Why I Will NOT Fly a 737 Max

Until such time as there are MECHANICAL changes to the 737 Nax, I will not fly one.

Why? Well, here’s how hard it is to get proper “trim” (i.e. not flying into the ground) on a NON_Max 737.

Then realize the 737 Max has longer cable runs (so harder to manually trim than this already impossible to trim case) AND has more powerful engines (so more pitch up divergence under the normal “stall recovery” process of “add thrust”) AND has a longer body (so more pitch up divergence) so much so that MCAS was added to put in a LOT of automatic “down pitch” via power trim adjustments… just to make the aircraft basically flyable…

So what happens when the trim is sending massive nose down due to a faulty sensor or “whatever” and the pilot is pulling full back on the yoke and the co-pilot is trying like hell to manually adjust “trim” that is sending you into the Earth and it just isn’t possible? You Die.

Even if you shut off MCAS, it isn’t possible to fly / recover the aircraft once in lots of “Trim Down” and with significant speed or power applied (which is SOP for a stall condition – add power and speed to fly out of it).

Boeing has a bad aircraft design and they need to fix it. Not just try to patch around it with software.

I don’t know why, but “embed” is not working for this video. Probably so the ad revenue is increased. So OK, hit the link and skip the commercial:

https://youtu.be/aoNOVlxJmow

Via Android I get the embed code. I wonder if this is the Google Screwage thing…

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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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20 Responses to Why I Will NOT Fly a 737 Max

  1. Canadian Friend says:

    I am not saying you are wrong but a couple weeks ago when everyone was talking about this as if hundreds of 737 max were falling out of the sky, I did many google searches, even re-phrased in different ways to find out just how many 737 max have crashed recently.

    I could not find recent numbers, and all “old” numbers indicated that the 737 max have crashed about as much as airbus airplanes have, there was no significant difference

    I searched and searched and nowhere could I find that number.

    That was weeks ago, I have not tried since, I would love to see numbers.

    so just how many 737 max have crashed in the last year or the last two years and how does this compare to other models?

  2. Canadian Friend says:

    I just did a google search…they all talk about two crashes

    two

    that is it

    New York times from a april 5 2019 talks of two crashes

    two

    that is it

    Apparently the 737 max has been grounded 300 times but that is not a crash

    I found numbers for the 737 max direct competitor the airbus 321 but they are from 2010

    it says that as of 2010 167 people have died on airbus 321 crashes

    numbers from 2010 !!! why are numbers so damn hard to find?

    why can t I find numbers of fatalities or crashes for airbus 321 that are recent?

    I find that suspicious

    Google is known to hide search results that disagree with their far left point of view

    last week I tried to find the number of Muslim in Paris, I found numbers from 2010

    it is very suspicious when google only lets us see numbers that are about 10 years old

    they are actively affecting search results to hide something

    I think someone is actively hiding numbers on airplane crashes.

    The day I see numbers from 2018 on both the airbus 321 and the 737 max side by side I will believe the 737 max is much MUCH more dangerous than its direct competitor

    but as long as those numbers are hidden, I say something suspisious is going on

  3. tucsonaustrian says:

    The MCAS was not added to make the aircraft stable, but rather to keep the feel similar to previous 737s and keep the MAX in the same type classification. No separate pilot qualification, critical for airlines like Southwest who want all their pilots to be able to fly any plane in their fleet.
    Boeing systems engineering screwup to let a minor trim mod piece of software to be able to run over and over (3/4 degree pitch trim change each time) until full mechanical limit which makes the A/C unflyable.
    SW change to let MCAS only run once and verify second angle of attack vane has similar reading.
    Boeing should have recognized this after the first crash.
    Check out the youtube Blancolirio channel.

    Chiefio: Juan Browne lives near you up by Oroville, he is a Delta 777 pilot.
    Had a great series of posts on the Oroville dam spillway issue.

    Cheers
    Harald

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    You can NOT say “737” unadorned. There is a HUGE difference between the 737 MAX and all other 737s. The fuselage was extended (so more windage in a nose up or down moment) and bigger engines were fitted (so more “thrust is nose up” moment).

