moeman

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  1. Boeing Fought Lion Air On Proposed MAX Simulator Training Requirement Sean Broderick January 10, 2020 Credit: Boeing Boeing’s efforts to keep 737 Next Generation and MAX training as similar as possible included limiting external discussion of the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) as early as 2013, as well as an aggressive lobbying effort to dissuade Lion Air from requiring simulator sessions for its pilots, new documents released by the manufacturer reveal. The documents, comprising external and internal emails and internal instant message exchanges, underscore the priority Boeing placed on positioning the MAX as nearly the same as its predecessor, the 737 Next Generation (NG). They also offer some of the most compelling evidence yet that Boeing consciously chose less costly approaches over safer, more conservative ones during the MAX’s development. Boeing determined early on that ensuring 737 pilots could transition to the MAX without simulator time would be a huge cost advantage when pitching the model to customers. It also realized that regulators could consider some of the MAX’s new features as too much to cover in computer-based training (CBT). The MCAS, a flight control law that commands automatic stabilizer movements in certain flight profiles, was chief among them. A version of the MCAS was developed for the 767 tanker program, "but treated as analogous function, as a speed trim-type function,” a Boeing document summarizing a June 2013 MAX program meeting said. "If we emphasize MCAS is a new function there may be a greater certification and training impact.” Boeing’s solution: refer to the MCAS externally as an addition to the 737 Speed Trim, not by its name. Boeing knew the approach might be questioned, so it sought input from its FAA-designated authorized representative (AR) "to ensure this strategy is acceptable” for certification. "After speaking with the [AR], concurrence was provided that we can continue to use the MCAS nomenclature internally...while still considering MCAS to be an addition to the Speed Trim function,” the memo said. "This will allow us to maintain the MCAS nomenclature while not driving additional work due to training impacts and maintenance manual expansions." The plan extended to keeping mention of the MCAS out of MAX pilot training materials. Its erroneous activation played key roles in two MAX accidents—Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March 2019—that led regulators to ground the MAX in mid-March. The fleet remains grounded while Boeing addresses regulators’ concerns, including adding MCAS training and modifying the system’s logic. Most pilots did not know the MCAS existed until after the Lion Air accident. Boeing has said repeatedly that it kept the MCAS out of manuals to simplify pilot training, and that an erroneous MCAS activation would be quickly diagnosed as a runaway stabilizer. The 2013 memo casts doubt on the former, and the two MAX accident sequences disproved the latter. Boeing’s efforts to win approval for simulator-free MAX transition training succeeded with FAA approval in August 2016, nine months before Malindo Air become the first customer to take delivery of a MAX. But some MAX customers and regulators were not convinced that CBT, or Level B training, would be sufficient. Among them: Lion Air and Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Lion Air was the first Asia-Pacific customer to order the MAX, and would be one of the model’s first operators. In June 2017, with its first delivery just days away, the airline was still developing its training curriculum, and simulator sessions were on the table. The airline's early entry-into-service status meant other MAX customers would be monitoring its progress and fleet-related decisions, including training. "I would like to discuss what if any requirements beyond the Level B CBT the DGCA has required of you, or if your airline has determined any additional training is required,” a Boeing employee asked a Lion Air 737 training captain in early June 2017. The captain replied that the airline “decided to give the transition pilot one simulator familiarization” in addition to CBT. "There is absolutely no reason to require your pilots to require a MAX simulator to begin flying the MAX,” the Boeing employee replied. "Once the engines are started, there is only one difference between NG and MAX procedurally, and that is that there is no OFF position of the gear handle. Boeing does not understand what is to be gained by a three-hour simulator session, when the procedures are essentially the same.” The Boeing employee then listed six regulators that “have all accepted the CBT requirement as the only training required” to transition to the MAX. “I’d be happy to share the operational difference training with you, to help you understand that a MAX simulator is both impractical and unnecessary for your pilots.” In a subsequent email, the Boeing employee provided presentations on the MAX technical and operational differences for the Lion Air captain and his team. The Boeing employee also urged Lion Air to consider alternatives to simulator time, such as a flight-hour minimum in 737s or ensuring a pilot’s first MAX flight is always done alongside a pilot with MAX experience. The following day, the Boeing employee followed up, again pitching alternatives to simulator sessions. “I am concerned that if [Lion Air] chooses to require a MAX simulator for its pilots beyond what all other regulators are requiring, that it will be creating a difficult and unnecessary training burden for your airline, as well as potentially establish a precedent in your region for other MAX customers,” the Boeing employee wrote. Around the same time as the Lion Air exchange, two Boeing employees discussed the airline’s concerns in an instant-message chat. “Now [Lion Air] might need a sim to fly the MAX, and maybe because of their own stupidity,” one Boeing employee wrote. "WHAT THE…..!!!! But their sister airline”—Malindo—"is already flying it!” the second responded. “I know. I’ve asked for a webex so we can [go] thru this with the DGCA. Not sure if this is Lion's fault or DGCA yet,” the first employee replied. Boeing in a Jan. 9 statement issued a profuse apology for the document’s contents. "The language used in these communications, and some of the sentiments they express, are inconsistent with Boeing values, and the company is taking appropriate action in response,” Boeing said. "We provided these documents to the FAA and Congress as a reflection of our commitment to transparency and cooperation with the authorities responsible for regulating and overseeing our industry. We welcome, and will fully support, any additional review the FAA believes is appropriate in connection with any of these matters, as well as the continued involvement of the relevant congressional committees with these issues.” Boeing on Jan. 7 changed its position on the need for MAX simulator training. It is recommending all 737 pilots have simulator sessions before flying a MAX, including those who were flying the model before the 387-aircraft fleet was grounded. Its recommendation is based on simulator trials last month during which some line pilots did not follow checklists during emergency scenarios. Boeing is modifying several checklists as part its MAX changes
  2. Just think of the politics and public sentiment if a jurisdiction decides the answer is yes and no other dominoes fall.
