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Possibility of Boeing 737 Max 8/9 being permanently grounded?

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Elongation of the fuselage of the base model is a common practice. Also known side effect of elongation-rocking (rising the nose of the aircraft). Before the advent of computer systems, the pilot had to align the aircraft manually on similar elongated gliders.

There is an assumption that with some flight parameters, the computer mistakenly believes that it needs help in leveling the aircraft, which leads to a dive

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All fly-by-wire aircraft use software. Most of the high performance military aircraft in the world have the aerodynamic properties of a brick. Without software these aircraft would be unflyable. 

With robust software and redundancy, modern aircraft will continue to privide the best and safest form of travel. The scary part of the evolution is that nothing comes off the line perfect the first time. 

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Aren't they going to push out a software update to address the issue?

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2 minutes ago, FireMedic said:

Aren't they going to push out a software update to address the issue?

Yes. 

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Is the assumption that this is going to fix the problem? 

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9 minutes ago, FireMedic said:

Is the assumption that this is going to fix the problem? 

I hope so, otherwise what’s the point?

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3 minutes ago, Shelby07 said:

 

I hope so, otherwise what’s the point?

Good P.R and to distract people to stop talking about it, of course none of that helps us the consumer

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6 minutes ago, FireMedic said:

Good P.R and to distract people to stop talking about it, of course none of that helps us the consumer

I don’t think that Boeing believes it willl prosper under these conditions by simply putting out a good press release. If that’s their intent, they will quickly tank as a company. In some industries this could work, but not in the military defense / commercial airlines industry. But I guess we will see. 

I hope I’m right because I bought Boeing when it tanked. 

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The MCAS system was secretly implemented to cover up a flaw in the planes aerodynamics."

That seems like a meritless stretch from what I have read in the topic.

The 737 airframe is the oldest in Boeing’s fleet, it was designed to be very low to the ground to aid with boarding at the early stages of the jet revolution, before jetways were used. The engine clearance from the ground is a full 10” lower than most other modern planes.

As newer jet engines where adopted to increase passenger capacity and extend the range, the frame has undergone some extensive changes, including reinforcing the wing struts, and elongating the fuselage. That necessitated changes to the aerodynamics and attitude of the plane, especially during takeoff and landing. All of which is automated and largely controlled by computers, and relies extensively on sensors for airspeed, attitude, engine speed, etc., just as in any other modern commercial airframe.

The trouble seems to be that a sensor went bad in the first crash, and due to lack of proper training (which may well be Boeing’s fault) the pilots couldn’t adjust or figure out how to turn off the autopilot. Some clues are emerging suggesting the flight pattern of the second crash may be similar to the first.

A software patch, meaning using software to alter the behavior and add additional parameters to the algorithm in a given scenario, is a likely solution, but it does not mean the original design malicious or purposely aimed to cover anything up. It could be an oversight or just plain lack of foresight to realize how pilots might react in a given scenario. Again, the 737 is a very old airframe, and Boeing may have stretched its life for too long in the wake of all the new tech available today. This latest incident may very well accelerate its demise.

I highly recommend reading the book “Airframe” by Michael Crichton, it is hauntingly similar to how this particular disaster is unfolding.


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No doubt they’ll correct the problem, but the aircraft may never recover from its initial reputation. I remember when I was a kid growing up in the Seattle area Boeing was terrified of a DC-10 type of incident with 777 (ie, engine falling off on the tarmac). In their minds, the DC-10 was a good aircraft that suffered a high profile mishap and never recovered. So for 777 they launched a massive media campaign to basically keep the public informed on every step of its development, and were honest—or at least appeared to be honest—when setbacks occurred. That way, if something bad happened, the flying public would be emotionally invested in 777 like the engineers were, and go, “well, these things happen when you push the envelop like Boeing is doing.” At least, that was the idea.

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21 minutes ago, Shelby07 said:

I don’t think that Boeing believes it willl prosper under these conditions by simply putting out a good press release. If that’s their intent, they will quickly tank as a company. In some industries this could work, but not in the military defense / commercial airlines industry. But I guess we will see. 

I hope I’m right because I bought Boeing when it tanked. 

I agree their intention is to fix the problem, if truly the only problem is the software. 

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19 minutes ago, Philc2001 said:


That seems like a meritless stretch from what I have read in the topic.

The 737 airframe is the oldest in Boeing’s fleet, it was designed to be very low to the ground to aid with boarding at the early stages of the jet revolution, before jetways were used. The engine clearance from the ground is a full 10” lower than most other modern planes.

As newer jet engines where adopted to increase passenger capacity and extend the range, the frame has undergone some extensive changes, including reinforcing the wing struts, and elongating the fuselage. That necessitated changes to the aerodynamics and attitude of the plane, especially during takeoff and landing. All of which is automated and largely controlled by computers, and relies extensively on sensors for airspeed, attitude, engine speed, etc., just as in any other modern commercial airframe.

The trouble seems to be that a sensor went bad in the first crash, and due to lack of proper training (which may well be Boeing’s fault) the pilots couldn’t adjust or figure out how to turn off the autopilot. Some clues are emerging suggesting the flight pattern of the second crash may be similar to the first.

A software patch, meaning using software to alter the behavior and add additional parameters to the algorithm in a given scenario, is a likely solution, but it does not mean the original design malicious or purposely aimed to cover anything up. It could be an oversight or just plain lack of foresight to realize how pilots might react in a given scenario. Again, the 737 is a very old airframe, and Boeing may have stretched its life for too long in the wake of all the new tech available today. This latest incident may very well accelerate its demise.

