this time, no technical jargon or basic definitions to be bent or twisted to justify a massive, basic engineering failure. Only the sick culture, lack of technical and leadership competence, and egotistical behaviors of the Boeing company at all levels is responsible here. I am not sure if there is a feasible fix for the main cause of this.

    Care to take this spacecraft for a spin ? No thanks.

    • I will take it for a spin on the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park then take it to the science museum in South Kensington and place it alongside one from the McDonald Douglas space craft that made their and back in one piece just a little bit burned and battard .

      • “that made their and back in one piece just a little bit burned and battard.”

        … all of this is uncalled for and sets my anglophobia aflame. It was all a giant leap for mankind!

    • “Oh look, now Boeing has “Rosie the Riveter” stuck in space on the wrong orbit…very telling of the overall state of the Boeing Company…”

      You are not a Boeing Fanboy, are you?


  34. Boeing was trying out a new orbital insertion technique, intended for safety, for the very first time today, on a new spacecraft as well.

    Launching into a suborbital trajectory provides an abort phase that is not normally available, but could be used to safely return to earth in an emergency. This method requires an additional burn by the Starliner after separation, to reach the intended final orbit. That burn failed today, so it will be need to be analyzed and corrected in future launches. We don’t know why as yet.

    Hope that answer rose to your expectations. 🙂

    • @Rob the Boeing lawyer,
      I don’t feel safer at all about Boeing products or company valuation, but I commend you for your unquestioning loyalty to your employer 🙂

      • This appears to have been a timing issue in the software. The Starliner believed it was already in orbit, and expended the orbit burn fuel in station-keeping at the wrong location.

        Controllers realized this and sent the commands to correct it, but Starliner was between communication regions and didn’t get the command until too much fuel had been expended. So the spacecraft is fully operational but no longer has the fuel to reach the ISS.

        This is another software screw-up for sure. The spacecraft will return on Sunday so it should be possible to determine exactly what happened. Given that Starliner has never flown before, not perfect but not terminal either.

        Hopefully they will add some checks and redundancies for the decision points in the next flights. Depending on the source and nature of the error, NASA will decide whether another unmanned test is needed or if they will proceed to the manned flights.

        Some have pointed out that a crew would have corrected this error after the missed burn, and the flight would have continued. Not sure I would fly a crew quite yet.

        Loyalty to Boeing is not a prerequisite for accuracy. It’s important not to substitute opinion for fact.

        • @Rob the Boeing lawyer

          I have been hearing all day some terrible things from people inside the Starliner program, including a spacecraft cockpit fire during a test after which the employees had to sign a specific NDA about. I don’t care if the failure hazards here are a major or a minor, a timepiece wasn’t in-sync with the NORAD or if the 777 production line is “shooting blanks”. I only care that BA has clearly failed to deliver on multiple fronts: Missions and product deliveries have failed. Fair paying end customers are dead. There are no partial credits in aerospace. These are engineering mess-ups and no one will buy your dismissive and ill-advised semantics, these events show us what truly has been going on behind the walls of Boeing this past 10 years: incompetent technical staff, forced into risky proposition by their IYI managers and execs who should know better, and business counterparts and risk sharing partners coerced into submission by penny wise and pound foolish financial strategies.
          Well, as it turns out, reality doesn’t care what Boeing lawyers think or how elegant Danny’s blue tie is. Reality comes out the way she is. Prove us wrong by making planes that don’t kill passengers in very large numbers, or spacecraft that reach the intended LEO orbits on first flight. Everything else is BS and savvy investment managers reading these lines are typically very good at detecting BS.

          You can’t bully people into liking your stock or products when you clearly are moving backwards. Until that changes, I prefer my well-informed opinions to your guided PR statements.

          • And you are entitled to those opinions, and to express them here. But if they are virulently negative, as yours are here, then others will respond with facts to balance the discussion.

            SpaceX blew up a few rockets, capsules, as well as cargo. It wasn’t a big deal because they are trying to develop a new program. They didn’t stop and Boeing shouldn’t either. As launch failures go, this one was relatively minor.

  35. United Airlines just announced that it has just pushed the return to schedule until June 2020 probably other airlines will follow .

