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Wed Nov 18, 2020, 07:29 AM

FAA about to OK return of Boeing's 737 Max

Source: CBS News

The Federal Aviation Administration is going to clear Boeing's 737 Max to fly again Wednesday morning, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave. The move comes after the jetliner was grounded for nearly two years due to a pair of crashes that killed 346 people.

Agency Administrator Steve Dickson said last week the FAA was in the final stages of reviewing changes to the Max that would make it safe to return to the skies. "I will lift the grounding order only after our safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards," he said in a statement at the time.

The green light also follows numerous congressional hearings on the crashes that led to criticism of the FAA for lax oversight and Boeing for rushing to implement a new software system that put profits over safety and ultimately led to the firing of its CEO.

Regulators around the world grounded the Max in March 2019, after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet. That happened less than five months after another Max, flown by Indonesia's Lion Air, plunged into the Java Sea. All passengers and crew members on both planes were killed.

Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/737-max-boeing-faa-appears-set-ok-return/

33 replies, 1147 views

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Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply FAA about to OK return of Boeing's 737 Max (Original post)
groundloop Nov 18 OP
Bengus81 Nov 18 #1
Sherman A1 Nov 18 #2
Voltaire2 Nov 18 #3
NurseJackie Nov 18 #4
IthinkThereforeIAM Nov 18 #8
Happy Hoosier Nov 19 #28
NurseJackie Nov 19 #31
Happy Hoosier Nov 19 #33
Maxheader Nov 18 #5
Major Nikon Nov 18 #9
maxsolomon Nov 18 #15
Major Nikon Nov 18 #17
maxsolomon Nov 18 #18
Major Nikon Nov 18 #20
Happy Hoosier Nov 19 #29
NurseJackie Nov 18 #6
CentralMass Nov 18 #7
Fortinbras Armstrong Nov 18 #10
Bengus81 Nov 18 #11
PSPS Nov 18 #13
Major Nikon Nov 18 #19
PSPS Nov 18 #21
Major Nikon Nov 18 #22
PSPS Nov 18 #23
Major Nikon Nov 19 #24
PSPS Nov 19 #25
Major Nikon Nov 19 #26
sir pball Nov 19 #27
Happy Hoosier Nov 19 #30
kimbutgar Nov 18 #12
Happy Hoosier Nov 19 #32
greenjar_01 Nov 18 #14
GoneOffShore Nov 18 #16

Response to groundloop (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 07:53 AM

1. Oh BOY!! I want to get on a full loaded 737 MAX without anyone wearing a mask!!

I have a double death wish going here...........

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Response to groundloop (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 08:22 AM

2. Good for them

I am not getting on one of those flying coffins.

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Response to groundloop (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 08:37 AM

3. reminder to check any plane flight booking to see what exactly you will be flying in.

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Response to groundloop (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 08:48 AM

4. When/if I feel like traveling by air again... I won't book any flight on the 737max.

If enough passengers cared and refused to fly on that deathtrap, would the airlines abandon it?

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 09:33 AM

8. I was going to post the same thing...


... now that I have gotten my 86 year old aunt moved out of her townhouse in Denver and the place sold last fall, I won't have any need to fly. We sure were lucky to get that all finished up before the pandemic and quarantines, it would have been much harder had her and I decided to wait until spring.

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 19, 2020, 01:48 PM

28. That won't happen.

Despite all the breathless coverage, the a MAJOR part of the problem was poor training. Boeing should have insisted on proper training for aircrew. Most U.S. Airlines, for example, DID pay for aircrews to do new model training, despite it not being required. On the aircraft lost, the aircrews failed to disengage the automated systems, or re-engaged them after the problems. That was not wise.

The aircraft itself is safe. Heck, it's probably safer than just about other platform right now because they went over the process with a fine-toothed comb.

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Response to Happy Hoosier (Reply #28)

Thu Nov 19, 2020, 01:51 PM

31. It remains to be seen. I have zero confidence.

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #31)

Thu Nov 19, 2020, 01:57 PM

33. I appreciate that it's been hyped up...

... but I've been in aviation a long time. This problem gets a lot of attention because airline accidents are pretty rare now. But this was NOT a huge fundamental problem for the aircraft. It was a real problem in the s/w for sure, but with proper crew training and interaction, it should NEVER have resulted in a loss of aircraft. In fact it DID happen to U.S. planes but crew intervention prevented loss of aircraft.

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Response to groundloop (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 08:51 AM

5. There were other flights of the max...



With the same exact take off and landing actions/conditions that didn't crash the plane.

Wonder why the two that did....did?

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Response to Maxheader (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 09:57 AM

9. Last I checked the final accident reports are still pending

Here's a few things worth noting. Lion Air has a terrible safety record. Multiple crashes with the same cause point to a nonexistent safety culture within the airline.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash had a first officer with 367 total hours and 207 hours on the 737, which means the airlines put him in the seat of a jet with 160 hours. That alone was an accident waiting to happen.