  3. Moving to an empty preferred seat is different than being on standby and being assigned one. The first is what I consider to be theft, so I will move you back to your seat or another non-preferred seat and if you don't comply, there are ramifications.
  4. How would you feel if you paid extra for the seat and I just gave the empty ones away for free to anybody who asked onboard? I'd be writing AC to ask for a refund.
  5. Seriously? A 3X5 card explaining why I shouldn't be concerned? https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/24/business/boeing-737-max-survey.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&fbclid=IwAR1ZoOZT1d2td_cqB-4LCp8HJoVVtT8j1XJOrUoifqkcYWbulBSA_H6NL9I Since Boeing’s 737 Max jet was grounded in March, after two crashes that killed 346 people, a question has loomed for the company: Would passengers be too scared to fly on the plane once it returns to the air? It turns out that even as Boeing continues to work on technical fixes to the plane that are needed for regulatory approval, it has repeatedly surveyed thousands of passengers around the world to try to find out the answer. The latest results, from this month, found that 40 percent of regular fliers said they would be unwilling to fly on the Max. So, in a series of conference calls with airlines and in 40 pages of accompanying presentation materials that were reviewed by The New York Times, Boeing laid out strategies for airlines to help win back the public’s trust and convince travelers the company’s most popular plane was safe. For instance, if a traveler doesn’t want to fly after buying a ticket, getting to the airport gate or even after boarding the plane, Boeing says that the airline could offer to rebook a flight, have flight attendants or pilots talk to the concerned passenger or hand out 3-by-5 inch information cards detailing why the Max is safe. Part of the presentation to airlines outlines scenarios involving passengers worried about flying on the Max and how airline employees can respond. “Every interaction with an anxious passenger, whether face-to-face or online, is an opportunity to demonstrate our care and concern,” the presentation said. “This is as simple as recognition of a passenger’s state of mind. Research shows that emotions drive decision-making, so a human connection will be more effective than rational appeals.” In the most extreme cases, Boeing suggests using “techniques related to an inflight medical emergency to de-escalate.” The calls and documents underscore the enormous challenges Boeing faces in the coming months as it tries to restore its reputation. The Max remains grounded, and there is no timetable for when regulators will deem it safe to return to the air. In just the last week and a half, Boeing fired its chief executive and said it would temporarily shut down the factory that makes the Max. Boeing has queried thousands of travelers around the globe four times since May, and found that the skepticism surrounding the Max had improved only marginally. Among United States travelers, just 52 percent said they would be willing to fly on the plane, according to the survey. Results from Boeing’s consumer research on awareness of the 737 Max crisis that appears in internal documents. The conference calls, which lasted about 30 minutes each and were held over three days last week, are part of Boeing’s attempts to win back the trust of airlines, which have lost billions of dollars and had to cancel thousands of flights because of the Max grounding. The effort was led by Bernard Choi, a member of the company’s communications team. Some United States airline executives bristled at the presentation and materials, according to four people familiar with the matter, believing that Boeing has lost credibility and that the company’s involvement would only hurt their efforts to win back the trust of passengers. But dozens of airlines around the world have ordered the Max, and many of them, especially the smaller ones, could find the materials helpful. “We routinely engage with our airline customers’ communications teams to seek their feedback and brief them on our latest plans,” Gordon Johndroe, a Boeing spokesman, said in a statement on Monday. “Each airline is different in their needs, so we provide a wide range of documents and assistance that they can choose to use or tailor as they see fit.” Boeing has faltered badly in its public response to the crashes. The ousted chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg, who was fired Monday, repeatedly