Would you fly on a Boeing 737Max?

Scotrail314209

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As we all know, the Boeing 737Max is turning into one of the most regulated aircraft in history, having been grounded for the best part of two years. As the 737Max returns to the skies, I want to know if you would feel safe flying on a Boeing 737Max?

Personally, I wouldn't feel safe on it.

It is slightly known that Boeing was telling them to cut corners to keep the costs down, with some employees still not believing it's safe as well as some airline employees like Flight Attendants.


 
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Bletchleyite

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Yes, I would, as the problem is known about now. The crashes were because the pilots didn't know what the issue was. Now they do, they'll know how to solve it if it happens, even if the modification wasn't done.

I do however think it was a major error by Boeing, and they should really consider junking it and coming up with a new narrowbody based on the 787 (features like the massive windows would be great, I love the 787 for this) rather than continuing to bodge bits on what is a nearly 60 year old design, which is sort-of the equivalent of if they had continued to churn out Mk1 coaches with power doors and slightly more modern interiors rather than designing new, safer rolling stock.
 

Darandio

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I'm not really sure articles 12-18 months old can really help anyone form a decision. What are the flight attendants saying today?
 

Ted633

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It is safe and it always was safe. However, as stated above, it was the training that was the major flaw. The pilots couldn't be expected to manage a failed system if they didn't know said system existed! I'd have no issue flying on one. The media have had a bit of a field day with it, whilst in the past the manufacturer would quietly solve the issue and no-one would be any the wiser.

With regards to Bletchleyite's point about building it in the first place, Boeing were working on an all new design to follow the 737NG. However, Airbus then announced the A320Neo which was going to be available far sooner than the 737 replacement, so they were forced to bodge the 737 again to stop Airbus stealing the market
 

Scotrail314209

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More recent article with a former engineer voicing more concerns.

The main concern for me is as Bletchleyite said, it's a very old airframe having been based off the Boeing 707 then the 727.

This video is also very interesting and a good watch:
With regards to Bletchleyite's point about building it in the first place, Boeing were working on an all new design to follow the 737NG. However, Airbus then announced the A320Neo which was going to be available far sooner than the 737 replacement, so they were forced to bodge the 737 again to stop Airbus stealing the market

To me, that's a slight worry. It shows that Boeing may have been desperate to stop Airbus overtaking them in the market, so they quickly devised the 737Max.
 

Ted633

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The main concern for me is as Bletchleyite said, it's a very old airframe having been based off the Boeing 707 then the 727.
There are some things that are concerning about the MAX development (Level of FAA oversight, training requirements). However, there is nothing at all wrong with the airframe design. Yes, it is the same (proven!) fuselage design as the 707, but ALL metal jetliners since then have been built along the exact same principles (frames, stringers, stressed skin & pressure bulkheads)
 

Domh245

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The main concern for me is as Bletchleyite said, it's a very old airframe having been based off the Boeing 707 then the 727.

The old airframe just means it's compromised, not inherently unsafe (*)


*the engine placement relative to the wing is certainly eyebrow raising, but with the controls and training, not inherently unsafe AIUI
 

LOL The Irony

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Yes, I would, as the problem is known about now. The crashes were because the pilots didn't know what the issue was. Now they do, they'll know how to solve it if it happens, even if the modification wasn't done.
The pilots of the Ethiopian flight knew about MCAS. They used the stab cut out switches. They're dead along with their passengers and crew.
It is safe and it always was safe.
So safe, they only used 1 sensor when redundancy requires 3. Also all those internal emails beg to differ. It was never safe from the start. In fact, it's amazing it didn't crash sooner.
 

AM9

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I possibly would fly on one if there wasn't a suitable alternative. I've flown Garuda, - which is an act of faith!
I wouldn't say that just because the FAA and Boeing did a flawed certification that was found out that the plane's design has had more scrutiny - therefore it is more safe though. The only error that Boeing have really acknowledged is the cutting of corners in pilot training. What makes me uncomfortable about the current situation is:
a) Boeing saw fit to make a major uplift in claimed performance (range, capacity and economy) by means of a questionable hack of a 1964 design that was in itself a resizing of parts of 727 & 707 (a '50s design).
b) The hack was certificated against grandfather rights of the first series 737 by a globally respected manufacturer in a questionable exercise with an internationally respected national flight safety authority.
c) Because the design brief of the 737MAX was way beyond what the original '60 airframe could achieve, the end result was an airframe that was inherently unstable, and should have been subject to testing as a new aircraft.*

The corner-cutting described in the three points above were all justified behind closed doors because Boeing had been commercially lax and outplayed by their competitor, Airbus. In my mind, the trust that passengers have placed in the company (and in the 737 family) has been seriouisly damaged.

