Boeing 737

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Boeing 737

Postby grzegorz on Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:40 am

Is it just me or do you smell a rat too?

It seems odd that the most countries are calling off flights with the Boeing 737 and the US won't.

I think it's just another blatant example of the coorperate takeover of the US government.

I am not an aviation engineer but doesn't seem like putting all flights of the 737 on hold for a few weeks is asking for much.
Last edited by grzegorz on Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:21 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby Steve James on Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:19 am

It's actually only one variant of the 737 that this has affected. I think the problem is that the problem is the lack of an explanation.

That said, it would inspire confidence if the model were grounded. But, if they don't find a specific mechanical issue, then what? Worse, what if they find a defect, repair it, and then there's another incident? Unfortunately, perhaps the only way to know the cause is to keep flying. Most accidents are caused by a combination of factors, including or compounded by pilot error.
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby Peacedog on Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:04 am

Some background information for people outside the aviation industry.

First, aircraft are becoming increasingly automated, particularly those models sold outside the US to developing nations. The primary factor driving this is that worldwide demand for Western standard trained aircrew is outstripping supply. The reality is that many of the aircrew in lesser developed nations have far lower flying hours in many cases and much lower quality training. I've seen pilots flying Airbus equipment in some cases that have as little as 500 flying hours. So, manufacturers responded by making aircraft easier to fly via increased automation. Airbus is leading the way on this for those that care. With increased automation, the ability to respond to anomalies is decreased. But it makes up on the whole when involving lower skill aircrew.

And this leads to the second issue...

Maintenance for these more heavily automated aircraft is really stretching the limits of what most non-First World countries are capable of pulling off. This gets into military grade equipment issues as well, but in general civil aviation is much simpler than cutting edge military grade gear. This is mainly due to a much higher requirement for safety in the civilian market as well as a less stressful operating environment. FYI, gen 5 tech is something only a handful of developed Western countries are capable of employing. Even the Russians at this point have basically given up trying to develop this kind of equipment.

So, the black box recordings on at least one of these flight reported problems with flight controls. This could be something unexpected that the automation is incorrectly correcting for. Or, as Steve pointed out, it's more likely a maintenance problem.

Either way, it appears to only impact one variant of the aircraft so far. And, as I mentioned earlier, significant differences may exist between the domestic and international production models of the same variant.

Hopefully, they will figure it out sooner than later. In the meantime, I'd stick with US flagged carriers if you can when flying the 737 Max variant.
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby windwalker on Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:30 am

Peacedog wrote:Some background information for people outside the aviation industry.

First, aircraft are becoming increasingly automated, particularly those models sold outside the US to developing nations. The primary factor driving this is that worldwide demand for Western standard trained aircrew is outstripping supply. The reality is that many of the aircrew in lesser developed nations have far lower flying hours in many cases and much lower quality training. I've seen pilots flying Airbus equipment in some cases that have as little as 500 flying hours. So, manufacturers responded by making aircraft easier to fly via increased automation. Airbus is leading the way on this for those that care. With increased automation, the ability to respond to anomalies is decreased. But it makes up on the whole when involving lower skill aircrew.

And this leads to the second issue...

Maintenance for these more heavily automated aircraft is really stretching the limits of what most non-First World countries are capable of pulling off. This gets into military grade equipment issues as well, but in general civil aviation is much simpler than cutting edge military grade gear. This is mainly due to a much higher requirement for safety in the civilian market as well as a less stressful operating environment. FYI, gen 5 tech is something only a handful of developed Western countries are capable of employing. Even the Russians at this point have basically given up trying to develop this kind of equipment.

Many air lines use 3rd party off shore maintenance facilities to do the work on the aircraft, the problem being they may not have the training or equipment to actually do the work

So, the black box recordings on at least one of these flight reported problems with flight controls. This could be something unexpected that the automation is incorrectly correcting for. Or, as Steve pointed out, it's more likely a maintenance problem.

Either way, it appears to only impact one variant of the aircraft so far. And, as I mentioned earlier, significant differences may exist between the domestic and international production models of the same variant.

Hopefully, they will figure it out sooner than later. In the meantime, I'd stick with US flagged carriers if you can when flying the 737 Max variant.


good post.

some may remember

Experts Concerned S. Korean Pilots Too Reliant on Technology


Flying computers - that’s how aviation experts describe today’s sophisticated airplanes, which often require little hands-on flying. But they say reliance on automation can lead to danger and confusion when pilots are forced to execute basic manual flying procedures. Some experts call it “automation addiction.”

