737 Max & MCAS Videos

There are some videos by a pilot, including time in the cockpit simulator, explaining what goes on during stall, what makes the 737 MAX handle differently, and why that would be problematic.

This first one, 20 minutes, has a good explanation of the process of a stall, and explanation of the instruments in the cockpit that tell the pilot what is happening. I was fascinated by some of the “fancy bits’ on the pro aircraft that are much more “trick” than in the little planes where I’ve had hands on the controls.

He does have an accent (I’d place it as Northern Europe, possibly Norway) but not too bad and I could lock onto it pretty quickly.

At the 10 minute mark he starts to cover the particulars of the 737, including that the full engine thrust can overcome pitch control via the yoke. At 11L30 or so starts the cockpit / simulator time. At 15:50 he covers the differences in the MAX design.

This one covers the Lion Air crash and some of the information from it, along with more details on the MCAS. 14 minutes. At about 2 minutes, he covers the angle of attack sensor that might have been faulty.

Then, from a couple of days ago, how to recover from a “Runaway Stabilizer” and shut off MCAS in an emergency. 22 minutes. About 5 minutes in, is has a nice video of a large jack screw moving the stabilizer. About 9 minutes, he discusses how the auto-pilot can also be controlling the stabilizer along with a a couple of other systems. When you have 4 things (one the pilot) all thinking they can adjust the stabilizer, that seems a bit much to me. Then he covers that point that the elevator on the 737 is not enough for full stall recovery on it’s own, you must use the stabilizer trim too. At about 14 minutes he talks bout using manual control of trim, and how it is quite slow and hard to do. At 16 minutes they do the cockpit demonstration of the runaway stabilizer recovery.

Frankly, it looks to me like too small a tail & elevators and trying to make up for that with computer driven trim control, made worse by too much sensitivity to engine thrust. All that, plus 3 or 4 (or 5 including manual wheel) things / ways all having “control” influence over the stabilizer, just seems a bit much of a pilot load.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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