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Latest 737 Max Fault... Rooted In Software



From Bloomberg

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Latest 737 Max Fault That Alarmed Test Pilots Rooted in Software

By Alan Levin

As U.S. government test pilots ran through dozens of flight scenarios on the Boeing Co. 737 Max in recent weeks, a potential failure got their attention.

The plane’s flight computer tried to push the aircraft’s nose down repeatedly during a simulator run, prompted by a stream of erroneous flight data. The Federal Aviation Administration pilot concluded commercial pilots might not have time to react and avoid a tragedy in a real plane.

That flaw -- the latest discovered on the family of jets involved in two fatal crashes since October triggered by a different failure that pushed their noses down -- was revealed by FAA last month. It threw new uncertainty on the return to flight of the Chicago-based company’s best-selling model and sent its engineers scrambling for a fix.

Interviews with people familiar with the failure suggest it triggered multiple, aggressive movements to lower the plane’s nose, which alarmed the FAA pilots and other officials. However, the nose-down motion didn’t occur as a result of a computer hardware fault, according to one of the people, who asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak about the matter.

That would add credibility to Boeing’s assertions that it can fix the issue with a relatively simple software change.

“We are confident that is a software update, not a hardware update,” Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said during an earnings call on Wednesday. “It’s an understood update and we’re in the middle of working our way through that.”

Muilenburg said the company expects it can complete a software patch by the end of September, while cautioning that the timeline remains uncertain. The FAA, which must sign off on any fix in the glaring spotlight of the 737 Max investigations, hasn’t set a deadline or agreed with Boeing’s assessment that software changes alone will suffice.

The agency has declined to comment on the situation beyond a statement it issued June 26 saying the flaw was discovered during the routine process to test the aircraft. “The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate,” the agency said in its statement without describing the details.

Two people briefed on the flight test shared more details of the failure than were released when it was revealed.

In the fault, a wing at the tail of the Boeing jet known as the horizontal stabilizer was rotating in a way that lowered the nose, according to both people. That same scenario occurred during fatal accidents off the coast of Indonesia and in Ethiopia when a safety feature known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System activated during a malfunction.

However, the newly discovered problem wasn’t triggered by MCAS, said one of the people.

It was prompted instead by multiple erroneous data streams in a flight computer that occurred simultaneously, the person said. It was simulated in tests even though it has never been documented to have occurred during flight, the people said. Anticipating every possible outcome of even the most unlikely failures is part of how safety assessments are conducted during certification.

The failure scenario was known previously and had been assessed in a safety analysis when the plane was certified before entering service in 2017. At that time, Boeing concluded that pilots could overcome the nose-down movement by performing a procedure to shut off the motor driving the stabilizer movement.

Projecting that pilots would mitigate a hazard from a malfunction is common on jetliners, but that was part of the reason that FAA approved MCAS initially, a now-controversial decision that is being reviewed by Congress and other outside panels. Even though it was possible for pilots in both fatal crashes to have counteracted MCAS, the crews were unable to do so.

When the newly discovered computer failure began trimming the nose down in the recent test, it was more difficult than expected for test pilots to counteract, according to the other person briefed on the tests, who also asked not to be identified.

The second person wasn’t able to confirm that faulty data streams triggered the nose-down movements.

One of the ways pilots are taught to respond to a so-called “trim runaway,” which is what the computer issue prompted, is to activate switches on the control column that move the horizontal stabilizer. Doing so can counteract the malfunction, even if only temporarily, so that pilots have more time to perform other emergency actions.

Using the trim switches to halt the horizontal stabilizer movement proved difficult, though test pilots were able to respond to the failure and maintain control. As a result, they concluded that a typical pilot might not be able to respond adequately, the people said.

Because the fault was triggered by specific streams of erroneous flight data, a new software patch can be devised that monitors the computer for that highly unusual condition and prevents movement of the stabilizer when it occurs, one of the people said.

The 737 Max family of aircraft has been grounded by the U.S. since March 13 and has cost Boeing and airlines billions of dollars. Boeing announced July 18 that it was reducing revenue and pre-tax earnings by $5.6 billion in the second quarter of this year.

American Airlines Group Inc. predicted Thursday that it would take a $400 million hit on profit this year due to the plane’s woes and Southwest Airlines Co. said it wouldn’t add the 737 Max back to its schedule until early next year.

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Southwest Ends Flights Out Of Newark Airport

From Zero Hedge

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Southwest Ends Flights Out Of Newark Airport As 737 MAX Grounding Takes Its Toll

By Tyler Durden

When Southwest reported its earnings Thursday morning, it also made a stunning announcement that shows just how badly the 737 MAX 8's best customer has been hurt by the grounding.

Just as Boeing warns that it could halt production of the troublesome 737 MAX 8 if the plane's return to the skies is delayed any longer, Southwest Airlines, the 737 MAX 8's best customer, is reportedly planning to cease operations at Newark Airport. The decision is a direct result of the 737 MAX 8's grounding.

A representative for the airline said the decision is a "necessary step" to mitigate damages from the "extensive delays" in the recertification process for the MAX. The airline is planning to consolidate its New York-area presence at LaGuardia Airport in Queens, WSJ reports.

The airline is planning to cease operations in Newark on Nov. 3. The airline launched service out of Newark in 2011 and was recently offering 20 daily departures to 10 cities.

At the time of the Ethiopian Air Crash, the second of two crashes involving the 737 MAX 8 that killed a combined 346 people, Southwest had received 31 737 MAX 8s, more than any other airline, and it had orders in for nearly 250 more.

Southwest said its Newark operations have been performing below expectations, while customer demand for more flights out of LaGuardia is "strong." Customers will be offered options to change their travel plans, and Southwest employees will have the opportunity to relocate to other locations, including LaGuardia.

Because of the 737 MAX 8's grounding, Southwest expects its available seat miles, a widely watched airline industry metric of passenger-carrying capacity, to decline by 1% of 2% YoY in 2019. Before the grounding, it had anticipated capacity growth of nearly 5%.

As revealed following yesterday's earnings report, Boeing now expects the 737 MAX 8 will return to the skies either late this year, or in January 2020. According to CEO Dennis Muilenberg, Boeing expects to submit its "final certification package" to the FAA in September.

Shares of the airline tumbled 5% on Thursday in premarket trading after the low-budget carrier said it doesn't plan to fly the 737 MAX 8 again until next year. It has removed the MAX 8 from its schedules through Jan. 5. Its Q2 revenues came in slightly below estimates.

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Boeing Thinks A Human Life Is Worth Just $150,000

From Zero Hedge

boeing737max_719By Tyler Durden

Two weeks ago, we noted how, after ignoring them for months (presumably at the behest of its legal department), Boeing had decided to dedicate $100 million (roughly 1% of its 2018 revenue) to the families of the victims from the Lion Air and Ethiopian Air crashes. However, that number came with a catch: Some of the money would be used for 'community development' and 'education efforts'.

Split among the families of the 346 victims, at $100 million, each family would receive just under $300,000 - a pittance when one considers that this is compensation meant to offset the taking of a human life.

But as it turns out, the families won't even get that much, because as CNBC reported on Wednesday, Boeing is planning to distribute only $50 million to the families of victims, and will retain Ken Feinberg (famous for being the special master of the US government's Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund) as co-administrator of victims' fund. The rest will presumably go to these unspecified initiatives that the company has mentioned.

For the record, this breaks down to just $144,508 per human life.

We're sure the callousness with which Boeing has treated the families of the victims of the two crashes that led to the global grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX 8 (and exposed serious flaws in Boeing's safety testing processes and the FAA's oversight) will make them even more willing to settle the multitude of litigation that the aerospace company is facing.

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Boeing Loses $5.9 Billion 737 MAX Order To Airbus As Saudi Airline Loses Patience

From Zero Hedge

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By Tyler Durden

The Saudi budget airline Flyadeal has lost patience with the ongoing grounding of Boeing's flagship 737 MAX airplane, and on Sunday announced it would not proceed with a $5.9 billion order for 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, instead opting for a fleet of Airbus A320 jets, with options for a further 20 of the jets.

According to Reuters, Flyadeal has been reconsidering a commitment to order the Boeing jets after two MAX aircraft crashed in Ethiopia in March and Indonesia last October, and which killed a total of 346 people, triggering the global grounding of the aircraft and wiped billions off Boeing’s market value. On Sunday, it finally pulled the plug when it announced it would take delivery of 30 A320 neos ordered by its parent, state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines, at the Paris Air Show in June.

“This order will result in flyadeal operating an all-Airbus A320 fleet in the future,” it said.

Flyadeal, which has operated leased A320 jets since launching in September 2017, will take delivery of the new Airbus aircraft from 2021.

“We understand that flyadeal will not finalize its commitment to the 737 MAX at this time given the airline’s schedule requirements,” a Boeing spokesperson said in their most diplomatic tone as the last thing Boeing wants is the rest of the world following in Flyadeal's footsteps.

Boeing said in a statement that it wished “the Flyadeal team well as it builds out its operations”, adding that its workforce “continues to focus on safely returning the 737 Max to service and resuming deliveries of Max aeroplanes”.

The latest setback for Boeing comes after the Saudi airline signed a $5.9 billion deal for the Boeing aircraft in December but found it impossible to keep waiting for Boeing's regulatory hurdles to clear. Flyadeal said the order would “result in Flyadeal operating an all-Airbus A320 fleet in the future”.

