China Eastern 737 crashes-it is not a MAX

By Scott Hamilton

March 21, 2022, © Leeham News: A China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 (Flight number MYU5735) crashed today while enroute to Guangzhou. All 132 people on board were killed.

For those likely to jump the gun, it is important to note that this 737 was a Next Generation model, not the MAX. The accident airplane was delivered new to the airline in 2015.

A screenshot of a Chinese CCTV video believed to show China Eastern MU5735 moments before crashing near Guangzhou.

According to flight tracking radar images, the flight was at cruising altitude when it nosed over into a vertical dive. A photo circulating on Twitter shows the airplane in a vertical position moments before the crash.

No conclusions may be drawn about the cause of the crash based on the sketchy information available. As a matter of routine investigative procedures, the following will be areas of inquiry, in no particular order:

Areas of investigation
  • Weather: was the aircraft flying through a storm? The Chinese CCTV photo appears to show a dark cloudy area, but the photo is a screen shot. In any event, was weather, or clear air turbulence, a factor? And, is the photo authenticated?
  • Sabotage or another criminal event: When an aircraft goes vertical from cruising altitude, sabotage, cockpit intrusion or even pilot suicide will be an area of investigation.
  • Catastrophic mechanical failure: The photo of the airplane in a vertical position shows the airplane in the far distance. No detail can be seen whether a tail section, wing or engine separated from the airplane. There is no smoke of fire visible, however.
  • Some other kind of mechanical failure that caused a control issue.
  • The mechanical/airworthiness condition of the airplane.
  • The health (mental and physical) of the pilots.


336 Comments on “China Eastern 737 crashes-it is not a MAX

  1. Condoleances to the families.

    Boeing can’t catch a break even if this accident (as is very probable) is not due to a mechanical design flaw.

    • Not a stall, went straight in.

      Not an IED or shootout, went straight tin (aka scatter along a path)

      Leaves total loss of control Loss of horizontal stab or suicide.

        • The photo in your link appears to show a portion of the forward fuselage skin, above the window line (along which the fuselage has torn in a straight line — curious). The lettering corresponds to the Chinese characters in that location — which are normally red, but would appear black in low light.

          • ” above the window line (along which the fuselage has torn in a straight line — curious).:”

            **probably ** because the straight line of the panel is simply the edge of the aluminum skin panel and still attached to a ‘ longitudinal stringer ‘ on the hidden side which is above the forgings around the window line. But it is curious that the other ‘ half’ ‘ portion of a typical stringer which attaches the adjoining panel is not evident nor any sign of at least one circumferential.

          • I think it’s part of the wing. Wings are often painted in gray.

          • cant find the link-comment- reply that Scott H sent-posted,but he is correct. The part under discussion is the upper outboard panel of the Left wing

            Which explains why no obvious tearing, since leading edge stuff is lightweight etc as are trailing flaps.
            The straight section is due to the underlying Front Spar and Rear spar.

            Boeing design philosphy has always been to protect critical hydraulics, and Fuel xfer stuff by ‘ hiding’ behind rear spar. Theory was that during flight, impact with birds, torn off engines ( DC-10 style ) and such come from the front while airborne. So mostly non essential stuff is forward of front spar.

            What Scott said

            “It’s the upper part of the left wing. ” and he included the link below which proves the poInt


            Now dont know how far from crash- but possibly within a 100- yards from other drone shots. IF so, wings were probably attached until impact .

          • Yes, Scott is correct: the same text is on the upper left wing, in grey/black.
            Also explains the straight edge.

          • Strange.
            From a 400knots to zero decelleration in a planes length I’d not expect any larger part debris.

          • -> At the time of the crash, the plane had recorded 18,239 flight hours on 8,986 flights

            -> the crew members were in good health and with sufficient flight experience.

            -> The investigation into the cause of the crash is very difficult because of the severe damage to the aircraft

            No doubt aviation safety is taken more seriously in China than BA in the last decade or so

      • Then how did it level off for about 25 seconds before going vertical again ?

        • I was going to add to the comment but edit is mostly off.

          It indicates that controls were there as well as flight surfaced.

          Frankly its points towards suicide with a struggle in the cockpit.

      • Sounds a little like Silk Air 185 which has eerie parallels. Worth looking at that.

        Cause disputed:
        Suicide by pilot (NTSB)
        Inconclusive evidence to determine cause (NTSC Indonesian Safety Board)
        Loss of control due to rudder malfunction (L.A. Superior Court)

        • Suicide by pilot (NTSB)

          A lengthy list of US attributed Suicide explanations around that were and stay strongly disputed.

          • Strongly disputed by the airlines so they wouldn’t have to pay damages.
            Strongly disputed by the rest of the world… no.

          • @Lars
            “no money due”

            That works both ways.

            Truth vaporizes when lawyers are involved.
            US centric entities are by far more “litigation happy” then elsewhere on the globe.
            IMHO in a dysfunctional way.

            TK crash in Amsterdam: Dutch authorities seem to have been pressured massively by their US counterpart to morph the findings.
            ( info came up in scope of the MAX crashes. )

            There are strong indications that a range of accident investigations were “leaned on” to move towards some desired outcome.

          • ‘Let’s not forget Aloha 243 — in which a large portion of the forward fuselage peeled off like a can lid.”

            Basically a lack of maintenance problem combined with higher than usual exposure time to salt air.

            At the same time a tribute to the design and bu/cu kudos to the crew.

          • I doubt a manufacturing error. Maybe a improperly repaired tail strike, a maintenance issue. China Eastern seems competent in general maintenance.

      • Since there was a pullout and mostly level flight for 20 to 30 seconds, IMHO most likely there were NO major- significant structural issues that caused the initial dive. Pullout at that speed no doubt was several G’s and although some ‘ feathers ‘ and wings were no doubt bent, the wings and stabilizer were probably mostly intact.

        Dont know about engines still being attached- however to accelerate close to mach even in a dive**seems** to indicate some thruststill available.

        ALL of which leads ( again IMHO ) to the real story is what happened in the cockpit

        rather than a system or structural failure . Hopefully the CVR will better determine as to What or Why

        • If the Horizontal Stabilizer is lost, then planes seem to go into a phugoid oscillation of larger and larger ups-and-downs. I don’t think the 7000 foot “up” portion matches this, even if the tail section went missing there. It more likely would indicate someone at the controls, unless, it was “something” at the controls. A rogue high frequency laptop, or cell phone, causing EMI (electro magnetic interference) to the flight control computer, causing flight control system mayhem. A “bit” similar to Quantas Flight 72.


          • I prefer William of Occam said the best explanation of any phenomenon is the one that makes the fewest assumptions. A statement that includes many ‘ifs’ should trigger mental alarm bells: you should consider Occam’s razor and investigate it further.
            For example:

            a) structural failure ( caused by a,b,c,d,e,f reasons )
            b) control issues ( accidental or deliberate )

            Since CVR has been found- and ** probably ** useable to decode, and given the Chinese probable censorship as to certain details, we should at least find out version a) or version b)

            Speculation and low probability comparisons can be interesting-but waiting for an a) or b) answer even though incomplete will save a lot of web space

            Even though neither rules out aliens from outer space.

          • There is no “flight control computer” on any 737NG.
            IMU the QF72 incident was caused by an ?SEU event? triggering an ADIRU SW bug that was not caught by FBW filtering. complicated chain, but no rouge laptop.

          • @UWE
            The 737 NG flight control computer
            When the 737-MAX was being developed, Boeing modified the 737-NG Flight Control Computer, with the MCAS software, which caused the two 737-MAX crashes.
            The modified software for the 737 flight control computer is the very heart of the problem for the MAX. The 737-NG had the same computer, and still does.
            But, now, after the 2 MAX accidents, Boeing has changed the FCC extensively in the MAX. The NG still has the original flight control computer shown above.
            So, now, whenever software for the 737 flight control system has to be changed, Boeing has 2 sets of software. One for the NG and one for the MAX. I don’t
            believe that the actual Boeing Document 0251A018-6, “737 NG/MAX Stabilizer Trim Control System Safety Analysis”, or the
            Document 832-8427-223 “Plan for Software Aspects of Certification for the FCC-730 on the Boeing 737-NG/MAX” is public information,
            but, it does exist and has been reviewed at the FAA.

          • @UWE
            There have been instances of laptops etc affecting aircraft flight controls.. The 737 for one instance…
            “1995, 737 airplane.
            A passenger laptop computer was reported to cause autopilot disconnects during cruise. Boeing purchased the computer from the passenger and performed a laboratory emission scan from 150 kHz to 1 GHz. The emissions exceeded the Boeing emission standard limits for airplane equipment at various frequency ranges up to 300 MHz. Boeing participated with the operator on two flight tests with the actual PED, using the same airplane and flight conditions, in an attempt to duplicate the problem. Using even these extensive measures to re-create the reported event, Boeing was unable to confirm the reported interference between the PED and the airplane system.”

          • onion layers, functional overlay. not a “flight computer” fully active in control path.
            Till the MAX that thingy did not even have the “push trough” to cause major mayhem.

          • @Davenport
            “laptop interference with autopilot.”
            Being not able to reproduce the effect might indicate that causation took a different path.

            What irked me was you combining one “thing” ( laptop interference ) with another fully unconnected “thing” ( QF Adiru bug )
            Such mixing is popular to feed a choice narrative but wrong.

          • @Uwe You can still get a runaway stabilizer, which I think lead to split dual switches on the control yoke and cutout switches on the control column. They originally had separate motors for the autopilot and manual-electric control of the Horizontal stabilizer, hense the 2 original cutout switches. Now, there’s just the one motor to fail, with the smaller manual trim wheel as a backup. In high speed mode, they have the Mach Trim function controlling pitch, only using ONE AOA sensor, to this day, on the 737-NG.

          • Uhhh Rich D?? Airbus is FBW and the chances of a EMI upset via external devices is much much greater than the 767- 767 NG- and probably even the Max. Why- 707 thru 777 have zero to minimal Computer control of critical flight controls- They use mostly the same method as Orville and Wilbur except for Little Herbert yaw damper.

            Even the civilian versions of the 707 – 727-737 -767- 777 have a fair amount of EMI hardening which has been developed used in BA planes ever since the KC 135 tankers in the 1960s to say nothing of Apollo and earlier
            Minuteman systems. EMI surpression/shielding has been around since early A bomb tests.

            A 767 for example (designed in the 70s and 80s can fly reasonably well with near zip electrical power- look up Gimli Glider. So much for computer interference in this particular case

            And Boeing has never used wax wings like Icarius

          • @Davenport:
            Sure the cutout switches have a good chance of saving your posterior in that regime.
            NG still have them, MAX: omitted SOL.

          • @UWE & Bubba2 .. EMI points well taken. The chances are very rare, and I doubt there would be any 5G signals in that area of the world, at that altitude. But, with the proliferation of electronic devices and the higher frequencies they are operating at, it seems inevitable that some spurious signal will find its way in the thin metal fuselage to effect flight. When it does, the pilots will be confused, and the airplane will have a mind of it’s own. Airbus has multiple computers voting, but, there seems to be a few single threaded areas on the 737, with the Horizontal Stabilizer, with one motor and one AOA vane being one of them. I’d like two trim motors, as in the past, and separate control circuits as in the past, for the A/P and the manual / electric trim, and some sort of gearing advantage system on the trim wheel backup.
            AND a true OFF switch for MCAS on the MAX.

