FAA Chief Tells Boeing To Back Off 737 MAX Timeline

Filed Under: Misc.

We’ve seen Boeing executives repeatedly push a timeline for when they’d like to see the 737 MAX return to service, and that has slipped several times (with their latest estimate being that the plane won’t be certified again before February 2020 at the earliest — in the meantime production of the plane is being suspended).

Well, yesterday FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson, and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg (who has since been fired), had a meeting at FAA headquarters in Washington DC. As it was reported, the purpose of this meeting was to “ensure Boeing is clear on FAA’s expectations regarding the ongoing review of the 737 MAX.”

This came just a day after Dickson faced questioning in Congress regarding the perception of an all too close relationship between the FAA and Boeing.

According to reports, in this meeting Dickson warned Muilenburg to stop pushing for a timeline with which the 737 MAX will be certified once again.

In an email to Boeing before the meeting, it was stated that “the Administrator is concerned that Boeing continues to pursue a return-to-service schedule that is not realistic,” adding that they’re concerned about “the perception that some of Boeing’s public statements have been designed to force FAA into taking quicker action.”

Sources who were present during the meeting say that Dickson told Muilenburg that “Boeing’s focus should be on the quality and timeliness of data submittals for FAA review,” and he also reminded Muilenburg that the FAA controls the timeline for the review process.

Boeing representatives called the meeting productive, and also said that they “reaffirmed with the FAA that safety is our top shared priority, and we committed to addressing all of the FAA’s questions as they assess MAX certification and training requirements.”

Now Boeing representatives are saying that they are working with the FAA to support the requirements and their timeline, as they work to bring the MAX back into service in 2020. So it seems they got the hint. 😉

Bottom Line

It seems long overdue for the FAA to tell Boeing to stop pushing a timeline.

I understand Boeing’s desire to reassure investors and airlines as much as possible, but the optics of this have seemed horrible all along. If any organization is giving an estimate of when the 737 MAX will return to service, it should be the FAA and not Boeing.

It seems tone deaf (at best) for the company that made these mistakes and that rushed certification the first time around to be publicly speculating on when a government organization will once again deem the plane airworthy.

Comments
  1. The 737 Max will not fly again as hardware has not been redesigned. All Boeing is doing is fiddling with a few extra software lines. That is not going to fix the design flaw.

    Good that FAA has made it clear now the thing will not fly anytime soon.

  2. I’m never getting on a 737-MAX. This whole debacle has deomonstrated that the FAA and Boeing share way too close of a relationship — that mainly supports Boeing’s financial bottom line. Sincere question: If the 737-MAX does make it back into the air at some point… and I do my best to make sure I am not booked on a 737-Max plane…. but there’s an equipment swap… am I allowed to say to an airline I refuse to fly because it’s a 737-MAX? Or would I have to eat that ticket?

  3. I still don’t trust Boeing or the FAA when it comes to the Max. The industry is way to incestuous for there to exist any true impartiality. Heck, I’d be unsurprised to see Dickson take up a job at Boeing after his tenure as a civil servant with the spin being that after this debacle, Boeing needs someone with regulatory experience in a leadership position. As such, I’ll never feel comfy on a Max in its current form.

  4. According to reports, in this meeting Dickson warned Muilenburg to stop pushing for a timeline with which the 737 MAX will be certified once again.

    Sweet Jesus! The root cause of the whole debacle is the Boeing culture of “do the plan.” Staff would come forward and say, “I’m not sure about this…” And leadership with come back with, “Do the plan!” Again and again objections were raised and again and again leadership came back with “Do the plan!”

    Leadership, at this point, must be acutely aware that this has been a financial disaster. Not to mention the blood of 100s of victims that is on their hands. And yet! And yet! The only thing they can think to say is, “Do the plan.”

    What the ever loving f___ is wrong with these people?

  5. @RF Exactly! They should be a buyback program where Boeing is held responsible as it was their greed and incompetence that got them here in the first place, which could’ve been easily avoidable. It’s just a liability and a white elephant for the company. They should scrap the program before anymore damage is done. It’s probably in the company’s best interest as well as the flying public.

  6. What a myopic, tone-deaf company Boeing has become. Reminds me of the Royal Family mindset (I’m bingeing The Queen on Netflix) for many many years. Just like the Royal’s proclaimed they were “average citizens”, (and couldn’t understand how Brit’s didn’t see it that way) so too is Boeing clueless as to how their actions are being perceived. What a bunch of idiots. To think that a week before the 2nd crash, I sold $300k in Apple stock and purchased the same in Boeing stock. Bad trade for sure.

    Dennis Muilenburg must go. He has presided over a year-long train wreck. My sense is the long delay is the result of a tricky problem that is hard to fix with software, and likely the reason that MCAS was kept a mystery for so long. This is the behavior of a company trying to hide something. Shame on Boeing. Be they wished they’d launched a whole new aircraft back when the NEO was announced.

    Get Alan Mulally out of retirement.

  7. Having just written the following regarding the damaged Delta 757 returning to service, I will re-post my comment here, where it also applies:

    “I dunno… I’m thinking of the Japan Air Lines 747 that had its tail repaired – by Boeing – after a tail strike, and then seven years later that same tail FELL OFF while the plane was departing Haneda. 520 passengers and crew died… FIVE HUNDRED AND TWENTY.”

  8. I agree with the FAA here. Rushing is what got Boeing into this mess. Airbus was able to release their version quickly, which was still more modern and up to date. I don’t disagree that the Max should be bought backs and classified as a failure. They need to figure out that rather than just slightly upgrading an airframe from the 60’s Boeing needs a redesign. Controversial opinion: Airbus is passing Boeing as the best Commercial Airliner manufacturer. Therefore, I will never fly the Max mainly out of spite for the lives that Boeing put in danger.

  9. Boeing needs to give it a damn rest! Each time Boeing has missed the return deadline, it just makes them look worse and worse.

  10. I’m glad to hear that all of these aviation enthusiast do not want to fly the Max when it is approved by the FAA but will fly Airbus approved by the same FAA. I say more room for me on Max.

  11. The financial analyst community, serving the shareholders, are the ones insisting for a timeline. As a publicly listed company, Boeing directors have to give them some indication. When this clashes with the need for safety, the CEO has a tricky dance to perform

  12. I’m glad to hear that all of these aviation enthusiast do not want to fly the Max when it is approved by the FAA but will fly Airbus approved by the same FAA.

    Has the A320neo started plunging into the ground killing all onboard due uncommanded elevator inputs? I hadn’t heard about that. Can you provide a link?

  13. My comment refers to when the FAA approves the return to service people still won’t trust the FAA’s competence. It will be a dull world when we only can fly Airbus.

  14. I’m glad to hear that all of these aviation enthusiast do not want to fly the Max when it is approved by the FAA but will fly Airbus approved by the same FAA.

    As stated in previous blog posts, many other countries rely on the FAA and may not conduct their own tests and examinations. However, as a plane produced outside of the US, the FAA is not the only organization to conduct tests on the plane. There has also been no evidence of the FAA giving Airbus permission to conduct their own in house testing. Also, as I stated in a previous post, my reluctance to fly the MAX is mainly based in spite against Boeing for rushing the production, and putting thousands of lives in danger. Should the issue have been more prominent, the death toll would likely be in the thousands.

  15. Lol all these people saying they’ll NEVER fly the Max are going to forget their qualms the second a Max flight is 50 bucks cheaper.

  16. Alex

    I disagree. To me this is quite reminiscent of the DC-10. After a few fatal crashes, the plane was deemed safe, however the public was still quite hesitant to fly. That was one of the biggest commercial failures in the aviation market due to people not flying on a plane despite being deemed safe.

  17. @ — “The 737 Max will not fly again as hardware has not been redesigned. All Boeing is doing is fiddling with a few extra software lines. That is not going to fix the design flaw.” —

    Here we go again with those who are not educated about engineering acting ignorantly by spouting off about the 737MAX hardware vs. software “fixes”! Do we have to retread all of those tired old and debunked disinformation about how MCAS software was just a quick and dirty “hack” to “work around” the mounting of a larger engine on the 737NG to create the 737MAX?

