By the Leeham News Staff
Sept. 15, 2020, © Leeham News: Boeing has removed hundreds of 737 MAX orders from its order book. While some were direct cancellations from customers, most came through ASC 606 adjustments.
Airbus does not publish such order adjustments by aircraft program in its monthly order and deliveries report. The European OEM publishes a total outstanding amount of contracts for commercial aircraft in its annual reports. However, the figure does not have a breakdown by program.
As a result, Airbus and Boeing order books aren’t an apple to apple comparison. The COVID-induced traffic slump has had a significant impact on airlines’ financial situation. Therefore, adjusting order books is necessary to assess an aircraft program’s backlog situation.
The below is an attempt by LNA to perform such a comparison for all commercial aircraft programs at Airbus and Boeing. We include freighter, VIP, and government aircraft.
Several older programs (777 Classic, A320ceo, and A330neo) have a higher portion of orders that won’t likely convert into deliveries. The higher figure is because neither OEM has yet fully “cleaned-up” their order books.
A significant portion of the A330neo order book is at risk. LNA recently wrote a story on the topic.
Note that we do not take into account cases where the airline is in discussions about conversions or cancellations while being evaluated as financially sound. An example is Emirates’ ongoing discussions with Boeing to convert a portion of its 777X order to Dreamliners.
As part of an effort to reduce carbon emissions, a convention mandated by the French government proposed new taxes for the aviation industry. Those include:
A study commissioned by the government estimated that traffic would slump between 14% and 19% as a result of those measures, causing 120,000 to 150,000 job losses.
I understood that the 777x is heavily at risk in relation to almost all of the airlines either wishing to reduce orders or in an existing poor financial position pre Covid. That doesn’t seem to be reflected here and suggests that all order books are considerably more precarious than your numbers suggest.
There’s an explicit comment about that in the text: Leeham have adopted a specific definition of “at risk”.
I thought that Lufthansa was only going to take 6 of the 20 original orders with 14 converted to options. Similarly Etihad were only taking 6 of their original 25 orders.
I’m really unsure what’s going on with Qatar, I think it’s unlikely they will take all 60 unless perhaps Boeing convert some of the orders to freighters.
Hello, as Bryce writes below, we flag orders at risk when the airlines are in such a precarious financial situation that an outright cancellation of the order becomes likely. The airlines that ordered the 777X are for sure in a difficult situation due to COVID but would most likely be able to convert their orders, such as the example given in the text.
Thanks for the clarification Vincent.
I guess I’m thinking more short term, and unsure which airlines will survive.
In the long term, I think the 777X will be around for a while due to the demise of the A380.
There are still airports that are slot constrained, and where the hub to hub model still works. I can’t see the third runway at Heathrow being built anytime soon, so BA may still be able to operate it’s 380s for some time to come as they’re able to fill them. Similarly Emirates model works with large aircraft.
As far as the 777X goes, its the usual 3 possibles and I have not a clue which one.
3. Big success
ME3 weight heavily in all 3.
787-A350 range is where the big sales are at.
Has the view changed and Airlines go with more flexible per 787-A350.
900 passenger 777-300ER have been built, add to that the 125 or so A340-600 which was its direct competitor.
That makes over 1000 planes and if include its near cousins which are essentially the same MTOW the 777F and 777LR and you have another 200.
The market is there for 1200 plus planes over the next 20 years. Well worth having.
Boeing originally touted the B787 as an “A330-killer”.
Reciprocally, Airbus labeled the A350 a “777-killer”.
They may actually both be right.
The number of orders for the 777X is of the same order of magnitude as the number of orders for the A330neo and, even though not reflected by the definition of “at risk” used in the current article, it’s pretty clear that the 777X program will die if most of the current orders are converted to 787s by the ME3 / Cathay / Lufthansa. In fact, by most definitions, the 777-8 is essentially already dead. Boeing once labeled the 777X a VLA…and that whole category of aircraft is now passé.
Reciprocally, the A330 neo has the image of being a “cheaper compromise” for those airlines (like long-distance LCCs) that don’t want to buy the more expensive A350 of B787. Its a good plane for the money, but — like the 777X — it’s still not a full next-generation plane. It perhaps suffers from a “thrift shop” image. Similar to the 777X, its future will suffer a huge dent if AirAsiaX pulls its orders.
We really have no idea what will replace the existing fleets of A330ceos and 777s when they retire.
“”We really have no idea what will replace the existing fleets of A330ceos and 777s when they retire””
Why should we have no idea.
1. A330ceo pilots should be able to fly A330neo.
2. 777-200 cabin is bigger than A330-300.
January Ishka values of 20 year olds are $15m for 777-200ER and $20m for A330-300.
July values for 20 year olds are $12m for 777-200ER and $11m for the much smaller A330-200.
777 is losing much more worth than A330. Airlines will prefer planes which keep value.
3. With Boeing’s QC issues and no end in sight, Boeing planes have to be much cheaper to compete against Airbus.
4. Airbus is improving their planes often, customers might be able to buy better products than they have ordered.
5. Boeing has a poor culture doing business with customers, Muilenborg: “Sue us”.
6. With all the cheating and Jedi mind tricking, who really wants to buy Boeing products which don’t follow safety STANDARDS.
777X must be faked too under Muilenborg.
7. Pax prefer comfortable 8-abreast seating in A330 than narrow seating on 10-abreast 777/777X or 9-abreast 787.
8. Boeing is a bad brand, pax will be happy to choose Airbus airlines.
I want to see the media reporting about yoyo-maneuvers of MAX planes trying not to crash.
Boeing’s reputation is down, it will take decades to delete this bad reputation.
9. US is doing bad politics. More people will avoid to buy US products. I don’t buy turkish products too. China stopped buying 787. America first will always result in America last in the rest of the world.
Sorry guys, but what do you think how many B772, B767 and A332 replacements are already flying?
Yeah, you can now understand what all those A350 and B789 orders come from.
The market has choosen, the optimum for now is somewhere about the A339, A359, B789 – those are the only 3 WBs that really sell – and you might even discount the A339, which leaves A359 and B789.
Even Emirates, who couldn’t buy large enough planes, reduces orders for A380 and B779, who else should buy?
The airlines have chosen, and they do like A359 and B789.
So if they have to replace aging A330 and B777 fleets, I wouldn’t take it for granted they buy the largest twin available.
Low sales numbers for the A35K and the B779 show this.
but how can you not state at least the Cathay Pacific order at risk?
That airline is really shaken up for more than a year now, with protests and covid letting all it’s long haul business disappear.
Same is for Etihad, with its order highly unlikely to be taken.
Emirates talking about switching to more B789s, LHs CEO Spohr did state twice they have ordered to many B779s and to few A350s, and they might switch from B779s to B777f to match demand in cargo and passanger demand.
The A330neo stands and falls with Air Asia. They either survive and take a notable amount, or Airbus has an issue.
I don’t worry about A330neo. With a production rate of 2/month Airbus can produce for 5 years. 788 is not better than A338, that’s why Boeing wants to cut production costs because they can’t compete, even when A338 has only few orders. And now with 787 quality issues it looks even worse for Boeing, who knows how many other issues are not reported yet.
Need to be patient to get through these times. I’m sure all-Airbus airlines feel much better. Wait how it will play out when less people will fly MAX.
Whatever logic we use, 0 777x at risk seems on the positive side of current developments, even before Covid-19. Qatar, LH, EK, Sin proved big enough to cancel orders without have to order something else. They know Airbus & Boeing won’t sue them, because everybody would see & avoid in the future.
Emirates changed to 787, otherwise they might have taken A350. Might be because of the pre-delivery payments.
“Qatar, LH, EK, Sin proved big enough to cancel orders without have to order something else”
What numbers and what plane models was that ?
This says differently
Deferring delivery isnt canceling and would normally be allowed in the contract. Reduction in numbers by cancellation is a two edged sword as smaller numbers means the discounts are less.
To state 0 777x orders are at risk seems more a choice than a conclusion.
Thanks Leeham & Scott, I had been wondering about this. It’s really helpful to have a basis of comparison.
It’s interesting that at-risk NB orders at 14% is not that different than WB at 18%. That might suggest maybe the WB downturn will not be as bad as initially feared. Still early days, though, so we’ll have to see.
The French “ban on domestic flights where a low-carbon alternative exists to reach the destination in less than four hours” is meeting huge resistance from AirFrance/KLM, because it seriously impedes their function to work as a network airline (funneling passengers to/from a hub by plane). On the other hand, both airlines received a hefty CoViD-related state loan, so they’ll probably be just told to shut up and bear the burden.
On a somewhat related note, it was announced yesterday that GreenPeace took the Dutch government to court, alleging that its recent CoViD-related loan to KLM was illegal, because the loan wasn’t tied to a concurrent demand for KLM to reduce its CO2 footprint. Simultaneously, Dutch law makers are looking at a potential ban on the low prices being offered by LCCs to (CoViD) orange-listed destinations.
Some prime examples of the out-of-control aviation-fixated climate mania in Europe. Frightening to see such disproportionate attention paid to an industry that produces about 2% of global CO2 emissions…particularly since it’s also an industry that makes above-average efforts to continually reduce fuel consumption (and noise).
I think the ban on domestic flights in France is only valid for Air France. KLM could replace all Air France flights there.
Remarkable is AF has both 787-9 and A350-900, and they have 32 A350-900 on order.
KLM has 787-9/-10 and A330ceo, and they have 10 787-10 on order.
How can they be so different.
KLM has been heavy users of Douglas and Boeing Aircrafts, hence there are old relations at work. KLM benefits from its cargo operations with products shipped from the Ruhr to AMS instead of FRA. Similar with industry in Bayern rather shipping thru Zurich instead of FRA. Dusseldorf Airport is trying to get the cargo volyme from the Ruhr and MUC are getting more direct international traffic. AF has close relations with Airbus but still want to buy Aircrafts with Safran/Snecma content from Boeing and to get detailed data on those Aircrafts to compare what Airbus offers without leaking too much info to Airbus…
Yes, Leon, you’re correct: the news alluded to in the article specifically concerns France. However, other countries in the EU are debating similar measures, and there’s even a centralized study of the issue at EU Commission level. So there’s a possibility that it will soon creep into a wider area than just France.
As Claes points out, KLM has always been a very heavy user of Boeing and Douglas aircraft, and seems to have some sort of aversion to Airbus. In fact, recently, KLM and AirFrance decided to do a swap of the 787s and A350s that they have on order, so that KLM would only have 787s and AirFrance would only have A350s (in addition to the old-generation widebodies in their fleets).
Why is it “remarkable” that AF has both A350-900 and 787-9 on order? They are far from alone in ordering and/or operating both types.
I found it interesting that AF only has A359 orders while operating 787 too, and KLM has only 787-10 orders while they are together in a group.
I didn’t know that AF and KLM swapped their orders last year.
AF took 7 A359 orders from KLM.
KLM took 6 787 orders from AF.
I seem to recall that an additional compensatory order was made, to balance the tally.
This is not a valid argument as all the concerned flights have a TGV alternative that lands right in CDG. MRS-CDG by train is 3h15, about as competitive a a flight when you include all associated steps.
Additionally this was a condition of the bailout to Air France.
The bailout condition is for flights to Orly airport, not to CDG.
I agree, it’s anty-aviation-mania.
If there will be not direct flights under 1000 km then instead will have 200 cars, with 200 exhausted drivers after 10h ride, every day going inbound and another 200 going outband per 1 flight.
It’s not wise from environmental point of view. And what a loss of precious time. Trains? Not really also.
Here’s an informative link on Wikipedia, detailing fuel consumption in various types of aircraft, subdivided according to range segment. Of interest here is the table for “regional flights”, which shows a fuel consumption of the order of about 2.5 liters of fuel per seat per 100km in modern aircraft (neo/A220/MAX) for flights of the order of about 1000km. Remember that for LCCs, the load factor is typically very high, e.g. 96% for Ryanair.
In contrast, an “average” family car in Europe consumes about 6.5 liters per 100km.
– For an occupancy of 2, the car works out at 3.25 liters per person per 100km, which is worse than the above-mentioned figure for an aircraft.
– For an occupancy of 3, it’s comparable to the aircraft. For higher occupancy figures, it starts to beat the above-mentioned figure for an aircraft.
Of course, the aircraft scores better if the car is larger (such as an SUV), and the car starts to score better if it’s smaller (such as a compact).
Buses and trains are, of course, more economical than cars…but also less popular at present for vacation traffic.
This is an update on the Hybrid which shows what Cherry picking data can do to real world.
Cook the books right and you can look really good.
Interesting would be how many old planes would need to be replaced without fleet growth divided by size.
A320 + MAX-8 size,
A321 + MAX-9/-10 + 767-200 size,
767-300/-400 + 787-8 + A330-800 size,
A330-900 + 787-9/-10 + A350-900 size,
A350-1000 + 777X size.
And then compare it with the adjusted orders.
I think a new model with 767-300/-400 size would be great because A322 couldn’t reach it.
A re-engined 767 could have better “OEW/cabin space” than 787-9, so it would really make sense economically.
” causing 120,000 to 150,000 job losses.”
to be precise here: _in the airline industries_.
expanding rail use will take up some slack.
Uwe, in the Netherlands, the rail system is already chock full: it’s the busiest rail network in the EU, the second busiest in Europe (after Switzerland) and the third busiest in the world (Japan is top) on a per-capita basis. There’s no realistic room to expand. And building new rail infrastructure has a large CO2 footprint associated with the huge quantities of concrete and steel involved.
One time CO2 imprint (build once) versus continuous CO2 footprint ( fuel use ).
The carbonizers like to massively misstate that relation.
( wind turbines, solar power, all recover their energy expenditure in a small fraction of their use time.)
For hi-speed rail infrastructure, I’ve seen an amortization time of 30 years before the once-off CO2 expenditure is negated. 30 years is at least 2 generations of engine improvement for airplanes.
For the channel tunnel, the time is longer because of the nature of the infrastructure involved: tunneling produces a gargantuan CO2 footprint.
I’m not a carbonizer: but it’s time that greenies told the whole story.
While we tend to disagree (good thing not a negative)
I found out lo many years ago, everything is s system.
So an Electric Car is not the MPG, its the compilation of what it takes to extract the battery materials (digging and fossil fuel use for same and building those mining machines) making those batteries (mfg) power involve, shipping them, end of life and the environmental impact of those batters (Lead are recycle and Li Ion are not as far as I know) vs the other costs.
You can add into the US that what pays for highways if a fuel tax. So for highways you need to replace fuel tax with another tax (and fuel is by far the easiest as well as direct user pay).
Then the assumptions. What is the CO and other gas impact? Do you assign a life (30 years) or until you remove it and them?
A fuel driven vehicle has many of the same aspects as an electric car, but until recently, Lead Acid battery was recycled fully (US).
What is the comparison then in the motor vs the engine and drive-train (if any) with unknown on the electronics for a Electric car- but the battery pack stands alone for sure.
Fuel extraction clearly is less intrusive and damaging than mining (given the chassis and frame are mined for both)
As well as how is that power generated for the battery recharge ?
Its easy to cook the books to prove something.
When the US put in auto emissions (right idea) the tech was awful and you wound up with more emissions because the fuel mileage went into the toilet.
As time went by they figured it out and its improved hugely.
I worked in a facility where they changed light type (HID to LED), all good theoretical power reduction , but they lost the heat from the lights and that had to be made up by natural gas.
Yes natural gas is more efficient, but in the end they could not tell difference in the power bill. They were highly annoyed as that was supposed to be the ROI in 3 years.
Where there was an improvement was replacing lights, that went down a lot in manpower (and more annoyance when lights were out) – the light changer cost all of $50,000 a year. Hmm.
So, coin flip and how you compare apples to corn or ?
” busiest rail network in the EU, ”
For Western Europe, the 1st to 3rd are all smaller countries , Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria. Is there even any domestic air travel in those countries
In my country to just go between the 3 main cities is the distance from Copenhagen to Barcelona, and its not a big country on the world scale but with a similar population to Switzerland
Yes, train track capacity is a big problem in Europé and cargo shipments suffer as pax trains get priority daytime.
The small dia hyperloop tunnels of approx A320 dia inside could increase pax capacity. The advantage of small dia steel/concrete tunnels vs regular train tracks are big in cities where they can be semi-submerged and the outside shell be used by multiple others to hook up their systems, like Power lines, fresh water, spectator stands, etc. down to grafitti artists. Many cities are divided by train tracks with fences including hazardus Power lines. I agree that they have huge amount of work to make it work and certify to coming rules and the cost of making perfectly straight tracks inside the tunnels needs development.