* The relocation of the larger engines has altered the stability of the aircraft, and as a consequence, required automation to counter it's normal flight dynamics. That requires exhaustive proving to eliminate the failure mode that played a big part in the plane's two crashes. Boeing made a lot of noise about their 'manual' flight systems' safety when Airbus launched the A320 with fly-by-wire and when on a demo, one was lost because it was flown at 30ft and couldn't clear a forest at the edge of the airfield in France. They were familiar with customer mandated FBW proving on their fighter aircraft but didn't think that a passenger carrying civil aircraft sold as a lower operating cost needed much in the way of testing to get a CofA from the FAA.
 

Ted633

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The pilots of the Ethiopian flight knew about MCAS. They used the stab cut out switches. They're dead along with their passengers and crew.

So safe, they only used 1 sensor when redundancy requires 3. Also all those internal emails beg to differ. It was never safe from the start. In fact, it's amazing it didn't crash sooner.
Correct, they were aware of MCAS, but didn't have an understanding of it or what was going on. If training was sufficient, the aircraft would of been perfectly operable with the MCAS inop (see the lion air flight before the one that crashed).
Should there have been more than one sensor rigged up? Yes, but if used correctly, MCAS is not a flight critical system. It was only to make the MAX feel the same to the pilots as previous generations.

FYI, triple redundancy is generally only for CAT III autoland systems. A lot of systems are only dual redundant (for example, the AoA sensors the MCAS should be connected to)
 

anthony263

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The pilots of the Ethiopian flight knew about MCAS. They used the stab cut out switches. They're dead along with their passengers and crew.

So safe, they only used 1 sensor when redundancy requires 3. Also all those internal emails beg to differ. It was never safe from the start. In fact, it's amazing it didn't crash sooner.
Sounds like the whole dc10 problem again you'd think boeing would look back on history and learned from it
 

Journeyman

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The problem with it is that the 737 fuselage was originally designed with very little ground clearance, for the small diameter engines of the day. The bigger engines fitted now were really hard to fit without completely redesigning the wings in a way that makes the plane handle completely differently to earlier models, in some ways counter-intuitively. Agree with others here, Boeing should have designed something new. Ultimately this has cost them so dearly it probably would have been cheaper to design a new airframe from scratch.

I'm sure Airbus A320 orders have shot up because of all this. I'm certainly happier flying on those.
 

Scotrail314209

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Last year, Boeing suffered over 800 737Max order cancellations, and one solitary jet order for a Boeing 767 freighter for FedEx.



In August 2020, the A320Neo order stood at 6034 planes while the 737Max stood at 3408. So it seems like the Airbus A320Neo is really beginning to get more popular.

I'd feel much safer personally flying on an A320Neo. To me the product seems a lot more robust as well as the fuselage not being as old as the Boeing 737.
 

bussikuski179

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If I had a choice, no. If the only plane going to my destination was a MAX, I’d go on it, but otherwise no. Though from Helsinki to pretty much anywhere there is an alternative on an Airbus, since Finnair with an almost Airbus-exclusive fleet flies to a lot of places, and the ones I travel to (pre-Covid anyway) are all served by Finnair.
 

Snow1964

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I do wonder if Boeing should have renamed it, even if it did have origins in 1960s. The original was designed for airports with no stairs/ jetways, hence low body so could use steps onto tarmac. Not a problem with the original long slim cigar shaped engines.

As stated by others modern large fan engines are too big a diameter to go under the wings so were moved forward putting centre of gravity too far forward.

Incidently if anyone is wondering Ryanair is using designation with 200 replacing the max in name (200 comes from the number of slim seats squeezed in), and it a multiple of the flight attendant rules (minimum 1 attendant per 50 passengers).

