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Revelation
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:43 pm

sxf24 wrote:
It’s the job of senior management to set but goals. If the goals would compromise safety or other values, it’s the responsibility of those tasked with pursuing the goals to speak up.

Agree.

sxf24 wrote:
If there was someone at Boeing that told Forkner to minimize training differences at any cost, all of the investigations would have found that.

I don't have as much faith in the investigation as you are showing here, and I have a lot of faith in management weasels to be careful enough to not put blatant statements promoting profit over safety into written form. As someone wrote above, getting other people to take the risk for them is one of their key skills.

So, suppose we assume the statement about saving the company $1M/plane on the WN order was well known within the team. Suppose one or more of Forkner's bosses spoke of it at various occasions. Wouldn't that be enough to let Mark know his career standing would be impacted by his ability to save the company $1M by minimize training differences? And in turn isn't it something an investigator would not flag, it's just a statement about a contract, not an order to put profit over safety, right? Yes, this is the exact way management puts one's dangly bits into a vise.

Also, if Mark is walking around clearly stressed out by having to minimize training differences as BoeingGuy says, wouldn't an even average manager notice that, take him in his office and ask him why he's so stressed out, and in the end tell him safety comes first, don't even dare to sneak things past FAA, etc? Or does management notice his stress level and say to themselves, "of course he's stressed out, he's saving the company $1M/plane by sneaking things past FAA, thank god it's him not me" and let him get on with it? You know which scenario I'm voting on.

It's happened to me, with different circumstances and far lower stakes, but still, that's how management operates. Take a look at how the military works. The ones taking the most risk for the lowest pay are the privates. The brass gets better pay, command authority i.e. power, and lots more people to blame the higher you rise in the ranks. The key to survival is not being the one catching the blame.

sxf24 wrote:
There’s a difference between placing blame and recognizing everyone has a responsibility to speak up. That’s how safety management system works and it’s appears (from lack of investigative findings) that neither Forkner, nor anyone around him, raised concerns with senior management.

If Forkner or anyone else spoke up, made their case respectively with data, and were ignored, senior management would be deserve attacks and those that spoke up should be protected.

Sounds pretty idealistic to me.

Suppose the facts in this case are as presented by the media, that Forkner discovers MCAS activation in the low speed regime during a sim session as the program is deep into flight test. He immediately realizes this has safety implications and needs to be communicated to the FAA. Yet it wasn't communicated to him!!! So now he would have to stop what he was already tasked with doing and prepare a presentation complete with data and go to war with management to get them to make the right communication of the change both internally and to the FAA? Of course it'd be a war, it's pretty clear from all the evidence DoJ gathered and Congress presented that Boeing was doing all it could do to hide MCAS. Forkner would be doing the right thing, but it'd be career suicide.

Easy for us to say that's what he should have done sitting at home behind our keyboards fully knowing the eventual outcome. In an ideal world I agree with you. In the real world I understand what Mark did or rather didn't do. I won't cover myself in glory by saying my approach has been to try to stay a worker bee and collect a (good) pay check and let others who want to move up the ladder take the risks to chase the rewards. It seems inevitable that you end up in a compromising position or two as you weave and dodge your way up the ladder. Seems like Forkner chose to play the game and ended up with the brown end of the stick. He has become the fall guy, just like an electrician puts a fuse in the circuit to blow when there's a short circuit. Works out well for the house and the occupants. Sucks to be the fuse, you end up burnt out and in the trash.

In the ideal world, you replace fuses with circuit breakers that can be reset when there's a fault, yet it seems Boeing still has old school wiring and IMO still needs to be rewired based on recent evidence (Calhoun statements about non-US pilots, employee survey saying designated representatives feel harassed and/or ignored, electrical grounding issues discovered after changes were in production for months, etc).
 
sxf24
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sat Sep 18, 2021 2:02 pm

Revelation wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
If there was someone at Boeing that told Forkner to minimize training differences at any cost, all of the investigations would have found that.

I don't have as much faith in the investigation as you are showing here, and I have a lot of faith in management weasels to be careful enough to not put blatant statements promoting profit over safety into written form. As someone wrote above, getting other people to take the risk for them is one of their key skills.

So, suppose we assume the statement about saving the company $1M/plane on the WN order was well known within the team. Suppose one or more of Forkner's bosses spoke of it at various occasions. Wouldn't that be enough to let Mark know his career standing would be impacted by his ability to save the company $1M by minimize training differences? And in turn isn't it something an investigator would not flag, it's just a statement about a contract, not an order to put profit over safety, right? Yes, this is the exact way management puts one's dangly bits into a vise.

Also, if Mark is walking around clearly stressed out by having to minimize training differences as BoeingGuy says, wouldn't an even average manager notice that, take him in his office and ask him why he's so stressed out, and in the end tell him safety comes first, don't even dare to sneak things past FAA, etc? Or does management notice his stress level and say to themselves, "of course he's stressed out, he's saving the company $1M/plane by sneaking things past FAA, thank god it's him not me" and let him get on with it? You know which scenario I'm voting on.

It's happened to me, with different circumstances and far lower stakes, but still, that's how management operates. Take a look at how the military works. The ones taking the most risk for the lowest pay are the privates. The brass gets better pay, command authority i.e. power, and lots more people to blame the higher you rise in the ranks. The key to survival is not being the one catching the blame.


There were multiple investigations into Boeing, including from federal law enforcement agencies and congressional committees. The combination of professional expertise and blatant politics should eliminate any question about culpable management getting a free pass.

Business objectives, performance reviews and compensation decisions are heavily documented. If records are missing or if Forkner told investigators about off-the-record instructions, it would immediately come to the attention of investigators. I only speak from my experience participating in internal HR investigations: external forces would be significantly higher.

Revelation wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
There’s a difference between placing blame and recognizing everyone has a responsibility to speak up. That’s how safety management system works and it’s appears (from lack of investigative findings) that neither Forkner, nor anyone around him, raised concerns with senior management.

If Forkner or anyone else spoke up, made their case respectively with data, and were ignored, senior management would be deserve attacks and those that spoke up should be protected.

Sounds pretty idealistic to me.

Suppose the facts in this case are as presented by the media, that Forkner discovers MCAS activation in the low speed regime during a sim session as the program is deep into flight test. He immediately realizes this has safety implications and needs to be communicated to the FAA. Yet it wasn't communicated to him!!! So now he would have to stop what he was already tasked with doing and prepare a presentation complete with data and go to war with management to get them to make the right communication of the change both internally and to the FAA? Of course it'd be a war, it's pretty clear from all the evidence DoJ gathered and Congress presented that Boeing was doing all it could do to hide MCAS. Forkner would be doing the right thing, but it'd be career suicide.

Easy for us to say that's what he should have done sitting at home behind our keyboards fully knowing the eventual outcome. In an ideal world I agree with you. In the real world I understand what Mark did or rather didn't do. I won't cover myself in glory by saying my approach has been to try to stay a worker bee and collect a (good) pay check and let others who want to move up the ladder take the risks to chase the rewards. It seems inevitable that you end up in a compromising position or two as you weave and dodge your way up the ladder. Seems like Forkner chose to play the game and ended up with the brown end of the stick. He has become the fall guy, just like an electrician puts a fuse in the circuit to blow when there's a short circuit. Works out well for the house and the occupants. Sucks to be the fuse, you end up burnt out and in the trash.

In the ideal world, you replace fuses with circuit breakers that can be reset when there's a fault, yet it seems Boeing still has old school wiring and IMO still needs to be rewired based on recent evidence (Calhoun statements about non-US pilots, employee survey saying designated representatives feel harassed and/or ignored, electrical grounding issues discovered after changes were in production for months, etc).


SMS are core to aviation and there is no chance of preserving the industries safety record without the assumption that any employee can and should speak up. It’s a good sport in airline break rooms and on A.net to blame management, especially CEOs and CFOs. The reality is that they don’t know many of the details about the business and it is the responsibility of employees and mid-level managers to insure that safety concerns are identified, communicated and acted on.

I don’t know enough facts to know if there is 1, 2 or 3 executives at Boeing that are culpable. What I do know is that Forkner had a responsibility to raise any concerns. If he didn’t see the issues or choose to keep silent, we should understand why he will be facing criminal prosecution.

I would also point out that there are employees who raise illegitimate or incorrect safety issues, mostly because they don’t fully understand a situation. That doesn’t mean they should be ignored, but not every concern deserves the same level of action.
 
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sat Sep 18, 2021 3:46 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
Frontline/NYT errs here by not explaining that there is a difference between a mainline pilot in the United States which at the time of design of the 737Max had minimum requirements of:
    At least 23 years old
    Hold commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating
    Pass ATP knowledge and practical tests
    1,500 hours total time as pilot
And the Ethiopia Airlines first officer who had apparently gone through Ab initio training and had 361 total flight hours, of which 207 were on type.


You don’t need those requirements to fly an airliner in the US, if you had enough money you could legally fly one with a private pilots licence and only 50 hrs total time. To get the type rating all you need is a PPL. In fact a lot of foreign pilots who get trained in the US have their type ratings put onto a FAA PPL and that is used to get the type rating onto the foreign licence.

The requirements your list are not for the 737Max, they are to do with airline flying. They are not ICAO standards and recommend practices. A lot of airlines have pilots that are flying airliners with only 200 hrs total time. The main difference if their training from day 1 is a fully integrated course generally with a single training provider appointed and oversee by the airline, they produce a very standard pilot that has been trained to the airlines syllabus (which exceeds the regulators minimums), their training could involve 100-150 hrs in a two crew aircraft simulator on top of their flying. The same sort of training programs dont seem to be run by airlines in the US.
 
cedarjet
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sat Sep 18, 2021 4:53 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
I have a somewhat idealistic opinion that one of the jobs of a journalist is to educate the viewers. Frontline/NYT errs here by not explaining that there is a difference between a mainline pilot in the United States which at the time of design of the 737Max had minimum requirements of:
    At least 23 years old
    Hold commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating
    Pass ATP knowledge and practical tests
    1,500 hours total time as pilot
And the Ethiopia Airlines first officer who had apparently gone through Ab initio training and had 361 total flight hours, of which 207 were on type.

This fact is just not even mentioned by Frontline/NYT. It just doesn't fit Frontline/NYT's narrative though that pilot experience and training level might have been a contributing factor. Calhoun was given the opportunity give Boeing's thoughts on this but the journalists would rather have a gotcha-type quote than get a better understanding of the complexities of the situation. No apologies on my part for Calhoun refusing to answer that question on the record.