    THEN, the MCAS system was added to make the plane controllable. It does automatic “trim” adjustments so that the (too small IMHO) elevator inputs can fly the plane.

    The Problem is that they only used one attitude sensor for MCAS. IF it is insane, you crash and manual inputs are not enough to prevent that.

    So the “fix” is to have it look at BOTH attitude sensors and if the do not agere to “give up” and let the pilot fly the airplane. Except what this video shows is that even in a NOT=Max 737 the control forces needed to fix a very much “wrong trim” situation are more than the co-pilot can supply.

    So what is the “root cause”?
    That the jack screw acts opposite of the aerodynamic forces and can be overcome by them.

    That’s it, in a nutshell.

    So just move the jack screw to the other side of the pivot point and take your re-certification lumps.

    But nooo….

    Boeing wants to fix it in software as that does NOT involve as much change of hardware and recertification workload…

    OK, so I’m just not going to bother flying in as “Broken by hardware design but software can fix it” airplane…

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @Canadian Friend:

    Two crashes out of something like 75 flying in the first months of service. That is Very Much Plus Ungood Odds.

    Would you play “bet your life” on 1:35 odds of death? Really?

    And remember the 737 MAX is a very very different airplane from the rest of the 737 family.

    Longer fuselage. Bigger engines mounted differently. Different wings. Just because the same number was used doesn’t make it the same airplane.

    @TucksonAustrian:

    Boeing failed acceptance and added MCAS to become acceptable. I don’t know how you want to explain that other than it was a “glue on” to pass FAA acceptance.

    Now it may well be that looking at both sensors AND having MCAS not run repeatedly AND training pilots that “This is not your regular 737” will “fix it”. But I’m not putting my butt in a seat on one until something bigger is done.

    I do not need to fly in an airplane that is Fundamentally Prone to instability and needs a careful interaction of Pilot and Computer to not crash. Put a bigger tail on it, and move the Jack Screw to the other side of the pivot point. Then we can talk.

    And no, I don’t give a Tinkers Damn about Southwest Pilot training desires. I care about not crashing because the software is confused and without it the airplane is not controllable.

  6. Larry Ledwick says:

    Here is the NTSB accident data query for the 737, first flight was on January 29, 2016 so I used it as the initial date, and current date as end date.

    https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/Results.aspx?queryId=c6bbdf3b-8220-4753-9591-23d1e4043ffd

    If you want to craft your own query:
    https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/index.aspx

  7. Canadian Friend says:

    it is a list of incidents for all types of 737 not for the 737 max only

  8. Larry Ledwick says:

    Correct they have no way to select for the Max version you have to filter that the hard way, I tried a half dozen ways of getting there but their system does not allow the flexibility to narrow the list that way as far as I can determine.

  9. Canadian Friend says:

    ok I found some numbers

    the 737 max is worse than the average

    I will not argue, it is worse for the 737 max

    http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/rate_mod.htm

  10. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting, so the earlier versions of the 737 (600-900) are about the safest aircraft in the skies and the 737 Max the most dangerous except for the limited use Concord.

    (note the methodology depends on number of flights so limited service aircraft like the concord come out highly rated for a single total loss accident, and to some extent the same is true for the 737 max due to its short in service time)

    Not a good move by Boeing. This is going to be a very expensive mistake.

  11. tucsonaustrian says:

    E.M.: I was not defending Boeing, I worked with them when I was a systems engineer for Raytheon (originally Hughes Aircraft), they are awful.
    Marketing drives them, so they had to keep the MAX in type to sell it.
    The FAA is toothless, by their own design, so Boeing will get the MAX back flying with software changes only (maybe an extra light for AOA sensor disagreement).
    We all have the choice to avoid flying in the MAX.
    I don’t believe the MAX is inherently unsafe and would trust 1st World maintenance and piloting.
    Boeing screwed up royal and will pay with lost sales. The airlines will continue with the MAX because the fuel savings and in type pilot rating flows directly to their bottom line.
    I fly based on price, so aircraft type is not important (although I love the air quality of the 787).
    I’m in my 70s, so aircraft safety is unlikely to influence my life expectancy

