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Interesting Documentary On the 737NG

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I find it hard to believe a single media outlet, much less Al Jazeera as that single news outlet. It's entirely possible, but until I see someone else look into it and show proof of their information, I can't accept it fully.What I don't understand is the beginning of the video, where they point out the three crashes. They're questioning why three aircraft split apart upon impact.This 744 rolled into a drainage ditch and ended up crumpling the entire nose.Saudi2.jpgIf something comes in at or above landing speed and hits the ground abnormally, I'd be surprised if it didn't split further, but I didn't watch too much farther to see if they explained what happened to each of the flights....and don't forget the actual meaning behind the name PPRune.

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The film has got a lot of misleading and incorrect information in it. Unfortunately, poor journalistic practices such as that, then cast doubt on all the information in the film and this does nothing to assist the people who may genuinely be reporting legitimate concerns.Some falsehoods in the film include incorrectly reporting the causes and effects of the three 737 NG crashes featured in the film. For example, the Turkish 737 crash at Schiphol did not occur when the aircraft 'overshot the runway' as the film states, it was caused when it undershot the runway after the crew failed to monitor the autopilot and autothrottle properly. Thus the crash was completely due to a crew error and nothing to do with the structural integrity of the aircraft. so to use it in the film is nothing short of cheap scaremongering and frankly, I think it is remarkable that the NG actually stayed as intact as it did in that crash.Furthermore, the Schiphol crash is compared to the well-known test crash of a B707 in the Mojave Desert conducted some years ago. Quite apart from the fact that there is little point in comparing two different aircraft in a crash - frankly they might just have well used footage of a Spitfire crash for all the relevance it had - the film makes several deliberate errors in relation to this test footage in an attempt to support its assertion, notably, claiming that the 707 crash test was intended to test the structural integrity of the aircraft in an impact. This is completely untrue, it was in fact a test designed to deliberately rip open the fuel tanks so that a prototype fuel additive which would supposedly 'gel' aviation fuel on shock impact to prevent it misting into an inflammable vapour, could be tested (a test which it failed incidentally). The really dodgy part however, is that the film then claims the 707 impacted at a much higher speed than the 737 which crashed at Schiphol, this is deliberately misleading, because whilst the 707 was flying at a higher speed, it did not impact at a higher speed than the Schiphol 737, which was in a stalled condition when it slammed into the ground, so the 737's forward speed was slower, but its vertical impact speed was in fact much higher than that of the 707. It is deliberately falsifying 'evidence' such as this in order to support claims which throws doubt on all the other evidence, since if they can make that up, how do we know they aren't making other stuff up? In short, it is an example of very poor reportage which shoots itself in the &@($* as far as credibility is concerned.Couple inaccuracies and fact twisting such as this with the deliberately emotive 'thriller type' music the film uses and its carefully cherry-picked quotes, many of which are taken out of context, and you have more examples of what I regard as extremely manipulative and shoddy reporting. I used to work as a reporter, and if anyone I had employed would have gone about reporting in that way, I'd have been having some serious words with them for indulging in that kind of deliberate attempt to put a slant on the facts. If they do indeed have evidence which supports the film's assertions, why not use that instead of simply making up stuff?All of this does not mean those Boeing workers do not have a legitimate claim, they may indeed have one for all I know, but I certainly would not regard this film as a genuinely bipartisan attempt to convey those concerns, it's nothing short of deliberately manipulative, and in many places, downright untrue, and that does those people no favours at all.Al

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I agree with Al, that article is garbage. The NG has an amazing safety record - pretty much every accident one's ever been involved in had nothing to do with the aircraft itself, all pilot error/fatigue etc. Runway overruns, stalls on approach, diving it into the water thinking it's on autopilot when it isn't etc...

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So the part about that company producing parts by hand while they should have been made by a CNC machine was false as well?

