FAA Discovers New Boeing 737 MAX Safety Issues

Filed Under: Misc.

The Boeing 737 MAX situation just went from bad to worse, and the timeline for the plane returning to service has probably just slipped quite a bit.

The 737 MAX situation up until now

The Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded globally since March, following the crash of two 737 MAXs just months apart. Boeing has been working on a software fix that they hope will get the plane back in the air.

In mid-May Boeing claimed that they completed the necessary software update, though obviously a lot more tests were needed to get the plane back in the sky. Most airlines seemed to be hoping the plane would be flying again by the fall, though I’d be surprised if that happens.

New 737 MAX safety issues discovered

A new major concern has just been discovered with the Boeing 737 MAX. Here’s the official FAA statement about it, which is vague on details, not surprisingly:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service. The FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when we deem it is safe to do so. We continue to evaluate Boeing’s software modifications to the MCAS and we are still developing necessary training requirements. We also are responding to recommendations received from the Technical Advisory Board. The TAB is an independent review panel we have asked to review our work regarding 737 Max return to service. On the most recent issue, the FAA’s process is designed to discover and highlight potential risks. The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate.

What’s going on? FAA pilots have uncovered a data processing issue impacting their ability to perform the procedure for counteracting “runaway stabiliser.”

This is the method by which pilots are supposed to respond to erroneous activation of the MCAS, which is the software that activated prior to two Boeing 737 MAX crashes.

Here’s what a source tells FlightGlobal:

“During simulator testing last week at Boeing, FAA test pilots discovered an issue that affected their ability to quickly and easily follow the required recovery procedures for runaway stabiliser trim. The issue was traced to how data is being processed by the flight computer.”

Boeing now says that they hope to find a fix by September, and then it will presumably take several more weeks (or months) for the plane to be flying.

This process is disappointing

The absolute top priority in the airline industry needs to be safety. Every aircraft manufacturer and airline will tell you that. Yet they way these companies act suggest that’s not the case.

When you consider what we’ve been hearing from airlines and Boeing and compare it to what’s apparently going on, there’s quite a disconnect.

Is the 737 MAX not flying due to politics?

American’s CEO, Doug Parker, has claimed that at this point the reason the 737 MAX isn’t in service is because of politics:

“There is an absolute software fix that’s this close to being certified, but they’ve been saying that for a while. I think as much as anything now it may be politics as much as the true certification … safety issue. I don’t think the FAA wants to be alone in doing this.”

Does he still feel that way? It’s clear his focus (and the focus of many other airline CEOs, and of Boeing) is to get the plane back in service ASAP. It seems they’d rather do fewer tests if it means they can get those planes flying passengers profitability again ASAP.

Is this really the approach an airline CEO should be taking? He’s giving Boeing the benefit of the doubt because it benefits his airline, when really he should be skeptical, given their track record with rushing this plane into service. But it seems he’s perfectly happy doing that again.

FAA pilots discovered this flaw

While I won’t claim to fully understand the process that gets this plane back into service, am I the only one who finds it disconcerting that it was FAA pilots who discovered this flaw?

Is Boeing just throwing darts at a board here and seeing what they can get away with from the FAA? Shouldn’t Boeing have put in the time to verify this independently before even trying to get the plane certified again?

Bottom line

This is all just disconcerting and plain sad. Boeing has lost so much public trust in this process, and continues to do so.

It seems like the FAA is now really taking their time, and even if they do certify the plane soon, I hope that other authorities aren’t pressured into returning this plane into service, and that it’s only flying again when they’re truly 110% confident in it.

I keep hearing people say “when the 737 MAX is back in the sky it will be the safest plane out there.” I call BS on that. There’s nothing in this process that has made me feel like Boeing or many operators of the 737 MAX have safety as the top priority here.

