Ugly Hedgehog - Photography Forum
Home Active Topics Newest Pictures Search Login Register
General Chit-Chat (non-photography talk)
Boeing and MCAS
Page 1 of 2 next>
Oct 10, 2021 08:59:10   #
jerryc41 Loc: Catskill Mts of NY
 
Interesting development in the Boeing MCAS mess. The chief prosecutor in the Boeing case worked out a deal where Boeing would get off the hook for the two crashes that killed 346 people. Shortly after this decision, she left the Justice Department and joined Boeing's law firm. Now, if Boeing is sued again, they'll have an experienced lawyer to defend them. Still, someone had to be held accountable, so they're prosecuting the test pilot.

In case MCAS doesn't sound familiar, it's "secret" software that Boeing installed in the 737 Max so pilots wouldn't have to be retrained to fly this new variation of the 737. The Airbus A320 is serious competition for the 737, so in making the Max, Boeing didn't want to tell potential customers that pilot training would be required. Instead, they added MCAS, a software enhancement that would compensate for the changes made with the introduction is this new variant with its more powerful engines. Unfortunately, with the pilots not knowing there was software flying the plane, two of them crashed, and the 737 Max was grounded for twenty months.

There's lots of information available about this online.

Reply
Oct 11, 2021 06:40:00   #
Canonuser Loc: UK and South Africa
 
My grandson is a pilot in the U.K. flying the 737Max for TUI (holiday company) after the alterations were made that made it safe to fly. He had to do two days of training to become familiarised with the updates.

Reply
Oct 11, 2021 08:58:06   #
fourlocks Loc: Londonderry, NH
 
Typical of corporate America; the big guy buys his way out of prosecution and throws the little guy under the bus so "justice is served." I'm surprised they didn't try to blame the people who clean the plane after a flight.

Boeing's Starliner followed the same path of the 737; cut corners to maximize profits and hope no one notices. Now their single-use lemon is billions of dollars over budget and the next test flight isn't until 2022. In the meantime, Musk is routinely sending cargo and passengers to the space station and tourists to orbit while reusing the hardware to make spaceflight cheaper. Boeing has gone a long way downhill since they gave us the B-17 and B-52.

Reply
 
 
Oct 11, 2021 09:25:15   #
Red6
 
This is really a fairly complicated issue. I am not a Boeing apologist as they should have emphasized the MCAS more in their documentation and training. The training for use of the MCAS is similar to the training for the failure mode of runaway trim, a failure that is routinely trained for by airline crews. This is where the electrical trim system for the aircraft elevators fails and excessively trims the aircraft to either climb or dive uncontrollably. Usually, the fix is to pull the circuit breaker for the trim system, powering it down, so the aircraft can be properly trimmed manually.

Since the MCAS system is basically a trim system operated by the computer to trim the aircraft to avoid dangerous aircraft attitudes in certain flight regimes, it also has a circuit breaker and can be disabled at any time in flight by that means. The failure modes of runaway trim and MCAS are very similar with the aircraft elevators being incorrectly deflected. Had either of the crews in the crashes treated this as a runaway trim emergency the accidents may not have occurred.

Boeing's biggest fault was their failure to emphasize this training and have a single point failure mechanism in the MCAS angle of attack sensor feeding the air data computer. The FAA also shares some of the responsibility since they were aware of the MCAS system and apparently agreed with Boeing's decisions regarding the system and its operation.

I am not sure how they can blame the test pilot as they usually work for and report to an engineering executive manager who reviews the flight test data and either approves of or disagrees with the results. Unless the test pilot was falsifying these reports I am not sure how he could be held responsible.

But then, as we have often seen, in our legal system anyone can be sued for anything.

Reply
Oct 11, 2021 09:55:49   #
fourlocks Loc: Londonderry, NH
 
Agreed. It's not that clear cut and there are likely multiple entities who share the blame, even the airlines who, I understand, told Boeing they wouldn't buy the upgraded 737's if they had to send their pilots to (costly) flight training to learn every new feature of the upgraded plane.

Reply
Oct 11, 2021 10:21:39   #
sippyjug104 Loc: Missouri
 
Oh boy...! I can't wait until the roadways are full of "autopilot" automobiles driving side-by-side with driverless vehicles.

Reply
Oct 11, 2021 10:45:59   #
Red6
 
sippyjug104 wrote:
Oh boy...! I can't wait until the roadways are full of "autopilot" automobiles driving side-by-side with driverless vehicles.


With almost 40,000 people killed per year on US highways by human-driven cars, could it get much worse?

Reply
 
 
Oct 11, 2021 11:25:40   #
jerryc41 Loc: Catskill Mts of NY
 
Red6 wrote:
Boeing's biggest fault was their failure to emphasize this training...

I am not sure how they can blame the test pilot...


Training pilots would cost airlines money.

Blaming the test pilot got corporate Boeing off the hook. Maybe the test pilot designed MCAS himself and sneaked it into the plane without Boeing knowing about it. When big corporations are involved, they and the government make their own rules. No matter what kind of disaster takes place and how many people are killed, corporations seldom suffer any penalties, and certainly not the people running those corporations. If anyone takes the heat, it's a secretary or a low level supervisor.

Reply
Oct 11, 2021 12:33:37   #
KillroyII Loc: Middle Georgia
 
jerryc41 wrote:
Interesting development in the Boeing MCAS mess. The chief prosecutor in the Boeing case worked out a deal where Boeing would get off the hook for the two crashes that killed 346 people. Shortly after this decision, she left the Justice Department and joined Boeing's law firm. Now, if Boeing is sued again, they'll have an experienced lawyer to defend them. Still, someone had to be held accountable, so they're prosecuting the test pilot.