made overly-optimistic projections about when the Max might return to service, upsetting regulators and airlines. He drew the ire of lawmakers at Congressional hearings, where the families of crash victims winced at his name. The hiring of the top crisis communications firms Sard Verbinnen and Edelman did little to improve the company’s reputation. On Monday, Boeing said that Niel Golightly, the chief communications officer at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and a former Navy fighter pilot, would become its head of communications next year. During its presentation to airlines, the company also distributed a set of infographics, reference cards, videos and frequently asked questions. One of the videos was an animated explanation of the new software on the Max, called MCAS, which was intended to make the plane handle more predictably but played a role in both accidents. In the video, watermarked “Draft — Advanced Copy, Pending Certification,” a narrator explains that in the accidents, MCAS activated repeatedly after a sensor on the plane’s fuselage malfunctioned, causing the airplane to crash. The video goes on to explain the changes Boeing is making to MCAS. A video includes Boeing pilots offering reassurances. “Lives depend on the work that we do,” Boeing’s chief commercial pilot, Jim Webb, says in another video. “We know that when you step on board, you place your trust in us.” At times, the material is startlingly self-critical. In a draft memo Boeing prepared for airlines to share with employees such as flight attendants, the company suggests that airlines say: “Boeing understands that it fell short and let us down, as well as the flying public, and it has committed to continuous improvement and learning.” In another memo, Boeing says airlines could tell their pilots this: “We have told our Boeing partners that they did not communicate enough about MCAS — and they have heard us. Going forward, they are committed to doing a better job communicating with us.” Boeing did not fully inform pilots about how MCAS functioned until after the first accident, off the coast of Indonesia in October 2018. The materials also show that Boeing would try to push back on the narrative that the Max was developed under intense deadline pressure as the company faced heated competition from its European rival, Airbus. In a draft of a frequently-asked-questions document intended to help airlines communicate with their employees, Boeing included the question, “Is it true that the 737 Max was rushed into service?” Boeing suggests the airlines answer this way: “No. Over a six-year period, Boeing worked through a disciplined methodical development process that culminated with a robust test program that validated the airplane’s safety and performance.” In a section of the presentation focused on social media and marketing, the company said it planned to “amplify any positive stories reported,” and that it intended to buy ads to promote the plane’s return to service. It said a company website dedicated to updates on the Max was being designed with “improved usability” and “stickiness” to “encourage more time on site and repeat visits,” phrases commonly used in the communications business. The presentation said Boeing’s “digital and media team” would be “monitoring social conversations around the clock.” The company also indicated that it was preparing responses in the event that a Max encountered difficulty even after it restarts service, which could happen given that more than 500 are already built and about 5,000 have been ordered. The scenarios Boeing was preparing for included engine failures and smoke in the cabin and “significant” events on flights by Lion Air or Ethiopian Airlines, which operated the two planes that crashed. In the presentation, Boeing promoted its ability to get industry analysts and some pilots to make encouraging public statements about the company. It identified dozens of aerospace trade shows in 2020 at which it planned to make its case. And it pledged to work with airlines during early flights to bolster consumer confidence, including offering to have Boeing executives onboard. “We know we have work to do to restore confidence in Boeing and the Max,” Mr. Johndroe said Monday. “We are working closely with airlines, their pilots and flight attendants to make sure they have the information they need to provide to the traveling public to reassure them that once the certification process is complete, the Max will be one of the safest airplanes flying today.”