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The film has got a lot of misleading and incorrect information in it. Unfortunately, poor journalistic practices such as that
Media with misleading/incorrect information... say it aint so!!! :(

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Maybe I won't be purchasing the PMDG 737NG afterall... just kidding.On a more serious note, and speaking from a civil engineering background (we do structures!), that seems like a pretty legitimate problem to me. However, I would say if it's true as they claim, then they did a weak job of supporting their argument. They didn't attribute the problem with the straps to any of those three crashes other than claiming that the planes involved broke up at the locations of the straps. From what I could see, those plains DID NOT break up where the straps were located. The straps are located primarily at the doors, as they themselves claimed in the beginning of the video. Those planes look to have broke up between the doors, indicating that the locations where straps are installed (per their claims) are the stronger parts.Regardless of whether or not they can attribute existing crashes to the straps, they seem to have a strong argument against the Ducommon Aerostructures (the company making the straps). Producing the components by hand when you're claiming to be making them by CNC is unnacceptable and ridiculous. I'm sorry, but CNC really is spectacular and you just can't do a better job by hand! If the claims are true, I don't know why a company like Boeing would let this smaller subcontractor put them at such high risk.Attributing existing crashes to the straps only weakens their argument if the straps were not actually the cause of the crash. If the Ducommon Aerostructures actually is making the parts by hand, then that's the argument they need to pursue. Twisting information regarding previous incidents is only going to ruin their credit.

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So the part about that company producing parts by hand while they should have been made by a CNC machine was false as well?
Nope, never said that was false, the truth is I simply don't know for sure, but even if I was inclined to believe it, the bogus misdirection they included in the film has made me severely doubt the veracity of any of the content of it, because it doesn't make a proper investigation. As I said, if there is evidence of malpractices or production failings, then there is no need to dress it up with made up nonsense along the lines of clumsily trying to make crashes which had nothing to do with the alleged issue look like they are some kind of proof of it. If the film's assertion really is true then that in itself is dramatic enough without throwing in some cheap thrill crash footage in an attempt to try and sex it up.Find and show us the evidence, and if you can't, then it simply isn't a factual documentary. It is perfectly possible to do that too: Several B737 NGs have been retired and scrapped, you can see one being cut up in this month's issue of Airliner World in fact, so why not nip down to that breakers, rip the interior off that one and have a look at the fuselage bracing and get a picture of it instead of pointlessly tearing down a Classic in a boneyard for no readily apparent reason? If they had put their money where their mouth was and done that, I'd have a bit more of a chance of believing the allegation, because it would be irrefutably on show. That's what a proper respectable investigative journo would have done. You don't have to be Woodward or Bernstein to know that it is a fundamental principle of reporting to check and confirm beyond doubt the authenticity of your info. Showing us some guy loading boxes into a car that supposedly have evidence in them isn't proof, those boxes could have had his porno magazine collection in them for all we know.The film itself includes the oft-quoted statistic that a B737 takes off or lands somewhere in the world every five seconds, and that being the case, if the NG is such a death trap, how come the streets aren't littered with burning 737 NG wreckage? My guess is that it might be because the Boeing 737 is statistically the safest airliner in service, which is a fact they rather conveniently appear to have forgotten to include in the film, along with a few others which might have made it more worthy of taking seriously.Al

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Well said Al. It sucks, because the claim, if true, is a very big problem. However, the inclusion of extra nonsense to make it suitable for a TV audience completely discredits whatever claims they have made. I'm sorry, but it's the plaintiff's responsiblity to prove their argument beyond a shadow of a doubt. If they can't, then too bad - life goes on... sucks being the plaintiff. In the meantime, it looks like you're going to have to wait for a plane to drop out of the sky to pick back up on your argument.

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I'm personally going to cut open the PMDG 737NG when it is released. If it really does simulate everything, then it should have some dodgy stringers inside it. Then we'll see if PMDG are as good as they say they are LOLAl

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The biggest fault with the NG is the bloody cockpit is too small! Not enough room to stretch out!Jack C

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Maybe this is a dumb observation, but all three aircraft they point out crashed with wheels down (and, as we know, due to pilot error). The 707 they compared to (which, as pointed out above, had a much shallower descent) crash-landed wheels up. I would think that has to be a contributing factor. An out-of-limits hard landing with wheels down would probably create severe stress points in front of and behind the strongest area on the aircraft, the wing box. So I can't say I'm surprised they broke up where they did. I also vaguely seem to recall other crashes where similar break-ups occurred on other models as well, so I'm not convinced the straps they talk about have contributed to any failure, YET. But if what they say about the manufacturing process is true, then certainly there's serious cause to take action.