With regard to your Hyperloop comments, I saw a masterpiece of a remark last year on SimpleFlying. The person involved effectively said:
“OK, so you want to take a tubular vehicle and propel it through a low-pressure environment so as to achieve high speed. Well, we already have such a system…it’s called an airplane”.
Remember that a HUGE advantage of airplanes relative to rail, road or hyperloop is that aircraft do not require any physical infrastructure along their route. If I have a hyperloop between LA and SF, it doesn’t allow me to get to Fresno unless I invest in a new branch of the loop; on the other hand, a plane that takes off from LA can just as easily fly to Fresno as it can to SF.
More smaller airports should be used. These airports should build longer runways. How much time I spent to get to a big airport when I have a small airport in my town.
Cheaper and less hazzle to fly from my town to a big hub.
Yes, its main benefit is electrical propulsion, the hyperloop pods will probably look like Aircrafts from the waist and up and below the waterline it will be all the compressors sucking the air bubble in front of the pod, leviation system, directional stability system, the solid alu rotor that propels the pod with induced current from the powered stators along the track, Wheels&brakes, Power Control Electronics in addition the usual air cycle machine, cabin air cooling, cabin outflow valves etc. Still that is the easy part compared to building the track economically, just look at the California high speed train track fiasco.
On the hyperloop, how do you evacuate if it gets stuck? A monorail was a good idea, except that there has to be a walkway next to it for evacuation, in which case it is just as easy to build a platform with two rails on it.
@Ted, Re hyperloop evacuation. Most likley it will be a bit like Aircrafts that use open airports with sufficinet field length that often are programmed into its FMS.
For hyperloop it could be emergency stations at intervals that you send a distress signal to the control system “PAN-PAN”so it switch your pod onto the next emergency station and send emergency help to it (ambulance or helicopter). As population grows along the track those emergency stations can be regular stations by time. A bit like the US trans cont Railway with cities growing along the track (making the land around the track valuable)
This reported figure of up to 150,000 job losses is entirely and completely BS.
The TOTAL number of employees in French airlines, all airportS and ground services does not reach that number…
Just a headline grabbing ‘report’ that is commissioned to retrospectively justify the Euro7B gifted to AF.
Although I don’t know exactly how Valery arrived at the figures, I would point out that a reduction in air traffic has a knock-on effect on the hospitality industry, car rental, catering, cultural sector (e.g. museums), logistics and transport industry, etc. It adds up pretty quickly.
CDG Airport had 26,000 employees alone. Air France had 84,000 employees…we are already over 100k Thats the biggest airport and the largest french airline.
I think its only direct employs by airports and airlines in France.
Are the Boeing orders at risk additional orders that yet have to be removed, or are those that Boeing has already taken out?
Hi Matth, they mostly the orders Boeing flagged as ASC 606.
“judgment of at risk” versus “coming under ASC606”
subset or superset or an intersection?
i.e. again an apples vs horse manure comparison?
In my bookkeeping orders are assets of variable value. Depending on health of the customer and a wide range of other factors.
Hi Uwe, a judgment of at risk is a superset of coming under ASC 606 in Boeing’s case.
What is your estimate of the sets size difference?
2 : 1 ? Bigger?
Of course, because of pre-delivery payments.
In the past airlines were only bought because of the orderbook.
How did you consider undisclosed customer orders in Airbus and Boeing orderbooks?
Comparing A330neo figures with those in your previous post (https://leehamnews.com/2020/08/17/pontifications-a330neo-future-bleak-from-covid-impact/), it would appear that all undisclosed orders were considered at risk, is it right?
Is it the same for other Airbus and Boeing aircraft? (e.g. there are nearly 500 A320neo orders from undisclosed customers, how were they considered?)
Hi Enrico, we indeed considered some of the Unidentified orders to be at risk, but not all. It is on a program by program basis.
“nearly 500 A320neo orders from undisclosed customers”
A320 NEO family: 412 orders are “undisclosed customers”
~5.6% of total orders.
It’s interesting to see what Wikipedia has to say regarding orders for the 737MAX and A320neo (family):
– 737Max orders peak at 5005 in 2018, after which they start to decline, to a level of 4129 in June 2020.
– A320neo (family) orders show a monotonic increase, with a peak of 7445 in July 2020.
Do the tables reflect the reductions Boeing has announced or are the reductions in addition to what Boeing has already announced?
Hi Woody, the Boeing adjustments are mostly in-line with what the OEM already announced (ie ASC 606).
As far as I can see, they’re in addition.
Per my comment above and associated Wikipedia numbers, 737MAX orders were already down about 850 due to the “lawn dart effect” relative to Airbus figures in the same timeframe.
Leeham (as well as reporting elsewhere) has made clear that the bulk of the MAX cancellations were due to the ASC adjustments. We know that airlines have cancelled some of their order slots without penalty due to the grounding, but mainly because of the downturn effect. So let’s please back off the “lawn dart” language. It discredits your arguments.
You were doing so well here today, Bryce. Logical & rational arguments without the use of derisive language. Please don’t ruin it. I know the temptation is difficult to resist, but you’re obviously intelligent enough to do so.
Condescending remarks from Mr. Denial who has a whole Trireme worth of oars in the water. Rich.
My remarks apply to you as well, TW. You respond to an opposing factual argument by including an insult or derogatory comment, as you have here again. You prove my point.
You are well known for that behavior here, have been put on probation because of it. Yet still you continue. This is grade-school playground-level stuff. But we are not in kindergarten here. Apart from a few of your cohorts, no one else here behaves that way, nor is there any reason to do so.
Ohh, I am so hurt.
Ah yes, the classic grade school ad hominem, my inner child is so crushed.,
Happy to let Scott decide. Last I knew you worked for Boeing not Leeham
And from the defender of everything Boeing as well. Totally lacks credibility. But sling away.
We can compare where Boeing has gone with its management to where Space X has gone with its management.
Yes Elton is wild and often unconstrained, but he forced Boeing to make a US rocket engine (well they are buying it) rather than supporting Russia and its rocket engine industry.
And he got a manned capsule up to the Space Station while Boeing is still trying to figure out its software failures (now where have we heard that before).
Results vs spin. Tofu vs Wild Turkey.
ps: I do not work for nor have ever worked for any Aviation product mfg entity be it prime, tier 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 etc.
TW, these responses continue to prove my points about maturity and false accusations. So please, be my guest.
Can’t defend failure so attack. Classic when you loose on logic you make slurs on character.
Out of the same playbook as deflect.
Boeing: The 737MAX is now the safest plane in history . We followed all the process we corrupted to the letter.
And what about the not so save MAX with MCAS 1.0 that killed 346 people?. How did it get there, what in substance has been done to correct it.
200 from a basket of 800+ is “the bulk of” cancelations ?
What did they put in your coffee? Novichok 😕
Uwe, the MAX orders as of the end of 2018 were 5005. As of the end of 2019, 4912. Currently they are 4117, with 705 of those doubtful, according to Leeham above.
This means the orders dropped by 795 since January 1, which corresponds to the COVID crisis, with another 705 likely to come.
Please note I’m not claiming that none of those cancellations were due to the MAX crisis, independent of COVID. I don’t have a hard number for that, but it’s clear that the bulk of cancellations have occurred after March 1, as has been true for all other aircraft cancellations.
I’m just saying that COVID also created a need for airlines to take advantage of the cancellation opportunity provided by the MAX crisis. More of those opportunities are likely to be used in the future.
And the derogatory remark is not lessened by the smiley face. As I’ve pointed out to others, there is no need for that here. Your meaning was clear without it. With it, your motivations are also clear.
IMU your argument was that the majority of adjustments reflect ASC606 rules application.
This seems to be not the case?
With your “Oberlehrer” attitudes you stay true to your projected persona. Not helpful either.
Uwe, thank you for that masterpiece: “Oberlehrer” hits the nail right on the head.
Uwe, according to ISHKA and other sources, there were about 460 MAX firm cancellations from March 2019 to June 2020. Less than 200 of those were in 2019, offset by some orders.
Since June there have been another 120 or so, It’s difficult to get a hard number because in some cases Boeing removes before the order is cancelled, but then the cancel becomes firm. That shifts the count from one column to the other. In the end, all ASC removals eventually become cancellations, unless the customer confirms the order
In any case, the numbers removed as doubtful have significantly outpaced the rate of cancellations, which is indicative of the downturn as the reason Also this trend picked up dramatically after March 2020. Those were my main points, and they are valid.
The way Boeing is cooking their orderbook now with self-deleting orders is just a way to disguise all other airline cancelations. Same as Rob is using this Jedi-mind-tricking. Hey Rob, we don’t buy your troll job.
If Boeing deletes all orders in question they should pay back all pre-delivery payments now too. I want to see that 🙂
Exactly – senior teacher de province I’d say
Exasperation and contempt with/for Boeing’s attitudes to their failures and to criticism extends to those who write their PR
Wear the “Oberlehrer” label as a badge of honor. After all, you’ve been thoroughly schooling the likes of Leon, TW, Pablo, A Jones, Uwe, and Bryce for at least the past 6 months on all things MAX or FAA related. They’ve been ground down to name calling by your relentless presentation of facts, which I find to be highly entertaining, along with being informative.
I, for one, appreciate your balanced, knowledgeable, and well written arguments. I’m sure there are others in this forum that feel the same.
Leon, if you have any evidence to go along with the unfounded insults and accusations, it would be helpful to include it. Otherwise I believe the point I made was correct.
There’s a difference between “schooling” and “proselytising ad nauseum”.
“If Boeing deletes all orders in question they should pay back all pre-delivery payments now too.”
That’s an interesting point. When orders are removed from the books merely because they are considered shaky, can they be reinstated at a later juncture (e.g. if the customer is no longer considered financially unstable) or does the customer concerned have to place a new order?
And what, indeed, about the pre-delivery payments? Anyone with a MAX currently on order is entitled to unilaterally terminate the contract due to the ongoing grounding. Having the order implicitly terminated by Boeing in the same period should lead to the same entitlements vis-à-vis repayment of advances.
I’m not convinced that someone could school me by arguments lacking of sense, rotten narrative or unfairness.
@ Mike Bohnet
Unlike Rob, I worked in the PD/737 program the entire time MAX was being designed/tested and know the truth from first hand dealing with the swindle and the actors involved. I have no need of being schooled by Rob (his technical ‘facts’ are mostly incorrect or misguided, and I don’t consider him as a qualified commentator on deeply technical topics such as stability & control, which he regularly talks about as an authority). And for the record, I hardly see Rob as having ground anyone down by shelling out half-truths. I am still here, and gladly commenting when I think I can shed light or add any value to the discourse. Truth/reality always comes out in the end, no matter how much spin is put on it. This is a fact that Boeing has forgotten thanks to Kool-aide drinkers and promoters like Rob.
Mike, thanks for your support. I agree that the derogatory language begins when cornered by the facts. And always the same small group.
But as we’ve seen here today, even with an admonition from Scott, they won’t stop that behavior. Perhaps are unable to stop.
Anyway, I’m glad it at least has some entertainment value for those reading.
“”When orders are removed from the books merely because they are considered shaky, can they be reinstated at a later juncture (e.g. if the customer is no longer considered financially unstable) or does the customer concerned have to place a new order?””
of course the order contracts are still there.
MAX cancellations were expected and in Covid times even more.
Boeing is just cooking the orderbook to make it show that Boeing cancelled MAX orders.
If airlines see that many other airlines cancelled MAX orders they should asking themselves why they don’t do the same. It would be an avalanche.
So Boeing is cooking and doing some PR “Hey world, Boeing is an honest company, Boeing doesn’t count shaky orders anymore”. It’s also good to come up with other stories so people won’t talk only about the 787 Nightmare all the time.
The orderbook is not really important to me because orders can be changed. Important to me are new orders and deliveries.
The orderbook is interesting for 777X, to see if there is even demand, or the MAX, to see the avalanche and soon if there are cancellations for the 787. Unbelievable the 787 has the lowest “Share At Risk”.
777X wikipedia shows 309 orders too. Included
and Emirates wants to change. Clark asked for confirmation that 777X doesn’t have new embedded software, which Boeing obviously can’t give. Which airline really believes that 777X parts were not Jedi-mind self-ceriticated under Muilenburg.
Every month it’s getting harder to certify 777X.
But now is 787 time. I wonder how FAA inspected all thousand 787.
The 787 is “collecting” new issues.
(recent) Frames have been pulled by Boeing due to unmanaged manufacturing tolerance issues.
( Jon Ostrower: https://theaircurrent.com/aviation-safety/boeing-pulls-eight-787s-from-service-over-structural-issue/ )
this link is from August 27.
Boeing has shimming problems since June 2010 because of not enough time during production.
They can’t fix the shimming issues for 10 years.
Bryce “lawn dart” diminishes the reality of the people who were terrified and then died. Any relatives of theirs reading it would be pained by the disrespect.
They’d be far more pained by the cavalier attitude of the two Boeing executives referenced in the recent Reuters article.
But if you prefer, the term “flying casket” was used in Congress.
Those statements were disturbing. Especially the implication that the only issue was their error depending on the “3 second guideline” and ignoring the unlimited authority afforded MCAS resulting in a non-fail safe design.
“flying casket” is not much better. Safety in engineering depends on on avoiding hyperbole, meticulous attention to detail and when things go wrong dispassionate analysis and corrective action. The history of aviation safety shows the value of that approach.
Those comments were more related to the expectation that pilots would do the memory-item runaway trim checklist, in the event of an MCAS malfunction.
We know from subsequent pilot testing that this expectation was not valid for some pilots, without specific pilot training. They admitted this and Boeing has as well.
In other parts of the testimony, they said they were unaware of the specific details of MCAS operation. They did not know it could activate more than once, or that it depended on a single sensor. It was explained to them as a revision of the existing STS system, and not as being new or novel. That jives with the inspector general report regarding failures of communication.
Nor did they know that the AoA disagree indicator did not work in the production software load. That was discovered later as a software bug.
In some sense they were the wrong guys to ask, as the design decisions were made at a lower level in Boeing. But their signatures are on the approvals, so they are responsible.
The defense of the MCAS development process echoed Mullenberg’s stilted testimony in 2019, and they admitted this as well. They said that within their knowledge, “there was no reason to believe the process was flawed at that time”, but also that the constant repetition of that exact phrase “sounds like a broken record”.
I suspect that phrasing is very carefully selected, in that it allows for flaws to have existed, but not that they were known at the time. So it’s not an outright denial of flaws, but a denial of knowledge or awareness.
That is a key point because awareness goes to intent, and intent is a fundamental requirement for punitive damages. It’s not necessary for compensatory damages, which Boeing has already conceded by public admissions of fault.
These guys were accompanied by Boeing lawyers, and when pressed, refused to discuss whether the process was a cause of the accidents. So in that we can see the continuing instruction to not comment on issues of fault or blame, due to pending litigation.
That’s not what anyone wants to see or hear, and I wish it were otherwise. But it’s a fact of life that legal advice is always not to discuss an accident in the face of a lawsuit. So I think they went as far as they were allowed to go.
Ultimately the resolution of fault will have to play out in court for the civil cases. The plaintiffs will have access to all the design materials in discovery, but the public will not, until it comes out at trial. In that sense, political hearings are somewhat doomed to be frustrating, and lacking in detail or resolution.
“”That was discovered later as a software bug””
“”there was no reason to believe the process was flawed at that time””
Obviously there are regulations for software audits, otherwise EASA could never have asked for them.
But the bean counters never did an independent software audit before.
Self-certified it against regulations. Criminal
Then saying that they didn’t know.
FAA closed the Florida repair shop. That shop did much less harm than Boeing. Of course FAA/Trump didn’t close Boeing.
Someone robs a bank,
then saying that it wasn’t known that robbing is not allowed,
but he will be put behind bars too.
For Boeing it might be different, swept under the rug and everything is fine,
even when Boeing knowingly pressured, harassed and threatened certifying engineers to get the results they wanted.
I wouldn’t wonder if some self-certifications might be signed by people who don’t exist, already happened inside Boeing before.
It’s the whole system with FAA and paid politicians.
History says Boeing has been making aircraft for 104 years.
Isn’t it truly beyond stunning how little they learned in 104 years?
Wasn’t that what we heard out of Germany after WWII (we didn’t know?). We weren’t aware. We followed the procedure (which we destroyed and corrupted to the point of no longer valid)
Our Shim Program quit working (and no one noticed?)
Our quality control quit working (and no one noticed?)
Would you let these people mow your lawn?
Can I offer you some Purple Coolaid?