I have spoken to 2 different 737 pilots who both fly the Max. Both have told me neither crash should have happened had the crew simply flown the aircraft. While the specific condition in question wasn't trained for, all jet pilots train for runaway trim conditions which is essentially what this was. All jets have to be certified to fly and be controllable with pitch trim inop and in the extreme condition of either full up or full down.

So does Boeing deserve some of the blame for not fixing an aircraft with a known condition? Yes. Does the FAA deserve some of the blame for a shoddy certification process that favored manufacturers? Yes. However, the airlines and the crews of these crashes also deserve some of the blame. There's no reason why they could not have flown out of the condition just as other crews did.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 03:22 PM

15. Stop injecting facts into this discussion!

Can't you see that this news calls for binary thinking and summary dismissal?

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #15)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 06:26 PM

17. The bottom line is I would fly on a 737 Max

I won't fly on Lion Air or Ethiopian Airlines until they get their act together, which at this point isn't likely to happen.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #17)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 06:31 PM

18. Same.

One assumes the FAA has made Boeing train all Max pilots on the software; that's what I understand the Ethiopian pilot lacked.

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #18)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 07:02 PM

20. I don't think pilots anywhere were trained on it

For pilots the entire 737 series is one type rating, so as long as you are typed on one 737 in the series, moving to another requires only upgrade training. Because of this the MCAS software was designed to give pilots of the Max series the same feel they would get from earlier designs. It's purpose was to work in the background with no additional training required. What was lacking was training for what to do in a malfunction, which is similar to, but behaves differently than a runway trim situation pilots are trained to deal with. Boeing simply assumed pilots would recognize the situation as a runaway trim and deal with the situation the same way.

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Response to Maxheader (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 19, 2020, 01:49 PM

29. Poor training.

Why these aircrews would either fail to disengage an automated system or even turn it back on after stabilizing is a mystery. Why would anyone do that?

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Response to groundloop (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 08:51 AM

6. American, United & Southwest will rebook free of charge any passengers who balk at flying on a MAX.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/why-u-s-airlines-are-eager-to-fly-boeings-upgraded-737-max/

Though Boeing and some airlines have begun avoiding use of the now-tainted MAX brand name, instead referring only to the 737-8 or 737-9 models, all the U.S. carriers say they will make it transparent to travelers what plane they are flying on.

All three U.S. airlines that were operating the MAX before the grounding— American, United and Southwest — said they will rebook free of charge any passengers who balk at flying on a MAX.

American spokesperson Sarah Jantz said if a MAX is switched onto a flight previously scheduled to be flown by some other plane, the airline will let passengers know via email, text and push notifications.

“If a customer doesn’t want to fly on a 737 MAX aircraft, they won’t have to,” she said. “We’ll provide flexibility to ensure our customers can be easily re-accommodated if they prefer not to fly on one.”

If a reluctant passenger doesn’t want to re-book, the airlines will offer either refunds or vouchers for future travel depending on the type of ticket.

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Response to groundloop (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 08:51 AM

7. Boeing's Boondoggle.

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Response to groundloop (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 10:28 AM

10. The problem with the 737 Max was mostly in the flight control software.

If they have properly fixed it, then it should be OK to fly. Not that anyone will want to fly in it, given its history.

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Response to Fortinbras Armstrong (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 10:41 AM

11. Except they knew it was FU before it was given a type certificate

737 MAX test pilots told them so repeatedly and the FAA let Boeing help certify their OWN aircraft.

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Response to Fortinbras Armstrong (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 01:09 PM

13. No, the problem was the basic plane design. The software was their attempt to overcome that.

The 737 Max is just a 737 with the engines moved forward, ruining its flying characteristics. That causes the plane to always want to point down and the software is just a kluge to "fix" that. The plane should have been designed from scratch instead of this fiasco. But Boeing didn't want to take the time and money to do that solely for marketing purposes.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 06:54 PM

19. It actually works the opposite way

With the engines moved further forward high power settings will cause the aircraft to "want" to pitch up compared with previous 737 designs. The purpose of MCAS was to provide pilots with the same feel they would get with the older 737s when in a high power climb situation by providing extra control pressure in a downward direction.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #19)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 07:25 PM

21. Yes. My mistake. Their design flaw caused it to want to pitch up.

The software was a kludge to force the nose down (into the ground) beyond the control of the pilot.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #21)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 09:50 PM

22. I don't necessarily agree with beyond the control of the pilot

The final report of the Lion Air crash is available. The report lists a number of problems with the crew. In their training records the captain was reported to have crew resource management problems and the FO was found to have aircraft handling issues(FO had the controls at the time of the crash). Both of these deficiencies played out in the accident flight. A previous flight in the same aircraft with the same issues was controllable by a different crew.