This is hardly the last order cancellation for Boeing which has hundreds of billions at stake in its order backlog as the 737 MAX remains grounded worldwide and regulators must approve the fix and new pilot training before the jets can fly again. Oman Air warned in June it would hold talks with Airbus if Boeing did not provide support and recovery for the MAX. Meanwhile, Emirati carrier flydubai said in April it could order A320neos as replacements for the MAX jets.

Meanwhile, telegraphing that the MAX will remain grounded for even longer than anticipated, on Friday Europe’s aviation regulator outlined five major requirements it wants Boeing to address before it will allow the planemaker’s 737 Max to return to service, according to Bloomberg. One of them, about the jet’s autopilot function, hasn’t surfaced previously as an area of concern.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has sent its list to both the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing; The FAA hasn’t publicly discussed details about what changes it’s demanding on the Max, so it’s difficult to know whether the EASA demands differ dramatically -- and whether they would significantly boost the cost and time to get the Max back in the air.

EASA’s checklist includes a number of issues that have been disclosed: the potential difficulty pilots have in turning the jet’s manual trim wheel, the unreliability of the Max’s angle of attack sensors, inadequate training procedures, and a software issue flagged just last week by the FAA pertaining to a lagging microprocessor. But the agency also listed a previously unreported concern: the autopilot failing to disengage in certain emergencies.

“Any of these could significantly affect the return to service, but we don’t know if they are actually going to become requirements or are they just items for discussion,’’ said John Cox, a former 737 pilot who is president of the aviation consulting company Safety Operating Systems.

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Why Boeing May Never Recover From 737 Debacle

Via Zero Hedge

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Authored by Marshall Auerback, this article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute,

Many of us are familiar with the acronym “FUBAR.” A recent New York Times article on the Boeing 737 fiasco provides a perfect illustration of the concept. We’re now learning that the company “built deadly assumptions” into its newly designed 737 Max aircraft and, specifically, its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

Even worse, the Times account concludes that the recent air crashes that have resulted in a worldwide grounding of the Boeing Max plane “might have been avoided, if employees and regulators had a better understanding of MCAS” and if the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) itself was not operating with outdated data on the software changes (which Boeing failed to provide).

The analysis is excellent as far as it goes. But the most damning fact only briefly hinted at in the article is that the problems were evident as early as 2012, some five years before the newest 737 version was marketed and sold across the globe.

At its core, this was a hardware problem, not a software issue. Even when Boeing was using a relatively “safer” version of the early MCAS software (that was later changed to a more dangerous version), the new 737 still had an engine too large to be accommodated in its traditional spot on the plane, which ultimately distorted “the relationship between the engine’s ‘thrust’ and its center of gravity,” as I’ve written before. The resultant aerodynamic problems could not be solved with a software “solution,” no matter how “safe” the original MCAS version (that was ultimately changed to an even more dangerous version) was purported to be.

Just don’t expect any blowback from Washington. The whole episode provides yet another sick illustration of how the entire system of governance in the US has degenerated into a fully fledged “predator state.” About the only good thing that might emerge from this whole fiasco is that Boeing will provide future Master of Business Administration students with a textbook example of how not to manage a crisis. Likewise, future historians and political scientists will marvel in incredulity at the magnitude of corruption that enveloped the US during this very dark time in the life of the republic. Assuming, of course, that there still anything left worth studying by that point.

This is also a story of deception, as The New York Times points out. Throughout the process, Boeing also actively misled the FAA whenever the industry regulatory overseer raised questions. Who was the agent of deception?

In this account, the Times identifies one of the leading protagonists responsible for the Boeing disaster, Mark Forkner. Forkner was “the Max’s chief technical pilot” – not merely a “test pilot” – who was in charge of the plane’s training manuals. More significant, he was Boeing’s point man who neglected to tell the FAA that the MCAS software “was in the midst of an overhaul, according to … three FAA officials.” Forkner requested removing the description of the MCAS from the pilot’s manual, and, as The New York Times reports, “Under the impression that the system was relatively benign and rarely used, the FAA eventually approved Mr Forkner’s request, the three officials said.”

The question is, was Forkner intentionally deceptive, or simply incompetent?

In his defense, the Times suggests that “Mr Forkner largely worked on flight simulators, which didn’t fully mimic MCAS,” implying perhaps that he didn’t have a full understanding of the MCAS software overhaul. If true, that would suggest that Boeing’s senior management wrongly appointed an incompetent to deal with the FAA.

The other interpretation is that Forkner’s lawyer might be telegraphing a legal defense, diminishing his role in anticipation of a lawsuit. That may be less credible, given that Forkner himself was a former FAA employee, thus in effect a revolving-door technological lobbyist (unregistered) who would therefore be well placed to deceive the FAA training-certification engineers into approving whatever training cover-ups Boeing needed to hide to sell more airplanes. Whenever the FAA pushed, Forkner pushed back.

The New York Times also parenthetically mentions that Forkner started his flying career as a US Air Force pilot. Given how the USAF conducts its own lobbying activities in DC, this was likely a formative influence on his revolving-door ethics and yet another example of the polluting influence of the military on a once successful civilian enterprise, given the Pentagon’s (especially the USAF’s) own pathologies in this area.

Even if Forkner is ultimately absolved of responsibility, it does not absolve Boeing. Rather, it represents a monumental management failure on the part of its stability and control aerodynamicists, not its software engineers.

 

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Recall that the genesis of this disaster was a problem of hardware, not just MCAS. The extra lift of the far larger-diameter engines of the 737 Max (placed on a different position on the wing) caused the plane to pitch up whenever it approached stall angles of attack at both high and low speeds. This is a problem that should have become glaringly obvious to the greenest of aerodynamics personnel at Boeing the moment the first wind-tunnel model was tested at angles of attack higher than stall (it may have even been obvious on even earlier fluid-dynamics computer-simulation results).

The New York Times notes the observations of Ray Craig, then Boeing’s chief test pilot, that the plane wasn’t flying smoothly even during the early development phase (that is, in 2012, five years before the first sales). After high-speed tests flown in the computer simulator, Craig noted that the newer model was not flying as well as the old model. In response, he advocated a hardware solution to rectify the problem, which Boeing management rejected on the grounds that such “high-speed situations were so rare that … the software would never actually kick in,” the first of many assumptions that would ultimately prove fatal in the two eventual plane crashes.

Reading between the lines, however, it is evident that the original software designers were aware of and had already quantified the pitch-up problem in the plane (which arose because of the larger engine that had affected the plane’s center of gravity) and therefore had already programmed it into the simulator before the test pilot runs in 2012.

To mitigate the hardware flaws, The New York Times explains that “engineers initially designed MCAS to trigger when the plane exceeded at least two separate thresholds, according to three people who worked on the 737 Max. One involved the plane’s angle to the wind, and the other involved so-called G-force, or the force on the plane that typically comes from accelerating.”

It is true that the initial MCAS software for the high-speed problem was a relatively safe and competent two-sensor, G-force and angle-of-attack solution. The problem is that this “fix” would not work at low speeds because G-forces at low speed were too small to trigger an alarm in the 737 Max.

 

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It is almost beyond belief that, once having tested and found a high-speed pitch-up problem programmed into the simulator in 2012, no one – neither the chief test pilot nor the aerodynamicists (the engineers responsible for the interaction of moving objects, such as airplanes with the atmosphere) – thought to check the wind-tunnel data or test the simulator to see whether there was a corresponding low-speed pitch-up problem.

I previously highlighted that low-speed pitch-up is far more dangerous than the relatively rare problem of very “heavy” or high angle-of-attack maneuvering at high speed. This is because takeoffs and landings occur at low speed, and takeoffs and landings are always done at relatively high angles of attack. But it was not until the 737 Max prototype was flown four years later – in 2016 – that anyone reported a low-speed pitch-up problem, and then it was not an aerodynamicist but, once again, a test pilot (Ed Wilson, the new chief test pilot for the plane) who insisted there was an issue.

Here is where the problems began to cascade. Since Boeing management had already imposed the MCAS Band-Aid (in lieu of a hardware fix, albeit a relatively safe version), the cheapest, quickest and easiest-to-cover-up fix for the impossible-to-ignore low-speed problem was to issue a new, and even more ineffective, Band-Aid to the existing MCAS. In the process, it changed MCAS from a relatively safe and competent fix to a disastrously unsafe, mindlessly stupid single-sensor solution. As The New York Times reported:

“The change proved pivotal. Expanding the use of MCAS to lower-speed situations required removing the G-force threshold. MCAS now needed to work at low speeds so G-force didn’t apply.

“The change meant that a single angle-of-attack sensor was the lone guard against a misfire. Although modern 737 jets have two angle-of-attack sensors, the final version of MCAS took data from just one.”

Amazingly, the change was not subject to any further scrutiny from the FAA because, according to William Schubbe, whom the Times describes as “a senior FAA official who worked with the training group,” Boeing had told him that “this thing is so transparent to the pilot that there’s no need to demonstrate any kind of failing.” In any event, the FAA had already repeatedly shown itself to be out of its depth in terms of determining the overall safety of the plane, having in effect subcontracted much of its oversight to Boeing itself.

The Boeing 737 crashes are tragedies. But what truly moves this tragedy into the realm of sheer predation and, indeed, criminality, is the (non-)response of the US government. In spite of everything we now know, there has been no rethink of amending this long-standing laissez-faire revolving-door regulatory approach, especially in the current White House. Consider that the newly appointed secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, is already under investigation for allegedly lobbying improperly on behalf of his former company.

