Don Hudson

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  1. Good. We'll find out if the recorders continued to work after the loss of transponder signal.
  2. Link to the Report: Administration’sAircraft Certification Process, January 16, 2020
  3. Panel Clears 737 MAX’s Safety-Approval Process at FAA Boeing’s 737 MAX was certified as a derivative rather than an all-new plane Boeing 737 MAX Photo: Ted S. Warren/Associated Press By Andy Pasztor and Doug Cameron Jan. 16, 2020 10:21 am ET The Federal Aviation Administration’s certification of the Boeing Co. 737 MAX was effective and the plane wouldn’t have been safer if it had been scrutinized as an all-new aircraft, according to an independent panel set up last year to evaluate the troubled jet. The special committee created by the U.S. Department of Transportation to review the FAA’s safety-approval process backed the continued delegation of some work to aircraft makers, though the committee also called for the agency’s staffing to be expanded to improve its oversight. The panel—headed by retired Air Force Gen. Darren McDew, former head of the U.S. Transportation Command, and Lee Moak, former president of the Air Line Pilots Association—provided its initial report on Thursday. Share Your Thoughts What should the FAA do to boost public confidence in safety oversight of new planes? Join the conversation below. The six-month study called for a range of improvements including stepped-up analysis of human factors that could lead pilots to act differently in the cockpit versus existing assumptions. The FAA took five years to certify the 737 MAX 8, the first version of the plane and the one involved in two fatal crashes. That time period is at the lower end of scrutiny of new aircraft types or derivatives. The MAX was certified as a derivative rather than an all-new plane, the 13th time the FAA has updated an approval first issued in 1967. The panel said evaluating the MAX as an all-new plane wouldn’t have produced “more rigorous scrutiny” or “a safer airplane.” It said the FAA retained design approval of the flight-control system that has been linked to two fatal MAX crashes. The plane remains grounded world-wide. “We will study these recommendations closely as we continue to work with government and industry stakeholders to enhance the certification process,” Boeing said in a statement. The panel is one of various probes already under way delving into how rigorously FAA officials followed and enforced mandatory standards in endorsing the safety of the planes, which entered service in May 2017. Justice Department prosecutors, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the DOT inspector general’s office, are looking into whether the plane maker provided incomplete or misleading information to regulators regarding the aircraft. The FAA has launched a separate inquiry to determine whether certification rules and procedures were properly followed. And the DOT inspector general has launched still another effort, by conducting an audit of FAA decisions regarding 737 MAX certification. In addition, House and Senate committees embarked on hearings and inquiries looking into certification of the 737 MAX.
  4. Hi Kip; Yes, the point is moot, sadly. Last Tuesday, before there was solid evidence of missiles and people were speculating, I was hoping against hope that it was a turbine section that had gone thru the wing and compromised the fuel tank much like was seen in QF32, which was leaving a large trail of fuel as it returned to land. Knowing the nationalities of the passengers, I just couldn't see what was in it for the Iranian government.
  5. Bloomberg News business Boeing Mocked Lion Air Calls for More 737 Max Training Before Crash By Ryan Beene and Harry Suhartono 13 January 2020, 18:55 GMT-8 Updated on 14 January 2020, 08:36 GMT-8 • House panel confirms Indonesia carrier asked about simulators • Unclear if added training would have averted 737 Max crashes Boeing Persuaded Lion to Drop Simulator Training for 737 Max Indonesia’s Lion Air considered putting its pilots through simulator training before flying the Boeing Co. 737 Max but abandoned the idea after the planemaker convinced them in 2017 it was unnecessary, according to people familiar with the matter and internal company communications. The next year, 189 people died when a Lion Air 737 Max plunged into the Java Sea, a disaster blamed in part on inadequate training and the crew’s unfamiliarity with a new flight-control feature on the Max that malfunctioned. Boeing employees had expressed alarm among themselves over the possibility that one of the company’s largest customers might require its pilots to undergo costly simulator training before flying the new 737 model, according to internal messages that have been released to the media. Those messages, included in the more than 100 pages of internal Boeing communications that the company provided to lawmakers and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and released widely on Thursday, had Lion Air’s name redacted. But the the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee provided excerpts of those messages to Bloomberg News that un-redacted the Indonesian carrier’s name. “Now friggin Lion Air might need a sim to fly the MAX, and maybe because of their own stupidity. I’m scrambling trying to figure out how to unscrew this now! idiots,” one Boeing employee wrote in June 2017 text messages obtained by the company and released by the House committee. In response, a Boeing colleague replied: “WHAT THE F%$&!!!! But their sister airline is already flying it!” That was an