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Thread: Should they have grounded the Boeing 737 MAX 8?

  1. #1
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    Default Should they have grounded the Boeing 737 MAX 8?

    Hey aviation enthusiasts,
    Of course, as we ALL know, there has been a whole 737 MAX crisis going on this past half a month. They've been grounded worldwide, not one left in the air. The thing IS, they don't exactly know what caused the Lion Air or Ethiopian Airlines crashes, and even though they think it's MCAS, they don't know for sure. I don't know what to think in terms of if they should've grounded it. I want you guys's opinion on this. Should the world have grounded the Boeing 737 MAX 8?
    TheAviationEnthusiast
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    346 lives lost, yes the grounding was necessary. Two flights with similar flight incidents, a few months apart from each other. Seasoned pilots have been voicing concerns that something was not correct with the flight characteristics they were experiencing. It has been reported that some of the US carrier pilots have had the same incidents, but, managed to overcome the situation by disabling the MCAS system.

    I don't believe you will ever hear an admission of fault in either the MCAS or any other component which could have contributed to these unfortunate air disasters, because an admission of fault is an admission of liability to Boeing. JMHO.

    I do hope they find the solution, as Boeing has always been a reputable manufacturer of jetliner aircraft. It's no different than automobiles, or any other consumer goods that are manufactured. In some malfunctions of items not relating to passenger aircraft, the manufacturer merely identifies the problem and then issues a product recall to remedy. In the case of Boeing 737 MAX 8/9, it's not that easy. Too many lives lost, before admitting a problem exists!

    I, too, am anxious to see others' comments on this subject!

    Rick

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    Thanks for stating your opinion! I, too, am anxious to see others' comments on this subject!
    I've been an experienced FSX player for two years now, and an enthusiast forever. Be sure to check out my blog on here, I blog daily about everything aviation!
    Specs: Windows 10, Intel Celeron CPU J1900 1.99 GHz, 1993 Mhz, RAM 4 GB, Intel HD Graphics

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    A disclaimer first: I'm not an airline pilot, though I have years of experience as a CFI in quite a variety of lighter aircraft. I have no special pipeline to the investigation, either. So the following set of opinions is based on what I've read in the media, including AOPA, and on what I know of pilot training, both through my own experience and from talking over the years to friends who ARE in the airlines, one even was a United instructor for a number of years (besides flying F-16s for the guard). So, on that basis%:

    From everything I've read (and seen on TV), it appears that it's not so much that there's anything inherently wrong with the software change, other than maybe that each additional activation is additive until the trim reaches its max. So the best solution (IMO) is to provide the updated documentation and training that should have been provided in the first place to all who fly the aircraft*, so that each pilot is aware there have been operational changes. Then once all pilots at a line that is operating the aircraft are properly trained and tested, to remove the grounding for that airline only -- one at a time or concurrently doesn't matter, just on a per company basis (or even a per pilot basis). From the various reports I've read, it appears that pilots who are up to date on runaway trim procedures, for whatever reason, have done OK when encountering the problem, while pilots who aren't up to date on the runaway trim procedures have problems.

    Again, opinion, it appears from what I have read that U.S. pilots have dealt with this situation just fine, but some non-U.S.# pilots apparently haven't really mastered their emergency procedures.

    Chances are very good that someone else is more in the know, so perhaps we'll hear something more up to date and/or accurate.


    * There's at least one article out there (AOPA, I think) that points out that flipping the switches to disable the electric auto trim (they showed a picture of the two toggle switches) would have disabled the auto trim so that it couldn't run away.

    Note that even in general aviation, pilots who fly more complex aircraft must learn how to disable the autopilot trim function in case of runaway, so it's not rocket science, just training (IMHO).

    # There are indications out there of poor training in some (nowhere near all) countries, such as the Asiana flight short of the runway a few years back (a number of others, too). Whether it's an individual pilot thing or something missing in the training for each of the involved airlines is something I don't know.

    % The information in the post is tentative, pending further info, and is probably more speculative than it should be, so take it ALL with a grain of salt (perhaps half a shaker full?).

    Larry N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lnuss View Post
    A disclaimer first: I'm not an airline pilot, though I have years of experience as a CFI in quite a variety of lighter aircraft. I have no special pipeline to the investigation, either. So the following set of opinions is based on what I've read in the media, including AOPA, and on what I know of pilot training, both through my own experience and from talking over the years to friends who ARE in the airlines, one even was a United instructor for a number of years (besides flying F-16s for the guard). So, on that basis%:

    From everything I've read (and seen on TV), it appears that it's not so much that there's anything inherently wrong with the software change, other than maybe that each additional activation is additive until the trim reaches its max. So the best solution (IMO) is to provide the updated documentation and training that should have been provided in the first place to all who fly the aircraft*, so that each pilot is aware there have been operational changes. Then once all pilots at a line that is operating the aircraft are properly trained and tested, to remove the grounding for that airline only -- one at a time or concurrently doesn't matter, just on a per company basis (or even a per pilot basis). From the various reports I've read, it appears that pilots who are up to date on runaway trim procedures, for whatever reason, have done OK when encountering the problem, while pilots who aren't up to date on the runaway trim procedures have problems.