    The concepts underlying usage of software (eg, MCAS) in the aircraft’s flight control loop have been standard practice in both commercial as well as military aircraft for decades, and even Airbus uses the very same software-based concepts in their commercial aircraft! In fact, Airbus had to implement emergency software patches to fix some critical flight safety issues, such as center-of-gravity dislocations on their A320ceo/A320neo families as well as a flaw in their A350 fuel tank pump control system that could have resulted in a mid-air explosion while flying at 35,000 feet over the oceans!

    Oops! did FAA and EU aviation safety regulators somehow miss these flaws? Imagine the travesty of an A350 exploding that way? Should these Airbus airliners, therefore, also be grounded for closer inspections? No! If credible software fixes can be proven to mitigate safety issues, then that is the most effective, as well as most expedient, method to sustain revenue operations without compromising safety!

    What the public needs to understand is that the aircraft industry does its best to ensure absolute public safety with their products that have resulted in making commercial flying the safest mode of transportation for decades and decades! But sometimes, over-looking something old or not knowing something new can/will occur and it is incumbent upon all parties to quickly resolve those as thoroughly as possible! Boeing messed up badly with their first generation implementation of MCAS and there is plenty of blame to go around about that, but their new implementation should be certified to the max (no pun intended) by the FAA and all other world aviation safety agencies, so that the MAX can get back into operations as quickly and safely as possible … furthermore, these world aviation safety agencies must not play politics by intentionally dragging their feet once proper re-certification check lists have been completed; after all, their associated airlines are dependent upon the MAX getting back into revenue service ASAP for the greater good of everyone involved!

  18. @John — “Has the A320neo started plunging into the ground killing all onboard due uncommanded elevator inputs? I hadn’t heard about that. Can you provide a link?” —

    The A320neo has had its share of other safety issues, as has every other commercial aircraft in revenue operations! See my post above about this …

  19. Bill,
    I don’t believe that answers the question asked. Has it plunged into the ground killing hundreds of people? The A320NEO has flown for a longer period of time, and had no fatalities.

  20. Is Boeing still making non Max 737’s? I wonder if airlines like Southwest would consider a mixed fleet?

    I personally feel that all Airbus models are more luxurious then Boeing.
    A380 better than 747
    A350 better than 787
    A321 better than 757
    A320 better than 737

  21. @Kyle — “I don’t believe that answers the question asked. Has it plunged into the ground killing hundreds of people? The A320NEO has flown for a longer period of time, and had no fatalities.”

    My prior post that I referenced goes and details the missing portion that you seek, but it seems to have gone into a “moderation hole” for some unknown reason, as I don’t see it available for viewing above …

    Anyway …

    My post was originally targeting recurrent and incessant claims by non-engineers that the B737MAX must be fundamentally flawed from a hardware standpoint, and patching with software won’t fix anything … which is totally wrong and absurd on its face!

    I’ll just try to provide a short recap about this in a totally different way — the issue of whether those two B737MAX flights should have crashed is a complicated one that is full of subjective contentions, since nearly 400 B737MAX aircraft had already flown some 500,000 flight cycles for almost two years in revenue service beforehand … if there were something that totally and fundamentally flawed with the MCAS concept, that would have prevented the aircraft from being able to fly at all, there should have been many earlier crashes than after 500,000 cycles … admittedly Boeing’s first generation MCAS had several implementation flaws that created egregious vulnerabilities to stable flight operations, but somehow all those other pilots of 500,000 cycles still managed to safely complete their flights?

    Yes … MCAS absolutely needs to be fixed so that its prior behavioral anomalies get eliminated, but I’ve also read so many reports by experienced pilots (both commercial and military) that proper training should have allowed successful recovery from MCAS anomalies, as has been demonstrated by 500,000 cycles of prior successful flight completions!

    What did the Final Investigation Report on the Lion Air crash tell us? Aside from the expected issues of MCAS anomalies and adequacy of FAA/world aviation safety certification procedures, it actually faulted the adequacy of flight training for those unfortunate pilots! How can they do that? It turns out that a prior flight of the same Lion Air B737MAX aircraft also suffered the same anomalous behavior (found to be caused by a faulty AOA indicator), but that pilot was still able to recover and safely complete his flight.

    My reference to the A320/A321 ceo/neo models was to indicate that Airbus also had its share of flight stability vulnerabilities within this family, stemming from center-of-gravity issues that got “fixed,” also through software “patches”. Furthermore, their brand new A350 also had to effect emergency software fixes to mitigate a hidden danger with its fuel tank pump operations that could have triggered an explosion mid-flight while flying at 35,000-feet over the oceans! So did the FAA/worldwide aviation safety agencies admit their “screw ups” by grounding all of the A320/321/350 families after not finding those flaws during certifications? No! You can’t vet something that is an “unknown unknown”! But Airbus was luckily able to use software to “patch” these vulnerabilities and keep their aircraft flying revenue services! So software “patches” can most often be one’s “friend,” not an “enemy” that invalidates an entire aircraft model (as claimed with B737MAX)!

    Boeing was very unfortunate to have experienced a type of vulnerability that exacerbates inadequate pilot training, and needs to do much better in designing cockpit pilot interfaces with a correctly functioning MCAS implementation that accommodates wider ranges of pilot skills and experiences in order to mitigate pilot training deficiencies from crashing its aircraft!
    ———————————————————————————————————————–
    @Dave – Canada — “Boeing should have bit the bullet and had a taller landing gear when the 737-300 came out.” —

    Hindsight is 20-20, right? And CFM wouldn’t have needed to “flatten” the bottoms of their CFM-56 engines, either! 😛
    ———————————————————————————————————————–
    @Greg — “I personally feel that all Airbus models are more luxurious then Boeing. …” —

    Uh … airliner cabin interior outfitting and completions typically have nothing to do with the aircraft manufacturer, since those interior options are chosen by the airlines for installation after delivery, so your comparisons kinda speak more about how respective airlines outfitted their cabins interiors than about Boeing vs. Airbus — as a counter-example to your list, look at the interior outfitting of the Deer Jet B787 vs. the best that Emirates/Etihad/Qatar A380s offer!

    Furthermore, your comparison of the A350 vs B787 is inappropriate, as I pointed out in a prior post above (which for unknown reasons seems to have gone off into a “moderation hole” at the moment) — the point was that the A350 and B777 are in the same size category, but the B787 is designed to be of a smaller size class, so lumping the two together is like comparing apples and oranges … you also left the A330 and B777 out of your comparison list.

  22. We seem to have old faces regarding this Boeing FAA Airbus arguments.

    And for those who think the 737MAX is a ‘design’ flaw not a ‘software’ issue. Then news for you, under your logic, any piece of metal flying is a design flaw. No metal is able to levitate on its own.

    If the CAAC allows 737MAX to fly, I would fly. I trust the first authority to ground this plane to clear the plane rather than the last authority to ground the plane, the broken FAA.

  23. @BillC, you must be Boeing enough to think things in this way.

    Are you meaning that you want to fly, in the future, on a series of airplanes that using a software to position the flight body instead of a better re-designed airplane that does not need additional software to stabilize your flight?

    What if this crazy software goes wrong again like your Windows? Is that better to think that not to have this crazy software? As apparently Boeing can and was able to design an airplane that are both cost-effective and safe compared to this model, but to start this, they just have to throw all the Max away which they certainly does not want to lose these money, they would rather lose another life or job to save this sinking ship, instead of getting a new ship.

  24. @Eskimo, if I am a surgeon with severe tremor and Parkinsonism and operate on you, someone ask me to stop doing this due to physical condition. I developed a machine to hold my hand so that I could operate on you stably in the future. But unfortunately, I accidentally broke your vessels due to the error of the machines and you went into massive bleeding. Instead of to stop my career, I advanced my machine and wanted to continue operating on you in the future, you would have agreed as no one is perfect, also this PD surgeon is cheaper.

  25. @Henry

    I’ll entertain you just for my fun (I’m bored lately). 🙂
    Would you take the shaky hand surgeon with hand stabilizer over a 10 year old kid who just graduated Med school with steady hands but only textbook experience? (The kid also cost you 50x more)
    No right answer. I couldn’t care less.