apparent reference to Malindo Air, the Malaysian-based carrier that was the first to fly the Max commercially. Doing simulator training would have undercut a critical selling point of the jet: that airlines would be able to allow crews trained on an older 737 version to fly the Max after just a brief computer course. In a report on the Oct. 29, 2018 accident, Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee cited a failure by Boeing to tell pilots about the new flight-control feature on the jet, called MCAS, and the need to provide training on it so that pilots would be able to better respond to malfunctions. The report also cited shortfalls in the crew’s ability to perform emergency check lists, fly the plane manually and communicate about the emergency. The copilot, who took nearly four minutes to look up an emergency procedure he was supposed to have memorized, was singled out for repeated failures during training. The 737 Max was grounded worldwide last March after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed following a similar MCAS malfunction. To be sure, simulator training that didn’t address a malfunction of the system like the one crews in both disasters encountered might not have saved the jets. Separate decisions had been made not to inform pilots about MCAS, something that has drawn sharp criticism from pilots’ unions in the U.S. But the prospect of simulator training for Max pilots -- and opposition to it within Boeing -- were major themes in the latest batch of embarrassing internal company messages released last week. U.S. Representative Pete DeFazio, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that is investigating the 737 Max, said the probe has found “more and more evidence of how far Boeing was willing to go in order to essentially cloak MCAS in secrecy from MAX pilots while also downplaying the information it shared about MCAS with federal regulators. That’s incredibly damning, and is opposite of Boeing’s repeated insistence that safety drives its decisions.” Lion Air has declined to comment whether it was the carrier discussed in the messages released last week by Boeing but people familiar with the exchanges, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter, said Lion Air had initially raised concerns about the need for simulator training on the Max but ultimately accepted Boeing’s recommendation that it was unnecessary. Some of the messages revealed the pressure on employees -- and customers -- to avoid the additional training. Boeing’s resistance to simulator training for Lion Air pilots was reported earlier by Forbes. Boeing didn’t respond to a request for comment but said last week that “any potential safety deficiencies identified in the documents have been addressed.” “These documents do not represent the best of Boeing,” Greg Smith, the company’s interim CEO, said in a message to employees Friday. “The tone and language of the messages are inappropriate, particularly when used in discussion of such important matters, and they do not reflect who we are as a company or the culture we’ve created.” Technical Pilot The communications include a 2017 email from Boeing’s chief technical pilot on the 737 in which he crowed to colleagues: “Looks like my jedi mind trick worked again!” The email was sent two days after the earlier messages expressing alarm about Lion Air potentially demanding simulator training. Attached was a forwarded email exchange in which the person warned an unnamed recipient against offering simulator training for Max pilots, pushing instead for the computer-based course that regulators had already approved for flight crews transitioning to the Max from earlier 737 models. “I am concerned that if [redacted] 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 pilot wrote in the forwarded message. While Lion Air was not identified in the redacted emails, the discussions are consistent with those Boeing held with Lion Air at the time, according to people familiar with the matter. “The story always comes back to the same thing: that Boeing was advancing the sale of this plane to capture market share, to capture the profits and cash flow that goes with it, and safety was treated as something that would occur without a great deal of focus,” said Robert Clifford, a Chicago lawyer who has sued Boeing on behalf of victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash. “That’s just never the case in engineering.” — With assistance by Alan Levin, Julie Johnsson, and Peter Robison (Updates with lawmaker comments in the 13th paragraph, crash-victims’ lawyers in last paragraph.)
  6. Hi Specs, yeah - the article struck me as someone trying to put an academic blush on the writing and got a well-known notion wrong. Also, the author says: Even retired twelve years, I think I can say this statement is out of date. IIRC, we stopped going to STBY decades ago as the "7700" issue was dealt with. Also, I think many a/c, (don't know about the B737-800 specifically), use the air-ground state to activate/de-activate the transponder. Also, we just don't "change squwaks at FIR boundarys or waypoints without specific ATC requests. The article struck me as a bit presumptuous and "puffed-up". That said, the "accidental" theory is one that demands examination if only because, so far, there is no reasoned/reasonable theory with evidence yet that supports intentional shoot-down.
  7. Ultimately, "on-purpose / by accident" must be settled on evidence both physical and circumstantial. The Forbes OpEd argues that the shoot-down was accidental. We'll see how the TSB investigation says when it comes out.
