Would you fly on a 737 Max?

Would you fly on a 737 Max?

Author
Discussion

Magnum 475

2,267 posts

96 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
Shy Torque said:
eharding said:
Whilst public faith in Boeing has been justifiably shaken by the 737 Max debacle, if you think there aren't problems with other types just waiting - sometime for decades - to come out and kill you, then you're mistaken.

A BA mate was flying a 747 from Johannesburg a few years ago when, just after take off, a fault that had been buried in the design of the thrust reverser system for probably 20 years caused the leading edge slats to retract, leaving the aircraft on the bleeding edge of a stall and going down into the built up area north of the airport. His wife, also a BA pilot, was in the first class cabin travelling as a passenger, could hear the stick shaker going off in the flight deck above her as he was trying to keep the thing in the air, which thankfully he did. But it was a very close run thing, and whilst you would hope any line pilot who just happened to be the one handling the aircraft that day would have also held it together, the fact he was also an accomplished aerobatic pilot and therefore more familiar than most with dancing on the edge of departure from controlled flight certainly didn't hurt.

You can probably find lots of cases of hidden design faults causing potential accidents after years in unblemished service, but that's just one I'm personally familiar with. Of course, that's another example of a Boeing issue, but if you're going to boycott the Max you might want to consider just not going on a Boeing at all (and content yourself with fretting about the Airbus you're travelling in suddenly having a mind of it's own....)
As an aside, after that event, BA pilots were given the Jo’burg scenario in the simulator - a lot didn’t manage it.
Flight crew is probably the most important element. I've made the point in other threads - **most** technical issues in flight can be dealt with if the crew keeps their cool and manages the situation (777 engine failure for example). MCAS appears to have been an exception, in that it couldn't be fully disabled and the crew physically couldn't override the nose down inputs. This appears to have been resolved now, so assuming a well trained, experienced crew then there's no reason why we shouldn't fly on the Max.

This doesn't alter my feeling that the Max is pushing the 737 design too far, and Boeing really should have designed a new airframe from zero, rather than trying to evolve an old design in this case.

surveyor

15,396 posts

148 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
Magnum 475 said:
Shy Torque said:
eharding said:
Whilst public faith in Boeing has been justifiably shaken by the 737 Max debacle, if you think there aren't problems with other types just waiting - sometime for decades - to come out and kill you, then you're mistaken.

A BA mate was flying a 747 from Johannesburg a few years ago when, just after take off, a fault that had been buried in the design of the thrust reverser system for probably 20 years caused the leading edge slats to retract, leaving the aircraft on the bleeding edge of a stall and going down into the built up area north of the airport. His wife, also a BA pilot, was in the first class cabin travelling as a passenger, could hear the stick shaker going off in the flight deck above her as he was trying to keep the thing in the air, which thankfully he did. But it was a very close run thing, and whilst you would hope any line pilot who just happened to be the one handling the aircraft that day would have also held it together, the fact he was also an accomplished aerobatic pilot and therefore more familiar than most with dancing on the edge of departure from controlled flight certainly didn't hurt.

You can probably find lots of cases of hidden design faults causing potential accidents after years in unblemished service, but that's just one I'm personally familiar with. Of course, that's another example of a Boeing issue, but if you're going to boycott the Max you might want to consider just not going on a Boeing at all (and content yourself with fretting about the Airbus you're travelling in suddenly having a mind of it's own....)
As an aside, after that event, BA pilots were given the Jo’burg scenario in the simulator - a lot didn’t manage it.
Flight crew is probably the most important element. I've made the point in other threads - **most** technical issues in flight can be dealt with if the crew keeps their cool and manages the situation (777 engine failure for example). MCAS appears to have been an exception, in that it couldn't be fully disabled and the crew physically couldn't override the nose down inputs. This appears to have been resolved now, so assuming a well trained, experienced crew then there's no reason why we shouldn't fly on the Max.

This doesn't alter my feeling that the Max is pushing the 737 design too far, and Boeing really should have designed a new airframe from zero, rather than trying to evolve an old design in this case.
It could be disabled. It was the crew that were not briefed as to what it did, that it was there and how it could be disabled. As I read it you had to be quick though, or you lost the recoverable opportunity.

El stovey

37,918 posts

227 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
surveyor said:
It could be disabled. It was the crew that were not briefed as to what it did, that it was there and how it could be disabled. As I read it you had to be quick though, or you lost the recoverable opportunity.
The first crew didn’t know about it but the second should have. Boeing had published plenty of information about it after the first crash.

JuniorD

8,129 posts

187 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
MCAS is a right sneaky bd. So long as it’s disabled, have you to operate the trim wheels manually?


