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Aquila3
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Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:05 pm

Well, in a recent (more or less) thread I started, and in some others before, it seems there was some consensus that FBW (in the extended meaning of that, i.e. control laws with protections) increases safety on aircrafts. This at least is my opinion, to be clear.
Now I hear that even Chinese new entrants (let alone Russians) plan to implement such features on their designs.
Why not Boeing?
While being at the beginning late on that technology, Boeing have then fully embraced it with the 777 and brought to the edge with the "fully electric" 787.
So why not the MAX? I have heard nothing on that, excet that maybe they will replace the mechanical command of some control surface with an electric-actruators system. But nothing about full FBW control and protections.
Is it sparing on the development at all costs? Does B. not "trust" in this project so much ?
Maybe the introduction of a fully FBW system would also help the aircraft to obtain better performances and so to better compete with the concurrents in terns of sales. I think for a giant like B. it would be very feasible to update the 737 design during this MAX iteration.
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travelavnut
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:13 pm

I don't know if manual vs FBW makes that much of a difference, they both have strength and weaknesses. Although personally I prefer the Airbus philosophy as it gives you maximum control in emergencies (having a GA aircraft crossing your path very closely on final, just pull your sidestick to the stops and let the aircraft give you all it has got).

Anyhow, those scenarios are too rare to make a huge difference IMHO.

But what I am a bit worried about when it comes to the 737 is the grandfathered certification. Would the 737, as is, be certifiable today?
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:13 pm

It is all about retaining commonality to the current generation of the 737. The addition of full FBW increases the complexity of the aircraft systems and changes procedures, which is something that's not in Boeing's interest when trying to sell the MAX.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:37 pm

Quoting travelavnut (Reply 1):
Anyhow, those scenarios are too rare to make a huge difference IMHO.

I know that statistcs does not help much here. Apart that they are easy to manipulate, the sample base is hopefully to low.
But try to tell that to the relatives of that few 100s that has perished in "that stall" accident.
For them it makes a huge difference.

Quoting AviationAware (Reply 2):
It is all about retaining commonality to the current generation of the 737

I always had the feeling that the certificators should look a little bit more on the numbers (of sales) of a project before granting frandfathering rights. It does not help safety to pretend from SuperJet or Comac to be fully compliant with the latests rules, when you know they will sell in the hundreds at best, and then be complacent with the big OEMs that will in any case sell in the thousands.
And then, it remains that if the plane is less safe, are the customers open to accept bigger risks compared to a possible competitor?
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:44 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Thread starter):
Is it sparing on the development at all costs? Does B. not "trust" in this project so much ?

Boeing's intention was the NSA which wouuld have incorporated the latest technology, but clients were not willing to wait the additional years after the introduction of the NEO. So the MAX has to continue to maintain the basics of its design to allow the grandfather clauses / certifications which are required to keep the cost lower and the development time shorter.

Issue has very little to nothing to do with safety or Boeing's trust in the technology, they may differ with Airbus on the amount of control to remove from the pilots but as seen in the 777 and 787 they have used / implemented the technology.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:55 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Thread starter):
Now I hear that even Chinese new entrants (let alone Russians) plan to implement such features on their designs.

Why not Boeing?

Because the Chinese and Russian designs are brand new and there is no reason to not incorporate full FBW.



Quoting Aquila3 (Thread starter):
Is it sparing on the development at all costs? Does B. not "trust" in this project so much?

Boeing trusts it, otherwise the 777 and the 787 would not have FBW.

As to why the 737 MAX will not have it, there are a number of reasons, of which development costs are one. There is also the certification costs - changing the 737's control systems to FBW would require them to be re-certified and would likely result in a cascade of other changes that themselves would require new certification.

And it's not just money we're dealing with, but also time. Designing, incorporating and certifying these changes could take so long that just going with NSA would have been as quick. And yet time to market was the key driver in going with MAX over NSA.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:08 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 5):
changing the 737's control systems to FBW would require them to be re-certified and would likely result in a cascade of other changes that themselves would require new certification.