Comments
  1. It’s a shame they didn’t just bite the bullet and go from the 737NG to 797…. This seems like one of the all-time biggest casualties of the short term profit mindset

  2. Perhaps it is just me but my reading of the FAA statement above is: we are working on it, asking others to help, no more news here. The issue could be simply that the Boeing engineers thought their corrective actions were clearer than they turned out to be. It could also be that their solution is not good enough for government testers. It seems to me this is a normal give and take in a regulated environment. What would be concerning is if the FAA rushed the plane back into service without adequate testing. I do not give a yank about AA, United, Delta, Southwest loosing money due to the grounding. The politics is simple: if another 737 Max crashes due to this issue, a lot of heads will roll.

  3. Doug Parker being Dumb Parker.

    Yes it is politics, a bad one if you crash one more 737MAX. But before that it’s safety not politics.

    This incident actually gave me more faith in the Chinese. CAAC ground the plane a day after the crash before any formal investigation but right after the whole world see few connections with Lion Air crash. Adding that China flies the most 737MAX it is fair that their actions led other countries to follow as well. With aviation growing at crazy speeds there, CAAC will be the future leading agency right with EASA and FAA.

  4. The 737 MAX is delayed further. The 77X first flight is delayed due to engine issues. The 321XLR just got a ton of orders because there is no NMA to buy.

    Boeing’s CEO was quoted as saying “Mistakes were made.” Dude, time to use the active voice. Who made the mistakes? And are they still working at the company?

    How much will this cost to finally fix? How many lawsuits for the people who died? And airlines that want comp for not having the plane in service. This gets worse for Boeing before it gets better.

    And given the time the MAX was flying, and the 3-4 months it’s been grounded, whether or not it was FAA pilots, how do you just find something serious now?!?

    Probably slightly irrational, but glad my good old DL doesn’t have any.

  5. The real worry to me is the spread of the “Move Fast and Break Stuff” mantra loved by Silicon Valley in emerging areas with real risk, like increasingly automated planes and cars.

  6. Good to see this getting attention here and the tone in the post is the right one.

    It seems Boeing is still not taking this serious. They keep on trying to get rid of the issue with minimal cosmetic fixes. That is not going to work. Software will not ever fix hardware problems.

  7. The American workforce (which designs and builds these thing) has been in a tail-slide from the “everyone gets a trophy” era – no attention to detail, plummeting thinking skills, all the confidence but little competence, and no one deals with it because risk of hurt feelings and backlash – a bad recipe and here we are

  8. What I find particularly fascinating is Boeing’s mea culpa a while back, that they should have been much more open about the problems with the 737MAX.

    So here’s a new problem and Boring are now saying … absolutely nothing. No detail whatsoever.

    Boeing’s problems are not just engineering ones: this is a company that appears to have a secretive, if not deceitful, corporate culture.

    It’s really sad.

  9. At least the visibility of this whole issue means it’s harder for the FAA to be paid off this time.

  10. The reason for this new stall protection platform is because the plane has a less than ideal center of gravity (aft), so they tried to counter that with software. Inertia stability is very important, and as such the 737Max will never be the safest plane in the skies, no matter what they come up with in the end. It’s probably not necessary to panic, but definitely worth booking away..

  11. I agree with you about Boeing and the FAA in all of this.

    With the exception of your AA example, I’m not sure the argument was made that multiple airlines are not taking safety seriously enough.

  12. I’m just an average joe consumer, but Boeing has lost my benefit of the doubt and perception of it being the gold standard for safety. I watch a lot of air-crash investigations (great show) and rarely are the crashes caused by design flaws (it seems like 90% are due to human error either in the cockpit or maintenance). So when it happens, it’s big.

  13. Boeing is so foolish. Do they not realize that if this plane crashes again they will go bankrupt?

  14. Even Boeing executives should know that fixing bugs in any software is a very long and painful exercise…and might never end…
    I would never (consciously) put my life 100% in the hands of a software
    Maybe in 50yrs, but not now

  15. I just think that there is an inherent design flaw to the plane because they need to fit in a larger engine. While the flaws can be corrected, it will take times. Boeing makes a bet to win an order from American Airlines, and sometimes those bets don’t pay off. Now Boeing is paying a price. I still have faith on the 737 MAX because FAA is finally stepping up and not letting Boeing to get away with anything. Doug Parker, being such a horrible CEO as of this point, is wrong because discovery of these issues is no joke. Does he want to be the CEO dealing with another fatal incident involving one of his 737 MAX in the future? For now, Boeing and FAA are in a truly credibility crisis that has impacts beyond this 737 MAX. If they don’t get it right this time, Boeing may see a dimmer future.