          • RICHARD D — puhhlease get off the EMI issue re this particular crash issue.
            B-17 thru 767 do NOT use computers for critical flight control systems. They all have direct or backup-minimal cable control. While EMI may mess up the deluxe glass cockpit navigation and certain ‘ information’- entertainment systems- in the Boeing world thru 767 and partially on early 777 – EMI flight control issues as you keep hammering on really dont apply.

            True a possible ‘wiring short ‘ might cause an upset- but that is NOT EMI.

            The 777 was the first Boeing to use FBW and even then it has minimal cable- mechanical backup for things like Horizontal stab, etc
            prior to the MAX-Mcas fiasco, Boeing ALWAYS allowed the pilot to override any significant ‘ computer’ driven flight control system.

            For a minimal education on Boeing FBW ” first ” use


          • Richard-it seems that you assume or believe an electric actuated servo motor is also a ‘ computer’ which affects a major flight control system- elevator, stabilizer, rudder, etc.
            In common use for decades, such servo systems are NOT usually considered computers.
            In FBW systems- such servos are commonly driven by both simple wiring and by computers which meld a bunch of other data- instrumentation. For example an autopilot ***might **** be considered a computer- but even so not usually subject to EMI.

            Radios are subject to EMI- but until the last few decades, not computer driven in the normal sense.

          • @Bubba2, All B777 have always been fully FBW. The difference between A320 and B777 is that the B777 and the B787 continues to use yokes with soft limits (rather than hard limits) reinforced by artificial feel. If Airbus started all new it would add artificial feel to the side sticks as per the A220-300. Artificial feel isn’t a big advantage.

      • > Not a stall, went straight in.

        Not an IED or shootout, went straight tin [sic?] (aka scatter along a path) <

        Did it ?

      • There are two videos of the event one of them like this appears to be going straight in, but the other video looking at the plane from behind. From that vantage point the plane is still going down very sharply but not completely nose down like in this picture. This video almost looks similar to the recent FedEx 767 crash. Coming down hard but not straight down.

  2. The safety record of the NG is phenomenal, no argument. With that jet into a straight vertical dive it had to be going ~500 knots if not faster. There’s not going to be much left for investigators (similar to Ethiopian mad max accident). Hopefully there’s still FDR/CVR possibly be recovered that can provide some data.

    This accident will no doubt have the CAAC tread even more carefully with the mad max recertification decision’s.

    • Think there was progress of FDR data being sent wireless in case of emergency and out of flight route tolerances to speed up investigations after MH370? I assume it is not mandated yet.

    • China Eastern also announced at the presser that it has suspended the operations of all of its Boeing 737-800 aircraft, a fleet of over 200. The Boeing 737-800 that crashed was about 6 years and 10 months old, and was delivered on June 22, 2015.

      Furthermore, the airline said it will intensify safety checks on planes and strengthen flight control and maintenance. It will work with the highest standards and strictest requirements to ensure safe operations, it assured.

      At the time of the crash, the plane had recorded 18,239 flight hours on 8,986 flights, said Sun Shiying, chairman of the airline’s Yunnan branch, adding that the aircraft met requirements before takeoff and the crew members were in good health and with sufficient flight experience.

  3. Whatever the cause may be, this NG event has come at a bad time for the MAX re-cert in China. The Chinese will want to go through this with a fine-tooth comb, and everything 737-related will probably be put on hold in the meantime.

    • An article on Bloomberg is chiming with this narrative:

      “Still, it comes at a time when Boeing is already facing questions over its safety culture and renewed scrutiny over its 737 family of jets, the company’s main source of revenue. The U.S. manufacturer has been working to return the Max to commercial service in China, the first nation to ground the model in 2019 after the accidents that killed a total of 346 people.

      “Monday’s tragedy “comes at an extremely delicate time, with Boeing finally aiming to re-start 737 Max deliveries into China after a three-year halt,” Seth Seifman, an analyst with JPMorgan, said in a note to clients. “Chinese authorities’ comments in the coming days and weeks will, therefore, be critical for gauging the impact of this tragedy on Boeing’s recovery.””

      • @Bryce,

        Excellent point about ‘Boeing safety culture’. Having worked aviation safety at Boeing, I’ll contend there isn’t one!

        I highly suggest reading the newest Boeing annual report released last week. It mentions ‘safety’ twice, not aviation safety, especially nothing about building a ‘positive safety culture’ (one of the four pillars of an SMS program). Boeing was approved for a voluntary SMS by the FAA last fall, yet no mention of this in the annual report. Why? Remember, make a safe airplane safer.
        There is a lot of mention about diversity, inclusion and equity …. DIE for short.

        Technical pilot, Mark Fortner trial starts today in Dallas. Just where are all the Boeing executives?

        • Boeing is run by Politicians and Financial folks. It should be run by Pilots and Engineers, as in days past. The FAA’s SMS program reminds me of Congresses solution to the Enron Crisis .. implement a pound of paperwork that the CEO has to sign off on.

          I agree with Airdoc .. they have a technical manual writer who’s a pilot now on trial for the 737-MAX accident. If he had corrected the FAA technical documents after he was informed of the last minute changes to MCAS, would it have changed history? If he had tried, would he have been overridden by management? Where are the true decision makers (C-suite) trials? This same big company (Boeing) owning their government regulators (the FAA) is being mirrored in the Big Pharma owning the FDA pushing the ‘mRNA only’ solution. It’s bad governance, with no responsibility being required of the true decision makers. No consequences for bad decision making, by the responsible parties.

      • -> Before the Max grounding, [China] took as many as one-third of the narrow-body jets [from Boeing] each year. 

        -> After burning through more than US$20 billion in Max-related costs, Boeing’s financial turnaround hinges on its ability to resume shipping 737 models at a higher volume. Executives had targeted delivering around 500 Max models this year. That’s already in question after a sluggish start, Seifman said. The pace of production will also be closely watched.

        -> What Bloomberg Intelligence Says

        “The event may extend the time it takes for the original-equipment manufacturer’s bonds to narrow the discount at which they trade to triple-B tier industrial peers. Paring inventory and generating cash are key to cutting debt and relieving strain on the company’s financial-risk profile.”

        -> Given BA’s problems with the 737 Max, there is some chance that consumers may not want to fly on a 737 until the cause of the China Eastern crash is determined not to be a design or manufacturing issue,” Cowen analyst Cai von Rumohr said in a note

        • Cai von Rumohr is being cautious; I don’t need to be, I know for sure of consumers who have been actively avoiding all Boeing airliners anyway, not just MAXs / 737s. This latest crash is simply going to reinforce views that are already quite well entrenched.

          We don’t yet know what’s caused this crash. However, this could get political, quick. What, for example, does EASA / CAA do if the Chinese investigation starts pointing to a production QA issue?

          One question that ought to be very easy to answer is, how bad does an OEM’s QA cultural weaknesses have to have been before everything they’ve built in the past 20 odd years has to be questioned?

          I think it’s very difficult for the industry’s / regulators’ standard approaches to safety to tackle a situation like this, because they essentially require problems to become manifest to build up a body of evidence to prove there is such a problem. That’s not really good enough in the hypothetical situation that every single aircraft is a ticking bomb prone to falling out of the sky, because it means a lot of aircraft fall out of the sky first, killing a lot of people.

          The only really acceptable way of handling that would be to be pro-active, i.e. start taking in-service airframes to pieces and actively looking for major problems. Do things that you can’t do in standard maintenance; e.g. a lot of destructive testing of various components, see if they really were built properly.

          • “The only really acceptable way of handling that would be to be pro-active, i.e. start taking in-service airframes to pieces and actively looking for major problems. Do things that you can’t do in standard maintenance; e.g. a lot of destructive testing of various components, see if they really were built properly.”

            In an environment where Boeing activities were primarily designed to “cargo cult” an “industry leader by proficiency” persona that won’t happen. This is a Schroedinger capitalist destructor. Just the act of looking ..

          • @Uwe, It can be enough if NTSB is around when aircrafts are flown to be scrapped and have documentations requirements for the company scrapping aircrafts as you easy can inspect most parts (like wiring, clamping, fluid leaks and structures) as they are disassembled. Most in the business has an opinion on how well maintained and airworthy aircrafts are when due for scrap from different airlines.

          • @UWe:

            A “Cargo Cult” is an apt description of the ongoing mayhem at Boeing. Bravo.

            Here is how it works. A majority gullible group of engineers, practicing cult-like behaviors and imitations, are hoping they can cause the bygone “good times” to return. The leaders, similar in role to the “Big Man” figure in cargo cult tribes, prolong the cults belief system by fooling the tribe (BoD included) and collecting offerings of the cowering employees (and big corporate bonuses) so long as the cult lasts.

          • @A Jonees

            you are in the wrong alley.
            I see management acting in accordance with what one would expect _on the surface_ for a well run corporation that has a big future and moves forward with competence.
            There is not much of worth below that shell.
            ( in sum the cargo cult aspects I wrote about)

            Engineering is out of the loop.

          • The term “Cargo Cult” refers to the religions that developed in New Guinea highland tribes who observed Douglass C47 or DC3 “Dakotas” parachute cargo to allied servicemen. They latterly began to worship the silver birds in the hope of receiving cargo as well.

      • Since that plane has been delivered I can’t think of how many hours it’s flown and how many times it’s been opened up for maintenance. A lot of the parts have been changed out already if there was something fundamental about that aircraft it probably would have been noticed by now since every square centimeter of that aircraft will have already been looked over at this point.

  4. From Bloomberg:

    -> Aviation Safety Network data on the 25 countries with the highest number of fatal civil aviation accidents since 1945 show the U.S. has the most, with 864 accidents and 10,828 fatalities. Russia is the next, Canada is third, and the U.K. is sixth. China is 11th, with 76 accidents recorded.

    • not really a useful statistic. air travel volume in the US is massive compared any other country, and we have also have a very large number of private planes.

      how about commercial aircraft accidents per 1,000,000 commercial flights? that is a much more relevant statistic for understanding relative flight safety on a national basis.

      • That doesn’t really work either, because the US had a lot more aviation when aviation was much more dangerous. Still, at least I haven’t seen any “this would never have happened to US pilots” comments yet.
        What an amazing thing the Internet is,despite all the experts putting discouraging speculation, we already have a pretty good idea what happened less than 1/2 a day later.

    • There are lies, damned lies and then there are a statistics. What could one expect to achieve presenting a statistical factoid as transparently contextually misleading as this to a readership as intelligent as this one. A readership easily able to see through it is surprising.

      • Uhh william ?? you posted today 26 this little bit of partial misdirection re my comments re777 and FBW

        ” @Bubba2, All B777 have always been fully FBW. The difference between A320 and B777 is that the B777 and the B787 continues to use yokes with soft limits (rather than hard limits) reinforced by artificial feel.’….

        Yes 777 is primary FBW – but it does have direct ” cable” control ( mechanical ) backup to a few primary controls.ómez-de-barreda

        ” Regarding system redundancy, there’s plenty of it. Four ACEs to control the three different hydraulic systems. Three PFCs, any one of them being capable of flying the aircraft in its Normal Law. A Ram Air Turbine (RAT) will automatically deploy in the event of hydraulic pressure loss to provide sufficient hydraulic power to operate the basic flight controls. Should, in a highly unlikely event, both the RAT and all three hydraulic systems fail, there is still a mechanical backup connection from the cockpit control wheel to the number 4 and 11 spoiler panels, as well as an alternate mechanical connection to the horizontal stabilizer through the “alternate pitch trim” control located left of the spoiler/speedbrakes lever (see image below).’