Additionally, the administration of President Donald Trump is rolling back safety regulations in the rail sector, in effect re-creating the self-regulatory conditions that now prevail at the FAA, reports Justin Mikulka from Desmog. In short, Trump’s predatory practices continue unabated: the swamp gets filled up even further as more of these fiascos occur. And the truth is that until regulatory bodies like the FAA get a proper budget that will allow them to take on the job of becoming credible third-party regulators, their actions will continue to prove ineffectual.

We can only imagine what is next – allowing the criminals to regulate the prison system? Beyond the scale of human tragedy, the whole episode provides another sad illustration that our system of governance remains profoundly sick, perhaps terminal. Washington policymakers continue to make the citizenry even more ill through their venal corruption – that is, when their political malpractice doesn’t literally kill them in the process.

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It's Airbus 13,000,000,000 - Boeing 0, On The First Day Of The Paris Air Show

From Zero Hedge

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By Tyler Durden

As the jarring truth about Boeing's "cost-cutting above all" philosophy involving the company's deadly, ill-fated 737 MAX (or whatever the company's ill-fated plane may be called soon) receives an ever-wider public appreciation, the company is finding it increasingly difficult to do business as usual.

Take the Paris Air Show, traditionally the venue where the world's largest aircraft makers lock in deals worth tens of billions of dollars. Well, the first day of the 2019 edition of this boondoggle couldn't have gone any worse for Boeing, and alternatively it couldn't have been better for Airbus, which locked in $13 billion in orders for new jets.

Boeing's tally? $0.

Among those lining up to order Europe's iconic (if subsidized) airlines included Air Lease Corp., the giant US leasing company, which agreed to buy planes worth $11 billion before customary discounts, including the new A321XLR. Virgin Atlantic also bought eight A330 wide-bodies with options for six more.

And that's just the beginning: according to Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury, "there’s room to run up the score", as Bloomberg reports, and with good reason: while Boeing is scrambling to drag the name of its workhorse 737 Max out of the mud as it languishes on the tarmac - literally - after it was idled indefinitely in March after two deadly crashes, Airbus said it was seeing “very strong demand” for its rival A320 family of single-aisle jets.

“As far as we are concerned, you should expect a very positive Paris Air Show with a lot of orders,” Faury said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Boeing... not so much.

Which is ironic, because just one year ago, the tables were turned. Back then, Airbus, having just gone through a jarring management transition - fallout from a multi-year bribery investigation - announced 431 orders valued at $62 billion at the alternating Farnborough air show in the U.K. That lagged Boeing’s commitments for 528 jetliners valued at $79 billion through the week last year.

Of course, most of the Boeing buyers are now considering whether to cancel their orders depending on what the fate of the MAX will be.

So it is now Airbus' moment in the sun: according to Bloomberg, "the Air Lease order in particular provided a vote of confidence in the A321XLR, a twin-engine jet that can travel 4,700 nautical miles, more than any other narrow-body on the market. The plane is positioned as a more fuel-efficient successor to Boeing’s discontinued 757, able to connect smaller cities that can’t support service by big wide-body jets."

The model is also meant to take the wind out of the sails of Boeing’s planned “new midmarket airplane,” or NMA. That jet, dubbed the 797 by analysts, is on hold while the Chicago-based company works through the Max crisis. Airbus’s decision to start sales of the XLR could help sway customers who had been looking at both options.

Airbus’s Air Lease deal also included the A220 plane that the Toulouse, France-based company acquired last year from Canada’s Bombardier Inc. and has been marketing harder, providing a further fillip.

Defiant, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, gave no ground on either the Max or the NMA, saying that the former will return to service before the end of 2019 and remain the backbone of the company’s short-haul strategy for years to come, in a Bloomberg Television interview. He may be overly optimistic if the best strategy Boeing can come up with is rebranding the plane in hopes of putting its troubles away.

As we reported earlier, CFO Greg Smith said - in all seriousness - that the Max’s branding could be dropped depending on an assessment of consumer and airline sentiment. Perhaps observing the uniform derision that greeted the news, Boeing emphasized in a subsequent statement that it had no immediate plans for a name change.

But if the first day was bad, the final airshow total will be devastating for Boeing. According to aviation consultancy IBA Group, firm and outline orders will total 575 planes, with 435 going to Airbus. That would compare with close to 1,000 at Farnborough.

"Like Farnborough 2018, the Paris Air Show started relatively slowly," Morris said, suggesting Monday’s action would be eclipsed in coming days. "Perhaps the fashion is now for Day 3 to be the high-water mark."

Which begs the question: yes, buyers may be recoiling at the thought of buying a Boeing, so to speak, but just how much of a global collapse is there in aircraft demand right now, and is that an indicator that the global recession has - as Morgan Stanley mused earlier today - indeed arrived?

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Is the Second Antonov AN-225 Close to Completion?

From Aviation Tribune

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By Aviation Tribune

The Antonov AN-225 is known to be the largest cargo aircraft in the world. Developed in the 1980’s, so far just one model has been introduced onto the market. However, a second Antonov AN-225 which has been in development since the cold war, is now speculated to be near to completion.

So, just how close to completion is the second Antonov AN-225 and why has the aircraft generated such a huge reputation?

What is the Antonov AN-225?

The original Antonov AN-225 first took to the skies in 1988. The manufacturer named the plane “Mriya”, which translates to “Dream” in Ukrainian. It is the largest cargo plane ever to be built and has remained in service since its launch.

It was originally created to transport spacecraft as the United States and the Soviet Union were interlocked in a space race at the time. There wasn’t any aircraft large enough to transport the large equipment and spacecraft, so Antonov was tasked with building one.

It took just three years to build Mriya, and she successfully completed her original mission of delivering a Buran spacecraft over to Baikonur. Even decades later, Mriya remains the heaviest and largest cargo plane ever built. As it is so large, the pilots flying the plane need to undergo specialist training. This ensures they can successfully deal with the challenges which come from trying to manoeuvre the aircraft.

 

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As the first AN-225 was successful, the Soviet Union planned to build an additional three models. Work began on the second in 1989 but was doomed when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Although work continued on the aircraft, it eventually came to a stop in 1994.

What is the current state of the second Antonov AN-225?

The second AN-225 has sat half-built in a Ukraine warehouse for decades. However, in 2016, China signed a deal with Antonov to restart the second plane production. The initial goal was to complete the construction of the second plane by 2019. So, now we’ve reached that milestone, is the plane any closer to completion?

As of September 2018, the second AN-225 remains incomplete. It is thought to be around 70% completed, but additional funding is required. Antonov is hoping to secure from £190 million to £270 million in order to finalise the build.

The benefits and specifications of the AN-225

The AN-225 boasts extraordinary benefits and specifications. With just one operational model in the world, it’s unsurprisingly gathered interest from some of the biggest plane charter companies such as Chapman Freeborn.

Powered by six turbo engines, the plane is capable of traveling 9569 miles with a full fuel tank. Considering its huge size, it’s surprisingly fast too. It benefits from a maximum speed of 528mph, and a cruising speed of 497mph. One of its most impressive specifications is the fact it can carry a massive 250 tonnes of weight.

 

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The Antonov AN-225 is certainly an impressive model. If the second plane is finalized, it offers a lot of potential in the cargo sector. Being able to move large loads would reduce the need for multiple trips, in turn benefitting the environment. All of the parts of the second plane have been manufactured. It just needs the additional funding to finish the build. Experts claim that once there is a demand for this type of carrier, it won’t take long to finalize it and get it in the air.

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FAA Says No Timetable For MAX Return

From Airline Ratings

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By Steve Creedy

There is no timetable to return the Boeing 737 MAX back to flight and the decision will depend solely on whether or not the jet is deemed to be safe, a senior US Federal Aviation Administration official has said.

The comments came as the FAA and representatives of other global regulators met in an attempt to get a co-ordinated response to the grounding of the 737 MAX fleet after two fatal accidents.

Elwell was asked whether airlines that had taken the MAX out of their schedules would need to revise their plans to take into account a longer wait.

“No they don’t need to make any changes to their plans,’’ FAA acting head Daniel Elwell told CNBC. “But they just need to know there isn’t a timetable for bringing the 737 MAX back to flight.

“There are only one criteria: when we’re done without analysis and it’s safe to bring let the 737 MAX fly again.”

Elwell said it could be a month, two months or longer but it would depend on the FAA’s analysis of a software fix for the aircraft’s flight control software.

The FAA would prefer the lifting of the grounding to be global but there has been pushback from some regulators, including the Europeans.

Elwell would not be drawn on whether pilots needed to take simulator training before flying the jet again and said training was still under review.

Elwell said it was the FAA’s responsibility to make the approval and it would be the first to do so regardless.

“And if the rest of the world agrees with our analysis, which is why we have 33 countries here today, then that is the goal,” he said.

Four audits and investigations are underway into the FAA’s certification processes but Elwell said the MAX had been certified in the same way every aircraft had been certified and had made aviation the safest mode of transportation.

“We rely on those processes but we don’t sit still on those processes,’’ he said.

“We’re constantly learning how to refine them. The American public and the world will see that the 737 MAX is safe when we return it to flight and they’ll get back on the MAX and fly it again.”

“Our team, our airline customers, and regulators place the highest priority on the safety of the flying public,’’ Boeing said in a statement.