  36. I will take it for a spin on the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park then take it to the science museum in South Kensington and place it alongside one from the McDonald Douglas space craft that made their and back in one piece just a little bit burned and battard .

    • We’ll have to see. Their claims may not stand up.

      1 Claim of their role as experts: the MAX recertification process is the broadest and most inclusive in history, experts from around the world are already involved. Difficult to show either lack of existing expertise or that their expertise would have a meaningful contribution.

      2. Claim of public right to know: the FAA must make its reports and findings and decisions public, under the law. They are not required to publish work papers regarding a private organization that is entitled to confidentiality under the law. So this would be overturning established law and precedent.

      I do think this represents the frustration that many feel, as we still don’t know very much about anything, and it doesn’t appear we will for some time yet, under the current process.

    • Rob,

      Public right to know, two arguments:
      – Boeing’s failure leading to the first accident and failure to prevent the second
      – Regulatory laxity/capture

      I think Boeing surrendered the right to keep those under wraps if it does want that plane to fly the public skies.

      • Rob, the attitude of hiding and bullying is one of the reasons Boeing is not trusted by anyone anymore. Your repetitive statement that Boeing is not required to come out with a simple, credible pitch what the problem is, and what steps are to a solution, goes against all lessons of how a crisis of confidence like this has to be dealt with. See:
        Leeham had a similar story by a guest writer soon after the March accident. With Boeing being silent, it is inevitably that everybody is guessing. With a grounding of 9 months with no end of sight, the guesses inevitably will become more negative and negative.

        • atFlyer, I agree with your article’s basic points that Boeing was slow to act, was late in doing so, and took a defensive position with the FAA.

          That was based on their view that emphasized the role of the pilots rather than their own responsibility. Since they were able to show that pilots made basic errors, they acted as if that minimized their own contributions. That defense was effectively demolished when it came out that pilots did not know about MCAS, and that MCAS did not reset between triggers, but instead greatly exceeded its authority.

          That chapter in the saga has worked heavily against them, and that is purely their own fault. But we only knew of those things by deduction from the response of FAA and their directives. Boeing could not comment publicly on an active investigation to which they were a party. And they were also facing litigation, for which the universal rule is to not make specific statements.

          This is an element where Boeing is different from other businesses. Once an accident occurs, they have to let the investigation play out. So some of the recommended actions and criticisms from the article don’t apply to that situation.

          They also have to think about their own liability. Some here will jump all over that, but it’s a fact of life. If any of you ever have an accident, your attorney will advise you the same way.

          This only changed after the accident data came out from Ethiopian. At that point Boeing did something extraordinary, they made public statements to the effect that they accepted responsibility for their contributions, that they had got things wrong. But only in general terms, without going into specifics, because they were still bound by the ongoing investigation, and still facing litigation. Under the circumstances, it was probably too little and too late, but it was a remarkable admission nonetheless.

          I think at that point they expected some public acknowledgement of their mea culpa, and some easing of the criticism and damage that had been done. But the response was the opposite, the public reacted extremely negative to their admission as well. Things actually got even worse.

          So based on that, I think it’s not as simple as saying the negativity is due to the lack of information. Even in this forum, there are a lot of people that want Boeing destroyed, period, and no amount of discussion or fact or apology is going to change that. It’s hard to have an informed conversation when people are calling for your head.

          Boeing did then come out with a simple credible pitch regarding MCAS, but it hasn’t been accepted, even now. Thus far they have struggled to even have their solution formally tested. In part, that is due to the perceptions created initially by their own actions, and so is their own fault. But it’s also based in part on the extreme negativity of the response.

          The accident reports have established that, in terms of technical issues, the major contributing factor from Boeing was in the design and implementation of MCAS. Boeing has tried to address that issue and believes that it has. We should now test that assertion to see if it’s true or false.

          But as far as full release of the information to the public, that won’t happen without extraordinary action of the courts. The FAA has bent over backwards to accommodate other regulators, that are bound by the same disclosure rules they are, and to show that the process is fair and impartial.

          But to release the information to the public, would be an extension of the regulator’s legal authority to the public, which is not justified. And it also would result in a tidal wave of misinformation as the public tried to interpret the data. Some would no doubt get it right, but many also wouldn’t. And the public discussion of it that would ensure, would taint the entire resolution process.