    Cheers
    Harald

  12. Richard Ilfeld says:

    All airliners are massive compromises. With proper maintenance and pilot selection and training they are by a huge margin the safest way to travel. Boeing screwed up here. Every airliner brought to market has one or more of these development issues….very complex devices brought to market under time pressure. The regulators also screwed up big time….both the company and the mfr stumbled seriously in because of the way AOA has been introduced into commercial flying over the years. It started as a stall warning device.
    I would avoid the polemic sites. You can find the actual time track of the Ethopian Air flight online.
    http://www.b737.org.uk/index.htm. I’ll stipulate that the MCAS was a screwup , but the pilots were flying for four minutes after disabling trim. They made two manual inputs that began moving the aircraft in the proper direction. They made the command decision that the trim wasn’t working, and turned the MCAS back on.
    Giving the aviation world more time to sort out a new model is a rational decision, and therefore respected. Deciding its OK to fly on Southwest, & not Ethiopian Air is also rational. (In my world putting a 200 hour pilot in the right seat of a transport aircraft at 200 hours in criminal). AT 200 hours I was cleared by the FAA to BEGIN instrument training after a few hundred takeoffs and landings in the real worlds.
    There are two major stupids in the MCAS implementation (if you don’t like software management of flight characteristics why would you get on any Airbus?)
    Dependence on a single sensor when two were available (and adding conflict warning to the sensors); and changing the actuation rate/scope without formal retest. The Company and the FAA should properly share blame, liability, and commands to change because of this.
    But the episode is squarely within the evolution of commercial aviation.

    None of the MCAS incidents that impacted planes being flown by US or Canadian carriers with FAA or CAB certified trained pilots crashed.

    There are hierarchies of safety consciousness in this industry. Quantas has never crashed an airplane. Aeroflot is not permitted in many markets. AIrliner incidents in the US are very rare.
    Experience per Mile traveled, or per passenger, or per leg is and order of magnitude worse in much of the world ….but still single digits in a year and over experience in the hundreds of thousands.

    Much of the invective has roots in taking sides in the Airbus/Boeing competition, or in the Union difficulties with Boeing’s move of part of its operations to South Carolina.

    Avoid the Max if you wish. Avoid flying if you wish. Hold Boeing and the FAA liable for actual transgressions after they have been fully proofed in court or (more likely) stipulated to. But recognise this is but one incident int he history of aviation where all progress has followed crashes, beginning with the Wright brothers.

  13. H.R. says:

    “Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing”

    ~Early aviation maxim

  14. YMMV says:

    E.M.: “So what is the “root cause”? That the jack screw acts opposite of the aerodynamic forces and can be overcome by them. That’s it, in a nutshell. So just move the jack screw to the other side of the pivot point and take your re-certification lumps.”

    No, if it was not for the faulty attitude sensors and the faulty software, we would never had heard of this problem. The previous 737s were safe and presumably they had the same attitude sensors, so were there any reports about faulty attitude sensors? And they had the same jackscrew. The Mentour guy showed that even on those planes, manually adjusting the jackscrew while under heavy load was hard. But it was very rare that needed to be done, if ever. The electric assist was easy and convenient. The addition of a faulty computer “help” with no option to override it except manually was the killer. That makes three faults, but the jackscrew is not one of them.

    In most planes, the wing takes most of the load, but because the center of gravity and the center of lift are not in the same place, the smaller rear wing takes some of the load and the elevators adjust that, according to weight and balance and all that. To avoid having to constantly maintain force on that control, there is also a trim feature so that that force can be zeroed out. The elevators also allow changes in pitch, mostly small and more frequent adjustments. In math you could describe it as A + B = C, the individual and total forces on the tail controls. And normally A would be zero, trimmed out by B. To make the example easy, say C=0. There are many solutions. One would be A=B=0. Another would be A=10 and B=-10, or A=1000 and B=-1000, and so on. It’s those solutions were A and B are huge but fighting each other that is the problem. Turning the jackscrew while it is under high load is hard, especially manually. But normally B would always be adjusted so that A is near zero. That’s if a pilot is controlling B. If instead a computer insists … “I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t do that”.