“Once we have addressed the information requests from the FAA, we will be ready to schedule a certification test flight and submit final certification documentation.”

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Did The FAA Drop The Ball While Certifying Boeing Anti-Stall Software Suspected In 2 Deadly Crashes?

From Zero Hedge

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By Tyler Durden

It seems like barely a day goes by without the Wall Street Journal or some other news organization publishing some alarming scoop about oversights or unexplained lapses at Boeing or the FAA during the certification process of the 737 MAX 8.

We've already learned that Boeing didn't realize until after the Lion Air crash back in October that a warning system meant to alert pilots when MCAS - the anti-stall software suspected in contributing to two deadly crashes - was malfunctioning had been made an optional feature on all of the 737 8s it sold to Southwest, its largest customer. And neither did the FAA.

Now, ahead of a hearing before a House Transportation subcommittee on Wednesday, WSJ is reporting that senior FAA officials weren't involved in the agency's review of MCAS, despite the unprecedented power delegated to the system in the new generation of 737s, because the agency viewed the system as a "non-critical safety risk."

Asked how it arrived at this conclusion, the agency told WSJ that Boeing hadn't designated MCAS as a critical system, and the agency simply took the aerospace company at its word.

  • The results, these officials said, also indicate that during the certification process, Boeing didn’t flag the automated stall-prevention feature as a system whose malfunction or failure could cause a catastrophic event. Such a designation would have led to more intense scrutiny. FAA engineers and midlevel managers deferred to Boeing’s early safety classification, the inquiry determined, allowing company experts to conduct subsequent analyses of potential hazards with limited agency oversight. Boeing employees who served as designated agency representatives signed off on the final design, according to people familiar with the findings.
  • The people who described the report didn’t specify what information and safety data Boeing shared with the FAA during the approval process, a topic that is a major focus of various ongoing investigations. Also at issue is whether agency officials performed any assessment on their own about the system’s initial safety classification, according to aviation industry officials, pilot unions and others tracking the investigations.

According to the report details leaked to WSJ, it's not clear why Boeing didn't designate MCAS as a 'critical system', though the FAA doesn't believe the company intentionally violated any certification rules. It's also unclear what kind of oversight process, if any, the FAA exercised over Boeing's decision. Boeing, in turn, said that it didn't feel the system was 'critical' - and that relying on a single sensor for flight data was appropriate - because pilots could simply switch MCAS off. Though that didn't pan out in practice, as the pilots of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights both tried, and failed, to disable MCAS before the system forced their planes into a deadly downward dive.

  • The FAA’s administrative review, launched in March in the wake of the second fatal crash, didn’t uncover efforts by Boeing to flout certification rules or intentionally provide faulty data to the FAA, according to people familiar with the findings. But it remains unclear what formal processes the FAA had in place to conduct an assessment independent of the initial determination by Boeing—that MCAS wasn’t critical to safety and therefore didn’t warrant close FAA scrutiny.

Still, the FAA doesn't really have an explanation for why it delegated so much authority to Boeing.

  • In testimony to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee two months ago, Mr. Elwell said detailed safety assessment and approval of the suspect system was "delegated," or handed over, to Boeing relatively early in the approval process under standard procedures. But he didn’t tell senators how that initial decision was reached or exactly what role FAA officials played in subsequent safety assessments.

The revelations come as Congress has subpoenaed representatives from pilots unions and the major airlines to testify. The DOT is also ramping up its own investigation. One thing is becoming increasingly clear: Before the grounding of the 737 MAX 8 is lifted, lawmakers are going to want answers to why these lapses in oversight occurred.

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Why Boeing’s emergency directions may have failed to save 737 MAX

From The Seattle Times

737max_pedestal51119

By Dominic Gates

The pilots of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX that crashed last month appear to have followed the emergency procedure laid out by both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration — cutting off the suspect flight-control system — but could not regain control and avert the plunge that killed all 157 on board.

Press reports citing people briefed on the crash investigation’s preliminary findings said the pilots hit the system-cutoff switches as Boeing had instructed after October’s Lion Air MAX crash, but couldn’t get the plane’s nose back up. They then turned the system back on before the plane nose-dived into the ground.

While the new software fix Boeing has proposed will likely prevent this situation recurring, if the preliminary investigation confirms that the Ethiopian pilots did cut off the automatic flight-control system, this is still a nightmarish outcome for Boeing and the FAA.

It would suggest the emergency procedure laid out by Boeing and passed along by the FAA after the Lion Air crash is wholly inadequate and failed the Ethiopian flight crew.

A local expert, former Boeing flight-control engineer Peter Lemme, recently explained how the emergency procedure could fail disastrously. His scenario is backed up by extracts from a 1982 Boeing 737-200 Pilot Training Manual posted to an online pilot forum a month ago by an Australian pilot.

That old 737 pilot manual lays out a scenario where a much more elaborate pilot response is required than the one that Boeing outlined in November and has reiterated ever since. The explanation in that manual from nearly 40 years ago is no longer detailed in the current flight manual.

Just a week after the Oct. 29 Lion Air crash, Boeing sent out an urgent bulletin to all 737 MAX operators across the world, cautioning them that a sensor failure could cause a new MAX flight-control system to automatically swivel upward the horizontal tail — also called the stabilizer — and push the jet’s nose down.

Boeing’s bulletin laid out a seemingly simple response: Hit a pair of cutoff switches to turn off the electrical motor that moves the stabilizer, disabling the automatic system — known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS. Then swivel the tail down manually by turning a large stabilizer trim wheel, next to the pilot’s seat, that connects mechanically to the tail via cables.

Boeing has publicly contended for five months that this simple procedure was all that was needed to save the airplane if MCAS was inadvertently activated.

 

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In a November television interview on the Fox Business Network, Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg, when asked if information had been withheld from pilots, cited this procedure as “part of the training manual” and said Boeing’s bulletin to airlines “pointed to that existing flight procedure.”

Vice president Mike Sinnett repeatedly described the procedure as a “memory item,” meaning a routine that pilots may need to do quickly without consulting a manual and so must commit to memory.

But Lemme said the Ethiopian pilots most likely were unable to carry out that last instruction in the Boeing emergency procedure — because they simply couldn’t physically move that wheel against the heavy forces acting on the tail.

“The forces on the tail could have been too great,” Lemme said. “They couldn’t turn the manual trim wheel.”

The stabilizer in the Ethiopian jet could have been in an extreme position with two separate forces acting on it:

  • MCAS had swiveled the stabilizer upward by turning a large mechanical screw inside the tail called the jackscrew. This is pushing the jet’s nose down.
  • But the pilot had pulled his control column far back in an attempt to counter, which would flip up a separate movable surface called the elevator on the trailing edge of the tail.

The elevator and stabilizer normally work together to minimize the loads on the jackscrew. But in certain conditions, the elevator and stabilizer loads combine to present high forces on the jackscrew and make it very difficult to turn manually.

As the jet’s airspeed increases — and with nose down it will accelerate — these forces grow even stronger.

In this scenario, the air flow pushing downward against the elevator would have created an equal and opposite load on the jackscrew, a force tending to hold the stabilizer in its upward displacement. This heavy force would resist the pilot’s manual effort to swivel the stabilizer back down.

This analysis suggests the stabilizer trim wheel at the Ethiopian captain’s right hand could have been difficult to budge. As a result, the pilots would have struggled to get the nose up and the plane to climb.

If after much physical exertion failed, the pilots gave up their manual strategy and switched the electric trim system back on — as indicated in the preliminary reports on the Ethiopian flight — MCAS would have begun pushing the nose down again.

Boeing on Wednesday issued a statement following the first account, published Tuesday night by The Wall Street Journal, that the Ethiopian pilots had followed the recommended procedures.

“We urge caution against speculating and drawing conclusions on the findings prior to the release of the flight data and the preliminary report,” Boeing said.

However, a separate analysis done by Bjorn Fehrm, a former jet-fighter pilot and an aeronautical engineer who is now an analyst with Leeham.net, replicates Lemme’s conclusion that excessive forces on the stabilizer trim wheel led the pilots to lose control.

Fehrm collaborated with a Swedish pilot for a major European airline to do a simulator test that recreated the possible conditions in the Ethiopian cockpit.

A chilling video of how that simulator test played out was posted to YouTube and showed exactly the scenario envisaged in the analysis, elevating it from plausible theory to demonstrated possibility.

The Swedish pilot is a 737 flight instructor and training captain who hosts a popular YouTube channel called Mentour Pilot, where he communicates the intricate details of flying an airliner. To protect his employment, his name and the name of his airline are not revealed, but he is very clearly an expert 737 pilot.

In the test, the two European pilots in the 737 simulator set up a situation reflecting what happens when the pre-software fix MCAS is activated: They moved the stabilizer to push the nose down. They set the indicators to show disagreement over the air speed and followed normal procedures to address that, which increases airspeed.

They then followed the instructions Boeing recommended and, as airspeed increases, the forces on the control column and on the stabilizer wheel become increasingly strong.

After just a few minutes, with the plane still nose down, the Swedish 737 training pilot is exerting all his might to hold the control column, locking his upper arms around it. Meanwhile, on his right, the first officer tries vainly to turn the stabilizer wheel, barely able to budge it by the end.

If this had been a real flight, these two very competent 737 pilots would have been all but lost.