Hi, to clarify, let’s take the 777 as an example.
There are 62 B777 family orders (777F, 777-300ER, & 777-200LR) after subtracting the 309 777X orders. This is from the Boeing website.
Of those, Boeing identified 17 as needing an ASC 606 adjustment. We identified the customers under ASC 606 adjustment for the 17 total. We then added another order to that tally. Hence the total of 18 orders at risk.
To estimate the Airbus totals, we looked at airlines in similar situations as those flagged as ASC 606 by Boeing.
Surprised how vulnerable the a330 neo is ..even before covid .. sales lackluster at best..
Thats because the earlier model sold so many in the last 10 years of its life they are still going strong. ( 1500 over the life of the plane since EIS in 1994 which is 25 years)
The big drop in fuel prices means the re engining isnt as much value as it once was – which applies to all lower fuel burn planes.
The A330ceo deliveries peaked in the years 2012 – 2015.
CEOs are just too young to be replaced.
It’s a bit like the 777X but with fewer upgrades and without the uniqueness of being the largest (not exactly a selling proposition today). I’d wager that fleet managers see the 787 and A350 as the future with their flexibility. I’d also assume the RR issues aren’t helping things. The GE9X, while having hiccups, is having them before a customer gets their aircraft. When you look at current a330 operators, most have 787s and a350s already, so why not sunset a fleet type and save the Mx overhead.
“I’d wager that fleet managers see the 787 and A350 as the future with their flexibility.”
I agree…particularly in view of the trend (before CoViD, at least) of wanting to offer higher frequency using smaller planes. Smaller planes are naturally more suited to thin routes, and frequency can be upped if the route becomes denser.
There may still be a small slice of cake for the A330neo…which, at least, is actually flying, and was produced at relatively low development costs. Its low list price gives it an advantage, and may be the reason why Boeing wants to lower the production costs of the 787-8. And it too is a small plane.
I don’t see the 777X ever materializing: I think it’s only a matter of time before major cancellations/conversions kill it off. The decision of Qantas to go with the A350 for Project Sunrise effectively killed the 777-8.
> Smaller planes are naturally more suited to thin routes,
> and frequency can be upped if the route becomes denser.
Up until you become slot constrained. Then you have to up-gauge.
But, as alluded to by Leo above, we concurrently have the migration to smaller airports, thus alleviating the whole concept of slot constriction. That migration is largely due to LCCs and the ME3.
OK, TW, dial it back. For one thing, Rob doesn’t work for Boeing but even if he did, treat him with respect.
All others, too: respect each other. Them’s the rules of commenting on this blog.
“”doesn’t work for Boeing””
Sometimes when he’s talking about Boeing he is using the form “WE”,
of course that could be a psycho damage too, wishful thinking that he belongs to them,
but everybody else has to think he is getting paid by Boeing or is a subworker for them.
That might also be the reason why he writes the longest posts, as if he gets paid for the amount of words he writes
and he writes to all subjects, like Hans Dampf in allen Gassen.
Everybody can recognize this, it’s just not normal to have this bias, like a Borg who is programmed with Boeingitis. That’s why many mention it.
The “we” is in reference to general knowledge, as in we the public, we the forum members, etc. For example, we know that George Washington was the first US President. Has nothing to do with Boeing.
The perception of bias, like me working for Boeing, comes from the mindset that nothing else could explain a contrary viewpoint, especially one that favors Boeing in any way. Similarly the insistence that everyone must see this. When belief systems are challenged, it’s a threat that must be put down. Hence the accusations.
On a more humorous note, the inconceivability of my not working for Boeing, always reminds me of this Princess Bride clip:
I had it firmly in my mind you said you worked for Boeing. That was from previous statements
he works for Leeham to keep the brand up.
I also find the “we” rather suspect…it’s very Borg-like:
“We are the Borg. Prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is futile”
I think it would be a very good thing if Boeing, Airbus, and others were at least looking at Scott’s site, even better if they had representation here, even if it was anonymous.
If Scott says Rob doesn’t work for Boeing, that’s it, he doesn’t … end.
Rob does appear to be well informed, and if challenged he does provide answers, and counterpoints. This is a good thing, if we’re interested in aviation safety, we need to pose difficult questions, and we may need to be convinced.
The only stupid question is the question that isn’t asked.
We shouldn’t allow emotion to sway our arguments though.
We also need to look at what’s happened, and question if it could happen again, possibly on a different aircraft such as an Airbus.
So when I see a report that there are issues with the 787’s tail structures, I assume that the authorities are now dealing with it, but I wonder if EASA / Airbus are looking at their own processes / aircraft to ensure that a similar condition doesn’t affect Airbus aircraft.
I have to say it does appear that Airbus does appear to take notice of issues with other aircraft, see Bjorn’s article on the A321 pitch up issue:
Airbus saw there was potential for a pitch up issue on the A321, so they looked into it, and proposed a fix.
I would feel a lot more comfortable though if the regulators, and airframers were a lot more transparent, and stated explicitly that they had looked into similar issues under their remit, and either found nothing or were dealing with the issues.
I think this is where Boeing for me is lacking, the ‘trust us, we know what we’re doing’ attitude doesn’t wash with me at the moment. I used to trust Boeing, now I have to say I just don’t, I just can’t trust Boeing management.
I’d like Boeing to get back to making solid aircraft with no issues, and I’d like them to be completely open about it. I’d like to be able to trust Boeing again.
In general in any business if you hire an expert, you shouldn’t let management override them, you hired them for a reason !
It’s the 21st Century, media is global, instantaneous, and sadly lacking in accuracy in many respects. People are more likely to believe their favourite celebrity than an expert in the relevant field.
If you want to fight conspiracy theories, the raw facts need to be in the public domain.
So I will question everything, but I will also listen objectively to ALL of the evidence. Sometimes it may take a while to convince me, but if you have a compelling argument, you will convince me if the facts stack up.
JakDak, very well said. Not the part about me, but the part about hearing all sides and seeking an evidentiary basis. The benefit is that if you follow that approach, you can only ever be temporarily wrong. Eventually you must end up on the right track. If instead you don’t listen, there is the possibility of being permanently wrong. You have to hope you settled on the right side when you stopped listening.
Rob does work for Boeing, he has stated as such. There is no evidence he is paid to work for Boeing on the Leeham site.
The clear issue is how Boeing approached MCAS.
For MCAS Data was cherry picked, risks were cherry picked all to get a low cost solution.
Japan did the same thing with the Fukushima Reactor.
The Boeing evidence says it was deliberate. As was the undermining of the FAA and workign to transfer all design review and authority into the Boeing organization.
That too is incontestable. Part of safety is having a second and often third layer to ensure that failures of the operating system (Boeing) does not cascade into a boiler blowing up (high temp safety, ala FAA)
When the safties are removed and you are left with the operating control and it fails, the Boiler blows up and people die, its not we did not understand.
Boilers blowing up like aircraft crashing are well known, decremented and the methodology to make safe is well understood.
When you both undermine the operating control and remove the safety, you are knowingly creating a risk that sooner or latter is going to have a crash.
I have made mistakes and been fired for it. Those were not deliberate or overt, but they were mistakes that I was held accountable for.
The ones I never made were on Boilers. I saw a controls company wire past the safeties on a pair one time, absolutely nuts.
You simply never ever wire anything in parallel on a safety circuit.
Both Boeing and the FAA continue to make statements that their process is fine.
Fortunately that is why we have other safety checks.
We can thank China for the grounding, otherwise while the dithering was going on we would have had at least one more crash.
Congress does not believe the ODA program works with its corruption of being moved to Boeing.
There is nothign wrong with ODA that reports to FAA, there clearly is when it reports to Boeing.
TW, your allegation about me working for Boeing is absolutely false. Scott has told you, I have told you. But the truth is inconsequential to your purpose here.
The remark you reference was sarcasm in response to the ridiculous idea that I’m a Boeing rep. If you recall, I said I work for Lockheed as well. I thought this would be understood as sarcasm, but clearly I overestimated my audience.
The rest of your assertions represent your opinions, but are not established fact. They are easily contestable. Please show us your evidence that Being acted deliberately. The inspector general report found that there was not intent.
That is the evidence that we have at present. Other investigations are underway. If they reveal intent with evidence, I will accept it.
If you know differently, you should come forward to testify before Congress, as others have. Or contact the DOJ or FAA to share your knowledge. That would be the ethical, honest, and responsible thing to do.
There is plenty of proof Boeing deliberately kept info away from the FAA. It was there M.O. to confront the FAA with a fait accompli. Another clear example of this was the removal of lightning strike protection on the wings of the B787 without informing the FAA.
Obviously they didn’t deliberately crash planes, but Boeing actively and very deliberately created the situation where trash like MCAS could be on hundreds of planes carrying hundred thousands of people without the FAA being correctly informed on MCAS.
Boeing spent years planning and (political) manoeuvring to achieve this.
Julian, there has been no action from the FAA on the 787 lightning issue. So that runs counter to the claim that Boeing acted inappropriately.
Boeing has been fined in the past for not informing the FAA. That shows both that the FAA is willing to enforce, and that Boeing is capable of that behavior. But capability is not the same as proof of action, for all eternity.
As far as acting deliberately on the MAX issues, the inspector general investigation did not find that, in fact they went out of their way to state that there was not intent in the problems that were found.
Under the law, if you make accusations like this, you must have evidence. The law protects against conviction by association, suspicion, or inference. Yet there have been multiple reports, multiple investigations, multiple regulators, with none making these claims.
There is a criminal probe underway for Boeing. If it finds intent with supporting evidence, I will accept that. But to say the things that are said here, without that evidence, is wrong. I’m sure you know that.
“”As far as acting deliberately on the MAX issues, the inspector general investigation did not find that, in fact they went out of their way to state that there was not intent in the problems that were found.””
Did Boeing pay them too?
Some people know that Boeing paid lots of politicians.
It’s proven that Boeing’s high management threatened certifying engineers.
Leon, even you have to be aware that this response is pure conspiracy theory. Some people believe Apollo didn’t land on the moon, or that the earth is flat. You can make whatever statements you want, but stating those things doesn’t make them true.
Didn’t he write once that he is proud of working for Boeing, or similar? Something ringing in my head
For me personally doesn’t matter, let’s judge by quality (or lack of it) of arguments, narration & fairness.
Meantime things got out of hands here…
I posted in the
Pontifications: Boeing SC makes its case for 787 production consolidation—and it favors Everett
a nice example about Rob.
I think the differences in backlog, deliveries, portfolio and operational integrity between Airbus and Boeing has never been larger.
Looking back, I think the company was drained 2010-2019, government (FAA) was in the pocket because of #1 exporter, WS, stockholders were seduced by stock value, free cash flow & dividends. Now the box is empty.
It think big government support is required to turn this around.
This article in the Seattle Times throws some additional light (or not) on the subject of cancellations.
Of particular interest are the last 4 paragraphs:
“So far this year, the firm MAX backlog has shrunk by 864 aircraft: a total of 416 MAXs have been outright canceled and an additional 448 removed from the backlog as no longer certain.
As of the end of July, the firm backlog for the 737 MAX models stands at 3,498 airplanes, Boeing’s data shows. Airbus cites the order backlog for its rival A320neo family of jets at 6,065 airplanes.
July’s data means that, counting formal cancellations and removals due to failure to meet accounting standards, Boeing’s overall order tally shrunk this year by 836 airplanes, reducing its total firm order backlog to 4,496 airplanes.
In contrast, Airbus’ order tally after cancellations grew by 302 aircraft this year, increasing its total firm backlog to 7,539 airplanes.”
Somewhat tangential to the current article, but it relates to the MAX, and is thus of relevance. This Reuters article today discusses how “737 MAX crash victims seek U.S. legislation to block Boeing legal strategy”.
It’s very interesting. If the lawyers for the crash victims can successfully demonstrate that Boeing had “unclean hands” in its interaction with the FAA during the original MAX certification, then Boeing will have yet another MAX headache.
Very interesting link Bryce:
“But families say manufacturers should not be allowed to “hide behind” FAA certification when a certified airplane turns out to be defective.”
But if the legal team of the families of the crash victims are able to prove that the FAA authorised a version of MCAS that was subsequently changed without being specifically authorised by the FAA, I don’t think they’d be able to use the FAA as a shield anyway.
I’m not a fan of litigation, but I make an exception in this case purely to ensure that we find out exactly how this mess came about so that it can be prevented from happening again.
Of course the MAX was only certified to what FAA knew. Making MCAS more aggressive without telling FAA is like flying without certification.
FAA needs to check all self-certifications, especially because Boeing used pressure to get what they wanted, and Boeing still did so at least till February 26 this year.
It helps to understand this as legal brinksmanship. Boeing is offering to settle, but the families have opted for trial, which is their right. Trial affords them the opportunity for punitive as well as compensatory damages. Settlement means foregoing punitive damages in return for higher compensatory amounts, as well as less time and expense.
Boeing then filed their intent to seek an immunity defense. This is a complex legal argument that has bounced around in the courts for years, and the Supreme Court has thus far declined to hear it. It revolves around the intent of Congress when they enacted the FAA, and gave them the mandate of air safety via the certification mechanism. The FAA determines safety compliance, so the theory goes that compliance with federal law preempts product liability law at the state level.
The courts have vacillated on this, and have tended to rule by whether the manufacturer needed FAA approval to make the change that would have prevented the accident. If the aircraft was compliant with existing law and the change needed approval, the rulings have tended to support immunity. However those rulings are also often overturned, sometimes 2 or 3 times before appeals are exhausted. So it creates a lot of uncertainty and delay, as well as the possibility that the families could get nothing. But neither is it clear at all that Boeing would prevail.
So the families are now asking Congress to clarify their intent with new legislation that would clearly suborn federal FAA compliance to state liability law. However this would not be the first request, and at least in the past, Congress has been reluctant to get involved, leaving it to the courts instead. But if they did act, it would force a trial and a Boeing defense (not to mention transform liability in the aviation industry), so it’s an effective counter to Boeing.
I have no idea how any of this would come out in the end. It would probably be in the courts for years. It will be up to Boeing, the families, and now Congress, to decide how far they each want to go, and at what point (if any) a settlement might be preferred.
I think it’s safe to say that Boeing wants to settle, as they did for Lion Air, so the families may have the upper hand in negotiation. But there is no upper limit for punitive damages, so the trial path still may seem preferable to the families.
That’s the topic where everybody wants to stay away from, because so many are complicit. Congress members, lobbyists, stock owners, industry organisations.
“WASHINGTON—The safety-certification process that put the Boeing 737 MAX in the air is coming under congressional scrutiny in what is shaping up as a test of the aircraft maker’s influence in Washington.
Boeing Co. and its lobbyists for years pushed to speed up the time it takes to get a new plane certified to fly. Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration—which were both targets of the company’s multimillion-dollar lobbying—supported efforts to delegate some safety-certification functions to Boeing.”
First Boeing had congress “streamline”, delegate certification & now they try to blame FAA.
What I am interested in is: who, what, why, and when.
I want the events that led to the deaths of all those people to be fully understood so that they can be prevented from happening again.
Who knew what, why were experts overruled, what assumptions were made, are those assumptions valid etc.
What needs to be in place where to ensure these sort of issues are not repeated.
Training is obviously a part of it, but it must be realistic.
For example, if you test with experienced test pilots who understand exactly what feature they are to test that day, and they are well prepared, fore-warned, and have a plan to execute, you may think that 4 seconds is adequate time for a pilot to respond.
I think it has been noted that during testing of the MAX even a test pilot took over 10 seconds to resolve an MCAS issue. That’s a major flag that shouldn’t have been overlooked.
Perhaps better is to test new features on unsuspecting line pilots during a day of normal update simulator training.
Do all the usual failures that they should recognise, and deal with, and dump the new issue right in the middle without warning. Check to see how they react, do they instinctively diagnose the problem ?
Now let them know about the new feature, and any new checklists, let them study it, and do the same again in a few days, see if they are able to handle the problem once they are aware of it, and the new training is fresh in their minds. If they fail that, you have a problem.
I.e. don’t decide that an ‘industry standard’ amount of time is ok, rather approach it from the other direction. Do the test with a line pilot, and find out how long they take to solve the problem, and save the aircraft, and then figure out if that’s enough time, and what’s required to ensure that the pilot will perform the correct actions to save the aircraft.
That’s a discussion too long for a post
Google “grandfathering of design & requirements”, “product rule”
“delegation” ,”FAA re-authorization 2012″, “competitive pressure”, “jobs”
After the 787 development drama, grandfathering certification became fashionable again.