Emphatically disagree, the FO on Ethiopian was the one in the flight deck that cut the stab trim switches. He did exactly the right thing and was part of the solution. Ryanair take pilots with 180h total time and they’re Europe’s biggest airline and have a perfect record. Chauvinistic attitudes about foreign pilots is a red herring and not a very attractive one.
 
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sat Sep 18, 2021 11:11 pm

cedarjet wrote:
Emphatically disagree, the FO on Ethiopian was the one in the flight deck that cut the stab trim switches. He did exactly the right thing and was part of the solution. Ryanair take pilots with 180h total time and they’re Europe’s biggest airline and have a perfect record. Chauvinistic attitudes about foreign pilots is a red herring and not a very attractive one.


I am not a pilot but I do know that there is quite a bit of concern about Ab initio pilots only flying the automation and not developing stick-and-rudder skills. It seems like the ET302 crew was doing that because they did not monitor airspeed.

Here is what has been reported concerning Ethiopia Airlines training:
Bernd Kai von Hoesslin, the Ethiopian Airlines pilot and a 737 instructor, reportedly warned managers that more training was required following the October Lion Air crash. He also suggested greater communication between crew members. Three months after von Hoesslin delivered the warning, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed, killing all 157 people on board.

Von Hoesslin was concerned with how pilots would handle an issue with the 737 Max's flight-control feature in conjunction with cockpit warnings, according to the emails seen by Bloomberg.

"It will be a crash for sure," von Hoesslin said in an email in December, Bloomberg reported.

https://www.businessinsider.com/ethiopian-airlines-pilot-warning-training-boeing-737-max-2019-5
 
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:26 am

Pythagoras wrote:
cedarjet wrote:
Emphatically disagree, the FO on Ethiopian was the one in the flight deck that cut the stab trim switches. He did exactly the right thing and was part of the solution. Ryanair take pilots with 180h total time and they’re Europe’s biggest airline and have a perfect record. Chauvinistic attitudes about foreign pilots is a red herring and not a very attractive one.


I am not a pilot but I do know that there is quite a bit of concern about Ab initio pilots only flying the automation and not developing stick-and-rudder skills. It seems like the ET302 crew was doing that because they did not monitor airspeed.

Here is what has been reported concerning Ethiopia Airlines training:
Bernd Kai von Hoesslin, the Ethiopian Airlines pilot and a 737 instructor, reportedly warned managers that more training was required following the October Lion Air crash. He also suggested greater communication between crew members. Three months after von Hoesslin delivered the warning, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed, killing all 157 people on board.

Von Hoesslin was concerned with how pilots would handle an issue with the 737 Max's flight-control feature in conjunction with cockpit warnings, according to the emails seen by Bloomberg.

"It will be a crash for sure," von Hoesslin said in an email in December, Bloomberg reported.

https://www.businessinsider.com/ethiopian-airlines-pilot-warning-training-boeing-737-max-2019-5
When was the last time you saw a jet grounded for 2 years?

When did you last see a regulator, and plane manufacturer emphatically state that they got it wrong? The FAA setting up a task force to see what could have gone wrong and actually growing some gonads? Going to stop deliveries of another jet that has been in production, but also has assembly issues?

Boeing built a faulty jet, the FAA knew it had an issue after the Lion Air crash and chose to do nothing. Eventually, everyone else did their job which was to say that the jet has an issue and if not fixed, it will not fly. In short, no other regulator trusted that pilots would be good enough on a consistent enough basis to handle the issue, and the regulatory captured FAA similarly came to the same conclusion.

Eventually, the found even more issues with the jet. Focusing on the pilots is what Boeing did to try and deflect blame, almost no one bought that propaganda. Not even when there was that same propaganda being spewed at the committee hearings either by some members. Blaming your customers when you have done a shoddy job shows a total lack of class, throwing your employees under the bus, and Calhoun talking smack about Muilenberg (who failed to make wise decisions) shows how far the company will go to try and save face when all they need is to tell the truth.
 
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 4:35 am

Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:
cedarjet wrote:
Emphatically disagree, the FO on Ethiopian was the one in the flight deck that cut the stab trim switches. He did exactly the right thing and was part of the solution. Ryanair take pilots with 180h total time and they’re Europe’s biggest airline and have a perfect record. Chauvinistic attitudes about foreign pilots is a red herring and not a very attractive one.


I am not a pilot but I do know that there is quite a bit of concern about Ab initio pilots only flying the automation and not developing stick-and-rudder skills. It seems like the ET302 crew was doing that because they did not monitor airspeed.

Here is what has been reported concerning Ethiopia Airlines training:
Bernd Kai von Hoesslin, the Ethiopian Airlines pilot and a 737 instructor, reportedly warned managers that more training was required following the October Lion Air crash. He also suggested greater communication between crew members. Three months after von Hoesslin delivered the warning, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed, killing all 157 people on board.

Von Hoesslin was concerned with how pilots would handle an issue with the 737 Max's flight-control feature in conjunction with cockpit warnings, according to the emails seen by Bloomberg.

"It will be a crash for sure," von Hoesslin said in an email in December, Bloomberg reported.

https://www.businessinsider.com/ethiopian-airlines-pilot-warning-training-boeing-737-max-2019-5
When was the last time you saw a jet grounded for 2 years?

When did you last see a regulator, and plane manufacturer emphatically state that they got it wrong? The FAA setting up a task force to see what could have gone wrong and actually growing some gonads? Going to stop deliveries of another jet that has been in production, but also has assembly issues?

Boeing built a faulty jet, the FAA knew it had an issue after the Lion Air crash and chose to do nothing. Eventually, everyone else did their job which was to say that the jet has an issue and if not fixed, it will not fly. In short, no other regulator trusted that pilots would be good enough on a consistent enough basis to handle the issue, and the regulatory captured FAA similarly came to the same conclusion.

Eventually, the found even more issues with the jet. Focusing on the pilots is what Boeing did to try and deflect blame, almost no one bought that propaganda. Not even when there was that same propaganda being spewed at the committee hearings either by some members. Blaming your customers when you have done a shoddy job shows a total lack of class, throwing your employees under the bus, and Calhoun talking smack about Muilenberg (who failed to make wise decisions) shows how far the company will go to try and save face when all they need is to tell the truth.

Nice strawman that you've created there.

My only point was the Frontline/NYT should have given some credence to the argument that a US mainline pilot is going to have a higher skillset on average than a pilot that only goes through Ab initio training. It is not "blaming the pilots". It is acknowledging a fact that lines up another hole in the Swiss cheese, as is what would have happened if Ethiopian Airlines had listened to von Hoesslin's warnings. According to von Hoesslin, Ethiopia Airlines management did practically nothing after the Airworthiness Directive was sent out reminding of the cut-out switches. And to be clear this isn't "blaming the pilots", it is blaming the management that put the pilots in a situation that they knew was risky. Ethiopian Airlines put the low-time first officer in that seat and no one else.
 
Gremlinzzzz
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:25 am

Pythagoras wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:

I am not a pilot but I do know that there is quite a bit of concern about Ab initio pilots only flying the automation and not developing stick-and-rudder skills. It seems like the ET302 crew was doing that because they did not monitor airspeed.

Here is what has been reported concerning Ethiopia Airlines training:

https://www.businessinsider.com/ethiopian-airlines-pilot-warning-training-boeing-737-max-2019-5
When was the last time you saw a jet grounded for 2 years?

When did you last see a regulator, and plane manufacturer emphatically state that they got it wrong? The FAA setting up a task force to see what could have gone wrong and actually growing some gonads? Going to stop deliveries of another jet that has been in production, but also has assembly issues?

Boeing built a faulty jet, the FAA knew it had an issue after the Lion Air crash and chose to do nothing. Eventually, everyone else did their job which was to say that the jet has an issue and if not fixed, it will not fly. In short, no other regulator trusted that pilots would be good enough on a consistent enough basis to handle the issue, and the regulatory captured FAA similarly came to the same conclusion.

Eventually, the found even more issues with the jet. Focusing on the pilots is what Boeing did to try and deflect blame, almost no one bought that propaganda. Not even when there was that same propaganda being spewed at the committee hearings either by some members. Blaming your customers when you have done a shoddy job shows a total lack of class, throwing your employees under the bus, and Calhoun talking smack about Muilenberg (who failed to make wise decisions) shows how far the company will go to try and save face when all they need is to tell the truth.

Nice strawman that you've created there.

My only point was the Frontline/NYT should have given some credence to the argument that a US mainline pilot is going to have a higher skillset on average than a pilot that only goes through Ab initio training. It is not "blaming the pilots". It is acknowledging a fact that lines up another hole in the Swiss cheese, as is what would have happened if Ethiopian Airlines had listened to von Hoesslin's warnings. According to von Hoesslin, Ethiopia Airlines management did practically nothing after the Airworthiness Directive was sent out reminding of the cut-out switches. And to be clear this isn't "blaming the pilots", it is blaming the management that put the pilots in a situation that they knew was risky. Ethiopian Airlines put the low-time first officer in that seat and no one else.
That first officer did that which was required.

The jet was grounded because some people at Boeing thought that it was great to design software that relied on one sensor. To design software that could take control and override pilots, and do it at a critical phase where altitude was against those trusted to keep the jet in the air.

Guess what, airlines are flying jets from Embraer, CRJ, Airbus, Boeing etc. None has seen this grounding, and those same pilots have no issue competently flying other models not called the MAX.

Regualtors agreed that it was shoddy work and told Boeing to go back and actually do something that makes sense. MCAS will rely on two sensors, will not fire repeatedly, there will be an AoA disagree light and there will be pilot training. All things they thought not necessary.

Notice how none of those take into account 'third world' pilots and are just common sense?
 
LCDFlight
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flawo

Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:15 pm

sxf24 wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:
sxf24 wrote:

The idea could have started elsewhere but it’s incumbent on subject matter experts to speak up if the idea is bad. That’s a big part of their job.


You sound like a Boeing management stool pigeon. How you can blame Mark and defend Boeing leadership is beyond me. You sound like part of the Boeing problem.

I don’t totally disagree with you. I would stand up if I thought something was unsafe. But I have enough in my pension and 401k to say F-you and walk. He probably didn’t.

Maybe Mark has mouths to feed. And he was being pressured and perhaps threatened by unethical Boeing management. I don’t agree with how he handled it, but I can understand. Unethical leadership pressured him and then point fingers at him, while they count their bonuses.


There’s a difference between placing blame and recognizing everyone has a responsibility to speak up. That’s how safety management system works and it’s appears (from lack of investigative findings) that neither Forkner, nor anyone around him, raised concerns with senior management.

