Ethiopian Airways flight crashes (10/03) + 737 MAX grounding

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by atillathehunn, 10 Mar 2019.

  1. atillathehunn

    atillathehunn Established Member

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    Good.

    We had a circular from UNDSS (our security department) banning flights from being booked on the MAX as UN policy, though now it seems like its irrelevant.
     
  2. robk23oxf

    robk23oxf Member

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    Bloomberg is reporting that Garuda Indonesia is cancelling an order for 49 Boeing 737 MAX following these two crashes and the subsequent groundings. Other airlines are also re-evaluating their orders for the 737 MAX.
     
    Last edited: 18 Mar 2019
  3. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

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    They should suffer severe penalty clauses for that.

    Exercising such market power before anything conclusive has been determined only serves to encourage companies like Boeing to cover-up future safety incidents.
     
  4. LOL The Irony

    LOL The Irony Established Member

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    I don't see why. Lion Air cancelled all their 737 orders after the first crash.
     
  5. robk23oxf

    robk23oxf Member

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    Strictly speaking they haven't cancelled their order but have refused to take delivery of any new aircraft. Relations between Boeing and Lion Air have been strained since the accident and Lion Air have already been evaluating alternative aircraft.
     
  6. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Depends on the contract!
     
  7. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Or maybe Boeing could fix problems properly rather than bodging on a poorly-written piece of software?
     
  8. robk23oxf

    robk23oxf Member

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    A piece of software that wouldn't have been necessary had they not bodged the design of the entire aircraft.
     
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes, precisely my point.

    Bodging bits on does have its place sometimes. Passenger aircraft, however, are not it.
     
  10. TheEdge

    TheEdge Established Member

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    A poorly written piece of software that seems to have a propensity to nosedive the aircraft.
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Not only that, but to do so with such force that the pilot can't hope to counter it by pulling on the column, but instead has to go and find a breaker and trip it (despite in some cases not even knowing it exists) while plummeting to the ground.

    The mind utterly boggles.
     
  12. cjp

    cjp Established Member

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    And to omit mention of it in the original flight manual rather than overburden the pilots. Crazy just crazy.
    By now (post Lion) all pilots should know where it is but recognizing the problem is another thing.
    It is one thing not being allowed to do something stupid but an entirely different thing to make the aircraft fly into the ground which seems to have happened here.
     
  13. TheEdge

    TheEdge Established Member

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    I think this may boil down to being the issue. As a layman with a vague understanding of flight physics, pilots suddenly having their aircraft adopt a nose down attitude, not realising this is (apparently) MCAS working as intended, trimming to attempt to fix the nosedown attitude then suddenly finding themselves nose up and stalling.

    As an aside how different is this to the issue with the Airbus flight laws?
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Which specific issue? The one involving the pitot tubes?

    I think a fairly key difference is that the Airbus flight laws won't actively counteract what the pilot is doing, they just keep it within an envelope. Loss of that envelope can cause confusion, which I think was the root of that crash.
     
  15. TheEdge

    TheEdge Established Member

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    That makes sense and is a fairly critical difference
     
  16. cjp

    cjp Established Member

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    But it was not working as intended. The aircraft was climbing normally and Boeing's software decided it was a approaching a stall and trimmed it nose down as a stall recovery or stall prevention maneuver. The pilot who sees the aircraft climbing normally can override this on the column and use the stick to raise the nose but 5 seconds later the the Boeing gimmick cuts in again and down goes the nose.
    There is a manual trim trim wheel which need a lot of turning to make much difference and I do not know if in the 373 max they could even get a hand on it as in normal use it spins like mad when auto trim is taking place and I do not know if the Boeing gimmick would be disconcertingly moving the trim wheel.
    The other thing is to recognize what is happening and to turn the beast off.

    Have a look here
    https://theaircurrent.com/aviation-...aracteristics-augmentation-system-mcas-jt610/
    for a clearer explanation.

    Boeing's software appears to be imperfect to put it mildly.
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Thanks for that link - explains better how they deactivate it - it's not as bad as I thought as it can be deactivated from their seat - but that does rely on them having the time and wherewithal to do that (and manually re-trim) while under a lot of pressure and experiencing a lot of G-forces.
     
  18. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

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    Hindsight is nice, but no substitute for handling subsequent events in a safety-positive manner.

    I believe your quote would better begin "And maybe [...]", at which point I would agree 100%.
     