    Just don’t be a hypocrite and fly the 737MAX ever again. I’m just tired of people complain and curse and threaten to not be a customer again. I wish you luck trying to avoid flying in the future.

    Oh and I see you complain about Windows to BillC. Are you still using Windows by any chance? Hypocrite? Bad news, Linux, iOS, or Android also has bugs and do crash.
    While you can’t go back to being a dinosaur, I can suggest you should start living the Amish life. You will be much happier and safer. Technology will always go wrong somewhere.

    History has proven accidents make technology safer. A ‘real’ design flaw like the Comet made sure you will never see airplanes with square windows ever again. Even the most advance and flawless software can’t save the Comet.

    Airbus planes would fall out of the sky without software. They just don’t make planes like they did in WW2 anymore. How do you think military planes like B2 can fly?

  26. @Henry — “you must be Boeing enough to think things in this way.” —

    No … I’m just presenting information from the perspective of an actual engineer who has a basic understanding of complex systems and how feedback loops are integral to their proper operations. If you read my prior posts, I do fault Boeing for their flawed Implementation of MCAS flight control software, as well as their lack of adequate training materials to meet the needs of a broader spectrum of pilots with varying skills and experiences.
    —————————————————————————————————————
    @ — “Are you meaning that you want to fly, in the future, on a series of airplanes that using a software to position the flight body instead of a better re-designed airplane that does not need additional software to stabilize your flight?” —

    News flash — the majority of aircraft flying today, whether commercial or military, already use software to do exactly what MCAS tried, but unreliably, to do — incorporate software in the flight control feedback loop to manage stability in the aircraft’s flight behavior. This method has been standard practice for decades (the public was just unaware). My post above even points out how Airbus had to also rely on software to “patch” a center-of-gravity flight stability control issue with their A320/A321 ceo/neo family of aircraft …
    —————————————————————————————————————
    @ — “What if this crazy software goes wrong again like your Windows? Is that better to think that not to have this crazy software? As apparently Boeing can and was able to design an airplane that are both cost-effective and safe compared to this model, but to start this, they just have to throw all the Max away which they certainly does not want to lose these money, they would rather lose another life or job to save this sinking ship, instead of getting a new ship.” —

    I guess you didn’t read my post above about B737MAX issues and the FAA/world aviation safety agencies that do certifications?

    OK … let me just review a very basic engineering principle for you — there is a huge difference between Concept and Implementation. The Concept of using software within the flight control feedback loop has been used for decades on both commercial and military aircraft. However, each aircraft version uses its own proprietary Implementation of that common Concept. MCAS is a proprietary Implementation for use on the B737MAX family and, as such, has its own set of idiosyncracies that does not invalidate that common Concept!

    What Boeing experienced was a failure in Implementation of MCAS, not a failure in Concept — as such, that flawed implementation can be fixed so that it will work as originally intended, to get everything back to “normal”!

    Your comparison of Boeing’s MCAS to Microsoft Windows is inappropriate, since they are two totally separate systems used in totally different application environments. The certification process for MCAS must, by definition, be much more rigorous than for Windows, and Boeing has failed in this respect with their first generation MCAS … this will be rectified with their second generation release, after much more rigorous testing than before!

    As an aside — all modern cars also use software in their driving system feedback loops, so if you’re going to indict the Concept of such a methodology, then you should ditch all of your options of travel using cars!

    With respect to your argument that Boeing should have just started “from scratch” instead of “enhancing” the B737NG into the B737MAX, I had previously posted endlessly about the impracticalities of doing that — it takes at least 6 years to get a new commercial aircraft from initial design to first launch customer delivery. Since Airbus had already announced their new A320/A321 neo program, Boeing was “late to the game” and had to do something quickly and effectively to respond, or else be forced to write off future B737 markets forever. Given such time constraints, what Boeing chose to do was the best option available … but it unfortunately screwed up the implementation of a critical aspect of the product (MCAS) and, as they say, the rest is history. For another example of just how critical timing to market is, just look at the adverse impacts on the B777X program from its GE-9X engine delays — Qantas had to choose the A350-1000ULR for its Project Sunrise!

  27. Bill has it right. I have 47 years in aircraft overhaul on just about anything airlines had to fly. They ALL have issues.

    The last airline aircraft that did not NEED any computer or even electricity to fly is the MD-80. Its just a big Cessna 150. ALL new aircraft are just a crash waiting to happen.

    The rest of you need to put your big boy pants on.

  28. once again we see people pretending to know jack by acronym-dropping of MCAS and go around lecturing people even though they’re just parroting misinformation flying around A.net

  29. It was the FAA who approved the 737MAX in the first place and now they are saying that Boeing is the only problam??????????????????

  30. @Eskimo @Havah Gordon — Thanks for helping to add some rational comments on this contentious issue!

    @Havah Gordon — ” I have 47 years in aircraft overhaul on just about anything airlines had to fly.”

    Thanks for your long and distinguished service to keep those aircraft flying safely for the public!

  31. @Henry LAX — “once again we see people pretending to know jack by acronym-dropping of MCAS and go around lecturing people even though they’re just parroting misinformation flying around A.net” —

    … so if you have some cogent counterpoints to what I had posted, please present them so that we can have informed discussions about those … I don’t claim to be “perfect” and will be interested to read other informed perspectives — but not opinions that are based on emotions and have no basis in fact!

    What is “A.net”? I’ve never heard of that website?

  32. These arguments are becoming boring and silly. The 737MAX is an unstable aircraft built to a price and a timescale to make a quick buck for Boeing. End of story

  33. @Geoff — “The 737MAX is an unstable aircraft built to a price and a timescale to make a quick buck for Boeing.” —

    Given that all modern aircraft must rely on software to maintain stability in flight, the rest of your statement is a truism throughout the business world — create a safe and effective product as quickly and as inexpensively as possible, in order to maximize profits, right? Airbus does exactly the same thing?

  34. BillC back again?

    God, I wish Lucky would introduce a word limit to comments.

    And a limit to the number of comments on the same article.

    So, so tired of his Boeing fanboy essays.

  35. @The nice Paul — “BillC back again? God, I wish Lucky would introduce a word limit to comments. And a limit to the number of comments on the same article. So, so tired of his Boeing fanboy essays.” —

    Have you noticed that I seldom comment, excepting issues about the MAX, or an occasional post about experiences on United? I admit that I do get “carried away” on lengths of my posts, but I just feel that there are too many out there who respond totally based on emotions instead of facts … perhaps that’s from my background, where I used to mentor lots of students and professional workers …

    Fine … if so many out there are “sick” of my posts, then I’ll just totally stop posting and leave those who react emotionally without intellect to continue with their ignorance!

    Happy with your censorship act, yet? Shutting down the 1st Amendment seems to be your hobby — oh self-righteous one!

  36. I’m not American so I really couldn’t give a stuff about “the 1st amendment”. But I know enough to know it doesn’t apply to private blogs. You need to understand your own culture a bit more, mate.

    But I am self-righteous. 🙂

    And yes, I have actually noticed that you obsessively post about the MAX.

  37. Sorry will only fly Airbus, it may have government money at least it safety first, profits second.
    I remember first flying Airbus in South Africa early eighties. Was shocked how comfortable and we’ll built. Coming from North America planes, squeeze you in tin cans.
    Cattle carriers. No thank you.

    Boeing shareholder first .

  38. @The nice Paul — “I’m not American so I really couldn’t give a stuff about “the 1st amendment”. But I know enough to know it doesn’t apply to private blogs. You need to understand your own culture a bit more, mate.” —

    Perhaps you do not know as much about our culture as you purport, because unless Lucky creates and enforces his own rules regarding freedom of expressions on his own blog, the 1st Amendment is presumed to be fully valid and active … if Lucky does create his own rules to be enforced, then that can take precedence!

    Besides … who was coercing you to read any of my long posts, anyway? Who made you the judge of all things “appropriate” on Lucky’s blogs?

    Oh … I forgot that I also did post a bit about the situation in Hong Kong as well as countering political attacks against my President! You wanna complain about those, too?

  39. I’d be amazed if *anyone* read your bizarrely long posts about how Boeing is the most fantastically amazing company in the world that can do no wrong. You must have an unbelievable amount of shares in that wretchedly badly managed company.