        Compare to what I said re FBW and cable control backup on 777 and point out and quote the portion that I was wrong

        Airbus does NOT have cable backup AFIK- but since you are the expert- please post a credible link which describes airbus cable control.

        • Ok sorry I optically misread your post.
          If it gets down to that the A320 and A330 also have mechanical cable controls for the rudder as well as backup mechanical trim wheels. The trim wheels don’t directly operate the stabiliser but do so via hydraulic servo valves. An A320 can be flown with no electrical power. It was intended for a systems reset. I think the A350 had no mechanical backup systems whatsoever. I would suggest that many actuators, especially electro hydrostatic actuators will have embedded microprocessors.

    • Are those speeds indicated airspeed or over the ground? I’m guessing the later because the highest vspeeds correlate with the lowest speeds.

  5. I’m sorry to point out…. Looks like a deja vu of rudder PCU malfunction!!!!

    • Early speculation would also have to include some sort of problem in the cockpit with personnel or terrorism related intrusion. With so many international problems there are the potential for many desperate situations.

        • I read the article at that link, and though it was quite odd. Starts with this:

          “..Aviation experts have meanwhile dismissed mechanical failure as the cause of the horror crash of a China Eastern Airlines jetliner carrying 132 people in southern China’s Guangxi region on Monday, suggesting something “catastrophic” may have occurred..”

          Then, much further into the piece:

          “..Meanwhile another aviation expert told The Sun an engine malfunction was unlikely.

          “It’s unlikely to be engine related as an aircraft can fly perfectly well with no engine power – for a limited time,” Arthur Rowe said.

          “It looks most likely a loss of control event, possibly following a high altitude stall of the aircraft.

          >> “There are multiple possible causes. Jammed or unresponsive control surfaces, especially on the tail are one.” <<

          No one knows yet what happened, but narrative-shaping- as in this linked piece- is already in full force.

          • Concur. I know it’s too early to speculate, but since some earlier theories were about MAX type issues, it crossed my mind that the way the plane descended also suggested a possible cockpit intruder, or crew mental health issue.

          • What remains?
            “Narrowing down on Pilot Error ..
            but don’t rush your narrative.”
            Wait for the next installment. 🙂

        • The last thing these experts would do is to bite the hand that feeds them.

          Paid propaganda. Sigh.

          • propaganda is never “unpaid”.
            But payout denomination may be non-obvious and/or immaterial.

    • Yes, that’s my guess as well. Probably my 5th guess of the day as more information comes in.The 737 NG is the safest airliner ever to fly, but I am a little bit suspicious of the stabiliser trim now.

    • Looks like a deja vu of rudder PCU malfunction!!!!

      Do you know the diff between rudder and horiz stabilizer ?

        • Normally rudders turn, horiz stabilizers go up and down-plus the swag as to the real issue with no facts at that time other than a smoking hole
          and that response was to Balkan ..

          • I’m pretty sure the uncommanded rudder deflections in the two 737 all-fatalities crashes
            in the 1990s led directly to pitch changes to those aircraft (i.e. downward, to the ground).

  6. The 737NG is of course not a MAX. But the point to the MAX are engines and MCAS. If it is ant fault of the frame, it will impinge on the MAX too.

  7. It’s obviously too early to say anything definite about the crash. But, the 737 NG has been found to have pickle fork issues, and I didn’t see any wings in the short video clip, showing the fuselage basically nose down, tail up, at a high rate of speed. If the wings did separate, that might explain the sudden fall, and lack of wings in the video. I assume they’d find the lack of wings at the main crash site easily? And maybe a separate radar return if the wings separated and dropped somewhere else? (assuming they have primary radar returns recorded) I”m sure they will be looking into the inspection history for pickle forks and if/when any pickle fork fixes were done, and by who etc.

    • Alternatively: the wings are still in place, but the view in the video happens to be from the side.

      • They could be perfectly aligned with the camera position, or they could have not initially detached, but, during the fast vertical drop, come off. There is a indication of a slowing of the decent around 7-8000 ft. I’m wondering if a plane without wings could be explained or not in that situation, if the data is correct? It was sudden and violent, whatever the cause. If the black boxes survive this event, someone needs to be given a bonus.

        • The back boxes survived the UA93 crash, so there’s some hope that they’ll have survived the Chinese crash, also.

    • Yes, the pickle forks and the NG’s fuselage production QC issues come to mind.

      • Uhh bill7 – obviously you do not know really how a ‘ pickle fork ” works and why. The issues you seem to be hung up on would be obvious from the crash scene- and even before under the worst possible case, the fuselage would have separated before the plane hit the ground IF there had been a multi g pull out ,etc.

        Suggest you cool your jets.

        • Here what I wrote on the topic in question, in its entirety:

          “Yes, the pickle forks and the NG’s fuselage production QC issues come to mind.”

          Clearly I’m hung up on the issue, by using the words “..come to mind”; and just as clearly assigning blame for the accident without evidence in hand. 😉

          Is commenter Bubba2 this blog’s latest self-appointed moderator?

          • well pilgram – re pickle fork- a simple search on pickle fork on this forum would find details on the issue.

            Here is what I posted re a few other posters here


            and a few minutes of reading it would help in understanding the issue as being related to fatigue issues- a function of age and flight hours. Did/does any of those issues apply to the current airframe under discussion.

            Did Boeing follow thru on all prior aircraft affected ? Dont know, but probably. Was China aircraft current /new compliant, etc ? Dont know

            And most-many fatigue /fastener issues can be corrected for future via change in manuf techniques such as cold-working. ( Boeing has been using that technique since the late 1960’s. )

            Why not wait for a bit more data and facts re China plane involved. How old, etc.

  8. Yes, that’s my guess as well. Probably my 5th guess of the day as more information comes in.The 737 NG is the safest airliner ever to fly, but I am a little bit suspicious of the stabiliser trim now.

  9. Is it even plausible that a transparent accident investigation can be expected from China at any time and especially now with the current political conflict. Would they ever admit to a “pilot suicide” or even crew error?

    The only reason one could hope for a transparent fact driven investigation is that China actually needs to operate these airplanes and ultimately the MAX successors.

    • You mean like the “transparent” DPA reached with BA in the US?
      Or the “transparent” decision made by US prosecutors to settle the suits filed by victim families against BA?
      Transparency is a tenuous concept.

      • FAA seems to have leaned heavily on Dutch authorities in context of the TK 738 AMS Polderbahn Crash. ( Came up with the MAX grounding ) Known are other cases where US interests morphed the investigation results.

  10. Another possiblity?
    From a previous article by Peter Lemme in Leeham news…
    “The 737 MAX – A Tragedy 60 years in the Making”
    an interesting tidbid ..
    “The 737 NG High Alpha mode, as part of Stall Identification, operates even more aggressively than the 737 MAX MCAS.
    It appears to be a single sensor application. With no service issues to draw from, there does not appear to have been
    any significant issues with a single AoA sensor triggering an Airplane Nose Down (AND) stabilizer runaway.
    There are some interlocks.”
    Could a Mach Tuck type of speed be achieved in the 737 at 30,000 ft? And if so, under what conditions of temperature etc?
    Where there any non normal weather conditions, at altitude, in the area? The 737 NG High Alpha mode uses just the same ONE SENSOR routine as the MAX did.
    I’d presume that an accident of a high speed stall would have happened before now, with the longer history of the 737-NG in service.
    But, how many AOA sensors have failed in the safest portion of the flight? I’d assume that AOA failures would show themselves shortlyafter takeoff, most of the time.

    • Again from Peter Lemme’s article… (see link in my previous post above)
      “The 737-100 discovered the need for a Mach Trim function during flight test. An actuator was added to the elevator
      feel-centering unit to apply a small elevator bias as a function of Mach number.”
      “Every Boeing model, other than 737, has used augmentation on elevator controls to counter pitch-up.
      The 737 MAX uses elevator for Mach Trim and stabilizer for Pitch Augmentation.
      Every other Boeing airplane uses elevator for Pitch Augmentation (if required) and stabilizer for Mach Trim.”

      Also, a very good, concise explanation of “Mach Tuck” by Bjorn in his article in Leeham News..
      “Bjorn’s Corner: Pitch stability, Part 7”

  11. The old chaotic cockpit emergency panel probably played its confusing role again & again efforts will be made to blame the pilots. If only in public perception. To protect Boeing & the 737 safety track record.

    • The NG has an excellent safety record that has not needed “protecting”. Again efforts are being made here to place blame when no one really knows squat but, hey, don’t let that stop you!

      • Show me the “blaming” that you are so busily and urgently trying to fend of!

        • Putting words into the mouths of others, then straw-manning with the spurious results is Standard Internet Procedure.

          What a world.


      • The US Congress even passed a law to try to do something about the chaotic (and primitive) cockpit emergency systems in the 737 — requiring all aircraft certified after December 31 this year to have EICAS.
        The 737-10 risks missing this deadline — and, of course, there’s already talk of a possible exception / deadline extension.
        The well-known 737 cockpit warning chaos was pointed to in the MAX crashes, and it’s been a factor in various other 737 crashes.

        • That’s how the “system” works in the West, legislates laws and then set up loop holes when the law bites.

      • Here’s more on the grossly outdated and substandard cockpit warning systems in the 737. Of particular note:

        “The FAA’s own technical safety experts have highlighted that Boeing has not yet done enough by just fixing the flight control system – MCAS – that caused the two fatal crashes, and that the planemaker must also address the chaos and confusion caused by emergency alert systems within the cockpit during both tragedies.

        “Many have highlighted the fact that, in both fatal crashes, multiple warning systems set off by a single erroneous AOA sensor caused serious distraction and confusion for the pilots, as they attempted to manually take back control of the plane.

        “During the initial certification of the aircraft, Boeing successfully managed to get out of meeting the latest FAA requirements governing how cockpit warning systems inform pilots that something has gone wrong.

        “The 737 MAX was then granted exceptions to five of the regulatory stipulations by the FAA, so that it could retain the legacy 737 instrument panel and crew alert system, something that was crucial for Boeing in its marketing of the MAX.

        “The FAA engineers union has now said that those exceptions should be rescinded, and the crew alerting system within the recertified MAX must be updated accordingly.

        “This proposal is highly unlikely to be taken onboard by Boeing, as it would require extensive revisions to the instrument displays within the cockpit, as well as renewed pilot training on these new systems.”

        • The crew alerting system Boeing developed for the B757 was called EICAS “Engine Indicating & Crew Alerting System” . It was only after this that Airbus developed an equivalent ECAM “Electronic Central Alarm Monitor” for tge A320 and used on every Airbus since
          The failure to upgrade the B737NG or MAX with EICAS I argue was at the heart of the MAX MCAS disaster.
          With a second set of independent software engineers rigorously configuring EICAS and using logic from the ADIRU and all other sensors on the aircraft there would have been a second line of independent review. Could you imagine the person who decided not to include information on MCAS in the flight manuals or to tell the FAA about it also telling the EICAS team to specifically exclude this information?
          What worries me however is the way so much of this work was outsourced to firms using subsidiaries outside of the US. These software engineers are supposed to execute a functional spec but personal links and connections constitute a line of review.
          What were the US airlines that insured that the B737 MAX cockpit was not modified? Would, for instance, Lufthansa have done the same thing? What is going on in the technical sections of these airlines or their CEO.