          That’s why we have expert agencies to do that work on our behalf. When they release their findings, if people disagree, then they can take issue with the agencies. But to release the data during an active regulatory action or investigation, to me seems highly unlikely.

          • My reading of the FOIA and Complaint indicates-states they do NOT want working papers or internal to FAA discussions, but access to and publication of DATA-SOFTWARE sufficent to do an ‘ outside ‘ evaluation and enough to askm pertinent questions.
            ” 8. Plaintiffs do not seek any documents revealing the internal deliberations of the FAA, but only the factual information that has been submitted to and developed by the FAA.”


            6. It is essential that independent experts, the media and the public be able to assess the proposals made and information submitted to the FAA by Boeing and any factual analysis undertaken by the FAA so far. As detailed below, it would be impossible for independent technical experts to evaluate any FAA decision to unground the 737 MAX unless they can obtain access to the technical submissions made by Boeing.

            My guess is they will get the requested data before any certification… and they present a good case.


          • Yes, that means that any data which Boeing is required to provide to FAA, under FAA legal authority, must be made available to the public as well. So as I mentioned, it’s an extension of the legal authority of the regulator to the public, to compel Boeing to release information.

            As far as being able to evaluate FAA decisions, that goes back to the trust issue. If the process the FAA has set up for recertification of the MAX, cannot be trusted, with all the agencies that are involved, I don’t know what can.

            Also FAA must publish their findings and decisions, including reasoning and supporting evidence.

            It all goes back to the demand that we all have a right to the all the data. I’d be surprised if the court sustains it as written.

        • If I may, Rob, public entities serving as regulators of the common good enjoying a level of confidentiality with their subjects of scrutiny is certainly acceptable as long as the main principle is not void. What I mean is their public function takes precedence over remaining interests, ie. commercial use of public skies, which amount to a state concession, not the other way around.

          It is very likely that portions of the public may misuse released information, but how could we use that to justify depriving the remaining interests from critical information putting at stake their own responsibilities? All will be accountable, no one will risk their stake.

          I think you are correct it would require extraordinary court action, the issue is not any less significant to any interest we advance into the table: regulator, manufacturers, operators, insurers, investors, flying and “grounded” public alike, economic core jobs, the state, but globally! There is a very industrial speculative social effect how we proceed (pun intended).

          The regulator as been demonstrated to have neglected part of their stakeholders. While there simply can’t be allowed a third accident for a cause with the same name and function (MCAS).

          This critical FAA handled information will be released as required by all interests involved. The Regulator is the Public, their head and arms are one and the same, its mission is as authoritative as mandated by the public, not the tail wagging the dog.

          • Vasco, this goes back to the notion that we have regulators and expert agencies to whom Boeing is accountable. Those agencies are also accountable to the public for their decisions and findings. But this chain of accountability does not imply that we, as the public, have the same authority as the agency, or that Boeing has the same accountability to us.

            Another factor is that this arrangement allows for full confidential disclosure by Boeing to FAA, similar to how M&M in a hospital is designed to allow full disclosure of errors and mistakes. If you invited the public to an M&M, you would not get that disclosure. So involving the public in the data, instead of the findings, may discourage disclosure and arriving at the truth, which is essential to the function of investigating & regulating agencies.

            This all goes back to trust. We trust that hospitals will use the M&M data to improve their procedures, and provide internal accountability. Similarly we trust FAA & other agencies to use their data to improve the safety of air travel, and provide accountability within their domains.

          • Example is apt of course, but here specifically too, they have just failed… Twice, to too much great cost, internal to Boeing even, Trust is maintained with open verification.

          • We have open verification, in the participation of qualified world-wide agencies. Some want to press beyond that, to include the general public, but before the agency results become public, which is the normal reporting mechanism.

            The reason that’s wanted now, before the results are known, is to influence those results. But the system has safeguards, in the forms of confidentiality and authority, to prevent that influence. So we will have to see if the court upholds those safeguards or not. This lawsuit should be a good test.