    American has been aggressive in scheduling new 737 MAX flights for the fall schedule, and I will not book those flights because I don’t see 737 MAX back in the air till later this year, or even early 2020.

    Better be safe than sorry!

  16. It took Boeing 10 years to move their software division from US to India. The offshore division produced software for 737 Max and 787. Two years ago, Boeing started moving the vision from India back to US. Not sure they also help people relocate from India to US. I hope they hire people in US.

  17. It is an aerodynamically weak aircraft. An improvisation meant to sell like hotcakes and make Boeing a lot of money on the cheapest possible design. As one of the comments stated above, you can’t fix hardware issues with software. And software tends to fail every so often. In this case, you’re left with an aircraft that has center of gravity issues and whatever bugs you have to deal with in the computer systems. No small matter, which is how 2 of these things have already plowed into the ground, despite the valiant efforts of the crews on each a/c.

    Basically, Boeing is selling a garbage product and was making a great living at it until the truth started to come out. MAX reminds me of the Ford Pinto – that was a top selling car before people realized that they had an unfortunate tendency of bursting into flames when rear ended.

  18. @Norman

    I disagree your statement. The B-2 is a great example of software compensating for engineering. It is NOT a design flaw. It IS PART of the design and engineering limitations. Boeing build a faulty software system. They maybe greedy in recycling the 737 but that doesn’t make it less safe 20 years from now.

    The issues are simple .
    Boeing had a design flaw.
    Boeing denies the flaw.
    Regulators overlooked the flaws.
    Regulations help Boeing conceal the flaws.

    Based on your conclusion, it should be Anything “heavier than air” will never be the safest plane in the skies, no matter what they come up with in the end.
    We are talking metal tubes flying in the skies, no metal can defy gravity. Hence, physics and engineering are never safe.

    It’s probably not necessary to panic, but definitely worth taking the train bus or boat (wait metal is also heavier than water).

  19. Flying the MAX will always be like a game of Russian roulette. Most of the time, we will get there OK but other times disaster.

  20. @Stogieguy7

    And software tends to fail every so often.

    TRUE. But you (and Boeing) are missing two big point.
    1. There are designed to have redundancy, which in this case they don’t and should have redundancy. Statistically, with enough redundancy you are more likely to win the lottery than flying in total system failure.
    2. Is the failure fatal. Unfortunately in this case it was. And like all accidents prior since the Wright Brothers, we as humans do learn and fix and thrive.

    Like I mentioned earlier, all this IS part of the design to get a chunk of metal flying 18 hours nonstop through harsh weathers. Boeing and FAA just failed to do it’s part.

  21. @Eskimo

    B2 was an example I was thinking of when I wrote that. I agree it’s an engineering masterpiece, but 1 out of the 21 units built crashed and the cause is precisely a software issue. And mind you they had ejector seats.
    Some basic aerodynamics knowledge will tell you that aft CG cause decreased longitudinal stability, and makes stall/spin harder to recover.
    Just know not all planes are created equally. On the grand scale of things probably all planes are pretty safe at this point (which is why I said don’t panic) But know that some are inherently safer than others

  22. Does nobody else think the Boeing 737 now looks rather ancient (like a vintage 1960s car with the cockpit) and it clearly needs to be replaced by the 797 family, the sooner the better.

  23. LOL… the “software can’t fix hardware” people on here.

    You all do realize that the A320 is a completely fly by wire aircraft that would fall out of the sky without software, right?

  24. I was looking out for cheap Business Class tickets on Oman Air and found that WY will be operating their MAXes (atleast that’s what their website says) from October.