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The biggest fault with the NG is the bloody cockpit is too small! Not enough room to stretch out!Jack C
Trust me, my back found out about this while I was photographing it lol... wasn't even enough room for the tripod.

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Firstly, I'd hesitate to say anything too disparaging about Al Jazeera. It's no more or less reputable than any other news network out there really, but yes, this story is a bit cruddy. In any story where ex-employees (or disgruntled employees) are involved in questioning the practices or standards of their employer, immediately questions spring to mind: What is their agenda, are they aggrieved, looking for revenge and so on?The fact that Boeing has put over 6,000 737's into service speaks volumes for the success and reliability of the type. Sure, airplanes will crash, but as Ryan points out, SO few 737's have crashed because of manufacturing faults. The one example that most people will remember is the Aloha 737 where the freakin' ROOF tore off the forward fuselage, and the plane landed successfully, if anything that tells just how WELL built the aiplane is that it can suffer such a significant failure and still stay flying!( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloha_Airlines_Flight_243 if you're interested)She's a good bird, guys. :)

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Firstly, I'd hesitate to say anything too disparaging about Al Jazeera. It's no more or less reputable than any other news network out there really, but yes, this story is a bit cruddy.
Give me one major media outlet outside of Seattle which has a good grasp on issues related to aviation and aircraft manufacturing.IMO the real issue here is whether Boeing deliberately allowed a manufacturing defect to exist on a safety critical component, without informing the customer airlines and the authorities. By looking at the internal Boeing memo and the DCIS report it is strongly implied that they did. This means that airlines are potentially flying hundreds of legally unairworthy aircraft and it will have major implications on insurance and liability should an accident happen.This reminded me of the DC-10's cargo door problem, McD knew about it but didn't act until it was too late.

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I have to agree with the majority of the above statements, IMHO the crashes of the 737's that broke into three peices wasn't really related to the fact that that part was manufactured badly, It just points out that those three points are the weakest on the 737, no big deal, every structure has some points on it weaker than others.But where I do see a problem arise is that, although the planes may be flying and incredibly safely at that, their safety levels would be increased if the parts were manufactured better. There's no disputing that, but we all know the costs of removing an aircraft from service, and in the end of the day, we really don't know how much safer the 737 would be if those parts were changed.It could be negilable or significant and that is where the rub is.

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Firstly, I'd hesitate to say anything too disparaging about Al Jazeera. It's no more or less reputable than any other news network out there really, but yes, this story is a bit cruddy. In any story where ex-employees (or disgruntled employees) are involved in questioning the practices or standards of their employer, immediately questions spring to mind: What is their agenda, are they aggrieved, looking for revenge and so on?The fact that Boeing has put over 6,000 737's into service speaks volumes for the success and reliability of the type. Sure, airplanes will crash, but as Ryan points out, SO few 737's have crashed because of manufacturing faults. The one example that most people will remember is the Aloha 737 where the freakin' ROOF tore off the forward fuselage, and the plane landed successfully, if anything that tells just how WELL built the aiplane is that it can suffer such a significant failure and still stay flying!( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloha_Airlines_Flight_243 if you're interested)She's a good bird, guys. :)
My professor was the guy who they, the gov't, asked to do fatigue testing on airframes after this craft. It has nothing to do with the structural supports for the plane...those did beautifully. Instead it was where two outer layers joined. They are joined by a "glue" and a few rows of rivets. Well due to the very high moisture content of the airplanes environment, the glue started to wear off. Instead all of the stresses were put on the rivets to hold the layers together. This forced a stress concentration at the countersinks of the rivets. This created cracks and in turn tore the roof of the plane off. Also a little fun thing you all should do when getting on a plane. At the door look at the thickness of the fuselage. Its on a magnitude of about .1 in thick. Yes there are just a few rows of rivets holding two layers of that together when they need to overlap...other than that...it's that layer and the air. If people knew how planes fly and what they are made out of, they wouldn't fly. But I'm sure a good few of you know that one...but I will trust an airframe because it is one of the most analyzed bodies ever designed even though its factor of safety is about 2 compared to 10 for a building.