Would I feel safe after 2 years of problem analysis and rectification, yes. But I hate the modern high density layouts in Europe so will choose to spend more money and go loNg haul (where cabins are nicer) when we are allowed to restart holidays. In US they sensibly fit their narrow body planes with seat back TVs etc, but there is too much cattle class in Europe due to Michael O’Leary’s race to the bottom
 

Bletchleyite

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Would I feel safe after 2 years of problem analysis and rectification, yes. But I hate the modern high density layouts in Europe so will choose to spend more money and go loNg haul (where cabins are nicer) when we are allowed to restart holidays. In US they sensibly fit their narrow body planes with seat back TVs etc, but there is too much cattle class in Europe due to Michael O’Leary’s race to the bottom

I think I'd separate TVs from comfort. They just aren't needed any more, pretty much everyone has a device they can watch TV on if they want.
 

TheEdge

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Correct, they were aware of MCAS, but didn't have an understanding of it or what was going on. If training was sufficient, the aircraft would of been perfectly operable with the MCAS inop (see the lion air flight before the one that crashed).
Should there have been more than one sensor rigged up? Yes, but if used correctly, MCAS is not a flight critical system. It was only to make the MAX feel the same to the pilots as previous generations.

FYI, triple redundancy is generally only for CAT III autoland systems. A lot of systems are only dual redundant (for example, the AoA sensors the MCAS should be connected to)

You shouldn't need to have a system on an aircraft that bodges the flight characteristics of an airliner. MCAS is flight critical as it keeps the MAX flying in a way existing pilots can carry on flying them, and so Boeing can sell them under the same type rating.

The 737 really needs to die.
 

LOL The Irony

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Sounds like the whole dc10 problem again you'd think boeing would look back on history and learned from it
Guess who merged with Boeing in 1997...
The 737 really needs to die.
Well it was going to be replaced by the Yellowstone Y1, but the Y2 (787 for normal folk) program pushed it back, combined with the A320neo and the "re-engined 737" order from American, means we won't get it until at least the 2030's, the same decade Airbus plan to release their A320 replacement. It needs to die but they have nothing to replace it.
 

Irascible

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Not unless it was an emergency. That plane is bodge after bodge after bodge, too many cut corners & a company I don't trust ( I won't fly a 787 either, or any recent 777 - pity, I like 777s generally ). The previous generation of 737 is hardly without problems either.

Guess who merged with Boeing in 1997...

From everything I've read, "took over Boeing" would be nearer.
 

Energy

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From everything I've read, "took over Boeing" would be nearer.
Boeing's leadership changed from the engineering side to the financial side, typically leading to worse products with more problems. In the case of Intel it just means their products have been worse than the competition and run hotter, in the case of Boeing it has cost lives.
 

LOL The Irony

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From everything I've read, "took over Boeing" would be nearer.
Desecrated would be the best word. Also 3 out of the 4 new aircraft released since the merger have had major issues.

787 - constant program delays & overruns, battery fires, build quality issues (also people say it takes 8-10 years for flaws to weed their way into becoming a major problem. Guess where we are now...)
747-8 - pretty much trouble free, somehow
737 MAX - needs no introduction
777X - program delays & overruns, catastrophically failed the pressurization test, looking to be another dog
 

jfollows

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Boeing's leadership changed from the engineering side to the financial side, typically leading to worse products with more problems. In the case of Intel it just means their products have been worse than the competition and run hotter, in the case of Boeing it has cost lives.
For this reason, for the fact that Boeing's leadership changed culture significantly for the worse once McDonnell Douglas was assimilated in 1997, I will avoid several Boeing products in favour of anyone else's, however I don't fear for my safety on a 737 MAX now, I just want to boycott the company. It would probably be hypocritical to boycott some of its earlier products given the number of times I've used them to date, but I will be taking an especial note of the 737 MAX in future and using a sensible alternative if possible. I boycott Cross Country Trains because of their policy on mid-journey seat reservations, but that doesn't mean that I never use them either, I just try and avoid having to where I can.
 

Snow1964

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For this reason, for the fact that Boeing's leadership changed culture significantly for the worse once McDonnell Douglas was assimilated in 1997, I will avoid several Boeing products in favour of anyone else's, however I don't fear for my safety on a 737 MAX now, I just want to boycott the company. It would probably be hypocritical to boycott some of its earlier products given the number of times I've used them to date, but I will be taking an especial note of the 737 MAX in future and using a sensible alternative if possible. I boycott Cross Country Trains because of their policy on mid-journey seat reservations, but that doesn't mean that I never use them either, I just try and avoid having to where I can.

