Don Hudson

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  1. From SWAPA, the Soutwest Airlines Pilots Assocation:
  2. Kasey, thanks for posting the link - for some, the AW&ST article is behind a paywall and is reproduced here in the interests of awareness of Boeing's progress. Boeing 737 MAX Return-To-Service Path Taking Shape Jun 16, 2019 Sean Broderick | Aviation Daily EMAIL Comments 4 As the 53rd Paris Air Show opens, industry remains in the dark about when the Boeing 737 MAX fleet will be cleared to fly again. But there are signs that Boeing is nearing the next key milestones on an increasingly emerging path to get the grounded fleet airborne. The manufacturer is working through questions posed by FAA, an independent technical advisory board and its own experts about the updated maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) software it is developing. Issues are being validated on the MAX e-cab engineering flight simulator, and a source with knowledge of the work tells Aviation Week that the e-cab sessions could wrap up within days. Once the simulation work is done, the stage should be set for a certification flight by FAA pilots. The flight is not expected to take place this week, the source said, but is likely to happen in June. The flight sets the stage for FAA to produce a key report for Boeing that the manufacturer must include in its final MCAS update package submission to the agency. Preparing the report will take at least a week, a source familiar with the process tells Aviation Week. Once the FAA has Boeing’s package, the agency is expected to review it for several weeks. FAA’s scrutiny will not focus on details such as software code, but rather ensuring regulatory compliance. While the agency and Boeing have been analyzing Boeing’s MCAS changes to help avoid any last-minute surprises, the agency's final-package review "will be more than a simple rubber-stamping exercise," the second source explains. Boeing’s package also will include training elements that meet FAA’s requirements. The agency is still reviewing comments on draft training standards made public in April, and must finalize those standards before Boeing can wrap up its training program. A key question is how simulator training on the MCAS’s operation and related failure scenarios will be integrated into the updated 737 instruction. U.S. pilot groups representing pilots at MAX operators American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines support adding simulator sessions, but have signaled that they can be part of recurrent training, instead of mandatory steps that must take place before the fleet returns to service. The baseline training on the MCAS should be very detailed, the pilots emphasize, and must include system functionality descriptions and videos that walk the crews through failure scenarios and related procedures. Once the FAA approves Boeing’s MCAS package and training, it will issue an airworthiness directive mandating installation of the software update. That would clear the way for the 72 MAXs operated by the three U.S. carriers to fly again. Estimates vary, but airlines are expected to need up to a month to re-integrate their aircraft, including the time needed to remove them from storage. CFM International Executive VP Allen Paxson, speaking to reporters on the eve of the Air Show, projected that engine-specific return-to-service work on the fleet’s Leap-1Bs would take about two days per aircraft. But each airline is different, and CFM’s dedicated teams are preparing for myriad approaches that meet specific customer needs. “Some customers may need their aircraft right away, while others may have leased aircraft and want to finish the leases,” he says. Southwest and American—which operate 34 and 24 MAXs, respectively--have removed the aircraft from their flight schedules through early September, which suggests that FAA’s all-clear would need to come by Aug. 1 or so to align with their current plans. Outside of the U.S., many questions remain. The European Aviation Safety Agency is conducting its own review of the MAX, and other regulators are expected to supplement the FAA’s work with their own analysis. This could set the stage for a phased return to service over several months. While a lack of consensus could harm public perception of the MAX’s safety, the fleet’s gradual re-integration could help Boeing and suppliers by allowing them to prioritize resources. The nearly 390 grounded MAXs are stored at 92 airports, and Boeing has 120 more MAXs built but not delivered that it is storing at several more locations. The MAX fleet was grounded in mid-March when regulators detected similarities in two fatal MAX accidents—Lion Air Fight 610 in October and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10—within five months. The MCAS, which provides automatic horizontal stabilizer inputs to enhance handling characteristics in certain flight profiles, was quickly identified as a contributor to both accident sequences. Boeing’s MCAS changes focus on improving its reliability and making it easier for pilots to over-ride.
  3. Podcast: When Will the Boeing 737 MAX Fly Again? May 16, 2019 Joe Anselmo, Sean Broderick and Guy Norris | Aviation Week & Space Technology Comments: Some key observations..., MAX will be ungrounded next month by the FAA, other regulators will definitely not follow, (understandably skirted the obvious question, "Why?"), Boeing parking lots getting full even in the paint lot & Texas, lots of resources dedicated to MAX so reduced resources for the new B777X, "MMA" (is that "mid-term model adjustment? - something like that?), subject broached, and a turn from MMA to the possibiliity of a B737 replacement is broached. Discussion about design philosophy, reasons for "simplicity" of MCAS is Boeing expected pilots would use "runaway" drill if MCAS broke, (even though Boeing never told pilots or anyone else about the system and how it worked), AW&ST's Sean Broderick is asked by the moderator, "With the benefit of hindsight...What did Boeing do wrong?"; some good & fair observations from Sean, very few weasel words. Guy Norris was asked same; some weasel phrases, a lot of softening words, like the phrase, "sort of", rather than just coming out and stating something, lots of hesitation, equivocations & use of "words not wanting to offend" stuff). It's a good listen if one is into the informality of podcasts.