  40. @The nice Paul — “I’d be amazed if *anyone* read your bizarrely long posts about how Boeing is the most fantastically amazing company in the world that can do no wrong. You must have an unbelievable amount of shares in that wretchedly badly managed company.” —

    I guess you didn’t really read my posts that critically … I do fault Boeing on failed implementation issues regarding MCAS and their inadequate training transparency about that system! I never claimed that Boeing could do no wrong, but when you have a bunch of anti-Boeing blowhards that know nothing about how engineering and real-world management is carried out, yet insist on their emotionally charged B.S. about how the MAX is a flawed piece of hardware that needs to be ditched right away, what would you do, if you had a proper engineering background to see through their ignorant puke?

    I have Zero shares in Boeing and I know Nobody there … I’m defending Boeing out of principle based on engineering knowledge about how the real world functions, as opposed to all of those who spew emotional B.S. based on ignorance!

  41. @The nice Paul — addendum

    Another observation … I do not like to constantly have to repeat the points already made in my prior posts each and every time we have a new story about the MAX or other issues, because it takes much too long to compose those overly long posts, anyway — the problem is that this blogging system (as with so many others) does not allow me to readily back-reference my prior posts so that I can avoid having to constantly repeat points already made in so many prior posts! Maybe I need to create a more capable blogging platform in the future so that those prior posts can be more readily back-referenced to avoid retreading such redundant info …

  42. No words to describe the NEGLIGENCE of BOEING & god knows who else. How f..ing dare they try to swindle the public… Are u listening BOEING? You sent lambs to the slaughter & you can take your crappy fixes and Guidainventory of planes and scrap them …you WILL NOT SEE us

  43. Bill

    Like you I also an engineer AND unlike you I AM a certification test pilot AND flew for Dick Taylor who was known as “the father of the 737”.

    You see Bill unlike you I have flown non-conforming aircraft and EVERYONE of those aircraft REQUIRED hardware reconfiguration BEFORE subsystems reconfiguration PERIOD!!!!

    Your own words that you have only a “basic concept of complex aircraft control systems” is what REALLY makes the Max subject so misunderstood.

    Mr. Melvin Gough is known to be THE God of aircraft handling and control and ALL world handling regulations are strictly written to comply with Mr. Hough’s engineering rules.

    Mr. Gough states:
    “I am NOT sympathetic with the desire to obtain a quick answer, hoping that you have made the right guess. Go directly to the problem and FULLY evaluate it before making a change. IF THE AIRCRAFT CRASHES FREQUENTLY , IT IS A DESIGN ERROR. The fundamentals which have been laid down are based on obtained performance, as far as stability are obtainable. If they can not be met it is a shortcoming of the designer. Let’s don’t year down the standards, let’s not depart from the standards because individually we might not be able to meet them easily”

    You see Bill there is no short cut here ……it is CRIMINAL to not fix the Aircraft hardware FIRST then configure the software subsystems to work with a PROPER stability and control design that meets THE STANDNARDS.

    I knew Dick Taylor VERY WELL, trust me is rolling over in he grave.
    One last sentence from Mr. Gough:
    “When you see HAS to be done – DO IT.”

    FIx the MAX, then fix the subsystems!!!

    NOW.

  44. @ BillC — Funny enough, we do have commenting guidelines (https://onemileatatime.com/comment-policy/), but the 1st Amendment is 0% applicable. The Bill of Rights defines the relationship between citizens (or States) and the Federal government, not private businesses and individuals.

    As long as the discourse is civil and relevant we’d prefer not to censor anything, but I personally wouldn’t expect multi-paragraph comments to be as read and reflected upon as I think you’re hoping for.

  45. @Bunson — “… it is CRIMINAL to not fix the Aircraft hardware FIRST then configure the software subsystems to work with a PROPER stability and control design that meets THE STANDNARDS.”

    Finally! Someone with whom I can actually relate to about this topic!

    Let me just say that I don’t fundamentally disagree with what you post, but let me put forth some current-day considerations into the mix, and you tell me where my thinking is wrong —

    The standard arguments being put forth about the flaw with the MAX, is that it pitches up under higher thrust settings and MCAS was supposed to bring it back down again. This unusual behavior was due to the adoption of the new CFM LEAP-1B engines that had a greater engine diameter than prior CFM-56 engines (68″ vs 61″), and this created an engine mounting dilemma. The ideal solution would have been to design new landing gears to accommodate this change, but purportedly Boeing decided (rightly or wrongly) that such an effort would incur too much delay due to the need to certify a new landing gear design, and, hence, the current implementation method was chosen, albeit with the anomalous flight behavior at higher thrust settings. At this point, had Boeing not screwed up their implementation of MCAS behavior (the Mr. Melvin Gough design error criterion mentioned above), why shouldn’t everything have worked properly and been totally acceptable? And if this were deemed to be “breaking Mr. Melvin Gough’s engineering rules,” then how/why could the FAA and other world aviation safety agencies originally certify the MAX for revenue operations, anyway? Does Boeing work with the FAA during its engineering design phases to ensure compliance as early as possible?

    Using software in the flight control feedback loop has already been pretty standard practice in other commercial and military aircraft for decades. In fact, some military aircraft are intentionally designed to be inherently unstable to push the flight envelop, thus requiring software-driven feedback controls to coerce flight stability (eg, as far back as F-117 as well as that even older F-16, etc). Therefore, the required flight control laws should have been well-understood by the time that the MAX was being developed. Did the fault lie with Boeing’s management to coerce a faulty MCAS functional architecture to save time/money? Or did engineering just mess up with its original design directions?

    It has been noted that, except at higher thrust settings, the MAX should not have been inherently unstable, so this anomalous behavior should exist only within a well-defined region of its flight envelop … and the MAX had already flown some 500,000 cycles during its almost 2 years of flying revenue service, without any crashes. Admittedly, Boeing did need to refine its MCAS software after reported anomalous behavior within those 500,000 cycles, yet all of those flights were, nevertheless, still able to complete their flights successfully.

    There have been conflicting reports about the sufficiency of experience levels for the pilots involved in the two crashes (especially the co-pilots) and how significantly that contributed to the crashes. The final report on the Lion Air crash actually mentions this deficiency as a causal contribution to that crash. Does Boeing need to design its pilot-interfaces to be more automated (ultimate irony!) in order to better accommodate a wider spectrum of pilots’ experience levels?

    Finally, given the schedule timing constraints to “catch up” with A320 family NEO developments already underway at Airbus, what better alternative could Boeing have exercised, given that developing a totally new air frame would have thrown Boeing out of that single-aisle market segment for decades, since having no short-term response to NEO meant losing future orders for a very long time?

    So … I’m not disagreeing that, given more available lead time, Boeing could have chosen to implement the MAX in a different way (eg, developing new landing gears to remove the need for incorporating MCAS) … but what would you have recommended, back then, as the right path to pursue for the MAX, given the tight schedule constraints at hand?

  46. @Tiffany — “Funny enough, we do have commenting guidelines (https://onemileatatime.com/comment-policy/), but the 1st Amendment is 0% applicable. The Bill of Rights defines the relationship between citizens (or States) and the Federal government, not private businesses and individuals.

    As long as the discourse is civil and relevant we’d prefer not to censor anything, but I personally wouldn’t expect multi-paragraph comments to be as read and reflected upon as I think you’re hoping for.” —

    OK … I guess I somehow missed the established guidelines section … oops! My bad! 🙁

    Yes … i know what you’re referring to about my long paragraphs … if the blogging platform had a way to back-reference my prior posts, then I wouldn’t need to constantly repeat my prior points in each and every new post … sigh!

    Anyway, as I had already indicated earlier, I’ve decided that I won’t be posting any further comments unless it’s in response to something that is directed to me — it’s just not worth my time and frustrations, anymore! I’m sure that many will celebrate my withdrawal from this forum!

    That said … do you know of a way to “follow” new comments on a story without doing a post first? I will still be interested to read meaningful comments without having to inject a post?

    Thanks for being helpful!