But suppose the 737 had to re-certified under todays rules and regulations, would it be certified as is? And if not, what main reasons would hold up the certification? I know the 747 could not be certified because of the seats in the nose being in front of the only exit, but cabin-wise the 737 differs almost nothing with a modern narrowbody.
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:16 pm

Quoting travelavnut (Reply 6):
But suppose the 737 had to re-certified under todays rules and regulations, would it be certified as is? And if not, what main reasons would hold up the certification? I know the 747 could not be certified because of the seats in the nose being in front of the only exit, but cabin-wise the 737 differs almost nothing with a modern narrowbody.

Someone said 737's door would not be certified according to the current standard.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:17 pm

Quoting par13del (Reply 4):
Boeing's intention was the NSA which wouuld have incorporated the latest technology

This was my understanding, too.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 5):
Boeing trusts it, otherwise the 777 and the 787 would not have FBW.

I was meaning the whole MAX project.
From the above, it seems to me that B. was forced on it by the market and they did it just as stop-gap measure, without fully believing on it.

Something like:
"Anyway it will sell to our faithful customers".
"Many will have to buy it it for availability alone".
"Do the least possible, do it fast and cheap, let the marketing do the rest, and it will sell like hot cakes".

And not something like:
"We are really proud of it, it shows we are still the best"
"It will build a strong confidence on Company for the years to come"
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:24 pm

Quoting travelavnut (Reply 6):
But suppose the 737 had to re-certified under todays rules and regulations, would it be certified as is?

Happy to be corrected if I am wrong, but I thought I read somewhere that the cabin doors wouldn't pass certification these days (can't remember if it was the door themselves, the slide or arming mechanism, or a combination of both).
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:28 pm

Quoting travelavnut (Reply 1):
But what I am a bit worried about when it comes to the 737 is the grandfathered certification. Would the 737, as is, be certifiable today?

Probably not. But there is a very solid justification for grandfathering anyway. If a design has flown in service for many years, with a large number of frames, and accumulated a safety record that is comparable to what you are seeking to ensure with the latest requirements, then it makes sense to grant that design privileges that you might not to a new, unproven design. The 737 as a whole has a very good safety record and the 737NG in particular has been truly excellent. There is no threat to the flying public's safety from continuing to allow Boeing to produce 737NG derivatives.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:31 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 10):

Probably not. But there is a very solid justification for grandfathering anyway. If a design has flown in service for many years, with a large number of frames, and accumulated a safety record that is comparable to what you are seeking to ensure with the latest requirements, then it makes sense to grant that design privileges that you might not to a new, unproven design. The 737 as a whole has a very good safety record and the 737NG in particular has been truly excellent. There is no threat to the flying public's safety from continuing to allow Boeing to produce 737NG derivatives.


That is indeed a good point, never looked at it that way.
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:43 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 10):
If a design has flown in service for many years, with a large number of frames, and accumulated a safety record that is comparable to what you are seeking to ensure with the latest requirements, then it makes sense to grant that design privileges that you might not to a new, unproven design.

Thanks for your post,
I believe it goes to the "kernel" of the problem.
The 737 is surely a proven design (the most proven of all, in fact) but aren't our standards improved in the 40 years as well?
Aren't our aircrafts today safer that 30-40 years ago?
Don't we want to further improve ?
I mean, the 737 ought be produced in a huge number anyway, a 0.001 % defective (in a pure theory) B737 are going to make a much bigger damage to the humanity than a 0.01% of SuperJet or Comac .
If we do not safety improve the 737 (or the A320, that is) the aviation industry safety will not improve much, overall.

And I am not speaking of details, I am speaking of (FBW) that is active safety in flight, something that can prevent the loss of an entire aircraft full of people. That I think is more important of a door or a seat, that would influence a more limited number of people, when an accident has happened already.