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I don't trust Aljazeera or any news outlet to discuss plane crashes. I shut it off once I saw that ex-boeing employee bashing the company saying its only about money. Tim

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Al,You said: "the film makes several deliberate errors in relation to this test footage in an attempt to support its assertion, notably, claiming that the 707 crash test was intended to test the structural integrity of the aircraft in an impact. This is completely untrue, it was in fact a test designed to deliberately rip open the fuel tanks so that a prototype fuel additive which would supposedly 'gel' aviation fuel on shock impact to prevent it misting into an inflammable vapour, could be tested (a test which it failed incidentally)How do you know that was all they intended to test? This is taken from Globalsecurity.com, explaining the 1984 test: "Although the 720 was considered obsolete, its structural design and construction were still representative of narrow-body transport aircraft in use at that time. Two major objectives were included in the tests: (1) to test an antimisting kerosene fuel in an FAA program to reduce the severity of aircraft crash fires and (2) to study structural crashworthiness." You also said:

The really dodgy part however, is that the film then claims the 707 impacted at a much higher speed than the 737 which crashed at Schiphol, this is deliberately misleading, because whilst the 707 was flying at a higher speed, it did not impact at a higher speed than the Schiphol 737, which was in a stalled condition when it slammed into the ground, so the 737's forward speed was slower, but its vertical impact speed was in fact much higher than that of the 707. It is deliberately falsifying 'evidence' such as this in order to support claims which throws doubt on all the other evidence, since if they can make that up, how do we know they aren't making other stuff up? In short, it is an example of very poor reportage which shoots itself in the &@($* as far as credibility is concerned.
How do you know they were falsifying evidence? That's quite an accusation, we can't expect everyone to have an in-depth knowledge of the laws of physics. To call them liars and crooks I think would be unjustified. Yes, the vertical impact speed might have been higher due to the stall at around 500ft, but the 707 did indeed impact the ground very hard at an awkward angle which was not the intenton of the people performing the test. The 707 was supposed to land wings level and in a stable forward descent. The fuselage took one hell of a beating, and yet it stayed intact. Compared to the AA crash in Jamaica for instance where the 737 overshot the runway at a measly 62 knots and managed to break into 3 seperate parts. The other 737 on the Colombian island crash-landed just before the start of the runway, and then continued to skid onto and along the runway. It too managed to break into 3 seperate parts in exactly the same points on the fuselage, just like the other 2. Is this normal? I don't know, maybe it is. Let's not forget though that the FAA guy and the aircraft manufacturing expert both said that airplanes are not supposed to break apart like that. Interesting film nonetheless.
I agree with Al, that article is garbage. The NG has an amazing safety record - pretty much every accident one's ever been involved in had nothing to do with the aircraft itself, all pilot error/fatigue etc. Runway overruns, stalls on approach, diving it into the water thinking it's on autopilot when it isn't etc...
I think the film was quite interesting. We can't just dismiss what all those people had to say as garbage. That's the kind of attitude that gets people killed, it's clearly something worth looking into. Here are some images of the 3 crashes all with exactly the same damage to the fuselage:737crashes.jpgLinks to images:http://activerain.co...ingston-jamaicahttp://www.appletrav...es/colombia.jpghttp://nycaviation.c...a-737-2-600.jpghttp://www.ed.nl/mul...FC_1050646b.JPGhttp://i.dailymail.c...797_468x346.jpg707 test:http://www.globalsec...rcraft/b720.htmMD-82 runway overshoot resulting in similar fuselage damage:http://en.wikipedia....nes_Flight_1420