  47. The unfortunate bottom line at this point is that the clock is ticking. The ‘game’ as it were is in overtime.

    Boeing cannot survive let alone thrive if they cannot get the Max certified. They cannot possibly refund the cost of any aircraft already purchased. They will struggle mightily just to survive for the next few years. The repercussions are already being felt with the delays in the 777x.

    Their new single aisle is on hold or possibly dead.

    What I don’t understand is how Airbus survived its terrible decision to build the A380 and all those fatal crashes of the A320. Somehow they always managed to blame it on pilot error as they scrambled to fix the software.

    The ‘public’ seem to hate anything American. Irrational.

    The Max must fly soon or we might be flying in Chinese or Russian planes sooner than we want.

    I hope the FAA is not just dragging its heels as a form of punishment.

  48. The Max 8 should return to service ASAP the FAA is stalling. It’s a fantastic plane and North American Pilots haven’t had any issues with flying it at all. Read the reports of the 2 recent crashes — pilot error was among the leading causes of the loss of control. I agree the max 8 needs mcas overrode and further training for pilots in the end it’s still a good vehicle. People and inexperienced travellers are naïve.

  49. It’s funny how the Boeing critics just ignore AF447. Airbus allowed a known defective Thales sensor to continue to fly on the Airbus A330. Airbus could have issued an airworthiness directive to immediately fix the known design defect, but allowed operators to replace them whenever they wanted, in an effort to save operators money. And the software that should have told the pilots what was happening was inadequate and misleading. And 228 people died…

  50. Ahhh….The 737 Max saga continues. Boeing is looking to save face while we, the traveling public just want to get to our destination…alive.

    I’ll certainly fly on the 737 Max if and when it returns to service. It’s probably going to be the safest plane in the air as Boeing CANNOT have ANYTHING else fall from the sky…not at least they want to survive as a company. They’re already circling the drain…the 737 Max so much as squeak if they have survival is their mission.

  51. Bill C FWIW I have trained engineers for 44 years in the regulation of design safety. I am professor emeritus from a good Engineering school. I have frankly heard your type of engineering blather for years after every single techno disaster. Please indicate which competent airline regulatory authority is on record as agreeing with your endless screeds. Until the regulators are happy you are just blowing BOEING smoke.

  52. @Vincent Brannigan — “I have trained engineers for 44 years in the regulation of design safety. I am professor emeritus from a good Engineering school. I have frankly heard your type of engineering blather for years after every single techno disaster. Please indicate which competent airline regulatory authority is on record as agreeing with your endless screeds. Until the regulators are happy you are just blowing BOEING smoke.” —

    Well … I do salute your 44 years of teaching in that very important field! But I’m not trying to engage in “engineering blather” like those others that you have come across … let me reiterate that I own zero shares of Boeing stock and don’t know anyone who works there!

    I had posed some (what I thought were) rational questions about the MAX fiasco (cf. @Bunson above) because I always seek informed discussions about this issue … I’ve never claimed to be “perfect” and would really like to receive some cogent answers to those questions in order to be better informed — are those questions really that unreasonable? Can you help to provide enlightenment on issues raised by those questions? I’ve seen lots of generic claims and statements that merely dismiss me and my posts, but nothing, thus far, that directly responds to those questions …

    As to your point about airline regulatory authorities not agreeing with me, I’m not primarily trying to address that aspect when I ask questions and talk about the systemic engineering undertakings at Boeing that unfortunately ended up with their current mess. I do religiously read AWST for my information and understand that regulators are always stuck between a rock and a hard place when trying to fulfill their duties. Perhaps you can help illuminate what procedural failures occurred at the FAA and other worldwide aviation safety agencies to have them originally certify the MAX to enter revenue service, at all? Or did they just happen to trip up on that annoying situation with the proverbial “unknown unknowns”?

  53. I have an article on the general approach

    International Journal of Forensic Engineering
    2012 Vol.1 No.1
    Title: Forensic engineering investigations of disasters: going ‘beyond the widget’
    Authors: Vincent M. Brannigan
    Abstract: Forensic engineering is the use of engineering knowledge and techniques to create evidence for the legal system. Both litigation and regulatory systems use engineering evidence in making legal decisions. Forensic engineering plays a key role in investigating disaster scenarios. But commentators have described the investigatory focus on trivial proximate causes as the ‘Widget’ approach, where the failure analysis is designed to focus on a specific component and limits the analysis to the smallest unit possible. Recent forensic engineering investigations of disasters at Buncefield (UK) and Texas City (USA) show substantial difference between effective investigations and those which will retard rather than advance society’s ability to deal with hazards.
    International Journal of Forensic Engineering, 2012 Vol.1 No.1, pp.78 – 95

    When you throw out words like training and pilot error you are “widgiting” This is usually engineer speak for blaming the operator without regard to a proper human factors analysis. Any idiot can design a machine for an expert. It takes top flight engineering to design for the
    people actually using the product. The JATAR Stated “However, in the B737 MAX program, the FAA had inadequate awareness of the MCAS function which, coupled with limited involvement, resulted in an inability of the FAA to provide an independent assessment of the adequacy of the Boeing proposed certification activities associated with MCAS” and further When they looked at human factors they concluded While issues in human-machine interaction are at the core of all recent aviation accidents and are implicated in the two B737 MAX accidents, the FAA has very few human factors and human system integration experts on its certification staff.

    The JATR team identified multiple human factors-related issues in the certification process.

    When I gave my first lecture in fire protection engineering I wrote on the board “ARSON is a design criteria for all modern buildings” The Engineers went berserk “That’s not our job”
    they screamed BUT IT IS.
    I have investigated the regulatory screw up that led to the ATR icing disasters, the DC 10 MD 11 crashes , the 2001 New York air bus crash and many other failures in the designer user interface. We are still finding out what went wrong this time at the FAA, we have a pretty good idea what went wrong at Boeing, Oh and I published the first article ever written on liability for failure of embedded software Am J Law Med. 1981 Summer;7(2):123-44.
    Liability for personal injuries caused by defective medical computer programs.
    Brannigan VM, Dayhoff RE. Software is incredibly had to regulate. using software to correct for hardware inadequacy requires a very high level of both documentation and validation and verification none of which seem to have been done by FAA or any qualified independent party

  54. @BillC

    Sorry you are going to lay low for a bit. I appreciated your logical comments and attempts to educate some of the non-technical readers.

    Unfortunately today’s society rewards the eloquent no matter how out to lunch.

    Greta is a prime example.

    Merry Christmas (I know, not PC). ;-(

  55. @Vincent Brannigan — “When you throw out words like training and pilot error you are “widgiting” This is usually engineer speak for blaming the operator without regard to a proper human factors analysis. Any idiot can design a machine for an expert. It takes top flight engineering to design for the people actually using the product.” … “The JATR team identified multiple human factors-related issues in the certification process.” —

    Yes … I understand what you’re saying and totally agree … I didn’t exclusively blame the human aspects for those crashes, since I did also place lots of fault with the Implementation of MCAS by Boeing. I also constantly make a point of differentiating between Concept and Implementation. Boeing totally screwed up its Implementation of MCAS within its flight control system, but the Concept that software can be effectively and efficiently used within a flight control system to sustain flight stability has been a proven practice for decades. It seems as if Boeing engineers developing MCAS either did a poor job of analyzing system-level impacts of their design decisions, or Boeing management meddled in the engineering development process (to save time/money?) and ended up screwing up the company big time!

    I also agree that too often products developed for use by the public seem to totally lack “common sense” user interfaces that enhance functionality and safety. Examples include the designs of those proverbial passenger seats and IFE systems on airliners — do any of those designers ever try to “use” their creations?
    ———————————————————————————————————
    @ — “Software is incredibly had to regulate. using software to correct for hardware inadequacy requires a very high level of both documentation and validation and verification none of which seem to have been done by FAA or any qualified independent party” —

    Also totally agree with your statement about the criticality of documentation, validation, and verification! Back when I was developing mission critical systems that could impact the lives of millions, one thing got drilled into our engineering minds from day one — if you are creating a path to get from “A” to “B” using Process #1, then you must also create another independent Process #2 that also gets from “A” to “B” using a different method, in order to enable cross-checking to ensure overall Process integrity. Some of the software that we developed actually incorporated self-checking of internal data integrity during operations, to ensure that no data corruption had mysteriously occurred unbeknownst to anyone.

