I haven't posted in this thread in a while, but I've been following along. I've been meaning to post this for a while, hopefully it brings a slightly different perspective to the existing ideas.
1. In a hypothetical situation, let's say a Part 23 airplane has an engine failure at Vr that results in a crash. As we all know, this is a situation that every pilot should be able to handle. If we find out the engine failed because it was assembled with popsicle sticks and Elmer's glue, it still doesn't absolve the pilots. As far as I'm aware, you don't get to pass a botched checkride because the simulated failure was due to "negligent design" versus "an acceptable cause of failure."
2. The argument that the pilots didn't recognize the MCAS activation as runaway trim in my opinion, is ridiculous. First, it happened while the pilots were hand flying. They would have immediately felt the increased backpressure in the yoke and heard and/or saw the manual trim wheels moving. Second, they knew to correct by applying ANU electric trim. Unless they thought the 737 had an infinite amount of trim, they should have realized they were countering whatever automatic trim was being applied.
2a. While everyone is looking at this crash with 20/20 hindsight, imagine your an engineer at Boeing circa 2012. I feel like no one actually understands how hard it would be to not only predict this failure mode, but convince superiors it was dangerous enough to warrant a redesign. Let's pretend you're pretty much clairvoyant, and you predict the EXACT failure mode that happened in the LionAir crash. So you have to convince your superiors that MCAS is inadequate because two pilots each with several thousand hours would not recognize 6 minutes of repeated AND trim being applied as a runaway (or at a minimum, an issue with the electric trim system). If you went to the test pilots for an opinion, do you think they would tell you 1. "That's definitely not a runaway, because there's only one way trim can runaway" or 2. "It's some sort of runaway or issue with electric trim, I'd disable it and trim manually". Having been in this situation many times, I can easily see it being #2. So you determine that is a reasonable solution because you know all pilots are trained for a runaway, and it hasn't been an issue in 40 years of 737 flying.
3. I think the inital media storylines have played a major role in people's perception of the crash. If MCAS had been a paragraph on the iPad training then the whole "hidden system" storyline would have gone away, yet we likely wouldn't have seen any different outcome. Heck, not only did the ET pilots know about MCAS, they knew about its worst failure mode. However, I can completely understand why it wasn't included. It was treated as if the jackscrew motor was made by a different manufacturer who used a new type of insulation. The pilots don't need to know that the new vendor uses a cheaper insulation that is more likely to cause a short. They need to recognize the electric trim is not behaving as it should and disable it.
3a. In the meantime, especially in the ET case, the pilots have to fly the airplane. I don't' know how many of you follow FlightChops on YouTube, but he just did his BFR and his instructor brought up some excellent points regarding dealing with stressful situation and emergencies. As a demo, the instructor intentionally got the controller riled up, and then made Steve (the pilot) perform some menial tasks before he could respond to a frequency handoff. The point was to learn how to fight the urge to respond to distractions instead of flying the airplane. In the ET crash, they did not fall back to pitch and power settings when they should have. The excuses keep coming up that there were too many lights and alarms, etc. Well, that's the whole damn point of pitch and power. It's how to keep the airplane safe until you can figure out what's going on.
4. There's a huge difference between blame and responsibility. Boeing is responsible for a significant portion of the crash. However, I don't think I can blame them (i.e. assign them fault for negligence) because there was no way to predict that the MCAS activation would not be recognized as a trim runaway. Now, there might be an issue that trim runaways are in fact more dangerous than we though, however that opens the aperture up a lot and could apply to any aircraft with automatic trim. At the same time, I don't blame the pilots. I've certainly made some dumb mistakes in my flying history, and fortunately I haven't bent any metal. But I can see how easily it can happen. In this case, the mistakes cost them their lives. However, for example. if we started seeing accidents after to emergency descents due to rapid depressurization, then I think its equally as valid to question why the pilots couldn't handle these "routine" scenarios as it is to question the need to engineer a more robust fuselage.
I know I'm not bringing any new facts to light, but hopefully just looking at them from an existing perspective.
1. I guess the concept of multiple simultaneous failures
didn't penetrate into your consciousness yet. This is a concept which
Unfortunately, some (many) of us will experience a similar situation at the older age, where multiple health problems are building on top of each other. Proper diagnostics of a most important problem can be a serious issue. Hopefully, it will not be after autopsy when the truth comes out. This is the key issue in any pilot-related discussion: triple, if not quadruple airplane failure with root cause indicator just forgotten. See (3) below
2a. Possible defense for Lion crash. But I essentially predicted ET scenario in Lion discussion. Boing engineers could - and should - have done the same while putting together EAD.
3. If,.. If... But If only Boeing did a better job, then yes, they wouldn't be where they are today. Maybe MAX would still be flying..
4. Yes. Boeing may offload some responsibility through courts, but they are forever to be blamed for MCAS fiasco.