  25. Frankly Civilian aircraft should not be aerodynamically unstable. Its ok for F16s and B2 bombers as those have ejector seats for when things go wrong. Passenger planes do not. These planes should be able to fly without Software correcting aerodynamic unstability.
    Fly by wire as in Airbus only takes care of the pilots not having to use physical strength. If all inputs stop the plane still flies level as its aerodynamically stable. In the Max if the software is taken out the plane will crash so the software is critical and if the software misbehaves it can also cause a crash. Damned if you do damned if you dont
    Just scrap the max and go build the 797 and make it aerodynamically stable.

  26. I don’t want to make any excuses for Boeing because the fact pattern behind how this plane got designed, built, and certified isn’t something they should be proud of. However, while I agree that Boeing should have flaws discovered and remedied as much as possible before sending to the FAA for certification, how much of this back and forth is normal (or suppose to be normal) when certifying a plane for air-worthiness?

    Boeing should definitely be cognizant about how this situation is anything but normal, but is this process any different than how new planes ultimately reach certification?

  27. Tex,

    Sure all planes use software but when that software exists purely because the plane is inherently unstable without it, then you are adding risk.

    It is safe in absolute terms, but is still more risky than other passenger jets. The fact that military aircraft are inherently unstable as well is irrelevant since there is only one person on board and he can bail.

  28. There appears to be a lot of misconceptions about the physical design and aerodynamics of the MAX.

    The COG is actually more forward than the 737NG, making it more stable.

    Having the engines installed differently creates more lift in some extreme configurations. MCAS is used to make the airplane FEEL like the NG.

    There are clearly software and system issues that need to be corrected, but the airplane is not fundamentally unstable or aerodynamically flawed.

  29. Tom, on a fly by wire plane (either Airbus or 777/787) ANY control input is entirely reliant upon software. There is no mechanical link between the cockpit and the wings. Software messes up, plane goes down. The 737 needing software to address a handling issue is absolutely no more risky than a FBW plane that needs software to do ANYTHING AT ALL.

  30. I think the interesting thing about Boeing and most of the US carriers’ desire to get the planes back in the air quickly is the potential impact another major incident in the next 18 months or so would have. I don’t agree with @Mary that it would bankrupt Boeing. They’re one of the biggest corporations in the world and have delivered tens of thousands of safe aircraft over the years. However, another incident with a MAX aircraft in the short to medium term would certainly lead to MAX frames being permanently banned by most nations outside the US. The best Boeing could hope for is to be able to scrap all current MAX variants and have to redesign from scratch.

  31. Boeing should just cry uncle and move on. DUIgie is just worried that if they kill the MAX, that he’ll never get to fully implement the torture chamber oasis cabins he’s fawned about for years. DUIgie and Boeing should go drink in jail together.

  32. It sounds like the FAA does not have the expertise to evaluate software, hence the delay. The reason why the FAA does not have this expertise maybe due to their habit of having the airline manufacturers “self- test” and “self-evaluate” during the certification phase (otherwise known as Industry led evaluation).

  33. So the real question is that did IAF know, when they pledged their allegiance to Boeing last week at Paris Airshow?
    Man.. I’d feel badly burned if they didn’t since I bet Boeing knew.

    Hey guys, can you help us out. We’ll cut you a really good deal on those frames you wanted.
    Sure, just make sure it’s all good and we don’t get hit by any other problems.
    Of course! Thanks, we owe you!

    One week later:
    Oh yeah, Boeing has more problems with 737MAX.

  34. Boeing can say what they like, the 7M8 is a flawed design and depends on a software fix to make it safe to fly.

    What happens, as it does, when the software fails?

    The best thing they could do with the 7M8 is stop building it, scrap what they have built, reimburse the airlines and then design something fit for purpose in the 2020s rather than tinker with something which is 60 years old.

    If it’s a Boeing, I’m not going.

  35. @Phil Duncan, every commercial airplane requires software for operation. Perhaps you’d be more comfortable in a horse and buggy.