  19. cjp

    cjp Established Member

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    I would not think G would be significant but lack of knowledge or practise on a sim or for real would be the issue. For example if I get into a spin I do not think about it I recognise it and automatically carry out spin recovery action. It is programmed in just, for example, once you have learned you do not think how to change gear in a car- you just do it.
    Now the process will be in every 737 Max8 pilots mind but perhaps not yet instinctive and in the circumstances no time for a check list. This means because of the way Boeing introduced the gimmick it is basically an unstable machine kept "safe" by a pilots skills.
    Trying another analogy how happy would you be to travel in a train knowing the brakes might or will fail but it will be ok provided the driver realises they have failed and they remember how to apply a special emergency brake they have been told about but never practised with?
     
  20. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

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    That issue was with a specific manufacturer of pitot tubes, and Airbus had already told airlines to replace the Thales tubes with Goodrich tubes. The flight control on AF447 worked correctly, unlike, it appears, with the B737-8MAX.
     
  21. LOL The Irony

    LOL The Irony Established Member

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  22. ian959

    ian959 Member

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    One thing that puzzles me greatly: how come this defect in the software was not discovered during the flight test program? Would I be right in presuming that because this is a development of an existing plane, its flight test requirements are no where near as extensive as they would be for a wholly new plane before issuance of the type certificate? If so, this has now highlighted a major problem with type certification regulations. Also given that the Lion Air crash was 4 months ago and Boeing have still not been able to produce software that fixes the problem, how sure are we that the problem can be fixed given the inherent design issues with the aircraft that created the need for the software in the first place?
     
  23. cjp

    cjp Established Member

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  24. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    This has parallels with many other avoidable disasters, e.g., wasn't it deemed OK to do a 'desktop' fire risk assessment on cladding of the type used on Grenfell Tower.
     
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I think it's very similar to Grenfell indeed - a bodged solution on the cheap failed and killed a load of people as it did.
     
  26. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    There has to be some level of trust between the regulator and the supplier - if there was none then taken to the extreme the regulator would have to examine every part of every plane to make sure the supplier hadn't decided to build something different without telling them! But there is a risk with self-certification, unless it's against a set of very clear measurable criteria set by an external body, that people just look at the last job and say "well we can be a bit more clever this time" and the things just creep until what is being produced bears no resemblence to the initial standard.

    I think that's what happened at Grenfell but protecting against it is a lot easier for something relatively straightforward like a building cladding than for something as complex as a plane. There may also be the difference between European ("you need to comply with all these standards") and American ("you can do what you like but if you mess up someone will sue you out of existence") safety management principles, although I'm not sure how much that applies to aviation.
     
  27. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    The European (note 1) ethos, as you have indicated is, with ensuring compliance with rules and standards that have been evolved over decades (in some non-aviation spheres - centuries), where compliance generally takes priority over profit/political ambitions. In theory, the US has a similar aim, however the shadow of affordability, (in the commercial sense) is omnipresent and frequently raises its head to cloud the due process of ensuring compliance with legal (and certainly moral) safety obligations.
    My experience is mainly with the avionics industry (which is the nub of the 737 MAX issue) and as far back as the mid '80s, I was surprised, to say the least, that it was considered OK to put a label on the back of cabinets that contained high RF power and high voltages (note 2) said "Danger of Death" as the only deterrent to any would-be tinkerer or other person (officially) opening the doors. The attitude of the engineers and their managers was that 'you have been warned!' so the manufactuere's obligations were completely discharged and there was no point in wasting money on more effective measures. At that time, we were streets ahead of that, we had the Health and Safety at Work statute in 1974 which outlawed such practices.
    note 1 - the greater Europe, not just the EU.
    note 2 - these were 'medium voltage' in the context of the current Low Voltage directive.
     
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes, we moved on, for very good reason, from just warning people that something might kill them and towards the idea that we should do our utmost to make it impossible for that to actually happen. Though the standards do vary massively between European countries.
     
  29. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Now both criminal and civil investigations launched into the FAA approval of the 737 Max. Principally investigating whether Boeing and the FAA were too close and the FAA rushed approval to give Boeing a commercial response to the A320 Neo, secondly the fact that the approval was granted on a false or fraudulent safety case with the MCAS capable of commanding maximum rudder moves when it was supposed to be limited to only one quarter moves and also the safety case put forward having no corroborating data.
     
  30. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

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    Oh dear! There are of course many paths this could take, but I think some of them begin to point at the end of Boeing.
     

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