HOTR: NOK Air, 3 more bite the dust in COVID fall-out

By the Leeham News Staff

July 31, 2020, © Leeham News: NOK Air of Thailand is the latest carrier to filed for bankruptcy.

LNA’s monthly tracking of failed carriers adds NOK, Jet Time, Level and Blue Air to the list of carriers in bankruptcy since COVID collapsed the global airline industry beginning in mid-March.

Ishka Values on 20-year old aircraft

Ishka, the UK-based appraisal and consultancy company, looks at the values and rentals of 20-year old aircraft in this week’s company note.

Aircraft this age near the end of their useful life as passenger aircraft. Some become candidates for freighter conversion. Others simply go to the desert to await their fate. Others go to third world airlines looking for cheap lift.

37 Comments on “HOTR: NOK Air, 3 more bite the dust in COVID fall-out

  1. How much of 737 demand is held up by operators keeping old aircraft to cover missing MAXs? Remember a lot were leased before Covid. What is the avg part out value of these frames? Freight operators must be excited by the prospect of MAX dels displacing older 737s as the price should fall considerably.

    • You would need a Cray Supper computer with AP-Roberts at the head to make any sense of all that!

    • “Freight operators must be excited by the prospect of MAX dels displacing older 737s”

      Hmmm, the 737 doesnt have underfloor container capability ( not all A320s used it for passenger flights) , but it makes it easier to load the containers for both upper and lower decks in the covered freight area and take them out to the ramp. The freight plane doesnt need a fast turnaround so the odd size freight etc can be loaded manually into 737 on the ramp.

      • I believe what they are indicating is the Pax to F conversions.

        737NG is an easy bird to convert compared to an A320. Simpler and less maint all to the good of Freight ops as well as efficient.

        Depending on the load its likely they don’t even use the belly (+ for the A320 that will take containers.)

        You want it on pallets or in containers to work financially.

        • Who says the NG is simpler to convert ?
          The belly cargo containers are perfect for small parcels , smaller high value items , electronics , medical.
          Most of these sorts of planes can be volume limited these days, why not use volume thats there ?

          • Failure to convert very many A320 and the comments by experts about getting through the FBW systems and the routing issues.

            737 is an old style iron bird.

          • 737 has been around a lot longer, so those classics like the 737-400 were the higher numbers available.

            The same ‘generation’ as the A320 the -700 and -800 are only now being considered for converting, the earliest A320 were short range versions. Wait till they find more than picklefork problems in the 737-800s when stripped out for conversion ( apparently they replace rear fuselage floor beams as well.

            Looking it up it seems the P2F conversions love the HGW version and arent really interested in lower weight versions, which I can understand as the conversion costs are the same. The values for the 20 yr plus planes are mainly in the engines so the current glut of engines with some time on them from planes that wont fly again may make the cost to buy and convert more attractive.

  2. The Q400 is better than ATR, right. ATR have a place in the market because they are cheap. But over the years the Q400 lose much more worth.

    I’m not going into which plane is better, 777 or A330. But over the years the 777 is losing much more worth than the A330. How’s that possible?

    • “they are cheap”

      not relevant.
      They provide value for your money.
      777 as new is boyed on hype. i.e. overvalued in the beginning.

      Boeing has in the past invested resources and much time in carefully pimping their used product values.
      Pressure is up and that coat of glamor is wearing thin.
      Real pricing got grounded too 🙂

      • The Dasoh-8 (yes its back to what it should be) acualy is a lot more versatile than the ATR.

        BBD hosed up the line with their so called premium, Viking is going to change that as they have with the name back to what it should be.

        The ATR is under powerd, the -8 can be throttle back to get close to the same SFC. You do have to pay for more engine on the -8.

        I sure would rather be in a -8 that losses and engine than an ATR, even more so heavy, hot and damp.

        • Your opinion factoids are not shared by the market.

          Minimally higher performance requiring nigh twice the installed power says a lot. Even if you throttle back, engine cost scales with installed power.