  8. The notion of an accidental shoot-down may be gaining credibility not only because of heightened tensions but because the flight path of the aircraft was in a right turn towards the airport, (could be mistaken for towards Tehran), likely descending and on fire. Missile crews would not have access to ATC transmissions, (none here anyway - just silence) and so may have appeared as "hostile incoming". Also, after the loss of ADS-B signal when the a/c was still heading north and just starting the right turn about 10nm from the airport, unless the wiring has changed recently for the B737, the recorders may have stopped functioning. In one image, the vertical stabilizer has been turned over to reveal a deeply soot-blackened surface, indicating a large & sustained fire on the left side and likely close in to the fuselage.
  9. Understand both recorders have been recovered. The Iranian government is responsible for the investigation. The manufacturer and the countries directly affected have the right to be involved in the investigation.
  10. There are no signs of a missile in the video but there are two bright spots falling away, trailing the aircraft which are likely parts of the structure. Aircraft viewed in darkness this far away are barely distinguishable except for the nav & anti-collision lights. Here, the image is large and very bright, indicating what is likely a very significant in-flight fire. The video shows a large explosion about 2 to 3 seconds prior to impact: In the link to the video vanishing point posted there appears to be an exit-hole in the turbine section. Here are two other images: The wreckage is widely distributed without impact craters likely indicating pre-impact break-up and showing signs of in-flight fire: There are single "entry" holes as seen above, but so far there does not appear to be a pattern of small entry holes as seen with MH17.
  11. Hi Marshall - yes, that's correct, AC has two MAX simulators, in Toronto I believe. I don't believe WJ has a MAX sim. According to the Seattle-Times article there are only 34 MAX simulators around the world. Thanks, T9! So there are three separate endorsements on one's licence for these 3 types or just a differences course, I wonder? When I joined AC in 1973 they had five types of DC8 and added the re-engined type around 1980, but only one type rating endorsement. The differences were handled in a chapter in the aircraft manuals. The Airbus A320 endorsement permitted crews to fly the A319 & A321. The transition to the A330 / A340 was a full course, with sim work & line-indoc. In Europe, there were cross-crew qualifications that permitted A320 type-rated crews to fly the A330 & A340, if I recall correctly.
  12. So, the MAX is still a single type-rating to the B737-100 as per Southwest's wishes? . . .
  13. Boeing, reversing itself, says all 737 MAX pilots will need costly flight simulator training Jan. 7, 2020 at 11:09 am Updated Jan. 7, 2020 at 5:04 pm Scores of 737 MAX jets are parked at the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake. Boeing said Tuesday it will recommend that once the FAA lifts... (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times) More By Dominic Gates Seattle Times aerospace reporter Boeing on Tuesday reversed its long-held position that pilots would not need full flight simulator training before flying the 737 MAX after the jet is cleared to return to service. “Boeing has decided to recommend MAX simulator training combined with computer-based training for all pilots prior to returning the MAX safely to service,” interim Boeing CEO Greg Smith said in a statement. He added that the change in approach was spurred because “public, customer and stakeholder confidence in the 737 MAX is critically important to us.” The prospect of extensive simulator training now adds another big logistical hurdle before the MAX can resume commercial flights. There are only 34 full-motion MAX simulators in the world, eight of them in the U.S., and tens of thousands of pilots who will need time on one. 737 MAX CRISIS COMPLETE COVERAGE » · New snags add to uncertainty over Boeing 737 MAX’s return to service · Boeing training pilots ask to decertify union · Boeing redeploys workers as 737 MAX production in Renton prepares to shut down More Boeing’s change in direction was spurred by the results of four days of testing in Seattle last month, when Boeing ran pilots from American Airlines, Southwest, United and Aeromexico through a series of emergency flight scenarios in MAX flight simulators, a person familiar with the matter said. The purpose was to test the “human factors” elements of the updated flight control system, including the crew workload. All of the pilots managed to eventually maintain control when confronted with various emergencies, including the type of system failure that occurred in the two fatal MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. However, about half of the pilots in the testing failed to follow the correct emergency procedures. “They were using the wrong checklists,” said one person with knowledge of the tests. In developing the MAX, Boeing sought to avoid the need for simulator training because it’s expensive for airlines. For U.S. airlines to run all their pilots through the limited number of available