If Forkner or anyone else spoke up, made their case respectively with data, and were ignored, senior management would be deserve attacks and those that spoke up should be protected.


This was a Swiss cheese situation. Forkner realized he made a false claim to FAA about MCAS. But he might have reasoned that MCAS was a proven system that had been validated, and they were dealing with regulation semantics alone. I find it hard to believe any one person fully grasped the implications of MCAS going into service without validation, causing crashes. Do we have THAT particular smoking gun? Was there any one person who stood up and said "this is broken" before delivery to customer? Usually there is a guy who realizes what is at stake.
 
LCDFlight
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:19 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:

I am not a pilot but I do know that there is quite a bit of concern about Ab initio pilots only flying the automation and not developing stick-and-rudder skills. It seems like the ET302 crew was doing that because they did not monitor airspeed.

Here is what has been reported concerning Ethiopia Airlines training:

https://www.businessinsider.com/ethiopian-airlines-pilot-warning-training-boeing-737-max-2019-5
When was the last time you saw a jet grounded for 2 years?

When did you last see a regulator, and plane manufacturer emphatically state that they got it wrong? The FAA setting up a task force to see what could have gone wrong and actually growing some gonads? Going to stop deliveries of another jet that has been in production, but also has assembly issues?

Boeing built a faulty jet, the FAA knew it had an issue after the Lion Air crash and chose to do nothing. Eventually, everyone else did their job which was to say that the jet has an issue and if not fixed, it will not fly. In short, no other regulator trusted that pilots would be good enough on a consistent enough basis to handle the issue, and the regulatory captured FAA similarly came to the same conclusion.

Eventually, the found even more issues with the jet. Focusing on the pilots is what Boeing did to try and deflect blame, almost no one bought that propaganda. Not even when there was that same propaganda being spewed at the committee hearings either by some members. Blaming your customers when you have done a shoddy job shows a total lack of class, throwing your employees under the bus, and Calhoun talking smack about Muilenberg (who failed to make wise decisions) shows how far the company will go to try and save face when all they need is to tell the truth.

Nice strawman that you've created there.

My only point was the Frontline/NYT should have given some credence to the argument that a US mainline pilot is going to have a higher skillset on average than a pilot that only goes through Ab initio training. It is not "blaming the pilots". It is acknowledging a fact that lines up another hole in the Swiss cheese, as is what would have happened if Ethiopian Airlines had listened to von Hoesslin's warnings. According to von Hoesslin, Ethiopia Airlines management did practically nothing after the Airworthiness Directive was sent out reminding of the cut-out switches. And to be clear this isn't "blaming the pilots", it is blaming the management that put the pilots in a situation that they knew was risky. Ethiopian Airlines put the low-time first officer in that seat and no one else.


AFAIK (reasoning skills alone, not a pilot) this seems to be correct. Third world pilots DO fly differently, which removes a layer of safety they would have had if they followed correct procedures. Saying that does not excuse aircraft failure. It explains how they could have survived a systems failure. The rate of accidents IS different in third world airlines, and there are factual reasons for that.
 
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Revelation
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:39 pm

sxf24 wrote:
Revelation wrote:
I don't have as much faith in the investigation as you are showing here, and I have a lot of faith in management weasels to be careful enough to not put blatant statements promoting profit over safety into written form. As someone wrote above, getting other people to take the risk for them is one of their key skills.

There were multiple investigations into Boeing, including from federal law enforcement agencies and congressional committees. The combination of professional expertise and blatant politics should eliminate any question about culpable management getting a free pass.

Business objectives, performance reviews and compensation decisions are heavily documented. If records are missing or if Forkner told investigators about off-the-record instructions, it would immediately come to the attention of investigators. I only speak from my experience participating in internal HR investigations: external forces would be significantly higher.

You haven't changed my mind. The scenario I set up is more in the "unethical but not illegal" category, especially if only supported with word of mouth rather than the written word. FBI/DoJ would not act on what would in essence be hearsay, but if Forkner is willing to testify he was coerced and implicate others it could be a different situation.

sxf24 wrote:
I don’t know enough facts to know if there is 1, 2 or 3 executives at Boeing that are culpable. What I do know is that Forkner had a responsibility to raise any concerns. If he didn’t see the issues or choose to keep silent, we should understand why he will be facing criminal prosecution.

Maybe the rumor's being leaked that he's being personally charged to induce him to implicate others.

cedarjet wrote:
Chauvinistic attitudes about foreign pilots is a red herring and not a very attractive one.

The odd thing is Muilenberg did admit in Congressional testimony that Boeing's MCAS did put too much work load on the pilots, now Calhoun wants to qualify that to be non-US pilots. It is an ugly look, IMO.
 
TW870
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:14 pm

Thanks for the heads up on this Frontline episode. Although it is aimed at a general, non-aviation audience, I found it informative, given that so much of the online discussion of these events was toxic and full of misinformation.

One question. On ET302, the FO (correctly, following procedure) moved the stab trim cutoff switches to off after MCAS fired the first time. But MCAS had fired so violently that the trim had been rolled way, way forward to nose down. Near the end of the accident sequence, the FO turns the stab trim switches back to on. I assume this was out of desperation, since the aerodynamic load on the stabilizer was so heavy that it was impossible to roll the trim wheels backward to trim the airplane nose level. Is that correct? Obvious, MCAS fired again and killed everyone on the plane. But if Calhoun's defense is that the pilots are to blame, what did the FO do wrong? They were going to lose the aircraft anyway, right, as it was trimmed so far nose down and they couldn't physically re-trim it due to speed and aerodynamic loads. What am I missing here?
 
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:26 pm

Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:
Nice strawman that you've created there.

My only point was the Frontline/NYT should have given some credence to the argument that a US mainline pilot is going to have a higher skillset on average than a pilot that only goes through Ab initio training. It is not "blaming the pilots". It is acknowledging a fact that lines up another hole in the Swiss cheese, as is what would have happened if Ethiopian Airlines had listened to von Hoesslin's warnings. According to von Hoesslin, Ethiopia Airlines management did practically nothing after the Airworthiness Directive was sent out reminding of the cut-out switches. And to be clear this isn't "blaming the pilots", it is blaming the management that put the pilots in a situation that they knew was risky. Ethiopian Airlines put the low-time first officer in that seat and no one else.


That first officer did that which was required.


The first office certainly did not, at least not according to this Aviation Week article where the scenario was re-created in the simulator.

The U.S. crew tested this by setting up a 737-Next Generation simulator at 10,000 ft., 250 kt. and 2 deg. nose up stabilizer trim. This is slightly higher altitude but otherwise similar to what the ET302 crew faced as it de-powered the trim motors 3 min. into the 6 min. flight, and about 1 min. after the first uncommanded MCAS input. Leading up to the scenario, the Ethiopian crew used column-mounted manual electric trim to counter some of the MCAS inputs, but did not get the aircraft back to level trim, as the 737 manual instructs before de-powering the stabilizer trim motor. The crew also did not reduce their unusually high speed.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19902068

If you have information otherwise, please provide it.

I am still left wondering why Ethiopian Airlines didn't run their pilots through a sim session after getting the AD. They had a 737Max simulator at hand to do so. There are a large number giving Ethiopian Airlines too much of a pass in my view in taking some responsibility here.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/20/world/africa/ethiopian-airlines-boeing.html
 
jjbiv
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:29 pm

The fatal mistake on ET302 was the crew not flying the plane. Their airspeed was way too high which left them unable to re-trim the aircraft once they had disabled MCAS. Turning the stab trim back on was just the final link in the chain. ET302 would have been a non-incident if the crew had slowed the aircraft. Not blaming the crew for their handling of an abnormal situation, but it's interesting no US crews had issues with the system on the MAX despite a substantial service history with US carriers.
 
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TheLunchbox
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:41 pm

I objectively have to ask here... Did the US sim crew have advance notice that high speed was a factor in this crash thus they already knew that during the sim run they had to reduce the speed? ie. when was the sim run? was it after reports that the high speed was a factor?
 
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Revelation
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 4:09 pm

TW870 wrote:
One question. On ET302, the FO (correctly, following procedure) moved the stab trim cutoff switches to off after MCAS fired the first time. But MCAS had fired so violently that the trim had been rolled way, way forward to nose down. Near the end of the accident sequence, the FO turns the stab trim switches back to on. I assume this was out of desperation, since the aerodynamic load on the stabilizer was so heavy that it was impossible to roll the trim wheels backward to trim the airplane nose level. Is that correct? Obvious, MCAS fired again and killed everyone on the plane. But if Calhoun's defense is that the pilots are to blame, what did the FO do wrong? They were going to lose the aircraft anyway, right, as it was trimmed so far nose down and they couldn't physically re-trim it due to speed and aerodynamic loads. What am I missing here?

As above, the main criticism is the crew allowed the airspeed to become excessive. Then the debate becomes did the AD Boeing issued after the first crash give accurate enough info to allow the crew to recognize the situation and deal with it early enough so they could avoid the increase in airspeed, did ET communicate that AD accurately to the crews with appropriate emphasis and opportunities to train to the procedure being communicated, etc.

As I just wrote in my post, Boeing's previous CEO admitted in his Congressional testimony that MCAS put too much workload on the crews. I wish Calhoun would have kept his mouth shut or just repeated that statement without amendment, instead he made IMO an ugly statement that again makes it seem that he feels the pilots are at fault and not Boeing. It seems FAA Administrator Dickinson needs to call him to his office, just like he did with Muilenberg.
 
LDRA
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 5:10 pm

Air Speed Disagree light is on, getting both overspeed and stall warning, control column vibrating, trim going crazy, ALL at same time.

Under all that surreal work load situation, trying to diagnose in real time. Cause is pilot error?!
 
Gremlinzzzz
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 5:51 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:
Nice strawman that you've created there.

My only point was the Frontline/NYT should have given some credence to the argument that a US mainline pilot is going to have a higher skillset on average than a pilot that only goes through Ab initio training. It is not "blaming the pilots". It is acknowledging a fact that lines up another hole in the Swiss cheese, as is what would have happened if Ethiopian Airlines had listened to von Hoesslin's warnings. According to von Hoesslin, Ethiopia Airlines management did practically nothing after the Airworthiness Directive was sent out reminding of the cut-out switches. And to be clear this isn't "blaming the pilots", it is blaming the management that put the pilots in a situation that they knew was risky. Ethiopian Airlines put the low-time first officer in that seat and no one else.


That first officer did that which was required.


The first office certainly did not, at least not according to this Aviation Week article where the scenario was re-created in the simulator.