Congress (GOA!) did audit & applaud the Boeing – FAA certification process reforms, just before everything collapsed. “FAA Has Made Continued Progress in Improving Its Processes for U.S. Aviation Products” https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/683649.pdf
GOA pushed FAA to further side EASA to prevent delays in certification US products. Boeing payed / lobbied Congress, Congress put FAA against the wall using FAA re-authorizations.
Most people involved developed instant Alzheimer or keep low. Maria Cantwell was the only one I’ve seen showing to have some balls in admitting she pushed in the wrong direction for years.
As I said so many are complicit to this, everyone agrees to keep quiet and/or focusses on 737 MAX MCAS technical details instead of the real backgrounds, that also delays the 777x (forget engines/covid-19).
How did they design the 767 MCAS with two AOA sensors, and then switch the MAX to one sensor, and think that would work? If they were worth their salt from an engineering and design competency standpoint, they should have seen that one, and that is the problem.
Old requirements, design and unrealistic assumptions on pilots. And nobody daring to raise their hand because higher goals.
And on a related note:
Why is MCAS 2.0 for the MAX using only two AOA sensors, when the modern industry standard is to use three sensor inputs?
A sensor disagreement in the proposed 2-sensor system will lead to MCAS not being invoked. Since we can assume that MCAS was conceived to fulfill a purpose, that purpose will not be achieved in such an instance. One can then ask oneself how critical that purpose is…and the risks that are precipitated by its non-fulfilment.
We know, of course, that Locutus will now probably bury us in a rambling avalanche of syntax, in which Boeing’s vision in the matter will be expounded tedium ad nauseum…
Ted, MCAS was an enhancement of the STS system, which had always alternated between single AoA sensors, along with the flight computers. So they just retained the existing method while adding the MCAS function.
They looked at using the other sensor but decided it wasn’t needed for the initial limited version of MCAS. The whole thing needed to be recertified when the authority of MCAS was expanded.
The 767 MCAS was completely different and much more advanced, not compatible with the 737 at all. The only thing that came across was the concept, 737 MCAS was from scratch.
Also in answer to Bryce, EASA has requested that the third AoA sensor be added over the next year. 3 sensors is the standard for fly-by-wire since the computers have to vote, and you need a tie-breaker. 2 sensors is the standard for the fly-by-pilot system, and is all that’s required by regulation.
In the event of disagreement of the 2 sensors, MCAS is disengaged with a warning. It’s not an issue as MCAS is needed in very limited circumstances, and pilot control is not affected.
MAX2.0 is still only using one AOA sensor to measure AOA to feed FCC.
The 2nd AOA sensor is only there to measure the difference, if difference is too high MCAS is off.
Flintstone technic from last century, remember how long it took to implement it. If Boeing wants to use a voting system with 3 AOA sensors it will take 3 years.
“In the event of disagreement of the 2 sensors, MCAS is disengaged with a warning. It’s not an issue as MCAS is needed in very limited circumstances, and pilot control is not affected.”
If that were the case, then Boeing could have just disable MCAS back in March 2019, and the MAX could have been ungrounded in a jiffy.
There’s more to this.
I suspect that the current embodiment of MCAS indeed had something to do with speed and costs. But what interests me is that it has created a simple logic trap:
– If MCAS is necessary, then a situation is created whereby it can be turned off by a single point of failure (single AOA sensor failure) –> unacceptable.
– If MCAS is unnecessary — and is merely a luxury — then why wasn’t it just disabled by Boeing back in March 2019, thus expediting the ungrounding process?
There’s a glaring inconsistency here.
Bryce, this is all described in the FAA summary of the proposed AD, and we have discussed it many times here as well.
MCAS is needed to adjust column force at high angles of attack. That’s all it was ever meant to do, satisfy a compliance requirement. It cannot be removed because the MAX would be non-compliant for that condition, without it.
If MCAS is not able to function and is disabled, the aircraft remains perfectly controllable. But if the aircraft climbs steeply, the column force will be les than that required by regulation, for that condition only.
Like any other hardware, it can be disabled in flight until landing, where it can be repaired. That is permissible under the regulations. If it’s on the MMEL, then the aircraft can’t take off again without it.
This is why the FAA does not require the 3rd sensor. But they have agreed to add it at the request of EASA, as an extra precaution.
“”MCAS is needed to adjust column force at high angles of attack. That’s all it was ever meant to do, satisfy a compliance requirement. It cannot be removed because the MAX would be non-compliant for that condition, without it.””
There is no need to move the stabilizer if it’s only about column force. There is a feel system already.
If an all moving stab is used the system needs to be redundant.
MCAS didn’t allow the pilots to control the plane using elevators.
I want to see Boeing’s self-certification about the “novel” use of the stabilizer. Unbelievable FAA is not checking it.
FAA didn’t worry in December 2018 too when they calculated 15 more crashes. It’s fine, let them crash in USA, not in the rest of the world.
“”If MCAS is not able to function and is disabled, the aircraft remains perfectly controllable””
No. I think Bjorn called it “nose happy”.
Even if column control forces are 100% correct, the plane needs to have a linear flight behavior.
MAX doesn’t have it. That’s why Boeing is using the stab. MCAS is a stall system which needs to be redundant.
Boeing can change the feel system and leave MCAS out and the MAX will NOT be certified.
Here is the prove:
Because of caution Airbus blocked the last seat row to prevent an areodynamical pitching up only on A320 and A321 with Leap engines. It has nothing to do with feel on an Airbus. Airbus will change the software which is allowed because Airbus has redundant systems. The MAX has NOT.
Airbus didn’t block the last seat row on A319, obviously it wasn’t needed, there might not be an aerodynamical pitching up.
But MAX flight testing was only made on a MAX-7 which likely has no pitching up either.
Scott, is it possible not to allow Rob to come up with this column control feel again and again? Bjorn already said that the MAX is nose happy.
Leon, all of this is documented in the FAA summary for the proposed AD. The FAA was careful to address the criticisms of the MAX in detail, one by one, and explain their reasoning.
So those are the established facts. They are the result of 18 months of investigation. Many thousands of hours of review and testing by experts. Participation by other world regulators, who would surely object if they spotted a falsehood. They have not.
You disagree with this evidence, and like Philip before you, have consistently proposed your own ideas about the behavior of the MAX. But the evidence has not supported those ideas.
Bjorn’s description of the MAX as nose-happy was correct and consistent with the evidence. In a steep climb, the column force decreases due to shifts in aerodynamic forces, specifically the center of lift moving forward due to the engine nacelle area. MCAS applies a small correction to those forces, moving the center of lift back again, by applying a matching lift force at the tail. This is a simple force and moment balance on the airframe.
Airbus uses a side-stick without haptic feedback, so the regulations for stick force don’t apply. Since the computers have full authority, and the software wasn’t quite right for pitch stability, Airbus used temporary weight restrictions instead, to ensure stability, until they could fix the software.
The difference is that when Airbus does this, we don’t call it “Flintstone”, even though using passengers for stability control is the crudest method imaginable. Instead, we give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them to resolve the issue through software modification.
In doing this, we recognize that Airbus stability relies on software for pitch augmentation, just like the MAX does, and this is a good thing, not bad. No crisis, no hysteria, no wild claims of instability.
Bjorn, Mike, and others here have thrown up their hands in frustration and walked away from this discussion. But it’s important to point out the truth no matter how many times it’s denied. If you wish to keep posting these ideas here, you have every right to do that. But repetition doesn’t make them correct.
“”ideas about the behavior of the MAX”
“The 737 is a classical flight control aircraft. It relies on a NATURALLY STABLE base aircraft for its flight control design, augmented in selected areas.
MCAS is unique to the MAX because it no longer has the docile pitch characteristics of the 737NG at high AOA.
The base aircraft has deficiencies, like most airliners, but it’s not a fundamentally dangerous aircraft.
Could MCAS have been implemented aerodynamically? Yes. It would most likely be as large aerodynamic strakes at the lower rear part of the fuselage.”
So much why MCAS is needed.
It improves pitch characteristics of the base aircraft which has deficiencies and could be replaced with strakes.
Stop to bother us again and again that MCAS is only about feel.
“” all of this is documented in the FAA summary for the proposed AD. The FAA was careful to address the criticisms of the MAX in detail, one by one, and explain their reasoning.””
Show us where the “novel” use of the stabilizer is mentioned.
“”Many thousands of hours of review and testing by experts.””
MAX1.0 flew many hours too and it still crashed twice and then Boeing asked for more time to collect data.
Experts for what, must be cheating, Jedi-mind-tricking and threatening certifying engineers.
Leon, according to reporting on this that has emerged, the strake solution that Bjorn suggested was tried by Boeing but didn’t work. That doesn’t mean that Bjorn was wrong, it means that Boeing recognized this as well, and tried the same solution.
As to why it didn’t work, we know that the lift contribution of strakes depends on the airflow over the airframe under different conditions. The strake size and placement must be arranged to match the lift profile of the engine housings in climb, but behind the center of lift.
Sometimes this can be done and sometimes it can’t. They were not able to match up the engine lift profiles with strakes, at least in a reasonable way that would not cause other problems. That was Boeing’s conclusion after extensive wind tunnel testing, before the first MAX was ever built.
The advantage of MCAS was that the engine lift profile could be easily matched by a small tweak in stabilizer movement, that would have no other effect in normal flight.
Also as I and others here have pointed out, and by your own example, Airbus also has pitch augmentation implemented through software, as do most fly-by-wire aircraft. It’s embedded in the control law and doesn’t have an explicit name like MCAS. You don’t even know it exists. We would not know anything about MCAS either, if it had been implemented properly.
Again, if you have evidence to the contrary, or a strakes design that you know will work, you need to bring it forward. I’m sure the world would like to see it.
And for the record, Bjorn has just published an article here in which he endorsed the safety of the revised MCAS and MAX. So quoting him in an effort to discredit that result doesn’t represent his intent.
As a starting point, the MAX exhibited a pitch up characteristic at stall. It was not violent, Boeing disagreed it was an issue, FAA thought it was (its in the regs how it should behave).
In that regard I am with Boeing, seemingly it was on an edge of issue or no issue.
Realistically, a 737 is not going to be stalled. Like any safety aspect you don’t assume won’t be vs CANT be. Their are two safety features that do not involved MCAS.
One is a stick shaker. If the pilot has lost situation awareness, it tells him he is about to stall.
There is also an Audible (ala Betty as in female voice) that announces – stall, stall, stall.
As far as I know, no 737 has ever stalled in normal service. There have been several cases where the pilots lost the horizon and instead of using the instruments, tried to fly by visual and crashed. There may have been stall episodes in those, but the issue was not the stall it was failure to use your instruments, all the stall stuff does you no good when you ignore the instruments.
Regardless, The FAA felt (and they are the final say supposedly) that Boeing needed a solution to the pitch up (which does not mean its going over on its back).
At this point we see the divergence of FAA intent and Boeing execution.
Boeing clearly threw a fit and not only complied, but then kept adding stuff (more stabilizer movement) to ensure it was gone.
Then the obvious consequences of the FAA not longer being in the loops as well as Boeing cherry picking the data on AOA to ensure they did not have to do more software changes kicks in.
All this was under Boeing as they were self certify and holding back information form the FAA.
That is the crux of the issue is Boeing deliberate acts leading to the two crashes.
And the current CEO was on the Board and stated, I did not know what was going (which is what they are paid to be on the Board to do).
Leeham has stated Boeing need to do a complete house cleaning and start over.
I could not agree more.
Its a personal view that I think non military pilots would support that AOA is useless on a commercial aircrat and we would be better off without it. Its course, it tells you nothing that you speed and attitude do not.
AOA came into the picture because so many military pilots became commercial and they wanted what they had in the fighters.
TW, there are so many false assertions here.
You’ve implied that the FAA forced the correction for pitch behavior that led to MCAS, and that Boeing resisted or was unwilling. That is an absolutely false statement
The stick force issue was reported by a Boeing test pilot to Boeing, having recognized it as a non-compliance issue. Considerable work was done in the wind tunnel and the simulator, without prompting from the FAA.
Nor was there difference between FAA and Boeing on execution. Nor did Boeing throw a fit. All completely baseless and false accusations. Even by your standards, this is really excessive.
Boeing knows what the regulations for stick force are, they know what is required for compliance and certification.
Also again with the accusation of deliberate action. Where is your evidence? We’ve been waiting om that for awhile now. Anytime. Really. No need to be shy or bashful.
Hiding or concealing evidence, in a criminal federal investigation for which you know the accused party is guilty, is itself a crime. If Boeing is as bad as you say, and if your motivation is to protect the public as you say, then either you need to volunteer the evidence, or you need to be subpoenaed.
I can help arrange that if you wish. I know people who work for the DOJ. Just say the word and I’m on the case. I’ll do whatever is necessary to be sure your evidence is heard, and Boeing is brought to justice.
Leon, you asked to be shown where the word “novel” appears in the FAA summary document.
That word does not appear because JATR did not use it in their recommendation for flight controls. But the recommendation is listed in the summary, along with the FAA response.
Page 57, table entry for Recommendation 3:
“Based on the JATR team’s observations and findings related to the certification of the 737 MAX flight control system and related interfaces, JATR team members recommend that the FAA review the 737 MAX compliance with 14 CFR 25.1329 (Flight Guidance System), 25.1581 (Airplane Flight Manual – General), and 25.201 (Stall Demonstration) and ensure the consistent application and interpretation of regulatory guidance material for the system safety assessment, handling qualities rating method, and conformity requirements for engineering simulators and devices. Should there be a noncompliance, the root cause should be identified and measures implemented to prevent recurrence.”
“The FAA’s approval of the 737 MAX current design changes included extensive evaluation of 737 MAX compliance to 14 CFR 25.1329 (Flight Guidance System), 25.1581 (Airplane Flight Manual – General), and 25.201 (Stall Demonstration). Analysis and tests were conducted on FCC software changes, procedural changes included in the AFM and in addition, flight testing for stall characteristics. The FAA routinely reviews application of technical policy and will review compliance issues with these regulations to determine whether or not regulatory and policy changes are required”
“”the strake solution that Bjorn suggested was tried by Boeing but didn’t work””
LOL … using strakes and the MAX would never be competitive.
MAX engines were already much smaller than NEO.
Bigger gears and the MAX would be too heavy.
Boeing was deperate and behind the Neo, so they rushed everything.
I mentioned Bjorn’s strakes only because the aerodynamic needed to be fixed, not the feel. The cause should be fixed not the result of the cause.
“”As a starting point, the MAX exhibited a pitch up characteristic at stall. It was not violent””
I only posted what Bjorn said.
MAX flight behavior is not linear. The question is how much not linear. That Boeing made MCAS so aggressive points too very much not linear.
Boeing pilots found the issue but EASA and Transport Canada obviously not. Hard to find the issue on a MAX-7, the A319 hasn’t a blocked last seat row too. Only the last seat row on A320 and A321 were blocked.
The stab is higher than the wings. At 10 deg AOA the stab is close behind the engines, then the A320 and A321 stabs are closer together and the A319 is still much higher. Could be why the A319 is not affected and the MAX-7 too.
I doubt the aerodynamic can be calculated with difference calculation. That’s why MAX-9 should be flight tested.
“”where the word “novel” appears””
No, not word, the “novel USE of the stab”.
It has to do with fail-safe redundancy.
The MAX has only one motor and one jackscrew which already slipped (on a new MAX !!!).
The only way then to control the MAX is with hands turning the manual trim wheel on a 90t plane. Only 10 pounds are allowed but Boeing is asking for two pilots to turn the wheel now.
“”Airbus also has pitch augmentation implemented through software””
Does it hurt?
Reminds me of Bobby Kopas.
Leon, I couldn’t really follow the rant this time. Bottom line, you’re not going to stop claiming these things, even after RTS.
It doesn’t matter what evidence is developed or presented, how the FAA rules, whether EASA supports the ruling, whether NTSB supports the ruling, whether Bjorn supports the ruling, etc. There is no evidence that would ever persuade you. So we’ll let this go.
Just be advised that I will probably continue to provide counterpoint here, as I’m sure you will as well.
“”If that were the case, then Boeing could have just disable MCAS back in March 2019, and the MAX could have been ungrounded in a jiffy.
There’s more to this.””
The problem was other regulators already did the job FAA should have done.
Engineers inside Boeing wasn’t listen to, Boeing management obviously knew better. Boeing could have blocked the last seat rows too but that would have shown that they made mistakes and at the time they were still in the self-certifying business and were simply blaming pilots. Clowns
Boeing is trying to pay ET302 victim families to escape the law.