    Which side of the pivot the jackscrew is on doesn’t really matter in this equation. The load issues would be the same. Other design considerations would be more important, even for the MAX.

    The elevators are smaller that the stabilizer, so we know which one will win if they fight. But they should not be fighting. That is the root cause.

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    @Richard Ilfeld:

    I have no aversion to flying, I’m all for it. Only reasons I won’t fly somewhere are when it is faster by car or significantly cheaper by car. (So “last minute” need to be somewhere the car can be cheaper, or for L.A. I can go “door to door” in about the same time by car and don’t need to deal with local ground transport issues. It used to be about 1/2 and hour arrival and 2.5 hours flight, so 3 hours and it was common to pop down to L.A. by air. Now, with a 2 hour potential “stuck in security” then ground transport from LAX to where I really want to be, it’s faster to just drive.

    I’m also not against automation in aircraft, if done well. So I’m happy to fly Airbus (even if I generally like the Boeing approach more as I think the pilot ought to be in full control if they so choose).

    What I’m NOT OK with, is making major changes that DO change how the aircraft flies making it necessary to glue on a robotic rapid adjustment of trim that can put you in a situation where you can not recover the plane manually and where the “fix” is to fly the plane manually…

    Yes, I agree that looking at both sensors will improve things in that you will be less likely to be actively fighting the automation. Yes, I agree that better informing the pilots that this is NOT your old favorite 737 and has “quirks” will help.

    But no, I do NOT think it’s all just lousy pilots in the rest of the world and, no, I do not think the logic of “We need the automation to avoid stall / crash issues so just turn it off when you are most likely to have a stall / crash issue” makes any sense at all.

    They need to fix the basic flight problems, not patch around them with software.

    @YMMV:

    The Mantour video clearly shows that you can get into a situation where it isn’t possible to properly control the aircraft with manual trim. That is on a NON_MAX 737. The MAX is a longer aircraft so even more cable length / drag / force needed to adjust trim. It has a larger tendency to “pitch up” (covered in other videos by the same pilot) which is WHY the MCAS was added. The engines are much more powerful and mounted differently also adding pitch up moment. As stall recovery typically includes “add thrust” and in this aircraft that can make things worse in a hurry, the pilot must know to NOT add thrust until attitude is recovered. So your choices are either add thrust (bad but part of the usual recovery) or put the nose down (which the MCAS does and very very fast) which can put you into a range where your elevator is not sufficient to get the nose back up. Then as the video shows, with added speed you can enter a range where you can not manually adjust trim due to the forces involved.

    That is all a very bad combination that will not be fixed by looking at two sensors. That is fundamental flight character.

    What 2 sensors will do is avoid the part where the MCAS does a runaway dive, but that was only the start of the problem. If you shut off MCAS, now you have an airplane prone to sudden excursions into stall and bad behaviour when you try to recover it (the very reason MCAS was added).

    So yes, THE basic problem is bad flight characteristics and “stretching” the design to where manual control isn’t functional enough to recover from the bad characteristics.

    Having 2 sensors will reduce the number of times that kind of excursion issue shows up, but it will still be there and will show up again. With 2 sensors, when one fails, you just skip right to the point where the MCAS is shut off and you are flying an airplane prone to sudden nose up excursions and stall entry; and with a manual stabilizer control method that can be “stuck” and with insufficient elevator to control the plane. Not a combination I’d want to be in.