The U.S. crew tested this by setting up a 737-Next Generation simulator at 10,000 ft., 250 kt. and 2 deg. nose up stabilizer trim. This is slightly higher altitude but otherwise similar to what the ET302 crew faced as it de-powered the trim motors 3 min. into the 6 min. flight, and about 1 min. after the first uncommanded MCAS input. Leading up to the scenario, the Ethiopian crew used column-mounted manual electric trim to counter some of the MCAS inputs, but did not get the aircraft back to level trim, as the 737 manual instructs before de-powering the stabilizer trim motor. The crew also did not reduce their unusually high speed.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19902068

If you have information otherwise, please provide it.

I am still left wondering why Ethiopian Airlines didn't run their pilots through a sim session after getting the AD. They had a 737Max simulator at hand to do so. There are a large number giving Ethiopian Airlines too much of a pass in my view in taking some responsibility here.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/20/world/africa/ethiopian-airlines-boeing.html
1. What is there to prove? They cut out autopilot, what they were supposed to do.

Most people exercising common sense, including the regulators came to the conclusion that 'third world' pilots not being up to scratch is not a valid excuse for poor workmanship; had that plane been designed better, it would not have been grounded for two years. There would not be the changes made listed earlier, and the CEO would have been confident in blaming pilots.

Guess what happened.

2. How were they to run their pilots through a sim when they did not replicate MCAS? This entire thing was a good enough class on how not to design a plane. For the avoidance of doubt, Boeing is not designing a plane for 'top of the class' United States of America pilots, they are designing a plane that they need to sell worldwide for the math to count.

It was also telling that Sullenberger simply stated that if care was not taken, these accident would take place in the US.

Blaming pilots was convenient for Boeing. Every lie though has an expiry date, and for them, it came due quick.
Last edited by Gremlinzzzz on Sun Sep 19, 2021 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Nils75cz
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 6:04 pm

jjbiv wrote:
The fatal mistake on ET302 was the crew not flying the plane. Their airspeed was way too high which left them unable to re-trim the aircraft once they had disabled MCAS. Turning the stab trim back on was just the final link in the chain. ET302 would have been a non-incident if the crew had slowed the aircraft. Not blaming the crew for their handling of an abnormal situation, but it's interesting no US crews had issues with the system on the MAX despite a substantial service history with US carriers.

I'm no pilot, but how do you brake a lawn Dart? Engines on, towards the earth. Doesn't seem easy to me, you can't shut off gravity.
 
Nils75cz
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 6:09 pm

Put it in another way, was the airspeed ever too high in level flight? The dive wasn't caused by the pilots.
 
kalvado
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 6:37 pm

I said it before, I am saying it again: go and read Space shuttle Challenger investigation report, and be sure to read Feynman's memoir on top of that.
Show perfectly how shitty decisions can proliferate even in cream of the crop programs, how even top tier investigation can be easily neutered. That was another example of a multi-year grounding which enabled modest success of the shuttle program.
I don't see any similar effect of MAX investigations on Boeing, and who knows if Boeing will be able to pull through with same degree of success.
 
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Revelation
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 6:59 pm

Nils75cz wrote:
Put it in another way, was the airspeed ever too high in level flight? The dive wasn't caused by the pilots.

From a report by Reuters:

The engines remained at full take-off power as the airline’s youngest-ever but highly-experienced captain, a 29-year-old with 8,122 hours of flying time, and his 25-year-old co-pilot, with 361 hours, flew the aircraft out of its initial climb.

That would be an unusual step in a regular flight, according to the experts and five current and former pilots interviewed by Reuters, most of whom were not authorized to speak publicly. “You would never, ever have full power for the whole flight,” said Hart Langer, a veteran former senior vice president for flight operations at United Airlines.
...
The Ethiopian Airlines statement suggested the crew left the throttles at take-off power because they intended to continue to climb and were hampered by the nose-down commands of MCAS.

By the end, the aircraft was traveling at 500 knots (575 mph, 926 kph), far beyond the Boeing jet’s operating limits.

The Ethiopian Airlines statement said “no excess speed was noted at the initial phases of the flight.”

Ref: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethi ... SKCN1RH0FJ

I think it's a pretty balanced article and worth reading.

The thing is, there were a lot of extraneous warnings going off, including stick shakers, that could make one hesitant to reduce power. Add that in to the really aggressive and repeated MCAS activations and you get something that simply is too much work load for the flight crew, as Boeing itself has admitted well after the fact.

Thinking through the Frontline piece, clearly we had one person within Boeing who knew FAA would have a problem if they knew about MCAS's operation, and that was Forkner. Presumably there were more, as whomever did the engineering work to activate MCAS in the low speed regime and disabled the g-sensor path had to know that was now making MCAS rely on a single sensor so MAX was out of certification limits.

Clearly after the first crash lots of people within both Boeing and FAA knew MAX was outside certification limits. It's a perfectly valid question to ask why the plane wasn't grounded after the first crash, but it almost never gets raised. We know FAA's Jacobson interacted with three unnamed Boeing managers to try to get them to accept that MCAS was a flawed design, but they all fell back on the four second "rule", even though the design was flawed. Yet clearly Boeing was working on at least one fix and also the major software rewrite too, so lots of people had to be in the loop, including Collins employees too. Yet none of this gets much attention.

Clearly Forkner is taking the fall for a whole lot of people.
Last edited by Revelation on Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
mcdu
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:00 pm

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/criminal-indictment-imminent-for-former-boeing-737-max-chief-technical-pilot-report-says/

This is another good article about Mr Forkner. Those messages he sent about lying to authorities and the airlines are going to be hard to defend. He definitely comes across as very unlikeable person. Not willing to cooperate with the investigation! Safety certainly is not his concern.
 
kalvado
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:04 pm

mcdu wrote:
https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/criminal-indictment-imminent-for-former-boeing-737-max-chief-technical-pilot-report-says/

This is another good article about Mr Forkner. Those messages he sent about lying to authorities and the airlines are going to be hard to defend. He definitely comes across as very unlikeable person. Not willing to cooperate with the investigation! Safety certainly is not his concern.

Scapegoating is a very convenient tactics for Boeing, and they are blessed with those IMs.
 
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Pythagoras
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:26 pm

Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:

That first officer did that which was required.


The first office certainly did not, at least not according to this Aviation Week article where the scenario was re-created in the simulator.

The U.S. crew tested this by setting up a 737-Next Generation simulator at 10,000 ft., 250 kt. and 2 deg. nose up stabilizer trim. This is slightly higher altitude but otherwise similar to what the ET302 crew faced as it de-powered the trim motors 3 min. into the 6 min. flight, and about 1 min. after the first uncommanded MCAS input. Leading up to the scenario, the Ethiopian crew used column-mounted manual electric trim to counter some of the MCAS inputs, but did not get the aircraft back to level trim, as the 737 manual instructs before de-powering the stabilizer trim motor. The crew also did not reduce their unusually high speed.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19902068

If you have information otherwise, please provide it.

I am still left wondering why Ethiopian Airlines didn't run their pilots through a sim session after getting the AD. They had a 737Max simulator at hand to do so. There are a large number giving Ethiopian Airlines too much of a pass in my view in taking some responsibility here.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/20/world/africa/ethiopian-airlines-boeing.html
1. What is there to prove? They cut out autopilot, what they were supposed to do.

Most people exercising common sense, including the regulators came to the conclusion that 'third world' pilots not being up to scratch is not a valid excuse for poor workmanship; had that plane been designed better, it would not have been grounded for two years. There would not be the changes made listed earlier, and the CEO would have been confident in blaming pilots.

Guess what happened.

2. How were they to run their pilots through a sim when they did not replicate MCAS? This entire thing was a good enough class on how not to design a plane. For the avoidance of doubt, Boeing is not designing a plane for 'top of the class' United States of America pilots, they are designing a plane that they need to sell worldwide for the math to count.

It was also telling that Sullenberger simply stated that if care was not taken, these accident would take place in the US.

Blaming pilots was convenient for Boeing. Every lie though has an expiry date, and for them, it came due quick.


I am not going to debate the point you make—repeatedly—about Boeing blaming the pilots because that is never stated in my posts and you continue to misrepresent my position.

The pilots did not properly follow the runaway stab procedure. Just because they cut the switch does not mean they followed the procedure. Von Hoesslin said that his pilots couldn’t handle it and he was ignored.

A US mainline pilot would on average have done better than an Ab initio trained pilot with a few hundred hours time. Frontline/NYT could have discussed this but chose not to.

One of the outcomes of the JTAR report was that the regulatory guidance for human factors was not adequate for evaluating scenarios such as this. Remember as well that the Lion Air accident exhibited none of the pilot confusion that the Ethiopian Airlines accident exhibited. In my mind, the benign circumstances of the Lion Air accident where the pilots countered MCAS over and again was a factor in continuing to allow the 737Max to remain in-service. As I see it much of your argument is nothing more than Monday morning quarterbacking.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:45 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:

The first office certainly did not, at least not according to this Aviation Week article where the scenario was re-created in the simulator.


https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19902068

If you have information otherwise, please provide it.

I am still left wondering why Ethiopian Airlines didn't run their pilots through a sim session after getting the AD. They had a 737Max simulator at hand to do so. There are a large number giving Ethiopian Airlines too much of a pass in my view in taking some responsibility here.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/20/world/africa/ethiopian-airlines-boeing.html
1. What is there to prove? They cut out autopilot, what they were supposed to do.

Most people exercising common sense, including the regulators came to the conclusion that 'third world' pilots not being up to scratch is not a valid excuse for poor workmanship; had that plane been designed better, it would not have been grounded for two years. There would not be the changes made listed earlier, and the CEO would have been confident in blaming pilots.

Guess what happened.

2. How were they to run their pilots through a sim when they did not replicate MCAS? This entire thing was a good enough class on how not to design a plane. For the avoidance of doubt, Boeing is not designing a plane for 'top of the class' United States of America pilots, they are designing a plane that they need to sell worldwide for the math to count.

It was also telling that Sullenberger simply stated that if care was not taken, these accident would take place in the US.

Blaming pilots was convenient for Boeing. Every lie though has an expiry date, and for them, it came due quick.


I am not going to debate the point you make—repeatedly—about Boeing blaming the pilots because that is never stated in my posts and you continue to misrepresent my position.

The pilots did not properly follow the runaway stab procedure. Just because they cut the switch does not mean they followed the procedure. Von Hoesslin said that his pilots couldn’t handle it and he was ignored.

A US mainline pilot would on average have done better than an Ab initio trained pilot with a few hundred hours time. Frontline/NYT could have discussed this but chose not to.