[Edited 2014-11-12 08:05:37]
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:47 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Thread starter):
Maybe the introduction of a fully FBW system would also help the aircraft to obtain better performances and so to better compete with the concurrents in terns of sales

In the grand scheme of things, FBW does not constitute a deal breaker in terms of sales for an aircraft.
If it were, the 737 would have died out long ago.

The 737MAX will be just as safe as the NG and classics.
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:51 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 12):
Aren't our aircrafts today safer that 30-40 years ago?

Yes, however I think that has a lot more to do with cockpit design. Just compare 737NG or A320 cockpit to the that of a 707 for example, on modern aircraft you get all the basic info you need from a couple of screens while those old cockpits are full of all kinds of gauges.

Still, I do believe that Airbuses approach with FBW + Flight envelope protection is a good one and definitely has saved lives already.
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:58 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 12):
The 737 is surely a proven design (the most proven of all, in fact) but aren't our standards improved in the 40 years as well?
Aren't our aircrafts today safer that 30-40 years ago?

Yes, and that is reflected in the comparative records of the Jurassic, Classic, and NG. Each is much better than the last. The few fundamental design features that wouldn't be certifiable today have had no negative effect on the safety record of the airframe. The many improvements have been much more important. In service, the 737NG has been one of the safest airliners, with the fewest accidents caused by design, assembly, or software flaws, in all of aviation history.

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 12):
I mean, the 737 ought be produced in a huge number anyway, a 0.001 % defective (in a pure theory) B737 are going to make a much bigger damage to the manhood than a 0.01% of SuperJet or Comac .

(Assuming you meant "humanity" or some such rather than "manhood."   )

And yet, with thousands of frames in service over 16 years, not a single person has died from a 737NG accident that had anything to do with the safety of the aircraft. All of the fatal 737NG accidents have been attributable to pilot error except for the freakish Gol accident which was mostly attributable to ATC error. There is not a single 737NG crash that FBW would have prevented or where a different door would have allowed more passengers to evacuate.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:13 pm

Quoting travelavnut (Reply 1):
(having a GA aircraft crossing your path very closely on final, just pull your sidestick to the stops and let the aircraft give you all it has got).

That's not entirely true. Airbuses operate with envelope protection, so the airplane will give you all it *thinks is safe* to give. Maybe someone can help me out on the differences of direct law and all that fun stuff, but generally speaking you're working within the confines of the computer, so your statement is kind of ironic.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:16 pm

Quoting travelavnut (Reply 6):
But suppose the 737 had to re-certified under todays rules and regulations, would it be certified as is?

I expect it would not.



Quoting travelavnut (Reply 6):
And if not, what main reasons would hold up the certification?

I don't have any specifics, but I am sure there are many areas.



Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 8):
From the above, it seems to me that B. was forced on it by the market and they did it just as stop-gap measure, without fully believing on it.

NSA would have been a more capable competitor to the A320neo, especially at the high end (737-9 / A321neo), but the changes Boeing is incorporating into the MAX seems to be enough to (eventually) maintain parity with the A320neo just as the changes incorporated into the 737NG allowed it to maintain parity with the A320.

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 12):
Aren't our aircrafts today safer that 30-40 years ago?

In terms of basic design, I wonder if this is true. The A300, 737 and 747 seem to be as safe from a general design standpoint as the A350 and 787.

I would be more inclined to believe that improvements in training along with maintenance and operating practices have played a larger role. I would also give more weight to improvements in weather forecasting and air traffic control systems.

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 12):
I mean, the 737 ought be produced in a huge number anyway, a 0.001 % defective (in a pure theory) B737 are going to make a much bigger damage to the manhood than a 0.01% of SuperJet or Comac.