The Swedish pilot says at the start of the video that he’s posting it both as a cautionary safety alert but also to undercut the narrative among some pilots, especially Americans, that the Indonesian and Ethiopian flight crews must have been incompetent and couldn’t “just fly the airplane.”

Early Wednesday, the Swedish pilot removed the video after a colleague advised that he do so, given that all the facts are not yet in from the ongoing investigation of the crash of Flight 302.

More detailed instructions that conceivably could have saved the Ethiopian plane are provided in the 1982 pilot manual for the old 737. As described in the extract posted by the Australian pilot, they require the pilot to do something counterintuitive: to let go of the control column for a brief moment.

As Lemme explains, this “will make the nose drop a bit,” but it will relax the force on the elevator and on the jackscrew, allowing the pilot to crank the stabilizer trim wheel. The instructions in the old manual say that the pilot should repeatedly do this: Release the control column and crank the stabilizer wheel, release and crank, release and crank, until the stabilizer is swiveled back to where it should be.

The 1982 manual refers to this as “the ‘roller coaster’ technique” to trim the airplane, which means to get it back on the required flight path with no force pushing it away from that path.

“If nose-up trim is required, raise the nose well above the horizon with elevator control. Then slowly relax the control column pressure and manually trim nose-up. Allow the nose to drop below the horizon while trimming (manually). Repeat this sequence until the airplane is trim,” the manual states.

The Australian pilot also posted an extract from Boeing’s “Airliner” magazine published in May 1961, describing a similar technique as applied to Boeing’s first jet, the 707.

Clearly this unusual circumstance of having to move the stabilizer manually while maintaining a high stick force on the control column demands significant piloting skill.

“We learned all about these maneuvers in the 1950-60s,” the pilot wrote on the online forum. “Yet, for some inexplicable reason, Boeing manuals have since deleted what was then — and still is — vital handling information for flight crews.”

Aviation safety consultant John Cox, chief executive of Safety Operating Systems and formerly the top safety official for the Air Line Pilots Association, said that’s because in the later 737 models that followed the -200, what was called a “runaway stabilizer” ceased to be a problem.

Cox said he was trained on the “roller coaster’ technique” back in the 1980s to deal with that possibility, but that “since the 737-300, the product got so reliable you didn’t have that failure,” said Cox.

However, he added, the introduction of MCAS in the 737 MAX creates a condition similar to a runaway stabilizer, so the potential for the manual stabilizer wheel to seize up at high airspeed has returned.

Cox said the failure of both Boeing and the FAA to warn pilots of this possibility will be “a big issue” as the Ethiopian crash is evaluated.

“I don’t think Boeing realized the complexity of the failure,” he said.

The procedure Boeing recommended to airlines after the Lion Air crash, which was repeated in an airworthiness directive issued by the FAA, includes a line near the bottom that “higher control forces may be needed to overcome any stabilizer nose-down” position. The instructions add that the pilots can use the electric system to neutralize the forces on the control column before hitting the cut-out switches.

But there’s no indication whatever in the wording that this is essential, and that heavy forces could render the manual stabilizer wheel almost immovable if the control column is not relaxed.

It’s possible the Ethiopian pilots, hyper alert after the Lion Air accident to the possibility that MCAS had activated, jumped straight to the end of the procedure checklist and hit the cut-off switches before attempting even to counter the nose-down movement with the thumb switches on the control column.

That would have subjected them almost immediately to the high tail forces that could have made recovery impossible.

The good news for Boeing is that the proposed software fix announced for MCAS should prevent the failure that led to this scenario in the cockpit.

“I think the MAX will be safe with the improved MCAS,” said Fehrm of Leeham.net.

On Wednesday, CEO Muilenburg joined Boeing test pilots aboard a 737 MAX 7 flight out of Boeing Field for a demonstration of the MCAS software fix and a test of various failure conditions. “The software update worked as designed,” Boeing said.

The bad news for Boeing is twofold, according to Fehrm. First, the original MCAS design was badly flawed and appears to be the principal cause of the Lion Air crash. Second, the procedure Boeing offered after that accident to keep planes safe now appears to have been woefully inadequate and may have doomed the Ethiopian Airlines jet.

On Wednesday the FAA , facing worldwide skepticism of its oversight, announced that it is establishing a team including foreign regulators to conduct a “comprehensive review of the certification of the automated flight control system on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.”

The Joint Authorities Technical Review, chaired by former NTSB Chairman Chris Hart and including experts from the FAA, NASA, and international aviation authorities, will evaluate all aspects of MCAS, including its design and pilots’ interaction with the system.

The preliminary investigation report into the Ethiopian crash is expected early Thursday and should offer definitive detail on what happened in the cockpit.

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Boeing Suppliers Headed For Pain Amid Max Crisis

From Zero Hedge

737max_5719

Last month, we reported that Boeing slashed production of the troubled 737 Max from 52 to 42 airplanes per month. Now, a new report from the Financial Times shows how production cuts are set to drive some of the company's suppliers into financial hardship.

Spirit AeroSystems, a 737 Max supplier that produces 70% of the plane's aerostructure, pulled its 2019 financial guidance, warning that past guidance is no longer valid because of the production cuts and no visible timeframe of when the planes will be back in the air.

Financial Times notes that Spirit AeroSystems is for right now, insulated from the cuts because it worked out a deal with Boeing to continue producing at the old rate (52 planes). The supplier is quickly building inventory at its facilities. They're only a few of the suppliers that are producing at the old rate, while others have transitioned to 42 per month, a 20% decline from the old rate.

Safran, a French multinational aircraft engine company with a joint venture with General Electric that produces engines for the Max, expects a $224 million hit in the next quarter.

GE's new chief executive Henry Culp recently confirmed a similar view: "We probably have something in that same range as a headwind with respect . . . to our own side of the [CFM joint venture] in the second quarter."

 

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Woodward, a Max supplier that produces avionics, seats and engine covers, said its production hadn't been affected by the Max slowdown, though it said the company holds no contractual agreements with Boeing that guarantees a specific production rate. "We are contracted to flex with them," chief executive Thomas Gendron told investors on an earnings call. Gendron said like many other suppliers in the Max supply chain, the downtime has been used to catch up on previous production delays.

He warned about "uncertainties and some risks in the second half" due to limited guidance from Boeing about production and ungrounding of the planes.

We reported that Boeing plans to coordinate with customers and suppliers to blunt the financial impact of the slowdown, and for now it doesn't plan to lay off workers from the Max program.

"When the Max returns to the skies, we've promised our airline customers and their passengers and crews that it will be as safe as any airplane ever to fly," Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said in an April statement.

Boeing had planned to hike output of the Max, a workhorse for budget carriers, about 10% by midyear, to meet the backlogs.

 

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As we noted, suppliers who provide the 600,000 parts needed for each plane had already started moving toward a 57-jet monthly pace under a carefully orchestrated schedule set in place long before the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines disasters, and it seems those suppliers could be hit with production declines in 2Q or possibly sometime in the 2H.

The bigger question, as we previously detailed, is what effect a 20% cut to Boeing's production will have on US GDP in Q2?

...a recessionary catalyst may be the fiasco involving the Max, which according to JPM economist Michael Feroli, could begin impacting the economic dataflow. According to the biggest US bank, the issues affecting the Max should have no short-run impact on GDP, as the production of this airplane is continuing, but will affect the composition of GDP, implying more growth in inventories and less growth of business investment and gross exports.

However, if the issues are not resolved in a timely manner and production of the Max needs to be halted for an extended period of time, it would send many of Boeing's suppliers into financial stress and could even shave off about 0.15% off the level of GDP, or about 0.6%-point off the quarterly annualized growth rate of GDP in the quarter in which production is stopped.

 

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Boeing Admits 'Mistakes Were Made' During Development Of 737 MAX 8

From Zero Hedge

737assembly_519By Tyler Durden

Following a series of conflicting reports claiming that Boeing didn't inform the FAA or Southwest, the largest buyer of its 737 MAX 8 planes, that a safety alert warning pilots that an 'angle-of-attack' sensor on the planes might be feeding the system erroneous data, risking a misfire of the plane's anti-stall software, had been made an 'optional' safety feature, Boeing has admitted that it wasn't aware that the alerts had been disabled when it initially delivered the planes, and that it waited more than 13 months, until after the Oct. 29 crash of a 737 MAX 8 owned by Indonesia's Lion Air, to inform its regulator that it had inadvertently disabled the alerts.

A series of reports by the Wall Street Journal over the past two weeks uncovered the fact that Boeing had made the alerts - which it insists were not a critically important safety feature - optional. Shortly after that initial report, WSJ published a follow up suggesting that Boeing's decision to disable the alerts was inadvertent, though a spokesman declined to elaborate about how this happened.

Finally, on Sunday, Reuters and WSJ confirmed that the decision was, in fact, unintentional, but Boeing still waited to inform its regulator and its customers that the alerts had been disabled on planes that didn't include an 'optional' package of additional safety figures.

This is the first time since the crash of the Lion Air flight and a subsequent deadly crash on March 10 that Boeing has admitted doing something inadvertently during the development of the 737 MAX 8.

However, as we noted in our prior coverage, Boeing's insistence that the alerts weren't critical to safety appears to conflict with the preliminary findings from an investigation into the Ethiopian Air crash, which determined that the pilots of the doomed flight were taken by surprise when MCAS - the slight's anti-stall system - activated and started pushing the nose of the plane down. Their efforts to deactivate the system were unsuccessful, and after manually raising the nose of the plane four times, the plane plunged out of the sky and crashed into a field outside Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board.