One of the outcomes of the JTAR report was that the regulatory guidance for human factors was not adequate for evaluating scenarios such as this. Remember as well that the Lion Air accident exhibited none of the pilot confusion that the Ethiopian Airlines accident exhibited. In my mind, the benign circumstances of the Lion Air accident where the pilots countered MCAS over and again was a factor in continuing to allow the 737Max to remain in-service. As I see it much of your argument is nothing more than Monday morning quarterbacking.


The Airspeed Unreliable procedure has several memory recall steps that have to be memorized as part of earning a type rating on all Boeing models. There is a Quick Reference index on the back cover of the procedure QRH to help you get to the read and do steps quickly.

The LionAir captain asked the F/O to get out the QRH and Airspeed Unreliable checklist.

The First Officer didn’t even know what that was. No clue even of the existence of such a procedure, in which part of it is required to be memorized to be qualified to fly a 737.
 
kalvado
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 8:01 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:

The first office certainly did not, at least not according to this Aviation Week article where the scenario was re-created in the simulator.


https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19902068

If you have information otherwise, please provide it.

I am still left wondering why Ethiopian Airlines didn't run their pilots through a sim session after getting the AD. They had a 737Max simulator at hand to do so. There are a large number giving Ethiopian Airlines too much of a pass in my view in taking some responsibility here.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/20/world/africa/ethiopian-airlines-boeing.html
1. What is there to prove? They cut out autopilot, what they were supposed to do.

Most people exercising common sense, including the regulators came to the conclusion that 'third world' pilots not being up to scratch is not a valid excuse for poor workmanship; had that plane been designed better, it would not have been grounded for two years. There would not be the changes made listed earlier, and the CEO would have been confident in blaming pilots.

Guess what happened.

2. How were they to run their pilots through a sim when they did not replicate MCAS? This entire thing was a good enough class on how not to design a plane. For the avoidance of doubt, Boeing is not designing a plane for 'top of the class' United States of America pilots, they are designing a plane that they need to sell worldwide for the math to count.

It was also telling that Sullenberger simply stated that if care was not taken, these accident would take place in the US.

Blaming pilots was convenient for Boeing. Every lie though has an expiry date, and for them, it came due quick.


I am not going to debate the point you make—repeatedly—about Boeing blaming the pilots because that is never stated in my posts and you continue to misrepresent my position.

The pilots did not properly follow the runaway stab procedure. Just because they cut the switch does not mean they followed the procedure. Von Hoesslin said that his pilots couldn’t handle it and he was ignored.

A US mainline pilot would on average have done better than an Ab initio trained pilot with a few hundred hours time. Frontline/NYT could have discussed this but chose not to.

One of the outcomes of the JTAR report was that the regulatory guidance for human factors was not adequate for evaluating scenarios such as this. Remember as well that the Lion Air accident exhibited none of the pilot confusion that the Ethiopian Airlines accident exhibited. In my mind, the benign circumstances of the Lion Air accident where the pilots countered MCAS over and again was a factor in continuing to allow the 737Max to remain in-service. As I see it much of your argument is nothing more than Monday morning quarterbacking.

Thing is, Boeing doesn't share your optimism. They did MCAS test with line pilots:
https://jdasolutions.aero/blog/line-pil ... -test-odd/
And didn't have faith in them passing the test:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-boei ... SKBN28S314
I cannot find published test results, but at time significant failure rate (aka simulated crashes) were mentioned in US line pilot tests.
 
TW870
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 8:55 pm

Revelation wrote:

The thing is, there were a lot of extraneous warnings going off, including stick shakers, that could make one hesitant to reduce power. Add that in to the really aggressive and repeated MCAS activations and you get something that simply is too much work load for the flight crew, as Boeing itself has admitted well after the fact.


Thanks for the clear and informative response. Why was the stick shaker activated? Because of unreliable airspeed? That would be really confusing. You are fighting MCAS trying to pitch the nose down, you are getting airspeed unreliable warnings, you can hear the airspeed picking up with increased wind noise and engines at high RPM - but then you also are getting the stick shaker. Basic seat of your pants flying should have tipped them off to excessive speed, but I cannot imagine what the workload would have been like with that set of events. You would start to doubt all the information you are getting, and reducing thrust might start to feel like a doubtful strategy to manage the situation.
 
Daysleeper
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sun Sep 19, 2021 10:46 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
I am not going to debate the point you make—repeatedly—about Boeing blaming the pilots because that is never stated in my posts and you continue to misrepresent my position.

The pilots did not properly follow the runaway stab procedure. Just because they cut the switch does not mean they followed the procedure. Von Hoesslin said that his pilots couldn’t handle it and he was ignored.

A US mainline pilot would on average have done better than an Ab initio trained pilot with a few hundred hours time. Frontline/NYT could have discussed this but chose not to.

One of the outcomes of the JTAR report was that the regulatory guidance for human factors was not adequate for evaluating scenarios such as this. Remember as well that the Lion Air accident exhibited none of the pilot confusion that the Ethiopian Airlines accident exhibited. In my mind, the benign circumstances of the Lion Air accident where the pilots countered MCAS over and again was a factor in continuing to allow the 737Max to remain in-service. As I see it much of your argument is nothing more than Monday morning quarterbacking.


I am sorry for asking again, but what exactly is your position? Thankyou for your response earlier in the thread but I am still very confused as to what you deem the cause of the accidents? The very fact that there are two almost identical accidents negates the “swiss cheese” model to which you refer. There was a common cause for these accidents and it was MCAS and it was Boeing.

I also strongly object to your rather demeaning depiction of the victims of these disasters. I was reading it not posting in these forums when the 737 die-hard’s would go on and on about “manual revision” and how the A320’s FBW is going to cause so many accidents when the computers go wrong. How ironic.

In relation to the ET flight, yes it was almost certainly not ideal that they were at high trust, however the aerodynamic forces upon the stabilizers from the drive commanded by MCAS would likely have been so great as to make manual trim impossible. Perhaps indicated by the fact the re-enabled automatic trim shortly after disabling it.

Neither of these disasters were caused by pilot error, could they have performed better, sure. But no, they died because Boeing shipped a jet with a deadly defect. And if you still think that the nationality of the pilots a relevant factor, then I am done conversing with you, as IMHO it’s an utterly disgusting distraction from finding the real culprits responsible for these disasters.
 
oldJoe
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 12:33 am

Pythagoras wrote ;
A US mainline pilot would on average have done better than an Ab initio trained pilot with a few hundred hours time. Frontline/NYT could have discussed this but chose not to.


This sounds like US pilots are almost infallible and have never crashed a plane !? Pilots are humans like you and me and also make mistakes no matter where they come from !
Your so-called "Ab initio trained pilot with a few hundred hours time" didn`t manage to rip off a tail fin if I remember correct. ( AA587 )
If you buy a new car and the manufacturer builds something hidden that leads to a fatal accident, are you become a bad driver or just a bloody young beginner even with a lot of experience ?
Boeing with it`s MCAS were guilty here ! I was thought : Lies will stop me from feeling free !
 
Gremlinzzzz
Posts: 362
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 12:45 am

Pythagoras wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:

The first office certainly did not, at least not according to this Aviation Week article where the scenario was re-created in the simulator.


https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19902068

If you have information otherwise, please provide it.

I am still left wondering why Ethiopian Airlines didn't run their pilots through a sim session after getting the AD. They had a 737Max simulator at hand to do so. There are a large number giving Ethiopian Airlines too much of a pass in my view in taking some responsibility here.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/20/world/africa/ethiopian-airlines-boeing.html
1. What is there to prove? They cut out autopilot, what they were supposed to do.

Most people exercising common sense, including the regulators came to the conclusion that 'third world' pilots not being up to scratch is not a valid excuse for poor workmanship; had that plane been designed better, it would not have been grounded for two years. There would not be the changes made listed earlier, and the CEO would have been confident in blaming pilots.

Guess what happened.

2. How were they to run their pilots through a sim when they did not replicate MCAS? This entire thing was a good enough class on how not to design a plane. For the avoidance of doubt, Boeing is not designing a plane for 'top of the class' United States of America pilots, they are designing a plane that they need to sell worldwide for the math to count.

It was also telling that Sullenberger simply stated that if care was not taken, these accident would take place in the US.

Blaming pilots was convenient for Boeing. Every lie though has an expiry date, and for them, it came due quick.


I am not going to debate the point you make—repeatedly—about Boeing blaming the pilots because that is never stated in my posts and you continue to misrepresent my position.

The pilots did not properly follow the runaway stab procedure. Just because they cut the switch does not mean they followed the procedure. Von Hoesslin said that his pilots couldn’t handle it and he was ignored.

A US mainline pilot would on average have done better than an Ab initio trained pilot with a few hundred hours time. Frontline/NYT could have discussed this but chose not to.

One of the outcomes of the JTAR report was that the regulatory guidance for human factors was not adequate for evaluating scenarios such as this. Remember as well that the Lion Air accident exhibited none of the pilot confusion that the Ethiopian Airlines accident exhibited. In my mind, the benign circumstances of the Lion Air accident where the pilots countered MCAS over and again was a factor in continuing to allow the 737Max to remain in-service. As I see it much of your argument is nothing more than Monday morning quarterbacking.
1. What training was there going to be that would have been adequate? Boeing said no simulator training was needed and simulators it was reported could not replicate MCAS malfunctions.

One of the undertakings Boeing gave was that they would come up with a new training regime for the MAX.

All one needs to do is question and come to realistic conclusions that more accidents were inevitable. Regulators not called the FAA could see that from a mile away. If the plane wasn't going to be fixed, Boeing could sell it to pilots better equipped at flying it.

As Boeing lobbied for the plane to keep flying, people with a bit of common sense came to the conclusion that that was stupid. As Muilenberg kept stating that the plane was almost ready, the FAA did a better job and kept knocking them back, eventually stating they were not going to be pressured into a decision.

2. Boeing made assumptions that were wild and their reference point was their test pilots. That was an issue so much that they felt the need to coach pilots on a test flight not that long ago.

3. The MAX kept flying because Lion Air had poor maintenance culture and took some of the spotlight away from Boeing. However, the FAA did not have the balls to ground the plane even when their data showed more accidents were on the way. As the documentary states, they were betting that a fix would arrive before another crash, and on that, they were horribly wrong.

The FAA was so shoddy in their work that a task force was convened to see where they went wrong. Boeing got it so wrong that it took them two years to not only fix MCAS, but a litany of other issues that were uncovered. They went and did some rather expensive repeat work, but that was not all, the widebody jet that has sold for a long time could not he delivered because they do not meet spec. The other wide body that is going through certification is also going to come in late because this is a company that struggles with the current regulatory environment that has not been compromised.