          • “The crew alerting system Boeing developed for the B757 was called EICAS “Engine Indicating & Crew Alerting System” . It was only after this that Airbus developed an equivalent ECAM “Electronic Central Alarm Monitor” for tge A320 ..”

            Airbus introduced their system on the A310, later A300 for the change to the “ForwardFacing” 2crew cockpit.
            Boeing had to follow ( like with going to CRT screens 🙂

  12. Based on the videos that are posted on various social media, I wonder if there is more than one crash site.

    The drone video shows an impact site that looks similar to other high speed aircraft crashes with a steep angle. However, the forest around it is pristine, without any burn marks.

    On other videos you can see a forest burning (although there’s no crash site visible). If that is also a crash site, it might actually indicate to an inflight breakup. On the other hand, it might be more likely, that those videos (and the fire shown) is not related to the crash.

    In any case, I’m curious to learn more details and especially if any data can be recovered from the black boxes. Hopefully, those get found quickly.

    • Sources!

      Some people find it exceedingly entertaining ( or well paid? ) to post unrelated stuff as “original from this crash”.
      ( even capture sequences from Video Games )

      • I have yet to find a credible link to the airplane details, tail number, flight cycles, total hours, etc.

        Yet the armchair pundits seem to revel in digging up all aircraft failures and accidents since Icarius, whose wings worked for a while but service life and fatigue caused by temperature variations resulted in structural failure.

        So at the moment- and absent any statements re recovery of CVR and FDR ” black ” ( orange ) boxes, the reason can be anything from a fight in cockpit, suicide, terrorism, control failures, structural failures, onboard explosives, etc ( add about a 1000 more possible/unique issues ) – we now have everything that ever happened to a 737 from day one ( misfit wings) to mcas, etc. And pundits have not yet ruled out outer world probabilities.

        And to partially mis-paraphrase an old ‘ quote ‘ from E Gann re airplane accidents

        “What no one will admit that perhaps the genie of fate has once again unzipped his fly and urinated on the pillar of science “

          • please pay attention to date- 2 hours ago I posted here the details found on a credible site

          • Who to judge what is credible? Self-appointed prosecutor, judge and jury??

        • BTW There is often a difference between ‘ credible’ sources and ‘ factual’ sources and data. Dependent on issue. Sometimes for some issues, credible and factual are the same regarding certain data, but diverge on other ‘ facts ‘ Dealing with China is a good example. No doubt the tail number, age, flight hours,are correct.

          But ‘ properly’ maintained, and ‘ experienced ‘ definitions can be subjective.

          best be careful

  13. Per FlightGlobal China Eastern has grounded its 737NG fleet. For how long?

    • probably until they have some inkling if this is type or airline specific or an unrelated issue.

    • And don’t forget that quintessential Boeing hallmark of recent times: good old FOD!
      It’s been a known issue in the 787, 737MAX, KC-46 and 747-8 (AF1).
      Who knows that an undiscovered wrench, tequila bottle or some metal shavings can do to an unlucky in-flight aircraft?

  14. A Boeing 737NG just crashed, leaving no survivors; just before that, two 737MAXes crashed, also leaving no survivors; and yet some commenter/armchair experts say “pay no attention to the 737’s history, and evidence wherefrom! Listen to us [gaslighting] experts™ instead, rather than looking at that ol’ pesky evidence that’s *right in front* of you..”

    odd, I’m tellin ya. 😉

      • Just in, from CGTN:

        “China plane crash: First black box preliminarily identified as CVR

        The black box of crashed China Eastern Airlines flight recovered on Wednesday was preliminarily identified as a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and it has been sent to Beijing for decoding.”

        • well, if it was pilot suicide, we certainly will never hear the real recording. Beijing will cover it up.

          • And if it was a Boeing screw-up, Chicago will cover it up.
            We’re sort-of screwed both ways.

  15. Some bits of information starting to emerge.

    (1) The debris field appears to be scattered over a relatively extended area — which may point to some form of disintegration prior to impact.

    “… searchers using hand tools, drones and sniffer dogs were combing the crash site and a debris field spread across steep, heavily forested slopes in southern China for the black boxes containing the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, a well as any human remains. Video clips posted by China’s state media showed small pieces of the Boeing 737-800 plane scattered over the area, some in green fields, others in burnt-out patches with raw earth exposed”

    (2) ATC got no reply from the pilots once descent started.

    “An air-traffic controller tried to contact the pilots several times after seeing the plane’s altitude drop sharply, but got no reply, a grim-faced Zhu Tao, director of the Office of Aviation Safety at the Civil Aviation Authority of China, said at a Tuesday evening news conference.”

  16. The China Eastern frame is not a MAX, but any mechanical or flight control failure of the frame, will implicate the MAX, the same way it implicates the NG.
    You can not sell the MAX as a NG with better engines, without anologing how similar the NG and MAX.

    • If this crash was causes by a “mechanical or flight control failure of the frame”, then it will probably herald the end of the line for the MAX.

      • And IF my aunt had . . she didn’t and wasn’t

        Suggest keep it simple Occams razor method

        • No harm in pointing out how high the stakes are.
          Your aunt would do that too, if she were an astute strategist.

          • What possible purpose does “hoping”serve?
            It in no way affects objective reality, so why bother indulging in it?

      • IMU:
        Under the hood NG and MAX have many more little differences than just new engines and a different tail.
        ( cue; the pickle fork issues is said to not carry over to the MAX. .. but apparently rather murky what else was “improved” over the upgrade. exposure just by hickups ceated or solved _that enter the public domain_ )

    • ‘You can not sell the MAX as a NG with better engines, without anologing how similar the NG and MAX.’
      Differences are the NG has been in service 1999 with thousands built and 20 years in production.
      The Max was only in service for a very short time for the MCAS system ( not on the NG) led to 2 crashes.
      Far more likely to be maintenance problems if not crew related than some unspecified design fault.

      • Ah yes, the blame the crew game. That has worked wonderfully for the max crashes. Meanwhile, this plane was from 2015, so basically new, which points at recent production issues.

        You can’t rest on the safety record of a 2o year old plane especially if you skip on safety in recent years.

        • Dont know anything about this crash.

          Just in the vast majority of major incidents it IS THE PILOTS. And the ones that recover from a pilot error its because of the pilots then do the right thing.

          • We know a lot about this crash.
            We know that bits of plane were found 10kms from the crash site, and that the pilots were very experienced. Hard to fly a plane with big bits missing.

          • And bryce said ” Hard to fly a plane with big bits missing.”

            And you know the size and description of the parts found how ??

            leading edge slats for example are mostly fiberglass/composite and useful only on takeoff and landing- missing them would cause minor control problems

            Ditto for trailing edge stuff. if an outboard section of the wing – many pics posted here seemed to be withing a hundred yards or so – its a pretty good indication that it was still attached at impact. Point is until more photos and details avail, the continual focus on either cockpit induced failures or structural or equipment failures is NO better than an assumption/claim of impact with an UFO

          • @ Bubba2
            You yourself posted a piece of text below detailing how the piece found 10km from the impact site was 1.3 meters long…you do remember that, don’t you?
            I posted a similar link yesterday.

          • That’s BA’s order to its propaganda machine

      • You’re forgetting to mention that BA’s QC started to go down the toilet a few years ago…a factor that can easily erase a past safety record.
        A little shoddiness can go a long way.

  17. The Indonesian 737-500 crash had its boxes recovered. That was a year ago. Everyone waited for the determination of the cause of the crash. I don’t think the definitive answer exists today. I’m wondering if this -800’s recovery of the box(s) is going to lead to an early forthcoming and apparent reason for this tragedy.

  18. I don’t know yet the cause of this most recent Boeing 737 all-fatalities crash after another steep, high-speed descent; I don’t think anyone does, so far. I’m amused- in a macabre way- by
    the claims of a few here of “pilot suicide actions” and the like, though; especially considering the causes of the last two recent all-fatalities 737 crashes.

    The narrative-shaping will be heavy on this one..

    • Well, there’s just so much at stake, isn’t there?
      If this turns out to be a mechanical/electrical/QC flaw, then it will be curtains for the 737.
      With that in mind, despair and panic begin to shape the narrative.

        • Got nothing more substantive to say?
          For example, what’s your opinion on the bits of plane found 10km from the crash site?
          Go on — give it a shot.

          • Just stating my point ..considering every scenario you’ve played out, clearly puts the blame on Boeing ;100%.

          • OK…so you basically have nothing substantive to say. Instead, you try to tar the messengers of any messages that you don’t like.
            Glad that’s been cleared up.

          • @TC
            where is your beef?
            if things indicate that Boeing is culpable they are culpable. This is about logic and not about being PC.

            Interpretation of facts can change. obviously.

          • @ Uwe
            It seems that some people have intrinsic problems interpreting “If-then-else” syntactic constructs.

          • A piece **supposedly ** from the plane described as approx 5 ft long and 4 inches wide is probably not a major or ‘ big’ piece. may very well be what I refer to as ‘ feathers’ such as leading edge slats ( fiberglass) or elevator or rudder ‘ tabs’

            yet to see a photo-

            Outboard wing part close to hole suggests wings- probably bent were still attached

            Almost any part of aft pressure bulkhead would be larger or ‘ triangular- curved – shape.

            Note I use the word ‘ probably ‘ since absent any other details does not even give a reasonable guess as to what part and how significant.

            And does NOT exclude UFO issues

            Give it a rest !!

    • I am afraid the PR gurus and the “narrative shapers” will meet their match in the Chinese propaganda machine paired with their hyper-sensitive regulator (CAAC). If Boeing is in any way at fault here, the Chinese have every incentive to broadcast their culpability loud and clear to the world. Boeing and FAA have very few safety credentials left to be relevant in such a face-off, their PR resources notwithstanding.

    • It’s already out there…

      From WSJ 8.17am Eastern
      “The plane was operated by a captain and two co-pilots who were qualified and had performed well, Sun Shiying, chairman of China Eastern’s subsidiary branch based in southwestern China’s Yunnan province, said Wednesday in the news conference. The chief pilot was hired as a Boeing 737 captain in January 2018, with flight experiences totaling 6,709 hours, Mr. Sun said, while the co-pilots respectively had 31,769 and **556 hours** under their belts. They weren’t named.
      Another airline with an inexperienced co-pilot. Pilot and one co were well experienced but 556 hours is very, very low considering most developed world airlines require 1,500.
      It’s easy to say the 2nd officer was well qualified but if he was out of the cockpit at the time in question, his inexperience could have played a major role here. The pilot and co-pilot both play critical, time sensitive roles in an air emergency.
      Let’s hope we get actual facts from the boxes and China’s CCP soon.

      • It’s only required to have two pilots in short flights.

        The captain has over 6,000 flight hours.

      • Seeing as the third pilot was optional — and probably only sitting in the jump seat to acquire experience — what’s your point?
        The actual 2-pilot flight crew had excellent experience.

        • Sorry if I didn’t make it clear;

          This was a comment that was made, NOT BY ME, on a financial website, about the experience of the pilots in question.

          I made the posting in response to Bill7 and his comment:

          ” The narrative-shaping will be heavy on this one..”

          My point was:

          “It’s already out there…”
          (the narrative shaping)

          As evidenced by the poster of that comment going on about one of three pilots who had 566 hours and how US pilots required 1500.

