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PostPosted: March 28 19, 8:30 am 
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AWvsCBsteeeerike3 wrote:
Swirls wrote:
Looks like the FAA is making some changes and the Senate is going to be pushing for them to eliminate the self-certification process that they've been using for years.

https://thepointsguy.com/news/the-faa-w ... x-crashes/

Quote:
In a hearing with a Senate subcommittee Wednesday, Federal Aviation Administration officials said they would change the regulatory body’s aircraft oversight procedures following two deadly crashes of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8.

The two crashes, one on Lion Air and one on Ethiopian Airlines, happened about five months apart and had striking similarities. Following the fatal accidents, aviation oversight organizations around the world grounded the 737 MAX until further investigations could take place; the FAA was the last to do so. The crashes, in which a software system designed to prevent stalls but possibly confusing the pilots may have played a part, sparked suspicions that the FAA was too lax in its certification of Boeing’s latest short-haul plane.

For years, the FAA has allowed plane manufacturers to self-certify parts of the oversight process for new planes, called Organization Designation Authorization. This process, in which the aircraft manufacturer’s employees perform some of the safety tests and inspections with FAA oversight, reportedly saved the government body time and money.

That practice was examined at Wednesday’s Senate hearing.

Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel III, who testified at the hearing, said the FAA will significantly change the oversight process for new aircraft by July. Speaking in vague terms, Scovel said that the changes would include new ways for the FAA to evaluate the self-certifying process.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said that putting manufacturers in charge of their own safety audits was like putting “the fox in charge of the henhouse.” Saying he would introduce regulations to ban the practice of companies self-certifying, Blumenthal stated that “the fact is that the FAA decided to do safety on the cheap, which is neither safe nor cheap.”

Daniel Elwell, acting administrator of the FAA, said that using the plane manufacturers’ own employees to self-certify the planes has been “part of the fabric of what we have used to become as safe as we are today.” He noted that the FAA would need 10,000 more employees and $1.8 billion in additional funding to have FAA employees do all the labor of the self-certifying process.

In addition to the Senate hearing and the DOT IG’s probe, the Department of Justice is examining whether to bring criminal charges in the matter of the MAX 8 approval procedures.

Did the FAA decide that or did, uh, Congress decide to not fund them thereby forcing them to allow self-certification? I honestly don't know the answer. But, I've never known a gov't agency to voluntarily shed 10K jobs and $1.8B of annual funding.


A very good question, and also something I don't know the answer to. Sounds like the FAA has been doing it this way for decades though, so perhaps it's something they've never had the necessary staffing/budget for and therefore have never done?


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PostPosted: April 4 19, 10:02 am 
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Back to business-econ-political side. -The news blurbs I've read have been steadily terrible related to Boeing-orders cancelled, SW plane makes emergency landing ,(no customers onboard) SW still a cluster mess -says sales are down, from the flight cancels(my wife still hasn't gotten her comp worked out on this -lines are jammed)

Ethiopian Air Pilots reportedly followed procedures ...just a steady drain of bad news.

And the effect on Boeing's stock? currently down 11ish % from its max....which is deceiving, it is still up 20% for the year. and nearly has quadrupled since 2016!!

FTR - I want Boeing to be great/successful - several friends work there and vital for local and national economy. undoubtedly our 401k mystery grab bag o' mutual funds has the stock. Plus flying safely and economically is in my interest.

But something seems kind of unhealthy here from business-econ-political perspective, and safety apparently. I kind of worry that Boeing decision makers could look at those stock #s and shrug this off. The lesson may be, yet another too big to fail scenario.


Last edited by Freed Roger on April 4 19, 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: April 4 19, 10:06 am 
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https://www.ethiopianairlines.com/corpo ... etail/1111

Per Ethiopian Airlines' press release based on their preliminary unpublished report/findings, the pilots were not at fault. Their pilots "followed Boeing’s recommended and FAA’s approved emergency procedures to handle the most difficult emergency situation created on the airplane."


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PostPosted: April 5 19, 6:18 am 
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Boeing has now formally accepted responsibility for both the Lion Air crash and the Ethiopian Airlines crash. The press release includes a video from their CEO that they also sent out on Twitter.

https://boeing.mediaroom.com/2019-04-04 ... ary-Report

Boeing Press Release wrote:
The history of our industry shows most accidents are caused by a chain of events. This again is the case here, and we know we can break one of those chain links in these two accidents. As pilots have told us, erroneous activation of the MCAS function can add to what is already a high workload environment. It's our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it and we know how to do it.

From the days immediately following the Lion Air accident, we've had teams of our top engineers and technical experts working tirelessly in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration and our customers to finalize and implement a software update that will ensure accidents like that of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 never happen again.

We're taking a comprehensive, disciplined approach, and taking the time, to get the software update right. We're nearing completion and anticipate its certification and implementation on the 737 MAX fleet worldwide in the weeks ahead. We regret the impact the grounding has had on our airline customers and their passengers.