In case MCAS doesn't sound familiar, it's "secret" software that Boeing installed in the 737 Max so pilots wouldn't have to be retrained to fly this new variation of the 737. The Airbus A320 is serious competition for the 737, so in making the Max, Boeing didn't want to tell potential customers that pilot training would be required. Instead, they added MCAS, a software enhancement that would compensate for the changes made with the introduction is this new variant with its more powerful engines. Unfortunately, with the pilots not knowing there was software flying the plane, two of them crashed, and the 737 Max was grounded for twenty months.

There's lots of information available about this online.
Interesting development in the Boeing MCAS mess. ... (show quote)


I missed this in the news. Disappointing but NOT surprising that the chief prosecutor gets a high paying job after the suspect agreement is signed. Boeing, and others who are also in the military equipment business, have long used this as a tool. Generals, and high ranking government civilians, often get great jobs... despite laws/rules to prevent this... after they influence how contracts get awarded/decided. Boeing also has support in Congress that helps them a lot. Yes, Boeing is a favorite target for me to bash... for a lot more than this!

Reply
Oct 11, 2021 12:39:16   #
KillroyII Loc: Middle Georgia
 
jerryc41 wrote:
Training pilots would cost airlines money.

Blaming the test pilot got corporate Boeing off the hook. Maybe the test pilot designed MCAS himself and sneaked it into the plane without Boeing knowing about it. When big corporations are involved, they and the government make their own rules. No matter what kind of disaster takes place and how many people are killed, corporations seldom suffer any penalties, and certainly not the people running those corporations. If anyone takes the heat, it's a secretary or a low level supervisor.
Training pilots would cost airlines money. br br ... (show quote)


Yes... big business and military always have someone, NOT near top management, to blame for everything. Don’t recall the exact quote but it is something like: An Army Private gets severe punishment for loosing his rifle but the General gets no punishment for loosing a war.

Reply
Oct 11, 2021 12:53:54   #
jerryc41 Loc: Catskill Mts of NY
 
KillroyII wrote:
Yes... big business and military always have someone, NOT near top management, to blame for everything. Don’t recall the exact quote but it is something like: An Army Private gets severe punishment for loosing his rifle but the General gets no punishment for loosing a war.


Sad but true.

Reply
 
 
Oct 11, 2021 14:13:55   #
Lucian Loc: From Wales, living in Ohio
 
I believe there was training on offer for the new 737 MAX, however it was a 2 day course and far off lands wanted something else, so they offered an iPad course of about an hour or so of self learning, to understand the new MCAS. Obviously in class training was the way to go but many airlines opted for the self teach iPad course and some did not even give that to their pilots.

It's all very sad and I thank my lucky stars that we had a safe flight. We flew back home to Wales on Icelandic air and they had new &#& Max aircraft. We flew to Iceland and then on to London. Those new MAXs were quieter, about 20% and had larger windows, so it was a pleasure to fly in. Though having been a pilot for many, many years, it was still a bit daunting to think we were going to be on a 737 for that whole flight since we never saw a 737 as a long haul aircraft. That was back in 2017.

Reply
Oct 11, 2021 14:21:41   #
robertperry Loc: Sacramento, Ca.
 
This might be a little off subject, is there a website to read about causes of specific aircraft crashes? I'm looking for official findings, not some pilots opinion about what happened. A friend of mine was on a plane that over shot the runway, skidded off into the ocean. Fortunately no injuries. She talked to me about it since I worked on aircraft engines in the military.

Reply
Oct 11, 2021 14:22:52   #
Dave H2
 
Once again, big money corporate greed wins out over the little guy. The pilot did not cover up the fault, the company did and the CEO knew it. This shit will continue to go on until some prosecutor has the stones to charge and convict a big time executive. When the multi-million $ execs start to go to jail, we just might see some changes.
BTW, I'm a retired naval aviator and still would not fly on the 737 max.

Reply
Oct 11, 2021 15:10:35   #
Red6
 
Lucian wrote:
I believe there was training on offer for the new 737 MAX, however it was a 2 day course and far off lands wanted something else, so they offered an iPad course of about an hour or so of self learning, to understand the new MCAS. Obviously in class training was the way to go but many airlines opted for the self teach iPad course and some did not even give that to their pilots.

It's all very sad and I thank my lucky stars that we had a safe flight. We flew back home to Wales on Icelandic air and they had new &#& Max aircraft. We flew to Iceland and then on to London. Those new MAXs were quieter, about 20% and had larger windows, so it was a pleasure to fly in. Though having been a pilot for many, many years, it was still a bit daunting to think we were going to be on a 737 for that whole flight since we never saw a 737 as a long haul aircraft. That was back in 2017.
I believe there was training on offer for the new ... (show quote)


One of the discount airlines is now flying the Airbus A319 between New York to London. I flew recently from Atlanta to Paris on a Delta 767 and I thought that was not very comfortable. I am uncomfortable on an Airbus A319 on a two hour flight here in the US. Flying 7-8 hours on one crossing the ocean would be almost unbearable.

Reply
Page 1 of 2 next>
If you want to reply, then register here. Registration is free and your account is created instantly, so you can post right away.
General Chit-Chat (non-photography talk)
UglyHedgehog.com - Forum
Copyright 2011-2021 Ugly Hedgehog, Inc.