At the time of the crash the accident flight was indeed beyond control, but this was due to the failure of taking necessary actions. The captain was able to control the aircraft by applying pitch trim opposite to the MCAS commands. He failed to brief the FO on the actions needed to control the aircraft and handed control to him while he ran checklists. At no point did they declare an emergency. They also could have simply disabled the electric stabilizer trim in a neutral position and controlled it manually which is what the previous flight to have the same issues did.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #22)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 10:10 PM

23. It was certainly beyond the control of a pilot unaware of the software

The incident-free flights were where the pilot knew to simply disengage the MCAS and regain control. There were several such flights. Unfortunately, that simple procedure wasn't known by or taught to all the pilots. Nevertheless, if the plane hadn't had the faulty design to begin with, the software would never have been necessary in the first place. Yet, here we are, with the 737 MAX being certified again despite its still having the same defective design that needs this unique software kludge.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #23)

Thu Nov 19, 2020, 12:46 AM

24. There's a button right on the yolk to disengage it

Disengagement of the stabilizer trim also disables MCAS. Any pilot flying a jet who doesn’t know how and when to disengage stab trim should not be flying a jet. Whether or not the plane has MCAS doesn’t change the method of disconnection. In this case the FO didn’t use the disconnect and he didn’t counteract the MCAS commands with pitch trim. He simply kept pulling back on the yolk until the control forces became too great for him to overcome and they entered a 10,000fpm dive at low altitude. That will kill you on any jet, with or without MCAS if you don’t correct it. The 737 also has a manual stab trim wheel, which many jets lack.

All modern Airbus and Boeing designed aircraft utilize fly-by-wire technologies and software is most certainly required to control them. That doesn’t make those aircraft “faulty”. It just means software technology is being utilized for the control system. Some of those aircraft have also had software related flight control issues which have caused accidents and have subsequently been corrected.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #24)

Thu Nov 19, 2020, 01:35 AM

25. The switches' purposes were changed

You can educate yourself a little on the subject by reading some of the many post-accident stories, one of which is here:

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/boeing-altered-key-switches-in-737-max-cockpit-limiting-ability-to-shut-off-mcas/

The fact remains that, if the plane's fundamental design were't flawed, they wouldn't have needed the software kludge in the first place. Boeing wanted to rush the job solely for marketing purposes.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #25)

Thu Nov 19, 2020, 03:00 AM

26. You are talking about different switches

On every aircraft that has electric trim, there are manual control switches on the yolk. These switches override MCAS and the captain was doing exactly that before he handed the controls to the FO. For whatever reason he didn’t tell the FO to use them, which would have saved the aircraft before they ever got to any of the memory items they were supposed to perform, but didn’t.

The switches you are referring to are on the memory items they were supposed to perform. Throwing them would have disabled MCAS regardless of the repurposing. They also could have just grabbed the pitch wheel which is also a memory item. So they had three options to correct the problem, all of which they should have known to do. Any one of them would have worked.

You also keep referring to this “flawed design”. The Airbus 380 couldn’t fly (or at least be practical to fly) without a fly-by-wire system. In other words it needs a much more elaborate software driven flight control system as opposed to the cable and PCM system in the 737. So by the logic you are using this would be a “flawed design”. Except it’s not. Every Airbus since the A320 and every Boeing since the 777 uses the same technology.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #21)

Thu Nov 19, 2020, 01:35 PM

27. You keep calling it a "flaw", it's no such thing. The aircraft could have been certified as-is

Yes, added power does make the aircraft tend to pitch-up - which is in itself perfectly fine behavior, but it isn't how a 737 behaves. That is the entire point of MCAS, not to correct a "flaw" but rather to make the MAX behave like every other 737 from the past 50+ years.

Without MCAS the aircraft would still have been perfectly certifiable, but not as a 737 - the airlines would have to pay a healthy sum for their pilots to get a whole new type rating rather than far less expensive and time-consuming familiarization. It's a common industry practice and goes beyond even new models in the same line; entirely different lines of aircraft can share a common pilot rating: Boeing has cross-certified the 757/767, Airbus the A330/A350, Embraer with the 170/190, and probably many more.

The real issue is the original design constraints of the 737 are about stretched to the limit, requiring some serious baling wire and duct tape to maintain type; after the MAX it really is time for the airlines to suck it up and eat the cost of new type ratings. I doubt development costs of a new small jet would even be that high for Boeing; the 737 would make a fine next-gen plane if it were just modernized properly into a "797".

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Response to PSPS (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 19, 2020, 01:50 PM

30. TONS of modern planes require active stabilization with a flight control computer.

It's not at all unusual.

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Response to groundloop (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 12:22 PM

12. I talked to a retired pilot we recently who keeps up on this stuff

And he said in the airline industry planes built by Boeing in South Carolina are crap because the workforce is not as educated as those in Boeing in Washington who have family generations of knowledge of how to build planes. He wouldn’t fly a plane if he found out it was built in South Carolina.

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Response to kimbutgar (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 19, 2020, 01:54 PM

32. This was not a build quality problem.

It was a software issue in an automated flight control system. The failure should not have resulted in a loss of aircraft with proper aircrew training and intervention.

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Response to groundloop (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 01:27 PM

14. See ya!

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Response to groundloop (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2020, 03:28 PM

16. Not going to be flying in one of those anytime soon.

Actually not going to be flying anytime soon.

When the borders open again, we'll drive to Spain, Italy, Germany, or the UK.

Not seeing planes in my future travel plans.

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