  37. Putting my money on 737 MAX Q4 2020 RTS at absolute earliest, possibly 2021.

    The auger has been grounded for 9 months already, so the problem(s) are clearly not a simple code fix (per original BA press release).

    The unknown unknown is the external audit activity BA is undergoing (and what it uncovers).
    The MCAS “software audit” is not a simple half-day code review. It will be far more encompassing, covering the full dev lifecycle (reqs, design, safety docs, through all the test phases). Have all artifacts been developed, reviewed and approved per the relevant processes? Do review meeting minutes exist? Was every action item adequately addressed? Were all the staff involved appropriately qualified etc etc

    Note MCAS v1 (or V2) was not “faulty software”. The software by all accounts operated exactly as per design.
    The systems engineering that drove MCAS software design & dev was absolutely “faulty” (or negligent or worse). MCAS is a beacon signalling failed or ignored processes.

    Unless BA is 100% squeeky clean there can be no unqualified audit signoff. A qualified report will require months (or years) of remedial action.

    The more issues that are found during audit the broader the audit scope will likely extend. Is anyone confident Boeing can demonstrate full design and test traceability back to 1963?

    Regulatory capture enables mandated processes to be bypassed and/or ignored (that’s why companies do it).
    Good luck to BA attempting to pass a serious external audit after a decade of capture, hubris and DIY certification.
    Merry Christmas.

  38. Peter, I think this is the crux of the issue at present.

    Will the primary focus be on remediation of the accident engineering failures, as identified in the reports, and returning the MAX to flight?

    That was the purpose when this all started.

    Or will it become so expansive that its sheer scope and breadth keeps the MAX grounded, by endless delay and bureaucratic means?

    If we repeat the entire certification process, that would be about 5 years. Clearly that would not be economically viable, and would effectively kill the MAX. And it would be completely unprecedented.

    So I think a lot depends on the balance that is struck by the regulators. I would hope for some reasonable in-between level, where flight issues are fully addressed but we don’t recertify things that are not at issue. And if Boeing or their internal processes require reform, that will be addressed separately from RTS.

    As we always end up saying, we just have to wait and see.

  39. The following is from a 747 incident report in 2008. It almost parallel’s the Lion Air accident,
    without MCAS. If you didn’t know the source of this, would you think it was a report from the
    Lion Air accident?
    to highlight a few key points…
    The first flight has the stick shaker activate, ALT DISAGREE, IAS DISAGREE, they continue takeoff, pull the circuit breaker and after landing have the Right Air Data Computer replaced, using data from a BITE (Built-In Test Equipment) test. At this point, it almost reads like Lion Air 043, the previous flight to the Lion Air accident flight.
    One important point, the TWO vs THREE AoA system safety issue again shows itself.
    This 747 incident only involved a stick shaker going off. With MCAS, the stabilizer will
    be moving the nose down quickly, with no other sensors to verify.
    (page 7 of the report)
    “This aircraft was one of two in the operator’s Boeing 747‑400 fleet equipped
    with only two air data computers (ADCs), the rest each having three.”
    The AoA sensors on this 747 were also troublesome.
    (page 10 of the report)
    “When the unit was placed on test, it failed the part of the test schedule where
    the vane, positioned at discrete points throughout its operating range, should result
    in specified electrical outputs supplied to the ADCs.
    These were somewhat random in nature and subsequent disassembly revealed the main
    drive gear to be loose, being able to rotate freely 360° around the main shaft.
    The counter-weight was also found to be loose and had a free play of about +/‑ 2° rotation. Examination of the main gear revealed that the set screw that secured it to the shaft was not fully tightened: the overhaul manual specifies an assembly torque of 4.0 ‑ 4.5 inch‑pounds for this item.”

    “The second AOA sensor, which was from a different manufacturer,…………..”
    “It had been removed on 9 February 2005 due to recurrent PLF messages of ‘aoa vane r fail’ and returned to the same repair organisation that overhauled the first unit.”
    “……… was removed from the aircraft ten
    days later, following similar PLF messages.”

