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FAA + Boeing manipulated 737 Max tests during recertificat?

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Not really a surprise to me, it's why I said ages ago that I won't be getting on one. I'm a massive fan of the 737, but the Max is a variant too far for that airframe design and that's all there is to it.

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Alan Bradbury

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You would think, given the worldwide coverage of the MAX debacle that further manipulations would have been so ill-advised as to not make them a thing.

If investigations and tests are carried out properly would they indicate that the MAX is indeed "one 737 variant too many" after all? :unsure:

Still, I am open to a totally free return flight as adjustable ballast :rolleyes: (Emphasis on the return part...)

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Mark Robinson

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I will become skeptical about the the safety of the max only if one becomes lost in the hands of a reputable airline who's right seat minimums are in the 1000's. Until then the tin foil hat brigade can say whatever they want. My bet is that day will never come for me.

Edited by Garys

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28 minutes ago, Garys said:

My bet is that day will never come for me.

I feel the same about my free return flight.. :dry:

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Mark Robinson

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On 12/18/2020 at 9:53 PM, Chock said:

Not really a surprise to me, it's why I said ages ago that I won't be getting on one. I'm a massive fan of the 737, but the Max is a variant too far for that airframe design and that's all there is to it.

I agree!  The B737 was a fantastic design, but like all aircraft, it has design limitations.


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On 12/20/2020 at 1:13 PM, Garys said:

I will become skeptical about the the safety of the max only if one becomes lost in the hands of a reputable airline who's right seat minimums are in the 1000's. 

I didn't check how many hours the crew had in that crash, but Ethiopian Airlines has a very good reputation. It is even a member of Star Alliance. 

Peter


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3 hours ago, qqwertzde said:

I didn't check how many hours the crew had in that crash, but Ethiopian Airlines has a very good reputation. It is even a member of Star Alliance. 

Peter

Both of them where flying right seat in airliners before we would even have enough hours to sit the exam for a commercial license here in Canada. 

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1 hour ago, Garys said:

Both of them where flying right seat in airliners before we would even have enough hours to sit the exam for a commercial license here in Canada. 

I am from Canada, but not a real pilot, so I do not know how many hours you need here. However, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_Airlines_Flight_302#Aircraft_and_crew , the pilot "had been flying with the airline for almost nine years and had logged a total of 8,122 flight hours, including 4,120 hours on the Boeing 737. He had been a Boeing 737-800 captain since November 2017, and Boeing 737 MAX since July 2018". This does not contradict your statement, but it appears to me that the pilot had a lot of experience at the time when the crash happened. The copilot was less experienced ("361 flight hours logged, including 207 hours on the Boeing 737").

Peter


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34 minutes ago, qqwertzde said:

I am from Canada, but not a real pilot, so I do not know how many hours you need here. However, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_Airlines_Flight_302#Aircraft_and_crew , the pilot "had been flying with the airline for almost nine years and had logged a total of 8,122 flight hours, including 4,120 hours on the Boeing 737. He had been a Boeing 737-800 captain since November 2017, and Boeing 737 MAX since July 2018". This does not contradict your statement, but it appears to me that the pilot had a lot of experience at the time when the crash happened. The copilot was less experienced ("361 flight hours logged, including 207 hours on the Boeing 737").

Peter

That info on wiki isn't correct. Captain only had 1520 hrs total on the 737, 103 hrs being on the max. Between them the crew had 159hrs combined on the max but those low hrs  is normal for airlines operating a new fleet type.  http://www.ecaa.gov.et/Home/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Preliminary-Report-B737-800MAX-ET-AVJ.pdf

What Isn't normal though is putting basically student pilots in the right seat of commercial airliners, allowing them to build thousands of hours by pressing the autopilot @ 400ft and then promoting them to command positions with practically no real stick and rudder experience throughout their entire career. That is not the fault of the crews flying these aircraft, but that of the airlines, who base training on the minimum requirements set by the local regulatory aviation authority. It's quite sad really. 

As badly as the MAX was botched by Boeing initially, The problems of these two crashes stems further than a poorly designed and implemented aircraft.   

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I assume that subsequent simulated flights were conducted after these crashes, to see if the issues were recoverable? Was it the MCAS software itself, or more a case of the pilots not being aware that the MCAS system was even there?


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Both at least for the first one. Communication about the MCAS system became very well known in 2018, but as we saw in the final report there were deficiencies from all sides involved including the airline. 2019 should never of happened based on the media coverage of 2018 and communications sent to MAX operators from Boeing. 

From the 2019 report - During takeoff roll, the engines stabilized at about 94% N1, which matched the N1 Reference recorded on the DFDR. From this point for most of the flight, the N1 Reference remained about 94% and the throttles did not move.

Regardless of the cause, no pitch down attitude is going to be recoverable with that sort of engine power no matter what the aircraft type and its the pilots job to manage that.

Despite what is currently going on with the FAA and Boeing, I'm more afraid of the trend in the airline industry for these in house training academies and first officer programs that are recruiting pilots straight out of school with no previous flying experience and putting them in the right seat of airliners with only 100hrs.

Pick up a new musical instrument and see how good we are after 100hrs. Most of us probably still wouldn't be good enough to join a club band let alone play on stage with the New York Symphony Orchestra but that's were it's all heading.

 

Edited by Garys
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7 hours ago, Christopher Low said:

I assume that subsequent simulated flights were conducted after these crashes, to see if the issues were recoverable? Was it the MCAS software itself, or more a case of the pilots not being aware that the MCAS system was even there?

The Lion Air crew didn't know of MCAS or what was going on exactly on the accident flight. The Ethiopian crew knew of it through the service bulletins issued by Boeing and obviously because of media coverage since the first accident. They followed the stabilizer trim runaway checklist that Boeing had told operators to use for an MCAS malfunction and had the aircraft under control with a slight climb gradient as well. The mistake though was that they deviated from the procedures after successfully executing them by re-activating the automatic trim system which then responded again to MCAS inputs and ultimately brought the aircraft down. Why exactly they re-activated it will probably never be known, but it's likely because they found themselves unable to trim manually due to the excessive aerodynamic loads on the stabilizer which resulted from the crew forgetting about thrust and speed, as Gary pointed out.

Technically, the Ethiopian flight was save and the malfunction dealt with before the re-activation of the automatic trim system. That's where it gets complicated because of human factors that Boeing and the FAA essentially overestimated by believing pilots would react faster and more appropriately to an MCAS malfunction.

Some simulator test runs after the accidents reportedly showed that pilots were struggling to diagnose and recover even when they knew what was about to happen in a non-life threatening scenario. Contrary to this several Lion Air crews who flew the accident aircraft the days before were experiencing the AoA failure and resulting malfunctions as well but didn't have any more problems dealing with it than noting the incidents to maintenance afterwards (though the reports were incomplete, leaving out what warnings exactly were encountered, which might have prevented the accident with maintenance being able to narrow in on the exact issue and grounding the obviously unairworthy aircraft). Especially notable is the crew who last flew the accident aircraft before the crew of the accident flight, experiencing repeated nose down trim inputs as well, but who diagnosed it as a runaway trim and disabled the automatic trim system before continuing to the destination by trimming manually (though instead of returning to the departure airport). This I think proves it was recoverable, which is why I don't quite understand why the simulator sessions would prove it was not realistically recoverable. They seem to contradict what happened on the real flights before the Lion Air accident.

There is no doubt that Boeing and in part the FAA are to blame for what happened and that the main cause was a bad MCAS design. The question about whether the accidents could or should have been prevented by the flight crews is controversial and there are a lot of contradictory conclusions even among aviation professionals.

Edited by threegreen
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