No Monday morning quarterback roles needed, those are just the facts.

Looking at some of the earlier posts, it looks like members have done a great job deconstructing this horrible debate you keep presenting that takes away from more pressing matters.
 
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remcor
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 5:44 am

[photoid][/photoid]
Revelation wrote:
Calhoun pretty much saying that if US pilots were flying the accidents would not have happened.


This always seemed like such a dead end argument for Boeing. They’re essentially saying that they’ve built their planes such that you need exceptionally well trained pilots to avoid a crash. Ok? Airbus doesn’t tho.

And this is after they spent extraordinary efforts to avoid additional training for the type. So no extra training needed except hundreds more hours to become a much more proficient pilot.
 
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:31 am

Pythagoras wrote:
A US mainline pilot would on average have done better than an Ab initio trained pilot with a few hundred hours time. Frontline/NYT could have discussed this but chose not to.


This is laughable, surely.
Do you really want to go into the many MANY fatal mistakes that were made by US (and US-trained!) pilots, as well as by pilots of other so called "1st world" countries??
(I assume you are talking about US trained pilots, and you are not referring to the color of the individual pilot`s passport in question).

Cheers!

No Tax On Rotax
 
sxf24
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 12:56 pm

remcor wrote:
[photoid][/photoid]
Revelation wrote:
Calhoun pretty much saying that if US pilots were flying the accidents would not have happened.


This always seemed like such a dead end argument for Boeing. They’re essentially saying that they’ve built their planes such that you need exceptionally well trained pilots to avoid a crash. Ok? Airbus doesn’t tho.

And this is after they spent extraordinary efforts to avoid additional training for the type. So no extra training needed except hundreds more hours to become a much more proficient pilot.


I don’t think this is an actual Boeing argument, rather it’s a projection created by social media. Regardless, approximately trained pilots are necessary and the OEMs should insure that training is available/provided before delivering airplanes.
 
kalvado
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 2:14 pm

notaxonrotax wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:
A US mainline pilot would on average have done better than an Ab initio trained pilot with a few hundred hours time. Frontline/NYT could have discussed this but chose not to.


This is laughable, surely.
Do you really want to go into the many MANY fatal mistakes that were made by US (and US-trained!) pilots, as well as by pilots of other so called "1st world" countries??
(I assume you are talking about US trained pilots, and you are not referring to the color of the individual pilot`s passport in question).

Cheers!

No Tax On Rotax

There is a fairly interesting book which explained a lot to me. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe talks about early jet age - heroic, deadly, unsafe.
As far as I understand, "they crashed because they didn't have the right stuff" was a necessary protective mechanism for those pulling their fried friends from burnt debree.
So that's why crashed pilots are always at fault, and that's why a pretty strange mixture of preaching safety and total disregard to safety exists in many US pilots - while comprehensive safety mechanisms were developed and drilled later, romantic attitude still stems from completely different times.
 
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 3:38 pm

remcor wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Calhoun pretty much saying that if US pilots were flying the accidents would not have happened.

This always seemed like such a dead end argument for Boeing. They’re essentially saying that they’ve built their planes such that you need exceptionally well trained pilots to avoid a crash. Ok? Airbus doesn’t tho.

And this is after they spent extraordinary efforts to avoid additional training for the type. So no extra training needed except hundreds more hours to become a much more proficient pilot.

Well, if we want to be fair and balanced, Airbus also has said pilot training is lacking ( viewtopic.php?t=1418885 ), but yeah, we do see a myopia at Boeing where they were more than willing to accept that every 737 on their worst day would recognize MCAS in four seconds or less with no evidence at all that they did anything to evaluate whether or not it was realistic to expect that. We saw this even after the first crash when FAA's Joe Jacobsen tried to convince three Boeing managers that relying on a single sensor was a design flaw yet they fell back on the four second rule.

It was accepted as an article of faith rather than an assumption that should be challenged for validity. One can speculate that this is because it saved Boeing a lot of money to go with blind faith and saved a bunch of engineers a long and stressful set of tasks that would be added to their already long list of things to do, not to mention not needing to tell managers they need the resources to do all that, but that's just a presumption.

sxf24 wrote:
I don’t think this is an actual Boeing argument, rather it’s a projection created by social media.

Nope, Frontline provided audio of Boeing CEO Calhoun himself making such a suggestion.

sxf24 wrote:
Regardless, approximately trained pilots are necessary and the OEMs should insure that training is available/provided before delivering airplanes.

I agree with the sentiment but think that's a reach. It's tantamount to saying A and B need to reform the civil aviation sector of various countries, and they don't have the money or the authority to do so.

They do need to meet the requirements of the certifying nations, and clearly Boeing subverted that process for MAX.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 4:53 pm

Daysleeper wrote:

I am really sorry for your loss, did your friends ever recover from the “bad smell” in the cockpit?

And I agree, no aircraft is perfect, but many, hopefully the majority are not flawed to such an extent that it results in the death of all onboard.

Perhaps I have missed it, but I am curious to your opinion to the cause of these accidents?


I haven't known of any deaths personally, though certainly I've known people to go on short/long term disability or even be grounded permanently. One friend recently had a serious fume event, and is likely to retire.

I've never personally had a fume event. A former employer was very adamant on fume event reaction, and had been pretty pro-active on trying to get to a likely cause.

Personally, I think it was multi-factor, and I think Boeing has no small amount of blame, even the majority. However, pilots shouldn't be 400 pounds of gas the autopilot wishes it had. Pilots should be experienced and trained to a level to keep flyable aircraft from crashing, or at least trying to keep an utterly unflyable in the air to a successful landing, like United 232. I think there was a level of pilot error, likely a function of a lack of training.
 
sxf24
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 5:02 pm

Revelation wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
I don’t think this is an actual Boeing argument, rather it’s a projection created by social media.

Nope, Frontline provided audio of Boeing CEO Calhoun himself making such a suggestion.


I don’t know how an audio clip without context is extrapolated into Boeing’s position. What Calhoun said is not Boeing’s position.

Revelation wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
Regardless, approximately trained pilots are necessary and the OEMs should insure that training is available/provided before delivering airplanes.

I agree with the sentiment but think that's a reach. It's tantamount to saying A and B need to reform the civil aviation sector of various countries, and they don't have the money or the authority to do so.

They do need to meet the requirements of the certifying nations, and clearly Boeing subverted that process for MAX.


Airbus and Boeing can decide who they deliver airplane to. If an airline’s training or maintenance doesn’t pass muster, they can hold off deliveries until they help them improve.
 
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 5:09 pm

zeke wrote:

You don’t need those requirements to fly an airliner in the US, if you had enough money you could legally fly one with a private pilots licence and only 50 hrs total time. To get the type rating all you need is a PPL. In fact a lot of foreign pilots who get trained in the US have their type ratings put onto a FAA PPL and that is used to get the type rating onto the foreign licence.

The requirements your list are not for the 737Max, they are to do with airline flying. They are not ICAO standards and recommend practices. A lot of airlines have pilots that are flying airliners with only 200 hrs total time. The main difference if their training from day 1 is a fully integrated course generally with a single training provider appointed and oversee by the airline, they produce a very standard pilot that has been trained to the airlines syllabus (which exceeds the regulators minimums), their training could involve 100-150 hrs in a two crew aircraft simulator on top of their flying. The same sort of training programs dont seem to be run by airlines in the US.


And thank God for it.

One could easily make a very standard pilot in 150 hours in a sim, on top of 100-200 hours on a Multi-Crew license. However, that pilot, regardless of his training is likely to be very little use in a bad situation outside of his training.

Now, the fact that the average pilot getting to regionals has 750-1500 hours minimum is a function of regulation. The reality that the average new hire at a Legacy/LCC or major cargo carrier has multiples of that is a function of hidden but very real subsidy that these airlines have enjoyed for decades, which is slowly dying.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 5:10 pm

sxf24 wrote:
Airbus and Boeing can decide who they deliver airplane to. If an airline’s training or maintenance doesn’t pass muster, they can hold off deliveries until they help them improve.


The OEMs shouldn't be doing the regulators job. Is it really up to Toulouse or Chicago to judge Air Whatever's training program?

No, and expecting them to do so is next to insane.
 
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Pythagoras
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:32 pm

Revelation wrote:
remcor wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Calhoun pretty much saying that if US pilots were flying the accidents would not have happened.

This always seemed like such a dead end argument for Boeing. They’re essentially saying that they’ve built their planes such that you need exceptionally well trained pilots to avoid a crash. Ok? Airbus doesn’t tho.

And this is after they spent extraordinary efforts to avoid additional training for the type. So no extra training needed except hundreds more hours to become a much more proficient pilot.

Well, if we want to be fair and balanced, Airbus also has said pilot training is lacking ( viewtopic.php?t=1418885 ), but yeah, we do see a myopia at Boeing where they were more than willing to accept that every 737 on their worst day would recognize MCAS in four seconds or less with no evidence at all that they did anything to evaluate whether or not it was realistic to expect that. We saw this even after the first crash when FAA's Joe Jacobsen tried to convince three Boeing managers that relying on a single sensor was a design flaw yet they fell back on the four second rule.

It was accepted as an article of faith rather than an assumption that should be challenged for validity. One can speculate that this is because it saved Boeing a lot of money to go with blind faith and saved a bunch of engineers a long and stressful set of tasks that would be added to their already long list of things to do, not to mention not needing to tell managers they need the resources to do all that, but that's just a presumption.

sxf24 wrote:
I don’t think this is an actual Boeing argument, rather it’s a projection created by social media.

Nope, Frontline provided audio of Boeing CEO Calhoun himself making such a suggestion.

sxf24 wrote:
Regardless, approximately trained pilots are necessary and the OEMs should insure that training is available/provided before delivering airplanes.

I agree with the sentiment but think that's a reach. It's tantamount to saying A and B need to reform the civil aviation sector of various countries, and they don't have the money or the authority to do so.

They do need to meet the requirements of the certifying nations, and clearly Boeing subverted that process for MAX.


I appreciate you bringing up this discussion because it offers me the opportunity to give a perspective that hasn't been shared before.

Engineering is a data driven discipline, especially the highly optimized discipline of aeronautical engineering. And when one is making a change to such a highly optimized and high cost product, one has to make those changes in a methodical and data driven way. Changes cost. It costs not just in revising the engineering drawings or specifications and the subsequent changes in tooling and manufacturing plans and new parts. It also poses the risk of creating new problems. This is the entire reason behind the changed product rule, which permits designs already in-service which have shown acceptable safety to continue to operate unchanged.