El stovey

37,918 posts

227 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
JuniorD said:
MCAS is a right sneaky bd. So long as it’s disabled, have you to operate the trim wheels manually?
You can’t really disable the mcas as a stand alone system in flight but you can by disabling the stab trim or delaying flap retraction etc.

nonsequitur

16,986 posts

80 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
aeropilot said:
dantournay said:
DC10 was the only aircraft I've been genuinely concerned about flying in. Only after we landed did I tell the oblivious Mrs and her friends about its safety record. Happily the return flight was massively delayed 15 hours and we came back on an unbranded chartered TriStar with bits of interior trim missing. Felt a million times more comfortable although that wasn't a view shared by most on the flight.
I only flew on a DC-10 once, well twice in reality with the return trip. It was back in 1991, and I flew from Gatwick to Atlanta on one (and back to LGW) but I doubt I gave to a thought back then, and I can't even remember which airline it was! I think it would have been Delta?
BA leased a dry DC10 from Air New Zealand for the LHR / LAX sector - then on to NZ - which I flew on for five years, alternating with the Tristar and 747. A brilliant aircraft, according to the flight crew and it was pretty good inside the cabin as well apart from the first class galley which had to be re-arranged in order to offer any semblance of cabin service.

Got a bit twitchy after the Chicago accident and the Turkish Airlines disaster, but never had any problems on my flights.

KieronGSi

1,092 posts

168 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
El stovey said:
surveyor said:
It could be disabled. It was the crew that were not briefed as to what it did, that it was there and how it could be disabled. As I read it you had to be quick though, or you lost the recoverable opportunity.
The first crew didn’t know about it but the second should have. Boeing had published plenty of information about it after the first crash.
The second crew were fairly inexperienced on the MAX with only a 159hrs on type between them.

uncinqsix

3,155 posts

174 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
KieronGSi said:
The second crew were fairly inexperienced on the MAX with only a 159hrs on type between them.
Time on the MAX is irrelevant surely? After all, Boeing sold it at being essentially identical to NG in terms of pilot ratings...

eharding

11,524 posts

248 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
Shy Torque said:
eharding said:
Whilst public faith in Boeing has been justifiably shaken by the 737 Max debacle, if you think there aren't problems with other types just waiting - sometime for decades - to come out and kill you, then you're mistaken.

A BA mate was flying a 747 from Johannesburg a few years ago when, just after take off, a fault that had been buried in the design of the thrust reverser system for probably 20 years caused the leading edge slats to retract, leaving the aircraft on the bleeding edge of a stall and going down into the built up area north of the airport. His wife, also a BA pilot, was in the first class cabin travelling as a passenger, could hear the stick shaker going off in the flight deck above her as he was trying to keep the thing in the air, which thankfully he did. But it was a very close run thing, and whilst you would hope any line pilot who just happened to be the one handling the aircraft that day would have also held it together, the fact he was also an accomplished aerobatic pilot and therefore more familiar than most with dancing on the edge of departure from controlled flight certainly didn't hurt.

You can probably find lots of cases of hidden design faults causing potential accidents after years in unblemished service, but that's just one I'm personally familiar with. Of course, that's another example of a Boeing issue, but if you're going to boycott the Max you might want to consider just not going on a Boeing at all (and content yourself with fretting about the Airbus you're travelling in suddenly having a mind of it's own....)
As an aside, after that event, BA pilots were given the Jo’burg scenario in the simulator - a lot didn’t manage it.
I recall my mate suggested to Willy Walsh when he gave the crew a slap-up congratulatory dinner that BA should establish a general programme of practical aerobatic upset training for all their crews, but nothing ever came of it. Waltham would have been the ideal place to run it - in happier times the clubhouse was like a BA crew room anyway, including a lot who spent time on standby there as it was handy for Heathrow, and many a call from BA to a standby crew mobile was answered by a charming young lady in Ops who was "just looking after their phone for them while they were in the loo", followed by a quick radio call to tell the owner out in the local area to get back sharpish. Would have been more practical to just have them fly themselves directly to Heathrow to report for duty, but there was always some niggling bit of regulation in the way.

MarkwG

2,907 posts

153 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
uncinqsix said:
KieronGSi said:
The second crew were fairly inexperienced on the MAX with only a 159hrs on type between them.
Time on the MAX is irrelevant surely? After all, Boeing sold it at being essentially identical to NG in terms of pilot ratings...
In theory, yes; it looks like in practice, maybe not. My understanding is that the guiding idea behind the MCAS system was to make the MAX handle in a similar manner to previous generations, which don't have MCAS fitted: so adding something to make the aircraft behave the same, but with the conflicting ambition of reducing the need & cost of training to transition across. I guess the lawyers will be arguing who should have told who about the subtle differences will take years.