  4. Boeing 737 MAX Training Changes Eyed And Simulator Time Considered May 14, 2019 Sean Broderick | Aviation Week & Space Technology As Boeing moves closer to wrapping up changes to the 737 MAX aimed at getting the grounded fleet back into service, training has become the focal point. One key consideration is whether simulator sessions should be added to the existing MAX pilot-training package based on lessons learned from the two fatal 737-8 accidents. A third round of public input on FAA-led Flight Standardization Board (FSB) draft recommendations closes May 15, and the comments are expected to help shape a final set of minimum training protocols for all operators to build upon. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) weighed in during the initial public-input window. While the pilots’ group may amend its recommendations, its original comments do not call for mandatory simulator training on the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) scenarios for 737 MAX pilots before they can fly. But ALPA told the FAA that simulator sessions may be a prudent step to cover emergency procedures linked to MCAS failure scenarios, and should, at a minimum, be included in recurrent training. “ALPA believes that operators must ensure that this system is trained in some method, and this case should be examined by the FSB,” the association’s comments say. “ALPA recognizes the current differences [between the 737 Next Generation and the MAX] are limited to Level B, however, it should be examined that another level of training may be appropriate to adequately [instruct pilots on] this system.” If computer-based Level B training is deemed sufficient, ALPA insists it should be “robust” and include not only system details and failure scenarios but also “visual and audio descriptions” and reenactments of recent similar occurrences. The union further says that “pilots should receive hands-on flight training on the MCAS during their next recurrent training opportunity or qualification course” as simulators become available. ALPA’s initial training recommendations include other additions to the draft document as well—most of which emphasize MCAS-related differences between the NG and the MAX. The MCAS was needed for certification purposes to enhance MAX pitch stability with slats and flaps retracted at very light weights and full aft center-of gravity (CG), ensuring the MAX handled like the NG. The system activates when the aircraft’s speed approaches threshold angle of attack (AOA), or stickshaker stall-warning activation, for the aircraft’s configuration and flight profile. The union wants the AOA Disagree alert message and its relation to the MCAS added to items given “special emphasis” in MAX training. The MCAS is fed by AOA data and activates when the data show the aircraft’s nose as being too high for the current flight profile. ALPA wants pilots to understand the link between AOA Disagree alerts, which will now be standard on primary flight displays for all MAXs, and the MCAS’ role of automatically moving the horizontal stabilizer to compensate for an AOA approaching aerodynamic stall. The union also wants MAX pilots to understand that nose-down stabilizer trim applied by the MCAS cannot be countered by pulling back on the yoke. The MCAS is an extension of the 737 speed trim system (STS), which automatically moves the stabilizer to ensure pitch is maintained as speed increases. On the NG, stick-force inputs override runaway trim, including the STS runaways. On the MAX, stick force overrides all runaway trim conditions; the MCAS does not. Boeing designed the MCAS to operate in the background, and both the company and the original FSB that worked on the model’s 2017 certification determined that special training on the system’s operation was not necessary. The system was not covered in flight manuals and was largely unknown to pilots outside of Boeing until the October 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610 (JT610). Boeing and the 2017 FSB team also determined that pilots would recognize an MCAS-related failure as a stabilizer runaway—a common air transport issue that pilots are trained to handle with a memorized checklist. But in each 737-8 accident sequence, the crew did not immediately diagnose the MCAS inputs—trigged by erroneous AOA data—as stabilizer runaway. The pilots countered the MCAS with manual electric trim inputs, which reset the MCAS and caused it to activate again based on the continued stream of faulty AOA data. Had the crews not used the electric trim, the MCAS system would not have activated repeatedly and so would not have led to uncontrollable dives. Boeing’s software update removes this function so that electric trim does not reset the MCAS, removing the possibility of it firing again based on faulty data. It also will update manuals to include details on the MCAS. ALPA, which represents pilots at U.S. MAX operator United Airlines and Canada’s WestJet, also advises that pilots practice as many MCAS-failure-related emergency scenarios as necessary to demonstrate competency, its initial comments reveal. Boeing’s first detailed explanation of the MCAS followed the JT610 accident aftermath and listed nine related “indications and effects” that could result from an AOA Disagree alert and possible MCAS activation. In a statement to Aviation Week, ALPA emphasizes that its recommendations could change, depending in part on what Boeing’s final package of MCAS updates and training modules includes. “ALPA has not yet determined whether or not simulator training will be necessary to return the 737 MAX to service and will continue to review any and all additional information as it becomes available,” the association says. “Until Boeing formally submits its plan to the FAA for consideration and approval, it is impossible to fully evaluate what actions will need to be taken to ensure the aircraft’s airworthiness.” Regardless of what the final FSB standards say, some regulators and individual operators are expected to incorporate MCAS-related simulator sessions into their training. Air Canada has said it is already using its MAX simulator—the only one in airline hands in North America—to run its 420 MAX pilots through MCAS-related scenarios. Regulators in Europe and China are among those that are expected to conduct independent reviews of the MCAS upgrades and related training—evaluations that could see their banning of MAX operations extend well into late this year and the return-to-service requirements go beyond what the FAA approves. Boeing is close to finalizing the MAX changes and presenting its conclusive package to the FAA. The last major step is certification flight tests of the MCAS 12.1.1 software. Boeing and the agency are working to complete the tests before a May 23 regulators-only meeting during which the FAA will present its work on evaluating the MCAS updates and respond to inquiries. The 370-aircraft operational MAX fleet has been grounded since mid-March, a direct result of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash on March 10. Boeing began working on the MCAS changes after the Lion Air accident.