There needs to be true justice not fake justice as it sometimes happens, so Boeing can start fresh and this won’t happen again.
Settling does not escape the law, it’s within the law and is a perfectly acceptable solution. It relies on voluntary consent of both parties, and if a class action by the families, is approved by a judge. Settlement would be no less true justice than a trial. The vast majority of suits are settled.
Also Boeing is not blaming the FAA by seeking immunity. They are using the FAA’s federal safety compliance mandate to preempt state liability law. That results in a de facto ruling that compliance existed, therefore no liability existed, without trial.
There is no guarantee they’d be successful, a judge would review the case to see if preemption applies in this specific instance. If not they’d be denied and the case would go to trial, or be settled.
Settling has to be understood on context.
I don’t know of a case that was also not a Non Disclosure. That means the terms are not public even when its a public issue (Planes crashing is a public issue)
Equally disturbing is the failure to be able to see discovery (all Boeing document, comments, email etc stay hidden). Think Cigarette companies and the damning materials that eventually were uncovered.
Justice is different than legalities.
Equally the law is not Justice.
How many people went to jail over Prime Mortgage?
How many go to jail for minor drug offenses?
The laws are not written by common people for common people.
The point was that settlements are a valid & common outcome of a lawsuit, not a method to escape the law. Participation is voluntary, so a plaintiff can decide what is most important to them.
If they wish discovery, they can go to trial. Lack of discovery is not disturbing, nor is the notion of confidentiality agreement (which is also very common), if the plaintiff chooses those options.
The public is not entitled to discovery, but the justice system is, so investigations can be carried out, as is happening now for Boeing. But there won’t be public disclosure unless wrongdoing is found.
Congress is another public body with the power to investigate, and they do disclose publicly. We’ve seen that publication just today. So I think there is ample means to investigate Boeing, even if the families decide to settle.
The argument is often made that corporate members don’t go to jail for the offenses of the corporation. There’s a reason for that, corporate members are shielded from personal liability by the corporate veil, except in clear instances of personal involvement in criminal activity. Piercing the corporate veil is made intentionally difficult so that members can survive bankruptcy and other loss. It’s part of the theory of creative destruction (businesses must have a means to legally fail).
Often the veil can be pierced for lower-ranking staff because they have personal involvement. For higher-ranking staff who weren’t personally involved, the corporation is punished instead and it’s left for the board & shareholders to deal with the persons responsible. Often those people have arranged parachutes in advance, as when they leave, they are unlikely to ever work again.
These are the legal & business principles that govern our economy. You can argue they aren’t fair, but that is what has evolved over time. As is always true, people with wealth and resources fare better than those without.
Settlements can’t be valid to escape the law.
The richest man on earth can’t keep killing and killing and killing again only because he settles with victim families.
Why not killing the whole family to settle it.
There is a lawyer who abused the law. He will never be allowed to work as a lawyer again.
Why is it valid to close the Florida repair shop and to let Boeing escape with a fine?
Why is it valid that FAA intentionally is not checking Boeing self-certifications, when there are reasons to believe that Boeing faked all self-certifications?
The 787 was certified with parts according to specs. If a 787 is build with parts which don’t follow specs, this 787 lost certification.
It doesn’t matter if Boeing is saying that it isn’t a safety risk. Muilenburg said after 2 crashes too that the MAX is safe.
This 787 which is build with faulty parts needs either new parts which follow specs or this 787 needs a new certification.
If a 787 without certification flys over my country there will be a fine.
I’m sick of all this Boeing garbage flying over my head.
If there is a bilateral agreement that FAA can certify a plane to fly in my country and FAA is doing a lazy job and close their eyes, then this agreement needs to be cancelled.
Leon, you’ve referenced the Florida parts shop (Xtra Aerospace) several times in criticism of the FAA.
To be clear, their certification was revoked because of numerous compliance issues that were found in their audit, dating back 10 years, not because of the one faulty sensor. The sensor is not even mentioned in the revocation order. Had that been the only problem, they too would have faced discipline, but would have remained in business. The sensor was the trigger for the audit, but not the reason for revocation.
You make many allegations here that are unfounded. If you have evidence that the 787 issues represent an imminent threat to safety, or any of your other claims, you should bring it forward. There are whistleblower lines at Boeing, FAA, and DOJ. You just have to pick up the phone.
If you don’t have evidence, then you might want to wait until the experts have evaluated the problems, before forming conclusions. A lot of people are looking at this. There is no evidence to suggest your uniformed opinion is more valid than their informed opinion.
You do have to ponder how coincidental it is that it took a crash to finalize the audit that shut down the Florida shop.
So 10 years of non compliance and then boom.
How long do you get if there is no crash? Should it not be shutdown after the second failed audit?
Unfortunately, our evidence does not become public until there is a crash.
So you can only go by the track record . Boeing did not ground the 737, China did after two crashes.
I believe it was Japan that grounded the 787 after the two battery fires, not Boeing nor the FAA.
In a judicial case, you can present enough circumstantial evidence that convicts someone.
In easy to understand terms, no, no one saw the duck, but they hear quacking, poor video indicated a duck type flight characteristic, there is evidence the pond was being chewed on by a duck like bill and there was Duck DNA at the seen.
TW, the non-compliance was procedural, it wasn’t evident in their work, or their paperwork, until the bad sensor was discovered in the crash. They had no record of faulty parts or repairs. But the procedural faults allowed the sensor test to take place without compliant equipment and without a qualified worker, yet their records showed both. Just like the Bantam records showed the sensor test following installation.
Procedural non-compliance can be hidden. I have been the labor point guy for OSHA inspections. The managers would go around and be sure there was compliance for the inspection visit. All records in order, etc. The next day it was business as usual. But nothing on the magnitude of what Xtra did.
That kind of thing is only found in a deep audit with surprise visits and maybe confiscation of records for inspection elsewhere. When you catch that kind of intentional misconduct, you revoke the license and close the business.
That’s what the FAA did. They acted properly and did the right thing. The FAA did not have intent here, as you allege, but Xtra did.
For a reader without knowledge of the subject, your post implies the opposite of the truth. We’ve seen this again and again and again with you, the allegation without evidence. There is such a thing as karma, and eventually this behavior will catch up with you, if it hasn’t already.
I am fascinated you make a point for me.
Ergo, Boeing covered up their failures but was not caught (unfortunately there is no way to shut down an mfg though you can a repair station). Clearly Boeing has systemic failures. KC-46 FOD, 737MAX FOD, 787 ongoing, including lightening protection removal illegally (requires approval not matter what Boeing assessment is as that is an FAA function to review and disagree or agree)
It takes at least two crashes to even get a grounding though in the case of MAX it was China that did it.
This cascades into the FAA failures that if they are not catching problems, then they have deep problems (though everyone but Boeing and the FAA agrees with that)
The reality is they operated for 10 years and sans the MAX crash in Indonesia, how long could they have continued?
The track record says indefinitely .
TW, the FAA has investigated Boeing’s records for the MAX, and made an equivalent investigation of Xtra for the sensor records. But the conclusions were very different for the two cases.
OIG has investigated Boeing as well, and like the FAA, did not conclude there was intent. Yet there was intent at Xtra. This justifies the differing response.
So neither investigation has arrived at your conclusion. If you have also investigated Boeing such that you have new evidence to present, that proves your allegations, you should by all means make it public.
Leon, TW, Pablo, A Jones, Uwe, and Bryce and anyone else: I’m really tired of the constant bickering and disrespect to other commenters.
I remind *everyone* of the Reader Comment rules (https://leehamnews.com/comments-by-readers/), specifically: Personal attacks, no matter how innocuous.
I’m tired, I’m cranky and I’m pissed. Knock it off or I start suspending access.
Moving the MCAS discussion down here, because the thread above has grown so long that it’s impossible to respond accurately to a specific commentator.
Summarizing: when we cut through all the padding and smoke and mirrors, and just look at naked control theory and logic, we get the following:
– The re-vamped MAX has a subsystem (MCAS) that is deemed a necessity — for whatever reason. If it weren’t a neccessity, it could just be removed/disabled.
– Despite being a necessity, it still has a single point of failure.
– The fact that there’s a pilot present who feels that he has the ability to “mop up” when subsystem failure occurs is irrelevant: the pilot is not part of the subsystem, but is instead part of a system at a higher level. I’m talking here purely about the subsystem, not the system.
– So, after the most embarrassing and costly 18 months of its life, Boeing still manages to serve up a necessary subsystem that has a single point of failure, and the FAA doesn’t have a problem with that. It takes a foreign regulator to identify this as an unacceptable shortcoming!
– And we’re supposed to believe that this is now “the most scrutinized plane in history”? This the most COMPROMISED plane in history!
Bryce, these claims are unsubstantiated and as such represent your opinion, but not a state of fact.
The suitability of the single point of failure argument depends on the consequence of that failure. In the accident version of MCAS, the consequence was a nose-down command to the stabilizer, for 10 seconds, leading to a 2.5 degree deflection. That was not an uncontrollable input, as measured by the column force studies in the ET302 interim report, as well as the flight data from both accidents.
When the pilot responded with nose-up electric trim to restore the stabilizer position, that initiated a new MCAS cycle, which began after 5 seconds. This was due to a flaw in the MCAS software. It also set up a limit cycle between pilot and MCAS. Each pilot correction would start a new cycle, until the runaway trim checklist was executed and the trim motor switched off.
Today, with the revised MCAS, the consequence would be quite different. With the same failure, pilots would get a trim alarm, that automatic trim systems are disabled. No other impact on the flight. This brings MCAS failures into the same realm as STS and MT failures, none of which are considered safety issues.
If some other failure mode occurs, such that MCAS is activated outside of its envelope, the consequence is the same as outlined for the accident case above, except that no limit cycle is possible. When the pilot corrects, the correction is permanent. And the aircraft remains controllable even without stabilizer correction.
In this context, the FAA has determined that the failure modes of MCAS are addressed safely, and the other regulators have concurred.
The request for the 3rd sensor is to add a layer between the normal function and disabled function, such that there is an intermediate mode of operation with a failed sensor. But that intermediate operation also would be subject to the same single point of failure.
The FAA did not feel this intermediate mode contributed significantly enough to safety to require it, but did not oppose the request from EASA either. So it will happen in some yet-to-be-determined form.
The representation of this result as being unsafe, or that EASA had to step in to make it safe, is disingenuous. I’m sure that EASA would not characterize it that way. They wanted an improvement they saw as valuable, just as Canada wants a stick-shaker disable, which they see as valuable. But the MAX will be certified without these features in place, because they don’t represent a safety issue. Those are the facts in play here.
Rob do you know if certification flights by EASA or Transport Canada included the two scenarios that would normally activate MCAS with MCAS disabled?
If so that should put to bed the notion that the MAX is aerodynamically unstable and depends on MCAS for stability.
EASA was specifically stated that they ran the tests with MCAS turned off (as well as how it worked on)
Very much in line with Bjron and Peter Lemme, a miner change does not change a stable aircraft into a raging beast.
Super Guppy and the Dreamlifter come to mind and those changes were anything but miner.
Jet fighters have gone to conformal fuel tanks, no impact and of course they are Mach 1.5 ops or a bit better for the current group.
Whats stunning is the ability of Boeing to turn a perfectly safe aircraft into 2 crashes and the most notorious aircraft since the Comet (based on grousing time) .
Much like Fukushima, when you cherry pick your data (so called assumptions), you wind up with a disaster.
> Jet fighters have gone to conformal fuel tanks, no impact
The examples I know of are the F18 and F16. I would guess that adding conformal fuel tanks did have an impact. But both are full fly-by-wire aircraft, so the needed changes could be made in software using existing system.
You would think drag increased but did not.
Aerodynamics can be interesting.
As far as I know (read) no software changes. F-15 previous was not a FBW (the latest version is).
I have no information on whether that happened in the EASA or Canadian test flights. The flight profiles would suggest that it did. I suspect after JATR, Canada, and EASA all commented publicly on the true function of MCAS, it would be a virtual certainty that they would check it out. I could not imagine otherwise. But I don’t have proof.
The FAA said in the AD summary that this was tested repetitively both in the simulator and in test flights. They and Boeing were confident about this and encouraged test flights by the other regulators. All of the Boeing and FAA data was also shared with the other regulators. Recertification has been an open process from the beginning.
Boeing has made no direct statements about this, and has allowed the FAA to control the narrative on the recertification, ever since Calhoun took over. I would expect that to continue.
For anyone interested, you can see the history of the flight profiles for N7201S here:
https://uk.flightaware.com/live/flight/N7201S it’s a 737-7 MAX, the other test aircraft a -8 MAX is here: https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N8703J
But it seems that FAA, and EASA testing were done with the -7
The -7 had to be certified (-8 maybe had that taken out and put in the -7?) , so I am guessing it was already setup (instrumentation) for the -7 cert test so they used it for all new tests which makes sense.
The -10 will be instrumented for its tests though I don’t know it will fly the full series that re-cert requires.
I suspect it will but have not seen it in reports.
Just out of interest.
Did anyone know that the Mk 21 Spitfire (Griffon engined version) needed to have the undercarriage legs lengthened so that the new prop would have enough clearance ?
“because the longer legs did not have enough space in which to retract” … “The designers used a system of levers to shorten the undercarriage legs by about 8 in (20 cm) as they retracted”
Mk 21 (type 356)
If you’re ever in Glasgow, UK, visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, they have a Mk 21 hanging in the West Court.
I mention it as I heard G-AWGB (Tr9) fly past four times today.
Jakdak, I love the distinctive engine sound of the Merlin. You can pick it out instantly. Griffon is almost as good.
Netflix had a documentary on the Spitfire, I’m sure it was produced and is well known in the UK. Definitely worth muting the TV speakers and listening on the home audio system.
Jay Leno has a Merlin in his garage, he fires it up now and then. But you don’t get the same sound as in a Spitfire. A great combination of aerodynamics and engine.
The trouble shooting, solution design, integration, testing, re-certification hasnt been very smooth so far. That is why the fleet has been grounded for 1.5 years and production was halted. I assume Rob agrees.
I would call it a moving target. Don’t get me wrong, Boeing left themselves open (worse acualy) to this.
What happened was during the testing, the FAA detected a possible failure involving the flight computers. The real world data (unlike Boeing cherry picked AOA) says that its almost impossible to happen (has to do with a cosmic radiation zark shutting down the computer) but never has in millions of flight hours on 737.
As the 737 computer works by a manual switch (or did) to the other side and its computer, the FAA determined this needed to be corrected (we would call it hot standby in the controls world)
So along with cleaning up the MCAS 1.0 disaster, they also had to do a whole new computer architecture to deal with a new requirement identified by the FAA as an issue (sadly for 346 people the FAA was asleep at the MCAS 1.0 wheel and testing.)
Peter Lemme who is a controls specialist felt the 737 should have had that (forget if at classic or NG rev) – I don’t have a view, but have to fully respect his so it looks like a good move. But making two computers work together than never had done so is not a small task.
The software has to be written, then de-bugged as there are always issues and it has to be done by TWO teams as separate software is written that way for a manual control computer ops aircraft like the 737 (FBW no).
You then have to ensure that two totally separate systems software work with each other. I hate to think what that took.
I worked with systems like that. One would swap from the Number 1 computer to the Number 2, but would not swap from the Number 2 to the Number 1. . In order to get back to Number 1, we had to shut both down then being up Number 1 first. Not a huge issue but that meant Primary had to be running for a swap to take place and they never figured out the bug.
In 737 MAX case it has to be able to swap both ways.
As the 737 was never intended to work that way with its computers, its taken time to implement and then Covd hit slowing things down.
A wiring separation issue that was no current requirement also came to light on the safety review. Boeing missed that clearly and the FAA is making them correct it (oddly the same wiring issue is ok under the 737NG)
The US governed has made cooperation with EASA difficult at best so a work around for them had to be found (flying into Canada, picking them up, testing the 737-7 in US airspace then flying back to Canada.
The lesson really is do not screw it up. In this case it has lethal consequences past the small amount of money you saved, as well as a huge financial impact.
> The US governed has made cooperation with EASA difficult
> at best so a work around for them had to be found (flying into
> Canada, picking them up, testing the 737-7 in US airspace
> then flying back to Canada.
This was done because the US is not considered a Covid-19 safe country. If Transport Canada or EASA staff had entered the US they would have been subject to a 14 quarantine on their return. To avoid that they boarded the test aircraft in Vancouver and after the test flight they were returned to Vancouver.
There are ways to deal with the Covd and clearance issue.
The US Government clearly did not care.