        • Think the Q400 problems is mainly reliability and cost to keep it running. The ATR did a good job with the -600’s and is thus produced a more reliable and cheaper Aircraft than the Q400. Hence you need less spare Aircrafts, less spares and mechanics. A bit like the 737Classic vs MD-80 where the 737-300 could run much more hops for the same number of generated complaints. (Only when the 717 matured it became as good or better).
          The Q400 has its advantage in high and hot performance but need a stretch and updated LRU’s (and Nose landing gear…)

    • It’s in the remarks, the major discount for the A330 had already occurred in 2019. The given discounts are for 2020, and so mainly reflect the COVID impact.

      Also values depend on the market, supply and demand. So they reflect the current market status, which will be different for every aircraft. The market at mid-year is very different than the market at the beginning of 2020.

      • It’s not about covid. Scott showed the numbers for January 1st too.
        Even if the A330 was already dicounted much last year, how can they be even more expensive.
        Jan 2020

        777-200ER $24.5m
        330-200 $24.2m

        330-300 $20m
        777-200ER $15m

  3. Its really future market. A lot of the contracts are locked in and go for 5+ years.

    How that is all falling out is another non reported aspect.

    What do the contracts say about a Covd type (natural?) disaster.

    If you follow the oil market you will see peak this and that, but most shipments are long term contracts. So public does not know what the real price of oil is.

    What we see is they jack the price UP when the peaks goes up and they drag when it comes down.

    Course now its way down so we are at the bottom (or a bottom)

  4. Here are links to the FAA documentation. The first is a notice for, and brief outline of, the AD to be issued.

    The second is a very detailed description of the changes, and is finally what we’ve all been speculating about for months. An extremely interesting and informative read:

    For Richard Davenport, who has consistently raised the issue of the column cutout switch: it will be implemented as a pause in MCAS for ANU if the pilot pushes the column forward, so as to avoid a crossed-control problem.

    Then both forward & aft column cutouts are also now implemented in software, so as provide a backup for the mechanical switches. Additionally this will prevent a crossed-control situation if the elevator and stabilizer are in too great an opposition, but for AND, it will integrate the MCAS input into the cutout decision.

    Non-normal checklists have also been updated or added for the situations faced by the accident pilots. Some will be memory items but all will be covered in the new training.

      • Leon: It takes all the issues (sans Trim Wheel) and deals with them.

        You have to read Satellite Guru to get an inkling of why linking the computers is an advantage (I think his take was redundancy of system, FAA had to do with data bits lost due to Cosmic Radiation hits and a drop out)

        Concept wise MCAS was nothing more than Stall Smoothing. While the reality vs the concept was insane, its been returned to that.

        And it requires dual input to implement.

        It should always be kept in mind a 737 and an 320 controls basis is are two totally difference design concepts, mechanical vs electronic.

        Done right nothing wrong with mechanical. Done wrong electronic controls are as bad (ask the Sweeds on the Grippen or the US on the F-22 with early controls issue)

        • No.
          Before 2018 the Max was certified with much pressure from Boeing including cheating and the whole jedi mind tricking tool box. FAA didn’t check documents deeply, they still didn’t do it today. Then JT610 crashed and FAA was searching and came up with a stupid AD. FAA calculated that 15 more crashes will happen, but with their brain damage did nothing which killed more people. Then ET302 crashed and FAA still didn’t want to ground the MAX.

          Now all the cheatings and trickings happened doesn’t matter anymore and seem to be certified. FAA only wanted to check 25.1301 and 25.1309 during flight testing.
          With their proved brain damage the FAA want us now to believe that they can calculate MAX-8 and -9 flight behavior on a MAX-7.

          Why is there even flight testing. Because calculations and their results can fail in nature. But FAA said, they can’t flight test low Mach numbers. FAA brain is so damaged and now they rely on their brain damaged calculations.

          Boeing deliberately faked the simulator, one reason why ET302 crashed. Now FAA again accept Boeing’s analysis, which was performed using flight simulation data. FAA is resistent to learn.