          On 3 pilots up front:

          Yes, almost all modern airliners have just 2 pilots in the cockpit. Relief pilots start at 8 hours (usually). So why were there 3 guys there?

          1) Maybe a check ride?
          2) Pilot was hitching a ride in the jump seat?

          We also don’t know which of the two pilots had control of the aircraft. But the detractor above (a well known fan boy) has gone on as nauseum about the ET flight and the guy in the right seat (even though he did what he was supposed to do…)

          Hence, his narrative shaping…

      • “… very low considering most developed world airlines require 1,500.”

        IMU this is a solely US requirement, isn’t it?

        ( a: to keep the slave pilot situation in the regional domain active, b: to advantage ex AirForce personnel.)

        • Furthermore, I believe it only applies to mainlines, not regional carriers subcontracted

          Precovid, there were 10,571 daily regional airline departures flying with 159,060,000 passengers enplaned on average.

  19. It’s worth noting, I think, that this is the Boeing 737’s fifth (two in the 90s, and three recently) all-fatalities crash involving steep, apparently uncontrolled descent into the ground. That’s excluding curiousities like Silk Air 185 (there’s another one that comes to mind, from Europe, but I can’t remember the flight number- I’ll try to find it).

  20. Forkner not Guilty

    ‘A jury in Texas on Wednesday acquitted a former Boeing technical pilot, Mark A. Forkner, of defrauding two of the company’s customers, serving the federal government a defeat in its only criminal case against an individual connected to the troubled Boeing 737 Max jet.

    Mr. Forkner, who was also accused of deceiving the Federal Aviation Administration, was facing four counts of wire fraud, each carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A jury found him not guilty shortly after both sides rested their cases on Wednesday in Fort Worth.

    So quickly for a verdict sounds like the jury saw the case as very weak

    • The jury knew what a scapegoat looked like Hopefully this will increase the pressure to find the real culprits,I’m not holding my breath.

      • -> Those ultimately responsible for what happened were not on trial. Even the scapegoat got away.

      • In engineering 3 people are supposed to sign of on a document: Designer, Checker and Approved. My guess is that the system was being short circuited with the checker not actually checking and the approved guy not maintaining oversight or even pushing the short cuts on. It shouldn’t take FAA oversight to maintain normal drawing office practice. There were just too many mistakes such as not having sensor disagree alert included.

        Commonwealth countries have an extremely powerful legal tool called a Royal Commission to get to the bottom of such issues. It doesn’t seem there is such an equal in the USA and the public will never know.

        • “Congressional Investigative Hearings:
          Investigative hearings share some of the characteristics of legislative and oversight hearings. The difference lies in Congress’s stated determination to investigate, usually when there is a suspicion of wrongdoing on the part of public officials acting in their official capacity, or private citizens whose activities suggest the need for a legislative remedy. Congress’s authority to investigate is broad and it has exercised this authority since the earliest days of the republic. The first such hearings were held by the House of Representatives in 1792 following St. Clair’s Defeat in the Battle of the Wabash.[11] Its most famous inquiries are benchmarks in American history: Credit Mobilier, Teapot Dome, Army-McCarthy, Watergate, and Iran-Contra. Investigative hearings often lead to legislation to address the problems uncovered. Judicial activities in the same area of Congress’s investigation may precede, run simultaneously with, or follow such inquiries.”

  21. If I understand correctly, a rudder hard over situation is unlikely because of the temporary recovery?
    Also this implies that at least one of the pilots was attempting to fight what ever happened?

  22. won’t happen.

    They’ve partitioned the chain of cause into individual unconnected links. all below the “strength” of legal culpability.
    Forkner was the odd one out sticking into the courts.
    And that one has been defanged now.


  23. “Chinese media reports said that the pilots at the control included one of China’s most experienced commercial aviators and a much younger captain with a family pedigree. The senior pilot had 31,769 flying hours while in the case of the captain it was 6,709. The second co-pilot had 556 hours of flying hours experience. All of them had good performance records and stable family conditions, the Chinese media also reported.”

    Looks like pilot blaming just got a little more difficult — although one should never underestimate the resourcefulness of the BA clan.

    Various parts of the downed plane have been found more than 10km from the crash site…including engine parts.

    “Aircraft components from the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 that crashed in central China have been found more than 10km away from where the aircraft is said to have gone down, say investigators on the third day of search-and-rescue operations.

    “The update, disclosed at a daily press conference, comes as recovery teams begin locating larger aircraft parts, including what is believed to be an engine component. ”

    • SO they found debris 10KM away.


      Does anyone know how far the aircraft travelled when it started it’s descent? That would sort of indicate, if something fell off some 10 clicks back – that it happened at the start, rather than was caused by the rapid descent and disintegration along the way…no?

        • Only appears that way on a graphic that is 100kms long but only 10km high.
          ‘ADS-B data released by Flightradar24 suggest the descent started between 06:20:43 and 06:20:59. Altitude datapoint show the descent stopped about 06:22:00 around 7400 feet and the aircraft climbed to about 8600 feet before the aircraft again entered a steep descent. The last recorded datapoint was at 06:22:35 at 3225 feet’ -ASN
          Sound like 10km is just normal distance in a minute or less at altitude.

          So a broken plane just climbs all by itself ?

          • Who said it climbed “all by itself”?
            What a jumbled narrative.

          • Broken planes that plunge ‘steeply’ then just dont recover and then plunge again.
            Indicates human intervention to reverse the plunge and then more human intervention to overcome that.
            Any high G manoeuvre and especially nose down risks breaking off parts of the plane which dont necessarily end up in same location as final wreckage.
            10km is nothing at cruise level 30,000 ft and 700km hr . Theres always going be a cone of debris on the ground when its broken up from high G manoeuvring at high altitude

  25. From Global Times:

    “The main debris that has been found include an engine blade and turbine fragments, engine pylon fragments, left and right horizontal tail fragments, aileron autopilot actuators and wing fragments with partial wing-tip winglets.

    “Crew escape ropes and fragments of crew manuals and some cockpit crew documents were also found, the press conference said.

    “Search and rescue personnel at a farmland in Tengxian county, Wuzhou in Guangxi, found a suspected piece of debris with a length of about 1.3 meters and a maximum width of about 10 centimeters, which was about more than 10 kilometers from the accident core site.”

  26. On the subject of the illustrious 737:

    “FAA Warns Boeing May Not Win Certification for 737 MAX 10 By Year-end, Source Says”

    The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned Boeing Co. earlier this week the planemaker may not gain certification of a lengthened version of the 737 MAX ahead of a key safety deadline set by Congress, a source told Reuters.

    Ian Won, acting manager of the FAA aviation safety office that oversees Boeing, asked the U.S. planemaker in a letter dated March 21 to provide a “mature certification schedule,” according to a source familiar with the letter. Won also sought updates on progress for both the 737 MAX 10 and 777-9.”

    Looks like the 777-9 is also still in limbo.

    • The FAA was pushed around by Boeing and its Washington friends for a decade. Political – commercial interests won. Guess who got blamed in the end & who got free tickets / a $60M good bye compensation after a small media show in congress. FAA feels insulted & sticks to the rules now.

      • What’s even more interesting is that — after many months — BA just doesn’t seem to have a “mature” schedule for certification of either the 737-10 or the 777-9.
        What are they doing? Twiddling their thumbs?

        • The B777-8F would arrive on schedule?? Lol.

          777F needs another couple years of reprieve to bridge the gap. Problem is where are the customers???

  27. Just a thought: IF the pieces of debris found 10km from the crash site include pieces of aft pressure bulkhead, then we can look to JAL 123 for a possible parallel to what happened.
    Provides a refreshing alternative to the pilot suicide narrative.

    • Jeeze – Bryce ” Just a thought: IF the pieces of debris found 10km from the crash site include pieces of aft pressure bulkhead, then we can look to JAL 123 for a possible parallel to what happened.”

      And IF dthey collided with a UFO, it would prove that It was NOT either a structural or part failure OR a pilot issue
      Or maybe IF it was a bird strike that went thru the cockpit window- has been know to happen at 20 K feet thru the radome of military planes.

      And IF my Aunt had different plumbing, She would have been my uncle, she didn;t and wasn;t – until this year at least
      Why not sit back an watch the blinking lights.

      “Search and rescue personnel at a farmland in Tengxian county, Wuzhou in Guangxi, found a suspected piece of debris with a length of about 1.3 meters and a maximum width of about 10 centimeters, which was about more than 10 kilometers from the accident core site.”’

      • I expected this reaction.
        You have no problem with various commenters’ theories about pilot suicide, but you go up on your hind legs when an alternative possibility is forwarded?

        Postulates are the basis of any deductive process.

      • bryce responded ” I expected this reaction.
        You have no problem with various commenters’ theories about pilot suicide, but you go up on your hind legs when an alternative possibility is forwarded?

        Postulates are the basis of any deductive process.”

        Missing my point(s)

        lets try simpler words
        There are probably over 1000 ” possibilities”which might be divided into ” pilot-structural- equipment ” group. Neither you or I or a dozen others posting here know or have any credible data supporting or discounting any ” group”

        But some of the ‘ analysis- deductions are obviously based on lack of knowledge of basic airplane manufacturing or control issues or trying to prove that the sun comes up because the rooster crows in the AM.

        Relax and watch the blinkin lights.

    • So Bryce posted ” A special treat for Bubba2 😉

      AirlineRatings: “Did a damaged rear bulkhead cause the China Eastern crash?”

      A) Given a choice between door 1 = yes and door 2 = NO. I go with door 2 = NO

      Why? IF cause of plunge was a damaged rear bulkhead as in 747 issue, IMHO -it is Doubtful that the result would be similar to the 747 ( destruction- separation of flight controls and rudder/stabilizer issues.
      Because — since that time, Boeing made modifications to that area which would allow rapid venting and little structural problems. Worst case would be depressurization and at least one pilot on oxygen- put plane in dive, and then level out.
      Flight data showed a definite level out/climb- which means at least horiz stabilizer was still in use- and maybe rudder.

      Had the damage been’ typical’ of 747- there would be no levelling out.

      But it makes good click bait

      AFIK- UFO collision has yet to be discredited- care to comment ?

  28. That piece of wreckage 10km from the crash site has certainly got the press going:
    “China crash: Did the plane suffer a midair breakup?”

    “Beijing, Mar 25: The mystery continues to deepen into the crash of the China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. jet. One piece of the Boeing Co. 737-800 that crashed in China appears have broken loose well before the impact. If this is confirmed by investigators then it would indicate that the plane suffered a midair breakup.”

    • did someone compute the probable g-forces for the known track? That intermission at 8000ft must have been dramatic.

      • Some experts have posited that the flight crew were unconscious for at least part of the descent. Whether that was due to g forces or lack of oxygen (due to failure of cabin pressurization) or both — who knows?

        “Ms Gethin went on to say the nine crew and 123 passengers would have faced a horror two-minute plunge, as the g-force sent the blood rushing to their heads and knocked them unconscious.

        “However, the flight graph shows the aircraft steadied briefly, suggesting there was a “10 to 20-second spell where one or more of the pilots regained consciousness and tried to save the plane”.

        • beyond the 1g environment:
          g-forces are created by change of path maneuvers
          not by a more or less straight plunge.
          i.e. highest numbers in the short recovery phase @ 8kft.
          did they recover but damage the air frame in a debilitating way there?