 

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Some analysts have argued that if the pilots of the doomed Lion Air and Ethiopian Air flights had been alerted to the misfire, that more than 350 lives could have been saved.

  • Boeing has said the feeding of erroneous Angle of Attack data to a system called MCAS that pushed the planes lower was a common link in two wider chains of events leading to both crashes, but has stopped short of admitting error on that front.
  • The angle of attack measures the angle between the air flow and the wing and helps determine whether the plane is able to fly correctly. If the angle becomes too steep, the flow of air over the wing is disturbed, throwing the plane into an aerodynamic stall. That means it starts to fall instead of fly.
  • Although the angle itself is key for onboard systems, the industry has debated for years whether such data should be included in already crowded cockpit displays because it is directly related to airspeed, which pilots already scrutinize.
  • Some analysts and academics say having the AOA Disagree alert installed would have helped Lion Air maintenance crew diagnose a problem on the penultimate flight of the 737 MAX jet that crashed in October, killing all 189 on board.

Boeing blamed the mistake on software delivered by a third-party vendor. The company was let off the hook by the FAA after it came clean, with nothing more than a stern warning.

  • Boeing said a Safety Review Board convened after a fatal Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October corroborated its prior conclusion that the alert was not necessary for the safe operation of commercial aircraft and could safely be tackled in a future system update.
  • The FAA backed that assessment but criticized Boeing for being slow to disclose the problem.
  • Boeing briefed the FAA on the display issue in November, after the Lion Air accident, and a special panel deemed it to be “low risk,” an FAA spokesman said.
  • "However, Boeing’s timely or earlier communication with the operators would have helped to reduce or eliminate possible confusion," he added.
  • Boeing attributed the error to software delivered to the company from an outside source, but did not give details.

Boeing is working on a software update for the 737 MAX 8 to make MCAS less powerful and also ensure that two sensors are always feeding flight data to both the plane's internal systems and the cockpit. The company has said the update could be finished as early as this week, after it completes a final series of test flights.

However, Boeing's apparent lack of awareness about the functionality of the safety features on its jets is simply staggering. What's more amazing is that the market has been unwilling to punish the company's shares even after this latest batch of revelations that appeared to suggest that Boeing misled the FAA (shares were down Monday, but the move was appeared to be triggered by the broad-based selloff inspired by Trump's tariff threats).

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Boeing Didn't Tell Southwest Or FAA That It Had Disabled Critical Safety Alerts On 737 MAX

From Zero Hedge

737max_419By Tyler Durden

It was a bad enough look for Boeing when reporters uncovered the company's decision to make some safety features optional on its 737 MAX 8s. Worse still that this decision was only made public after the deadly crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 just minutes after takeoff on March 10 - the second deadly crash involving the plane in six months, which spurred regulators around the world to ground the planes, erasing billions of dollars of Boeing market cap.

But a report in the Wall Street Journal published on Sunday that neither Southwest Airlines nor the FAA (Boeing's primary federal regulator) were aware that a safety feature intended to alert pilots to a potentially malfunctioning 'angle of attack' sensor - in other words, a feature that might have prevented both the crash of ET302 and the Oct. 29 crash of a 737 owned by Lion Air - had been disabled on the new 737s is simply staggering.

Not only did Boeing disable the alerts, which would notify pilots when the two sensors on the new 737 MAX 8s were reporting dramatically different data, and make them part of a new 'premium' package of safety features, but the manufacturer somehow neglected to tell the airline and its regulator that the alerts had been disabled. The result was that Southwest never updated its safety manuals for pilots to reflect the fact that the alerts had been disabled.

This is particularly egregious because the 737 MAX 8s featured the new MCAS anti-stall software which could be inadvertently triggered by erroneous data being reported by a malfunctioning sensor. Indeed, the preliminary findings from the investigation of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 found that the misfire of the MCAS system effectively doomed all 157 people on board that day.

Pilots at Southwest and regulators at the FAA didn't learn that the alerts had been disabled until after the crash of the Lion Air flight, more than a year after the new jets had gone into service.

Plane maker Boeing Co. didn’t tell Southwest Airlines Co. when the carrier began flying 737 MAX jets in 2017 that a standard safety feature, found on earlier models and designed to warn pilots about malfunctioning sensors, had been deactivated.

Federal Aviation Administration safety inspectors and supervisors responsible for monitoring Southwest, the largest MAX customer, were also unaware of the change, according to government and industry officials.

Boeing had turned off the alerts which, in previous versions of the 737, informed pilots if a sensor known as an “angle-of-attack vane” was transmitting errant data about the pitch of a plane’s nose. In the MAX, which featured a new automated stall-prevention system called MCAS, Boeing made those alerts optional; they would be operative only if carriers bought additional safety features.

Southwest’s cockpit crews and management didn’t know about the change for more than a year after the planes went into service. They and most other airlines operating the MAX globally learned about it only after the fatal Lion Air crash last year led to scrutiny of the plane’s revised design. The FAA office’s lack of knowledge about Boeing’s move hasn’t been previously reported.

"Southwest’s own manuals were wrong" about the status of the alerts, said Southwest pilots union president, Jon Weaks. Since Boeing hadn’t communicated the modification to the carrier, the manuals still reflected incorrect information.

Perhaps most stunning of all, once the FAA and Southwest learned that the feature had been disabled, it set off a furor at the FAA that nearly pushed it to recommend that all 737 MAX 8s be grounded until the alerts had been turned back on. If the regulator had followed through, it's possible that the crash of ET302 might have been averted.

Following the Lion Air crash, Southwest asked Boeing to reactivate the alerts on planes already in its fleet. This move, along with questions about why they had been turned off, prompted FAA inspectors overseeing Southwest to consider recommending that the airline’s MAX fleet be grounded while they assessed whether pilots needed additional training about the alerts. Those internal FAA discussions, however, were brief and didn’t go up the chain, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

[…]

Less than a month after the Lion Air jet went down, one FAA official wrote that AOA-related issues on 737 MAX jetliners “may be masking a larger systems problem that could recreate a Lion Air-type scenario."

Roughly two weeks later, other internal emails referred to a “hypothetical question” of restricting MAX operations with one message explicitly stating: “It would be irresponsible to have MAX aircraft operating with the AOA Disagree Warning system inoperative.” The same message alluded to the FAA’s power: “We need to discuss grounding [Southwest’s] MAX fleet until the AOA Warning System is fixed and pilots have been trained” on it and related displays.

The email discussions, previously unreported, were fleeting red flags raised by a small group of front-line FAA inspectors months before the Ethiopian jet nose-dived last month. The concerns raised by the FAA inspectors never progressed up the agency. Within days, they were dismissed by some involved in the discussions who concluded that the alerts provided supplemental pilot aids rather than primary safety information, and therefore no additional training was necessary. During that stretch and beyond, Boeing and the FAA continued to publicly vouch for the aircraft’s safety.

Boeing has never explained exactly why it decided to make these features optional. In the wake of the second crash, the company apologized profusely for this decision, and said that all safety features would be made available on all jets once it finished the software update to make MCAS less powerful, widely seen as an important prerequisite for FAA and other regulators to lift their grounding order.

Without a doubt, Sunday's report is the most damning news about the federal oversight of Boeing since reports that surfaced immediately after the March 10 crash revealed just how much of the approval process for the 737 MAX 8 had been delegated to Boeing itself.

But will either the FAA or Boeing be held accountable for this neglect? That remains to be seen...

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Boeing Hits Back at New York Times’ “Inaccurate” Reporting

From Airline Ratings

AirTahiti787_419By Geoffrey Thomas and Steve Creedy April 22, 2019

Boeing has hit back at a New York Times’ article about the production quality of the 787s being built at the company’s South Carolina plant.

The NYT’s article, which has been distributed widely, claimed that Boeing’s factory in Charleston, South Carolina, has been plagued by shoddy construction and weak oversight.

Citing internal emails, corporate documents, federal records as well as interviews with former and current employees, the story claimed Boeing pushed its workforce to quickly turn out Dreamliners while ignoring issues raised by some employees.

It said safety lapses at the plant had drawn the scrutiny of airlines and regulators, while workers had filed nearly a dozen whistle-blower claims and safety complaints with federal regulators.

The workers, a number of whom are involved in legal action against Boeing, described issues such as defective manufacturing, debris left on planes and pressure not to report violations.

The story acknowledged there was no evidence that the problems had led to any major safety incidents.

The North Charleston plant is one of two producing the 787 Dreamliner and started operations in 2011.

The non-unionised factory has been a big boost to the local economy but has been the subject of rancorous disputes with organized labor that some observers blame for the adverse publicity.

While the NYT claims are not new — similar allegations were raised by Al Jazeera in 2014 and dismissed by the company — they come at a bad time for Boeing as it grapples with the fallout of two Boeing 737 MAX crashes.

This message from Brad Zaback, Vice President and general manager of the 787 Program, was sent to all Boeing South Carolina teammates Saturday, April 20.

Team,

The 787 program has a lot to be proud of these days. Our transition to Rate 14 continues to be the most seamless rate transition in the program’s history, and our Boeing South Carolina 787 manufacturing operations are the healthiest they’ve ever been. More importantly, our quality metrics show that we are performing at all-time high levels as well. That is a testament to each of you, demonstrating your pride and your ongoing commitment to excellence with respect to both safety and quality.