    It is absolutely concerning how so many systems in use today are built for economic gains (ie, lowest cost) rather than operational integrity. For example, look at the number of PCs used throughout our society (including government agencies) … how many of those used in critical applications actually incorporate error-checking for their main memory? In some applications, wrongly flipping just 1 memory bit can potentially create catastrophic consequences in critical missions, so hopefully the vast majority of those PCs incorporate the “right stuff” to do their jobs correctly!

    Thanks very much for providing your cogent insights … I’m sure I would have enjoyed taking your class(es) back when I was in college!

  56. @Azamaraal — “Sorry you are going to lay low for a bit. I appreciated your logical comments and attempts to educate some of the non-technical readers.” —

    Thanks very much for your support! I’m glad that you were able to “get the message” about looking at such “contentious” issues from a more logical perspective!
    ————————————————————————————————————-
    @ — “Unfortunately today’s society rewards the eloquent no matter how out to lunch. Greta is a prime example. Merry Christmas (I know, not PC). ;-( ”

    Yes! Totally agree! And I appreciate your “Merry Christmas” greeting (I’ve never been Politically Correct, anyway)! I’m not sure about your religious affiliation, so I’ll just echo back “Happy New Year” and “Happy Life” to you and your family! 🙂

  57. @Bill C.

    “In some applications, wrongly flipping just 1 memory bit can potentially create catastrophic consequences in critical missions,” Can we call this a DEFINITION of terrible software? Anytime software relies on perfect hardware you have the equivalent of an outfielder saying “YOURS” and then blaming the other player.

    I have taught FDA regulation of life critical medical software and it is incredible the garbage that is out there in “mission critical” systems. It can be done right. The VA pioneered the highest levels of Quality control in the EHR it developed. It was decades ahead of the private sector and DOD. VistA imaging set the gold standard for integrating medical images into a nationwide system of EHR despite the images coming from thousands of different sources. (I note with pride that the pioneer who conceptualized, prototyped and implemented VistA Imaging was Dr Ruth Dayhoff, my wife !)

    Whenever Engineers sneer at non engineers I point out that every single engineer involved in the TITANIC investigation derided the women passengers who said it broke in half. Of course Ballard found it broken in half . IN terms of climate change ENGINEERS ARE LAY PEOPLE They have no special expertise.

    In terms of flight safety you might like my paper in the European Journal of Risk Regulation 1, Issue 2 June 2010 , pp. 107-113 Alice’s Adventures in Volcano Land: The Use and Abuse of Expert Knowledge in Safety Regulation Vincent M. Brannigan

    I just presented my own paper “Effective Social Control of Technological Systems: Viewing Titanic and Boeing through the ›Orgware‹ Paradigm” at Zukunft der Arbeit – soziotechnische Gestaltung der Arbeitswelt im Zeichen von »Digitalisierung« und »Künstlicher Intelligenz«

  58. @Vincent Brannigan — “… Can we call this a DEFINITION of terrible software? Anytime software relies on perfect hardware, …” —

    Well … I don’t know if I would call it “terrible software,” per se, since there’s nothing much that software can do to identify, much less mitigate, events such as memory bit errors induced from cosmic radiation that constantly bombard those memory chips. Usually error detection and correction in the memory chip controller (hardware) is about as far as we can go right now …
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    @ — “(I note with pride that the pioneer who conceptualized, prototyped and implemented VistA Imaging was Dr Ruth Dayhoff, my wife !)” —

    That’s fantastic! Congratulations on that accomplishment! Impressive, indeed!
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    @ — “Whenever Engineers sneer at non engineers …” —

    Well … I hope that I didn’t engage excessively in personal “sneering” of specific non-engineers (ie, readers of this blog) in my posts — but I do get overly frustrated with those who endlessly claim that something which has already been debunked must still be true … as if repeating it over and over again will somehow then make it become true … engineering and science are what they are — and they’re not subject to changes induced by psychological influencing methods.
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    @ — “IN terms of climate change ENGINEERS ARE LAY PEOPLE They have no special expertise.”

    So here’s my beef about this … but first Fair Warning that a very long post ensues —

    I’ve spent some time and effort to actually research this topic from a technical standpoint and have discovered some disqualifying activities and trends —
    #1. The crises claims of climate change alarmists (eg, we only have 12 years left to save Earth) have historically not been borne out in reality because those claims aren’t based on credible scientific research, but on fearmongering, instead, to incite the public/government into carrying out their desired Agenda.
    #2. The financial/economic/social costs to mitigate their crises claims are totally out in the weeds and can not be achieved, no matter what mechanisms are proposed (eg, as in Green New Deal).
    #3. Climate change alarmists always manage to conflate Pollution, Weather, and Climate, thus inducing mass confusion about what their “consistent” messaging was intended to be … even one-off events (eg, recent wildfires in the USA West) that have nothing to do with Pollution, Weather, or Climate are, nevertheless, blamed on climate change, anyway — for example, many of the devastating wildfires in California have actually been found to be exacerbated by government-created regulations that prevent responsible brush clearing which would have allowed responsible fire mitigation management, thus making fires much more devastating than in the past. Furthermore, arson has been found to be the cause of many wildfires. And in the spate of widespread wildfires that caused so much damage to both northern and southern California in the past couple of years, PG&E was even ultimately found to be responsible for starting some of those, when their dilapidated power transmission lines and towers failed and sparked under high wind conditions to ignite some of the worst fires — but climate change was still blamed for all of these occurrences … what utter nonsense!
    #4. Besides the public policy impacts from climate change alarmists, their underlying “scientific” premises are also terribly flawed — climate change effects take place over many many decades and into centuries or millennia before qualifying to be credibly labeled as such … but how do effects that span such a long time frame get reliably “verified”? Back in the 1970s into early 1980s, the fad was a coming Global Ice Age … now it’s a Global Meltdown! Such a flip-flop in predictions over a time span of only 50 years (which by now have debunked their coming Ice Age claims) tells me that their scientific foundations to make credible predictions are just not ready for prime time! Yet the world is being coerced into accepting that a Global Meltdown is absolute fact today?
    #5. Since one doesn’t have a consistent set of global temperature data spanning centuries to work with, the standard approach is to depend on “computer modeling” to “project” the impacts of Man into the future. I used to also develop computer simulation programs for complex systems in a past professional life, and we have a saying —

    Garbage In ==> Garbage Out

    Despite creating over 100 different climate models within USA government agencies, none of them could be credibly verified to work properly by confirming past climate events given past climate data. If such models can’t even be “calibrated” against past historical data and events, just how is anyone going to believe that it can accurately project decades into the future? Are we even able to predict Weather with consistent accuracy merely weeks into the future?

    I’ll just pause here (I could go on about this topic forever), but I hope that you get my drift about this “crisis”! So here’s the bottom line — recently the former Chief-of-Staff to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Green New Deal) confessed in an interview that the Green New Deal had nothing at all to do with saving Earth from a Global Meltdown! The whole climate change crisis was manufactured as a venue through which global elites could reshape global economies and societies! They would do this by —

    #1. Consolidating power for themselves through imposition of burdensome regulations worldwide (eg, outlawing future use of fossil fuels)
    #2. Effecting global redistribution of wealth through imposition of burdensome taxation worldwide (eg, carbon taxes)

    Oh well … when such an existential confession is made by someone so close to the creator of the Green New Deal, it doesn’t take a scientific genius to realize that this world is being duped as never before in history, and with the complicity of many climate “scientists”!
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    Thanks for your references! I’ll try and read those once I get over my current work schedule loads — they sound really interesting!

    I must also apologize, once again, for this extraordinarily long post!