True, but the 737 is a proven design in part due to it's longevity and ubiquity. Issues in design, production, maintenance, and training have been identified and corrected. As such, I expect the adjusted safety record for the MAX will be no worse than the SuperJet or C919.

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 12):
If we do not safety improve the 737 (or the A320, that is) the aviation industry safety will not improve much, overall.

Again, I do not think it is the plane that is the most dangerous part. Far more 737 and A320 accidents and incidents in the past decades have been due to factors other than the design of the airframe.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:18 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 15):
And yet, with thousands of frames in service over 16 years, not a single person has died from a 737NG accident that had anything to do with the safety of the aircraft.

I agree the 737 has proven itself to be Very safe. But it is not true that noone has died From a NG accident that had anything to do with the aircraft. Think TK1951.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:18 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 16):
so the airplane will give you all it *thinks is safe*

Yes but that does mean care free manoeuvres during a fast reaction type event where a pilot can concentrate on avoiding a threat and not think about the limits of the aircraft.
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:28 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 15):
Yes, and that is reflected in the comparative records of the Jurassic, Classic, and NG. Each is much better than the last.

Agreed...
But will the MAX be better than the NG? It does not look so.

Quote -
There is not a single 737NG crash that FBW would have prevented or where a different door would have allowed more passengers to evacuate.
-Unquote

I think that is debatable. While there is no accident where the root cause was the B737 design (I believe we can safely assume so) there can be some where its safety features or lack of thereof (i.e. FBW) would have been a contribution factor.
Something like stall at low(ish) altitude , Amsterdam or Beirut, just OTOH. Or some of the last LionAir landings, that just by a miracle did not end in tragedy.
Look, I am not saying that the B737 design is or was not safe at its time, but that it looks like that the MAX will be less safe than almost all its contenders.
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:30 pm

Quoting martinair50 (Reply 18):
But it is not true that noone has died From a NG accident that had anything to do with the aircraft. Think TK1951.

Don't want to get too far offtopic, but I would classify that one as pilot error. Yes, there was an equipment failure and a contextually odd autothrottle response, but all of that should not have led to an accident. The root cause was the pilots' failure to pay attention to what the working instruments (especially the airspeed indicator) were telling them.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:02 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 20):
But will the MAX be (safer) than the NG? It does not look so.

Your powers of prognostication must be pretty strong. Mind PMing me the PowerBall winning numbers?  
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:24 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 22):

No, I do not have your numbers sorry. Ask them to some of yours, maybe.
In my ignorance, I even do not know what Powerball is, even if I can guess what. But I guess THAT is OT, even if the play it at Boeing.
I do not know why you get it so personal.
I am just trying to use the logic.
I will try to expalin it to you, in a very easy way, hoping that this will not become a game of insults, from which I will stop it here.
Simplifying, I am just saying:

Classic->NG- = Big safety improvements (cockpit and so)->Better safety outcomes
NG->MAX = No (known) safety improvements -> No Better safety outcomes.

Does this make it more clear? No Powerball numbers here....
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:24 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 21):
Don't want to get too far offtopic, but I would classify that one as pilot error. Yes, there was an equipment failure and a contextually odd autothrottle response, but all of that should not have led to an accident.

And let's not forget that the OZ 777 that crashed at SFO was fully FBW as well. Let's not forget that FBW and envelope protection are not the same thing.

Quoting N766UA (Reply 16):
That's not entirely true. Airbuses operate with envelope protection, so the airplane will give you all it *thinks is safe* to give. Maybe someone can help me out on the differences of direct law and all that fun stuff, but generally speaking you're working within the confines of the computer, so your statement is kind of ironic.