          • @ Uwe
            Absolutely: sharp maneuvres at high speed certainly risk causing damage / potential detachment of parts — particularly parts that were already partially compromised.
            And, as commented above, it can be difficult to fly a plane with large bits missing.
            But the big question, of course, is: what caused the initial dive?

        • As I posted yesterday

          March 25, 2022

          This comment is interesting from a so called ex -spurt

          ” “Ms Gethin went on to say the nine crew and 123 passengers would have faced a horror two-minute plunge, as the g-force sent the blood rushing to their heads and knocked them unconscious.

          1) Ms gethin is an excellent journalist re aviation related publications. NO indication she knows about g forces and direction.
          A one minute ‘plunge’ may result in negative g – virtual free fall – but then a multi G pullout would probably make most ‘ black out ‘ – I’ve approached ‘ black out ‘ at about 3 G in a mock dogfight in a SIA Marchetti. 260 – I minute of free fall could result in tendency to upchuck.
          In any case there would be a ‘ horror ‘ factor

          MY point is the wording of most articles is intended to gain attention and often deviates from facts- to gain attention.

    • Can u spell flapdoodle ? parts 3 miles from impact- breakup at 20 K feet and half minute level to slight climb to 8 k feet at perhaps 400 mph ?? even a pure vertical dive would spread parts broken at 20 K ft much further absent aero effects

  29. This comment is interesting from a so called ex -spurt

    ” “Ms Gethin went on to say the nine crew and 123 passengers would have faced a horror two-minute plunge, as the g-force sent the blood rushing to their heads and knocked them unconscious.

    1) Ms gethin is an excellent journalist re aviation related publications. NO indication she knows about g forces and direction.
    A one minute ‘plunge’ may result in negative g – virtual free fall – but then a multi G pullout would probably make most ‘ black out ‘ – I’ve approached ‘ black out ‘ at about 3 G in a mock dogfight in a SIA Marchetti. 260 – I minute of free fall could result in tendency to upchuck.
    In any case there would be a ‘ horror ‘ factor

    MY point is the wording of most articles is intended to gain attention and often deviates from facts- to gain attention.

    • Ms Gethin appears to be more socialite reporter than technical expert.
      People producing text on stuff they have shown marginal connection before are suspect and produce “text to order”.

      • Journalists often base their material on other sources:

        “Hu Xiaobing, professor of School of Safety Science and Engineering of the Civil Aviation University of China, told state-run CGTN that this crash is very unusual for it being vertical.

        It seems to him, for some reason unknown yet, the pilots may have already become unconscious during the flight’s steep descent.”

    • The insightful words of another commenter here:
      “With self-cert off the table, BA just doesn’t know how to get a plane certified”

      So, which will it be?
      – Changed law / exception for BA?
      – Heavily delayed 737-10 with EICAS?
      – Abandoned 737-10?
      – Miraculous last-minute sprint, with cert before the approaching deadline?

      • It certainly takes a huge blind faith for those who also refuse to see the writing on the wall to propagate type approval of 777X is mid or late 2023.

  30. “Core site of China plane crash to be excavated”

    “Field exploration and shallow surface excavation have been carried out at the core crash site in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said Zhu Tao, head of the aviation safety office of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

    “Experts are working on an excavation plan for the core site, Zhu said, adding that DNA samples are being taken from relatives of the missing passengers.

    “The search and rescue scope has been expanded to nearly 200,000 square meters, and more than 2,200 people have joined the rescue efforts, said Lao Gaojin, vice mayor of Wuzhou City that administers Tengxian.”


    A decision to send NTSB/BA officials to China has not yet been made — Chinese quarantine requirements are considered to be a deterrant.

  31. Ah, yes, the posturing is beginning: will undoubtedly be handy at a later stage if the CAAC crash findings are not to the taste of the NTSB:

    “U.S. officials are concerned their Chinese counterparts may be proceeding with extracting data from China Eastern Airlines flight 5735’s flight data recorder without National Transportation Safety Board officials present, CBS News has learned.”

    • It looks like China is attempting to get at the data, but, having trouble with the memory chips being damaged. I hope they don’t lose any data.
      “On the 25th of March, CAAC announced that there is damage to the CVR’s memory chip. And in such instances, Honeywell, the CVR’s manufacturer, recommends that investigators send the device to them, for repair. Therefore, investigators could not go into more detail about when they would next try to download the CVR’s data.”

      • It not unusual for data to be downloaded domestically if it has the technology.

        How come mentourpilot is the only source for this? Where did the information come from??Highly susceptible.

        • > How come mentourpilot is the only source for this? .. <

          A good question. Murky times, and not just regarding this event.

        • @Pedro, The information about the memory chips came from the 5th press conference from the CAAC (I believe held 3/25/2022) … (Civil Aviation Administration of China)
          I can’t find any direct links in English ..

          • Then how do you know it came from the 5th press conference from the CAAC??

          • @Pedro .. Here’s a link mentioning it
            Boeing 737 Crash in China 2022_03_21 – Page 9 – AvCom
   › phpBB3 › viewtopic.php?t=248477&start=120
            On Mar 25th 2022 the CAAC reported in the 5th press conference, that the gear box of an engine as well as the main landing gear have been found and recovered.
            Some of the aircraft parts showed traces of fire.
            The CVR’s memory chip is damaged and needs to be sent to the chip manufacturer for repair according to recommendation by the manufacturer.

          • @Pedro
            Both Flight Recorders, it appears, will need repairs before they can be read. Hopefully, they can retrieve all the data.
            It’s amazing that they can keep data through a high g-force crash and fire.

            “The earliest devices recorded limited data on wire or foil. Modern ones use solid state memory.
            The recordings are housed inside crash-survivable containers able to withstand 3,400 times the force of gravity on impact.”

            “inside there, the recordings on chips or older formats.
            the core housing or “Crash-Survivable Memory Unit” made of stainless steel or titanium”

            “Technicians peel away protective material and carefully clean connections to make sure they do not accidentally erase data.
            The audio or data file must be downloaded and copied.”


            “Both black boxes in the China Eastern crash will need repairs before their data can be read. Also, China granted visas to NTSB investigators.”

            “On the same day, Chinese authorities also announced the discovery of the China Eastern 737’s flight data recorder (FDR).
            Crews found it 1.5 metres (5 feet) under the surface, about 40 metres away from the main crash.
            At the time they were removing tree roots, to unearth more debris. Initially, the memory container of the FDR appeared to be in good condition.
            But like the cockpit voice recorder (CVR), the FDR will need repairs before investigators can read it.”


          • 1. Sigh. You consider it a news outlet??

            It can be a collective of news and gossips.


            -> The site was launched on 12 May 2008 as a one-man project by Austrian aviation security expert Simon Hradecky.

            2. reposted what’s from Avherald.

            -> This article is published under license from © of text by

            3. It’s the internet, many mirror sites, repeat and broadcast both relevant and irrelevant info.

          • @Pedro on avHerald.

            your judgement is IMHO quite a bit off.

            Mr. Hradecky is a rather careful individual
            collecting information with high reliability.
            ( IMU he is not known for posting uncoroborated information. Quite some distance to regular media outlets.)
            He is a collector less of a research like Dominik Gates
            but quality wise they are imho close.

  32. The 7000-8000 foot hiccup from ADS-B. Can we trust just the one set of data? 1) The plane may have been going at a very fast rate vertically, maybe even approaching the speed of sound. 2) The area in question was sparsely populated, and at that altitude ADS-B signals may be transitioning from ground based stations to satellite based stations. 3) the ADS-B antenna on the aircraft may have been turning or twisting away from the receiving stations, with the aircraft blocking the signal. 4) The area in question is not flat ocean, but, rolling hills. 5) Are there any primary / secondary radar returns verifying the hiccup of the altitude in the decent? 6) Are we basing this hiccup in altitude on just 3 data points? (see ADS-B data below)

    • The raw ADSB dataset is available via flightaware.
      It doesn’t look “jumbled” ( intermeshed path segments )

      If we know when/were the parts came off we have further hints on what happened.

      ( to the poster who thinks that Slats coming of is benign:
      “Slats coming off” is not a benign error. It ruins the leading edge aerodynamics.

      • My point re slats ( leading edge high lift device ) coming off is that while it causes a lack of lift, it does not lead to major ( wing break damage ). And normally in closed position at high speed there is not enough power- torque to extend them.

        For but one example- in the early 1980- the first (or second) flight of the 767 had a slat problem due to poor design of actuating mechanism-linkage. The result was that on one wing it was twisted such that it could not properly deploy during landing. So while one wing had designed- predicted lift needed for landing, the other wing did not. Result was a much higher than planned landing speed. And a significant redesign of the linkage. By that time there were about 6 to 8 shipsets of the mechanism installed as part of wing buildup. they had to be removed, and new linkage installed. ( above is a significantly paraphrased version of the event,- how do I know ? wuz involved in the rework )

      • Well, we now know that a “wing tip” was found 12km from the main impact site. Doubtless, the Chinese are now combing a wider area around the point where the wingtip was found.

    • Flimsy parts can travel quite some distance on their way down. Anything known about wind conditions at the time.

  33. Just putting this out there, after a conversation with someone:

    List of birds by flight heights

    Common crane

    “Lastly, they winter in eastern China, where they are often the most common crane (outnumbering black-necked cranes ten-to-one). Migrating flocks fly in a “V” formation.”

    “During these migratory flights, common cranes have been known to fly at altitudes of up to 33,000 ft (10,000 m), one of the highest of any species of bird, second only to the Ruppell’s Griffin Vulture”

    How unlucky would you have to be…

    • It seems that the “allowed narratives” at the moment are pilot suicide and aunt/alien collaborations: every other input will be vehemently labeled as “speculation” 😉

      • Yes, and it’s endemic now in 2022:

        “Anyone who doesn’t believe the official, self-serving corporatist narrative is a wild-eyed,
        completely looney, conspiracy-monger! ”

        [not just talking about this event, by the way]

        I will continue to parse the available evidence
        with an open mind, and with a *certain *skepticism toward interested parties..

      • > It seems that the “allowed narratives” at the moment are pilot suicide and aunt/alien collaboration <

        "Pilots with a death-wish fly Boeing 737 ! "

        Absurd. And not really helpful framing that company, when you think about it- much like
        "iffa them pilots hadn'ta been dumm furriners
        them MAXes would'na ever crashed!

        Great sales pitch. 😉

  34. Speculation- Three parts- 1)Apparently not a bomb at cruise- leaving major structural /actuator or cockpit problem
    2)Pulling out from dive would seem to require partial regain of control in cockpit and availability of stabilizer, elevator and wings to at least start the process.
    And G loads possibly /probably above or near ultimate loads.
    3) Pending availability of data from CVR and FDR it is at best a guess as to what happened to go from zoom ?climb ? to near vertical dive and impact.

    So here is MY guess based on long ago observations of ultimate load tests of 767 and 777 including video of 777 and discussion by designers immediately after 777 test.
    Cannot find video of 737 similar test.

    a) 767 test did NOT break wings because as loads got near 150 percent, manuf error re frames near rear door resulted in a failure near rear door such that a 5 to 10 degree permanent tilt from vertical of empanage rudder section resulted. But close enough to pass cert.
    b) 777 test is spectacular- videos still available but a few quick look data obvservations are worth mentioning. 1) failure was about 1/3 of distance out from body and almost exactly where anticipated and in scale pretty much matched 747 test data. Failure was buckling of upper ( top ) panel.
    2) Videos of test ( 777 ) show that things like slats, flap assemblies, ailerons are NOT atttached included and not considered to add/subtract from basic strength issues, also no lower access plates ( oval shaped ) installed.
    OK-MY guess is that during pullout, such devices possibly including winglets may well have departed, and the wings permanently bent enough to destroy most of the aero lift,
    and similar for horizontal stab- still attached- but bent/twisted enough to lose any semblenace of lift-control.