Captain Vic Hooper says he wasn’t surprised by the crash and that it could have happened anytime since 2000. Hooper flew with Asiana, a South Korean airline, until 2011. As a captain on the 777, the same type of plane that crashed, he found many co-pilots unable to fly a visual approach.

https://www.voanews.com/a/experts-conce ... 30727.html

The FAA has told VOA that it has temporarily banned foreign pilots from using visual approaches in San Francisco.

FAA officials took this action after seeing an increase in aborted landings, or go-arounds, by foreign pilots attempting visual approaches, including one by Asiana less than two weeks after the crash.
Last edited by windwalker on Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby windwalker on Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:40 am

from the same link, interesting

Pilots tell VOA that air traffic controllers hesitate to approve visual approaches until they know who’s landing the plane.

A former Asiana pilot who spoke with us on condition of anonymity said, on one flight, he was circling a U.S. airport when he called air traffic control to tell them his plane had 23 minutes of fuel before he would be forced to divert to another airport.


The controller asked him a few coded questions first to determine if he was American.

“He says, ‘Okay you’re cleared out of the holding pattern, you’re clear for the visual approach.’ Expats [expatriates] whose first language is English will let the tower know that they speak English and get much more expedited and better handling.”

Vic Hooper agrees.

“Unless they [air traffic controllers] heard a Western voice on the radio, [they] would never offer a visual approach unless there was not any choice.”
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby Steve James on Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:57 am

There's a big difference between lack of basic skills, such as the VFR (visual flight rating) that every pilot must have, and inadequate experience or training on a particular plane's equipment. It is true that Boeing is interested in selling planes, and is not necessarily as interested in the capabilities of the buyers. That's as true for an airliner as for a Piper Cub. It's also true that people lie about their qualifications --from engineers to mechanics to pilots.

I can agree that computerization decreases the need for certain piloting skills. But, that's not the problem of the computers or that computers make the plane more difficult to fly. It's the opposite, according to that argument. I.e., there are pilots who can't fly without software aids. On that note, the guys who flew 747s into the Towers on 9/11 couldn't have done so without computer aids.

However, removing computers will not make flying any safer for passengers or easier for pilots. Removing hydraulics and returning to cables would make planes "simpler," as would returning to propeller driven flight. The issue is not the equipment. Of course, that's except when the equipment is defective.

Finally, no matter what anybody says, computers are in airplanes to stay. Iinm, there is no stealth aircraft that can be flown manually. Afa commercial aircraft, Boeing will continue to make aircraft that are more advanced than past generations. That is just inevitable. It will not make planes more difficult to fly.

Btw, if you're interested, there are loads of pilot trainers out there who are desperate for work. Go to the AOPA site. I say that because I defy anyone who is against computers to get an IFR (instrument flight rating). That's just so that you can fly at night or on days with limited visibility. My point is that anyone who thinks you don't have to have something of a brain to get a pilot's license is ... out of his mind.
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby aamc on Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:00 pm

Hmm, so we are saying that increased automation is making air travel increasingly dangerous? Whilst at the same time the number of flights in the world is increasing? We are also saying that non-US carriers are less trustworthy because they don't have the where with all to do maintenance, despite having western pilots, ground crew and as in the case of say Rwandiar government backed money?
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby Peacedog on Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:12 pm

What I'm saying is that increasing technology is making maintenance much more of a challenge, particularly in the Third World.

Additionally, by automating aircraft it reduces the overall accident rate that lesser qualified aircrew would result in, while making it difficult to respond to anomalies that the programming does not account for in advance by removing the ability to respond manually.

Finally, due to the great expense of operating these aircraft, anywhere from $6000 to $24000 an hour depending upon the model, training time is expensive. Less developed, and virtually all of these suffer from greater corruption than the developed First World, countries are more likely to take shortcuts, or outright lie, about making their training requirements.

None of this is complicated or even controversial.

And the manufacturers pay great attention to the capabilities of who they are selling specific equipment to. Which is one of the reasons why certain aircraft are marketed to developing countries and others are not.
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby Steve James on Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:13 pm

I think there are legitimate concerns about training of personnel and maintenance of equipment. However, whenever there is equipment, there is a chance of failure. On top of that, there are just plain f-ups. Reassuring the public by grounding the new planes might make sense, but they'd better find something or it might have a permanent effect.