  36. @Tex – It won’t fall out of the sky, it can’t even leave the ground. LOL
    @Prabuddha – This is where many people get it wrong, you got most of it wrong.
    Ejection is not initially design for when things go wrong but when hostiles decide to light you up.
    There is no such thing as a true aerodynamically stable. If EVERYTHING stays constant then yes you can design something stable. But it doesn’t work that way. Weight, wind, temperature, air density, etc. all affect stability. Even thrust and speed affects. Why do you think there is a moving part called stabilizer on a plane. What do you think flaps are for? Having computer doing these calculation actually makes the plane MORE stable.

    I agree with @AlanD it won’t bankrupt Boeing. As long as Uncle Sam keeps flying F-18, F-22, KC-46, C-17, Air Force One etc. Oh yeah and all the Minuteman ICBM which keeps USA safe from Nuclear war (really??). Yep Boeing made money around 30% from killing machines.

  37. Call me a layperson but this just validates my earlier stance that there is no way in hell that I am ever stepping foot on a MAX. I am sorry but us lay people entrusted our judgement on these so called experts and regulators and look at what has happened- they have created a killing machine that plunges down on it’s own. And why? Just because the plane may have a tendency to stall as Boeing chose to dissipate the basic laws of physics in order to hyper inflate its share price. The regulators too just stood mum.

    Then an aircraft crashed and after initially dismissing it as a third world safety issue they told us that yes this crazy death inducing software existed but well it had been fixed.

    It took yet another 150 people to be hurled into the ground after enduring 6 minutes of sheer terror for Boeing to finally own up.

    And what now? They promised us yet again they are building the safest plane in the world which again does not seem to be the case.

    I am sorry but this is a mafia of Boeing, FAA and greedy airline executives who seem to have replaced their conscience with calculators. The fact that IAG could publicly order this aircraft after all that happened is utterly disrespectful to the victim’s families who are seeking justice for what their loved ones had to endure. Their only fault was that they blindly trusted these so called regulators and manufacturers.

    Fact-
    The Boeing 737 max is an inherently flawed design- the equivalent of placing a an elephant’s head on the body of a poodle.
    Boeing has deliberately compromised safety to create a product that looked good on paper and ticked all the boxes.
    Boeing has consistently lied or at the very least been opaque. They did not initially own up to the role of the MCAS initially and had not even disclosed it to pilots just to avoid simulator training.
    Boeing has been unable to fix a problem inspite of proclaiming its simply a software fix.
    I have a question for you all. We use software’s everywhere. Given our experience with software bugs and the relentless updates, would we be comfortable placing our lives on a rushed software that has been created using some SCRUMM based project management module?
    I don’t think so.
    Can we trust anything that Boeing or the FAA say? Not really.
    Should Boeing pay? Hell yeah.
    So let’s all take a stand and boycott flying a 737 max. The airlines will automatically toe the line and no business will ever take such a flippant stance on human lives!

  38. @Aman

    Fact-
    The Boeing 737 max is an inherently flawed design- the equivalent of placing a an elephant’s head on the body of a poodle. -FAKE NEWS!!!!!!!!!!

    It is a design flaw in the software, it is inherently same as other metal tube defying gravity. Boeing is aware and MCAS was put in place to address aerodynamics, all part of the design nothing “inherently” flawed. Again they screwed up on the software (and cheap on training), just as if they knowingly used low quality rivets when they believe any quality would hold.

    An example of “inherently” flawed was the DC-10 cargo door or the square windows on the Comet.

    The rest I agree. Boeing and FAA needs to hold accountable.

  39. Way too much attention on saving fuel and and money and not enough attention to details is how we ended up with the MAX. You get what you are willing to pay for… every single time.

  40. “The American workforce (which designs and builds these thing) has been in a tail-slide from the “everyone gets a trophy” era – no attention to detail, plummeting thinking skills, all the confidence but little competence, and no one deals with it because risk of hurt feelings and backlash – a bad recipe and here we are“

    @Jeff
    Hogwash

    The only mental midgets who got where they are, is Boeing Management who have somehow continued to fail upwards until our current catastrophe

    It was their “everybody gets a trophy” decisions made with no critical decision making ability that lead to this

    Who chose to make some of the essential safety features of the 737Max *optional* instead of standard?
    It certainly wasn’t the Boeing frontline who pur in the rivets who caused this problem

    Eventually we will see what pressure management put on the eggheads to fudge the software..