    AoA sensors do fail. It sounds like a few times a year. I think the FAA or NASA should find out how reliable AoA sensors are, now that they are controlling aircraft.
    (from page 12 of the report)
    “The AOA sensors are maintained ‘on condition’ with typically one or two being removed per year on the operator’s Boeing 747 fleet, which in 2006 achieved more than 67,000 flying hours. Since 2002, the mean time between unscheduled removals for this component is in excess of 93,000 hours.”

    • Richard, the Lion Air investigation did look into the number of 737 fleet AoA in-flight failures that resulted in stick-shaker activation, from 2002 to 2019 (17 years). The number reported was 25 instances. out of about 130 million flights. So it’s an improbable event but the rate is about 1.5 year over 8 million annual flights.

      • In the Lion air accident and the 747 incident, they both had newly installed AoA sensors from the “repaired pool”. The pool of self selected problem AoA sensors, that have been repaired, possibly over and over, and then stored in a parts warehouse for years or decades? I assume when an airline buys a bunch of 737’s they buy some spare parts to distribute among their repair facilities. Then when an AoA is bad, they replace it from the repair pool, and repair the bad one, and return it back
        into the repaired pool as long as it meets spec. So, over time, you are replacing bad AoA sensors, with repaired AoA sensors, and on and on for decades. Is there any lifetime limits for repaired AoA sensors? When a mechanic replaces an AoA sensor, he tests for proper function and readings once. But, does he check the torque on the set screw? For a repaired sensor sitting in the warehouse for years? In the past, it wasn’t as important an issue as a bad AoA sensor might have one stick shaker go off in flight. That’s bad, but, not catastrophic. In the 747 incident, on the second flight with the same crew, after the repaired AoA sensor was installed, the pilot rejected takeoff, after it failed, going against procedures. He was no dummy, he didn’t want to take off, burn off fuel and land again. He knew what it was, and was expecting it. He went through the same routine the day before. Now, with the AoA sensors being the only control trigger for MCAS, the FAA just issues a general warning of, you’d better be more careful with those AoA sensors to airlines. The result of a bad AoA sensor now, can be a lot more deadly than a stick shaker going off.
        No specific testing of AoA sensor repair pools required. Just a ‘lets be careful out there’ message. Senators are asking the FAA specifically for better guidelines for Airlines.
        The FAA has ordered upgrades to older AoA sensors
        I wonder what the repaired pool of AoA sensors in an older 737 airline, look like? How old are they, and do they still meet spec after years or decades sitting in a warehouse? Are they tuned up every few years or not? Is the AoA sensor in the 737-MAX the same as a 737-Classic from 50 years ago? Are there 50 year old AoA sensors sitting in repair pools, waiting to be installed on a 737-MAX?

        • Richard, the sensors must be inspected and tested after repair, as well as before and after installation, regardless of the source. Those are the existing rules.

          In the case of Lion Air, the inspection after repair was incorrectly performed. The inspection after installation was not preformed at all. Further after the failed sensor caused a problem in its first flight, it was not written up correctly and not inspected again before the JT610.

          This means there were at least 3 opportunities to prevent a failed part from flying on JT610. I think that points out the issue that rule-making requires people to obey the rules, otherwise it has no impact. I would say that the existing rules were more than sufficient to prevent the accident, they just weren’t carried out. This was another form of human error.

          Also the pilots of JT043 were required to write up the aircraft misbehavior sufficiently so as to allow for correct maintenance. as well as to forewarn the next crew that the aircraft had a problem. The writeup was not sufficient to convey the needed information or seriousness for those problems. So another human error.

          In the Ethiopian flight, the sensor failed from a bird strike or other foreign object impact. That was a random event and was not affected by the quality of the supply chain, nor was it the result of human error.

        • Good questions Richard.

          Is it true that Lion Air sent their AoA sensors to Florida to get them repaired and got the same ones same serial numbers back? How many repair shops are there worldwide?

          I don’t believe that there were only 25 stickshaker events within 20 years of 737 which led to even fewer AoA errors.
          Can’t be that humans make so few mistakes, nearly no mistakes, when JT610 and previous flights had 2 human mistakes, one in Florida and one in Indonesia.
          Also there can be AoA errors without stickshaker activation. Then Boeing’s calculation with stickshaker source is a joke.
          I wonder if the A320 family has more AoA errors. There should be more errors because of more sensors, but how much more.