          FAA doesn’t really want to find mistakes. Today they still didn’t check all documents, maybe because Boeing documents with mind tricking and completely out of order are a pain to check. FAA should have checked the manual trim wheel problem 7 months ago, now they said an analysis will be completed.

          I hope the Chinese owners of Norwegian will flight test the MAX and put an end to this FAA stupidity in court.

        • TW, I read that the size of manual trim wheel is acceptable now that MCAS is not allowed to move the stabilizer as far in total thus airloads are less. Maintaining elevator authority is key.

          I read that AOA has to come down to well under the triggering value before another nudge is made.

          Do observe that AOA is for stall detection, a rather important function. Smaller airplanes, and IIRC early 707s at least, used a tab sensor on the wing leading edge. Stall AOA changes considerably with flap extension, which on wings of modern airliners can have several positions starting with LE only through 40 degrees of TE on original 737s.

          (I haven’t understood changes to ‘switches” on control column movement and their computer equivalent apparently.

          Bjorn’s articles are worth rereading, as well as

  5. Rob: The second post was what I had been looking for, well found.

    Still going through it, but details on two items of interest to a controls guy (I worked Building Controls system that are a remote cousin function wise to Aircraft Processor systems – much like 737 a microprocessor to mechanical ops interface)

    AOA: Key item here is that if the AOA values are bogus, then it rejects them and no MCAS 2.0 Ops. On my key sensors I had software written to do just that. If you know its a bogus value you should not be trying to respond to it.
    Yes two AOA required, but the values range limit is extremely important as a layer of safety. .
    Add in AOA disagreement and you have a good system.

    Repeat: This is nebulous but appears if there AOA comes down to under trigger, then it will allow another event. Not a warm and fuzzy there but not sure what the answer is.

    It is mitigated by keeping the travel limits back to what they should have been. So that allows control of the event.

    Airbus has issues with AOA in that you can freeze up all 3 and have not AOA (which to me would be fine, I think AOA belongs in fighter jets not passenger jets)

    An alert that they are not changing when they should is one answer.

    All systems can be pushed over the edge, you need to layer them so no single aspect does so.

    • Manual Trim: So far the only ref I found was it was workign with allowances.

      That certainly is suspect and no mention made to a trim motor lockup and clutch break out.

      • The summary says the trim wheel forces were tested and found to be compliant up to Vmo, being within the capabilities of two pilots at that point. Beyond that, they are not compliant, so pilots will receive additional training on reducing speed and aerodynamic loading, to lower the forces.

        I don’t think they looked at clutch breakout forces for a motor lockup. Unless they are more than 50 lbs, they would still be compliant.

        Still reading this myself and absorbing details. The commentary should be equally interesting.

        • Rob:

          My take is that they are hiding behind regulations, if you exceed VMO then you have to do other manure (intended) (yo yo) to get on backside of VMO.

          So they have Boeing do all the nit pick easy things but fail to address the elephant in the room.

          I work with clutch break out force, it was part of setting up a lot of equipment.

          Reports were that two pilots could not break it out.

          Its a pretty werid set of regs that they do all sorts of bizarre stuff to meet and then throw up their hands when it really means a major change to correct.

          I do know the Classic had two trim motors and I have not see how that played into all this.

          To me thats the classic flaw in Grandfather that it allows stuff like that without a real response.

          If both pilots are not available?

          Small male and or female pilots should have to pass the strength test and prove it every month ?

          Have an inflata trimmer called Otto ? Pedals for the pax?

          • TW, the report says that:

            “The FAA also flew engineering flight tests to validate manual trim wheel forces and confirm that even for the most critical failures identified within the SSA, manual trim capability was adequate through all phases of flight — and associated configurations changes — to accomplish continued safe flight and landing.”

            So that is not hiding. The FAA checked the forces estimated by Boeing and tested in detail to confirm and verify, across the range of foreseen scenarios in the safety analysis.