This update, along with the associated training and additional educational materials that pilots want in the wake of these accidents, will eliminate the possibility of unintended MCAS activation and prevent an MCAS-related accident from ever happening again.

We at Boeing take the responsibility to build and deliver airplanes to our airline customers and to the flying public that are safe to fly, and can be safely flown by every single one of the professional and dedicated pilots all around the world. This is what we do at Boeing.

We remain confident in the fundamental safety of the 737 MAX. All who fly on it—the passengers, flight attendants and pilots, including our own families and friends—deserve our best. When the MAX returns to the skies with the software changes to the MCAS function, it will be among the safest airplanes ever to fly.


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PostPosted: April 5 19, 10:05 am 
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Feel like they did this quite a bit late, like 5 months or so, but glad they accepted responsibility and are being forced to correct the issue.

Here is a link to a guy I follow on youtube, think i've posted one of his videos before, who is pretty knowledgeable about all this stuff and doesn't seem to have any sort of bias. That said, I think he may have gone a bit far in one of his assumptions when he says the only way the pitch could have been adjusted to the extreme angle was because the pilots turned the trim stabilizer cutoff back on. He may be right, but, that seems to be a leap of faith I wouldn't have said if people were watching my videos and I didn't have proof.



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PostPosted: April 5 19, 10:35 am 
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Arthur Dent wrote:
Good thread:



which explains why they did it this dumb way:



Also, sounds like it not true that getting data from two sensors is a software update. Sounds like the second sensor is optional (it should not have been) and the option package gives a warning light but doesn't actually change the basic MCAS operation on a single sensor:



Edit: Though this last point is confusing as Lion Air apparently had two AoA sensors but did not have the AOA DISAGREE warning light per Reuters.

This really was a great read. But, the more I think about it, the less I agree with him. I mean, he's obviously correct in a lot of what he says, pretty much the vast majority of it especially how they decided to rush the 737 max design/development and pushed the limits. How they encountered problems (financial, engineering, etc) and addressed them. But to say at the end that it's not a software issue and absolve software engineering completely seems disingenuous. Maybe it was not the software engineers fault, I'll grant that. Maybe the engineers were told, "Hey, make the mcas push the nose down no matter what and ad nauseum if X occurs." And they did that successfully. So, kudos. But, and I don't know the answer to this, whose job is it to make sure that is safe? Surely the software engineers working for one of the largest airline manufacturers in the world should understand the repercussions of doing this as well as the fallible nature of sensors. Maybe it's unfair, the design of this software seems to be the exact time someone should have been jumping up and down on a table saying "Hey, idiots, you're creating a single point of failure that unless bypassed by pilots will cause a crash."

Of course, other people were involved in determining/allowing the mcas to only operate on one AOA and the system not being required to indicate if there were AOA disagreements. And, Boeing/FAA laughably erroneously classified the mcas such that a failure would not cause deaths making those decisions possible. So, where does the buck stop? Again, I don't know. It's certainly not all on the software engineering team, but I think it's wrong to blame everyone else but them when they should be the ones most familiar with the system and it's capabilities.

And, not to dismiss all the other points the guy made about the engines being too big and the center of gravity being too far forward and the condensed timeline and etc etc etc. But, in the end, they're designing/building a, waht, 80 ton hunk of metal to fly through the air. Of course there are going to be physical challenges. And, maybe Boeing did the wrong thing by deciding to even attempt it. But, in the end, the plane is capable of flying and probably will be very safe once the software is updated.


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PostPosted: April 5 19, 12:25 pm 
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I don’t see anyone disagreeing that they screwed up the software. The point is that is only a small piece of the larger picture.

And that’s important given that they are trying to get he issue closed by again doing just a software patch up without addressing the other problems this thing has brought up. Seems to be repeating the same bad logic that already got hundreds killed. The economic pressure to get these expensive assets in service overrides a careful safety review.

Correcting the software makes the problem less acute, but, at minimum, a few other changes are needed:

-Most importantly, same type rating on the MAX should be revoked. The grant was based on always dodgy and now disproven analysis. This is a different plane than the prior neo, and pilots need simulator training to fly it.
-Redo the full safety review. We now know the documentation it was based on contains serious errors. What other errors were allowed in the rush?
-What’s causing these AoA sensor failures? Do they need to be changed? Better failure detection/safe remediation procedures needed?
-Just trim manually with the wheel doesn’t seem to be acceptable. If badly out of trim, too much force is needed on the wheel to fix. If trained, this can be compensated with exciting maneuvers with names like “roller coaster”, but pilots are not taught these anymore.
-Relatedly, they changed the electric trim cutoff switches without adequately explaining the difference (again a part of the mandate to paper over the fact that this is actually a new plane that pilots must operate differently). Should consider reverting to the prior switch design where the pilot can deactivate auto trim function but keep manual electric trim.
-Auto trim should cut out on column pull back (aft column cutoff switch) as has been a standard safety feature only inactive for MCAS again because they needed this to paper over a real difference. Removing this safety mechanism turned out to be deadly.