With that in mind, remember that the 737 was at the time of the design of the 737Max a very safe airplane statistically. So when the engineers are evaluating a new change that is always going to be a factor in the decision making. Here is a graph from Boeing's annual report "Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents":

Image

It shows that the 737NG family and A320 family (excluding A320 Neo and 737Max) have the same accident rate per million departures at 0.08 for fatal accidents and 0.18 for hull loss. From a high level view, there is no real reason, safety-wise at least, why the A320's fly-by-wire is any better than the 737's proven cable-driven architecture. And while it should be everyone's endeavor to make a safe airplane even safer, this is the reason why there wasn't any urgency to implement synthetic airspeed, which would be highly disruptive to the operators. Instead Boeing chose to incrementally improve safety through the Runway Situation Awareness Tool (RSAT)--which was already on the 737NG--and the Roll Command Alerting System (RCAS). These enhancements were not mandated by the FAA. People who haven't read the released record do not know that Mark Forkner's discussion around pilot simulator training with the FAA and other regulators concern these particular new features. It was in the FAA's best interest to accept Boeing's arguments here about not imposing new simulator training because to not do so would create a significant disincentive to make these changes.

So let's put the four-second rule into context. It was a criteria that had been imposed at the time of initial design of the 737 and is appropriate for the flight control cable-driven hydraulics system architecture. Over the decades of 737 operations, the service record of the 737 would have shown whether this rule should still be relied upon. Without having the database available, I would have to assume that the data available shows no incidents prior to the 737Max.

Remember as well that to the Flight Controls engineers that MCAS is being considered as analogous to a run-away stabilizer trim as the behavior exhibited to the pilot would be similar. Run-away stabilizer trim can be either a continuous activation or an intermittent activation of the trim unit. This failure mode and its corrective action has already accepted by the FAA and the service record shows this to be acceptable.

The next question then is what is the guidance for human factors and is the design certifiable. The Boeing engineering would have reviewed the design change against the FAR Part 25 regulations and advisory circulars. The Joint Authorities Technical Review states here that the regulations were not sufficient, here is the quote from the report:
2. Development and use of up-to-date requirements and practices
The JATR team reviewed the regulations, policy, and compliance methods applied to the B737 MAX. TheThe JATR team determined that some regulations, policies, and compliance methods that address safety issues related to system integration and human factors and that were available at the time of the B737 MAX certification process were not applied to the B737 MAX or were only partially applied in a way that failed to achieve the full safety benefit. In some cases, this failure to achieve the full safety benefit associated with the application of the latest compliance methods was because the FAA regulations and guidance were out of date. Another area the JATR team determined is in need of an update is the guidance concerning pilot recognition time and pilot reaction time to failures. Additionally, the JATR team determined that new and novel application of specific design features was not adequately considered.
-- Boeing 737 MAX Flight Control System Observations, Findings, and Recommendations, October 11, 2019.


So at the time of the 737Max design, there was not the data available to challenge the assumptions as you propose.

I would make the argument though that two factors should have been considered when evaluating incorporating MCAS. One is that how much more likely are you going to be relying upon pilot corrective action. I'd expect that relying upon service record might be a flawed approach as the reliability of the stab trim unit has improved over the years to the point where the fleet just doesn't see this failure mode anymore. In other words, the four-second rule is acceptable because it never had to be used. The second factor is that when Boeing introduced the Speed Stability function that it made pilot recognition of an uncommanded trim more difficult for the pilot to recognize. This appears to be the situation with Lion Air for both the accident and prior day's incident. When the pilot is accustomed to the trim wheels being rotated by the automation, he is not going to realize as quickly that this is failure.

I am not making excuses here for a bad and poorly executed design. All I am saying is that I can envision the process by which the Flight Controls engineers were able to convince themselves that this was an acceptable design.
Last edited by Pythagoras on Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Revelation
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:44 pm

sxf24 wrote:
Revelation wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
I don’t think this is an actual Boeing argument, rather it’s a projection created by social media.

Nope, Frontline provided audio of Boeing CEO Calhoun himself making such a suggestion.

I don’t know how an audio clip without context is extrapolated into Boeing’s position. What Calhoun said is not Boeing’s position.

It's a distinction that isn't very significant, IMO. The underlying NYT article with the Calhoun interview makes the context clear, and we didn't see Calhoun ask for a retraction. How can he, they have a recording of his voice! Given all this, the CEO saying what he said carries a lot of weight, IMO. Not an official Boeing statement, but a clear view of the thoughts of a former board member and current CEO, the same guy who will be ultimately responsible for any future calamities and IMO somewhat responsible for the last two. See our thread on how shareholders have filed a law suite on this aspect of the disaster.

sxf24 wrote:
Airbus and Boeing can decide who they deliver airplane to. If an airline’s training or maintenance doesn’t pass muster, they can hold off deliveries until they help them improve.

They can, and probably have at various points in the past, but it really is the local regulator's job to regulate the local aviation system, they are the ones responsible to their citizens. It's not a good plan to rely on corporations to act in anything but their own self interest.
 
sxf24
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:34 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
Airbus and Boeing can decide who they deliver airplane to. If an airline’s training or maintenance doesn’t pass muster, they can hold off deliveries until they help them improve.


The OEMs shouldn't be doing the regulators job. Is it really up to Toulouse or Chicago to judge Air Whatever's training program?

No, and expecting them to do so is next to insane.


If the OEMs want to protect their reputation, they won’t deliver new airplanes to airlines that can’t safely fly them. While this is redundant to the role of a regulator, there are plenty of places that expose the OEMs to risk. It’s also a revenue generating opportunity to provide additional training and support.

Revelation wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Nope, Frontline provided audio of Boeing CEO Calhoun himself making such a suggestion.

I don’t know how an audio clip without context is extrapolated into Boeing’s position. What Calhoun said is not Boeing’s position.

It's a distinction that isn't very significant, IMO. The underlying NYT article with the Calhoun interview makes the context clear, and we didn't see Calhoun ask for a retraction. How can he, they have a recording of his voice! Given all this, the CEO saying what he said carries a lot of weight, IMO. Not an official Boeing statement, but a clear view of the thoughts of a former board member and current CEO, the same guy who will be ultimately responsible for any future calamities and IMO somewhat responsible for the last two. See our thread on how shareholders have filed a law suite on this aspect of the disaster.


I just went and re-read The NY Times article. Calhoun was speaking to the experience of pilots, not necessarily their nationality. I’m not going to argue further: if you want to make Calhoun and Boeing out to be racist, that’s your choice.

Revelation wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
Airbus and Boeing can decide who they deliver airplane to. If an airline’s training or maintenance doesn’t pass muster, they can hold off deliveries until they help them improve.

They can, and probably have at various points in the past, but it really is the local regulator's job to regulate the local aviation system, they are the ones responsible to their citizens. It's not a good plan to rely on corporations to act in anything but their own self interest.


I think it is in the self interest of the OEMs to know that their customers can safely use their products.
 
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:45 pm

sxf24 wrote:
Revelation wrote:
sxf24 wrote:

I don’t know how an audio clip without context is extrapolated into Boeing’s position. What Calhoun said is not Boeing’s position.

It's a distinction that isn't very significant, IMO. The underlying NYT article with the Calhoun interview makes the context clear, and we didn't see Calhoun ask for a retraction. How can he, they have a recording of his voice! Given all this, the CEO saying what he said carries a lot of weight, IMO. Not an official Boeing statement, but a clear view of the thoughts of a former board member and current CEO, the same guy who will be ultimately responsible for any future calamities and IMO somewhat responsible for the last two. See our thread on how shareholders have filed a law suite on this aspect of the disaster.


I just went and re-read The NY Times article. Calhoun was speaking to the experience of pilots, not necessarily their nationality. I’m not going to argue further: if you want to make Calhoun and Boeing out to be racist, that’s your choice.

That wouldn't make them racist, but xenophobe; huge difference.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:47 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
Revelation wrote:
remcor wrote:
This always seemed like such a dead end argument for Boeing. They’re essentially saying that they’ve built their planes such that you need exceptionally well trained pilots to avoid a crash. Ok? Airbus doesn’t tho.

And this is after they spent extraordinary efforts to avoid additional training for the type. So no extra training needed except hundreds more hours to become a much more proficient pilot.

Well, if we want to be fair and balanced, Airbus also has said pilot training is lacking ( viewtopic.php?t=1418885 ), but yeah, we do see a myopia at Boeing where they were more than willing to accept that every 737 on their worst day would recognize MCAS in four seconds or less with no evidence at all that they did anything to evaluate whether or not it was realistic to expect that. We saw this even after the first crash when FAA's Joe Jacobsen tried to convince three Boeing managers that relying on a single sensor was a design flaw yet they fell back on the four second rule.

It was accepted as an article of faith rather than an assumption that should be challenged for validity. One can speculate that this is because it saved Boeing a lot of money to go with blind faith and saved a bunch of engineers a long and stressful set of tasks that would be added to their already long list of things to do, not to mention not needing to tell managers they need the resources to do all that, but that's just a presumption.

sxf24 wrote:
I don’t think this is an actual Boeing argument, rather it’s a projection created by social media.

Nope, Frontline provided audio of Boeing CEO Calhoun himself making such a suggestion.

sxf24 wrote:
Regardless, approximately trained pilots are necessary and the OEMs should insure that training is available/provided before delivering airplanes.

I agree with the sentiment but think that's a reach. It's tantamount to saying A and B need to reform the civil aviation sector of various countries, and they don't have the money or the authority to do so.

They do need to meet the requirements of the certifying nations, and clearly Boeing subverted that process for MAX.


I appreciate you bringing up this discussion because it offers me the opportunity to give a perspective that hasn't been shared before.

Engineering is a data driven discipline, especially the highly optimized discipline of aeronautical engineering. And when one is making a change to such a highly optimized and high cost product, one has to make those changes in a methodical and data driven way. Changes cost. It costs not just in revising the engineering drawings or specifications and the subsequent changes in tooling and manufacturing plans and new parts. It also poses the risk of creating new problems. This is the entire reason behind the changed product rule, which permits designs already in-service which have shown acceptable safety to continue to operate unchanged.