This was probably the result of negotiations and actually seems like a very good solution. Canadian and French regulators avoided quarantine on returning home and no public health orders needed to broken. Yes Boeing staff had to fly up to Vancouver to get them, but that’s just a 30 minute flight.
Heavy handed pressure by the US Government would have been to what end? Are you suggesting Transport Canada and EASA staff should have been forced to go to Seattle? Most Canadians and probably most French have no desire to enter the US right now.
And the nightmare still isn’t over:
– It’s still on the ground. In China, it may stay on the ground for quite some time to come.
– It got flushed through the sewers by yesterday’s Congressional report.
– Those vast numbers of manufactured units corroding away in parking lots are going to need to be modified, to meet certification requirements. God knows how shoddily that will be done.
– All the while that it’s not flying, it has the increasing risk of cancellations hanging over it.
– And after all that…we still have to see if the public is willing to get on it. Even laypeople who normally wouldn’t know much about aviation are very much aware of the tainted reputation of the MAX.
What times we live in!
Keesje, more than a year of the grounding went into the software rewrite for dual-monitoring FCC’s. As per the FAA summary of the AD, they acknowledged this was done to address an extremely remote possibility of a specific memory glitch in the FCC.
When one such glitch was tested in a simulator, intentionally designed to produce a runaway stabilizer, one pilot in the test group was not able to recover. So the FAA required Boeing to provide an alarm and safe recovery for that instance. The only way to do that was the rewrite, as no computer can have a fail-safe assurance to self-report a glitch of that nature. You need another computer checking the first.
It had never happened in 300 million hours of flight time and probably never would happen. But after the MAX accidents, the FAA has followed the guidance that, if it can be shown that a pilot might not recover, it had to be addressed.
Ultimately this is a good and worthwhile thing to do. But the cost of the delay to Boeing has been enormous. All of the testing for the MCAS fix before June 2019 had to be scrapped. It will be the most expensive software in recorded history.
My point has been, could it have been in parallel to RTS, as the 3rd AoA sensor and shaker disable are? That would remove time pressure and allow for a better development process, at far less cost. The same is true of those secondary changes, that did not pose an imminent safety risk.
But I don’t make those decisions. Perhaps it was politically impossible for the FAA to do that, given the public scrutiny.
In any case, I’d say it has been not smooth, but maybe as smooth as might be expected, given the audit, multiple regulators, and that anything found on the MAX, except for the 3rd sensor and shaker, has been linked to RTS. Separately those issues would not have resulted in grounding.
One thing I will say for sure, Boeing will be very keen to drill pilots on all aspects of runaway trim, to make sure they can recover and don’t struggle with the recovery. I’m sure that will be a major part of the new training that emerges next week
> It had never happened in 300 million hours of flight time
Can we really be sure about this? It seems any unexplained stabilizer run-away could be due to that bit-flip scenario. Are there really no unexplained run-away stabilizer incidents?
I do agree that it is probably very rare.
According to Peter Lemme’s site, prior to the MAX, there has never been an accident due to stabilizer malfunction on the 737. There have been a small number of malfunctions handled in flight without incident. None of those were reported as an FCC problem.
Given that the FAA had to engineer the glitch to get the desired result, and there was no way to induce it naturally, I think the odds would have to be in the infinitesimal range. There are reports of FCC failures in flight, those do occur and the transition to the backup is automatic. But none that caused a stabilizer issue.
Peter’s conclusion was that the 737 trim systems are extremely reliable. That makes MCAS a glaring exception, that should be addressed now.
Clearly the 787 is of extreme concern. The bad news keeps coming and I thought they had it pretty well sorted.
I think you may mean the 737MAX…not the 787?
Although the 787 is also a disaster, of course.
I always cringe when I hear people argue that, despite the problems with shimming and FOD (and batteries and lightning), “the 787 is fundamentally safe…none of them have crashed”. Well, before it crashed in 1985, the JAL123 747 flew around for 7 years with an incorrectly repaired aft pressure bulkhead…a bulkhead which, incidentally, was shoddily repaired by Boeing technicians. Just because it took 7 years to crash doesn’t mean that it was safe during those 7 years, does it?
Bryce, the problem with this argument is that it can be universally applied to any aircraft. An aircraft has not crashed, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe, because it may still crash in the future.
With that definition, no aircraft could be considered safe until the last one is retired without incident. We judge aircraft safety by accumulated flight hours without incident, for that reason.
For the 787, the problems are evaluated for potential risk, by using loading and stress modeling and analysis, and then applying a safety factor to account for the unforeseen. The 8 grounded aircraft did not meet the safety factor requirement. The others have.
This is also verified by physical inspection. The models predict failure modes as well, so the inspections look for evidence of those modes.
The JAL115 repair was tragic as the AOG team completed the repair correctly, but then noticed the tail-strike damage had reduced the edge margin of several rivets in one joint. So they used a splice plate across the rivets to bolster the joint. This was in addition to the planned repair.
The error was in cutting the straight splice plate to fit it to the compound curvature of the bulkhead. They also carefully glued and sealed the pieces, so the cut was invisible to future inspections. But the cut had compromised the fatigue resistance of the joint by 70%.
Had they not addressed the rivets, the accident would likely not have happened. Sometimes better to leave well enough alone.
While 737MAX is at issue, the 787 is huge concern as the bad news keeps coming on both Boeing clearly asleep (if not complicit) on quality as well as the FAA not catching it.
With the KC-46 FOD issue (not to mention the rest) you have to wonder if the 777 is caught up in this as well.
Stunning from a firm that has made aircraft for 104 years and how little they know about the process (or have undermined it for perceive financial gains would be more likely)
Yes, it’s absolutely disgusting to know that all those flights taken on Dreadliners were, in effect, a game of Russian Roulette. You get on what’s supposed to be a sophisticated piece of engineering, and it subsequently transpires that it had the build quality of a shack in the woods. I’m reminded of motorcycles and taxis that I’ve seen in undeveloped countries, where duct tape and/or old stockings are used to hold engine parts together.
How difficult is it to solve a FOD problem? Something like that should be solvable withing a week…a month at most. But, I suppose, if there’s no will, then there’s also no way.
The House report.. said its investigation “leaves open the question of Boeing’s willingness to admit to and learn from the company’s mistakes.”
That’s a question many have. The way Boeing communicates is so full of denial, diversions, escapes, indirectly blaming others, hiding behind uncertainties, making empty promises by the same people. We even see it at this site.
That might work against regaining credibility with the customers, supplier, international authorities. If congress, Boeing and FAA agree everything is ok, that’s not enough, they did for years.
EASA, China and worldwide passengers must be convinced. Take no pride, good reputation, superior product or legacy as a starting point for that.
I cannot imagine that with the current stakeholders at the helm.
I think we can safely assume that we have yet to be treated to MANY new episodes of this soap opera.
The NTSB weighs in on Boeing’s fix for the MAX.
The article states that Boeing is considering adding a “computer-generated equivalent of an AoA sensor” rather than a physical third AoA sensor, to (try to) meet EASA’s demands.
Nothing has changed…still a Dollar Store with a bag lady at the till.
I am certainly no fan of Boeing, but in reality, its not a bad solution when you consider that the MCAS 2.0 stops all (near as I can tell) issues of 1.0.
The 737MAX has a Microscope on it and despite that they have come up with only one new issue (the wiring non conformance).
737MAX issue as its clear on all the aircraft Boeing makes is quality control (lack of).
I have no issue flying the MAX and high probability I will when Covd lifts as Alaska Airlines will be flying them. My wife will as well (we both have trips that have been put off)
In general, the larger issue is how long they allow both Boeing and Airbus to correct serious issues. Sans MAX it was the A320 and an upgrade they had to work around if it occurred. Serious, never should be allowed but they had like 5 years to correct it. That is nuts.
Well, ultimately, whatever “computer-generated equivalent” Boeing cooks up will have to satisfy EASA…so I suppose that gives a measure of comfort, despite Boeing’s reputation when it comes to 737MAX software.
This is not a short cut. Synthetic airspeed indicators are something who’s time has come. Pitot tube/static port based airspeed indicators are vulnerable and have failed several times despite redundancy.
Synthetic air systems determine airspeed from other data, such as weight, throttle, angle of attack etc. This in turn can potentially let fly-by-wire computers to degrade in a more graceful manner. For example if the AF447 – A330 had one then the flight computers may not have needed to disengage abruptly when the pitot tubes froze. Rather they could alerted the pilot to the issue and taken the aircraft to a “safe” configuration. The reduction in “startle” effect may have made for a very different outcome.
Boeing has stated that they need to look hard at their assumptions arrant cockpit human factors and suggested they will be changing their cockpit design philosophy.
I’m very aware of the issues with AoA sensors, and of the fact that there are potential alternatives to them.
However, when something like this is proposed by Boeing, one has to ask if it’s being done out of a desire for excellence, or because of considerations of cost and convenience.
Bryce, like a few others here, the questions you ask and the opinions you express, are always rooted in your hostility toward Boeing.
As Jkeebo said, the synthetic data instruments are not cheap or easy. If they were, all aircraft would have them. You just have to set side your anger and think for a moment instead. Common sense is a big benefit when it’s not blinded.
He’s trying to help you by giving you the gift of understanding, but rather than acquire the context he’s offering, you refuse to be helped. Your answer is that you already know and you still hate Boeing. The fact is less important than the emotion.
I wonder sometimes if you have any awareness of this, or ever listen to yourself. This response seems to be automatic and universal. You’ve accused me of being Borg-like. But stop and think about yourself for a moment.
I have no problem with cost and convenience if it works.
We have 3 Speed Pitots on the A330 and that did not prevent them freezing up all too often (its an issue with other aircraft but not to the degree with poor Thales Pitots as one the A330)
An artificial speed sensor would avoid the failure prone Pitot and AOA is another example of wildly old tech that should have been supplemented if not replaced.
Pitot tube and sensing systems are a bizarre world unto themselves, very small pressure having to be transduced to digital data in an extremely pressure sensitive system (very difficult calibrations)
AOA Vanes are so inaccurate it has to be a 5 deg disagree to disable MCAS and they too can freeze up.
What is relevant is that they be tested and proven, not self certified by Boeing.
As the FAA is proven to be subverted, it needs to be world AHJ concurrence.
It seems you understand my point.
For years, we’ve been confronted with the failings of various types of external aircraft sensors…some of which have lead to crashes. So there’s a very clear need for more reliable alternatives.
However, when Boeing is showing a sudden, accelerated interest in developing such an alternative — purely in response to a third-sensor requirement from an external regulator — then there’s a natural tendency towards suspicion (and dread), in view of the company’s recent track record when it comes to substandard products. The only comforting aspect here is that EASA won’t green-light it if it isn’t up to scratch.
If this is “hostility towards Boeing”, then that’s something that Boeing has itself to thank for. And if it’s “hostility towards Boeing”, then the US Congressional Committee investigating the MAX is also guilty of hundreds of pages of such “hostility”. So I’m not the only one pointing a finger at Boeing.
Of course, in addition to hostility, there’s also the concept of “blind and unconditional loyalty and adoration”…and you have to ask yourself which is worse.
There’s no doubt the Congressional report is hostile, it reads like a prosecutorial document. Which perhaps it’s meant to be.
The language is quite different than JATR, IOG, or the other reviews. It basically takes their results and tries to demonstrate intent. That was more or less expected, as DeFazio has been a strident critic of both Boeing and the FAA. It’s consistent with the hearings as well.
It will find an audience with those who already share that belief, as confirmation. But it may not persuade others who have a more technical and objective view.
I saw that Dickson has now officially extended the Voluntary Safety Reporting Program (VSRP) from airline employees to manufacturing employees. So people now have a mechanism to report safety-related issues, for which the manufacturer must respond.
This program is administered by NASA as an independent third party with technical expertise. They make recommendations for resolution, which the FAA can enforce as an objective finding, without the possibility of appeal. It basically casts NASA in the role of binding arbitrator between employee and employer, with FAA as enforcer, and considers only technical merit and impact on safety.
As I mentioned below, this is part of the effort to extend airline safety models to the manufacturing sector. This program has been very effective for airline safety.
All the other reports support the congressional report. Your interpretation of those stands alone.
None of any outside tech reports can correct Boeing or the FAA, they can inform and offer avenues of investigation as to why the tech went awry.
Yea, I have made technical reports in pure tech terms when what I was doing was calling the people involved idiots, incompetent and often they did so with intent.
I have been faced with grown men throwing tantrums that shamed a two year old.
It was someone else job to deal with and correct them.
Congress not only has the job but the responsibility to ensure public safety, That is the job of congress.
To do so, its no longer a tech report, its a a blunt report of who screwed up and where it went wrong.
The FAA has a pattern of abuse in its sphere as does Boeing (and yes you can convict on patterns).
When people like about why they are doing something, then yes they are going to be (eventually and hoepuly in our democracy) brought before the public and demonstrated such.
In this case its not your Smart Phone that quits, people died, hundreds if not thousands of people connected to those who died also have suffered trauma and loss.
So yes, its kind of a bit deal and when you lie to people over and over and over again, yes they do tend to get angry.
TW, the OIG report explicitly states that they did not find the intent that the House report attempts to show.
I’ve mentioned that several times, it’s freely available for you to read. Yet you always return to your assertion otherwise, without evidence.
A good Congressional report is unbiased, which is why they are normally given to a commission, to remove politics and be sure the results will be universally accepted. That did not happen here.
Since the agenda of the report coincides with the agenda you have often expressed here, it’s not surprising that you would latch onto it. All I’m saying is that it’s main assertions of intent, likely won’t stand up to scrutiny over time.
The one thing that could confirm those assertions is a criminal finding of intent. If that happens, I will change my mind. But I don’t see evidence of that at present.
How easy it is to disguise intention.
There are two cops, they argue privately, nobody else knows. One shoots the other claiming he forgot that the gun was still loaded and he gets away with murder, it was just an accident.
Boeing’s crimes didn’t happen only once, it was standard routine, they did it for years to get the results to not follow regulations.
Not following regulations is to accept a crash, all they needed to do is blaming pilots. Muilenburg did that in March-April 2019 when he knew much better what he did.
Muilenburg was so sure, he kept producing the MAX. Once self-certification was taken from him he stopped MAX production.
Now Boeing is trying to pay the victim families to escape.
Boeing claims not to be responsible because the MAX was certified, of course self-certified LOL
This says it in a nutshell sadly enough.
TW, you have to recognize that while this is a strongly worded opinion, it’s not a factual conclusion. If you read the comment section, at least some people there have pointed this out.
The House report is somewhat political in nature. It captures the flavor of the hearings, which if you watched them, were not a shining example of rationality at its finest. The report has definite value and shouldn’t be dismissed, but it’s not of the caliber of something like the JATR report, or the OIG report.
The notable thing about those reports is that they were unifying, there was broad agreement about the findings, on all sides. That is the hallmark of effective criticism. All the findings had a solid factual basis and they were clearly objective. Difficult to mount an argument against them.
The House report will be more divisive, as from the opening paragraph, the political & subjective intent is clear. It pits the various sides against each other, instead of bringing them together, which is a common theme in our government today.
So it will make a major splash in the news cycle, which it’s intended to do, but probably will not persuade the non-political regulators or experts who are charged with making the decisions.
It could bring political pressure on Dickson, which is another intent, but I hope he is able to continue on the path he’s set for the FAA. I admire his resolve to extend airline SMS to manufacturers, to improve safety and quality control. He has a very solid case to do that now, which the industry (especially Boeing) would be foolish to resist. And also for his resistance to pressure from both Boeing and Congress.
After he sat down Mullenberg, things changed at Boeing for the positive. He’s lowered the boom on Boeing in some cases but also defended them in others. He can’t do that with Congress but he has at least moderated their more extreme tendencies. I hope he will remain in office after the election, he had broad support in Congress when nominated for the position.
I always found that my critics were my best sounding board (ref to past work, nothing else).
Boeing and the FAA need to get out of their all nodding their head yes in group speak and reinforcement of bad decisions.
I could not disagree more about the issues involved. I have yet to see an independent review that says otherwise. All details that keep coming out reinforces that.
The Chief engineer who signed off on the MCAS 1.0 did not even review what he was sighing off on.
True reform would return ODA back to the FAA.
Sans that its just lip service to placate the pressure so they can resume the same conduct that brought us two crashes as well as the ongoing other messes.
TW, the IOG report was an independent review and it did say explicitly there was not intent. The House report is also independent, but it has a political slant that is missing from JATR and IOG.
The proposed ODA reform legislation would return selection of ODA delegates to FAA and strengthen the reporting lines to FAA. Also gives delegates and FAA more authority in dealing with abuse or interference. I fully support that.