            As far as the forthcoming report, that is to establish pilot capability and whether they need additional special training on the trim wheels:

            “The FAA must identify if special emphasis training for 737 series trim wheel forces awareness (including manual trim force requirement) is appropriate. Boeing provided the TAB a manual trim wheel force white paper and flight test data.”

            So this is the remaining outstanding issue on trim wheels. The FSB will determine pilot capability and evaluate whether additional training is needed. We’ll have to see their ruling on that.

            Control forces are assumed to be higher above Vmo. This is stated in the regulations, and is one purpose of establishing Vmo. So control of the aircraft to not exceed Vmo is an expected component of flight operations. Reduction of speed would be a first option. Unloading of forces would be a second option.

            As far as the clutch breakout issue, there were two events in recorded history, and it’s possible for other mechanical issues to have occurred in the motor/clutch assembly for those cases.

            We don’t know exactly what happened, but we do know it’s possible to break the clutch in a normal assembly. It was designed for that purpose and has been tested & certified. Investigation of that was not a part of this analysis, but that doesn’t mean it’s an unsafe condition.

  6. “”we do know it’s possible to break the clutch in a normal assembly. It was designed for that purpose and has been tested & certified””

    It was certified for another plane, not the MAX.
    Then they made the stab and elevators stronger without checking everything else.

    “”The FAA also flew engineering flight tests to validate manual trim wheel forces and confirm that even for the most critical failures identified within the SSA, manual trim capability was adequate through all phases of flight — and associated configurations changes — to accomplish continued safe flight and landing.
    So that is not hiding.””

    Maybe that was the reason why the MAX-7 was used.
    Much lower forces on a shorter tail. Try it on a MAX-9.
    FAA is showing the world how stupid they are.

    The trim wheel is the last chance to control the plane. Then autopilot and everything else auto is off. Now imagine to have turbulent conditions. The PF needs both hands to fly the plane, there is no third hand to turn the manual trim wheel. The regulation speaks of SAFELY flying and controlling.
    It’s not safe if both pilots need to turn the wheel. And if both pilots are needed they can’t visit the lavatory anymore. That means max flight time of 2 hours but FAA wants to grant ETOPS 180.
    If the trim wheel is the last chance to control the plane this is long term usage which means 10 pounds maximum forces. There might be a reason why FAA is keeping the pound numbers secret.
    Certified was the trim wheel for a 3 pilot crew. Much lower forces at that time because of smaller planes. Now Boeing is asking for all pilots to turn the wheel.
    FAA didn’t test high trim wheel forces during flight, they tested it on the ground. Tell me why, maybe they were afraid to crash.
    Something must be very wrong here and FAA will deliberately allow another crash. They had no problem with 15 more crashes after JT610 too. Criminal.

    • Leon, the assembly itself is certified or it could not be installed on the aircraft. The clutches are internal to the assembly so are not a function of the aircraft itself.

      The MAX-7 was used because it was fully instrumented. The results were extended to the MAX-8 and MAX-9 by a similarity analysis, which was then confirmed in the simulator. The simulator is calibrated by actual flight testing of the 8/9, which has taken place in the past. Control forces are actually higher on the shorter tail because of the shorter torque arm.

      The trim wheel forces are manageable with one pilot, one hand in normal regimes of flight, as evidenced by the FAA report, the ET302 interim report, and online videos of pilots running the runaway stabilizer scenario in the simulator. Higher forces occur if the aircraft is near or above Vmo, severely out of trim, or both. Training will be provided for those scenarios.

      The FAA did not do actual flight testing of the low-speed, low-altitude approach to stall because of the risk involved. That would be true for any large aircraft, since there is not enough altitude to recover if something goes wrong. But they did confirm the results in the simulator.

      • Boeing miscalibrated the simulator before. Using simulator data, which can be faked, as the basis to certify a plane is foolish. There is a reason why EASA wasn’t allowed to flight test.
        You have to imagine this, Boeing can’t even do a sim right.

        If MCAS can not be tested at low Mach numbers then MCAS should not be allowed. Start with aerodynamical changes to make the MAX stable.