  59. 1) The scientific consensus for human caused climate change is OVERWHELMING.
    “Human‐caused climate change is happening and is accelerating; dangerous impacts are becoming evident around the world, and are projected to get worse in the decades to come, possibly much worse (IPCC, 2013). Nearly all climate scientists are convinced of these basic facts, but more than half of Americans do not currently understand that this scientific consensus has been reached (Leiserowitz et al., 2013). ”
    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2013EF000226

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/11/26/bleak-report-un-says-drastic-action-is-only-way-avoid-worst-impacts-climate-change/

    The scientific evidence for climate change is unequivocal: 97 per cent of actively publishing climate scientists agree that human activities are causing global warming. Given the same evidence, why do some people become concerned about human-caused climate change while others deny it? In particular, why are people who remain skeptical about climate change often identified as right-wing conservatives?

    https://theconversation.com/climate-explained-why-are-climate-change-skeptics-often-right-wing-conservatives-123549

    Right-Wing Nationalists Tend to Deny Climate Change
    My new analysis draws a direct link between far-right nationalist leaders and climate change denial. These parties and the political leaders associated with them are more likely to favor energy sources from fossil fuels, fewer environmental regulations, and less international cooperation on the fight against climate change. Given the recent rise in economic nationalism documented in the working paper, its association with climate change denial poses substantial risks to the global economy. https://www.piie.com/blogs/realtime-economic-issues-watch/right-wing-nationalists-tend-deny-climate-change

    My primary field field is Scientific evidence. I am, as Judge Leventhal quipped, an expert on expertise. What do engineers or scientists or physicians, or arson investigators or Economists or or anyone else “know” when they claim they know something? See for example Paradigms lost: emergency safety regulation under scientific and technical uncertainty
    V Brannigan – in -Governing Disasters: The Challenges of Emergency Risk Regulation

    You are throwing techno blather , Your comment that wild fires have no connection to climate change is supported by what reference? Fire scientists and climatologists have been studying the connection for decades Climate change and wildfire in California A. L. Westerling&B. P. Bryant http://tenaya.ucsd.edu/tioga/pdffiles/Westerling_wildfire_jan2008.pdf
    ” The report cites several scientific studies as “evidence for the attribution of increased forest fire frequency in North America to anthropogenic climate change during 1984–2015, via the mechanism of increasing fuel aridity almost doubling the western USA forest fire area compared to what would have been expected in the absence of climate change.”
    Wildfires and climate change By Richard C. J. Somerville, October 29, 2019

    https://thebulletin.org/2019/10/wildfires-and-climate-change/

  60. Good evening BillC,

    BillC says:
    Finally! Someone with whom I can actually relate to about this topic!
    Let me just say that I don’t fundamentally disagree with what you post, but let me put forth some current-day considerations into the mix, and you tell me where my thinking is wrong —

    Well Bill,secure your seat belt and stow your tray and place your seat in the upright position and prepare for……

    Most of the ……”Experts” (Including much of the FAA and some Boeing employees) seem to “know” that with a few patches of MCAS and a couple hours of pilot simulator “Re-Training” that all will be well in the 737 Max program…….

    Bill at the end of your first response to my first you ask the following question and perhaps it best if I were to take your last question first and then make a few comments regarding the rest of your response.

    BillC:
    “So … I’m not disagreeing that, given more available lead time, Boeing could have chosen to implement the MAX in a different way (eg, developing new landing gears to remove the need for incorporating MCAS) … but what would you have recommended, back then, as the right path to pursue for the MAX, given the tight schedule constraints at hand?”

    Bunson:
    BillC lets start at the ……start.
    I would invoke the PROVEN methods of Dick Taylor and Mr. Melvin Gough best stated:
    “I am NOT sympathetic with the desire to obtain a quick answer, hoping that you have made the right guess. Go directly to the problem and FULLY evaluate it before making a change.

    Ok, so initial testing indicates that the 737 Max is NON-CONFORMING, gee BillC What do we do?

    Answer: Go directly to the problem and FULLY evaluate it before making a change.

    Well BillC Mr. Taylor and Mr. Gough are dead but I will be so bold as to speak for them and assure you what they would NOT do…… they would NOT for a heat-beat EVEN CONSIDER using the jack-screw horizontal stabilizer (secondary control) as a dynamic primary pitch control.
    You see BillC the failed deployment of MCAS has to teach us that to attempt to use the secondary control jack-screw horizontal stabilizer as a dynamic primary pitch control is engineering malfeasance’s.

    ANYONE that even considered such poor engineering solution as MCAS would not be allowed to work under Mr. Taylor or Mr. Gough, history has been a brutal-teacher to this point.

    Can the 737 Max be safe with the latest MCAS patches and some additional pilot training?

    Answer: NO

    Question: Why?

    Answer: MCAS while being a very bad design, at this point it has been assigned an impossible task of masking a NON-CONFORMING aircraft into a CONFORMING aircraft WITHOUT ANY PROPER DYNAMIC PITCH CONTROL SURFACES. A jack-screw horizontal stabilizer is NOT an acceptable actuator for a dynamic pitch control.

    Listen up BillC, you know this deep down inside and that is …..no software and no computer and no sensors have any chance of being a real solution of any problem if the system is terminated at an unacceptable actuator system. I repeat, a jack-screw horizontal stabilizer is NOT an acceptable actuator for a dynamic pitch control.

    So…..

    Question: Can the 737 Max be re-certified WITHOUT MCAS?

    Answer: Likely…….maybe…..

    Question: How?

    Answer: Go directly to the AIRFRAME problem and FULLY evaluate it, then……When you see what HAS to be done – DO IT.

    Question: How?

    Answer: Once the problem has been FULLY evaluated place the best of the best airframe minds to work to craft the best airframe re-configurations to obtain a CONFORMING aircraft. (example: perhaps replace current jack-screw stab with a dynamic “stabulator”….to replace the current elevator).This is just one of many airframe solutions.

    Question: Given the tight schedule constraints at hand, would it NOT be too time consuming and costly to reconfigure the airframes?

    Answer: When the first 737 Max crashed costs became insane (and counting) and now schedule constraints are a very sad joke.

    BillC, you see IF I were the program manager of the 737 Max it would NEVER EVER would have needed MCAS !

    You see BillC, I have the advantage of having been real world educated by the best of the best engineers, Aero-geeks, Test Engineers / Test Pilots AND managers who ONLY TOLERATED……The BEST of the BEST.

    Being a Geezer I will now take a long nap and then post some more responses to some of your other comments…….IF I wake up you might here from me again.

    Regards,
    Bunson

  61. @Bunson — “… no software and no computer and no sensors have any chance of being a real solution of any problem if the system is terminated at an unacceptable actuator system. I repeat, a jack-screw horizontal stabilizer is NOT an acceptable actuator for a dynamic pitch control. … IF I were the program manager of the 737 Max it would NEVER EVER would have needed MCAS!” —

    Very interesting point! I wonder why the issue of the jack-screw stabilizer vulnerability issue hadn’t been more broadly discussed in aviation media (eg, AWST), with respect to impacts upon MCAS operations? But the question still remains — the purported original reason for creating MCAS was because the new CFM LEAP-1B engines at high power settings would cause the nose to undesirably pitch up … so when you say that the jack-screw stabilizer should have been replaced with a dynamic stabulator, are you implying that some sort of automated flight control feedback loop will still be needed, but just don’t call it MCAS? Or how would you make the aircraft not pitch up, using minimal modifications without MCAS, given the development schedule race vs. Airbus NEO? I know that there are always more engineering options to consider, if only sufficient schedule time permits more “robust” solutions to be implemented … but those darn marketing schedule demands always intrude to nullify finding better engineering solutions, in my experience …
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    @ — “When the first 737 Max crashed costs became insane (and counting) and now schedule constraints are a very sad joke” —

    So this is, of course, based on hindsight, after some 500,000 successful flight cycles had taken place over almost 2-years’ time in revenue operations … but suppose that “doing it right” would have cost Boeing all of its potential future customers, thus depriving it of any future product sales in the single-aisle market for more than a decade … what should have been done — just announce that Boeing has a response to the Airbus NEO to rope in customers, and then inject some initial delivery delays into the process flow, while working as rapidly as possible to implement the “right” solution?

  62. Just how many crashes or near misses would you expect in 500,000 cycles ? If I recall correctly the base rate is 1/ 5 million for crashes. Of us built commercial transport. Did Boeing demand reports on malfunction?