    Stop blaming the workforce when the issue is, and clearly has been, management

    But as always, in your “everyone gets a trophy” world, the CEO will get his golden parachute… you know… because

    I have no idea if they can make these planes safe
    I do know you have to earn trust
    Boeing has lost mine, and it’ll take a lot to get it back

  41. I don’t think most people understand why MCAS was created. The 737 Max is NOT a 737. It looks like one but it does not fly like one. MCAS simulates the flying of a 737NG. Boeing’s big selling point for the 737 max is that pilots would not need additional training. Also Boeing was able to quickly get the 737 max certified to fly since it was just an “upgrade”. A lot of people have asked why doesn’t Boeing turn MCAS off. The reason why is that it will no longer fly like a 737 and would have to be certified as a new aircraft aka 797.

    Early on Trump said Boeing should rebrand the 737 Max. He is correct. They should get it certified as 797 and have pilots trained to fly this plane. The problem is this will take years but it’s what we should have done in the first place.

  42. I think this suggests the exact opposite – that the process is now working (as is SHOULD HAVE WORKED in the first place).

    This news is getting out there because Boeing and the FAA are not sweeping things under the carpet anymore as they seemed to do in the initial certification. I also don’t think you can take one statement from an airline CEO (and one famous for huge exaggerations at that) and essentially use it to accuse the manufacturer or the whole industry of bad faith. To be fair, Boeing has refused to set a firm timeline for return to service until the FAA is satisfied, regardless of what Dougie says.

    It was always going to be a long road to get the plane back into service and I’d rather see they are discovering and admitting setbacks and mistakes rather than covering them up.

  43. As an aside, I think it’s high time for the once-great Boeing to try and purge itself of the McDonnell Douglas DNA that has prioritised cost cutting and hampered innovation since the merger…. such a great shame to see the company make mistake after mistake.

  44. Does this mean there’s “mens rea” in Boeing’s action with regards to the plane itself (including but not limited to MCAS)?

  45. @Lucky — “I keep hearing people say ‘when the 737 MAX is back in the sky it will be the safest plane out there.’ I call BS on that. There’s nothing in this process that has made me feel like Boeing or many operators of the 737 MAX have safety as the top priority here.”

    Let’s make sure that we understand the *engineering* aspects instead of all the *fake* news and *bluster* put forth by non-technical people who do *not* really understand what’s going on! I agree with the *few* posters who *are* knowledgeable — that the fault with the MAX is *not* with the hardware or even (conceptually) with the *idea* of using software to control/influence the aircraft’s flight Control Laws (a la MCAS) … the fault actually lies with Boeing’s inadequate software architecture and quality assurance practices that permitted release of their prior *implementation* of MCAS without thorough-enough vetting of its behaviors at flight operating corners (ie, extremes). Note that virtually *all* Airbus and other advanced Boeing airliners today must *also* use *software* to augment their basic flight characteristics, especially those that rely on fly-by-wire technology!

    Furthermore, with the amount of extreme scrutiny that the MAX MCAS *implementation* is *now* undergoing, not only by the FAA, but also by other *independent* certification agencies in other countries, the newly (to be) re-certified MAX *will* be the safest aircraft flying out there! What other certified aircraft in the world will have undergone such thorough scrutiny as the MAX, after its recent tragedies? The new FAA findings of the latest operational issues *are* proof that *this* time around the agency *is* doing the “right stuff”! Remember — a brand new Airbus 350 can (heaven forbid!) also fall out of the sky at any time due to hitherto unknown (hardware/software) issues that somehow missed getting caught and fixed during its certification process because no one anticipated a particular operating corner situation that could credibly occur! We just do *not* know what we can *not* know, in advance!