flight simulators will take thousands of hours — hours when the companies earn no revenue from ticket-buying passengers. Dennis Tajer, a captain with American Airlines and spokesman for that airline’s union, the Allied Pilots Association, said that when American runs its pilots through their regular training updates, it consists of a two-hour pre-brief in a classroom followed by four hours in the simulator. He said airlines have been given no information yet as to whether the MAX training would require a full four-hour simulator session or may be more limited. American has about 4,200 pilots who fly the 737 and would need the MAX simulator training. United has about 4,400 and Southwest has more than 9,000. As it pitched the MAX to airlines in 2011, Boeing promised the MAX would handle so much like the previous 737 NG model, and its cockpit would be so similar, that minimal training consisting of a short course on an iPad would be all that was needed for a pilot to transition from the earlier 737 to the MAX. The expected savings from that were so important to airlines that in December 2011, when MAX launch customer Southwest Airlines placed the first order for 150 of the jets, Boeing included in the contract a clause guaranteeing a $1 million per airplane refund if simulator training were required. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D- Ore., chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that’s investigating the cause of the MAX crashes, in a statement Tuesday lamented that “it took two deadly crashes, numerous investigations and untold public pressure before Boeing arrived at this decision.” “From its inception, Boeing’s business model for the 737 MAX was premised on Boeing’s unreasonable, cost-saving assurance to airlines that pilots qualified to fly …(the earlier 737 model) should not undergo simulator training to fly the 737 MAX.” The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which will set the regulatory requirement regarding what pilot training is required in the U.S., is likely to follow Boeing’s recommendation. Later this month, a key part of the process for returning the MAX to commercial service will be the convening of the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB), a body of about 14 U.S. and foreign air carrier flight crews with diverse training that will evaluate the new systems on the MAX in full-motion simulator tests and come up with recommendations on what pilot training is required. The FAA will use the data from the JOEB tests to develop official recommendations for pilot training. “The FAA is following a thorough process, not a set timeline, to ensure that any design modifications to the 737 MAX are integrated with appropriate training and procedures,” the agency said Tuesday, adding that it will consider Boeing’s recommendation during the JOEB process. Once the training regimen is firmed up and the MAX cleared to fly again, the shortage of MAX flight simulators will pose a problem for airlines. Airlines operate 26 MAX simulators worldwide while Boeing has another eight at its pilot training sites in Miami, London, Shanghai and Singapore. In the U.S., Boeing has three in Miami; American has one in Fort Worth, Texas; United has one in Denver; and Southwest has three in Dallas. “MAX simulators are like unicorns,” said the APA’s Tajer. It’s unclear if Boeing could add software to the more than 200 simulators designed for the prior 737 NG model so they could be upgraded to simulate the MAX systems. The limited availability of simulators will likely lead American and Southwest to reassess previous plans to have all their 737 pilots complete the MAX training before they introduce the MAX to passenger service. When the expected MAX training was to be done on an iPad at any location during the pilot’s downtime, all the pilots could be asked to accomplish the training requirement in matter of a few weeks. Now it will take much longer. United spokesman Frank Benenati said Tuesday the Chicago-based carrier plans to train its pilots “on a rolling basis,” so the MAX can be introduced with a core group of pilots before all the 737 pilots finishing the training. American and Southwest are now likely to do the same. That means splitting off the MAXs into a sub-fleet of the 737s and assigning them to fly specific routes with MAX-trained crews assigned for those routes only. But doing this makes the airline’s aircraft scheduling much less flexible. If an earlier model 737 has a maintenance problem and can’t take off, the airline won’t be able to switch in a MAX from another location to take its place unless the crew happen to be qualified for the MAX. Neither the airlines nor the pilot unions had any prior knowledge of Boeing’s decision. Captain Tajer of the APA and Captain Jon Weaks, who heads the Southwest Airlines Pilots Union, both complained that they had heard no details about what training is contemplated directly from Boeing or the FAA and were not asked for their input regarding Boeing’s decision. “As the representative of the largest single group of 737NG and MAX pilots, it is vital we are involved in the process, as was promised by both Boeing and the FAA months ago,” Weaks said. Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or; on Twitter: @dominicgates.