A story that posted in today’s New York Times, however, paints a skewed and inaccurate picture of the program and of our team here at Boeing South Carolina. This article features distorted information, rehashing old stories and rumors that have long ago been put to rest.

I want all BSC teammates to know that we invited the New York Times to visit Boeing South Carolina once they contacted us, so that they could see first-hand the great work that is done here. They declined this invitation.

The allegations of poor quality are especially offensive to me because I know the pride in workmanship that each of you pours into your work every day. I see the highest quality airplanes – airplanes that meet rigorous quality inspections and FAA standards – deliver on time on a regular basis from Boeing South Carolina, where they perform exceptionally well in service for our valued airplane customers around the world. Our customers feel the same way, and shared their own thoughts with the New York Times:

American Airlines said it conducted rigorous inspections of new planes before putting them into service. “We have confidence in the 787s we have in our fleet,” said Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the airline.

In a statement, Qatar Airways said it “continues to be a long-term supporter of Boeing and has full confidence in all its aircraft and manufacturing facilities.” Note that only a portion of their quote was included in the story, and we wanted to ensure you had their full perspective: “Qatar Airways continues to be a long-term supporter of Boeing and has full confidence in all its aircraft and manufacturing facilities as a strong commitment to safety and quality is of the utmost importance to both our companies. We have over 100 Boeing aircraft in our fleet, manufactured in both Everett and Charleston, with many more to join in the coming years as part of our significant, long-term investment in the US economy.”

In fact, we also heard from Suparna Airlines and Norwegian in response to the story, and here’s what they told us:

 

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Suparna Airlines: “The entire process of the aircraft delivery was very smooth. We want to thank the Boeing team in South Carolina who worked diligently with the Boeing standard and discipline to make the delivery a pleasant experience for us. The airplane has carried out more than 200 scheduled flights with total flight hours up to 500 at operational reliability of 99.99%. We are happy with the performance of our first Dreamliner.”

 

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Norwegian: “We are very satisfied with the quality and reliability of all our 33 Dreamliners, regardless of where they have been assembled.”

The inaccurate picture the New York Times paints is also offensive to me because they are counter to our company’s core values. Quality is the bedrock of who we are. That’s why we relentlessly focus on quality improvements and FOD elimination at all Boeing locations. No matter how good we are today, we always believe we can be even better tomorrow. That drive to be the best will never change at Boeing as we continue to strive to be a Global Industrial Champion and the leader in quality.

It’s unfortunate and disappointing that the New York Times chose to publish this misleading story. This story, however, does not define us. Our company and our customers recognize the talent, skill and dedication of this excellent Boeing South Carolina team that works together to assemble and deliver incredible airplanes. I want to leave you with a word from Kevin McAllister, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO, which was not included in full from the New York Times:

“Safety and quality are at the core of Boeing’s values – there is nothing more important than that. The 787 program has delivered 823 airplanes to more than 76 customers since its launch. As Boeing marks 10 years in North Charleston, our more than 7,000 Boeing South Carolina teammates are producing the highest levels of quality in our history. And, we are seeing this translate across our work and the in-service performance with our customers. We test our airplanes and verify components are fully operational, and when we find a component that is not, it is replaced and tested again. This is core to our quality system, as it is for the industry. I am proud of our teams’ best in-process quality of production and stand behind the work they do each and every day.”

This is a team that I am very proud to be a part of, and I’m thankful for all that you do every day.

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Boeing's Nightmare Continues

From Zero Hedge

787Plant_419Boeing's Nightmare Continues: Dreamliner Workers Warn Of Defective Manufacturing, Dangerous Quality Lapses

By Tyler Durden

Just as it looked like the fallout from the Boeing 737 MAX crashes was finally fading into the background, the New York Times is raising new questions about an entirely different Boeing plane, the Dreamliner 787. Workers at a Boeing plant in South Carolina are complaining about "defective manufacturing, debris left on planes and pressure to not report violations".

An investigation that incorporated reviewing hundreds of emails and documents, as well as interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees, has arrived at the conclusion that Boeing pushed speed over quality when it came to its Dreamliners - a story similar to the 737 MAX, which we reported faced similar critiques. This has lead to the question whether the issues at Boeing are limited to the 737, or if they are systemic.

According to the report, Boeing's North Charleston plant has come under fire for safety lapses, and the facility has also drawn the scrutiny of airlines and regulators. In fact, Qatar Airways even stopped taking planes from the factory after "manufacturing mishaps damaged jets and delayed deliveries".

On top of that, there have been nearly 12 whistleblower claims about the plant with regulators. They describe issues like manufacturing, debris left on planes and pressure to not report violations. Additional whistleblowers have skipped that step and gone right to suing Boeing, claiming that they were victims of retaliation for bringing up manufacturing mistakes.

Joseph Clayton, a technician at the North Charleston plant claimed he often found debris dangerously close to wiring beneath cockpits. He said: "I’ve told my wife that I never plan to fly on it. It’s just a safety issue."

Kevin McAllister, Boeing’s head of commercial airplanes, said in a statement: "Boeing South Carolina teammates are producing the highest levels of quality in our history. I am proud of our teams’ exceptional commitment to quality and stand behind the work they do each and every day."

Among other things, employees have claimed that faulty parts have been installed in planes, tools and metal shavings have routinely been left inside jets, often near electrical systems, and aircraft have taken test flights with debris in an engine and a tail, risking failure.

John Barnett, a former quality manager who worked at Boeing for nearly three decades said that he found metal slivers hanging over the writing that commands the flights controls. Barnett said if the sharp pieces penetrated the wires, it would be "catastrophic". He was so concerned that he filed a whistleblower complaint with regulators. He said he had repeatedly urged his bosses to remove the shavings, but they refused and then transferred him to another part of the plant.

 

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An FAA spokesman said the agency conducted inspections on several plans certified by Boeing as free of debris, but found the same metal slivers. It is a problem that can lead to electrical shorts and cause fires. Officials also believe the shavings may have been the cause of damage for an in-service airplane on an occasion in 2012. The FAA wound up issuing a directive in 2017 that Dreamliners needed to be cleared of shavings before delivery.

Barnett said: "As a quality manager at Boeing, you’re the last line of defense before a defect makes it out to the flying public. And I haven’t seen a plane out of Charleston yet that I’d put my name on saying it’s safe and airworthy."

But wait there's more: another issue popped up right after the 2nd 737 MAX crash: customers were finding random objects in new planes.

The North Charleston plant called a meeting to discuss the issue, where a Senior Manager urged the team to check more carefully, stating: “The company is going through a very difficult time right now.”

Employees are supposed to clean the aircraft as they manufacture it so they don’t contaminate the planes with shavings, tools, parts or other debris. But it has still been a problem in SC. Brad Zaback, the head of the 787 program, reminded the North Charleston staff in an email this month that debris “can potentially have serious safety consequences when left unchecked.”

Customers like the Air Force have also been turned off by the manufacturing sloppiness. In March, they stopped deliveries of the KC-46 tanker after finding a wrench, bolts and trash inside new planes.

Will Roper, an assistant secretary of the Air Force, said: “To say it bluntly, this is unacceptable. Our flight lines are spotless. Our depots are spotless, because debris translates into a safety issue.”

Workers at the SC plant said debris is a continual issue.

Rich Mester, a former technician who reviewed planes before delivery said: “I’ve found tubes of sealant, nuts, stuff from the build process. They’re supposed to have been inspected for this stuff, and it still makes it out to us.” Mester has been fired and a claim on his behalf was filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

He continued: "Employees have found a ladder and a string of lights left inside the tails of planes, near the gears of the horizontal stabilizer. It could have locked up the gears.”

Dan Ormson, who worked for American Airlines said he used to "regularly" find debris when inspecting Dreamliners. The debris included loose objects touching electrical wiring, rags near the landing gear and once finding a piece of bubble wrap near the pedal the co-pilot uses to control the plane’s direction. He also once saw that a bolt was loose inside one of the engines, which could have caused it to malfunction.

Another Dreamliner built for American Airlines suffered a flood in the cabin so bad that ceiling panels, seats and electronics had to be replaced.

One current technician at the plant recently found chewing gum holding together a door’s trim. He said: “It was not a safety issue, but it’s not what you want to present to a customer.” Several former Boeing employees also told the NYT that managers pushed quality inspectors to stop recording defects.

Cynthia Kitchens, a former quality manager, said: “It was intimidation. Every time I started finding stuff, I was harassed.”

Mester concluded: "They’re trying to shorten the time of manufacturing. But are you willing to sacrifice the safety of our product to maximize profit?"

You can read more troubling details in the extended NYT report here.

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Nine regulators join Boeing 737 MAX review

From Airline Ratings

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By Steve Creedy

Regulators from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and Europe are among the nine authorities that have confirmed they will participate in the Boeing 737 MAX Joint Authorities Technical Review due to begin at the end of the month.

The US Federal Aviation Administration announced the list Friday US time and said the first meeting is due to take place on April 29.

The review is expected to take 90 days and is being chaired former national transportation safety Board chairman Chris Hart.

“The team will evaluate aspects of the 737 MAX automated flight control system, including its design and pilots’ interaction with the system, to determine its compliance with all applicable regulations and to identify future enhancements that might be needed,” the FAA said.