    So by all means add a second sensor. I’d even say give the pilot a nice fat toggle that lets him electrically drive the stabilizer up / down bypassing all the other things “voting” for where it ought to be. Finally, just make the trim wheels bigger. They need a longer lever arm to avoid that “too hard to move” problem and a bigger diameter would help. (Or put a planetary gearing in it to let you get more force). Then finally, yes, Boeing has reached the end of the line for uncontrolability in that airframe. I’d look to move the jack screw to where it is not on that side of the lever arm of the tail and so you are not fighting it at just the wrong time. (Where if you need to fight it, it is in nose up not diving as cutting throttle can reduce climb forces and lowering air speed gives easier adjustment). That makes the whole manual control issue much much less.

    There comes a point where you have piled up just too many “small issues” and the stack becomes a big issue you can’t overcome. Making the body longer and putting on bigger engines did just that. That started the cascade of pitch up divergence / stall entry / MCAS to patch around that bad behaviour / sensor failure to cause diving / recover to manual that isn’t quite flyable enough / CRASH.

    To fix that you need to change the tail such that it IS manually controllable under conditions of MCAS outage or you need a powered alternative system. But even then, you have the issue of an airframe that isn’t fond of manual flight and needs the MCAS to tame it. Good luck with that.

    Now, can you do “1/2 a loaf” and just a few of those things make it ‘better enough” to only lose one plane a decade? Probably. But I don’t want to be on that one plane…

  16. YMMV says:

    E.M.: “The Mantour video clearly shows that you can get into a situation where it isn’t possible to properly control the aircraft with manual trim. That is on a NON_MAX 737.”

    The Mentour Pilot video clearly shows that you can PUT it into a situation where the loads are too high to manually trim the aircraft. That was on a 737 NG simulator, in order to demonstrate what a mis-trim situation is like. He explains what he did and why from 9:30 to 10:00.
    “I am going to artificially put the aircraft into a very out of trim position …. this would be well outside of what normal conditions would ever — even non-normal conditions — would ever show.”

    In the video at 11:59 he is pulling back on the elevator and the FO is manually trimming forward (fighting each other) “just as an exercise”. The FO goes until he can’t go any more, then at 13:30 he tries going back and can’t do that either. This would be the same for all versions of the 737, but it never mattered on the older versions. Since 1966. That’s a long time. In an earlier Mentour video that you linked to in a previous post, he says all the 737s, the older and the MAX too, fly very nicely. In all of them, you may have to use the stabilizer trim to get the nose down to escape a stall. Which was okay on the older models, and you are not supposed to get into that danger zone anyway. In the MAX, they added the MCAS to do that automatically, which would be fine if it worked properly. It was ONLY supposed to kick in when there was a high angle of attack, low speed, flaps up, and manual flight. So why did it kick in when the angle of attack was good and at high speed? And then keep it down.

    E.M.: “I’d even say give the pilot a nice fat toggle that lets him electrically drive the stabilizer up / down bypassing all the other things “voting” for where it ought to be.”

    That electrical toggle is on the left hand wing of the yoke. Now, about that bypass. I read through 900 comments to that video, with some further explanations from Mentour Pilot himself. I will quote a few of them.

    theonlytruefalcon: Why not wire the stab trim cutout switches so that only the autopilot and mcas computers are disconnected from the trim motor? This would leave the electric trim yoke switches with a closed circuit to operate the motor.
    Rob: I think it already works mostly like that: there are 2 switches, one for the manual control and one for the auto pilot. I don’t know which one affects MCAS but you would expect it to be the auto pilot switch. So flipping only that one should terminate any control by the plane itself while still allowing control via the thumb switches. However, it appears to be that the checklist only calls for flipping both switches at the same time…
    jan386: It is different between NG and MAX. In NG, one switch turns off automatic trim and the other cuts power to the electric motor. In MAX, however, both switches cut power to the electric motor. They are wired in series so any of them will do the same thing.
    This is another change that Boeing did not feel like including in the difference training between NG and MAX.

    wow!!!