  63. @Vincent Brannigan — I will respond to your climate change post as soon as I can … gotta hit some year-end work milestones first (unfortunately not yet retired)! I see that we have some divergent views about this topic, so I’m sure it will be “fun” to delve into those! Stay tuned! 🙂

  64. @Vincent Brannigan — “Just how many crashes or near misses would you expect in 500,000 cycles ? If I recall correctly the base rate is 1/ 5 million for crashes. Of us built commercial transport. Did Boeing demand reports on malfunction?” —

    Well … of course 1 crash is too many! What I’m actually wondering about is this — there had been reports of anomalous, but recoverable, behavior by pilots of some 500,000 cycles before two crashes happened almost back-to-back … it seems as if Boeing could have been pro-active to investigate those issues much earlier than after some 500,000 cycles had successfully been completed, yet two crashes then ensued? Are there mandatory procedures for FAA or other regulators to jump on such safety issues much sooner, if Boeing (or Airbus, for that matter) doesn’t?

  65. My point is that 500,000 cycles may be a trivial number to uncover an inherent flaw. I insisted on making statistical analysis part of the engineering curriculum . This is my Colleague Vicki Bier’s precise area Vicki was head of Operations Research at Wisconsin “Professor Bier is a risk analyst and decision analyst specializing in probabilistic risk analysis…… include: the use of accident “precursors” or near misses in probabilistic risk analysis;….

    I fight idiot engineering statistical analyses all the time See Lost in Abstraction: The complexity of Real Environments vs. the Assumptions of Models Elisabetta Carattin
    Vincent Brannigan NIST 2014
    TITANIC ran at night through a known ice field since “we’ave done it hundreds of times and never hit an iceberg . If you do the statistical analysis you could expect to do it 250 times for every disaster, As in Challenger you get a false sense of security from the nomalization of deviancy. IN the ATR fiasco there were several near misses and the wrong lessons were drawn. I analyzed some of these issues in Brannigan V Space safety – the problem with dual hatting ROOM Issue #1(15) 2018
    My own tiny contribution to the legal and regulatory use of risk analysis can be found in “Risk Anal. 1992 Sep;12(3):343-51.
    Risk, statistical inference, and the law of evidence: the use of epidemiological data in toxic tort cases. Brannigan VM1, Bier VM, Berg C.

    My point is that I have spent an entire career debunking inadequate analysis by scientists and engineers who inflate their own claims to understanding. if you want to see what I do You might like my recent Imperial College London lecture on technological disasters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFlBfD-Tgl0&t=1488s The Regulation of Technological Innovation: The Special Problem of Fire Safety Standards

  66. @Vincent Brannigan — “My point is that 500,000 cycles may be a trivial number to uncover an inherent flaw. … I fight idiot engineering statistical analyses all the time …” —

    And apparently even though there were already reports of anomalous behavior during those 500,000 cycles, and even after the 1st crash, the FAA still did this —

    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/faa-analysis-after-first-737-max-crash-estimated-high-risk-of-further-accidents/

    Unbelievable … now that all of these “dirty details” are coming out, it seems as if the FAA should have done more to proactively help prevent that 2nd crash from occurring? This goes beyond various arguments about how to technically fix MCAS and/or other related issues — some regulatory shortfall seems to have occurred as well?

  67. 12/17/2019 – 01:33
    BillC,

    Ok, here we go with section #2 of my response to your recent comments…

    BillC you state:
    “Using software in the flight control feedback loop has already been pretty standard practice in other commercial and military aircraft for decades. In fact, some military aircraft are intentionally designed to be inherently unstable to push the flight envelop, thus requiring software-driven feedback controls to coerce flight stability (eg, as far back as F-117 as well as that even older F-16, etc).”

    Bunson response:
    Bill, this is a “Red Herring”…….very Red……as blood red.
    This is like comparing apples and submarines.
    Inherently unstable military aircraft have “features” like ejection-seats…..”passengers” have parachutes and helmets and Nomex panties …..come on BillC lets not get too far into the weeds here…..

    You see BillC its one thing when you Intentionally design unstable aircraft RESTRICTED MILITARY AIRCRAFT AND then induce HUGE / COMPLEX/ LIMITED-USE / HIGH UPKEEP systems to impart limited stability into a high dynamic MILITARY aircraft profile.

    BillC it IS engineering malfeasance’s to modify a existing transport aircraft into a NON-CONFORMING flight envelope and then cobble into the aircraft and crude ill-conceived MCAS device and then claim that you have utilized technology somehow related to the HUGE / COMPLEX/ LIMITED-USE / HIGH UPKEEP systems that the F-117 IS DESIGNED around.

    Please BillC lets not get into the seat-pitch of installing 225 Martin-Baker Ejection Seats into the Max……Ok?

    Next….

    BillC you state:
    “The MAX had already flown some 500,000 cycles during its almost 2 years of flying revenue service, without any crashes. Admittedly, Boeing did need to refine its MCAS software after reported anomalous behavior within those 500,000 cycles, yet all of those flights were, nevertheless, still able to complete their flights successfully.”

    Bunson response:
    Bill, first ……”500,000 cycles in almost 2 years” is just one-heart-beat compared to the rest of the B737 active fleet.

    Second, during those 500,000 cycles well over 200 Service Discrepancy Reports were issued related to MCAS / AOA issues and these resulted in “degraded flight control issues”.

    You see BillC it seems that you might be using the old saying: “any landing you can walk away from is a good landing” as your acceptable standard for “transport aircraft flight cycles”.
    No, BillC, the ark-of-history shows us that transport aircraft MUST be held the the highest standards……..The risk factors HAVE to be filtered as close to ZERO in a unrelenting effort.

    Ok BillC, it’s been entertaining so far but of course this slow-motion-tragedy just keeps unfolding……..the latest frequent-flyer polls show that 80 PERCENT of passengers WILL NOT fly the Max for six months IF it flys again……..60 Percent won’t fly it for a year and many NEVER…..

    Oh yes and today announced suspension of Max production in Jan 2020…….ouch!

    I am a moxie guy BillC and you can take this to the bank ……IF it takes too long to “FIX” the Max there will be NO passengers!

    Have we waited to long? ? ?

    I feel another nap might be in order BillC so perhaps a bit later I might respond to a few more of your comments……..in the mean time at the risk of sounding like a broken record I invoke Mr. Gough ……again:

    Mr. Gough states:
    “I am NOT sympathetic with the desire to obtain a quick answer, hoping that you have made the right guess. Go directly to the problem and FULLY evaluate it before making a change. IF THE AIRCRAFT CRASHES FREQUENTLY , IT IS A DESIGN ERROR. The fundamentals which have been laid down are based on obtained performance, as far as stability are obtainable. If they can not be met it is a shortcoming of the designer. Let’s don’t tear down the standards, let’s not depart from the standards because individually we might not be able to meet them easily”

    Regards,
    Bunson

  68. “Unbelievable … now that all of these “dirty details” are coming out, it seems as if the FAA should have done more to proactively help prevent that 2nd crash from occurring? This goes beyond various arguments about how to technically fix MCAS and/or other related issues — some regulatory shortfall seems to have occurred as well?”

    Oh please Regulators are POLICEMEN not consultants. Their job is to enforce the law and make sure the regulated party is in full compliance. It is the regulated parties 100% non delegable duty to make the product safe and in compliance . I have personally served as a consultant to computer medical device manufacturers and performed “mock” FDA device inspections. I’ve also done fire inspections of buildings and structures before the fire marshal comes. The Brandenburg Airport famously and STUPIDLY had no one doing the private inspection function.

    If there was regulatory failure in this case it was by a BOEING employee acting as a delegated inspector . as the JATR stated “The FAA should review the Boeing Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) work environment and ODA manual to ensure the Boeing ODA engineering unit members (E-UMs) are working without any undue pressure when they are making decisions on behalf of the FAA. This review should include ensuring the E-UMs have open lines of communication to FAA certification engineers without fear of punitive action or process violation.” Bluntly unless there is total independence and all critical failure data is routed to the ODA the regulation is so flawed it can be described as “ceremonial”

  69. Maybe time, if possible with some sacrifices, to re-engine back to NG criteria and performance to get the aircraft into service. Not sure what ramification needed for engineering, performance and price.

    Jim Kriss

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