        The crashed MAX were severely out of trim because of MCAS. Start with aerodynamical changes to make the MAX stable.

        If everything can be done with calculating and analysis there is no flight testing needed anymore.

        Boeing flight tested a lot before 2018 and still the MAX crashed. Boeing simply didn’t test the critical situations.

        One month ago APA pilots complained why there was no yoyo training. Boeing had over a year to get a clue, they got advice from many outside experts and there are still complaints.
        It’s like in kindergarden, Boeing needs to be taken by the hand to get something right.

        • The error in the simulator was for trim wheel forces at speeds above the safe operating limits. That has now been corrected.

          The report indicates that representatives of EASA, Canada Transport, and other regulators were present for much of the testing, as travel permitted. All results were shared, no one was excluded from the data, or prevented from participating. EASA pilots have not yet had access to the instrumented MAX-7, due to travel restrictions.

          MCAS was thoroughly tested in flight. Stall at low altitude was tested in the simulator due to the risk of the test. The reason we have simulators is to lower risk while training and testing. All possible safe testing was done in actual flight.

          There was no passive aerodynamic fix with the active characteristics needed by MCAS. The specific accident MCAS failure scenarios (failed AoA) was not tested in the original certification, because Boeing believed pilots would respond as JT043 did. Now those scenarios have been tested with the MCAS modifications, within a range of pilots & capabilities, and found to be safe.

          The pilot union was pleased with the new draft training documents. Among other things, they are considering additional training on the unloading maneuvers, in order to be better prepared. That decision lies with the FSB, who are reviewing the training requirements now.

          • As I said Boeing couldn’t do the sim right.
            Who still believes that the sim is 100% correct now is foolish. The sim can only be as good as it is programmed. I’m sure it is not playing the slipping jackscrew. That’s the difference between a computer and a real test flight with a grandfathered frankenstein in the air.
            But FAA is using sim data to analyse critical flight behavior.

            Before you said yourself that there was a deal made for not flight testing.
            Why was there a deal needed? Might be because EASA would find different data than Boeing is providing.
            EASA will never be allowed to flight test the MAX.

            If it was found to be safe why was turning the manual trim wheel tested on the ground and not in flight.

            The only believe Boeing had was to find ways to cheat, keep the timeline and cut $$$.
            JT043 only survived because it was a 3 pilot crew.

            It was reported that the new draft documents were something around 870 pages and Boeing said that studying takes 90 minutes.
            That means 6 seconds per page. Still Boeingitis.

          • Actually I had speculated that there was a negotiation of the things that would be required for EASA and Transport Canada to participate in a joint recertification with FAA. This would save everyone a lot of time and expense, and ensure the cohesion of international regulators. Not to make a deal to avoid flight testing.

            The trim wheel forces have been checked in the test flights, as part of the MCAS testing with trim disabled. But they also could be studied in more detail and with more cases in the test rig on the ground. The two are calibrated and aligned.

            The third pilot on JT043 reminded the pilots of the trim cutout memory item, which is standard procedure for runaway stabilizer. They had not recognized the behavior as a runaway, which was a common thread in the MCAS issues.

            The report on the draft training materials was 10 documents and 200 pages. The pilots had wanted greater detail from Boeing. The suggested training is 1.5 hours of self-study beforehand, 2 hours of ground training on those materials, and then a yet-to-be-determined number of hours in the simulator, probably several at least.

  7. Error:
    Blue Air is not banckrupted. It is in a preventive agreement avoiding insolvency. Blue Air is fully operational.

    • Hello Iaur, our tracking also includes airlines that went through some form of restructuring under court supervision. I agree that Blue Air did not go bankrupt or cease operations. I think that they restructured under court supervision, or am I missing something? thanks.

  8. As for you Leon, do read more in this forum, the MAX-7 may be a tougher case, and a side benefit is they have to do flight testing on it anyway plus is still instrumented.

    Too much flapping speculation, as usual for some people in this forum, you Leon make presumptions – without offering evidence (I say fantasizing).

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