    Andrea Chiavazza: I’m really mind-blown. I don’t understand why in a big plane like a 737, a pilot should ever be required to use a big amount of his physical strength on the controls in order to move the elevators, or any other flight control surfaces for that matter.
    Mentour Pilot: It’s an old bird. And we are talking some serious non-normals here.
    Mike Henderson: He’s demonstrating extreme control forces created by intentionally extreme mis trimming of the horizontal stabilizer. Pilots would not do this intentionally on a real flight. Perhaps test pilots in certification flight tests.
    Mentour Pilot: Andrea Chiavazza absolutely correct. I am demonstrating a phenomenon, not a normal occurrence.
    Mentour Pilot: This is only required when we have turned of the normal electrical motor using the cutout switches as shown, during normal conditions there is no force needed.

    gyes99: The more you publish videos on the 737, the more I am loosing confidence that the 737 is a safe aircraft.
    Mentour Pilot: Well, that’s the wrong way of seeing it. The point here is that the aircraft was controllable and that there ARE ways to fix this.
    This issue is not unique to the 737. It goes for any aircraft with similar design.

    E.M.: “I’d look to move the jack screw to where it is not on that side of the lever arm of the tail and so you are not fighting it at just the wrong time.”

    Just guessing, since the tail end is pointy, there isn’t room for it on the other side of the pivot. And as the video demoed, with extreme loading it was hard to move it either way, manually. And the electric motor can do it, so the manual system is just a relic of the older days, still there but not needed.

    Maybe the new improved MAX will have a cutoff switch for MCAS which leaves the pilot’s electric trim control on.

  17. Another Ian says:

    “Boeing Didn’t Tell Southwest Or FAA That It Had Disabled Critical Safety Alerts On 737 MAX”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-28/boeing-didnt-tell-southwest-or-faa-it-had-disabled-critical-safety-alerts-737-max

    Via SDA

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @YMMV:

    Yes, to do a demonstration you have to do things to cause the demonstration state. So?

    The MCAS is also doing things “you would never do”, which is kindof the point.

    Stick back is what you would be doing to fight an MCAS induced dive via IT having done the trim forward, thus demonstrating exactly the problem case. That they then can not manually get out of. It doesn’t get much more accurate a recreation than that.

    So my override switch suggestion is just putting back what was taken away….

    Hmmm… pointy end might be a problem. That could be dealt with via a crank arm and the jack screw orientatoon changed to long axis, but now you are into major structural… I think it will take a cutaway drawing to know if the space is just too small. Bottom must rake up to avoid scrape on takeoff, and top can’t get a fairing as the tail is there…

    I still like the idea of a bigger trim wheel or a planetary gearing. What is the point of a manual backup if it can’t be turned by a regular pilot? What happens with 2 small men pilots, or an all female flight crew who are not weight lifters? So you flip off MCAS then can’t fix the trim… just wrong.

    @Another Ian:

    Heard a report on the radio that the warning light being moved to the deluxe package was not intended. It was incorrectly moved. Now is that a convenient lie? Or a real screwup? Zerohedge fails to mention that point…. I often find the Zerohedge stories leave out such things and make the story more emotive / sensational. Much more dramatic to frame it as “Boeing deliberately put safty light in extra cost package” instead of “Some flunky at Boeing screwed up the package change order”.

    After we have, oh, half a decade of no more MAX crashes, then I’ll consider flying in one… for now it just looks like too many things are not quite right… no need for me to help them with their Microsoft Style debugging (“just ship it and let the customer find the problems”…) After 5 years in service, it ought to have seen all the likely flight conditions and equipment malfunctions….

  19. [Reply: please use your own name and not mine. Chiefio E.M.Smith]

    Dear JATR Chairman Chris Hart,¶

    I believe the FAA & Boeing are looking at the problem all wrong.¶

    If repositioning the Larger Max Engines properly under the wing by using existing Max 10 Landing Gear that are 9.5 inches taller, and thereby bring the Max aircraft to near 737NG levels of Flight Stability. This will make it quicker, and less expensive to PROPERLY train the 10’s of thousands of pilots on the only one current Max Flight Simulator. Other Max Simulators will take year’s to build, and millions of dollars to make. The world wide public will NOT tolerate a quick and dirty iPad training for the new updated Max. The Reengineering solution will be far superior and safer to any MCAS software solution. The 737NG’s do not have, and do not need MCAS. No MCAS, no problems, everybody is happy.¶