    Again, opinion, it appears from what I have read that U.S. pilots have dealt with this situation just fine, but some non-U.S.# pilots apparently haven't really mastered their emergency procedures.

    Chances are very good that someone else is more in the know, so perhaps we'll hear something more up to date and/or accurate.


    * There's at least one article out there (AOPA, I think) that points out that flipping the switches to disable the electric auto trim (they showed a picture of the two toggle switches) would have disabled the auto trim so that it couldn't run away.

    Note that even in general aviation, pilots who fly more complex aircraft must learn how to disable the autopilot trim function in case of runaway, so it's not rocket science, just training (IMHO).

    # There are indications out there of poor training in some (nowhere near all) countries, such as the Asiana flight short of the runway a few years back (a number of others, too). Whether it's an individual pilot thing or something missing in the training for each of the involved airlines is something I don't know.

    % The information in the post is tentative, pending further info, and is probably more speculative than it should be, so take it ALL with a grain of salt (perhaps half a shaker full?).
    Wow, that is a very good point! Because supposedly there is a way to disable the MCAS system if it faults, but the 737 MAX pilots don't know how to do it.
    I've been an experienced FSX player for two years now, and an enthusiast forever. Be sure to check out my blog on here, I blog daily about everything aviation!
    Specs: Windows 10, Intel Celeron CPU J1900 1.99 GHz, 1993 Mhz, RAM 4 GB, Intel HD Graphics

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    While the cause of the accidents was not known, the planes should have been grounded. Safety, not airline and Boeing business profits, should … and, late in the USA, but eventually … come first.

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    I recently watched a video featuring a new prop plane with an MCAS-type system - can't remember which aircraft - perhaps a Socata?

    As far as the 737 MAX: I think one of the problems with many of the airlines using them around the world, and maybe even the U.S., was that that pilots were not sufficiently trained in the nuances of the current MCAS system,a as well as how to disable it.

    But the MAX definitely needed to grounded as the the lawsuits are probably already piling-up - plus, no airlines wants the specter of another crash...

    However, on the Lion Air crash: That particular plane reportedly was having mechanical problems on and off for days prior to the crash with the air speed indicators - so the MCAS may have been only partially to blame on that one...

  8. #8

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    Yep, the aircraft should definitely have been grounded, it was the correct decision. Especially after the second accident, which appeared to be very similar to the first one.

    Aircraft are getting incredibly complex and I'm getting more and more uncomfortable flying in modern airliners due to the myriad of electronic overrides and Internet-of-Things (IOT) etc. Maybe my understanding is too superficial, but if they can hack into cars nowadays, why can't they hack into an airliner carrying hundreds of passengers. What if these crashes were caused by a guy sitting in his living room with an i-Pad?
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    I concur with Larry.

    I'm not so much into grounding the Max as to grounding MAX crews until they've acknowledged that they how to disable the MCAS. The Malaysian aircraft had a runaway MCAS episode the day before it crashed -- but a deadheading pilot in the jump seat told the crew how to disable the MCAS and then it flew just fine. So why didn't the crew know that the next day???

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    Quote Originally Posted by okbob View Post
    I concur with Larry.

    I'm not so much into grounding the Max as to grounding MAX crews until they've acknowledged that they how to disable the MCAS. The Malaysian aircraft had a runaway MCAS episode the day before it crashed -- but a deadheading pilot in the jump seat told the crew how to disable the MCAS and then it flew just fine. So why didn't the crew know that the next day???
    I think grounding the aircraft until the issues with the MCAS system only using one AoA sensor can be properly fixed is warranted. Having a system with so much power and such serious consequences rely on only a single source of data was a massive oversight in the design and certification of the aircraft.

    On top of the instrument and software issues, yes, all crews should have been made aware of the new system. Between not behaving like a pure runaway trim issue, and happening at low altitude, there was very little time to properly diagnose and fix the issue. If the flight crews didn't know about the system at all, let alone how to disable it, why would it even cross their minds?

    And then there's the issue of a warning system that would let the crew know the AoA sensor data didn't match being an optional extra. Seems like many Western airlines bought it. However, given how critical the AoA sensor is to the MCAS, why was it even optional? Looks like Boeing is making it standard now. Wonder if it will be retrofitted to existing aircraft?

    Boeing rushed the MAX to market, and now the decision is coming back to haunt them.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/23/b...max-crash.html

    The cases with the MAX flights in the US don't seem to be quite the same.

    http://time.com/5550449/pilots-boeing-737-max-issues/

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