  5. Ethiopian MAX Crash Simulator Scenario Stuns Pilots May 10, 2019 Sean Broderick | AW&ST Aviation Daily Wreckage from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Jemal Countess/Getty Images WASHINGTON—A simulator session flown by a U.S.-based Boeing 737 MAX crew that mimicked a key portion of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (ET302) accident sequence suggests that the Ethiopian crew faced a near-impossible task of getting their 737 MAX 8 back under control, and underscores the importance of pilots understanding severe runaway trim recovery procedures. Details of the session, shared with Aviation Week, were flown voluntarily as part of routine, recurrent training. Its purpose: practice recovering from a scenario in which the aircraft was out of trim and wanting to descend while flying at a high rate of speed. This is what the ET302 crew faced when it toggled cutout switches to de-power the MAX’s automatic stabilizer trim motor, disabling the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) that was erroneously trimming the horizontal stabilizer nose-down. In such a scenario, once the trim motor is de-powered, the pilots must use the hand-operated manual trim wheels to adjust the stabilizers. But they also must to keep the aircraft from descending by pulling back on the control columns to deflect the elevator portions of the stabilizer upward. Aerodynamic forces from the nose-up elevator deflection make the entire stabilizer more difficult to move, and higher airspeed exacerbates the issue. The U.S. crew tested this by setting up a 737-Next Generation simulator at 10,000 ft., 250 kt. and 2 deg. nose up stabilizer trim. This is slightly higher altitude but otherwise similar to what the ET302 crew faced as it de-powered the trim motors 3 min. into the 6 min. flight, and about 1 min. after the first uncommanded MCAS input. Leading up to the scenario, the Ethiopian crew used column-mounted manual electric trim to counter some of the MCAS inputs, but did not get the aircraft back to level trim, as the 737 manual instructs before de-powering the stabilizer trim motor. The crew also did not reduce their unusually high speed. What the U.S. crew found was eye-opening. Keeping the aircraft level required significant aft-column pressure by the captain, and aerodynamic forces prevented the first officer from moving the trim wheel a full turn. They resorted to a little-known procedure to regain control. The crew repeatedly executed a three-step process known as the roller coaster. First, let the aircraft’s nose drop, removing elevator nose-down force. Second, crank the trim wheel, inputting nose-up stabilizer, as the aircraft descends. Third, pull back on the yokes to raise the nose and slow the descent. The excessive descent rates during the first two steps meant the crew got as low as 2,000 ft. during the recovery. The Ethiopian Ministry of Transport preliminary report on the Mar. 10 ET302 accident suggests the crew attempted to use manual trim after de-powering the stabilizer motors, but determined it “was not working,” the report said. A constant trust setting at 94% N1 meant ET302’s airspeed increased to the 737 MAX’s maximum (Vmo), 340 kt., soon after the stabilizer trim motors were cut off, and did not drop below that level for the remainder of the flight. The pilots, struggling to keep the aircraft from descending, also maintained steady to strong aft control-column inputs from the time MCAS first fired through the end of the flight. The U.S. crew’s session and a video posted recently by YouTube’s Mentour Pilot that shows a similar scenario inside a simulator suggest that the resulting forces on ET302’s stabilizer would have made it nearly impossible to move by hand. Neither the current 737 flight manual nor any MCAS-related guidance issued by Boeing in the wake of the October 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610 (JT610), when MCAS first came to light for most pilots, discuss the roller-coaster procedure for recovering from severe out-of-trim conditions. The 737 manual explains that “effort required to manually rotate the stabilizer trim wheels may be higher under certain flight conditions,” but does not provide details. The pilot who shared the scenario said he learned the roller coaster procedure from excerpts of a 737-200 manual posted in an online pilot forum in the wake of the MAX accidents. It is not taught at his airline. Boeing’s assumption was that erroneous stabilizer nose-down inputs by MCAS, such as those experienced by both the JT610 and ET302 crews, would be diagnosed as runaway stabilizer. The checklist to counter runaway stabilizer includes using the cutout switches to de-power the stabilizer trim motor. The ET302 crew followed this, but not until the aircraft was severely out of trim following the MCAS inputs triggered by faulty angle-of-attack (AOA) data that told the system the aircraft’s nose was too high. Unable to move the stabilizer manually, the ET302 crew moved the cutout switches to power the stabilizer trim motors—something the runaway stabilizer checklist states should not be done. While this enabled their column-mounted electric trim input switches, it also re-activated MCAS, which again received the faulty AOA data and trimmed the stabilizer nose down, leading to a fatal dive. The simulator session underscored the importance of reacting quickly to uncommanded stabilizer movements and avoiding a severe out-of-trim condition, one of the pilots involved said. “I don’t think the situation would be survivable at 350 kt. and below 5,000 ft,” this pilot noted. The ET302 crew climbed through 5,000 ft. shortly after de-powering the trim motors, and got to about 8,000 ft.—the same amount of altitude the U.S. crew used up during the roller-coaster maneuvers—before the final dive. A second pilot not involved in the session but who reviewed the scenario’s details said it highlighted several training opportunities. “This is the sort of simulator experience airline crews need to gain an understanding of how runaway trim can make the aircraft very difficult to control, and how important it is to rehearse use of manual trim inputs,” this pilot said. While Boeing’s runaway stabilizer checklist does not specify it, the second pilot recommended a maximum thrust of 75% N1 and a 4 deg. nose-up pitch to keep airspeed under control. Boeing is developing modifications to MCAS, as well as additional training. Simulator sessions are expected to be integrated into recurrent training, and may be required by some regulators, and opted for by some airlines, before pilots are cleared to fly MAXs again. The MAX fleet has been grounded since mid-March, a direct result of the two accidents.