That article will chime with many.
Now that we’ve had the Congressional report, it is perhaps/hopefully only a matter of time before the newspapers will contain images of Boeing executives in handcuffs, being ushered into police vehicles.
It would, of course, be entirely justified in view of the mounds of filthy laundry that have been exposed in the past 18 months.
Link to the House Report on Boeing and FAA regard to MAX
Frankly I would put the summarizing of the crashes last (as well as the personal story). While very relevant those aspects are well known and provided, its the in depth Boeing and FAA decisions that are relevant to correcting this so it does not happen again.
This is one of the key aspects, as this was a test pilot who was taking over 4 seconds and knew MCAS was there.
“Further, Boeing concealed internal test data it had that revealed it took a Boeing test pilot more than 10 seconds to diagnose and respond to un-commanded MCAS activation in a flight simulator, a condition the pilot found to be “catastrophic[.]”
While it was not required to
share this information with the FAA or Boeing customers, it is inconceivable and inexcusable that
Boeing withheld this information from them. It also argues strongly for a disclosure requirement.
Federal guidelines assume pilots will respond to this condition within four seconds.”
In a bit of true irony, a lo is being made about the AOA disagree light and well it should on its own.
But if a pilot does not know about MCAS and therefore the AOA disagree is a miner issue of no consequence.
Included in all of it of course is the real world failure of AOA due to external conditions which Boeing was well aware of (ergo, Cherry picking data to get a desired outcome, ala no training differences between NG (predominant) and MAX.
The 10-second finding vs the 4-second expected response time, has become a central focus of the report, and is widely reported in the press.
That’s why in my response to Bryce above, I clearly delineated the impact of a 10 second activation of MCAS. The result was/is controllable and not catastrophic. Note also that it is still the outcome today, of an unintended MCAS activation, even in the revised MCAS.
The report is a bit misleading, in that Boeing had determined 10 seconds/2.5 degrees of stabilizer deflection, to be the boundary of the shift to the catastrophic classification. In other words, one activation of MCAS was not catastrophic, but two would be, if unopposed by the pilots.
This is where the 4-second expected response time comes in. Since MCAS would run for 10 seconds at most, followed by a 5 seconds delay before the next cycle, Boeing felt the 11 second margin was sufficient, as it gave a safety factor of nearly 4. They fully expected the pilots to respond within the 15 seconds, such that there would be no second activation of MCAS.
We know now that assumption was wrong. But the 10-second response of the test pilot, still left a 5 second margin, with safety factor of 2, under the assumptions made at the time. S0 it would be a poor result out of the multiple tests that were run, but not evidence of misconduct as the report implies.
In the families’ response to the proposed AD, they also referred to the 10-seconds and 2.5 degrees of stabilizer deflection, as being fatal. Yet we know that was not the case in the actual accident data.
Pilots did not lose control within the 2.5 deflection range of one MCAS activation. But they did lose control if the cumulative deflection became more than 3.5 to 4 degrees, due to multiple activations. Especially with the aircraft traveling at high speeds which amplified the effect.
In fairness, the congressional authors of the report would not know any of this. In their minds, the 10 vs 4 seconds seems like a major transgression. So their statements are understandable, but also are an example of why context is important.
For the families, their loss gives them the right make whatever statements they feel are just, so I don’t fault them at all either. I’m just pointing out the true circumstances.
We are talking test pilots not line pilots.
So when your test pilot has issues, you would of course (in a non political organization) get concerned. If you had a political ax (schedule) as well as monetary (getting your Boeing shares and keeping the stock price up) then you of course are making decisions based on your interests vs the public’s.
As far as skill level goes, you are comparing Mario Andretti (test pilot) to the average car driver.
Sullenberger has stated (talk about a gold standard) you don’t have hidden systems that undermines a pilot. MCAS 1.0 did just that (factually two crashes)
The FLCH (FLAK) Trap would be another one of those. NTSB has listed that as a serious flaw and Boeing refuses to change it.
Boeing has a major flight sim operation as well. Its not like its news that test pilots do much better (and aviation has found out so do Sim sessions when the pilots know what is coming)
I believe you are mis-stating MCAS 1.0 as well. It would stop for 5 seconds only if opposed.
So, while it would be opposed (and was) the repeated kick back in was not a runaway Stab condition (never stops).
The fact that Boeing hid MCAS deliberately turns any argument on its ear.
SW buy contract for MAX had a 1 million dollar per aircrat discount if any additional pilot training required so Boeing had a huge incentive to hide MCAS 1.0.
If you don’t know its there and whats going on, you then twist the whole situation into a logic pretzel.
Or to put it quite succinctly but someone who was at the very least the best of the best commercial pilots.
You don’t hide a system that can cause confusion to a pilot.
You are making a statement that the House Report is political and therefore not to be taken seriously.
In fact, Boeing is as political as any branch of legislation is. Management is conflicted (corrupted) as their salary is in shares and the more the shares are worth, the more they get.
The greed factor is in turn fully supported by the Dividend and Share buy schemes (share buy back robs a company of future product)
Adding into that a scheme to pay a dividend when major losses (pre Covd) are in the works due to the disastrous management and the logic is shot in the foot. Of course you want to hid your failures, they might throw you out on your ear (or take your shares away)
We can also look at how Boeing allowed its checks and balances to get corrupted.
A Corporation has a board whose job is to oversee the management and take action if they are going off the rail. Calhoun was on that board and says he did not know what was going on (or course you then make him CEO)
This has also been corrupted (company politics) when the CEO and the Chairman of the Board were made the same position (now undone due to the public beating they took).
Deliberately undermine the ODA so they can self certify is another corruption of the process.
And the move to cut their own inspectors (despite the reality that the inspection system even as it stands is not working
I would offer up Boeing self certifying on the original 787 Battery Li Ion as the poster child of what happens.
Without any scientific or engineering testing , the test to determine battery integrity was to drive a nail into it.
That would be analogous to throwing a penny in a pond and wishing for 20 gold bars to drop in your hand.
The correct process was (and due to pressure) did happen and turn it over to the RTC who came up with guidelines on how to acualy mfg and test a Li Ion battery.
One basic fact that stand out emerged. Li Ion batts are built in a quasi clean room environment (well normally).
Yusa factory was filthy (I have the report). SAFT is the gold standard of batteries and would have been the one to go to (again politics of Japan suppliers as they put up a lot of the money for the 787)
Now the list of testing is as long as your arm and clearly succeeded in its goal (I believe there has been one failure since and it did not cascade).
The FAA is equally compromised though it likely needs more than the ODA fixed.
Upper management keeps rejecting the recommendation of its own experts. (yep, lets hire experts and then ignore them).
The FAA is severely conflicted inherently by a dual mission to be the cheerleader for aviation as well as enforcement of regs. As we have seen, Cheer-leading wins (politics)
That needs to be separated.
The saving grace for the US is the NTSB who is totally Independent and while their recommendations are not mandatory, they are often effective in getting implemented.
I would not call a hidden feature that challenged a test pilot to deal with as a true circumstance.
True is that the increased authority and change of MCAS 1.0 was not passed onto the FAA either.
And with MCAS the crash rate of the 737 changed from amazingly good to incredibly fatal. That is factual.
TW, in the past I have not been one of your greatest fans but your above post hits the nail squarely on the head.
I, and most of my colleges, think the Boeing board (present and recent past members) have dishonored the fine reputation of the company built up by past greats such Joe Sutter, such a shame.
In the case of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 it can be argued that they may have blood on their hands.
For me, its hard to see how they can continue in their present roles.
I have no issue with you not being a fan, I don’t think this should be about fandom.
Are there cogent points in favor of a presentation should be the benchmark. Is it reality based vs spin based.
I don’t think Rob’s arguments pass the test of what actually happened. None of it was just the 4 seconds vs 10 seconds. Its how that fit into the whole though the difference is damning because of what it really means in the real world flying.
A mantra we hear over and over again is, No, they would not do make a bad product, they are shooting themselves in the foot.
Unfortunately history is packed with examples of just that happening. Its a logical argument that discounts the consistent records of past human behavior
Or, they have learned their lesson. Oh yes.
But then Calhoun gets a bonus if the MAX is certified. Hmm, human nature says that is a conflict of interest (and most of what was going on correction wise has nothing to do with anything he has done).
I believe MAX is now safe despite the system (all the leverage came from outside the Boeing/FAA system)
Clearly Boeing could make changes such as restoring ODA back to FAA and the other reforms cited. FAA ops fall under congress to correct (overriding your experts means your operation totally off the rails).
Boeing could (and should) remove the entire management and replace the board members that oversaw the Management that let this occur.
Often we hear a change is more efficient. That should never be a prime goal of safety or even in the conversation. If you get a more efficient operation that can be a bonus, but it should never be part of a mission statement.
I worked on Hot Water Boilers and their safety system for 40 years. The best lessons I got were the State Inspectors whop put on a program demonstrating what the consequences of a Hot Water boiler blowing up were.
Simply Put: Catastrophic .
A 55 gallon hot water heater blew up next to a 50 person classroom (corner classroom). The cause was a maint guy cutting off a part of the blow off safety.
It blew out the entire classroom. A number of kids were killed.
In realty , a Boiler gallon of water was equivalent to a certain amount of dynamite. Each gallons adds to it.
So I spend 40 years working around stored energy that was equal to many pounds of dynamite.
No matter what went on, you never ever bypassed a safety.
Boeing has moved to bypass many levels of safety for monetary gain, not to the benefit (clearly ) of the public. To reward people that did that and were not doing their job is heinous.
This is a very good summation of the multiple changes on the 787 Lightening Protection system
And its not just one aspect, its now 3 that have been changed.
Heavy a emphasis FAA management over-riding its experts as well as just accepting Boeing’s push on the data.
Not a reason in the world you could not form RTC or equivalent to assess.
Much like the MAX review, once concurrence from experts is reached, then change it if its deemed allowable.
Thanks for that excellent and informative article.
Yet another reason to try to avoid flying on the Dreadliner…in addition to the discomfort issues, FOD and shimming shortcomings.
You are welcome. Its chilling not in the tech but the never ending cost cutting regardless of the consequences.
We saw with RR and the Trent 1000 that its issues started to show at 5 years. The 787 could suffer longer term structural issues.
I think the MAX is fine, I am not impressed with it being endlessly modified but they did an amazing job.
Equally or more so I am impressed with the 787 despite the self inflicted wounds of its gestation.
And its amazing reading it the quality control looks far more like What a Mole than an aircraft manufacturer.
TW, there is nothing new in that article that has not been discussed here before. Furthermore, the reporting in the article is exactly what’s been presented here.
The fallacy of your assertion is that officials who were overruled were safety experts, while the managers who overruled them were not. In fact the testimony of the FAA before Congress, which occurred after this article, is that both managers and the evaluating staff are qualified experts, the matter was reviewed after dissenting opinions were raised, and it was not found that the changes represented an unsafe condition. So it was deemed allowable after review by experts.
Those changes were due to a reclassification of that area, by the SAE who determine the lightning protection standards. The SAE is aware of the changes made by Boeing, and has raised no objection because the changes are consistent with their findings.
As I’ve always recommended to you, TW, if you have evidence to the contrary, if you know with certainty that the current configuration is unsafe, you should bring it forward to establish the unsafe condition to the world.
It always goo to have source material and each one has its place.
To the best of my knowledge I am allowed to post that information as long as its relevant.
Of course if your view is so different as to belie reality as is yours, you don’t want to see it.
TW, this is not evidence. You’ve said here that you are allowed to post opinions without evidence, and that is true. But if there is no evidence, then clearly it is your opinion, and not a definitive statement of truth.
“” your assertion is that officials who were overruled were safety experts, while the managers who overruled them were not. In fact the testimony of the FAA before Congress, which occurred after this article, is that both managers and the evaluating staff are qualified experts””
To be an expert doesn’t assure to do quality work.
A good example is Bjorn. Long ago he described the MAX behavior with a special flavour which everybody could understand. Now his article “why the MAX is safe now” was completely garbage Boeing PR.
Everybody can read Bjorn’s article now, subscription was cancelled.
With regard to the House report:
At the most basic level, the fundamental problem is this. If we accept all the report allegations and accusations as the literal truth, and indeed many of the statements made by commenters here, then the conclusion would be that Boeing should be shut down and all management put in jail. As Bryce, TW, and others here have often alluded.
It would be impossible for such a company, with the design, construction, & ethical practices described, to produce a safe airplane. Therefore all Boeing aircraft can be assumed to be faulty in some manner, that would warrant their immediate & permanent grounding, They can be broken up or put in museums as a testament to folly.
So ok, fine, we have our conclusion, now let’s compare it to reality. What we find is Boeing aircraft flying safely, every hour of every day, around the world. Including the flying garbage of the 787, and soon to be joined by the even more disastrous 737 MAX. Yet we know this outcome to be impossible, given our conclusion based on the truth of the allegations being made.
If we are good science kiddies, we know that something is wrong here. Our conclusion has failed the reality test. We also know that when the conclusion is wrong, we have to check our premises. Maybe not all of the allegations are true. Maybe some of them are exaggerations, from people more ethically aligned with Mark Forkner than Steve Dickson or Dave Calhoun.
Maybe, Boeing is a company that has a number of problems that are in the public eye, but those problems are not representative of the company as a whole. Maybe the bulk of their work is good, but doesn’t receive the same attention, or is ignored in the reporting. That would seem to affirm what we find in reality.
So we have a choice to make. We can either forward-adjust our premises and conclusion to the reality, or we can loop backwards, returning to our conclusion from the first paragraph, and repeat it over and over again in the hope that we can change the truth, and adjust reality to match our view.
There are similarities between the House report and the Boeing narrative sometimes expressed here. A discredited witness is quoted, but by title and not by name, to avoid discredit. Claims are reiterated without mentioning they have been investigated and found to be un-substantive. Allegations are made by inference and circumstance, rather than direct evidence.
Decisions made under one version of a system, are implied to have been for another version. Results from meetings where many options were discussed, are represented as having nefarious intent because the solution chosen was not the best, in hindsight. But it’s not shown that the decision would be the same with foresight, which is required for intent.
Points are taken out of context, and then repeated many, many times (again the theme of repetition, which is a red flag). If they were correct & obvious, once would be enough. Statements as to consequence, which were correct as spoken, are taken again as evidence of disregard and intent, but are only so when out of context.
Evidence is taken from other reports, without mentioning the vastly different conclusion and tone of those reports. Questions raised in those reports are repeated, but not the results that have since become available from testing.
Surveys are quoted which were put forward voluntarily by the agencies to understand their internal issues, but are used to imply the agencies have not acted appropriately. As before, problems do exist but they don’t represent the bulk of the work being done. Summarizing the results of the survey questions, a slim majority disagreed that the problems are compromising. But it’s not a vote or an election to determine guilt or innocence, as represented. The agencies need to work to resolve those differences.
I could go on here, but I don’t have 240 pages to do so. In short, we can see that there is an agenda in the report. It needn’t have been that way, in other circumstances Congress has formed independent commissions, as in the shuttle accidents. And as the FAA did with JATR, OIG, and JOEB. All those groups are specifically created to have greater technical expertise, and to not be political.
As I mentioned in other comments, those reports also tend to be informational & unifying instead of accusatory & divisive. They can be highly critical without implying intent. No one claimed that NASA didn’t care whether astronauts lived or died. And thus everyone rallied around the findings, including NASA. Again, unification is the hallmark of effective criticism.
The House committee chose instead to do their own investigation and report. By so doing they could control the narrative, which mimics that of the chairman almost verbatim. That is not a coincidence.
And so many of the assertions will not be truly accepted by the FAA or Boeing, as being unfair and not representative. Whereas NASA did accept the commission findings, as being objective and fair.
So most likely we will loop around again and the arguments will continue. The only saving grace is that over time, the truth does tend to win out, so things will advance for the positive in the long run.
You keep telling Leon to call a whistleblower line if he’s got technical issues with Boeing.
Similarly, you might consider writing to Congress to vent the frustrations that you (attempt to) articulate above. I’m sure that Congress will be fascinated to hear how you’re right and the Congressional Committee (along with everyone else) is wrong. Of course, they probably get lots of letters from cranks every day, so you might have to wait a while for a polite reply…
There is no need to argue with the committee, their allegations won’t stand up over time because of the obvious agenda. It’s already receding in the press. Most of their issues have already been investigated by other more competent bodies. The FAA and Boeing will likely make statements about recognizing the work of the committee, and we’ll move on.