But if the aircraft has to fly out of its envelope to avoid a collision, then it could very well avoid the collision and then crash from the maneuver. Whether it's a collision with a GA aircraft or rolling the airliner onto its side to avoid the collision only to have it slam into the ground, everyone aboard is just as dead.
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:37 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 15):
There is not a single 737NG crash that FBW would have prevented or where a different door would have allowed more passengers to evacuate.
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 24):
But if the aircraft has to fly out of its envelope to avoid a collision, then it could very well avoid the collision and then crash from the maneuver. Whether it's a collision with a GA aircraft or rolling the airliner onto its side to avoid the collision only to have it slam into the ground, everyone aboard is just as dead.

Yeah. I think an aircraft with a flight envelope protection could in fact be more effective in avoidance maneuvers.

If you are flying an A320 in IFR conditions and suddenly a mountain top appears in front of you all you have to do is to pull stick fully back & flight envelope protection will make sure you will get the maximum climb performance without stalling.

On the other hand on a 737 the pilot would have to pay attention on airspeed & pitch to make sure the aircraft won't go past its absolute limits. I would imagine that in a stressful, unexpected situation where seconds matter determining the maximum the aircraft can without going out of control do isn't that easy.
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:39 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 20):
But will the MAX be better than the NG? It does not look so.

But how do you know that for sure? The NG already has a proven track record and the MAX will more than likely be similar. Boeing would never put an aircraft into service that wasn't safe. I think you're trying to make a big deal over nothing.
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:39 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 23):
Classic->NG- = Big safety improvements (cockpit and so)->Better safety outcomes
NG->MAX = No (known) safety improvements -> No Better safety outcomes.

Tell me. What's the safety differences between the A320 classic and the neo's?
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:40 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 24):
And let's not forget that the OZ 777 that crashed at SFO was fully FBW as well. Let's not forget that FBW and envelope protection are not the same thing.

and that envelope portection won't help idiots who run the plane out of energy and altitude short of a runway.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:40 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 24):
Let's not forget that FBW and envelope protection are not the same thing.

As I have stated in the opening post, at the beginning , we should generalize that concept in this thread, for the sake of shortness.

About the 777 crash, I do no see it much related to this topic. Could you even say that that 777 flew out of the envelope at any time and that protections would have saved it? Not sure of it, really, but I do not think that it belongs to this discussion anyway.

About the avoiding GA manouver, yes you are right, it is NOT guarranteed that it might or not have saved the day. But this is something different than saying that FBW (in the general extended sense) is never helpful. My opinion is that there are many situation where it is , especially low level stalls (initiated by weather, pilots error or disorientation, etc).
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:47 pm

Quoting Karadion (Reply 27):
Tell me. What's the safety differences between the A320 classic and the neo's?

No, I won't. I am trying to get this thread away from a classic A Vs B catfight thank you. You can always open a thread yourself, I will answer on it, maybe.

And to help you understand me, about the topic, FBW, it looks like the 737 will be almost the only one without in its category. That is particulary relevant because it seems it is the absolute best seller in it, to use some kind of Boeing wording.
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:49 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Thread starter):
Well, in a recent (more or less) thread I started, and in some others before, it seems there was some consensus that FBW (in the extended meaning of that, i.e. control laws with protections) increases safety on aircrafts. This at least is my opinion, to be clear.
Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 23):
Classic->NG- = Big safety improvements (cockpit and so)->Better safety outcomes
NG->MAX = No (known) safety improvements -> No Better safety outcomes.

I think you need better data to support your premise that FBW has a measurable impact on overall airplane safety.

For real world data, please go to this link:

www.boeing.com/news/techissues/pdf/statsum.pdf

Turn to page 19 and compare the hull loss rates for the A320 series with the 737NG series.

A320 series: hull loss rate = .24*; hull loss rate with fatalities = .14*

737NG series: hull loss rate = .27*; hull loss rate with fatalities = .11*

*per million departures

These data do not support your premise that FBW markedly improves airplane safety.

Based on real world data, why do you still think that the A320neo will have a better safety record than the 737MAX?