I highly recommend reading the book “Airframe” by Michael Crichton, it is hauntingly similar to how this particular disaster is unfolding.


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The reports prior to the crash from pilots saying there was a lack of knowledge or access to information about the aircraft was a bit alarming. 

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48 minutes ago, FireMedic said:

The reports prior to the crash from pilots saying there was a lack of knowledge or access to information about the aircraft was a bit alarming. 

Don't be surprised if the cause of the crash is a lack of training in this specific aircraft by the pilots.   You would be amazed how little training smaller airlines pilots receive due to costs....

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2 minutes ago, rp99pts said:

Don't be surprised if the cause of the crash is a lack of training in this specific aircraft by the pilots.  American pilots receive better and more training in these aircraft compared to some of these other companies overseas.....

I’ve seen a couple of aviation experts site this very thing. 

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2 minutes ago, rp99pts said:

Don't be surprised if the cause of the crash is a lack of training in this specific aircraft by the pilots.  American pilots receive a substantial amount more of training in these aircraft compared to some of these other companies oversees.....

Oh I won't be surprised at all, I had read an article where American pilots complained about their lack of training or information. I can only imagine the rest

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The real issue that needs to be addressed is why they have a safety critical sensor that lacks appropriate redundancy and fault detection/isolation. I know that aircraft has more than one AoA vane. The pilots should not be put in the scenario to turn off the augmented flight modes as part of normal practice. 

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6 minutes ago, rp99pts said:

Don't be surprised if the cause of the crash is a lack of training in this specific aircraft by the pilots.  American pilots receive better and more training in these aircraft compared to some of these other companies overseas.....

I think this is the main issue. Yes, US and EU pilots have been aware of this issue with MAX aircraft but it was easily recoverable for them.

That said, no aircraft should not be at risk even with poorly trained pilots outside of cases of mechanical failure. I think the flight manual, software and interfaces could have been better from the start. 

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10 minutes ago, NSXCIGAR said:

I think this is the main issue. Yes, US and EU pilots have been aware of this issue with MAX aircraft but it was easily recoverable for them.

That said, no aircraft should not be at risk even with poorly trained pilots outside of cases of mechanical failure. I think the flight manual, software and interfaces could have been better from the start. 

I had a flight school for a few years. One of the things that always came up is the lack of hand flying the airplane with the growing trend of computers and autonomous aids. 

I would like to see the FAA require a certain number of hours hand flying these complex aircrafts in order for the pilots to gain and keep their ratings. Simulator training has its place, but it can’t beat familiarity under real world circumstances. 

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I was one of those lucky few to be in the air on a Max 8 when they announced the grounding. Decided not to send this pic to my wife until we landed :-)fc130ccbfe4120bf782f7ebd3be3bbe2.jpg

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Just now, ac031898 said:

I was one of those lucky few to be in the air on a Max 8 when they announced the grounding. Decided not to send this pic to my wife until we landed 🙂fc130ccbfe4120bf782f7ebd3be3bbe2.jpg

Probably a good choice

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When developing such complex things as an aircraft there are many scenarios that are impossible to predict. I can easily see the parallels between this and autonomous driving. The automation is many times faster, more alert and better at monitoring hundreds of details. But it is not 100% foolproof. We’ve already seen some highly publicized fatal Tesla car crashes, but it is the cost of pushing the tech to the next frontier.

Fact is, we expect perfection from such things, but we tolerate far less from humans. Humans crash cars, trains, buses and even private planes all the time, and there is rarely any significant critical assessments from such incidents, we just seem to accept them.

In these great big airplanes, a tragedy costs hundreds of lives, unfortunately. But flying these highly complex planes without automation is virtually impossible. There would be far more fatal crashes if humans were doing all the work that the autopilots are doing. Yes, there are occasional errors, mishaps, failures, and they should be corrected. We never tolerate them, or brush them off. But the safety record of these things is far better than any human controlled vehicles so I prefer to focus on the process of dealing with these incidents rather than trying to crucify the engineering.


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It's pretty rare that a mechanical issue on a newer plane will cause it to crash, most crashes are from pilot error.  Who the hell knows what the pilots did after take off, flipped the wrong switch and didn't know know how to identify and correct the problem(lack of training) and prob panicked.   Perfect example was the Air France crash coming out of Rio with a frozen Pitot Tube causing the air speed indicator to give a false reading. Co Pilot didn't know to identify and fix the problem, panicked and crashed.  

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3 minutes ago, rp99pts said:

It's pretty rare that a mechanical issue on a newer plane will cause it to crash, most crashes are from pilot error.  Who the hell knows what the pilots did after take off, flipped the wrong switch and didn't know know how to identify and correct the problem(lack of training) and prob panicked.   Perfect example was the Air France crash coming out of Rio with a frozen Pitot Tube causing the air speed indicator to give a false reading. Co Pilot didn't know to identify and fix the problem, panicked and crashed.  

That Air France flight was the first thing I thought of when this all took place

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For as much as I complain about security, flying, etc., we really are in a golden age of air travel. Fatalities are way, way down since the 1970s--something like 50x--and costs are comparatively low as well. My grandfather paid $510 for a one way trip from SFO to Hong Kong in 1953 (to find himself a wife)--that would be nearly $5000 today.

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