    • Ahh, so our good friend Bubba2 engages in speculation (and *heavily polices* the discourse on this latest Boeing 737 crash, natch..), while saying that other should not do so. Interesting..

      Lots of early narrative-shaping around- lots.

  35. Bill7 and Bryce — note thatI specifically identified my comments as speculation and provided related information/data/facts.

    Instead of just copying news articles by ex-spurts which establishes most do not have a clue but are going for clickbait or equivalent.

    For example some seem to believe that pickleforks hold the wings on the wingbox.

    When actually it is mostly the plus and double plus chords and forward and rear spar carrythru structure.


    • And you consider yourself to be an “ex-spurt” on 737 crashes just because you’ve played with some 767 slats, and looked at some videos of 777 wing load tests?

      How fascinating.

      • It is curious that that commenter keeps referring
        to aircraft not germane to the issues at hand: it’s the *Boeing 737* in various iterations that has had five (at least; see posts above) uncommanded high-speed descents ending in all-fatalites crashes into the ground..

        Not certain why that dude keeps talking about the 767 and 777, though I have some surmises.

        • ” Not certain why that dude keeps talking about the 767 and 777, though I have some surmises.”
          Obviously you dont know where certain models are deigned and assembled

          707,kc-135, 727 -737,757 in renton ( although some 737 in Thompson site across from Boeing field

          747,767,777, In Everett

          B2 major parts in Dev center and Thompson site across from Boeing field

          Minuteman design in Dev center

          Boeing hydroplanes in Renton, etc

          Renton field about 5000 feet ending in lake washington

          B2707 program mostly in Dev center

          Boeing field much longer

          Spent relatively little time in Renton on 737 and 727

          Spent a few years in Renton at special test lab

          Many same designers and Manuf research types used on 2707,737,747,767, b2, and 777

          And you ?

          • Bubba2 said: “Obviously you dont know where certain models are deigned and assembled”


            What is the relevance of any of that info you just provided to the *multiple, all-fatalities uncontrolled-descent Boeing 737 crashes* beginning in the mid-1990s, including this [apparent] one from a few days ago?

            Is that not the topic at issue, or am I missing something?

      • Bryce- in respose to yuur yet to be published

        Like a certain other commenter here, you’re a mechanic.
        Explains all the posturing”

        try again-

        BSME 1957 Registered Prof Engineer Since 1969- until retirement in 1995 –and
        other certification not pertinent here . And you ?
        Please sit back and watch the blinkin lights

        Thank you

  36. Internet Expert/ Hall Monitor ‘Bubba2’ said:

    > For example some seem to believe that pickleforks hold the wings on the wingbox. <

    Bubba2: please provide evidence for the above claim of yours; otherwise, you're just straw-manning (again). No one here made that claim- as you know.

    very tacky, at minimum..

    • Try here

      ” The issue was first reported by Charlie Harger of KOMO radio station in Seattle. He reported cracks were found in the reinforced fuselage frames, which are the main attachments of the wing to the 737 NG fuselage. The frames are placed at the forward and rear wing spars where their lower parts are used to transfer most of the load from the wing into the aircraft’s fuselage.”

      NOTE attachment of wings to FUSELAGE— NOT WINGBOX

      have a good day

      • ” What is the relevance of any of that info you just provided to the *multiple, all-fatalities uncontrolled-descent Boeing 737 crashes* beginning in the mid-1990s, including this [apparent] one from a few days ago?

        Might note that your attempts to link other crashes under different conditions is no better. And BTW – note that all those events you mention happened AFTER the MCDouglas- Jack welch infection in Boeing and AFTER I left :)))

        have a good evening.

  37. For Bill and Bryce – a few more chuckles

    A bit over 30 years at Boeing, plus a year or so at LTV in Texas, and a few years in El segundo at Rockwell B-1 as an engineer- lead- in tooling- manufacturing- and a few years in testing at Firestone GMD ( corporal missile ) and at Boeing re saturn 5 GOX distribution system and checking on visibility thru rocket plume for LEM , titanium drilling and riveting on 2707, and composite issues on B2
    Mostly involved in drilling and fastening such as electromagnetic riveting – and including cold working for fatigue improvement on 767 and similar on 777. Along with a few hundred other Boeing employees witnessed the 777 wing test and attended discussion of quick look data.

    So I have climbed into a 747 wing box for certain drilling issues, figured out how to properly drill and coldwork portions of 747 and 767 wing spars and plus chords, etc.

    Doesn’t make me an expert, but does-did get me much closer to actual parts and related manufacturing issues and engineering discussions than most.

    Not a pilot, but been around many and a few hours in mock combat.

    So in many ways- benther-
    and ewe ?

  38. ” For example some seem to believe that pickleforks hold the wings on the wingbox. <

    Check mr davenport comments

    And Ive had essentially " hands on" direct experience with fastening on 747 Bulkhead, (LTV- Texas) Boeing 747,767 plus chords, and related stuff on 777.

    And you ?

  39. That’s nice, Bubba2. Please support the claim you made above, though. Thanks so much-

  40. Uhh re picklefork

    Richard Davenport
    March 21, 2022

    It’s obviously too early to say anything definite about the crash. But, the 737 NG has been found to have pickle fork issues, and I didn’t see any wings in the short video clip, showing the fuselage basically nose down, tail up, at a high rate of speed. If the wings did separate, that might explain the sudden fall, and lack of wings in the video. I assume they’d find the lack of wings at the main crash site easily? And maybe a separate radar return if the wings separated and dropped somewhere else? (assuming they have primary radar returns recorded) I”m sure they will be looking into the inspection history for pickle forks and if/when any pickle fork fixes were done, and by who etc.

    try again

    • Some details on the “pickle forks” in the accident plane
      “Information that China Eastern had made repairs on the “pickle forks”-which connect the wings and fuselage-of its Boeing 737-800 fleet has raised questions.
      The 737-800 is part of Boeing’s 737 NG(Next Generation) series. In late 2019, that series made global headlines when the US Federal Aviation Administration ordered dozens of Boeing 737s that had seen heavy use to undergo safety inspections because of cracking in the “pickle fork”.
      Liu Xiaodong, head of the airlines’ publicity department said the suspicion is unfounded because the aircraft wasn’t due for “pickle fork” repairs.
      “The 6.8-year-old aircraft doesn’t meet the requirement for ‘pickle fork’ repairs, which are required after 22,600 takeoffs and landings, so it isn’t an issue,” Liu said.”

      • ” “Information that China Eastern had made repairs on the “pickle forks”-which connect the wings and fuselage-of its Boeing 737-800 fleet has raised questions.

        More accurate would be connect wing box TO fuselage… to reduce the twist to the wing box. see my previous links to the subject

        But have a good evening

  41. Neither Mr. Davenport (whom I respect), nor the Leeham link you provided from *October 2019*
    said what Bubba2 claimed above; not even in a
    generous interpretation:

    > For example some seem to believe that pickleforks hold the wings on the wingbox. <

    You'll need to do better than that, Friend.

  42. I’ll make it simpler for you, Bubba: it’s the *737* that keeps digging holes in the ground (and water, too), leaving a bunch of dead humans, and no survivors.

    Not the 767 or 777, which you for some curious reason keep prating on about.. just the 737.


    • Pretty much the same designers and manufacturing types and experienced shop people involved in all thru 777 program and before the Mcdonnel- jack welch virus infected Boeing.

      Along the way new drilling and fastening and design and tooling methods were improved

      I had the opportunity to be in on the beginning of the missile and ‘ space age ‘ from slide rules to super computers, and was fortunate to work with and for some of the finest people in the Aerospace industry and also some of the dreck.

      And your background ?

  43. Does that purported screenshot at the top of the article look “off” to anyone besides me? The train
    looks like a video-game version to me, for one thing, and the rest is not clear enough to be veracious.

    #reserved judgment

    • Where do you see a train ?
      _photo_ seems to have been take from the side looking
      at the lower left corner of the screen. ( not a screenshot as taken by the imaging system.)

    • @ Bill7
      Here’s an actual moving video of the nosedive (including narration by someone with a very rich Indian accent).

      If you look very carefully, you’ll see that the plane appears to emit a thin line of some “stuff” — although this might be a video artifact. Looks like a puff of black smoke, for example.

      I get the impression that the tail is pointing to the right in the video.

  44. An excellent example of the pointlessness of speculation!
    Still, I don’t see any harm in it for people who are not involved. So, how about engine or cowling parts damaging the stabilisers?

    • In essence, everything is ultimately “pointless”, thanks to the second law of thermodynamics 😉
      Of course the ideas discussed here are speculation, but they make an interesting technical discussion, don’t they? (except for shouted junk about aunts /aliens).
      Speculation is a necessary part of deductive processes.

      • “Speculation is a necessary part of deductive processes.”

        Some stuff injected here looks like speculation but is something “different” 🙂

    • @Grubbie, Theres a little bit of evidence supporting your speculation..
      On Mar 26th 2022 the CAAC reported in their 6th press conference, that the part found in Yatang was identified as trailing edge of a winglet of the crashed aircraft. Another piece of debris was found about 2.3km north of the debris at Yatang in Lixiu Village. The arc-shaped object is being examined and identified.
      if the “arc-shaped object” comes out to be an engine cowling etc.

      • Aha! Thanks for that info…yet another bit of debris at yet another remote/removed location.

    • @Grubbie How often do Cowlings come off engines and how dangerous are the to other parts of the plane, if they do?
      A recent incident in New Orleans, on a Delta fight make it seem like a rare occurrence.

      “A few days later, an internal document from the FAA revealed that Boeing was aware of a problem with the engine casing on certain aircraft and had been planning to redesign them in the future.”

      • Groooan – lets take a proximate guess as to the ” cowling issue ” and significangt damage and probability of ‘ significant damage ‘ based on the times article

        reported 2 cases and one was significant in that a passenger was killed and one could argue that was due to ‘ structural’ damage ( window blowout ). Being generous here
        1 blade issue in 300 million hours = 3.333e-9
        2 cowling issues in at least the same number of hours = 6.6 e-09

        equals 2.2 e -17 generous probability ( actully lot less die to 7000 planes in service

        so the chances of just the ‘ cowling/casing ‘ issue doing any ‘ significant’ damage
        is only 1 chance in 45,004,500,450,045,000. So called ‘ worst ‘ case and in both cases the plane still flew. and thats being VERY generous.

          • Thanks for the link to that previous 737 cowling incident.

          • 300,000,000 hours at 7000 hours/year – about 42,000 yearsetc

            My point was the probability of a cowling mishap is VERY verY low.

            Question for Bill 7

            If I flip a perfect coin 100000 times, what are the odds of 50,000 tails ?

          • Statistics are only meaningful when applied to a large base size for an extended sampling time.
            They are utterly meaningless when applied to an individual case.
            For example: the probability of a modern commercial aircraft crashing is very, very small — and, yet, this particular China Eastern 737 crashed.