Confirmed participants are:

Australia
Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

Brazil
Agencia Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC)

Canada
Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA)

China
Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC)

European Union
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

Japan
Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB)

Indonesia
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

Singapore
Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS)

United Arab Emirates
General Civil Aviation Authority (UAE GCAA)

The review is one of several being undertaken into the certification of the MAX following the crash of two aircraft in less than five months.

Boeing is working on modifications to a controversial software linked to both crashes, the maneuvring augmentation characteristics system, MCAS.

Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg tweeted on April 16 that the company was making steady progress towards certification of the software and related training changes.

The company had just completed the last official engineering test flight of the updated software prior to a certification flight with the FAA.

Muilenburg said this had involved 120 MAX flights totaling more than 203 hours of flying time.

He had completed a demonstration flight and had seen first hand the software in its final form “operating as designed across a range of flight conditions”.

However, potential differences emerged between Canada and the US on whether training for the new software should be in a simulator or be computer-based.

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More Boeing Backlash: China Suspends $6 Billion Order For 100 737s

From Zero Hedge

737max_4819

Dealing another blow to public confidence in Boeing's ability to swiftly reassure regulators that its 737 MAX 8 can be made safe for passenger travel, the South China Post on Monday reported that China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings has put an order for 100 new 737s on hold, until it can be assured of the aircraft's safety.

This follows a decision by Indonesia's national carrier to cancel a $6 billion 737 MAX order. The airline had been planning to order 49 planes. Boeing last week said it would cut its pace of production by 20% to just 42 a month.

China was the first country to ground the 737s after Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed just minutes after takeoff - the second deadly incident involving the planes in just 5 months. A preliminary report from investigators found that the pilots followed Boeing's safety procedures, but were still unable to right the plane.

Boeing is working on an update of its MCAS anti-stall software, which is believed to have contributed to both the crash of ET302 and a deadly Lion Air crash that occurred just five months earlier, but the fix is taking longer than anticipated.

Per its original delivery schedule, the first 737 was supposed to be delivered to the aircraft lessor in Q3 of this year. Originally, the lessor signed its contract with Boeing in June 2017, ordering 50 aircraft, then increasing it by 25 with an option for another 25. The order for the initial 50 aircraft was valued at $5.8 billion.

The company said it has stopped paying installments on the planes it has ordered.

The Hong Kong-listed lessor, controlled by the state-owned conglomerate China Everbright Group, placed an order for 50 aircraft in June 2017. CALC then increased it by another 25 in December with an option for 25 more as part of its plan to grow its overall fleet from 133 in 2018 to 232 by 2023. According to the original schedule, the first MAX jet was expected to be delivered to CALC in the third quarter of this year and continue up to 2023.

"The purchase has been suspended and we have stopped paying the installments," said Chen Shuang, chairman of CALC and chief executive of China Everbright, the financial arm of China Everbright Group.

Airlines around the world have grounded the 737s, and last week, the FAA set up a joint review task force that is expected to include other aviation regulators, including possibly China's, which has been invited to join.

Most of the deliveries weren't expected until 2021, so the hold won't impact the lessor's operations, its spokesman said.

A CALC spokeswoman said that since most of the deliveries to the company were to be made from 2021, "so we see little or no impact on our operations."

Chen said that they have received assurances from Boeing that “a better solution will be submitted to CALC within two months”, adding that they have not yet discussed compensation.

Chen said both sides are actively seeking a solution to the problem.

"One option being considered is to replace it with other aircraft. But there aren’t too many options," said Chen.

Of course, the last thing Boeing shareholders wanted to hear after last week's string of negative headlines was more bad news, particularly after the late-Friday announcement of its production cut, which the company had clearly hoped to sneak by the market. And following the revelation that Boeing might soon have a second large cancellation on its hands, Boeing's shares - already lower - have sunk even further in premarket trading, weighing on the Dow.

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Whistleblowers Claim FAA Inspectors Not Properly Trained On Boeing 737 Max 8

From Zero Hedge

737max_4219

Multiple whistleblowers have come forward claiming that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety inspectors were not properly trained and did not hold valid certifications on the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, according to a letter to FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).

"Allegations from these whistleblowers include information that numerous FAA employees, including those involved in the Aircraft Evaluation Group (AEG) for the Boeing 737 Max, had not received proper training and valid certifications," the letter reads.

"Some of these FAA employees were possibly involved as participants on the Flight Standardization Board (FSB)," a group formed to evaluate the 737 Max 8 to determine requirements to rate pilots, develop minimum training recommendations, and to ensure "initial flightcrew member competency."

Two Boeing 737 Max 8s were involved in similar crashes within a five month period, while investigators are pointing to sensor failures connected to an anti-stall system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

Of note, an off-duty pilot flying in the jumpseat on a Lion Air 737 Max 8 last October was able to talk pilots through disabling the MCAS system on the same plane that crashed a day later off the coast of Indonesia, killing all 189 on board.

The FAA whistleblowers also claim that the FAA may have been informed of the 737 Max 8s deficiencies as early as August 2018, two months before the Lion Air crash.

As we noted last month, several Pilots repeatedly warned federal authorities of safety concerns over the now-grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 for months leading up to the second deadly disaster involving the plane, according to an investigation by the Dallas Morning News. One captain even called the Max 8's flight manual "inadequate and almost criminally insufficient," according to the report.

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"The fact that this airplane requires such jury-rigging to fly is a red flag. Now we know the systems employed are error-prone — even if the pilots aren't sure what those systems are, what redundancies are in place and failure modes. I am left to wonder: what else don't I know?" wrote the captain.

 

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At least five complaints about the Boeing jet were found in a federal database which pilots routinely use to report aviation incidents without fear of repercussions.

The complaints are about the safety mechanism cited in preliminary reports for an October plane crash in Indonesia that killed 189.

The disclosures found by The News reference problems during flights of Boeing 737 Max 8s with an autopilot system during takeoff and nose-down situations while trying to gain altitude. While records show these flights occurred during October and November, information regarding which airlines the pilots were flying for at the time is redacted from the database. -Dallas Morning News

One captain who flies the Max 8 said in November that it was "unconscionable" that Boeing and federal authorities have allowed pilots to fly the plane without adequate training - including a failure to fully disclose how its systems were distinctly different from other planes.

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Investigators Believe MCAS Involved In Both Boeing Crashes

From Airline Ratings

737max_4119

By Steve Creedy

Investigators believe the controversial software update implicated in the crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737MAX was also involved in the March 10 destruction of an Ethiopian Airlines jet.

Quoting sources familiar with a high-level briefing to the US Federal Aviation Administration, The Wall Street Journal reported that an emerging consensus among investigators was that the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, was involved in both crashes.

The two crashes claimed a total of 346 lives and plunged manufacturer Boeing into crisis.

The newspaper warned that that preliminary finding from the flight data and cockpit voice recorders was subject to revision and said a preliminary report from Ethiopian investigators was due “within days”.

The global Boeing 737 MAX fleet remains grounded because of worries about similarities between the two crashes.

The FAA, which is facing several investigations into the certification of the plane, was the last agency to ground the MAX on March 13.

It defended the delay by arguing hard data suggesting a link between the two flights was not available until just prior to the decision.

That new information included a newly refined satellite data of the aircraft’s flight path and evidence found on the ground, believed to be a jackscrew that moves the horizontal stabilizer.

Boeing was already working on changes to MCAS and pilot training when the second crash occurred and this week released details of the changes.

It said it had complete confidence in the safety of its new software fix.

MCAS activates in manual flight when the flaps are retracted and is part of the speed trim system that automatically commands changes to the horizontal stabilizer to trim the plane so there are no net forces on the control column.

Erroneous data from an angle of attack (AoA) sensor prompted MCAS to repeatedly push down the nose of aircraft in the Lion Air crash, something the pilots fought instead of deactivating the system. The angle of attack measures the position of the aircraft nose in relation to airflow.

The original version of MCAS took information from just one Angle of Attack sensor but there are two on the aircraft and the new version will compare inputs from both.

If the sensors disagree by 5.5 degrees or more with the flaps retracted, MCAS will not activate and an indicator on the flight deck display will alert the pilots.

If MCAS activated in abnormal conditions, the new software will only provide one input for each elevated AoA event instead of resetting itself repeatedly.

It will also not be able to apply more force to the horizontal stabilizer than can be counteracted by the flight crew pulling back on the column.

Boeing is also making standard an AoA disagree alert that will tell the pilots if the two AOA sensors disagree by more than 10 degrees for more than 10 seconds.

“We’re going to do everything we can to ensure that accidents like these never happen again,’’ Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice product of product development Mike Sinnett told reporters this week.

“We are working with customers and regulators around the world to restore faith in the industry and to reaffirm our commitment to safety and to earning the trust of the flying public.”

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Broken Dreams: The Boeing 787

From aljazeera.com

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This is a major project by the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit focusing on the 787 “Dreamliner”, the flagship passenger jet of the Boeing Company.

Our journalism reveals the deeply-held safety concerns of current and former Boeing engineers, who in some cases fear to fly on the 787, the plane they build.

We uncover allegations of on-the-job drug use, quality control problems and poor workmanship.

We explore the roots of the battery problems that led to the plane’s grounding due to safety concerns for three months from January 2013.

Credits: Senior Producer/Director: Marc Shaffer, Producer/Director of Photography/Editor: Colin McIntyre, Producer: Kevin Hirten, Reporter/Producer: Will Jordan, Music: Ryan Whittier, Additional Music: Sean Hirten.

 

 

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