The Boeing 737 MAX situation..

Glassdogs

Stunt Driver
#1
I just got off the phone with a very close friend who is a pilot for American Airlines.

His aircraft of choice is the 737 and he flies the MAX aircraft frequently. According to him, there is virtually no difference in handling the aircraft while airborne. There are a few gauges/ displays that are in slightly different positions on the dashboard than the "standard "737. The MAX and the regular 737 are so similar that AA doesn't even have a different setup in the flight simulators.

My friend pointed out what he suspected the problem with the two crashes was. The Ethiopian Air's First Officer had a grand total of 200 total flight hours. You couldn't begin to even get a commercial license in the US with that little experience. The other crash had some similarly inexperienced airmen, too.

"Imagine driving on 285 during rush hour, steering the car with your knees and trying to spoon feed oatmeal to a crying kid in a baby seat next to you. That's what that Captain was going through."
 

lotstodo

aka "The Jackal"
#3
Apparently telemetry showed the second aircraft porpoise at about the time the autopilot would be engaged. This is similar enough to the first crash that the FAA has decided to ground the aircraft until the black box can be analyzed.
 
#4
I visit a pilots site and there has been a massive discussion about this and the Lion Air crash.

Boeing has no one to blame but themselves. They stretched the airframe and then added fuel efficient engines that were so big, they had to move them forward to get them to not hit the ground on landing. This caused the drag of the engines to be much more forward of the center of gravity when the plane hit a stall condition (nose is high in the air and the plane is mushing forward)

The FAA found that the force to push the stick forward to correct the stall was slightly higher than the govt maximum due to the engine drag. To fix this, Boeing added code that when the AOA sensor detects a stall condition, it adjusts the trim tabs on the rear stabilizer to push the nose down to help the pilot and reduce the pressure needed. Note that the trim tabs on the 737 are so strong, that if they go to full down, the elevator itself can't over power the trim tab. Because of this, every 737 will allow a sharp stick movement to override the auto-trim of the aircraft, giving control back the pilot. Except for this one. This one will stop for 12 seconds, then sneaky like, start applying the trim down again. The last part of the design failure was that Boeing decided that mentioning they had to do this would be bad press on 737 MAX, so they didn't put the function in any pilot's manual, so no one knew this sneaky feature could change your trim settings.

The stupid part of the design is that the whole sneaky feature keys on the AOA sensor, which is a SINGLE POINT OF FAILURE. If the Sensor fails, it can show a stall condition approaching when the plane is actually fine. Which is what happened with the Lion air flight. Now just the trib tab would be fixable, except that a bunch of other warnings are also triggered by the AOA sensor, which gets the pilots attention and they often don't notice the trib tab wheels slowing spinning adding down pressure on the elevator. IF the pilots figure out that they, for whatever reason, have a runaway trim that won't stop, they can flip two switches on the console that lock out all trim adjustments and let them fly. This is what happened on the flight before the Lion Air Crash. They reported the problem, ground thought they had it fixed and let it fly again. The second time, the pilots got overwhelmed and didn't figure out what was happening before the tab overrode the elevators and the plane nosed down uncontrollably.

DId this feature cause both crashes? No body knows. But Boeing, because they tried to hide the change, have made everyone suspicious of the feature and have managed to get everything grounded, needed or not.

I would hope that after this, every co-pilot's fingers are on the disconnect switches on takeoff, keyed to fix the issue, so yea, I'd fly the plane. But it was stupid to hide it.
 

J-man

This post will self-destruct in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....
Staff member
#5
Until thorough investigations are completed it’s best to ground those aircraft. I suspect pilot error or inexperience is the main factor but it’s best to put safety first.
 

JawJa

Expert Driver
#10
Hmmm...

Was it not Boeing... that installed too small Li-Ion batteries on the (at the time new) 787 Dreamliner... that proceeded to melt down and start airframe fires???
Corporate America is not without their faults... and when they do something stupid that gets folks hurt/killed... they DO deserve to have their hand slapped... hard enough to stop it happening again.

Me fly... last time I flew... was at CedarTown airport a few weeks ago... LOL

Seriously... the last time I boarded an airliner was in Feb of 2010.
Have no desire to fly commercial anymore... I have literally been around the world more than once... no need to go anywhere again.
 
#11
I think a lot of the previous post are spot on. The aircraft, I take it, is fly by wire like most modern airliners. This takes a lot of the feel out of the aircraft. The onboard guidance is too damn high tech for anyone but a well trained, experienced pilot. You add the sophistication of the aircraft along with the human factor and you can have catastrophic failure in the blink of an eye. I think pilot training and the airline design industry are equally to blame. High tech is great but I want someone at the controls with skills. Remember flight 1549. Catastrophic failure of both engines at low altitude due to bird strike. The difference was at 33 seconds after the strike when two words changed the situation from tragic to heroic. The words were "my aircraft" when the captain took control from the first officer. He had control of the flight surfaces but zero thrust. The damn computerized audible warnings were trying their best to distract him. Three minutes later the plane was floating upright in the Hudson River with 151 live souls onboard. First officer Jeffrey Skiles did an outstanding job attempting restarts, adjusting flaps and communicating with the captain. The captain who uttered those two words was Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger.
 
#12
My job is like GD's except my customers are all over the US. So I pretty much have to fly.

This weeks trip is to NYC, so since I won't drive in Manhattan, it becomes a Planes, Trains, and Automobile trip. I drive to ATL, fly to Newark, take the train into Penn Station New York then the Subway down to the financial district. Oh What Fun!
 

JawJa

Expert Driver
#13
My job is like GD's except my customers are all over the US. So I pretty much have to fly.

This weeks trip is to NYC, so since I won't drive in Manhattan, it becomes a Planes, Trains, and Automobile trip. I drive to ATL, fly to Newark, take the train into Penn Station New York then the Subway down to the financial district. Oh What Fun!
Years ago... I used to fly to Newark... a friend would pick me up... we would drive to Hoboken NJ and stay at the Hampton Inn.
We rode the shuttle bus to the terminal and walked about half a mile to the Times Sq Mariott for an investment conference.
Enjoyed the trip... however there is NO WAY one could get me to live in that city.
 

cptlo306

Pursuit Driver
#14
I think the scariest time in my life was in the back seat of a taxi going from one of the hotels in Time Square to the airport. The driver was insane.

I did meet Danny Glover in NY once though so there's that.
 
#17
I think the scariest time in my life was in the back seat of a taxi going from one of the hotels in Time Square to the airport. The driver was insane.

I did meet Danny Glover in NY once though so there's that.
Many years ago, before I learned better, I came to NYC for a job and not knowing better, I landed at LaGardia and got a cab to take me to the hotel, near the Empire State Building.

By the time we got there I was ready to pay him his fare, a tip, and combat pay.
Traffic here is silly crazy. And if they outlawed horns, the streets would be empty in a week as everyone would be in jail.
 

J-man

This post will self-destruct in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....
Staff member
#18
I think the scariest time in my life was in the back seat of a taxi going from one of the hotels in Time Square to the airport. The driver was insane.

I did meet Danny Glover in NY once though so there's that.
Mine was riding on the “kimchi” bus in South Korea...absolutely risking your life each time.
 
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