[Edited 2014-11-12 10:34:51]
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:02 pm

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 31):

Thank you very much for your answer.
Finally we are getting to the core , I believe.
So there is people like you that are sure (by some math grounds) that:

FBW does not improve safety.
Then that's it. Boeing does not have any reason to implement it.

I fully respect your opinion, especially because it has solid grounds. Let me only repeat that I do not consider your math reasoning relevant, for the reasons I have given at the beginning. It seems that also the whole industry disagrees with you, Boeing included, locking at modern(ish) designs.

About the A320 I will not answer you in this thread, because this is not my question, and I do not go into the classic A vs B story. There is another member that maybe will open a thread like that. Just be aware that there will not be only the A320 with FBW around, in the next future.
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:03 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 20):
But will the MAX be better than the NG? It does not look so.
Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 20):
Look, I am not saying that the B737 design is or was not safe at its time, but that it looks like that the MAX will be less safe than almost all its contenders.

the gist of what I read in your concerns is a mistaken belief that "new" technologies inherently produce safer planes.. and for some reason FWB is safer than mechanical.. it isn't, it does save weight and some maintenance issues, but it can go sour as well. the real keys to airplane flight safety are first solid manufacturing processes, then solid maintenance, solid crew training, coupled with robust systems. Look at the incidents on Aviation Herald, there is no defining evidence that replacing mechanical with FWB would change anything.. panels still come off, aircraft run off the runway, engines shut down, toilets overflow, birds strike, windows crack, pilots land on taxiways..I'm puzzled how one can believe that an existing proven mechanical system suddenly becomes substandard just because they change an engine and the suffix letters on the model number. Is a side stick control inherently safer than a wheel and column?... Personally I tend to agree with some that our over reliance on computer programs dumbs down pilots abilities to compensate when unusual occurrences demand intervention. And recent incidents seem to be validating that view.
 
OldAeroGuy
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:22 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 32):
Let me only repeat that I do not consider your math reasoning relevant, for the reasons I have given at the beginning. It seems that also the whole industry disagrees with you, Boeing included, locking at modern(ish) designs.

And I believe you're ignoring the fact that there may be reasons to incorporate FBW other than safety, just as there are reasons for the 737 to retain its current control system.

Don't think there is only one solution for a safe, economically viable airplane.
Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
 
karadion
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:24 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 30):
No, I won't.

This isn't an A vs B thing. This is the basic concept that there is no safety improvement between the A320 classic and neo. Which is exactly the same as the 737 NG and the 737 MAX. Both neo and MAX focuses are on fuel efficiency.

But you're the one trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:26 pm

Quoting kanban (Reply 33):
the gist of what I read in your concerns is a mistaken belief that "new" technologies inherently produce safer planes.. and for some reason FWB is safer than mechanical.. it isn't, it does save weight and some maintenance issues, but it can go sour as well. the real keys to airplane flight safety are first solid manufacturing processes, then solid maintenance, solid crew training, coupled with robust systems.

Agree completely.
Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
 
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Polot
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:30 pm

Quoting pvjin (Reply 25):

If you are a matter of seconds from hitting a mountain there are bigger issues than whether the aircraft has flight envelope protection or not. Anyways the Airbus pilot would still need to be mindful of airspeed and pitch. Flight envelope protection uses computers, not sentient beings. It doesn't know why you suddenly pulled up, and will gladly crash the plane into the mountain by trying to avoid stalling. Flight envelope protection is a supplement, not replacement, for proper airmanship.
 
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Aquila3
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:35 pm

Quoting kanban (Reply 33):

Well, it seems we do not agree on anything, at least we can agree on this!  