Unbusy

733 posts

61 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
MarkwG said:
In theory, yes; it looks like in practice, maybe not. My understanding is that the guiding idea behind the MCAS system was to make the MAX handle in a similar manner to previous generations, which don't have MCAS fitted: so adding something to make the aircraft behave the same, but with the conflicting ambition of reducing the need & cost of training to transition across. I guess the lawyers will be arguing who should have told who about the subtle differences will take years.
Not really Mark. The MCAS should normally never come into use unless the crew are having a particularly bad day at the office. So I’m not so use it had no effect on the everydayhandling.
It is a regulatory airworthiness requirement that dealt with the lift generated by the engines cowls at high angle of attack adversely affecting the stall characteristics.
As said on many forums many times, they pushed the original design too far due to a business decision.
Engineers that worried in Boeing a long time have said that the company had accountants running the show and this is the result.
How nobody is going to jail for this is a crime in itself. The design of MCAS and failure to inform airlines and crew about it is unforgivable.

Teddy Lop

4,651 posts

31 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
Unbusy said:
Not really Mark. The MCAS should normally never come into use unless the crew are having a particularly bad day at the office. So I’m not so use it had no effect on the everydayhandling.
It is a regulatory airworthiness requirement that dealt with the lift generated by the engines cowls at high angle of attack adversely affecting the stall characteristics.
As said on many forums many times, they pushed the original design too far due to a business decision.
Engineers that worried in Boeing a long time have said that the company had accountants running the show and this is the result.
How nobody is going to jail for this is a crime in itself. The design of MCAS and failure to inform airlines and crew about it is unforgivable.
putting to one side whether or not the design should have been modified + compensated this way, would the function of MCAS possibly have been better if implemented as part of an integrated FBW flight control suite rather than a standalone system on an airliner already using what I understand is part-hydraulic, part FBW control systems?

I know there's a lot of opinion on FBW/computer interpreted flight control so don't mean to start that specific argument... Just this approach appears to a casual observer a bit of dogs dinner

MarkwG

2,907 posts

153 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
Unbusy said:
MarkwG said:
In theory, yes; it looks like in practice, maybe not. My understanding is that the guiding idea behind the MCAS system was to make the MAX handle in a similar manner to previous generations, which don't have MCAS fitted: so adding something to make the aircraft behave the same, but with the conflicting ambition of reducing the need & cost of training to transition across. I guess the lawyers will be arguing who should have told who about the subtle differences will take years.
Not really Mark. The MCAS should normally never come into use unless the crew are having a particularly bad day at the office. So I’m not so use it had no effect on the everydayhandling.
It is a regulatory airworthiness requirement that dealt with the lift generated by the engines cowls at high angle of attack adversely affecting the stall characteristics.
As said on many forums many times, they pushed the original design too far due to a business decision.
Engineers that worried in Boeing a long time have said that the company had accountants running the show and this is the result.
How nobody is going to jail for this is a crime in itself. The design of MCAS and failure to inform airlines and crew about it is unforgivable.
The online documentation I've seen says the similarity to the NG was indeed a happy coincidence, rather than designed in - however, there's always pressure on Boeing to reduce the cost of training which is part of the business decision you refer to: they weren't about to change that & add cost to their aircraft, already suffering against the competition. If that hadn't been a factor, I suspect they'd have dumped the 737 & moved onto a more modern platform - but that wasn't a risk they felt able to take. Bearing in mind MCAS technology wasn't new, having been fitted to the KC46 before the MAX, so that was unlikely to be the only problem. It seems that the AOA sensor was also a factor: the airlines may have believed that additional sensors were a "nice to have" cost option, rather than useful safety redundancy. The Ethiopian crash seems to be a result of erroneous AOA information feeding false data to the MCAS whose actions the crew were unable to interpret correctly, in time. Even though the two sensors disagreed, without a third to cross refer to, no way for the system to work out which was incorrect, I suspect, & it went with the wrong one. Whether Boeing didn't inform Ethiopian fully about the implications of that, whether they understood themselves even, or they presumed that the customer understood what they were paying for, that's for the lawyers to decide. Yes, that is pretty unforgiveable, hence the reference to lengthy law cases, but it's very unlikely the data will point to any one individual, or any single decision, I'm afraid - that's the nature of big projects.

aeropilot

23,747 posts

191 months

Friday 26th February
quotequote all
Just to add further woes to Boeing's situation........nice big fine and a big remedial works bill to fix a load of 787's that have not been built very well.......oh dear.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-boeing-787-excl...

whistle

havoc

25,615 posts

199 months

Friday 26th February
quotequote all
Does anyone in the industry actually trust Boeing anymore?

I've read so many stories now about their leadership, their culture, issue after issue with their planes and the ongoing failure to change their spots that I'm surprised anyone in the market wants to touch them.

I've no doubt Airbus aren't perfect...but I've seen far less evidence of institutional arrogance there.