    If China, EASA, Canada, Indonesia were ALL to require this Reengineering of the 737 Max’s before Boeing and the FAA waist more time on an imperfect MCAS software solution, then perhaps you can convince Boeing and the FAA to “Do The Right Thing.”¶

    Fighter jets have inherent flight instability that makes them harder to shoot down, but difficult to fly. Fighter jets use redundent flight computers to help the pilots fly these squirrelly aircraft safely.¶

    The 737 Max is a Commercial Jet, and should be stable, and easy to fly as the 737NG aircraft that do NOT need MCAS. The Commercial Aircraft Industry does not have the Time to Test, and the Billions of dollars to invest in an Aircraft that is inherently unstable during flight. The fear and distain that is generated when people hear the mere mention of MCAS or Max, is enough for me to seek a better solution. See my Article below.¶

    Thank you,¶

    Dennis E Sullens¶

    29 year’s in Aviation Quality Assurance, 19 year’s with Boeing. Retired.¶
    1 (503) 309-9490¶
    des1588b@hotmail.com
    Portland, Oregon¶
    United States of America¶

    ====================================

    I, Dennis E Sullens have 29 year’s in Aviation Quality Assurance, 19 year’s with Boeing.¶

    In my opinion, MCAS is a Patch or Band Aid solution to the problem created by moving the larger diameter Max jet Engines forward and up in front of the wing in order to maintain the FAA required 18 inches of ground clearance. This created inherent Aerodynamic (or static?) instability in the flight characteristics of the Max. Regardless of what you call the problem, the Max did NOT pass the Wind Tunnel and Flight Testing. Upon Full Thrust, the Max tended to pitch up and stall. The Max also stalled during other required manoeuvers. At this point “Aviation Best Practices” would require reengineering. Boeing went another direction.¶

    SOLUTION: The safe solution that was suggested by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in July 2019 (FN01) was to make the landing gear taller, and then place the new larger Max Engines properly under the wing, thereby eliminating the need for MCAS. The 737NG do not need, and do not have MCAS. Keep in mind the design and engineering has already been accomplished on the 737 Max 10, that have 9.5 inch taller main and front landing gear. To see Boeing’s 2 minute video from September 2018, just Google or YouTube search Boeing 737 Max 10 Landing Gear.(FN02).¶

    With the Max Engines placed properly under the wing, and restoring flight stability to 737NG levels, this will eliminate the need for MCAS. Boeing could save 10’s of millions and 2 year’s (or more) to build Flight Simulators and Pilot Training cost and time to 10’s of thousands of pilots worldwide. No MCAS, no problems, everybody is happy.¶

    Several Airlines (eg Virgin Australia Airlines, July 2019) have switched their Max 8 orders to Max 10’s, possibly because of the above reasons.(FN03).¶

    The Max 7,8,9 versions did NOT pass the Wind Tunnel and Flight Tests. This is a problem that Boeing should have solved in accordance with “Aviation Best Practices,” and as EASA later suggested. Instead Boeing decided on a Patch or Band Aid solution with MCAS.¶

    This reminds me of the Baseball comedy where the Owner is trying to discourage her team players by reducing Comfort and Safety. The LA baseball team approached their charter aircraft usually quite new and comfortable, this time an old DC-3 and see the Maintenance Mechanic using DUCT TAPE to “repair” one of the propellers. Everybody in the audience laughed. Little did they know how close to the truth this Joke was!!! Ref: 1987 Major League with Charlie Sheen as the “Wild Thing” pitcher.¶