Please note that I am not making allegations of wrongdoing, I’m just pointing out flaws in their arguments. That is very different from the kinds of accusatory statements made here, for which you do need to provide evidence.
Technical issues can be resolved by argument because the evidence is readily available. For accusations of intent, where you claim to know the interior mind and motives of another, evidence is needed to establish those things. But never really offered here.
What is the intention behind pressuring, harassing and threatening certifying engineers.
How can Boeing say “they didn’t know” when there are regulations for safety standards, Boeing should know, but are not following them.
The intention is not to follow regulations which are there for safety reasons. They decided safety is not important, only stock value is.
Intentionally not following regulation standards with self-certification and hiding the process from regulators KILLING people should put them behind bars for manslaughter.
But they claim they are not responsible because it was certified LOL
If the attorneys representing the families of the victims can show that Boeing has “unclean hands” vis-à-vis its dealings with the FAA in the pre-certification process, then that could potentially undermine the principle of “due deference” to (work conducted by) certifying/licensing bodies such as the FAA, effectively rendering reliance on the certification moot / “un-enforcable” as a Boeing defense. Let’s see what happens.
Either way, it’s a headache for Boeing:
– If they settle, it can be construed as an implicit admission of guilt;
– If the case continues to drag on, it’s bad PR.
Boeing has already admitted fault on the main issues of the flaws in MCAS and the assumptions made for pilot responsiveness. So there is no question of “guilt” for those issues.
On the issue of intent, there is not evidence to show that at present, and Boeing can point to numerous investigation results and enforcement actions (or lack thereof), as well as certification.
DeFazio has tried to make the case for intent, and the families will as well, as it’s required for the punitive damages they are seeking. It’s not required for the compensatory damages that Boeing is offering via settlement.
DeFazio also used the government’s power of discovery to make much of the information public. So we’ve seen it now, and still there is not a strong case for intent. He also accused the FAA, as that will undermine the certification argument.
Ultimately the only investigation that can conclusively show intent is the criminal investigation. As I’ve said, if that is their finding and there is evidence and conviction, I will accept it, and that would strongly bolster the civil case. So I’m waiting for those results.
The example I look to is the Deepwater Horizon incident. There were many flaws leading up to loss of well control, but the court found only one that rose to the level of criminal intent. That was the negative pressure test, because BP knew the test was anomalous and inconclusive, and also that a bad test would result in the blowout of the well.
The other criminal charges against BP, Transocean, and Halliburton all stemmed from violation of federal pollution laws due to the massive spill, for which there could be no defense.
The flaws in construction and sealing of the well were treated as a civil liability matter, for which they also had to pay separate damages.
The two BP employees who supervised the test were charged with manslaughter, similarly to how charges are demanded here for Boeing managers. But they were acquitted because the government could not show they were solely responsible. Juries did not accept that argument. One of them took a plea for a minor pollution charge and testified against the other, but again there was an acquittal.
Note that doesn’t mean they weren’t negligent or didn’t make mistakes. But it shows that the legal bar is higher for intent, which is the point I’ve tried to make here.
“”Sorry guys, but what do you think how many B772, B767 and A332 replacements are already flying?
Yeah, you can now understand what all those A350 and B789 orders come from.
The market has choosen, the optimum for now is somewhere about the A339, A359, B789 – those are the only 3 WBs that really sell – and you might even discount the A339, which leaves A359 and B789.
Even Emirates, who couldn’t buy large enough planes, reduces orders for A380 and B779, who else should buy?
The airlines have chosen, and they do like A359 and B789.
So if they have to replace aging A330 and B777 fleets, I wouldn’t take it for granted they buy the largest twin available.
Low sales numbers for the A35K and the B779 show this.””
Sash, I put it to the end here because it’s interesting.
The 779, which is thought to be the 773er replacement, seems not so attractive. The 779 is the same as the 78k is to the 789, made longer with same MTOW. So OEW per MTOW got worse, and even with new engines, which should be more fuel efficient, the range of the 779 is shorter than the 773er. Seems not attractive.
At the same time A35k has better OEW per MTOW, better OEW per cabin space and much more range.
Really not attractive the 779, especially with 10-abreast.
Instead Boeing should have improved the 773er, reduce weight, use 779 wings on the 773, but that’s not Boeing’s MO.
Now the 778 is the same what the A338 is to the A339, much more range but lost Project Sunrise.
Better would have been to offer a plane in size between A321XLR and 788.
Now the only seller Boeing has is the 789 but its carbon fiber is of poor quality.
Another undermining of quality and maintaining oversight
As noted, patterns of behaviour are evidence as well as facts within the behavior .
I worked as a sub contractor for close to 30 years, we never wore the Uniform of the Client and our Uniforms were clearly distinct and had our company name on them.
Your link can’t be opened in tbe EU, unfortunately.
Can you give a short synopsis of its content?
This is edited a bit as it removes ref to the House Report that is already discussed. It is also in Flight Global but that is limited to 4 article accessed a month (you can work around getting 4 more with a second computer or Device adding 4 each device)
“On Friday September 18, The Boeing Company delivered layoff notices to its remaining seven Flight Training Airplane (FTA) pilots and will instead send the critical work of providing on-site training to airline customers to an overseas contract house. The 60-day notices of layoff eliminate all direct Boeing FTA pilots by the end of November – a critical moment in Boeing’s plan to return the 737MAX to service and start delivering the roughly 400 airplanes now parked around the West Coast.
Instead of using its own highly experienced pilots, Boeing is expanding its use of contract pilots from Cambridge Communications Limited (CCL), a contract house incorporated in the Isle of Mann. According to union officials, CCL’s ownership structure is a company within a nest of shell companies. Once hired and working for Boeing, the contract pilots are provided Boeing uniforms and business cards making them indistinguishable from Boeing’s own flight training pilots when they work with airlines and regulatory agencies. Boeing currently uses some contract pilots but has genuine Boeing pilots to ensure quality control over the contractors. Eliminating the Boeing training pilots ends the decades long Boeing practice of using its own specialists to ensure airline customers operate Boeing aircraft safely.
During a meeting with union leaders last week, Boeing representatives said CCL contract pilots will do nearly all simulator and in-flight training involved in the 737MAX return to service.
“I was gobsmacked to hear company officials admit that Boeing will exercise zero quality control over these contractor pilots despite costuming them in Boeing uniforms,” said SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth. “The entire fate of The Boeing Company depends upon a smooth re-entry into service of the 737MAX. I cannot believe Boeing chose this moment to fire their highly experienced training pilots and outsource their work to contractors they don’t even control.”
Regardless of the extensive workload ahead to prepare 737MAX pilots, Boeing told union officials there is no work for the seven FTA pilots – all of whom are protected military veterans with a combined total of more than 225 years of experience flying a wide range of commercial and military aircraft. Unlike most pilots who are type rated to fly a single aircraft model, the Boeing FTA pilots are all rated to fly multiple different aircraft models and qualified to instruct other pilots how to fly those aircraft models. The union noted FTA pilots have regular interaction with Boeing’s other pilot groups, including its Flight Test Pilots, Technical Pilots and Safety Pilots. Additionally, Boeing FTA pilots interact and are respected by the engineers and technical workers who design and are involved in the certification and service of Boeing products.”
“The loss of this critical coordinating function between the Boeing employees who design and manufacture aircraft and the customer air crews who fly them is incalculable” Goforth said. “The face of The Boeing Company to customers and regulators will now be foreign contractors masquerading as genuine Boeing pilots.”
I read it on Flightglobal before I read your post here TW. I think the uniforms were not mentioned, but I will read Flightglobal again.
I didn’t think much about it, it’s just more outsourcing and the 7 pilots were described to have nothing to do with MAX.
Important are ODA people, Boeing can’t outsource those jobs.
What I didn’t know was that Boeing is in the simulator business, that gives more light into everything.
Ethiopian sim was faked. Now FAA is certifying flight behavior on the grounds of sim behavior LOL. How easily Boeing can fake this certification sim too.
Before I mentioned how important CG is for flight testing (the reason why Airbus blocked the last seat row to eliminate pitching up). There must be an instrument in the cockpit showing the CG values. How easy is it to miscalibrate these CG values, disguising the real CG value from regulators. All flight testing could have been done with a heavy nose which eliminates pitching up too.
It’s completely garbage to do flight testing with Boeing together. When I did regulation work, I only used my own tools and instruments, not tools and instruments from others. But FAA, Transport Canada and EASA rely on Boeing instruments LOL … amateurs guided by Boeing professionals
Thanks for the transcription.
Another serious point in the House report (and note, JATR did not look into it but noted it was not normal practice.
“The FAA initially delegated acceptance of approximately 40% of the B737 MAX project’s certification plans to the Boeing ODA. Additional certification plans that were originally retained for acceptance by the FAA were later delegated to the Boeing ODA as the certification project progressed. While the JATR team did not conduct an exhaustive review of other ODAs, the team observed that delegating the acceptance of certification plans does not appear to be a widespread practice for the
Another one of those that speak volumes.
Dickson was asked about this in the hearings and gave the FAA’s response, in official testimony before Congress, which like many results, is not included in the House report.
He said that the delegation decision is based on the assessment of risk. Thus at early stages, the FAA retains oversight to assure the process is moving appropriately towards compliance. As the certification plan becomes firm and major milestones are achieved, the remaining more minor details are delegated to ODA officials working at Boeing.
This became relevant because the change in MCAS authority occurred in the final stages of certification, and were not communicated properly, either within Boeing, between Boeing and FAA, and within FAA. This was the finding of the OIG report, which was also omitted from the House report.
Further, the FAA did address the JATR question on delegation. They noted that they had retained control of the safety-critical elements of the certification. The MCAS system was not deemed safety-critical as implemented in the original reduced authority version that underwent certification analysis.
That evaluation of the original MCAS is borne out in the column and trim wheel force studies conducted in the ET302 interim report. The original authority of 0.67 degrees would not have posed a challenge to the pilots.
Also in terms of multiple activations, it would have taken 4 activations over 60 seconds, to reach the 2.5 deflection of the final MCAS, that was still not classified as catastrophic. As pointed out in the Boeing documents, an employee stated this would not be a problem unless the pilots fought the stabilizer with the elevator, instead of addressing the stabilizer issue. They are trained not to do that, which was the true context of this statement.
This is the difference between writing as a prosecutor, and writing as a commission tasked with documenting the truth. A prosecutor has no burden of representing all sides, their role is adversarial by definition. A commission does have that burden of representing all aspects of the truth.
When the facts all line up against what people say, then you go with the facts.
The facts boil down to cost cutting by Boeing purely for profit motives and nothing to do with safety as well as the FAA not doing its job and allowing Boeing to undermine the system.
To put it into plain terms, I will use a car analogy.
The car quits.
The mechanic says the fuel pump is working but there is nothign wrong with the car.
However, the real story is that its out of gas. Yes the Pump is working, but that is a microcosm (with some hyperbole) of Fuel injectors, computer, fuel lines, ignition, sensors. In other words its a system. The system (Boeing and the FAA) has failed repeatedly.
Your contention is if someone says X then its so. People lie all the time and they lie ferociously under these circumstances (they can loose their job, bonus, career and they feel a loss of human life is not important compared to that)
Actions are always what counts, not words.
As a mechanic/technician/engineer as well as a life long observer of managers and politicos (FAA) what someone says in these sorts of situation, is so far down on the list of evidence that it falls off the bottom.
What they did, or did not do speaks volumes.
Boeing and the FAA failed in their obligations to safety vs profit for Boeing and politics for the FAA.
Clearly the ODA move undermined safety as well as the FAA being totally conflicted in what its role is.
While the FAA is responsible, its really congresses fault to have put the FAA into the position of cheerleader for aviation as well as enforcement.
Those roles should be split.
Further once they are split, ODA needs to come back fully under FAA and reporting to FAA.
An unknown is how to ensure that the FAA listens to its experts as opposed to overriding them at every turn. It may or may not work out with a split, but it certainly is not working out now.
Unless Boeing reforms, there simply is no hope there, it is up to the split part of the FAA to uphold the public interests.
Many have views where Boeing went wrong, I certainly can track it back to the 737 Rudder issue.
Any engineer worth spit always takes input, and in the case of the rudder failure, rather than blow it off, would consider other failure possibility.
Its not that there was a failure, sadly it does happen, though you try to ensure it does not occur via good design and testing. The more critical the system the higher the level of validation. Flight safety being the highest (no one dies if the coffee pot quits)
But if you are faced with evidence that says otherwise, you do your very utmost to see if the failure logic is possible, not blow it off.
We never got a full investigation into the Rudder failure, so we don’t know if it was the engineers or management.
What we do know is it continued attitude wise with the 767 crash of Lauda Air over India.
It again manifested itself on the 787 (and continues) as well as the MAX failures.
As much as I trust my wife, I also consider the facts and if what she says conflicts with it, we sort it out. Fortunately while she is wrong at times, its not malicious or profit driven.
Boeing and the FAA are totally conflicted so you can expect them to lie, its just a fact of life.
The Military would call it reinforcing failure. Boeing calls it being efficient (verbiage and translation for that for profits) . A Guillotine is quite efficient at taking someones head off. Not something to be proud of.
TW, we disagree on what is fact and what is opinion. You frequently represent your opinions as facts, and are doing so here as well. That is not going to change, so we can argue forever with no difference in outcome.
Your constant reference to the Lauda Air accident is an excellent example. According to you, Boeing was totally evil and Lauda saved the day. Note that I don’t dismiss his contribution, he didn’t accept the initial simulator results and he was proven to be correct. But Boeing also contributed to understanding a problem that was not anticipated and not understood before, by anyone.
The FAA issued a “Lessons Learned” safety document, wherein they explain that thrust reverser deployment had been extensively tested in all regimes of flight, and had never resulted in a loss of control, despite numerous deployments at altitude. In all testing that was done, the worst case occurred at low speed & altitude, so that is where the certification testing was focused.
However the steadily increasing size of turbofans led to shortening of the pylons, as well as projecting the engine forward of the wing. Very similar to what happened with the LEAP engine on the MAX.
Continued testing of thrust reverser deployment for the worst case, at low altitude & speed, did not reveal a problem that was developing at high altitude & high speed. By the FAA’s own admission, neither they nor anyone else understood this at the time.
Thus for the Lauda Air accident, it was initially assumed that the pilots had not handled a thrust reverser deployment correctly, as that was not known to be a serious issue. Lauda disagreed and asked Boeing to personally fly the pilot training simulator, in which he was able to recover. But he didn’t accept that result, and asked to fly the Boeing engineering simulator as well.
Boeing initially said the results would be the same, as they had no reason to believe otherwise. But Lauda insisted and Boeing relented, also working to modify the simulator to be sure it would be representative of airflow over the 767 wing with reverser deployed.
Then it was found that Lauda could not recover, and Boeing test pilots could only recover with an immediate aileron and rudder hard-over, before reduction of speed to regain control. This was due to a loss of lift greater than 25% at cruise, with reverser deployed, which was entirely unexpected.
Lauda then asked that Boeing immediately release a statement of the findings to exonerate the pilots. Boeing said the typical period for such a statement was 90 days, in order to prepare their findings and report to other involved parties before a public statement. But Lauda insisted and again Boeing relented and released a preliminary statement, also releasing the formal statement after 90 days.
These are the facts as established by the FAA. They are not nearly as one-sided as your portrayal seeks to imply. Boeing did not “game” the certification flights, they did not refuse to cooperate with Lauda, they did not conceal anything. Lauda was frustrated because he didn’t believe the pilots, who were his personal friends, would make that kind of mistake. He was right and Boeing helped him prove it.
This is the issue I have with so many of your statements. You don’t differentiate between your opinion of what happened, and what can be factually shown to have happened.
Also you tend to favor conspiracy-like interpretations that imply all kinds of intent, but for which no evidence exists. So instead you imply that evidence of the event, is also evidence of intent. But that depends solely on your belief (Boeing and FAA can be expected to lie). Which ironically, is itself a lie.
That’s also the main problem with the House report. If you begin with the assumption that Boeing is criminal, you can construct the narrative around that assumption, just as a prosecutor would. But it’s not a fair or true accounting of fact and evidence, as is done by courts of inquiry or commissions.
If you want to see an excellent example of how to do it properly, please read the Phase 1 Trial document “Finding of Fact” for the Macondo well. It’s an amazing piece of work by Judge Barbier, not to mention a pretty good tutorial for off-shore drilling. He explains all sides and shows where they are supported by fact, and where not. The result is extreme clarity, and again it was accepted by all sides as it couldn’t really be challenged. As criticism, it was highly effective.
There’s really no comparison between the quality & objectivity of that report, and the House report.