  6. ALPA: Simulator Time Not Needed To Un-Ground 737 MAX May 8, 2019 Sean Broderick | Aviation Daily WASHINGTON—The world’s largest pilots’ union will not ask FAA to require additional mandatory simulator training on maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) scenarios for 737 MAX pilots before they can fly, but will recommend it as part of routine recurrent training, Aviation Week has learned. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) will make its views known in comments on a draft of proposed minimum 737 training standards out for public comment. The Flight Standardization Board (FSB) draft report does not recommend simulator sessions as part of transition training for 737 Next Generation pilots upgrading to the MAX, opting for less costly computer-based training instead. A person with knowledge of ALPA’s comments tells Aviation Week that the pilots’ union will go a step further, calling for hands-on simulator training at the earliest scheduled opportunity. Under this scenario, MAX pilots would fly simulated MCAS-related scenarios within a year or so as MAX simulators become available, but not before they return to line operations once flight restrictions on the model are lifted. Some regulators are expected to require simulator training as conditions for removing their operations bans, and Air Canada has said it is already using its MAX simulator—the only one in airline hands in North America—to run its 420 MAX pilots through MCAS-related scenarios. ALPA’s training recommendations will include other additions to the draft document as well—most of them emphasizing MCAS-related differences between the NG and the MAX. The MCAS was needed for certification purposes to enhance pitch stability with slats and flaps retracted at very light weights and full aft center-of gravity (CG), ensuring the MAX handled like the NG. The system activates when the aircraft’s speed approaches threshold AOA, or stick-shaker stall-warning activation, for the aircraft’s configuration and flight profile. The union wants the AOA Disagree alert message and its relation to MCAS added to items given “special emphasis” in MAX training. The MCAS is fed by angle of attack (AOA) data, and activates when the data shows the aircraft’s nose as being too high for the current flight profile. ALPA wants pilots to understand the link between AOA Disagree alerts, which will now be standard on primary flight displays for all MAXs, and the MCAS’s role of automatically moving the horizontal stabilizer to compensate for an AOA approaching aerodynamic stall. The union also wants MAX pilots to understand that nose-down stabilizer trim applied by MCAS cannot be countered by pulling back on the yokes. The MCAS is an extension of the 737 speed trim system (STS), which automatically moves the stabilizer to ensure pitch is maintained as speed increases. On the NG, stick force inputs override runaway trim, including the STS runaways. On the MAX, stick force overrides all runaway trim conditions, but not MCAS. Boeing determined that allowing the MCAS to be countered by pulling back on the yoke could negate its purpose, so the column brake is bypassed when the MCAS is activated. Instead, the MCAS can be countered using yoke-mounted electric trim switches or, in extreme conditions, by toggling cutout switches that de-power the trim motors and using hand-cranked trim wheels. The public has until May 15 to comment on the draft FSB report. Approving it will be a key step in getting the MAX fleet back in the air, along with having regulators sign off on changes to the MCAS software that Boeing is finalizing. FAA said it will consider the public’s input before making a final decision on the FSB’s contents. “We are looking forward to reviewing all of the comments,” the agency said. The Air Line Pilots Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Regulators grounded the 370-aircraft operational fleet in mid-March following the second of two fatal MAX 8 accidents. The MCAS’s erroneous activation played a role in each accident. Boeing is modifying the system’s logic by adding triple redundant angle of attack validity checks to add data redundancy and reduce its authority to activate multiple times in certain scenarios and by limiting its stabilizer command authority to a single, proportionate nose down trim input. Boeing designed the MCAS to operate in the background and only if the aircraft were being operating in a small corner of the flight envelope. Both the company and the original FSB that worked on the model’s 2017 certification determined that special training on the system’s operation was not necessary. As a result, the system was not covered in flight manuals. The updates will add information on the system’s operation. Boeing and the 2017 FSB team also determined that pilots would recognize an MCAS-related failure as stabilizer runaway—a common air transport issue that pilots are trained to manage with a memorized checklist. But in both MAX 8 accident sequences, the crew did not immediately diagnose the MCAS inputs, trigged by erroneous AOA data, as stabilizer runaway. They countered the MCAS with manual electric trim inputs, which re-set the MCAS and caused it to activate again based on the continued stream of faulty AOA data. Had the crews not used the electric trim, the MCAS system would not have activated repeatedly, eventually leading to uncontrollable dives. Boeing’s software update removes this function so that electric trim does not re-set MCAS so that it cannot operate again based on faulty data. ALPA, which represents pilots at MAX operators United Airlines and WestJet, also will advise that pilots practice as many MCAS-failure-related emergency scenarios as necessary to demonstrate competency. Boeing’s explanation of MCAS following the first accident, Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018, listed nine related “indications and effects” that could result from an AOA Disagree alert and possible MCAS activation. While the FSB still must be finalized, mandatory simulator training before qualified 737NG pilots fly the MAX is not expected to be part of the package. “At this point, we’re not hearing that [simulator training] will be a requirement,” Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said recently. “Just getting pilots back into the simulator for an event would be a challenge, and that would take time. But my own interpretation is that we already do the kind of training that one would be contemplating to put the MAX back into service. Managing the aircraft in a runaway stabilizer scenario is something that we already trained on and…has already been covered.”
  7. A timely examination of a topic relevant to these two accidents: The Role of Alerting System Failures in Loss of Control Accidents CAST SE-210 Output 2 Report 3 of 6 Randall J. Mumaw1, Loran A. Haworth1, and Michael S. Feary2 Executive Summary This report is part of a series of reports that address flight deck design and evaluation, written as a response to loss of control accidents. In particular, this activity is directed at failures in airplane state awareness in which the pilot loses awareness of the airplane’s energy state or attitude and enters an upset condition. In a report by the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, an analysis of accidents and incidents related to loss of airplane state awareness determined that hazard alerting was not effective in producing the appropriate pilot response to a hazard (CAST, 2014). In the current report, we take a detailed look at 28 airplane state awareness accidents and incidents to determine how well the hazard alerting worked. We describe a five-step integrated alerting-to-recovery sequence that prescribes how hazard alerting should lead to effective flight crew actions for managing the hazard. Then, for each hazard in each of the 28 events, we determine if that sequence failed and, if so, how it failed. The results show that there was an alerting failure in every one of the 28 safety events, and that the most frequent failure (20/28) was tied to the flight crew not orienting to (not being aware of) the hazard. The discussion section summarizes findings and identifies alerting issues that are being addressed and issues that are not currently being addressed. We identify a few recent upgrades that have addressed certain alerting failures. Two of these upgrades address alerting design, but one response to the safety events is to upgrade training for approach to stall and stall recovery. We also describe issues that need additional attention: the need for improved alert integration for flight path management hazards, airplanes in the fleet that do not meet the current alerting regulations, a lack of innovation for addressing cases of channelized attention, and existing vulnerabilities in managing data validity.
  8. blues, I think most passengers don't know what airplane they're in. Safety announcments I've heard mention the type but many don't get the Emergency Card out and read it. I think fares have more impact than aircraft type.