With that in mind, remember that the 737 was at the time of the design of the 737Max a very safe airplane statistically. So when the engineers are evaluating a new change that is always going to be a factor in the decision making. Here is a graph from Boeing's annual report "Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents":

Image

It shows that the 737NG family and A320 family (excluding A320 Neo and 737Max) have the same accident rate per million departures at 0.08 for fatal accidents and 0.18 for hull loss. From a high level view, there is no real reason, safety-wise at least, why the A320's fly-by-wire is any better than the 737's proven cable-driven architecture. And while it should be everyone's endeavor to make a safe airplane even safer, this is the reason why there wasn't any urgency to implement synthetic airspeed, which would be highly disruptive to the operators. Instead Boeing chose to incrementally improve safety through the Runway Situation Awareness Tool (RSAT)--which was already on the 737NG--and the Roll Command Alerting System (RCAS). These enhancements were not mandated by the FAA. People who haven't read the released record do not know that Mark Forkner's discussion around pilot simulator training with the FAA and other regulators concern these particular new features. It was in the FAA's best interest to accept Boeing's arguments here about not imposing new simulator training because to not do so would create a significant disincentive to make these changes.

So let's put the four-second rule into context. It was a criteria that had been imposed at the time of initial design of the 737 and is appropriate for the flight control cable-driven hydraulics system architecture. Over the decades of 737 operations, the service record of the 737 would have shown whether this rule should still be relied upon. Without having the database available, I would have to assume that the data available shows no incidents prior to the 737Max.

Remember as well that to the Flight Controls engineers that MCAS is being considered as analogous to a run-away stabilizer trim as the behavior exhibited to the pilot would be similar. Run-away stabilizer trim can be either a continuous activation or an intermittent activation of the trim unit. This failure mode and its corrective action has already accepted by the FAA and the service record shows this to be acceptable.

The next question then is what is the guidance for human factors and is the design certifiable. The Boeing engineering would have reviewed the design change against the FAR Part 25 regulations and advisory circulars. The Joint Authorities Technical Review states here that the regulations were not sufficient, here is the quote from the report:
2. Development and use of up-to-date requirements and practices
The JATR team reviewed the regulations, policy, and compliance methods applied to the B737 MAX. TheThe JATR team determined that some regulations, policies, and compliance methods that address safety issues related to system integration and human factors and that were available at the time of the B737 MAX certification process were not applied to the B737 MAX or were only partially applied in a way that failed to achieve the full safety benefit. In some cases, this failure to achieve the full safety benefit associated with the application of the latest compliance methods was because the FAA regulations and guidance were out of date. Another area the JATR team determined is in need of an update is the guidance concerning pilot recognition time and pilot reaction time to failures. Additionally, the JATR team determined that new and novel application of specific design features was not adequately considered.
-- Boeing 737 MAX Flight Control System Observations, Findings, and Recommendations, October 11, 2019.


So at the time of the 737Max design, there was not the data available to challenge the assumptions as you propose.

I would make the argument though that two factors should have been considered when evaluating incorporating MCAS. One is that how much more likely are you going to be relying upon pilot corrective action. I'd expect that relying upon service record might be a flawed approach as the reliability of the stab trim unit has improved over the years to the point where the fleet just doesn't see this failure mode anymore. In other words, the four-second rule is acceptable because it never had to be used. The second factor is that when Boeing introduced the Speed Stability function that it made pilot recognition of an uncommanded trim more difficult for the pilot to recognize. This appears to be the situation with Lion Air for both the accident and prior day's incident. When the pilot is accustomed to the trim wheels being rotated by the automation, he is not going to realize as quickly that this is failure.

I am not making excuses here for a bad and poorly executed design. All I am saying is that I can envision the process by which the Flight Controls engineers were able to convince themselves that this was an acceptable design.


Yes, in fact RCAS is mandated. There is a new FAR amendment that the 737 Max and KC-46 had to step up to for Autopilot roll saturation alerting.
 
WayexTDI
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:48 pm

sxf24 wrote:
Revelation wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
I don’t think this is an actual Boeing argument, rather it’s a projection created by social media.

Nope, Frontline provided audio of Boeing CEO Calhoun himself making such a suggestion.


I don’t know how an audio clip without context is extrapolated into Boeing’s position. What Calhoun said is not Boeing’s position.

If Joe Schmoe at the bottom of the food chain in a company can be fired by said company for a vague social media post (where they'll claim Joe's comments did damage their image), a company CEO and/or Board Member should definitely be fired after saying that. But it's easier to fire the little guy than the big wig.
 
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Revelation
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:49 pm

sxf24 wrote:
I just went and re-read The NY Times article. Calhoun was speaking to the experience of pilots, not necessarily their nationality. I’m not going to argue further: if you want to make Calhoun and Boeing out to be racist, that’s your choice.

Here's exactly what was said, emphasis mine:

When designing the Max, the company made a “fatal mistake” by assuming pilots would immediately counteract a failure of new software on the plane that played a role in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents. But he implied that the pilots from Indonesia and Ethiopia, “where pilots don’t have anywhere near the experience that they have here in the U.S.,” were part of the problem, too.

Asked whether he believed American pilots would have been able to handle a malfunction of the software, Mr. Calhoun asked to speak off the record. The New York Times declined to do so.

“Forget it,” Mr. Calhoun then said. “You can guess the answer.”

Ref: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/05/busi ... lhoun.html

Nationality definitely was an aspect of the exchange, acting as if it wasn't is disingenuous.
 
kalvado
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:33 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
So let's put the four-second rule into context. It was a criteria that had been imposed at the time of initial design of the 737 and is appropriate for the flight control cable-driven hydraulics system architecture. Over the decades of 737 operations, the service record of the 737 would have shown whether this rule should still be relied upon. Without having the database available, I would have to assume that the data available shows no incidents prior to the 737Max.

Again, historically runaway stabilizer was mostly caused by faulty thumb switch. It was eventually replaced by a two-part switch where pilot's thumb must actuate two independent switches for trim to move.
Then Classic brought STS - a self-moving trim. Those two factors likely dropped trim runaway awareness pretty low.
THen there is a fact that STS is disabled by yoke movement - so if pilot is unhappy with trim going on, STS is automatically disabled - no need for runaway consideration. STS, unlike MCAS is disabled that way...

I would say a perfect storm, rooted in the fact that 737 became a Ruby Goldberg machine, and nobody at Boeing fully understands what is going on in the plane. And that loss of institutional knowledge is poking out in multiple places.
That is the scary part.
 
usa330300
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:36 pm

Revelation wrote:
Surprised no one has raised this as a topic, so I'll give it a go.

Frontline, a very distingushed series on US public TV, partnered with the NY Times on a documentary about the MCAS tragedy.

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXMO0bhPhCw

I had a very long bullet list of points typed in as I watched the show. Should have been smarter and typed them in as a doc instead of right into the browser, Sure enough, it crashed, and those things are all lost now.

So, I'll go with a off-the-cuff rendition.

Overall, high marks. Good levels of truthfulness, but a few important places where they raise points without taking them one more step to gain higher degrees of truthfulness, IMO. I would say for someone who has watched the story closely from the start there were no items I found to be new, but have to say seeing them related on the big screen instead of via the written word was impactful, as was seeing the whole story told in one sitting. I don't think any major point was missed, but IMO as I just said some were treated too lightly and in too disjointed a fashion so some points that should have been made more forcefully were not.

In particular, they did point out how Boeing made sure to position MCAS as not being a new function to avoid FAA scrutiny but left it at that, instead of not digging deeper on who made such decisions, why they didn't go unquestioned, or asking why Congress or DoJ didn't dig deeper. Was it a part of the general theme that Boeing was under deep schedule and budget pressure so things were being forced to go down the easy path? They leave the implication in place but offer no proof. Also while they mentioned the pilot reaction issue in a lot of different places, they never mentioned the four second rule, and how one person applied that rule without anyone reviewing or challenging the rule, or that the rule itself doesn't exist anywhere in the FARs, yet it led to Boeing avoiding the catastrophic classification for MCAS that indeed would have brought more scrutiny to it.

It seemed to be overly heavy on the NYT reporting, with no mention of anyone else's reporting, although Leeham's Scott Hamilton was present to give some background info and IMO represented himself quite well. It was WSJ who reported the whole 4 second rule thing, and I suspect this is why it didn't end up in this documentary.

They also made a lot about Boeing's test pilots encountering a "catastrophic" MCAS activation in the sim, and acting as if that was something that was clearly meaningful beyond the test pilot community, yet pointing out that Boeing seemed to dismiss it as meaningful, yet we have statements saying it did not escape beyond the test pilot community so in the end it was unable to be meaningful. They seemed to put a lot of weight on that sim session yet then said it didn't gain traction within the company or change events, which was pretty confusing.

Biggest criticism to me was the heavy use of camera-friendly journalists to tell the story rather than the principals or the actual evidence. They were/are blessed with vivid vocabulary, but by nature are story tellers driven to complete a narrative.

Very dramatic intro, up till about the 4:00 mark, which ends saying 346 people killed, Boeing's reputation in tatters, corporate deception and a broken regulatory process exposed, but at the center was a software system that was supposed to keep people safe but led to their deaths. Strong intro, but hate to say they didn't really keep the software system at the center of their documentary. We got a lot of Forkner and Mulienberg being positioned as the fall guys, along with Boeing blaming the pilots, a Congressman patting himself on the back for that travesty of a hearing, and not a lot of clarity on exactly how the failings in the MCAS software itself were not exposed as they should have been.

Most impactful thing from my point of view was around 42:30 mark with retired FAA engineer Joe Jacobson saying it was a failure (presumably his) that he could not convince three Boeing managers after he saw the data from the JT crash that intentionally going with a single AoA source for MCAS was a design flaw and they shouldn't have relied on the pilot to intervene.

Those of you who feel Boeing blames the pilots too much won't like the part near the end where they play a recording of Calhoun pretty much saying that if US pilots were flying the accidents would not have happened. In other places they do point out a bunch of Boeing's unwillingness to question its processes or its decisions. It is kind of unnerving to hear about such myopia.

Time to wrap this up, laptop batteries are down to 10%.

Anyone else see this documentary and want to share their thoughts?


PBS, Frontline and the New York Times are hardly distinguished in any manner.
 
oldJoe
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Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Mon Sep 20, 2021 9:37 pm

Pythagoras wrote :
It shows that the 737NG family and A320 family (excluding A320 Neo and 737Max) have the same accident rate per million departures at 0.08 for fatal accidents and 0.18 for hull loss. From a high level view, there is no real reason, safety-wise at least, why the A320's fly-by-wire is any better than the 737's proven cable-driven architecture


Presenting numbers that play in my cards and real reality are not the same! Why are the 737 classics listed separately ? 737 classic first delivery November 1984, A320 April 1987, 737 NG December 1997. So the Classic`s should be on the list together with the NG`s!
Why is the Max being excluded? Correctly, that would offer an absolutely bad picture for the 737 and should therefore be at the top of the list and that is the answer which is the safer system!

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