Plenty of other recommendations I’m sure should come out of a thorough review as us the standard for such investigations.


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PostPosted: April 5 19, 12:43 pm 
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Isn't the crux of the problem that the engines on the Max are too big, necessitating this elaborate software system to keep the nose pointed in the right direction? My understanding is that the bigger engines were added for fuel efficiency in order for the Max to Compete with the 330 Neo.

Sounds like Boeing has made a terrible business decision, hoping that a fancy software control system could compensate for a plane that is not particularly air worthy.


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PostPosted: April 5 19, 5:44 pm 
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G. Keenan wrote:
Isn't the crux of the problem that the engines on the Max are too big, necessitating this elaborate software system to keep the nose pointed in the right direction? My understanding is that the bigger engines were added for fuel efficiency in order for the Max to Compete with the 330 Neo.

Sounds like Boeing has made a terrible business decision, hoping that a fancy software control system could compensate for a plane that is not particularly air worthy.

There's no indication that the MAX is not airworthy -- it just behaves fundamentally differently than the older 737s. The problem was a different plane would mean airlines need to retrain their pilots to use this new plane which is expensive, time consuming, and compares badly with the Airbus alternative where they had natural room for the upgrade -- fitting bigger engines in the same position without hitting the ground. If your pilots need retraining either way, the relative cost of switching to an Airbus fleet are substantially reduced. To solve this competitive problem, software was added that was supposed to hide the fundamentally different characteristics, in particular by aiding in stall recovery by automatically pointing the nose down. Adding this software supposedly meant the pilots didn't need to learn the difference through retraining, and in fact didn't even need to be informed that the system had been added. That was wrong and should not have been allowed.

Now Boeing still arguing that they just need another software revision. While that certainly helps, it doesn't change the fact that the MAX is really a new plane that pilots must learn. Some bad design choices were made in order to pretend it's not, and those should be revisited.

Edit:

Representative damning quote

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/a-lack-of-redundancies-on-737-max-system-has-baffled-even-those-who-worked-on-the-jet/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=article_inset_1.1

Ludtke didn’t work directly on the MCAS, but he worked with those who did. He said that if the group had built the MCAS in a way that would depend on two sensors, and would shut the system off if one fails, he thinks the company would have needed to install an alert in the cockpit to make the pilots aware that the safety system was off.

And if that happens, Ludtke said, the pilots would potentially need training on the new alert and the underlying system. That could mean simulator time, which was off the table.


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PostPosted: April 5 19, 8:24 pm 
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Arthur Dent wrote:
G. Keenan wrote:
Isn't the crux of the problem that the engines on the Max are too big, necessitating this elaborate software system to keep the nose pointed in the right direction? My understanding is that the bigger engines were added for fuel efficiency in order for the Max to Compete with the 330 Neo.

Sounds like Boeing has made a terrible business decision, hoping that a fancy software control system could compensate for a plane that is not particularly air worthy.

There's no indication that the MAX is not airworthy -- it just behaves fundamentally differently than the older 737s. The problem was a different plane would mean airlines need to retrain their pilots to use this new plane which is expensive, time consuming, and compares badly with the Airbus alternative where they had natural room for the upgrade -- fitting bigger engines in the same position without hitting the ground. If your pilots need retraining either way, the relative cost of switching to an Airbus fleet are substantially reduced. To solve this competitive problem, software was added that was supposed to hide the fundamentally different characteristics, in particular by aiding in stall recovery by automatically pointing the nose down. Adding this software supposedly meant the pilots didn't need to learn the difference through retraining, and in fact didn't even need to be informed that the system had been added. That was wrong and should not have been allowed.

Now Boeing still arguing that they just need another software revision. While that certainly helps, it doesn't change the fact that the MAX is really a new plane that pilots must learn. Some bad design choices were made in order to pretend it's not, and those should be revisited.

Edit:

Representative damning quote

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/a-lack-of-redundancies-on-737-max-system-has-baffled-even-those-who-worked-on-the-jet/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=article_inset_1.1

Ludtke didn’t work directly on the MCAS, but he worked with those who did. He said that if the group had built the MCAS in a way that would depend on two sensors, and would shut the system off if one fails, he thinks the company would have needed to install an alert in the cockpit to make the pilots aware that the safety system was off.

And if that happens, Ludtke said, the pilots would potentially need training on the new alert and the underlying system. That could mean simulator time, which was off the table.


In a system where that comment gets made, there are structural issues. It’s a great example of just how lacking (our current system of) capitalism is.


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