  9. subscriber FAA could clear Boeing 737 MAX to fly again within weeks April 26, 2019 at 1:17 pm Updated April 26, 2019 at 1:46 pm Dominic Gates By Dominic Gates Seattle Times aerospace reporter The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could clear Boeing’s 737 MAX to fly again late next month or early June, according to a person familiar with the safety agency’s latest thinking. If the FAA gives the green light that soon — much more quickly than many analysts have predicted — airlines would still need weeks to get their planes ready and their pilots trained. But the timetable, which assumes no unforeseen developments, means U.S. carriers could have the MAX flying passengers again by early August. That likely timeline was confirmed by a second person close to the discussions. At a crucial meeting of the heads of civil-aviation authorities from around the world convened by the FAA on May 23, the U.S. regulatory agency is expected to outline its finalized safety analysis in an attempt to foster international consensus. Unless some new issues are discovered, the FAA anticipates telling the assembled foreign regulators that it’s “in a position to clear the aircraft for service sometime in the near vicinity of that meeting,” potentially as early as a week later, said the person familiar with FAA’s latest thinking. . . . .
  10. TWO great-grandbabies?! How wonderful for you, Greg! Please say hello to your son & family for us. We have 3 GB's, 4, 2 & 4mo...we're often a hundred-and-an-eighth in coloring books, toys & 95-110db these days - ! Yes, the Neo...never understood the switch to a 1966 cable-&-pulley bread-and-butter type. I hope it works out for Boeing, and all the airlines that trusted and bought the airplane, but truly, it's an organizational & design/engineering lesson that never should have needed learning.
  11. Hi Greg; The splash-screen seen here in the link to the video posted by Jaydee is a clear illustration of the change in the engine/cowling arrangement, (a "btw", IEEE is a technical/profession/engineering association of which the gentleman who wrote the article is a member.) From the article: The last statement about the raised thrust line being the cause of the pitch up does not make sense. A thrust line that is closer to the longitudinal centerline of the fuselage does not increase force, it reduces it, so the statement is wrong right away without examining the actual design. The higher thrust line is not the reason MCAS was required. It is stated that the increased area of the engine cowlings providing an increase in lift at higher AoA's. This lift came just at the point where the older Boeings would be providing a heavier control column feel to the pilots, which certification standards, (CFR 25.173, I have seen quoted, pasted below), required. On the MAX, as speed reduced and the stall AoA was approached, a certain, required "pull" on the control column was not evident, so Boeing used the MCAS solution to provide this additional pull, which was necessary if the single B737 "type" was to be retained. They just don't appear to have done an "FMEA" when designing/building the system. MCAS action is intermittent, and if the trim wheels are seen rotating right after takeoff, it's the same as STS, (Speed Trim System) operation which is designed to force the pilot to trim out the artificial-feel forces as speed increases. Since the late 60's, we've been trained to recognize a runaway stabilizer as a continuous event, not an intermitent one with "intervals" of operation, which do not raise awareness, signal danger or provide a hint of what's actually happening, particularly when the crew is trying to determine why the stick shaker is activated and the airspeeds appear unreliable. Cheers as always, Greg!
  12. blues, re, "Interesting scrape marks.", yes, and also on the corner of the aileron, perhaps while it was full-down?...(brrrrrr). I have had the experience, once, of "running out of aileron" in a cross-wind in YYC, (A320) while the airplane kept rolling. It would be at the point where the airplane was likely in Direct Law, and I suspect this A321 was in the process of entering Normal Law...I'd have to get out the books. Oh,...wait,...
  13. It's not possible to know/predict the chances of that happening, but the drill is to hold the trim wheel & re-trim to neutral and continue to trim using the manual trim wheels as required.
  14. Both AoA sensors are used by the FCCs on alternate flight legs. The switch between left & right is accomplished through WoW sensing. One hopes the change includes some resiliency in a brittle system that breaks quickly and badly and instead fails gracefully, permitting crews time to assess what kind of runaway they're dealing with - continuous, or by 5" intervals which mimicks STS behaviour after lift-off. Along with comparison software that stops just the MCAS with an AoA disagreement of say, > 5°, one hopes there is clarity for crews on what the cut-off switches actually do. I believe they're both shut off now in the Runaway drill?
  15. j.k., agree with your comments. Also, at time 2:56, the video misleads viewers on the fundamental reason for the existence of MCAS on the MAX. Quote: "Except, moving the engines up on the 737 had a side effect. When the 737 was at full thrust, like during takeoff, the nose tended to point too far upward which can lead to a stall. This was a problem because these planes were supposed to behave like the old ones." end quote. They show the reason for the engine arrangement on the MAX quite well, but the statement regarding thrust & stalling at takeoff defies physics - moving the thrust line higher and thus closer to the longitudinal center of the fuselage, (or just above the floor-line) reduces, not increases, the effect of thrust line. The reason for MCAS is, the increased cowling area for the LEAP engine produced sufficient lift so as to render too-light a response when the a/c was nearing entry to the stall, (discovered in early flight tests). The reduced 'feel' of the CC did not conform to design standards under which the type was certified (in 1966). To be certifiable under the same type, it had to be demonstrated that the MAX had the same response as all previous B737s. Keeping same type was crucial to the sale of the aircraft. MCAS, which produced the required "heavier" control feel was Boeing's solution. This is all simplified I know. The false statement in the video invites an incorrect conclusion regarding the stall warning/stick shaker at takeoff on both accident aircraft, which occur for entirely different reasons to do with the left AoA sensor and possibly the left FCC.
  16. There is lots of scaffolding, meaning renovations were taking place.
  17. A manned giant six-engine aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan – surpassing Howard Hughes’s infamous Spruce Goose – took off from California on its first flight on Saturday. The twin-fuselage Stratolaunch jet lifted off from Mojave air and space port and climbed into the desert sky 70 miles north of Los Angeles. It successfully landed two hours later. The aircraft is designed to carry as many as three satellite-laden rockets under the centre of its enormous wing, which stretches 385ft, or 117 metres.