Then, I do not have anything special against mech Vs elec.
Just I favor the control laws approach, and of course that is much more EZ to implement by elec.
And I believe that yes, in general, newer is better and the drastic reduction of accidents that we have seen over the years validates my thesis.
Then I agree that all the cause of accidents are as you say, but there are some where FBW can help and save that couple of hundreds lives.
I do not believe, again, that the B737 (that is the reference in this industry) becomes substandard overnight. I believe the others are evolving more and the MAX did not follow, sot it might become substandard in the future.
About the computer overreliance, I agree with you that there are some blatant cases recently, but of course we do not see all the cases when automation saved the day (or could have if it was there.....). I am sure the balance is fully for automation (and more of it) since at the end, it is most of the times the human (factor) that initiates the problem and the machine that is going to correct it, and not the other way around. At least if we read the root causes of accident reports it seems so. Piloting is becoming more and more complex in my view, and the human alone is less and less adequate to the task. This is a very complex topic, and the solutions are not in the open, but in my opinion we cannot go back to handfly everything disabling automation. The overreliance problem (again, a small problem compared to the improvements) must be searched in the automation itself, especially in the HMI and training . But maybe I am divagating.
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OldAeroGuy
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:43 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 38):
I do not believe, again, that the B737 (that is the reference in this industry) becomes substandard overnight. I believe the others are evolving more and the MAX did not follow, sot it might become substandard in the future.

These thoughts are not reflected in the thread title. You might consider changing it to something like:

"Why Didn't the MAX Adopt FBW?"
Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:59 pm

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 34):
And I believe you're ignoring the fact that there may be reasons to incorporate FBW other than safety, just as there are reasons for the 737 to retain its current control system.

Don't think there is only one solution for a safe, economically viable airplane.

This is intersting, thank you.
But please, no, I am not ignoring something so obvious . Maybe next time I should lie on my profile and say something aviation related?

I know what FWB is and I can easily guess which economic adwantages it have. I had my cousers of Control Theory, Automation, etc at my time. So of course if you implement a design nowadays you would probably end up with Digital controls and some kind of actuators Vs cables. I can also tell you (I am sure you know, of course) that the thing is still in evolution, and that working in novel ways with the control surfaces (something that you don't do with traditional controls) you can greatly improve performances. I believe both A and B are doing that on their last WB designs.
But then why do you spend all this time and effort to implement control laws i.e. stall protection, roll protection, etc, if they are useless ? There is a Pilot over there, at the end. Maybe the industry (BOEING INCLUDED) thinks that they are useful and necessary for something else that raw CASM economy? Maybe safety pays, in some way, who knows?
What I do not understand is why Boeing (almost alone) is not doing it on the 737.
The have the resources.
They have the technology.
They are the market leader.
Why not?

[Edited 2014-11-12 11:01:45]
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pvjin
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:05 pm

Quoting Polot (Reply 37):
It doesn't know why you suddenly pulled up, and will gladly crash the plane into the mountain by trying to avoid stalling

Well, based on my understanding it would simply respond by limiting the pitch within safe limits & adding full power to keep sufficient airspeed.

Quoting Polot (Reply 37):
Flight envelope protection is a supplement, not replacement, for proper airmanship.

That's true of course.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King Jr
 
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kanban
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:05 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 38):
I do not believe, again, that the B737 (that is the reference in this industry) becomes substandard overnight. I believe the others are evolving more and the MAX did not follow, sot it might become substandard in the future.

mostly we can agree..
however the issue you bring up will be addressed with the new single aisle replacement.. that plane will not make it's predecessors substandard or unsafe.. and they will continue to be flown for years to come.. I sense there may be an issue with the term "FBW" here as the arguments appear to be more towards "fly by computer" than replacing mechanical with fiber optics or hydraulic with electrical.. very different propositions.. The MAX computer systems will be industry current and upgradeable. All computer systems have too some degree a manual override and the planes retain a capability for seat of the pants flying if the computers fail, which they do.

True when things go correctly nobody notices.. and sometimes the question has to be raised : did the computer driven flight management systems save the day, or were there no problems outside the normal parameters.. I have read of panics when one or more computer systems have failed and/or needed rebooting.. In recent video on this site of the discussions around a high oil temp and the extended "what do we do now" discussions with the crew consulting manuals, other pilots and the home base and then taking 1/2 steps.. about half way through the video, I would have made the decision.. Used to be with analog instruments: High oil temp, shut down now!.. Now with all the computers providing endless data that may or may not assist in decision making, we procrastinate from data overload.
 