          Unbelievable that the industry can’t provide better solutions to measure AoA.

          • Leon, those number came from the Lion Air report and were consistent with estimates of risk from FAA as well, calculated in a different manner.

            The stick-shaker activation was required because those events would have triggered MCAS, had it been present. Just as stick-shaker was a response on all three MCAS-malfunction flights. So it’s a very good indicator of the needed triggering event for MCAS 1.0.

            It was absolutely true that JT610 required numerous consecutive human errors to occur, that this was a considerable deviation from the norm, and also a major contribution to the accident chain.

  40. Spirit Aerosystems has not been on a 4 day work week since early on.

    Spirit has been producing 47 fuselages and 94 thrust reversers a month for 737MAX for the entire year. Spirit never decreased it’s production rate and they didn’t reduce work weeks for mechanists/mechanics/assembly technicians working on the line.

    Spirit did have a 10 week period over the summer where many engineering and support staff went on reduced work weeks, 32 hours, but that’s been over three months ago when that ended.

  41. I wonder if the MAX is still up for sale.
    If someone wants to buy a MAX would Boeing sign it. Or does Boeing know there might be problems so it’s better not to sign any new contract.

  42. With the novel use of the horizontal stabilizer, MCAS uses to achieve proper stick forces at high AoA, you really run into a bunch of different areas in the FAR’s. It’s the tail wagging the dog. In order to achieve proper stick forces, MCAS re-trims the aircraft’s horizontal stabilizer. It really twists the cause and effect relationship of controlling the stick force by using another control surface of the plane. The action, reaction, of using a trim control surface to affect a control stick force is overly complex in my mind. In the 767 tanker version of MCAS, they weren’t trying to effect stick force, but, retriming the aircraft because of a shift in CG, (from fuel being delivered in flight), and had extra safeguards, with the column cutout switches, which in the 737-MAX were taken out. The 737-MAX has some sort of issue with the stick forces at high AOA. Boeing’s test pilot Bomben says that the 737-MAX retains longitudinal stability, doesn’t pitch up, but, that the stick force lightens in force. That’s the reason they added the low Mach, high AoA, trigger to MCAS, firing a high speed trim command to the stabilizer to maintain the stick force. But, Boeing hasn’t released any data on the load factor vs stick force data, to see how difficult a problem this really is. Both 737-MAX accidents became far out of trim, because of the AoA sensor data being incorrect, MCAS not recognizing this, and over controlling the stabilizer. The new system is better, but, the MCAS computer still controls the stabilizer. It can still fail. Maybe it won’t fail by an AoA sensor but, by a failure in the computer logic. There are no cutoff switches on the column to stop it. Boeing says there is now programming in MCAS to avoid over controlling the elevator, but, again it’s all in the software. Depending on the pilot to recognize a computer logic error in time to keep the plane in trim is the only safety stop to a runaway computer logic or CPU error? To me, this sounds like a FBW system with only two computers to vote with.
    (for an out of trim recovery) from the Out-of-Trim Characteristics regulations 25.255 (pages 271-273)
    A few charts of stick force vs G force are shown acceptable vs unacceptable values. But, part of this is subjective, to be evaluated by the regulators. How does the 737-MAX ensure the elevator can recover from a severe out-of-trim stabilizer situation as in the two accidents? The pilots had the column in the lap, but, were trying to get control of the secondary control system (the stabilizer),
    which MCAS was fighting them for. There was no winning the tug of war, without a force limit switch on the column, allowing the pilots to have the ultimate authority over MCAS. MCAS has no ‘OFF’ switch allowing the pilots to gain control of the stabilizer. They can only freeze the out-of-trim system, and attempt to turn a slow manual wheel, which proved impossible.
    5 Use of the Longitudinal Trim System to Assist Recovery
    5.1 CS 25.255(f) requires the ability to produce at least 1·5g for recovery from an overspeed condition of VDF/MDF, using either the primary longitudinal control alone or the primary longitudinal control and the logitudinal trim system. Although the longitudinal trim system may be used to assist in producing the required normal acceleration, it is not acceptable for recovery to be completely dependent upon the use of this system. It should be possible to produce 1·2g by applying not more than 556 N (125 lbf) of longitudinal control force using the primary longitudinal control alone.
    I think a stick pusher system is safer and less prone to failure, and not the tail wagging the dog, directly using the stick force against the column, rather than indirectly using control surfaces against the column, with the associated dangers.