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Emil,Take note that the structural breaks all occurred at places other than where the reinforcement plates are placed, which is the object of discussion. If the breaks occur in places other than the supposed "weak spots," then the evidence is actually stacked more against their argument than for.Your quick analysis of the AA crash in Jamaica understates the conditions, as well. A 707 impacting strakes in a desert (essentially flat land), versus the airports of Jamaica (and I'm not sure at which one the accident occurred, but the layouts are nearly identical), where each runway essentially has a drop into a body of water, or onto a road surface, likely with uneven terrain.While I agree with you that certain information should not be immediately dismissed, at the same time, information should not be immediately accepted without the proper vetting. If I told you that you shouldn't go skiing at Ådneram skitrekk because it's horrible and boring and not as good as Ålsheia, you'd want to check to see if I've actually even been to both before you accept my judgment. Or, in other terms, if I claim a certain sim developer's product was dismal, you'd want to make sure I have it or have used it before you make your judgment, because I could just be spouting someone else's ignorant opinion of how it functions (and this information is often the incorrect with realistic add-ons because people don't take the time to learn how they work, yet they'll write how horrible they were in said ignorance).The trick is balancing yourself in the middle, where you accept enough information to be knowledgeable, while rejecting the information that is not applicable or is not authentic. The problem with trusting human testimony over hard evidence (written or otherwise) is that perception changes over time and facts can be misconstrued and even completely erased from memory because the brain attempts to cover up all of the holes and inconsistencies. Also keep in mind that other people further misconstrue this evidence through clever editing and taking the information out of context (although, in some cases, it is a simple misunderstanding of the important parts of a point or quote). There is a famous example where a reporter stated that the plane that hit the Pentagon on 9/11 "looked like a missile," which further fueled the conspiracy theorists missile-not-airplane theory, when in fact he was only referring to the fact that the aircraft was going so fast and low that it looked as if it could be a missile, not that it was. His quote was taken out of context, and rampantly recirculated. There is also a quote from a lady up in Shanksville that said "it sounded like an atomic bomb," which they used as evidence that it was a bomb and not a missile. But what are her credentials? When was the last time someone (specifically, the woman) heard an atomic bomb? If not an atomic bomb, a bomb in general? Is she an ordinance expert? No. Probably not. She was sitting in her house, in the middle of the day and heard a loud bang. She then used hyperbole to indicate that the loud bang wasn't akin to a door being slammed, or a car crash; it was something completely out of the norm. Again, this bad information was preyed upon and rampantly recirculated. That rampant recirculation of bad evidence/data/etc is what we must, as a global society, resist. Everyone wants transparency in government and corporations, but the government and corporations resist because information can be misconstrued and used against them. Information can be dangerous, and too few understand that concept.I'll put it this way.A 747 pilot says on the intercom: "We've had an engine failure. We are going to divert to another airport and swap aircraft."Keep in mind, the thing is well-equipped to fly on 3 engines to the destination relatively safely, but I can guarantee most of the passengers will get off the plane and go spouting to the media the following:"It was a harrowing experience. We could have died. This airline must be unsafe."Meanwhile, the root cause for the engine out condition was determined to be the ingestion of a Condor. When that comes out, however, the damage is already done. But was their analysis true? You see it with aviation all the time, too, since a news outlet will find anyone who's even flown in an aircraft and call them an expert. This is also avoiding the fact that there are people working for the airlines who haven't the slightest clue why or how things work the way they do. Even some pilots.If anyone wants a point by point disassembly of the video, I'll do it. I did it for the Alex Jones 9/11 conspiracy videos, and I can probably pick out at least a couple issues for this video.

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Kyle,First of all, how do we know for sure that the structural breaks occured at places other than where the reinforcement plates were placed? It would be great if we could get that confirmed, then it would be much easier to dismiss those accidents as something else entirely. I've tried to search for some 737NG fuselage schematics, but to no avail. Anyway, I see your point about how people often times get confused, exaggerate and so on, in fact that's what your whole post was about. But is it really that easy? Everyone could be crazy people right? We never know, but there's comes a time when we just have to look at the facts and make a decision. These people were former Boeing employees who were sent as an internal audit team to investigate alleged quality control and regulatory compliance problems with parts manufactured by Ducommun. They found out that Ducommun were not making the parts correctly, and went to their boss who consequently told them to shut up. Now they were faced with two choices: Protecting themselves which meant ignoring what they saw, or turn into whistleblowers. They chose the latter as we witnessed in the video. Why would they do this? We also heard from a former FAA official and an aircraft manufacturing expert, as well as the lawyer who got their case. These people did not strike me as liars or confused individuals, and it's a little hard to dismiss them as such when they got hard evidence in the form of government letters, emails and other documents supporting their claims.I urge you to take a look at the documents Al Jazeera submitted in the article. They are in PDF format and consist of around 160 pages of interesting information.

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