  14. Hi Marshall; Thanks for the correction/addition - I should have quoted your full post - my apologies, and also, I may have misunderstood your point? What I'm attempting to point to (and not very clearly at times, much to my frustration), using a couple of suitable resources, is the changing character of American business practices as it affects those who do the work and making a connection between such changes and the reasons Boeing finds itself in deep difficulties today. The circumstances that resulted in two preventable, fatal, common-cause accidents have their seeds in the early '90's at Boeing. Boeing employees have clearly shown in studies*, beginning in 1996 and which I believe are continuing, that they wanted to be part of a solution to the problems they saw with their company but were rebuffed by a successive CEOs and Boards. As FOIA documents show, during this same period, this was also occurring at the FAA. What Boeing has revealed for all to see and for all to come to terms with is the dishonesty that justifies and protects the shift from engineering & testing to a "faster-better-cheaper" model of production. Edit to add: This kind of statement does need a nuanced approach because "faster, better, cheaper" isn't necessarily worse. In fact the books by Greenberg etc., emphasize that both Airbus and Boeing copied one another's manufacturing and management approaches. It would be naive to expect and say that Airbus did not have many of the same challenges. Airbus was not without its problems in listening and its own scent of arrogance during the introduction of the A320. I know this aspect because I experienced it. And there were the "what's it doing now?" moments and "automation" accidents. The FAA voiced the view that there would be more B737 MAX accidents over the years; Why? It could be fairly asked, What would Boeing be today without the second MAX accident? This is why I think this issue needs the kind of examination that Vaughan brought to the Challenger accident. Whether Boeing survives or not is independant of these underlying forces which were always and already at work more than twenty years ago. Whether Boeing survives or not depends upon whether the present and future leaders take the lesson they have been handed in the B787 and MAX troubles or lose it in the all-out fight to just survive. The reason I posted the Linked-in page above is to point directly to the problem with which Boeing must come to terms, or, like NASA repeating history with the loss of Columbia, "the MAX problem" will occur again. *From Greenberg, Edward S.; Grunberg, Leon; Sarah Moore; Patricia B. Sikora. Turbulence (Kindle Locations 418-424). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition:
  15. The lesson is an old one - "normalizing deviance" for the purposes of short-term, quarterly-report thinking. I regret that I don't agree. As Dylan wrote, money doesn't talk, it swears. It has already happened because lessons like this in the past have not been put into practise, as illustrated in the article on the Challenger accident above. This is the way American business practices work and there does not appear a disaster yet that gives them pause much longer than the daily news cycle. This one has staying power but in the face of power and wealth, not teaching power. Given stuff that has already happened like the Deep Water Horizon accident, Challenger and Columbia, the DC10 just by itself, the Opiod crisis promulgated by the healthcare industry including pharmaceuticals, etc., things have not changed. Given the possible profits and the best national & state governments money can buy, even a change in the Australian weather is dismissed as a temporarily hot day. Let's look at the learning opportunities. The following isn't hindsight bias: - a lot of people knew about these problems at Boeing as long ago as 2012 for the MAX and earlier for the B787 battery problem. They voiced concerns over the compromises within Boeing and the FAA a long time before these two disastrous and deadly "interventions" from their MAX design. Both Boeing and the FAA hid stuff and were dishonest with their technical people and the pilots who would fly their new aircraft. The CEO clearly lived in a different business ecology, the one being described here, and couldn't see what was actually wrong and no one could break through the thinking because it would be too expensive to stop production and re-assess the airplane. In discussions about this corporate disaster, I have heard comments from people who do design & engineering or who did this work at one time, and who led design teams, all at another manufacturer; - they quietly expressed the notion that they're glad they didn't or don't work in the American business environment with it's production pressures and growing scent of corruption between government agencies and corporate interests. They also observed that Boeing has seriously harmed the industry in terms of loss of trust and integrity, emphasizing that they derive no joy whatsoever in their competitor's troubles; the problems are far too serious to do so. To J.O.'s well-taken point, if we think about it, it's actually profitable and even fair to the shareholders to not cheat, not cut corners, to welcome healthy, informed dissent and to not ignore as inconvenient the valuable input from employees who really do know their stuff*, and cultivating too close a relationship with the regulator for the purpose of saving nickels and maintaining share prices. Long term profit is created simply by doing things right and holding oneself to account long before an accident or before the FBI, Congress and the flying public come into the picture to hold the entire lot to account. This will likely cost Boeing an unplanned-for $10B or more before the MAX is flying again and the shareholders have lost over 20% so far. Despite all the "reminders" and input made out of a sincere loyalty to their employer and their customers by employees and FAA staff alike, Boeing and the FAA forgot who they were, who they really worked for and what they did for a living. It seems so trite these days to say it, but they did so because they could, with impunity. * Turbulence: Boeing and the State of American Workers and Managers, Greenberg, Grunberg, Moore, Sikora