    @Others —
    If it *is* true that Boeing had outsourced MCAS software development to India, then there’s a *huge* problem with that entire scenario and validates their fault as being *implementation* rather than *concept* of using software! For something as complex as MCAS it is *always* best to have the software developers be as close in proximity to the rest of the engineering groups as possible, so that they can interact as closely as possible to ensure proper coverage of potential aircraft flight behavioral issues as early as possible! What was Boeing thinking by outsourcing like that?

    As for those other posters who make the *preposterous* claim that inherently “unstable” military aircraft is “OK” because they have ejection seats, try and sell that to the DoD, when front-line fighters like the F-35 cost nearly US$100 Million a pop, but are considered as “dispensable” to software failures because the pilots can always “eject”? If such lunatic belief is to be taken seriously, then what happens when our front-line fighters and bombers suffer software failures during actual combat situations and thereby cause USA to *lose* the war? Front-line military aircraft are *intentionally* designed/built to exhibit *less* inherent stability in order to make them *more* agile during ACM (Air Combat Maneuvers) and will rely on fly-by-wire, *with* flight Control Law software, to maintain necessary stability and enhance performance! The F-16 was our first “electric jet” that used fly-by-wire technology and has already been performing magnificently for over 40 years! And it is still going strong!

    In summary — too many lay people are confusing Boeing’s bad *implementation* with a totally valid *concept* of using software to control/influence flight Control Laws! Such fly-by-wire technology has already proven itself over decades of successful and safe flying by both military *and* civilian airliners (including both Airbus *and* Boeing)! Fortunately, software fixes are *much* more readily accommodated and, once updated, can put the aircraft back into *safe* and reliable service *much* more quickly than if the fixes had to involve overhauling hardware components!

  46. @Eskimo- Agree with you however I see the inclusion of a software like MCAS to get around the imbalanced weight of the engines itself to be a design flaw. This software is unprecedented in its ability to override pilot intervention and has resulted in loss of lives!

    If Boeing had gone in for a new airframe this wouldn’t have been required. Instead they chose to go after the American order!

  47. If the 737MAX ever takes to the air again, I’ll never be passenger on it. Certainly will be paying more attention to equipment types before pressing the “buy” button online.

  48. Boeing has got away with things due to the self certification process. Some employees at Boeing seem to have a loyalty and self belief which verges on the fantatical. We are Boeing , We can do no wrong. Anyone who disagrees is a traitor. This is a very bad culture where people need to raise issues about safety.
    The problem is now the FAA will leave no stone unturned to ensure this plane is safe. They have to try and restore their status.
    As for Boeing….tough , next time do the job properly and do not cut corner.
    As for American Airlines …you really should buy more Airbus aircraft. They make far more modern planes , rather than raiding the parts bin.

  49. @Joe says:
    June 27, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Every plane does of course have software but in this case it’s there to correct the failings of an intrinsically flawed design. That is a serious matter and a failure would be far more serious than normal.

    I’ll leave you to your pony and trap.

  50. The FAA is a joke. Thanks to them, we were the sole country insisting that the there was no evidence that the plane was unsafe. They wouldn’t even have grounded this plane but for mounting public pressure. Now all of a sudden they have strict safety standards? Where were these standards when the plane was first certified? I’m glad to see they are finally doing their job, but at the end of the day this is just a dog and pony show. It is a travesty that no jobs were lost in all of this, but lives were…

  51. There is an excellent New York Times article, titled ‘Boeing Built Deadly Assumptions Into 737 Max, Blind to a Late Design Change’ that everyone should read. There are other articles out this weekend that report on Boeing’s efforts in recent years to shed (expensive) senior software engineers in Seattle in favor of much cheaper software developers from overseas (e.g. India and Russia).

  52. Boeing needs new top management. The company needs a CEO that returns its focus to engineering rather than rent seeking. As prima facie evidence that Boeing has resorted to playing legal and regulatory games to maximize its profit, I point to the whole Bombardier CS series debacle. Rather than using lobbyists and lawyers to compete, how about going back to designers and engineers? Earn your profit the old fashioned way, by selling the best product you can build. I think this damaging change in the company’s culture began when they moved the headquarters from Seattle to Chicago.

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