  18. Okay, there it is, confirmed, many thanks thinair.
  19. Seattle Times With close industry ties, FAA safety chief pushed more delegation of oversight to Boeing April 14, 2019 at 6:00 am By Dominic Gates Seattle Times aerospace reporter In 2012 the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General sent investigators to interview Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) technical staff in Renton, where engineers working under manager Ali Bahrami were responsible for certifying new planes developed by Boeing. The investigation substantiated employee allegations that FAA managers did not always support efforts by their technical experts to ensure Boeing complied with safety rules. It found “a negative work environment” where safety engineers feared retaliation “for attempting to hold Boeing accountable.” Now, two fatal crashes of Boeing’s 737 MAX have brought new scrutiny to the close-knit relations between the regulatory agency and the industry, to the FAA’s practice of delegating most safety analysis for new Boeing airliners to Boeing itself, and to shortfalls in the FAA’s final oversight role. With the MAX crisis jolting public faith in both Boeing and the FAA, Bahrami, now the executive at FAA headquarters in Washington D.C. specifically tasked with ensuring aviation safety, faces the daunting task of restoring confidence in his agency and in the process of certifying aircraft as safe. Hank Krakowski, former chief operating officer at the FAA, says, “Ali, coming from the certification branch in Seattle, is uniquely qualified to manage through this current situation.” But Michael Collins, a just-retired aerospace safety engineer who worked under Bahrami here, sees him as representing what’s gone wrong at the FAA. “He helped foster a culture among management in Seattle of delegating more than the FAA technical specialists were comfortable with,” said Collins. “When the FAA’s safety engineers had an opinion different from Boeing’s, he tended to side with Boeing.” Personifying tight FAA/industry relations Bahrami, 64, was born in Iran and came to the U.S for his education not long before Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution. That year, having already earned a B.S. degree in engineering, he completed his M.S. at the University of Michigan and like many educated Iranian exiles decided not to return to his newly theocratic homeland. Instead, he took a job as an engineer with Douglas Aircraft in southern California, where he spent 10 years. Bahrami joined the FAA as an engineer in 1989, then rose to become in 2004 manager of the Transport Airplane Directorate in Renton, which oversees the safety of the operating fleet of U.S. commercial aircraft as well as the certification of new airplane models. During his tenure in Renton, Bahrami spearheaded efforts to delegate more inspection and certification work to industry, and specifically to outsource much of the safety analysis of new Boeing jets to Boeing itself. In 2013, Bahrami made a move reflecting the tightly intertwined relationship between regulator and industry. Just months after overheated batteries in flight caused the worldwide grounding of Boeing’s recently introduced 787 Dreamliner — a jet that Bahrami had shepherded through certification — he left the FAA for a lucrative lobbying job as a vice president of the Aerospace Industries Association,representing the big U.S. aerospace companies. That fall, testifying for the trade group before the House Subcommittee on Aviation, he painted the regulatory process as too slow and asked for changes to make it “more responsive to industry.” “We urge the FAA to allow maximum use of delegation,” Bahrami told Congress, now wearing an industry hat. “It would be detrimental to our competitiveness if foreign manufacturers are able to move improved products into the marketplace more quickly.” Then in 2017, he returned to the FAA executive ranks at just one level below the top job: Based at FAA headquarters, he’s now associate administrator for aviation safety, overseeing 7,200 employees and a budget of $1.3 billion. Former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman Jim Hall succinctly summed up his view of Bahrami: “He’s been the agent for Boeing’s self-certification.” Bahrami, in emailed responses to questions, defended the delegation of safety analyses to Boeing and other private companies, and disputed Hall’s characterization. “Delegation is not self certification,” he said. “Our staff remains engaged throughout the certification process.” The U.S. aviation system, he insisted, “has never been safer.” Boeing controls certification Today’s reality is that when Boeing designs a new airplane, almost all the hands-on safety evaluations and tests are done by employees of Boeing or Boeing’s suppliers who are authorized to represent the FAA. These Authorized Representatives (ARs) file written documents that are then evaluated for compliance and signed off by FAA technical specialists. A Seattle Times investigation published last month showed that the safety analysis of a new flight control system on the 737 MAX that played a major role in the fatal crashes of a Lion Air jet last October and an Ethiopian Airlines jet last month was done entirely by Boeing. In addition, FAA engineers complained of being asked to delegate even more of the work to Boeing than originally agreed and of a constant schedule pressure during MAX certification. They said they were often given insufficient time to finish the evaluations — which in that case were sometimes signed off not by the technical staff but by managers or even just delegated back to Boeing for a final decision. In the case of the MAX’s suspect flight control system — called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS — as a result of flight testing in the final year of certification, Boeing made significant changes to how it worked, including in certain circumstances increasing by a factor of four the system’s authority to move the horizontal tail so as to push down the nose of the plane. Those changes were never communicated back to the FAA technical staff, who had seen only a system safety analysis prepared before the changes. Drawing on Boeing’s expertise As the 2012 Inspector General (IG) investigation indicates, there was constant tension throughout Bahrami’s tenure as FAA boss in Renton between the agency’s technical staff, who wanted stringent application of the safety regulations, and managers who pressed for more speed and ever more delegation to Boeing. Mike McRae, a former senior aerospace engineer at the local FAA office, retired in 2013, a month before Bahrami left for his four-year stint working for industry. McRae said he retired unhappy with the direction of the safety agency and management’s lack of support for technical staff. He described Bahrami as a very capable bureaucrat who merely implemented the policy of increased delegation that was pushed from FAA headquarters. When Bahrami came in as boss, the policy was already firmly in place, mandated by Congress under heavy lobbying from Boeing and other giant aerospace companies. “He was a product of that culture,” said McRae. “He was inclined to delegate more. He thought we had to get the companies to take more responsibility for safety.” “That’s not irrational,” he said. “Delegation is an unfortunate necessity. You can’t fund an old-school regulatory FAA.” But McRae added, “I