          • and as bryce correctly stated
            ” Statistics are only meaningful when applied to a large base size for an extended sampling time.
            They are utterly meaningless when applied to an individual case.
            For example: the probability of a modern commercial aircraft crashing is very, very small — and, yet, this particular China Eastern 73″

            So folks- trying to rate or guess about cowlings and effects is nothing more than a mental exercise in futility with NO practical – meaningful answer
            better chance to be hit by lightning or a meteor at midnight

          • Rather than relying on statistics, better resort can be made to logic:
            “When the impossible has been dismissed, all other possibilities — no matter how remote — must be considered”

      • “Boeing knew about the issue … but ..”

        IS this a pattern?
        Known issues dragged along and
        fixing delayed or denied on monetary reasons?

  45. So now that they’ve found the other black box (thanks Bryce) I’d like to talk about another related subject:

    In this day and age – isn’t it time that data from the CVR and FDR automatically get uploaded to a satellite, so we don’t have to go through these shenanigans every time something happens?

    No circuit breaker to disconnect. Cannot be tampered with. All info sent to an independent location to be stored.

    People can make a telephone call from the top of Mount Everest. Why hasn’t this been done already?

    • Yes, it CERTAINLY is time to update the whole black box concept, Frank.
      There was much talk about this after MH370, but nothing materialized.
      Might be a good topic for a Bjorn series.

      • With both boxes recovered (and a video of the final moments) there is a high possibility the cause of this terrible tragedy will become known. I have the urge to continue my speculations but I’ll wait on the scientific interpretation of the facts. BTW, this website is probably the best place to get the comprehensive news and links to all the emerging information associated with MU5735.

    • Same reason CVR only records for 2 hours before looping. The pilots like to let anything career threatening get over recorded.

    • compare the overall upcoming data volume suffocating transmission networks
      in relation to what will actually be used in an accident investigation.
      add in privacy concerns ( airline, crew )

      Not being able to feed the “instanews” crowd is not a valid argument.

  46. Bubba2, Excellent link to the information on the Boeing 777 FBW system!!! That’s what really baffles me about the 737 MAX MCAS design. There is no “OFF” switch for MCAS. There’s an OFF switch for the A/P, Auto Throttle, but, not for MCAS? Boeing had the design philosophy of always having the pilot in ultimate control.
    Airbus, just the opposite (computer overrides pilot). Why did they change this global design mandate just for MCAS? Maybe it was just inherited from it’s parent system (the speed trim system), with no one thinking about the possible consequences, since the STS has been with the 737 for years? That seems to be the case. But, then after the crashes and total redesign, they still have no OFF switch? That one really baffles me. Unless the upper management’s lightning bolt order of “under no circumstances will added training for pilots be tolerated” supersedes safety. It really upends Boeings decades long pilots are in ultimate control, and can revert to direct law of the aircraft if they really need it. It ends up with the pilots literally fighting for control of the aircraft against the computers. When I got into a new airplane, the first thing I wanted to know was how to turn off the Auto pilot. I remember when GPS first came out. I was practicing approaches to an airport, and needed to break off the approach to fly back to another airfield. I couldn’t get the dang GPS to break off the approach. I finally had to shut the GPS unit down cold and revert to VORs etc. (I grew up in the ‘steam gauge’ display era)

    • If you wan’t to turn MCAS off, slow down the plane and set flaps.

      • That is not really an intuitive solution, is it?

        and IMU kind of “hind sight” information.
        same for correcting MCAS created misstrim
        will cause MCAS to go back to work in a new cycle.
        ( MCAS has the same design taste that do anti defuse booby traps in bomb have )

      • > If you wan’t to turn MCAS off, slow down the plane and set flaps. <

        I'm guessing- or hoping- that this is some very dry humor.

        • Hmmmm-That IS a correct way to turn of MCAS
          so why are you guessing?

          Hint-try that at 500 AGL and 200 mph
          or 20K and 400 mph

          is there a problem? describe

          IF so – its humor :)))))

          BTW -you may not be the only one who lives under a bridge in scandanavia :))

    • There effectively is an MCAS “off switch” in current MAX models — in the form of an AoA disagree.
      Just a matter of time before this causes an incident.


      So, Richard: Just ensure that one of the AoAs is stuck in a weird position (some speedtape, perhaps?) and you’ll rid yourself of the intrigues of MCAS 😉

  47. Rodolf, I agree that the quickest way to retain manual-electric control of the stabilizer and turn OFF MCAS is to set one notch of flaps currently (I wonder what would have happened to the Ethiopian 737 had they done this at the speed they were going?). So, why can’t Boeing, tie a toggle switch in parallel with the flap position setting signal sent to the Auto pilot or STS system, and label it MCAS OFF? I can’t even figure out which circuit breaker controls the Speed Trim System.

  48. On a related note:
    CNN: “Boeing’s problems in China go far beyond the latest grounding”

    “…But Boeing has plenty of other troubles in China, the world’s largest aviation market. It is on the verge of being virtually shut out of the region as trade tensions between the United States and China have basically halted Boeing sales in the country for the last four years. The company has not announced any sales to a Chinese passenger airline since November 2017. Only six months ago, Boeing projected the Chinese market would be worth $1.5 trillion in commercial aircraft purchases over the next 20 years.

    “We would now expect further delays to Chinese reinstatement of the 737 Max while this accident is investigated, at least until a likely cause is identified,” said a note this week from Melius Research.

    “Losing a market as important as China would be a devastating blow to Boeing (BA), which has been hit by one problem after another over the last three years, starting with the 737 Max crashes and then the pandemic, which all but obliterated demand for flying and devastated the finances of its airline customers. More recently, there have been issues with its latest model, the 787 Dreamliner, halting deliveries.

    “In 2017 and 2018 China accounted for more than 20% of Boeing’s global deliveries, but since the start of 2020 the percentage has dropped to below 5%. (Boeing gets most of its revenue when a plane is delivered.)”

    • The sensationalized writing in that CNN piece “devastating; devastated”; “obliterated” is interesting
      for the Western business press, which until the pandemic (or “pandemic”, depending on one’s point of view) was almost always boosterish towards large-cap Corporations. This fits with my very provisional thinking that there’s something going
      on that’s much, much bigger than Boeing; the coming coordinated rollout (and likely imposition) of Central Bank Digital “Currencies” is another clue, I think.

  49. Facts and Data may be a bit harder

    ” CAAC News mistakenly reported the flight data recorder was recovered on March 25. Minutes later the report was removed, with state news outlet Xinhua saying it was untrue.

    The Chinese regime responded quickly to control the flow of information after the accident.

    The country’s internet regulator has banned over 2,700 accounts and removed more than 279,000 posts deemed to be illegal and spreading rumors on social media platforms, including the Twitter-like Weibo and Quora-like Zhihu, China Cyberspace Administration said on March 26.”

    • And on a similar note: censorship is also alive and kicking elsewhere.

      “The episode follows Twitter’s crackdown on The Babylon Bee, whereby it froze the satirical website’s account along with several of the publication’s staff for posts rejecting the leftist orthodoxy on sex. In order to reclaim its account and avoid a permanent suspension, the paper is required to delete the offending post, which featured an article headlined “The Babylon Bee’s Man of the Year is Rachel Levine.” The article mocks USA Today for naming Levine, President Joe Biden’s transgender-identified U.S. assistant secretary of health, as one of its 2022 women of the year.”

  50. Boeing, U.S. officials can travel to China to aid in 737-800 crash probe
    March 29, 2022 at 11:02 am Updated March 29, 2022 at 11:18 am

    ” By The Associated Press
    The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government said Tuesday that China has granted visas for federal investigators to travel there and aid in the investigation of the deadly China Eastern Airlines crash.

    The National Transportation Safety Board said China also granted visas to technical advisers from Boeing, which made the plane, engine manufacturer CFM and the Federal Aviation Administration. All would take part in the investigation, under longstanding international agreements.

    The safety board said the U.S. officials and industry representatives hope to leave for China this week.

    Their travel was held up for several days to meet Chinese visa and COVID-19 regulations, and the NTSB appealed to the State Department to intervene”


    Basically says nothing not already known- but there is this little bit of
    info re engines and tail

    ” Commercial jets are designed to be naturally stable from front to back while in flight. They do not fly almost straight down at very high speed unless extreme force is continuously applied to the horizontal stabilizers on either side of the tail, aviation experts said in the days after the plane crashed.

    A mechanical failure or software error can cause the horizontal stabilizers to malfunction, or a pilot can deliberately force the plane to fly almost straight down. The report did not address these possibilities. But it did mention that key components of the tail had been found at the crater left by the plane in a bamboo-swathed hillside.”

    The New York Times
    Mystery persists after initial report into Boeing 737-800’s crash in China
    April 20, 2022 at 7:52 am Updated April 20, 2022 at 7:54 am
    Given the Times reputation for facts and data-the above is probably not wrong- but follows China allowed guidelines-

  52. A recent 737 NG had uncommanded roll issues due to a broken flap issue. They are still investigating.
    China Eastern had part of it’s winglet land 7-8 miles away from the main crash site
    Split flaps on a 737-NG should cause a hydrolic bypass valve to open.
    There’s also a previous issue of slat track assemblies on the 737
    not sure if the China Eastern was among the affected.
    I’m just trying to ponder reasons for part of a winglet to be miles from the crash site and a sudden event, at altitude to cause a loss of control.

    • “I’m just trying to ponder reasons for part of a winglet to be miles from the crash site and a sudden event, at altitude to cause a loss of control.”
      And how many miles was it ? and source for data – measurement – comment ?

      • from the preliminary report in the above link
        “More parts were in a second site, nearby. But the trailing edge of the right winglet was 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) away.”

        • Hmmm cant read the newspaper report-what credible document from what agency did the newspaper use ?

        • released at height light 2D-ish parts will drift on the wind like aerodynamic seeds.

          Some “things” came off in the stabilizing intermission?
          ( news have turned silent on this crash ?)

  53. How about instead commenting here to do a quick search? You’d even find that it was reported by the CAAC. Is that credible enough for you?

  54. I would imagine something on the cockpit voice recorder (if they have the data recovered and deciphered), would be obvious, if the plane was intentionally grounded. (unless one pilot left the cockpit to go to the restroom etc).
    Some news coming out that it may have been intentionally crashed.

  55. From May 17 WSJ
    ” China Eastern Black Box Points to Intentional Nosedive
    Flight data suggests someone in cockpit pushed Boeing 737-800 into near-vertical descent, according to a preliminary U.S. assessment”

    “Flight data indicates someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed a China Eastern jet earlier this year, according to people familiar with U.S. officials’ preliminary assessment of what led to the accident.

    The Boeing 737-800 was cruising at high altitude when it suddenly pitched into a near-vertical descent, plummeting into a mountain at extreme speed. Data from a black box recovered in the crash suggests inputs to the controls pushed the plane into the fatal dive, these people said.

    “The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit,” said a person who is familiar with American officials’ preliminary assessment, which includes an analysis of information extracted from the plane’s damaged flight-data recorder.”

    It would be improper to quote more

    • ” said a person who is familiar with American officials’ preliminary assessment, which includes an analysis of information extracted from the plane’s damaged flight-data recorder.”

      Hmm. This is (another case of US officials) preempting the (non US) lead investigator, isn`t it?

  56. > said a person who is familiar with American officials’ preliminary assessment <

    There are *so very many* "well-placed, anonymous" sources, these days. I'm so old
    that I remember when only on-the-record,
    public sources were considered fit for print.

    perception management..


    • today you have to level the table at all cost.
      ( near upright in your face 🙂

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