  6. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/boeing-discloses-set-737-max-011254203.html (Bloomberg) -- A new batch of messages between Boeing Co. employees on the development of the 737 Max paints a “very disturbing picture” of concerns about the plane, according to an aide to a House committee. The documents were turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday, the agency said in a statement. The disclosure came the same day that Boeing ousted its chief executive officer. At least some of them were written by the same Boeing pilot whose 2016 messages were released in October and were the subject of sharp questioning by lawmakers, according to a person familiar with their contents who wasn’t authorized to discuss them. The communications haven’t been released publicly. The staff of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are still reviewing the messages and didn’t provide specific details about what they contain. “But similar to other records previously disclosed by Boeing, the records appear to point to a very disturbing picture of both concerns expressed by Boeing employees about the company’s commitment to safety and efforts by some employees to ensure Boeing’s production plans were not diverted by regulators or others,” a committee aide said in a statement. “The committee will continue to review these and other records provided by Boeing as part of the committee’s ongoing investigation,” the aide said. Boeing didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Boeing fell 1.3% to $333 at the close in New York, as markets shut down early because of Christmas Eve. This was the second time that the Chicago-based company has delayed turning over to the FAA sensitive messages related to the development of the 737 Max jetliner, which was grounded in March after a design flaw was linked to two fatal crashes, in Indonesia and Ethiopia. The earlier episode prompted a rebuke by the agency and helped lead to growing tensions between the regulator and the planemaker. The FAA didn’t comment in its statement on the content of the emails, saying only that they were under review. The company’s decision to turn the emails over to the FAA was reported earlier by the Seattle Times. The way Boeing handled the second set of records rankled the agency, according to a person familiar with the issue who wasn’t authorized to speak about it. Boeing told the FAA the messages existed in recent days, but didn’t initially provide them or disclose their contents, said the person. Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg stepped down on Monday, at least partly as a result of deteriorating relations with the FAA, according to a statement from the company’s board. In October, Boeing disclosed to the FAA instant messages and emails by a high-ranking company pilot who in 2016 expressed misgivings about the software implicated in two fatal crashes on the Max. Boeing had known about those messages since early in the year and turned them over to the Justice Department in February. It didn’t give them to the FAA immediately because of the criminal investigation into how the plane was approved, Bloomberg News reported at the time. The delay angered the FAA, which is charged with overseeing Boeing. One of the agency’s key tenets is that entities it oversees must disclose safety issues or possible breaches of regulations. In some circumstances, failing to tell the agency about such an issue may be considered a legal violation. “The FAA finds the substance of the document concerning,” the agency said in a statement on Oct. 18. “The FAA is also disappointed that Boeing did not bring this document to our attention immediately upon its discovery.” The November 2016 instant messages disclosed in October, which were reviewed by Bloomberg News, were between between Mark Forkner, then Boeing’s chief technical pilot for the 737, and another 737 technical pilot, Patrik Gustavsson. Forkner expressed concern that the flight-control feature later implicated in the crashes was “running rampant” and said he might have unknowingly misled the FAA about it. In separate emails he sent to an unnamed FAA official, he said he was “jedi-mind tricking” regulators outside the U.S. into accepting Boeing’s suggested training for the Max. A lawyer for Forkner, David Gerger, said issues raised in the messages were the result of balky simulator software and not a result of problems with the plane itself. Forkner believed the plane was safe and didn’t mislead the FAA, Gerger said. Gerger didn’t respond to requests to comment on the latest messages and whether they involved his client.
  7. I don't like how they put these folks on the spot. Keep the "gift" and you'll feel like a schmuck after seeing this video. Great cause, but not my way of doing it.
  8. Not necessarily airline related, but at the end of a sports story I just read, it quoted "The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar." Might explain a few things... https://globalnews.ca/news/6271498/vancouver-hosts-toronto-after-leivos-2-goal-game/
  9. If cabin crew were rouge, it was a rouge flight. If Omni, two AC FAs on special assignment to put out customer service fires onboard.
  10. https://simpleflying.com/air-canada-airbus-a220-repaint Last week Air Canada’s stunning new Airbus A220 livery was revealed. However, it has already been repainted due to an issue with the original paint job. The airline’s logo was incorrectly applied to the tail. The Air Canada logo consists of a red maple leaf surrounded by a red circle. However, the red circle is not complete, with a break at the base of the maple leaf. Despite being paid an awful lot for the new aircraft, it seems that Airbus Canada had mistakenly applied the Air Canada logo to the aircraft back to front. How was the mistake made? While vinyl wraps can be applied to aircraft, such as this Boeing 787, aircraft are typically painted in layers. Usually base colors are painted onto the aircraft first, with more intricate details painted on top. Stencils can be used to complete details such as an airline’s name. The tails of aircraft are, however, sometimes supplied to the final assembly line already painted. Here’s why that sometimes happens. However, Airbus A220 aircraft are assembled with the tails unpainted. As such, it is down to the painters to apply the airline’s livery to the entire aircraft in the paint shop. What happened? While applying the Air Canada logo to the tail, Airbus’ painters made a subtle error. The logo was painted back to front. The error was much more subtle than when “Cathay Paciic” was painted onto the side of a Boeing 777. In fact, until it was pointed out by readers, Simple Flying didn’t spot the error. Unlike some tails, the logo painted on the Air Canada tail is almost symmetrical. The only difference is where the maple leaf attaches to the circle surrounding it. It only attaches to one side of the circle. Unfortunately, the aircraft’s painters chose the wrong side. Seemingly the error was so subtle that even Airbus’ press department didn’t realize. In fact, photos of the mistake were proudly published with a press release, before the mistake was spotted by those outside Airbus. Already fixed Thankfully, Airbus has already taken steps to repaint the aircraft for Air Canada, this time with the correct logo applied. An Airbus Canada representative told Simple Flying: “Certain elements of one rondelle were executed incorrectly in painting the tail of Air Canada’s first A220 and this has already been rectified. There is no impact on the aircraft delivery schedule.”