Boycott and try to avoid are not same

In a boycott, you refuse, don’t do, even if you have no alternative
 

RichJF

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Desecrated would be the best word. Also 3 out of the 4 new aircraft released since the merger have had major issues.

787 - constant program delays & overruns, battery fires, build quality issues (also people say it takes 8-10 years for flaws to weed their way into becoming a major problem. Guess where we are now...)
747-8 - pretty much trouble free, somehow
737 MAX - needs no introduction
777X - program delays & overruns, catastrophically failed the pressurization test, looking to be another dog
Also, the KC-46 Pegasus tanker (military version of 767-200) has been an unmitigated failure. So much so that the USAF are considering life extension to the KC-135 & procuring/leasing a US-built version of the A330 MRTT yet again.

Namely; engine failures, electronic avionics system failing during flight, cargo restraint systems coming loose during flights, banned from carrying troops as the aircraft uses a similar MCAS system to the 737MAX, computer systems not being able to monitor the fuel transfer to a receiving aircraft, the fuelling boom hitting the fuselage of a stealthy F-35 & so compromising the stealth, loose bare wires, production tools/implements left inside the fuselage!

We were in this position back in 2003 when the EADS KC-45 won originally then Boeing threw its toys out the pram!

If this isn't a mirror of how shoddy Boeing development/production is then it's a real eye-opener for practices that have crept into their civil aircraft programmes too!
 

ainsworth74

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Also, the KC-46 Pegasus tanker (military version of 767-200) has been an unmitigated failure. So much so that the USAF are considering life extension to the KC-135 & procuring/leasing a US-built version of the A330 MRTT yet again.

Would be rather entertaining (though hideously expensive for the USAF and the US taxpayer) if, after an extra decade plus, they end up the A330 MRTT which the USAF originally selected way back in 2008 until Boeing appealed and had the decision overturned...
 

LOL The Irony

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Also, the KC-46 Pegasus tanker (military version of 767-200) has been an unmitigated failure. So much so that the USAF are considering life extension to the KC-135 & procuring/leasing a US-built version of the A330 MRTT yet again.
This is what happens when congress is bribed funded by the likes of Lockheed and Boeing :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:. No sympathies for their extreme stupidity and putting money before a good product.
We were in this position back in 2003 when the EADS KC-45 won originally then Boeing threw its toys out the pram!
And this is why we got the KC-46. No, Boeing genuinely cried to congress and then the competition was re-run so that Boeing would win.
Would be rather entertaining (though hideously expensive for the USAF and the US taxpayer)
That's already happening with the F-35. It's useless of everything asked of it except being a ground attack fighter. The situation is compounded by congress buying more of the things instead of restarting production of the F-22. So if you want to know what that'll be like, look at the F-35 program.

I've posted one of these documentaries before but I think they should show the problems Boeing has.

Al Jazeera 787 documentary:

DW 737 MAX documentary:
 

Irascible

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At least the P-8 and whatever the AWACS 737 is seem to be doing ok. Relatively old design now though, I think?

BAES has 1/4 of the F35, you can expect at least 1/4 of the damn thing not to work :P the UK appears to be trying not to buy any more of them, but that would mean we have to wait 20+ years to get an entirely BAE plane that entirely doesn't work...
 

ainsworth74

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That's already happening with the F-35. It's useless of everything asked of it except being a ground attack fighter. The situation is compounded by congress buying more of the things instead of restarting production of the F-22. So if you want to know what that'll be like, look at the F-35 program.
Mistake they made there was trying to shove two very different types of aircraft into one airframe. You can combine conventional carrier aircraft with conventional multi-role aircraft (see the F-4) and you can have an excellent STOVL aircraft (see the various versions of the Harrier). Trying to combine the two? Well. See the F-35... It'll probably end up being an excellent Harrier replacement (it's leaps and bounds ahead of what the Harrier could do). So from our perspective? Eye-wateringly expensive but it'll probably be fine for what we need it. If I was the USAF or the USN on the other hand? I'd not be impressed with where we found ourselves several decades into this programme...
At least the P-8 and whatever the AWACS 737 is seem to be doing ok. Relatively old design now though, I think?
Both are based on the 737 NG, the commercial versions I believe are generally well regarded?
the UK appears to be trying not to buy any more of them
It's probably more accurate to say that the UK government aren't willing to pay the price tag that's now attached to them...
 

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