Boeing MAX crisis dominated 2019 Top stories

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 30, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing and the 737 MAX dominated the Top 10 Stories on Leeham News in 2019.

This should surprise no one.

The year-end late-breaking news that Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg had been fired by the Board of Directors should be in the Top 10 Stories of 2019.

But coming as it did on Dec. 23, the start of Christmas week, it failed to make it into LNA’s Top 10 list.

Readership, obviously, falls off dramatically over the Christmas holidays. The fall-off continues between Christmas and New Year’s evidenced by LNA’s own decision to take a holiday (except for breaking news).

The Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 grabbed three of the Top 10 stories and shared, with Lion Air 610 (the Oct. 29, 2018, crash) a fourth story.

Boeing photo.

Boeing’s pickle with the 737 NG pickle fork cracking was of the Top 10 stories.

An historical review that Boeing didn’t want to re-engine the 737, preferring instead a new airplane in 2011 when what became the MAX was launched, was in the Top 10.

An April 2018 story about a potential Blended Wing Body airplane from Boeing hit the Top 10 after an enthusiast site linked it to its forum.

Other MAX MCAS stories were in the Top 10. Finally, anticipated announcements by Mitsubishi for the Paris Air Show was the only non-Boeing story to be in the Top 10 reads for the year.

Airbus didn’t hit the Top 10 but did have a #11 story concerning a pitch-up issue on the A321.

The Boeing stories propelled record readership on LNA in 2019.

Here is the rundown.

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FAA: No MAX certification until 2020; analysis forecast 15 more crashes if MCAS not fixed

Dec. 11, 2019, © Leeham News: A new round of Congressional Hearings about the Boeing 737 MAX got underway today.

FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson, testifying today before the US House Transportation Committee in a hearing about the Boeing 737 MAX.

Before the hearing began at the House Transportation Committee, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson appeared on CNBC today. Among his statements: recertification of the MAX will slip to 2020, confirming what had become apparent for some time.

“Like I said there are a number of processes, milestones, that have to be completed,” Dickson said in an interview on “Squawk Box.” “If you just do the math, it’s going to extend into 2020,” he told CNBC.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Analysing the Lion Air JT610 crash, Part 6.

By Bjorn Fehrm

December 6, 2019, ©. Leeham News: We now finalize the series about the Lion Air JT610 crash by analyzing the changes Boeing has made to the aircraft to avoid further problems with MCAS (Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System).

The changes bring MCAS to the level it should have had from entry into service and in some aspects further.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Analysing the Lion Air JT610 crash, Part 4.

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 22, 2019, ©. Leeham News: We continue the series on analyzing the Lion Air JT610 crash by analyzing MCAS in more depth before we go to the final part of the flight.

We look at what was wrong with the initial version of MCAS, the augmentation system that caused JT610 to crash and what has changed in the updated version. Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: Analysing the Lion Air JT610 crash, Part 2.

November 8, 2019, ©. Leeham News: We started the series on analyzing the Lion Air JT610 crash based on the final crash report last week by looking at what went wrong with the aircraft’s Angle of Attack sensors.

Now we continue with looking at why an MCAS system is needed in an aircraft like the Boeing 737 MAX and why a correctly designed MCAS is not an irrational addition to the aircraft.

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Pontifications: Congressional hearings on Boeing dominated by grandstanding–but damning documents revealed

By Scott Hamilton

  • Senate hearing largely theater.
  • House hearing has grandstanding, but substance, too.
  • House reveals some damning documents.
  • Muilenburg claims no knowledge of legal strategy, but top lawyer reports directly to him.

Nov. 4, 2019, © Leeham News: Last week’s Congressional hearings about the Boeing 737 MAX crisis was just as I expected: theatre, lots of grandstanding, little substance and testimony that elicited little in the way of new information.

The US Senate hearing was a perfect example of playing to the television by many Senators.

The House hearing certainly had its share, but in more lucid moments, some House members produced new documents that were especially damning to Boeing.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and John Hamilton, VP and chief engineer, did no harm to Boeing, which was probably the prime objective. (Hamilton is no relation to me.)

Muilenburg did harm to himself, however, and some Members of Congress landed some damning blows.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Analysing the Lion Air 737 MAX crash, Part 1.

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 1, 2019, ©. Leeham News: We start the series on analyzing the Lion Air 737 MAX crash by looking at what went wrong in the aircraft. It’s important to understand MCAS is not part of what went wrong. It worked as designed during all seven Lion Air flights we will analyze in this series.

It was a single sensor giving a faulty value that was wrong with these aircraft. How a single faulty sensor could get MCAS to doom the JT610 flight (called LNI610 in the report) is something we look into later in the series. Now we focus on why the sensor came to give a faulty value for five out of seven Lion Air flights and how these flights could be exposed to two different sensor faults.

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One year after Lion Air crash, what’s the MAX’s future in Asia?

By Judson Rollins

Oct. 31, 2019, © Leeham News: One year ago this week, Lion Air flight JT610 went down in the Java Sea near Jakarta. It was the first of two accidents that would expose catastrophic design problems with the 737 MAX – and a regulatory relationship between Boeing and the FAA that had become too close to comfort.

Although much has been written about the US major carriers’ orders for the MAX, relatively little has been said about orders from the Eastern Hemisphere. Prior to the MAX’s grounding, 136 airplanes had been delivered to the region and another 1,186 were on firm order. This comprises nearly 27% of Boeing’s firm MAX orders.

The following table shows the top MAX operators in Asia & Australasia:

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A year since the Lion Air JT610 crash

By Bjorn Fehrm

October 28, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Tomorrow it’s one year since the crash of Lion Year JT610 into the sea in Indonesia. The aircraft which went down was a brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 and the world was stunned how such a new aircraft could crash.

The crash triggered the deepest crisis in Boeing’s 100-year history and revealed shortcomings in Boeing’s and FAA’s airworthiness work and supervision. The Lion Air JT610 final report was issued Friday and we now know what happened.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Analysing the 737 MAX crashes

October 25, 2019, ©. Leeham News: To better understand what went wrong in the Boeing 737 MAX crashes I have over the last half-year run Corner series around aircraft Pitch stability and Aircraft Flight Control systems and how these attack the problems of today’s airliners need for stable characteristics over a very wide flight envelope.

With this as a backgound, we will now in a series of Corners go into the Lion Air final crash report which is issued today, to understand what happened and why.

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