personally think they took it too far.” Bahrami himself argued, both from inside the FAA and when he spoke for industry, that there’s no alternative to delegation. The FAA has only about 1,300 personnel in its certification offices around the country, compared to the 56,000 engineers at Boeing. At a 2013 NTSB hearing after the 787 was grounded due to overheating lithium-ion batteries, Bahrami testified that he had only 20 to 25 staff working on the jet’s certification, so the FAA had to rely on 950 Boeing ARs to oversee and approve the detailed work. FAA personnel who certified the 787 never visited the battery manufacturer in Japan nor the company in France that designed the surrounding battery system. Boeing ARs handled all of that. And two IG audits have turned up shortcomings in the broader delegation process. An audit in 2011 found 45 instances between 2005 and 2008 where the agency had not carefully reviewed certification plans in advance, including one plan that didn’t comply with the regulations governing aircraft flight controls. A 2015 audit revealed that the previous year the agency had performed direct oversight of only 4 percent of the ARs conducting certification work on behalf of the FAA at aerospace suppliers. Bahrami co-chaired an extensive review of the airplane certification process in 2012. Tellingly, he was the only FAA representative on the review committee along with eight representatives of industry. The co-chair was Christine Thompson, a senior manager of Boeing’s airplane certification organization. That review recommended that because “the FAA has limited capacity,” it should “maximize delegation to the greatest extent.” A year later, now testifying for the industry, Bahrami told the House committee that due to lack of resources and budget the FAA simply cannot perform all the technical audits required to certify planes as safe. “Expecting FAA to keep pace with industry … is not in the realm of possibilities,” he said. Answering questions this month via email Bahrami said that this delegation of work to industry “enables regulators to leverage expertise at manufacturers’ facilities.” He added that the shortage of engineers throughout the aviation industry means the public sector must compete with the private sector in attracting talent. “Given the complex nature of today’s aviation products, it is virtually impossible for regulators to have all necessary expertise in every FAA office throughout the country, especially when global manufacturing models continue to evolve and grow,” Bahrami wrote. Mo Yahyavi, a former top executive at Boeing who ran the 747-8 program while that big jet was being certified in 2010, said Bahrami came with his team and toured the Everett production line as the test planes were being built, to verify and validate Boeing’s work on the design and testing. “I really was impressed with the guy as a hands-on person and trustful,” said Yahyavi. Earlier in his career, Yahyavi was himself designated an FAA representative at Boeing specializing in propulsion systems, and was given extra training for that role in how to interpret and define how the jet’s software worked with its mechanical systems. He said ARs at Boeing all have such specialized expertise. “There’s no way a certification organization like the FAA can understand and verify and validate everything by itself. They depend on the manufacturer’s engineers.” “The system was working,” Yahyavi concluded. “I wouldn’t change anything.” The gold standard of air safety Until the MAX crashes, regulation of aviation safety in the U.S., where 2.6 million passengers fly every day, has been the model for every other country. The last commercial passenger airplane lost in a crash in U.S. airspace was 10 years ago. In the decade since, airlines have flown 7.4 billion passengers safely to their destinations on 90 million U.S.-regulated flights with exactly one passenger death: on a Southwest Airlines 737 last year when an engine disintegration in flight blew out a window. That’s a remarkable record, not even closely approached by any other form of transportation. Former NTSB chair Hall believes the historically high level of air safety is based on years of experience and care, that’s now at risk from excessive delegation to industry. He points to the Volkswagen emissions scandal as evidence that “greed drives industry to do things that do not benefit society.” And he’s not impressed by Bahrami’s argument that the FAA doesn’t have the resources. “I have a hard time understanding anyone who sells increased industry participation by essentially saying that the agency he represents is incapable of doing its job,” said Hall. “Safety depends on checks and balances,” he added. “When you don’t have the checks in place, things get out of balance.” In the wake of the two MAX crashes, Congress has been scrambling to hold hearings and demand accountability. The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has requested records from Boeing and the FAA as part of its investigation into the 737 MAX certification process. And yet Congress itself has backed that process, with prodding from the industry. The latest legislation, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, passed into law just weeks before the Lion Air crash last October, requires the FAA to “delegate fully” unless the head of the agency determines there is specific public safety reason to limit the delegation. In such a case, the FAA is instructed to work with the industry partner to return it to full authority. Furthermore, if any certification glitch occurs to slow down an airplane program, the FAA must automatically elevate the issue to management and resolve it within a time period agreed with the manufacturer. Hall says the reason for such provisions is straightforward: The heavy lobbying of Congress by Boeing and other aerospace companies. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the ultimate boss of the FAA, is the wife of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. But the influence is bipartisan. In the late 1990s, the deputy FAA administrator and for a time acting administrator was Linda Hall Daschle, wife of U.S. Senator Tom Daschle, then Democratic Senate Minority Leader. Linda Daschle left the FAA to work as an aerospace lobbyist. Former FAA chief operating officer Krakowski defends the role of manufacturers in ensuring the safety of their own products. While there is always commercial pressure to meet schedules, he said, jet manufacturers face a more existential pressure to make their airplanes safe. “If you don’t, the ramifications for Boeing and the airlines are evident right now” with the MAX crisis, he said. “I think there is a moral driver (to protect passengers) that Boeing does understand, but also, from a business point of view, the consequences they are living with right now are an additional driver.” Yet somehow, this complex safety ecosystem failed on the MAX. Krakowski said that the missed flaws in the MCAS flight control system that seem to have caused both recent crashes mean something went wrong not only at Boeing and the FAA, but also at the major airlines, where the flight technical departments “typically know every nut and bolt on the airplane and how it should operate.” “All three own a piece of this. Nobody raised a hand and said, wait a minute, let’s talk more about this system,” he said. “I’m thunderstruck nobody caught this.”