Anyway,
In a statement Tuesday, acting FAA administrator Daniel Elwell said the agency is looking at all the available data from 737 operators around the world, and that the review “thus far shows no systematic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding aircraft.” Elwell said the FAA “would take immediate, appropriate action” should such problems be identified. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board both have teams at the crash site outside Addis Ababa to investigate and collect data.

The agency did note in a directive published Monday that it would probably mandate flight-control system enhancements that Boeing is already working on, come April. And after the Lion Air crash, the FAA made a Boeing safety warning mandatory for US airlines.

“We have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX,” Boeing said in its own statement Tuesday. “Based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”

A number of US senators, including Ted Cruz of Texas, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Dianne Feinstein of California, have called for the US to ground the aircraft. But it’s the FAA chief who has final say. (Elwell has been the acting administrator since January 2018, though Politico reports that the Trump Administration is close to nominating Delta Air Lines executive Steve Dickson as administrator.) He doesn’t make that decision alone, says Clint Balog, a flight test pilot and human factors expert with the College of Aeronautics at Embry-Riddle University. Any grounding goes through a “semiformal” process, full of discussions with experts on the specific aircraft and crash situation, both in and outside the federal government.

“The FAA looks at all of this information and decides, ‘OK, if it’s just likely that there's a significant problem here, it doesn’t matter what the cost to the traveling public is—we have to put safety first and ground this aircraft,’” Balog says. “However, if they look and say, ‘Well, jeez, grounding this aircraft is going to be a monumental cost to the world and we simply don’t have enough information to know what the risk really is with this aircraft, do we really want to ground it at this point in time?’”

The FAA has grounded aircraft before. In 1979, the FAA grounded all McDonnell Douglas DC-10s (and forbid the aircraft from US airspace) after a crash in Chicago killed 273 people. An investigation found that the problem was maintenance issues, not the aircraft design, and the FAA lifted the prohibition just over a month later.

https://www.wired.com/story/boeing-737- ... nd-safety/
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby Steve James on Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:30 pm

What I'm saying is that increasing technology is making maintenance much more of a challenge, particularly in the Third World.


I'm not arguing against that, and, it doesn't matter whether it was in the Third World or the Second World. Maintenance problems happen everywhere. Sure, in small countries with limited resources, it's more difficult to find qualified technicians. But, that's not a new thing; the solution is the same, and poor maintenance hasn't been identified as an issue in this case.

Hey, Ferrari --intelligently-- shouldn't let me a car even if I could afford the ticket price. If they did, however, it'd be on me. It'd be my responsibility to provide the appropriate maintenance, not for Ferrari to produce a less-technologically advance ride. Moreover, a 1989 Ferrari isn't easier to drive or maintain without experience.
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby Peacedog on Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:40 pm

Steve,

The difference is that if you crash the Ferrari, only you get killed.

If you crash an Airbus/Boeing/whatever, hundreds die and lawsuits fly, pun intended, all over the place. Since aircraft manufacturers frequently get hit with the kinds (both in number and severity) of lawsuits that auto manufacturers don't, they are very sensitive to this issue.

If Boeing is found to be at fault for the current 737 Max problem, a single lawsuit could bankrupt the company. With auto makers the potential for harm is collectively much lower. Hence the individual damages are lower as well for the most part.
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby Steve James on Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:54 pm

:) Well, the guy who got me into flying was a co-worker at the bus company. I never wanted to drive a bus, and I was afraid of the responsibility for 50+ lives. But, I soon found out that the only reason my passengers should feel safe is that I was trying to save my ass too --if not first. Iow., they only had to worry if I stopped worrying.

No pilot worries about the insurance risk to the company. But, it's true that if the 737 Max problem is engineering related, there'll be law suits. Iinm, though, compensation to passengers is limited or capped. That's why it's good to buy insurance. Unless Boeing were found to have known of a specific problem and deliberately hid or refused to address it (unlikely, imv), there's not much there to sue about. I think it's safe to expect them, though.
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby Steve James on Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:23 pm

They've been officially grounded. Now we have to see whether they find the nature of the problem.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/f ... 140180002/
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby grzegorz on Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:24 pm

?

"I didn't want to take any chances. We didn't have to make this decision today," he said. "We could have delayed it. We maybe didn't have to make it at all. But I felt it was important both psychologically and in a lot of other ways."
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Re: Boeing 737

Postby Trick on Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:28 pm

and there is a push for self driving cars. one may not even make it to the airport
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