    THE FUTURE: Boeing will resist the EASA (FN 1&4) Solution because of the short term cost. Boeing will continue to try to “FIX” MCAS to everybody’s satisfaction, but will fail leaving a very bad taste in everyone’s mouth. The fear and distain that is generated when people hear the mere mention of MCAS or Max is enough reason for me to seek a better solution. Boeing will use it’s considerable government connections to encourage a very reluctant FAA to approve and re-issue an Airworthiness Certificate that no one in the FAA wants to do, and may NOT be agreed to, and followed by other similar Civil Aviation Authorities. The FAA has already said that in an emergency the torque required to use the Trim Wheel under full thrust complained about by female pilots was not going to be considered in the Recertification Process, thereby ignoring EASA who listed this as one of their concerns.(FN04).¶

    On the positive side, to encourage Boeing and the FAA to do “The Right Thing” they have the Safety reputation of 5,000 Max Jet’s costing billions of dollars at stake, as well as Boeing’s over 100 year history of quality and safety at stake. Not to mention the FAA’s 61 year world renowned reputation at stake. This EASA Solution is well worth considering because the Public’s “Trust” is worth 100’s of billions to the Boeing stockholders’ future. And this decision and solution, if underestimated, could cost 100’s more lives in the process. I think Boeing and the FAA has no other choice that would satisfy everyone. If only they were of like mind with EASA and folks like me.¶

    Instead of heeding EASA (FN 1&4) and JATR suggestions, Boeing, because of all the bad publicity, will Rebrand and Rename the Max. The Airlines and Boeing Executives will have highly publicised flights together with Wife and Children to boost public confidence in the new “Safer” aircraft. The Airlines will offer Free or Discounted fares. These and other scheme’s will only be partially successful.¶

    If Boeing does not heal the damage done to their reputation, they will go into a steep dive downward to eventual bankruptcy and destruction, as did the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines jet’s. Boeing will become the “Sony” of the Aircraft industry, just placing a Boeing label on what they “assembled,” with little or no “Value Added.” Boeing will be replaced by China, Russia, and Japan. This slow descent may take 10 year’s, but it will happen unless the Decision Maker’s at Boeing can use (during this emergency) the Trim Wheel to bring the nose of the aircraft up, pointing to clear blue skies. If not, I think this might be what the future holds. I personally will NOT fly on the Max by any name unless the EASA suggestions are adhered to.¶

    What do you think?¶

    FOOTNOTE 01¶

    https://samchui.com/2019/07/10/easa-identifies-737-max-autopilot-fault/

    EASA IDENTIFIES 737 MAX AUTOPILOT FAULT.¶

    AARON HILSZ-LOTHIAN, JULY 10, 2019¶

    “Past and present engineers within the aviation industry have flagged the aircraft as unsafe to fly because it is not a software problem, it is a structural problem that required the MCAS system in the first place.”¶

    “A redesign of the engine position on the aircraft would cost a ridiculous amount of money and would likely render the grounded aircraft useless. Flight testing and new production methods would have to be conducted, leaving the idea in the scrap bin.” [But there is still time for the Max 10, and may cost Billions more, and more death’s if MCAS’ short cut is pursued.]¶

    “Despite this the idea to add or redesign hardware hasn’t been completely disregarded as EASA director Patrick Ky said, retrofitting additional hardware relating to the angle of attack sensors was still an option.”¶

    FOOTNOTE 02. 737 Max 10 Landing Gear are 9.5 inches taller.¶

    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/video-boeing-details-737-max-10-landing-gear-design-451546/
    FLAGNOTE 03: Virgin Airlines switches Max 8 to Max 10’s.¶

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/virgin-australia-defers-first-737-max-to-2021-in-ord-457779/&ved=2ahUKEwjBlNWy9qbkAhXoHDQIHWpeAAIQFjAAegQIAxAB&usg=AOvVaw14wQobQHnwCduWhCVBskKx
    FLAGNOTE 04. EASA 737 MAX REQUIREMENTS:¶

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/07/european-regulator-says-boeing-has-to-fix-these-5-major-737-max-issues-.html&ved=2ahUKEwiez7HA8qbkAhVzLH0KHXhWDJEQFjAAegQIARAB&usg=AOvVaw0luTe1ErtWK6xb9xdNly3m&cshid=1567041030325

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