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:06 pm

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 39):
These thoughts are not reflected in the thread title. You might consider changing it to something like:

"Why Didn't the MAX Adopt FBW?"

Or maybe
"Why FBW helps safety, but is not needed on the B737? "
noo, too long.
Also, it seems clear that now most of people believes that FBW does not help safety.
I will let it like that.
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par13del
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:10 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 32):
Thank you very much for your answer.
Finally we are getting to the core , I believe.
So there is people like you that are sure (by some math grounds) that:

FBW does not improve safety.
Then that's it. Boeing does not have any reason to implement it.

I don't see where he was absolute in saying that FBW does not improve safety nor that since the numbers did not add up that Boeing should ignore the technology, he mentioned figures to aid in the discussion.
An interesting thing to note from the numbers is that even though the 737 rate is higher .27 versus .24 the number of fatalities is lower .11 versus .14.

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 32):
I fully respect your opinion, especially because it has solid grounds. Let me only repeat that I do not consider your math reasoning relevant, for the reasons I have given at the beginning. It seems that also the whole industry disagrees with you, Boeing included, locking at modern(ish) designs.

Boeing has no problem with the technology, it was not available when the first 737 was developed, and since every 737 since is a child of the original, FBW will continue to left off the primary operation of the 737 until an all new design is created.
 
OldAeroGuy
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:14 pm

Quoting Aquila3 (Reply 40):
The have the resources.
They have the technology.
They are the market leader.
Why not?

Remember, the MAX is a derivative rather than an all new airplane. The FBW improvements to the airplane don't offset the development costs, spares costs, and maintenance cost changes for a product line encompassing thousands of in service airplanes.
Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
 
OldAeroGuy
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:20 pm

Quoting par13del (Reply 44):
An interesting thing to note from the numbers is that even though the 737 rate is higher .27 versus .24 the number of fatalities is lower .11 versus .14.

The numbers are so close that the small differences are statistically insignificant.
Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
 
nomadd22
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:14 pm

Quoting travelavnut (Reply 19):
Quoting N766UA (Reply 16):
so the airplane will give you all it *thinks is safe*

Yes but that does mean care free manoeuvres during a fast reaction type event where a pilot can concentrate on avoiding a threat and not think about the limits of the aircraft.

That's good or bad depending on the skill of the pilot. The thing about impending doom type situations is that you might have to perform decidedly "unsafe" maneuvers that FBW could prevent you from doing. You don't just instantly go from "safe" to "dead". There's an area in between.
And, there's a long debate as to the effect of fool proof controls on pilot skill. There has been more than one crash where people couldn't understand how it was possible for both pilots to make such an incredible string of absolutely wrong basic decisions.
Anon
 
boeingmd82
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:24 pm

Quoting martinair50 (Reply 18):
I agree the 737 has proven itself to be Very safe. But it is not true that noone has died From a NG accident that had anything to do with the aircraft. Think TK1951.

I don't think FBW would have made any difference in that accident. If you swap out the 738 for an A320 and had the same equipment failure (the AC thought it was close to the ground and supposed to land) and crew failure (didn't notice), you'd have the same outcome. FBW and envelope protection are only as good as the inputs that the computer is getting. The human is there to figure out if there's a "garbage in / garbage out" situation happening.
 
BoeingGuy
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RE: Will The MAX Be A Less Safe Aircraft?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:37 pm

With all due respect, this is really a foolish thread. In fact, I kind of find it offensive and insulting to a lot of talented dedicated and hard working people.

What, do you think anyone is going to design a less safe aircraft or it's going to be certified in this day and age?

Of course not.

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