  20. Gosh, I don't know what's acceptable anymore conehead. We are in a period of great flux. As my brother, an electrical engineer, says with a smile, "That's the wonderful thing about standards: there are so many to choose from." To me anyway, the Boeing manuals I have experience with are thin on information. The details of what a control or indicator actually does and how it works are absent. I think there is less than even pilot-NTK information but that's just my view. I know the reasons, one of which Boeing itself stated recently with regard to MCAS. So, for the 250 turns, I have two was a PPRuNe post on the Ethiopian thread, and the other was a site where someone was building their own flight-simulator and made the statement regarding "250 turns". Kip's mental filing cabinet may very well be functioning perfectly! One way or another, people will find things out, fill stuff in or, these days it seems to me, with increasing legitimacy, just make up the information they want or need. It's always best that original, formal sources, (the manufacturers, the regulator, etc.), share as much as they can when working in high-risk enterprises. Otherwise, trust in information, (and resulting behaviours) become an issue as we "choose" our standard then claim we've met it. Not a good way to do aviation, in my opinion.
  21. Yes, I think that's a reasonable notion. On turns of the wheel, I've read that it takes 250 turns to go from full NU to full ND, (17°), or 14.7 turns for one degree or 0.068° per turn. That is not verified in any manual to which I have access, but if it's that, one can understanding giving the method up and turning the system back on again. If it's 40-45 turns for 17°, then its just over a third-of-a-degree per turn. I suspect the mechanical advantage, (ratio of 1 turn to how much the stab moves) would be small and the wheel would be very difficult to move. As shown in the traces with the last two blips of trim, the Pitch Trim parameter moves so the CC trim switches worked, which I believe is evidence that the manual method would have worked but not fast and probably not easily. - they had a long way to wind the trim ANU at ~15 turns per degree. I don't know how units and degrees relate - and I could be using "degrees" when it might be "units". Again, there is no information in the AMM, the AOM or the FCTM.
  22. Hi Kip; Yep, got that, thanks. As I expressed in my previous post to Turbofan, “Main electric” would of course be the control column switches." But that illustrates why I wrote the full descriptions in red font in the original post of the article from AW&ST - the article uses the term "manual" when referring to the trim wheels but conflates the term "manual" when applied to the trim switches on the control column because they're manipulated by hand even as they are controlling an electrically-driven, (primary) trim system. edited to add: There is further confusion regarding manual & electric trim - it is claimed, (but without verifiable evidence yet) that the manual trim wheels could not be moved. One theory is, "HS stall due high loads on the trim mechanism due high airspeed". But the trim moved ANU when the crew used the CC trim switches, (indicating, along with MCAS input, that the cut-off switches had been moved back to their normal position). Manual trim using the wheels doesn't work but electric does? Why? On Woody's comment, yes, got that too but probably didn't express it very well. It makes complete/logical sense that if the trim has run away due MCAS and nothing was done until time had passed, then when the trim is cut off by the CUTOFF switches, it freezes the system with whatever trim was in prior to using the switches. That's why the NNC states to trim neutral then cut-off the trim, (but, and Woody makes this point), the FAA AD doesn't emphasize the highly-critical importance of trimming the pitch to neutral right away and then cutting off the trim system. That's the key of course, and I agree with Woody that the wording is weak and buried, but it isn't confusing - it's just obscured in all the blather of the FAA's original and subsequent ADs. This goes back to the absence of any information and therefore training for a system that controls the most powerful flight control on the aircraft which has the potential for loss of the aircraft under certain, previously-latent conditions.
  23. Hi Woody; Minor point, the Boeing FCOM wording is from the FAA Emergency AD's issued November 07, 2018 and December 21, 2018 as a revision to the AFM, (Airplane Flight Manual). It is obviously impossible to trim if the cut-off switches have been moved to CUT-OFF without trimming first, but the wording in the AD is to ensure neutral trim prior to doing so*. If I understand what you meant by, " manual trimming may be impossible ", I don't think trimming to neutral using the manual trim switches on the control column would be impossible purely due to high loads on the HS. Stabilizer 'blow-back' can occur with a "ball-screw" arrangement, (vice a screw-jack) but there are two brakes on the HS mechanism that are released whenever the electric trim or the manual-wheel trim is used. I believe that electric trim was available because there is slight HS movement concurrent with the last two blips of ANU electric trim, (resetting the MCAS which dutifully re-trims AND for ~6" resulting in the final dive). * There is no statement in the AD or the FCOM requiring that the procedures (in Fig.2 & the Runaway Stabilizer NNC) set out/referenced in the FAA AD are to be executed by memory. The FAA and Boeing leave it to individual airlines and crews to decide how to handle these procedures. Runaway stabilizer NNC: FAA AD revision: *
  24. The terms “manual trim” have been sources of confusion and Boeing’s FCOM hasn’t made it clearer. For the AW&ST article, when referring to trim, the author accompanies the term, "manual" with a description of which manual trim is being used, the control column switches or the center console trim wheels. Take a look at the AW&ST article, re-posted with descriptions of which "manual" trim is in use, (red font). The term "manual trim" is used in five places in which "switches" or "wheel" are not specified, and one place in which the Boeing’ runaway stabilizer checklist is referenced as, “control aircraft pitch attitude manually with control column and main electric trim as needed,”. “Main electric” would of course be the control column switches. I used red font in the original article below, clarifying what “manual trim” is being referenced. Apologies if it seems a bit pedantic. It was the only way I could get it clear in my own mind... So, yes, they could trim the aircraft manually using the control column switches until they used the cut-off switches. Why they couldn't use the manual trim wheels on the center console has not been determined, but one reason may be the rate at which these wheels change the revolution is about 0.07deg of HS trim, or, 1deg change using the wheels takes almost 15 turns.* Also, from what I have read, it's easier to rapidly turn the wheel, (handle extended), from the left seat than the right. This may have to do with simply being right or left handed. And yes, they could have used the manual (switches) trim right up to the end. This is verified by the albeit-tiny change, that the two manual-switch inputs by the crew changed the HS position. Full HS range using manual trim wheel = 17deg It takes 250 turns to go from stop to stop.