    • I also can’t see how the regulators approved a system like MCAS without an OFF switch. You have an automated flight control system, directly controlling a flight control surface. In the Boeing world up to now, the pilot had ultimate authority. In the Airbus world, with full FBW tested software, the computer has the ultimate authority. Airbus uses Three AoA sensors, and Three or more computers to achieve this. And even then there have been problems. How can a pilot identify in time, a computer run-a-way glitch in MCAS? Being as they are the only redundancy to the stabilizer system. (there is no OFF switch to MCAS), unless the AoA disagree, and then the computer is supposed to turn MCAS off, not the pilot. If adding an OFF switch somehow demands sim time, so be it. The contract arrangement between Boeing and SW Airlines, concerning millions of dollars of payments, if simulator time is needed should be looked at by the FAA. I think the FAA should fine Boeing for forcing such an impairment to safe design onto their Engineers, Designers and Test Pilots. It’s obviously not in line with Boeing’s stated goal of building a safer plane. I’m not flying on a plane with MCAS on it without an OFF switch available to the pilot.

      • “”I also can’t see how the regulators approved a system like MCAS without an OFF switch””

        FAA certified the 0.6 deg MCAS version and that was only the high speed version. Other regulators might never checked MCAS in detail because now the audit is missing and wouldn’t they have questioned a “novel” use of the stabilizer.
        Also if Boeing self-certified 96% then the FAA might not have seen much of MCAS. FAA did’t see the manual because they said they were disappointed because MCAS was not included.
        Forkner said that he travelled to other regulators because of training requirements.

        With only 0.6 deg high speed the crashes wouldn’t have happened.

        Because of this change (from 0.6 deg high speed to 0.65 deg high speed with 2.5 deg low speed) for regulators it’s uncertain what was certified from the FAA and what Boeing changed in other systems without FAA till EIS too. So now regulators want to check everything.

        The fines will be interesting, especially from China who had the most MAX in service and had victims too.

        I don’t expect MCAS to survive. The audit might require changes and then it needs an audit again. The “novel” use of the stabilizer might not even be included.
        Also interesting is what the TAB will do. Will we ever hear from them again.

        • Leon, The high speed version of MCAS at the 0.6 trim speed which they put in initially with a g-force sensor. But, when did they rip out the column cutout switches and rewire the stab trim cutoff switches? Did they rip out the switches in the initial high Mach version of MCAS, or was that change done on the deadly change later on? Did the FAA know about the column limit switches being bypassed, and the rewiring of the stab cutout switches? I haven’t seen any reference to the FAA being made aware of those changes. I would think that would elicit some questions from the FAA if they had been informed. If it didn’t, you have to ask why they didn’t ponder why the safety switches were on the column originally. And why Boeing was rewiring the stab trim cutout switches to not allow MCAS to be turned off and why it was wired through the override switch. The only reason I can think of this rewiring is to avoid difference retraining for pilots? That the Speed trim signals pass through the old main electric switch (the newly labeled primary) switch and not the old auto switch (the newly labeled b/u) switch???

          • From wikipedia:
            “Boeing presented MCAS to the FAA as being existing technology (767 tanker), avoiding deeper scrutiny. MCAS was not evaluated as an individual system that was “new/novel” on the MAX.”

            “The EASA certification document referred to simulations whereby the electric thumb switches were ineffective to properly trim the MAX under certain conditions. The EASA document said that after flight testing, because the thumb switches could not always control trim on their own, the FAA was concerned by whether the 737 MAX system complied with regulations.”

            “According to the KNKT report, Boeing reasoned that pilots could counter an erratic MCAS by pulling back on the control column alone, without using the cutout switches. However, MCAS could only be stopped by the cutoff switches.”

            This means the FAA knew nearly nothing (might have been forced by Boeing’s power). EASA knew not more but did flight testing.
            Seems after the change to 2.5 deg Boeing run wild and didn’t double/triple check. Unbelievable

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *