Don Hudson

Donating Member
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by Don Hudson

  1. Hi Malcolm - I try to stay away from arguing from testimonials and fixed points. I think Dr. Fauci's approach makes sufficient sense to support healthy decisions for oneself, one's family, friends and one's chosen "bubble".

    But I understand the resistance and the anger at "being told by one's country's elected leaders that one 'must do this or that...' " In one way, the resistance is logical because we still live in a democracy. Even though we adhere to the social contract most times, we are unaccustomed to "being told directly", and the resistance is "in the beast" of democracy.

    So it takes a leap-of-faith to accept the conclusions of science. Now isn't that an irony!

    "Obeying" in the face of a logical, reasoned argument isn't "caving", it is using one's innate intelligence and life experience and sometimes one's imagination, to decide upon one's actions. We fly airplanes and carry passengers using established principles, deeply respecting out of experience, the complete indifference of aviation as to whether we all survive on any one day, or not. Aviation's record is spectacularly successful because of this respectful, knowledgable behaviour.

    Like Honey Badger, life don't care if you live or not. It's a cold-bucket-of-water decision one must make for oneself and those one is responsible for. We don't step out into traffic without looking, we dress warmly in cold weather, and we enforce those rules with our children. The virus is different in only one way: -because we can and do spread this virus easily and swiftly, we ARE our brothers' keeper until these circumstances no longer apply and our decisions no longer have deadly material outcomes beyond our own skin.

    Aviation got safe when people obeyed its principles. Economies get better when people do. You do what you can when there are no cures, only prevention.

    All these principles of survival are under severe challenge but only by opinion, and it is not time yet, to rely upon a vaccine to solve a world-wide problem.


    • Like 1
  2. 11 minutes ago, boestar said:

    There is a disconnect when working remotely.  I am currently working remote and while I love the commute, I do not feel in tune with the whole operation. 

    I think this will rapidly become obvious for those shareholder/owner/management personnel who make these decisions. They really should approach such changes with thought and with caution.

    In the end this is a corporate risk-management decision and not merely a "new", physical restructuring of the way business might be conducted, (increased efficiencies, lower costs, online communications & conferencing tools are all the usual reasons cited).

    The disconnectedness you mention, I know is, in fact, a reality even now being expressed by those trying to function within a "virtual headquarters". I think as soon as practical & safe, bringing people back together again in a complex organization is necessary.

    The lesson from the Boeing story is straightforward: both horizontally and laterally in the corporate structure, engender & facilitate the personal, when it comes to expressing disagreement, dissent and possible realistic alternative solutions to the problem at hand. CRM was created in the early 90's for a reason and it works.


  3. The notion of the "home office" fails to take into account our very nature as a social creature. There is a significant disruption & disconnect without "the water-cooler" or the mini-townhall round which all kinds of issues are raised and sometimes even resolved!

    We are already seeing serious personal health issues not directly related to COVID but nevertheless resulting from the isolation of the past ten months. What's more, even following the usual Dr. Fauci rules, there is no let-up from the requirement of social isolation without risk of serious resurgence of the virus, as is being demonstrated now, Europe being the latest example; let us hope that the Canada-U.S. border remains closed, particularly now given our own case-increases.

    A very few jobs, professions or temporary work engagements may lend themselves to the notion of the "home office", but most corporate work is necessarily collaborative, and work that is highly-technical which also as risk & safety components (such as making airplanes...), demonstrably benefits from the operations & commercial people being able to "walk down the hall" to the engineers, planners and safety people to discuss a problem. The fact that Boeing's changed culture crushed those kinds of dialogues is beside the point - interventions were offered and dismissed with predictable results. Sometimes the interruptions that occur in a busy office, while cited as being annoying, can actually lead to "progress" but not in a formal way.

    Anyway, because they can, corporations will try, over time, to dump the bricks-&-mortar of office buildings and the expenses of creating/maintaning such, onto employees but I think comments like Super 80's above, will be the result!

    • Thanks 1
  4. From the article:



    If we had listened to the FAA and Boeing we would have settled for making modifications to the MCAS which was the contributing factor for both accidents.”

    EASA is now finalizing its work on the MAX following the completion of inflight tests, which [EASA Director-general Patrick] Ky said “went well.”

    Ky also said that, looking to the future, EASA would look at the Boeing 777X with “increased vigilance.”


    Also, no mention of EASA's previous comments regarding EICAS.

  5. Friends with whom I've discussed the MAX believe that the Europeans, (EASA) may not be willing to certify the aircraft until it has a crew alerting system. The reasoning behind this thinking is, every aircraft built in the past four decades has had such a system except the B737, and it has been argued that the absence of such an alerting system contributed substantially to the crew confusion in both MAX accidents. Both JTAR & Congressional Committee Reports reinforce this. Boeing argued strenuously and long against the EICAS requirement due fleet commonality, training & development costs.

    QF32 was mentioned in exchanges as an clear example of a "save" by the crew alerting system, (ECAM).

    I doubt at this point that such views would permit re-certification while an EICAS is in development" regardless of what the FAA does.

  6. Apologies if this has been posted previously - From a link in the previous article above:


    Boeing whistleblower alleges systemic problems with 737 MAX

    June 18, 2020 at 4:40 pm Updated June 18, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    Investigators at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX crashed shortly after takeoff on March 10, 2019. All MAX jets were... (Mulugeta Ayene / Associated Press) More


    Dominic Gates

    Seattle Times aerospace reporter

    A Boeing engineer who last year lodged an internal ethics complaint alleging serious shortcomings in development of the 737 MAX has written to a U.S. Senate committee asserting that systemic problems with the jet’s design “must be fixed before the 737 MAX is allowed to return to service.”

    The letter to the Senate, a copy of which was obtained by The Seattle Times, was written by engineer Curtis Ewbank, a 34-year-old specialist in flight-deck systems whose job when the MAX was in early stages of development involved studying past crashes and using that information to make new planes safer.

    His letter, sent earlier this month, argues that it’s not enough for Boeing to fix the flawed Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that’s known to have brought down the aircraft in two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

    “I have no doubt the FAA and lawmakers are under considerable pressure to allow the 737 MAX to return to service as quickly as possible and as soon as the public MCAS flaw is fixed,” Ewbank told the Senate.  “However, given the numerous other known flaws in the airframe, it will be just a matter of time before another flight crew is overwhelmed by a design flaw known to Boeing and further lives are senselessly lost.”

    He goes on to suggest similar shortcomings in the flight-control systems may affect the safety of Boeing’s forthcoming 777X widebody jet.

    Ewbank’s letter also reveals that he has been interviewed about his concerns by the FBI, which suggests his allegations have at least been considered as part of the Justice Department’s probe into what went wrong on the 737 MAX and whether the actions of anyone at Boeing were criminal.

    He mentions he has also delivered details of his allegations to the lead investigator on the U.S. House Committee on Transportation, chaired by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.

    In 2014, during early work on the MAX’s development, Ewbank worked unsuccessfully to have Boeing upgrade the MAX’s flight-control systems by adding a new data measurement system called Synthetic Airspeed that would have served as a check on multiple sensors. If it had been implemented, he believes it might have prevented the fatal crashes.

    Ewbank’s original internal ethics complaint, first reported last October by The Seattle Times, alleged that Boeing rejected his safety upgrades because of management’s focus on schedule and cost considerations and the insistence that anything that might require more pilot training would not be considered.

    He also alleged that Boeing pushed regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to relax certification requirements for the airplane, particularly in regard to the cockpit systems for alerting pilots that something is wrong inflight.

    Those systems on the MAX have been under scrutiny because during the two fatal MAX crashes that killed 346 people, pilots struggled to understand the cascade of warnings in their cockpits.

    ‘Hand-waving and deception’

    Ewbank’s letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation was sent June 5, ahead of a public hearing Wednesday that featured scathing criticism of FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson for his agency’s lack of progress in addressing the lapses of oversight in certifying the MAX.

    Ewbank criticizes not only Boeing for its design of the MAX but also the FAA for approving the design without proper oversight.

    “The 737 MAX’s original certification was accomplished with hand-waving and deception to hide the numerous ways the 1960s-era design of the 737 does not meet current regulatory standards,” he wrote.

    And he hit out at a recent Department of Transportation (DOT) advisory panel report on the MAX crashes that recommended only minor changes to the way airplanes are certified, preserving Boeing’s central role in that process. Ewbank called the report “a serious threat to aviation safety and the flying public.”

    “If the FAA was truly regulating in the public interest, it would take action against Boeing for its continued deception and gross errors in the design and production of the 737 MAX by withdrawing Boeing’s production certificate,” he concluded.

    Ansley Lacitis, deputy chief of staff for Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, said her office “was made aware of the letter right before the hearing” on Wednesday.

    “The first step of a whistleblower investigation is to make contact with the whistleblower and we have done that,” Lacitis said. “We take these and other allegations seriously and continue to investigate them.”

    In a statement, Boeing said company officials have not seen the letter.

    “Boeing offers its employees a number of channels for raising concerns and complaints and has rigorous processes in place that ensure complaints receive thorough consideration and protect employee confidentiality,” the statement said. “Boeing does not comment on the substance or existence of such internal complaints.”

    Boeing’s statement adds that “when the MAX returns to service, it will be one of the most thoroughly scrutinized aircraft in history, and we have full confidence in its safety.”

    Ewbank could not be reached for comment.

    After the Seattle Times made public his internal ethics complaint, Boeing placed Ewbank on leave. “We can confirm that Mr. Ewbank remains an employee in good standing,” company spokesman Bernard Choi said this week.

    Flawed flight-deck systems

    One conclusion of the DOT report on the MAX crashes was that if the 737 MAX had been certified as an all-new jet instead of as a derivative of the earlier model, it “would not have produced more rigorous scrutiny … and would not have produced a safer airplane.”

    Ewbank calls this “utterly incorrect.”

    He cites specific regulations for which Boeing, because the MAX was considered a derivative model, didn’t have to meet the latest safety standards. And he points to how these shortcomings could have affected the pilots in the two crashes.

    He wrote that because Boeing, for certification purposes, had to evaluate only flight-deck systems that had changed from the 737 NG model, Boeing missed the opportunity to evaluate pilot reaction times.

    Boeing has admitted that it made incorrect assumptions about those reaction times in designing the new system — the MCAS —  that brought down both MAX planes that crashed.

    Although MCAS was new, its operation depended on other unchanged systems and its interactions with those systems were not analyzed, Ewbank wrote.

    By choosing to certify the jet as an amended version of the earlier model, Boeing “severely limited the range of human factors evaluation of 737 MAX systems,” he said.

    And in a comment on Boeing’s forthcoming large widebody jet, Ewbank added: “The changed/unchanged system line on the 777X is even more convoluted and involves more complicated systems than the 737 MAX.”

    Ewbank reiterates his internal critique of the crew-alerting systems on the MAX, saying they failed to meet the current standards for such alerts, which are supposed to be “designed with the latest understanding of human factors to present information to flight crews and prompt appropriate reaction in critical scenarios.”

    “These flaws were known to Boeing as it worked with the FAA to certify the
    737 MAX, and awareness of this was creatively hidden or outright withheld from regulators,” he wrote.

    Ewbank also revisits his unsuccessful push to have Synthetic Airspeed added to make the MAX safer, which would have made more reliable the various air-data measures used by the flight-control computer, including the angle of attack, the angle between the jet’s wing and the oncoming air stream.

    It was a faulty angle of attack reading on each of the crash flights that initiated the operation of MCAS. 

    “The known unreliability of air data, due to the potential for erroneous data caused by external factors, makes the initial design of MCAS simply unacceptable” Ewbank wrote. Yet, he says, “upper management shut down the (Synthetic Airspeed) project over cost and training concerns.”

    According to a person familiar with the discussions, the FAA and Boeing, along with the European air safety regulator EASA, are discussing various system “enhancements” that Boeing could add to the MAX after it returns to service, with no firm decisions yet made.

    Last week, on the specialist aviation website The Air Current, Jon Ostrower reported that Synthetic Airspeed or an equivalent system is one of the enhancements under consideration. Boeing would not confirm that.

    Michael Stumo, whose daughter Samya died in last year’s MAX crash in Ethiopia, on Thursday also received a copy of Ewbank’s letter.

    “This is the most comprehensive engineering analysis I’ve seen yet,” Stumo said. “It calls into question whether the MAX should ever fly again.”

    “People have to die”

    Ewbank notes that he left Boeing in 2015 “in protest of management actions to rationalize the poor design of the 737 MAX. I did not think I could do my duty as an engineer to protect the safety of the public in the environment created by management at Boeing.”

    He asserts that, “Prior to my departure in 2015, my manager argued against the design changes I wanted to make by stating, ‘People have to die before Boeing will change things.'”

    Ewbank returned to Boeing in 2018 to work on the 777X.

    “I returned to the company and quickly witnessed the nightmare of the very accidents I had tried to prevent happen in real life,” he writes.

    After the second MAX crash in Ethiopia, he filed his internal ethics complaint.  

    Ewbank concludes his letter to the Senate by calling for a series of actions to improve the rigor of the airplane certification process, particularly in his area of expertise: flight-deck systems.

    He asks that FAA regulations be thoroughly revamped “to ensure they reflect a modern understanding of computer technology and human-machine interfaces.”

    He calls for a shift in the way certification work on new airplanes is delegated by the FAA to Boeing itself and how the flow of information between the two is restricted.

    “The decision to sign off on any particular design at Boeing has been culturally expropriated from the engineers to management,” he wrote.

    In this critique, he mirrors criticism by the Senate committee itself, which this week proposed legislation to tighten controls on the FAA’s delegation of work and ensure direct communication between FAA and Boeing technical experts on certification details.

    Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or; on Twitter: @dominicgates.

  7. Union for FAA’s safety engineers urges more changes to Boeing 737 MAX before it can fly again

    Sep. 21, 2020 at 2:54 pm Updated Sep. 21, 2020 at 6:53 pm


    Dominic Gates

    Seattle Times aerospace reporter

    A union representing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airplane safety engineers who work on certifying new aircraft called Monday for substantial upgrades to the flight crew alerting systems and other changes on Boeing’s 737 MAX before the plane is allowed to return to the air.

    The union’s comments came on the final day for public comment on the FAA’s proposed design changes, with more than 200 responses posted by late afternoon.

    The FAA’s own technical experts argue that fixing the flawed flight control system that caused the two crashes is not enough and that Boeing must also address the serious confusion that played out in the cockpit in both emergencies.

    In contrast, a submission Monday by the main airline pilot union in North America declares the FAA’s proposed design changes “an effective component in ensuring the safe return to service” and suggesting only relatively small tweaks to the current plan.

    The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), representing more than 10,000 pilots in the U.K., weighed in more critically, suggesting that the MAX should have been certified as an all-new design in the first place,requiring it to meet all current requirements.

    Exceptions granted

    During the original certification of the 737 MAX, Boeing successfully argued to the FAA that the jet shouldn’t have to meet all the latest certification requirements governing how cockpit warnings tell the pilots that something is wrong.

    The MAX was duly granted exceptions to five of the regulatory stipulations so that it could retain the legacy 737 instrument panel and crew alert system.

    The FAA technical staff union argued Monday that those exceptions should be rescinded and the crew alerting system on the recertified MAX updated accordingly as a condition of the jet’s return to service.

    In the Lion Air and Ethiopian 737 MAX accidents that killed 346 people, multiple warnings set off by a single erroneous sensor caused distraction and confusion for the pilots.

    The union proposal would require major revisions to the instrument displays on the airplane as well as more pilot training on the revised systems, and would likely further delay the MAX’s return, which Boeing hopes will be by year end.

    In early August, the FAA published its final list of required design changes to the Boeing 737 MAX and invited public comment. The comment period ended Monday and last-minute responses came in from various parties with substantial expertise.

    The National Safety Committee of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) — a union that represents almost 700 aircraft-certification technical experts at the FAA, as well as air traffic controllers — recommended a series of additional changes to the MAX, including rescinding the crew-alerting exceptions.

    The NATCA comments follow closely the critique of Boeing whistleblower Curtis Ewbank, a safety engineer who filed an ethics complaint internally at Boeing after the second MAX crash in Ethiopia and who then publicly repeated his concerns about the safety of the MAX in a letter to the U.S. Senate this summer.

    On Friday, covering much of the same ground, Ewbank submitted his own comment on the FAA return to service plan.

    Four fatal accidents cited

    The changes the FAA plan mandates will fix the flight control system — the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) — that activated erroneously in the two crashes and brought both planes down. It also moves some wiring to ensure proper separation of wires controlling the horizontal tail. And it switches the avionics architecture of the airplane so that it uses both flight control computers on a given flight instead of only one.

    However, the FAA plan leaves the MAX’s instrument panel displays and the pilot warning systems largely untouched. Updating them would require a major remake of the 737’s human/machine interface that would be both expensive and lengthy.

    In the original certification of the MAX, in arguing for the exemptions, Boeing estimated the cost of full compliance in terms of new training for pilots worldwide at more than $10 billion.

    In its submission Monday, NATCA declared that argument not valid.

    “The cost of the two accidents that resulted in worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX fleet has well exceeded the stated $10 billion flight crew training costs,” NATCA states.

    NATCA draws attention to how a continuous “stick shaker” alert — a heavy, loud vibration of the pilot control column that indicates the plane is on the point of stalling — triggered by a single angle of attack sensor can prove a major distraction, yet cannot be canceled as the latest regulations require. This is a problem also highlighted by Transport Canada, which has asked Boeing for a fix.

    There have been two other fatal accidents, on Birgenair and AeroPeru 757s in 1996, that are associated with multiple false and conflicting alerts, NATCA notes.

    The 757 is an older Boeing plane, no longer produced, but with similar alerting to the 737. In both those accidents, the stick shaker was going off warning that the plane was slowing to a stall while at the same time an overspeed warning indicated the plane was going too fast. This was also the case on the Ethiopian Airlines MAX that crashed.

    “Based on a history of four fatal accidents in the last 24 years, the alerting design should be upgraded,” NATCA states.

    NATCA also reiterates another recommendation previously raised by Ewbank, which is that the warning light on a MAX instrument panel indicating that the jet’s autothrottle is disconnected is too similar to a different warning related to airspeed and has no audio backup warning. This design isn’t permitted under the latest safety regulations.

    Separately, NATCA recommends revising the instructions to pilots of how to use the manual wheel in the cockpit to counter movement of the horizontal tail if it pushes the jet’s nose down uncommanded by the pilot.

    NATCA says the procedure as now rewritten by Boeing is lacking because it fails to specifically tell the pilots that before they hit the cutout switches to kill electrical power to the motor moving the tail, they first need to use the thumb switches on the control column to get the tail back to a near neutral position.

    Failing to do that can leave the horizontal tail so far out of position that the aerodynamic forces on it make the manual wheel too heavy to move.

    Data from the Ethiopian Airlines ET302 crash suggests this is what happened on that flight, with the pilots immediately hitting the cutoff switches to stop MCAS, but then finding it impossible to move the manual wheel to get the nose back up again.

    We need your support

    In-depth journalism takes time and effort to produce, and it depends on paying subscribers. If you value these kinds of stories, consider subscribing.

    NATCA’s comments, representing the FAA’s own safety engineers, add weight to the warnings sounded by Ewbank, first internally and then publicly.

    In Ewbank’s comment on the FAA plan, he outlined the need to prevent faulty readings from the MAX’s angle of attack sensor triggering multiple conflicting warnings and called for Boeing to “conduct a holistic evaluation of flight deck human factors and crew alerting, at least ensuring all alerts comply with regulations.”

    “If automation is reacting to erroneous data and taking control away from the crew, if there isn’t sufficient backup data available to the crew to use, or even worse, if there isn’t aerodynamic control authority available for the crew to control the airplane, safety cannot be assured,” Ewbank wrote.

    “The 737 operates in some scenarios at reduced safety margins compared to modern aircraft,” he added.

    In a separate submission, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), representing nearly 63,000 pilots flying for 35 airlines in the United States and Canada, supports the planned FAA airworthiness directive (AD).

    “ALPA believes the proposed AD includes relevant and effective mitigations that address the issues identified with MCAS,” ALPA wrote. It adds that enhanced training and revisions to the pilot checklists will enable MAX flight crews “to quickly and adequately respond to various scenarios.”

    Noting that there is “still room for improvement,” ALPA then lists a few suggested changes to pilot alerts and checklists.

    Like NATCA, the union has some concern about the difficulty in moving the wheel that manually swivels the horizontal tail. ALPA suggests the checklist specify that turning it may require the effort of both pilots and asks Boeing for a redesign to ensure this scenario is extremely improbable.

    And again mirroring the concern of others about the problem of the stick shaker going off erroneously, ALPA asks the FAA to include a procedure in pilot training for the flight crew to “quickly identify and pull the associated stick shaker circuit breaker after the alert is confirmed erroneous so that crews may remove the nuisance.”

    This falls well short of the alerting system changes called for by NATCA.

    The BALPA pilot union submission criticizes the FAA certification process in a general way, without demanding specific changes to the MAX.

    It faults the FAA’s original certification of the MAX as a derivative model, instead of as an all-new design that would have required more scrutiny and additional pilot training.

    “It is strongly felt that all future substantial aircraft design changes should result in certification as a new type with a commensurate level of training required for pilots,” BALPA wrote.

    Agreeing with the position of European aviation regulator EASA, BALPA states that unlike the FAA plan to use two angle of attack sensors on the MAX, “it would be preferable for the system to utilize three.”

    BALPA also said Boeing should never have used software — MCAS — to correct the MAX’s handling characteristics. Such deficiencies “should not be masked” by software but “instead should require aerodynamic re-design from the outset,” BALPA states.

    Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or; on Twitter: @dominicgates.




  8. More on the AW&ST article:

    Input On Proposed MAX Changes Spotlight Broader 737 Fleet Issues

    Sean Broderick September 22, 2020

    Boeing 737 MAX

    Credit: Collins Aerospace

    Pilot groups and at least one regulator have raised concerns about several non-normal pilot procedures being changed following a review of the grounded Boeing 737 MAX that also apply to older versions of the venerable narrowbody.

    Boeing’s proposed modifications to the MAX in response to two fatal accidents affect the model’s flight control computer software, manuals, and pilot training. While the software changes apply only to the MAX variant, several non-normal checklists being updated are the same for the MAX and the 737 Next Generation (NG). Two in particular—runaway stabilizer and airspeed unreliable—have been highlighted by several commenters that weighed in on the FAA’s proposed requirements that would codify Boeing’s changes.

    The United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) told the FAA it is concerned about a lack of understanding around factors that affect manual movement, or trimming, of the horizontal stabilizer. “The manual wheel trim forces were certified by analysis and not by flight testing (or tested on non-B737MAX aircraft),” the GCAA told the FAA in comments. “Heaviness on the manual wheel trim following a failure, like runaway stabilizer, must be fully understood and experienced by crew during training and test.”

    Used when automatic stabilizer trim motors fail or are de-activated by pilots troubleshooting an issue—and, crucially, a key step on the runaway stabilizer checklist—applying manual trim requires pilots to rotate a crank attached to a spool-shaped wheel in the cockpit. Analysis of factors highlighted in the MAX accidents revealed that aerodynamic forces can make the wheel difficult to turn. 

    The FAA conducted flight tests in mid-2019 to evaluate the issue, and flagged it as needing further review. One of the results will be updates to Boeing’s 737 flight crew operations manual (FCOM) and training documents that highlight, in general, possible difficulties with manually trimming in certain situations. 

    The GCAA expressed frustration with the lack of specifics that could help industry better understand the issue.

    “The least FAA and Boeing can do is to assist the authority and the operator by providing necessary data associated to this certification and manual trim techniques,” the UAE regulator said.

    A representative from one U.S. pilots’ group told Aviation Week that its concern over the same issues led it to ask the FAA for data from the 2019 trials not long after they were completed. The agency has not provided it.

    The Allied Pilots Association (APA) that represents American Airlines pilots is among those concerned about a related issue—teaching pilots how to reduce forces on the stabilizer so the trim wheel is easier to turn manually. If pilots facing a runaway stabilizer do not immediately counteract uncommanded inputs using yoke-mounted trim switches before disconnecting the trim motor, forces on the stabilizer can make it more difficult to adjust manually.

    “The checklist should include a note that if the method of reducing airspeed to reduce air loads on the stabilizer fails to allow manual trimming (as a result of excessive stabilizer loads created by elevator pressure), slowly relaxing the control column pressure can reduce the load making manual trimming possible,” APA said.

    Boeing included details of a similar procedure, which it called the “roller coaster” technique, in manuals for some of its early jets, including the 707 and the 737-100/200, but current manuals do not discuss it in detail. APA and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) are among those pushing to get similar instructions put back in the 737 manual. Boeing’s proposed change to the 737 FCOM is a general note advising pilots to consider reducing airspeed to lessen aerodynamic forces on the stabilizer.

    “This note does not provide any information for the flight crew to consider how much of an airspeed decrease will be necessary,” said comments filed by ALPA, which represents pilots at several 737 MAX operators, including Air Canada, United Airlines, and WestJet Airlines. “For horizontal stabilizers out of trim by a large magnitude, aircraft can quickly become difficult to manage at high airspeeds. ALPA believes guidance should be provided to the flight crew as to a specific targeted reduced airspeed.”

    ALPA also expressed concern over Boeing’s language on the runaway stabilizer and stabilizer inoperative checklists that says both pilots may need to turn the manual trim wheel simultaneously to generate enough leverage to move the stabilizer.

    “ALPA believes that a scenario where both pilots are required to provide manual inputs to a safety-critical flight control system during a non-normal event is not an ideal response to that event,” the association said. “During non-normal events it is commonly trained that one pilot continues to maintain the safe flight of the aircraft while the other pilot conducts the completion of related checklists, such as the [quick-reference handbook]. To interrupt this paradigm by requiring a two-pilot intervention on a safety-critical flight system cannot maintain the same level of safety.”

    The British Airline Pilots Association expressed similar concerns in comments it filed earlier this month.

    ALPA added that “if scenarios exist where the two-pilot intervention is not deemed extremely improbable,” Boeing should be forced “to implement design changes so that a two-pilot intervention is not required.”

    Manual-trim procedures are especially crucial during one rare but long-acknowledged failure scenario. The yoke-mounted electric trim switches are designed so that one cannot override the other. If one fails, such as by shorting out while commanding nose-down stabilizer inputs, the other can be used to stop those inputs, but not reverse them. 

    “This has the potential to leave pilots with much heavier stick forces arising from greater air loads on the horizontal stabilizer, thereby increasing the effort required to trim manually, as directed later in the procedure,” APA said. “This unique malfunction should be noted in the [runaway stabilizer] checklist, as the ability to use the main electric stabilizer trim to reduce control column forces is not available in all runaway stabilizer events.”

    Boeing’s revamp of the MAX flight control computer software began following the October 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610, a 737-8, and focused on the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) flight control law. Following the March 2019 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, another 737-8, and the MAX fleet’s global grounding, the FAA ordered Boeing to expand its work beyond the MCAS—quickly identified as a common link between the accidents—and examine related failure scenarios such as runaway stabilizer as well as how pilots are trained to manage them. Each of the checklist changes stem from the expanded work, but only two of the eight modified checklists were changed to align with the MAX-specific software alterations.

    While the FAA is focused on reviewing Boeing’s proposed changes in light of how they affect the 737 MAX, the agency has said it will consider expanding any beneficial changes to the rest of the 737 fleet.

    “Ancillary changes that can enhance the 737NG will also be reviewed by Boeing,” the FAA said in its “preliminary summary” of its 737 MAX review released in early August. “The FAA will work with Boeing to ensure that any issues related to the 737 MAX design change that may apply to the 737NG will be addressed as applicable.”

    Sean Broderick

    Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office.

  9. Tx, J.O. Way I read it, there was no EICAS on any B737's but that may not be technically accurate - just going by the report.

    Pg. 46, 47 of the Committee Report:

    Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System (EICAS)
    Boeing obtained an FAA exception to allow the company to not install an Engine Indicating
    and Crew Alerting System (EICAS) on the 737 MAX.269 Since 1982, an EICAS or its equivalent among Airbus airplanes has been common in newly certificated transport aircraft. It displays aircraft system faults and failures in the cockpit and helps pilots prioritize responding to multiple or simultaneous indications and alerts, which are often accompanied by aural alerts specific to the level of severity of a particular fault.270 But the exception from FAA relieved Boeing of the requirement that the 737 MAX must be equipped with a caution, alert, and advisory system that “[p]rovide[s] timely attention-getting cues through at least two different senses by a combination of aural, visual, or tactile indications” and that “[p]revent[s] the presentation of an alert that is inappropriate or unnecessary.”271 Instead, the 737 MAX largely uses legacy cautions, warnings, alerts, and advisories from the previous generation of the 737 aircraft.272

    . . . .

    In the end, the FAA accepted Boeing’s argument about the impracticality and the economic expense of installing EICAS on the 737 MAX.284 This meant that the 737 aircraft family, including the 737 MAX, would continue to be the only presently available Boeing commercial aircraft line that did not have an EICAS installed.285 Unfortunately, had the EICAS been installed on the Lion Air or Ethiopian Airlines flights, some experts believe it may have helped to alleviate pilot confusion—a contributing factor in both of those accidents.286

  10. Quote

    “The caution and warning system in the 737 is as archaic as the airframe design. I flew jets made far earlier than the first 737 with a better system,” said Woolman, a former B-52 pilot and Rockwell B-1 bomber flight instructor. “Properly analyzing aircraft failures can be like hunting for Easter eggs, especially if struggling with basic aircraft control.”

    In fact, the B737 design has no EICAS at all.

    On the trim wheel diameter-shrinkage, I did the "how many turns per degree" calculation for the NG/MAX last year sometime using an AMM and the numbers in this article are accurate, (14.6 turns per degree), and as mentioned and as reported in, (IIRC), the Ethiopian accident, the crew together couldn't move the wheel, I don't recall this accurately - I believe it was one of the simulator trials that the pilots couldn't move the wheel...due physical strength limitations due high speed.



  11. Concerns Expressed Over 737 MAX Redundancy, Manual Trim

    Sean Broderick September 21, 2020
    AOA sensors MAX 737
    Credit: Boeing

    WASHINGTON—Calls for an additional angle-of-attack indicator and concerns over the flight crew’s ability to manually trim the aircraft in an emergency are among the issues highlighted in the initial set of comments on the FAA’s proposed requirements to approve the Boeing 737 MAX’s service return. 

    Boeing’s proposed fixes including software modifications that use data from both MAX angle-of-attack (AOA) vanes to activate the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) flight-control law implicated in two MAX fatal accidents that led to the grounding. If they disagree by more than a defined range, the MCAS, which provides nose-down horizontal stabilizer commands, will not activate.

    “This is clearly an improvement on the original design” that used one sensor’s feed and meant MCAS could push the MAX’s nose down based on one feed of faulty AOA data, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) wrote in comments to the FAA. “[But] it would be preferable for the system to utilize three AoA sensors (as per the Airbus A320 family of aircraft) in which case ‘voting’ can be implemented to discard an erroneous AoA value. There are other systems onboard the aircraft requiring AOA input, so how will they deal with two sensors that disagree?” 

    Guy Woolman, a former Southwest Airlines pilot with 12,000 hours of 737 experience but none in the MAX, seconded BALPA’s call. 

    “There should be at least a third AOA and airspeed input,” he wrote in comments to the FAA. “I had several ‘IAS DISAGREE’ messages while flying [737 Next Generation variants]. There is certainly a lot of startle as the crew is forced to search for reliable airspeed ... Couple this with other seemingly dissimilar non-normal conditions and it is easy to see why things could get challenging in a hurry. Why not have a standby AOA gauge?” 

    EASA is considering mandating introduction of a third AOA sensor, but it is not expected to be a prerequisite to allowing the MAX back into service. 

    In both MAX accidents, Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (ET302) in March 2019, faulty AOA data triggered the MCAS, which commanded unneeded nose-down horizontal stabilizer movements. Neither crew reacted as Boeing thought pilots would, which included using cutout switches to disable the stabilizer motor and, if needed, manually turn a vertically-mounted trim wheel in the cockpit. Instead, they were confused by a cascading series of alerts and warnings, including a SPEED TRIM FAIL, and lost control of the airplane. The MCAS functionality was added to the 737’s speed trim system’s logic, and Boeing elected not to highlight it in pilot manuals or add a new alert light on the flight deck. 

    “The caution and warning system in the 737 is as archaic as the airframe design. I flew jets made far earlier than the first 737 with a better system,” said Woolman, a former B-52 pilot and Rockwell B-1 bomber flight instructor. “Properly analyzing aircraft failures can be like hunting for Easter eggs, especially if struggling with basic aircraft control.” 

    BALPA also raised concern about Boeing’s proposed manual-trim techniques. Investigators believe the ET302 pilots attempted to use manual trim, per Boeing’s instructions, to direct their 737-8’s nose up after the MCAS was disabled. But aerodynamic forces acting on the stabilizer made it too difficult to maneuver with the manually-linked wheel. 

    In its updated MAX training, Boeing emphasizes that both pilots may have to crank the wheel, a spool-shaped device mounted with round sides vertical between them to generate enough force to move the stabilizer. A draft training aid distributed in June illustrates the concept, with each pilot using one hand to turn the wheel, and the other to fly the aircraft. 

    “Requiring both crew members to turn the trim wheel simultaneously in a non-normal scenario is extremely undesirable and goes against all philosophies of having one pilot fly and one run the” quick reference handbook, or QRH, BALPA said. “No flight control system should require both pilots to operate it at any stage, let alone in an emergency.” 

    BALPA added that the newer 737’s smaller trim wheel compared to the 737 Classics, which created room on the flight deck for new displays, renders the manual-trim scenario even more challenging. Moving a 737 Classic horizontal stabilizer one degree, or unit, required about 10 turns of the trim wheel. On newer 737s, including the MAX, moving the stabilizer the same amount requires about 15 turns of the smaller-diameter wheel. Full nose down equates to a stabilizer at 4.2 deg nose down, meaning pilots would need to rotate a MAX’s trim wheel about 60 times to bring the stabilizer to neutral.  

    The public-comment period on the FAA’s proposals runs through Sept. 21. As of late in the afternoon on deadline day, more than 200 comments had been received, including many from members of the public that do not favor the MAX’s re-approval. 

    Comments will be considered by the FAA and, if appropriate, incorporated into a final directive outlining what changes the MAXs must undergo before they can fly again, and what training pilots will receive. The FAA plans to mandate a flight control computer software upgrade, some writing modifications, and new training. Specifics of the training programs are being reviewed and finalized in a separate process. 

  12. Quote
    4 hours ago, Specs said:

    I wonder what the fate of SMS will be after the dust from all this settles.

    Same principles at play... Airline self regulation. What could go wrong?

    It's just not that simple.

    First of all, SMS is about airlines flight safety management programs, not the manufacturer or the regulator and how each do their work. The manufacturer is expected to adhere to the highest possible standards and the regulator must ensure that that is the case. This whole Boeing thing, from the takeover of Boeing by McDonnell-Douglas in 1997 "reads" like, and I think should be examined from the point of view of NASA's problems which led to both the Challenger and Columbia accidents. This is an inter-organizational failure on a massive scale and can't be fixed without acknowledging this. Even as we are in a time when all words and actions are at risk of being politicized, I still think that this report has come closest to examining causes and Boeing would do well to keep quiet about impossible assurances of "doing better" and take what is said about their organzation seriously.

    I have seen SMS work well where an airline has a robust flight safety program fully supported by the CEO, the Executive Management and the pilots. I think SMS is far better than the old blame-and-enforce system which used to follow an accident and which was sometimes known as "tombstone safety".

    SMS is not the initial place to look either for cause, or solutions. Examining how NASA became better may hold answers, but only if they are seen and sincerely wanted. If other priorities continue to inform corporate decision-making at the top, then the same results as befell Boeing, will ultimately befall all other private or government organizations.

    Many here will recognize this point of view and the familiar references, but some may be new here so the link to both excellent books on Challenger and Columbia are:


    Link to the House Committee Report referenced in Marshall's post above, followed by a summary-page:

    September 16, 2020

    After 18-Month Investigation, Chairs DeFazio and Larsen Release Final Committee Report on Boeing 737 MAX

    From the Report: “The MAX crashes were… a horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA”

    Washington, D.C. — Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen (D-WA) released the Committee’s final report on the Boeing 737 MAX. This report, prepared by Majority Staff, lays out the serious flaws and missteps in the design, development, and certification of the aircraft, which entered commercial service in 2017 before suffering two deadly crashes within five months of each other that killed a total of 346 people, including eight Americans.

    The Committee’s 238-page report, which points to repeated and serious failures by both The Boeing Company (Boeing) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), contains five central themes and includes more than six dozen investigative findings. These themes include:

    • Production pressures that jeopardized the safety of the flying public. There was tremendous financial pressure on Boeing and the 737 MAX program to compete with Airbus’ new A320neo aircraft. Among other things, this pressure resulted in extensive efforts to cut costs, maintain the 737 MAX program schedule, and avoid slowing the 737 MAX production line.
    • Faulty Design and Performance Assumptions. Boeing made fundamentally faulty assumptions about critical technologies on the 737 MAX, most notably with MCAS, the software designed to automatically push the airplane’s nose down in certain conditions. Boeing also expected that pilots, who were largely unaware that MCAS existed, would be able to mitigate any potential malfunction.
    • Culture of Concealment. Boeing withheld crucial information from the FAA, its customers, and 737 MAX pilots, including internal test data that revealed it took a Boeing test pilot more than 10 seconds to diagnose and respond to uncommanded MCAS activation in a flight simulator, a condition the pilot described as “catastrophic.” Federal guidelines assume pilots will respond to this condition within four seconds.
    • Conflicted Representation. The FAA’s current oversight structure with respect to Boeing creates inherent conflicts of interest that have jeopardized the safety of the flying public. The report documents multiple instances in which Boeing employees who have been authorized to perform work on behalf of the FAA failed to alert the FAA to potential safety and/or certification issues.
    • Boeing’s Influence Over the FAA’s Oversight Structure. Multiple career FAA officials have documented examples where FAA management overruled a determination of the FAA’s own technical experts at the behest of Boeing. These examples are consistent with results of a recent draft FAA employee “safety culture” survey that showed many FAA employees believed its senior leaders are more concerned with helping industry achieve its goals and are not held accountable for safety-related decisions.

    “Our report lays out disturbing revelations about how Boeing—under pressure to compete with Airbus and deliver profits for Wall Street—escaped scrutiny from the FAA, withheld critical information from pilots, and ultimately put planes into service that killed 346 innocent people. What’s particularly infuriating is how Boeing and FAA both gambled with public safety in the critical time period between the two crashes,” Chair DeFazio said. “On behalf of the families of the victims of both crashes, as well as anyone who steps on a plane expecting to arrive at their destination safely, we are making this report public to put a spotlight not only on the broken safety culture at Boeing but also the gaps in the regulatory system at the FAA that allowed this fatally-flawed plane into service. Critically, our report gives Congress a roadmap on the steps we must take to reinforce aviation safety and regulatory transparency, increase Federal oversight, and improve corporate accountability to help ensure the story of the Boeing 737 MAX is never, ever repeated.” 

    “The Committee’s thorough investigation uncovered errors that are difficult to hear, but necessary to confront about the 737 MAX certification,” Chair Larsen said. “This report, combined with the findings and recommendations from the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines investigations, National Transportation Safety Board, Joint Authorities Technical Review and other entities, serve as a roadmap for changes to the FAA certification process. The 346 victims of the two tragic crashes and their families, as well as the traveling public rightfully expect Congress to act. As the Committee moves into the next phase of oversight, I will continue to work with Chair DeFazio and my colleagues to address the significant cultural and structural deficiencies identified in the report in order to improve safety.”

    Additional information:

    At the direction of Chair DeFazio and Subcommittee Chair Larsen, the Committee launched an investigation into the design, development, and certification of the 737 MAX, and related issues, in March 2019, shortly after the second crash involving a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. As part of the 18-month long investigation, the Committee held five public hearings with more than 20 witnesses; wrote nearly two dozen oversight letters, obtained an estimated 600,000 pages of documents from Boeing, the FAA, and others; received information and insight from former and current employees who contacted the Committee directly through the Committee’s whistleblower link; and interviewed dozens of current and former Boeing and FAA employees.

    To access the Final Report, newly released accompanying records, including transcribed interviews of both senior Boeing and FAA officials about the 737 MAX, as well as past statements, hearing video, and more, click here.

    • Like 1
  13. Referenced in the article above posted by Marshall entitled, "The end of American history begins in America", by Hamid Dabashi, Al Jazeera

    End of empire
    The era of US dominion has now passed
    Andrew Bacevich

    June 29, 2020 9:32 AM

    The end of World War Two inaugurated the era of American dominion, with the United States politically, economically and militarily the most powerful nation on the planet. Yet throughout the subsequent period of American global ascendency, the American people endured a seemingly endless sequence of domestic crises, upheavals and disasters. Primacy abroad did not insulate them, convinced of their unique place in human history, from the trials and tribulations routinely befalling other, more ‘ordinary’ nations.

    Yet neither did trials at home undermine the deep-seated belief that history had summoned the United States — and no one else — to lead the world. So even as presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama wrestled with pressing challenges at home (for Truman there was race and McCarthyism, for Obama race and the Great Recession), they all, without exception, testified to the nation’s indispensability. They deemed it their duty to do so. All, therefore, found ways to prevent domestic problems from encroaching upon America’s assertion of singularity among nations. Leading the world took precedence over addressing the contradictions and shortcomings affecting the American way of life. So from 1945 until the end of the 20th century, creating ‘a more perfect Union’ took a back seat to venturing ‘abroad, in search of monsters to destroy’.

    Whatever the turmoil on the home front, this conviction that the United States was called upon to exercise global leadership remained unwavering. Even in 1968, when assassinations, racial unrest and widespread opposition to a deeply unpopular war brought the nation precariously close to unraveling, the conviction held. Two decades later, the fall of the Berlin Wall seemingly validated that conviction for all time. We were indeed, as presumably serious US officials proclaimed, the ‘indispensable nation’ and destined to remain so until the end of time. So we were led to believe.

    Now, a mere three decades since the end of the Cold War delivered its seemingly decisive verdict, the barrier between what happens ‘out there’ and what happens ‘back here’ has been breached. Foreign policy and domestic matters are becoming intermingled. As a direct consequence, American global leadership appears noticeably rickety.

    At a moment when media coverage suggests that Trump is everything and everything is Trump, it’s important to note that this intermingling dates from long before his presidency. It commenced on 9/11 when an event that was never supposed to happen — a devastating attack on the United States itself — did happen. Americans suddenly awakened to the fact that global leadership as practiced by the United States can produce painful blowback.

    Reinforcing this shock to the system were other unpleasant surprises. First came wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that the world’s mightiest military was supposed to win but did not, despite sustaining terrible casualties and expending trillions of dollars. Second came episodes of stunning ineptitude by political authorities. Hurricane Katrina provided one example among many, showing that the people in charge were clueless about how to protect the population for which they were responsible. Hard on the heels of Katrina came the worst economic crisis since the Depression, suggesting that the people charged with managing the economy were incompetent, on the take, or both.

    In 2016, the electorate responded by repudiating the establishment, voting into office a thoroughly unqualified presidential wannabe who promised to ‘drain the swamp’ and put ‘America First’. Donald Trump has kept neither of those promises. As the end of his first term approaches, the actual legacy of his presidency has now become clear: yet more ineptitude, cluelessness and incompetence, all reinforced by Trump’s trademark narcissism, vulgarity, blustering tough-guy posturing and casual dissembling.

    History will doubtless judge Trump harshly. As US president, he has proven to be an abysmal flop. Trump has failed to end the wars he vowed to end. For all his self- touted skills as a dealmaker, his record consists chiefly of unfulfilled promises. He also failed to address effectively — or even acknowledge — the threat posed by COVID-19. As a direct consequence of his administration’s belated and bungling response to the pandemic, the death toll in the United States now exceeds a staggering 125,000. Trump, of course, accepts no responsibility for that outcome. Coming hard on the heels of the pandemic is the worst economic calamity since Herbert Hoover occupied the White House almost a century ago. Hoover ‘owned’ the Great Depression. So too Trump ‘owns’ the economic consequences of the Great Lockdown. Yet again he refuses accountability.

    And finally, there is Trump’s typically callous and ham-handed response to the wave of civil unrest triggered by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

    Looking back on the nation’s recent past, baffled Americans are left to ponder two questions: how could this have happened? And what can we do to escape from the terrible straits in which we find ourselves?

    A partial answer to the first question is this: for too long, ruling elites allowed the purported obligations of global leadership to take precedence over tending to the collective wellbeing of the American people. This was a conscious choice made by leaders of both political parties. We are now living with the consequences of that choice, with the persistence of racism offering just one example of what neglect has produced. Yet it deserves to be emphasized: the neglect was not Trump’s doing; he was merely its ironic beneficiary. We are its victims.

    A preliminary answer to the second question must begin with this admission: the era of US dominion has now passed. So Americans can no longer afford to indulge in the fiction of their indispensability, cherished in elite circles. In fact, the sun has set on the American empire. Subordinating the wellbeing of the American people to ostensible imperatives of global leadership — thereby allowing racism, inequality, and other problems to fester at home — has become intolerable.

    A massive reordering of national priorities is required. It goes without saying that Trump is incapable of presiding over any such reordering. Yet whether anyone else in mainstream politics is capable of doing so remains very much an open question.

    Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. This article is in The Spectator’s July 2020 US edition.

  14. The plan that tests would be conducted over the U.S. makes either Moses Lake area out of YLW or offshore over the U.S. 200-mile limit out of YVR/YXX likely. Logistics are a bit more complicated if YLW in terms of picking up/dropping personnel.

    I wish Boeing and certainly the crew and all personnel involved with this work well. It's tough being the lesson for everyone else.

  15. Hi AIP;

    First, it isn't about the popularity of posts that counts 😉. If there is disagreement on matters of serious public interest and not merely an exchange of opinions and cocktail chatter, then when challenged, the parties owe each other evidence that supports their expressed views. The evidence as expressed by experts on the subject of masks is strong and widely available/inspectable by all parties regardless of attitudes towards such prophylactics. Wearing a mask in indoor locations where there are other people and outdoor locations where social distancing is not possible is shown to reduce transmission of the virus, as does frequent, proper washing of hands.

    People are free to disagree of course, even with airlines' policy on masks, but as you know, they presently don't get to travel if they refuse to comply. People largely accept this new, and appropriate rule of public behaviour.

    Don't wear the seatbelt when in a car, smoke in a non-smoking area, don't wear a helmet on a motorcycle, drink/get-high and drive, dump garbage or sewage in public areas, falsify a pilot's licence or aircraft maintenance records? All of these issues are both serious public safety matters and settled regulatory matters. Violate them, and risk the fine and/or jail time.

    It is fact, that wearing a mask is more about other people than about oneself. Would you not want your doctor, your surgeon and the nursing staff to wear a mask during operations? Why is that okay, when wearing a mask to limit the spread of COVID-19 is not?

    There is no evidence and no counterexamples that support not wearing a mask in the above circumstances, during this public health issue.

    Just like honey-badger, coronavirus don't care.


    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1
    Wiring Fixes Among Changes FAA Will Require Before MAX Can Return
    Sean Broderick August 03, 2020
    Boeing 737 MAX 8
    Credit: Boeing
    WASHINGTON—The FAA’s proposed steps for operators to clear Boeing 737 MAXs for service include separating wire bundles deemed to be noncompliant with regulations and conducting “readiness” flights to ensure the long-grounded aircraft are airworthy, a draft notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) made public Aug. 3 reveals.

    The wire-bundle issue, discovered during regulators’ comprehensive review of the MAX’s design and certification, concerns horizontal stabilizer trim arm and control wiring that runs the length of the aircraft. The FAA found that the wiring needs to be separated in 12 places to meet 2007 regulatory changes put in place to prevent wiring failures from creating hazards. 

    The agency ordered Boeing to fix the issue on new-production MAXs and develop instructions for in-service aircraft. 

    Many MAX operators planned to take advantage of the ongoing grounding and make the wiring changes before returning their MAXs to revenue flying, using service instructions Boeing issued on June 10. What was not clear: whether the FAA would require operators to address the issue before the MAXs flew again or give them the flexibility of a longer window for compliance, which is typical for many airworthiness directives. The NPRM confirms that the wiring work is one of several steps that must be completed on each existing MAX before returning to revenue service.

    Because Boeing made the in-service modification work package available nearly two months ago and the FAA tentatively approved its contents, the agency’s wiring mandate is not expected to add time to MAX return-to-service preparation. 

    Updating MAX wiring, while an important regulatory compliance issue, is an ancillary change in the package of upgrades that will end what will likely be an 18-month-plus fleet grounding. The major changes are installing updated flight control computer (FCC) software that modifies the MAX’s maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS); new “MAX Display System” software that gives pilots more information on anomalies; and putting pilots through new, updated training. 

    MCAS, implicated as a central factor in two fatal 737 MAX 8 accidents that led regulators to ground the model in March 2019, commands automatic horizontal stabilizer inputs to help the MAX handle like its 737 Next Generation predecessor. The software changes ensure MCAS functions as intended, but does not confuse or overwhelm pilots, and only activates when intended. Its original design, which relied on data from a single angle of attack (AOA) sensor, left it susceptible to a single-point failure. Boeing assumed pilots would recognize and react to unneeded MCAS inputs quickly, but the two MAX accidents, Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Lion Air Flight 302 in March 2019, showed the company was wrong.

    The NPRM and a related FAA summary of its MAX review emphasize that work still remains. The largest piece is having regulators and line pilots validate proposed changes to MAX pilot training. A Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) review, including participation from Brazilian, Canadian, European, and U.S. pilots and regulators, must be done, followed by an FAA-led Flight Standardization Board (FSB) report that will establish minimum training curriculum for MAX pilots. COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions have presented issues for the JOEB work, which would normally be done in one location. The FAA on July 21 said “final planning is underway” for the JOEB and FSB pilot evaluations but did not offer details on timing.

    Among the major training changes expected to be adopted: mandatory simulator sessions for all prospective MAX pilots. Previously, pilots with 737 type ratings could transition to the MAX following computer-based differences training. The FAA also is proposing changes to seven non-normal checklists (NNCs): runaway stabilizer; stabilizer trim inoperative; airspeed unreliable; altitude disagree; AOA disagree; speed trim fail; and horizontal stabilizer out of trim. Some changes are linked to the FCC modifications, while others stem from human factors research that found problems with their language or logic. It also is adding an eighth NNC, indicated airspeed disagree, to the airplane flight manual.

    The FAA’s analysis broke the MAX safety issues into seven categories: MCAS relying on a single AOA sensor; MCAS’s repetitive commands; MCAS’s stabilizer-trim adjustment authority; flight crew recognition and response; how the MAX alerted pilots of an AOA disagree; other possible horizontal stabilizer failures; and MCAS-related maintenance procedures. FAA’s directive and the pending training plan addresses each of them. 

    A required “readiness flight” will validate the software upgrades on each aircraft.

    Fixes to the single-AOA sensor issue include the updated FCC software “to eliminate MCAS reliance on a single AOA sensor signal by using both AOA sensor inputs and changing flight control laws to safeguard against MCAS activation due to a failed or erroneous AOA sensor,” the FAA said. Neither the NPRM nor the FAA summary discuss adding additional AOA sensors.

    MAX training will be finalized separately and will include a public-comment period. Once the training program is approved, the FAA will issue an airworthiness directive mandating the return-to-service steps. The agency is not working with a time line. The NPRM is in final pre-publication stages and should be out in the coming days. It stipulates a 45-day comment period, meaning the FAA will not publish a final version until mid-September at the earliest. MAX operators have said they will need at least a month, and likely more, to upgrade their MAXs, ensure they are ready to fly following extended stints on the ground, work them back into flight schedules, and train pilots.

    Sean Broderick

    Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office.

  17. Alert - 20200802

    Victoria increases coronavirus lockdowns, declares ‘state of disaster’

    Premier Daniel Andrews has placed Victoria in stage four lockdown. Photo: AAP Photo: AAP

    Josh Butler Political Editor


    Tweet Share Reddit Pin Email

    Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has bowed to the realities of his state’s spiralling coronavirus infections and introduced the nation’s toughest lockdown restrictions.

    More important announcements are on the way for Victoria on Monday also, with Mr Andrews saying incoming rules for specific industries will force some businesses to close, and others to slow down operations.

    The state recorded 671 new cases on Sunday, and seven more elderly Victorians have died.

    Six of the fatalities were connected to virus outbreaks in aged-care homes.

    On Sunday, Mr Andrews declared a “state of disaster” will be in place from 6pm and metro areas will be put under stage four lockdown restrictions, including a strict night-time curfew.

    “Absolutely straight up … if we don’t make these changes we are not going to get through this,” he said.

    Victorian students will return to “flexible and remote learning” from Wednesday, with a pupil-free day declared for Tuesday.

    Statement on Melbourne moving to Stage 4 restrictions:

    — Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) August 2, 2020

    Mr Andrews said the advice had been that if the government did not change tactics now, Victoria would continue to see cases growing and would need to be under the current rules until Christmas.

    Instead, a tougher stage four lockdown will be in place for six weeks.

    “Six weeks versus a slower strategy … that takes up to six months, I’m not prepared to accept that,” Mr Andrews said.

    These are very significant steps – they’re not taken lightly.’’

    Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton was asked if a further six-week lockdown would be enough to curb the state’s issues.

    “I hope so. It is entirely contingent on everyone in Victoria to make sure it is enough,” he said.

    “If we do the things we know work … six weeks should be enough.”

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison posted a message to his Facebook and Instagram accounts on Sunday night that “today is a tough day for Victorians”.

    “Australians all around the country are backing you in, because we all know for Australia to succeed, we need Victoria to get through this,” he posted.

    Mr Andrews has been under mounting pressure to further lock down Victoria as the previous stay-home orders and mandatory face mask restrictions fail to curb the steepening curve of new infections.

    The Premier confirmed stage four lockdown restrictions for metro areas would include stopping people going further than five kilometres from their homes and limiting exercise to one hour per day.

    Only one person per household will be allowed to go shopping.

    From 8pm on Sunday, a curfew will exist in metropolitan Melbourne.

    People will only be allowed out of home between 8pm and 5am to go to work, or give and receive care.

    “Going to a mate’s place, going and visiting friends, being out and about for no good reason … that will spread the virus,” Mr Andrews said.

    From midnight on Wednesday, regional areas will be moved to stage three.

    “We cannot let this virus tear through regional aged care in the way it has with private-sector aged care in Melbourne,” Mr Andrews said.

    “We cannot let it mean more Victorians in hospital beds. More Victorians hooked up to machines just to breathe.

    And more Victorians – more grandparents, parents, sons, daughters, partners and loved ones – choked to death by an invisible enemy.’’

    It means non-essential businesses such as restaurants, gyms and bars must close from midnight on Wednesday.

    The new stage four lockdown restrictions for Melbourne include:

    • From Sunday, an 8pm-5am curfew in Melbourne. “The only reasons to leave home during these hours will be work, medical care and caregiving,” Mr Andrews said

    • People will be limited to staying within five kilometres of their home

    • Only one person, per household, per day will be allowed to go shopping

    • Exercise will be limited to a maximum of one hour per day and no more than five kilometres from your home, with a group size limited to a maximum of two – “you and one other person – whether you live with them or not.”

    • TAFE and uni study must be done remotely

    • From Wednesday at 11.59pm, weddings in Melbourne cannot occur.

    From 11.59pm on Wednesday, regional Victoria is also returning to its stage three ‘stay home’ orders, meaning people must remain in their house unless going out for essential shopping, care and caregiving, daily exercise, and work or study.

    Regional businesses will also be affected, with food businesses restricted to delivery and takeaway.

    Beauty and personal services, entertainment and cultural venues, and community sport will have to close.

    Statement on regional Victoria moving to Stage 3 restrictions:

    — Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) August 2, 2020

    Mr Andrews said Mitchell Shire, which was previously linked with the Melbourne restrictions, will now be classed among the rules for regional Victoria.

    Melbourne was placed into lockdown for a second time on July 9, as cases began to balloon.

    It was hoped the new restrictions would help flatten the curve of new cases, but even after the mandatory masks order, Victoria’s numbers continued to grow, with several days of more than 600 new cases in the past week.

    Mr Andrews and Prime Minister Scott Morrison had flagged last week that tougher rules were on the way for Victoria, when the Premier said Melbourne was already at “essentially stage four”.

    Mask orders in Victoria have not been enough to slow the virus spread yet. Photo: AAP

    Mr Andrews said on Saturday he was worried about potential “mystery cases” of community transmission in Victoria, above and beyond what was being detected in tests and official data.

    “That is in some respect our biggest challenge,” he said.

    Earlier, a senior federal cabinet minister said the Morrison government is “absolutely” behind Victoria in imposing the stricter restrictions.

    “We’re working collaboratively and closely with them as they seek to address this second wave,” federal Education Minister Dan Tehan told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda.

    “We’ll continue to offer as much support as we can and work with the Victorian state government.”

    The new rules come as authorities remain enraged over numerous examples of people blatantly flouting COVID rules.

    Police said they had fined Victorians found driving far from home, who have given unacceptable excuses such as needing to buy McDonald’s or get fresh air hundreds of kilometres away.

    In response to a growing number of infections outside Melbourne, Victorians in some regional shires were barred from having people over to their houses from midnight on Thursday last week.

    And masks are mandatory for all Victorians – not just those in Mitchell Shire and Melbourne – from Sunday night.

    The Premier has been pleading for workers to stay home if they are sick, pointing to outbreaks being directly linked to workplaces.

    Unions and the federal Labor opposition have been calling for paid pandemic leave to be supplied by the federal government, to help encourage people to stay home if they are unwell or isolating while waiting for a test result.

    Watch The News in 90 Seconds

    View Full Video

    Trending Now

    How the 5G coronavirus conspiracy theory is making some sick: Study

    Federal government support for Victoria as hard lockdown looms

    The biggest threat to Australia: What Trump is prepared to do for re-election


    News Coronavirus

    6:00am, Aug 2, 2020 Updated: 10:40am, Aug 2

    Federal government support for Victoria as hard lockdown looms

    Australian Defence Force personnel at the Epping Gardens aged care facility in the Melbourne. Photo: Getty

    The New Daily @TheNewDailyAU


    Tweet Share Reddit Pin Email

    Victorians are on the brink of an extreme lockdown amid rising numbers of untraceable “mystery” COVID-19 cases and anger at blatant disobedience.

    The state’s cases rose by 397 on Saturday – with 49 of those from no known source – bringing suspected community transmission to nearly 2000 cases.

    Total fatalities rose to 201 on Saturday following the deaths of a man and two women aged in their 80s and 90s.

    A senior federal cabinet minister says the Morrison government is “absolutely” behind Victoria should it impose even stricter restrictions.

    “We’re working collaboratively and closely with them as they seek to address this second wave,” federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, and himself a Victorian, told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda.

    “We’ll continue to offer as much support as we can and work with the Victorian state government.”

    Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce new restrictions as early as Sunday, believing they could be a “circuit breaker” for rising cases.

    NSW recorded its first death in more than a month amid 17 new infections while Queensland’s latest case has been linked to the three women who returned infected from Victoria.

    In Victoria, wearing masks will be compulsory right across the state from midnight Sunday.

    The tighter lockdown restrictions are anticipated to lead to a massive economic shutdown, with all but essential businesses told to close.

    Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton confirmed discussions were underway about a harder lockdown as authorities met on Saturday night to discuss the next step to curb Victoria’s high daily infections.

    Under possible New Zealand-style restrictions, only supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations would be allowed to operate.

    Schools would go back to remote learning and residents’ movements would be strictly limited.

    Experts spent the weekend analysing infection data from the first half of Victoria’s six-week lockdown, with Premier Daniel Andrews saying further restrictions could be a “circuit breaker” to hundreds of daily infections.

    A man is fined by Victoria Police for refusing to wear a face mask. Photo: Getty

    Mr Andrews expressed frustration at people disregarding existing public health orders, including positive cases who weren’t home when defence force members came knocking.

    One person was fined on Saturday for leaving Melbourne to drive to Wodonga for a hamburger while another tried to drive from Werribee to Springvale – opposite sides of Melbourne – for groceries.

    Further fines were issued to a Victorian who was caught driving from Melbourne to Ballarat for “fresh air”, a group who hosted an AirBnB party, patrons and staff of a brothel that had continued operations and a man who drove from Thornbury to Werribee to get a haircut from his favourite barber.

    The aged care crisis continues in Victoria with 1008 active cases currently linked to the sector. Photo: Getty

    Mr Andrews said the time for warnings had passed and a “much bigger fine” through the courts was being considered as an alternative to on-the-spot fines.

    The premier said one of the biggest concerns was tracing community transmission, particularly in relation to the growing number of infections from an unknown source.

    “We can’t be certain there’s not even further community transmission, even more mystery cases out there,” he said.

    “That is in some respect our biggest challenge.”

    NSW first new death

    NSW has confirmed its first coronavirus-related death in more than a month as authorities seek to suppress a number of growing clusters.

    The state had 17 new cases on Saturday, coinciding with the closure of several Sydney venues for deep cleaning and contact tracing after being linked to coronavirus. At least one of the 17 new cases has no known source of infection.

    An 83-year-old man connected to the Crossroads Hotel cluster in southwest Sydney died on Saturday morning, taking the NSW death toll to 52.

    It was the first coronavirus-related death confirmed by NSW Health since late June.

    Meanwhile a NSW duo has been arrested after entering South Australia after they were turned back.

    The 25-year-old man and 20-year-old woman tried to cross the border at Pinnaroo on Thursday, claiming they were headed interstate to sell a dog.

    They were refused entry and turned back to NSW, but police stopped their NSW-registered car in the Adelaide suburb of Kilburn on Saturday afternoon.

    The pair were charged with breaching COVID-19 directions and have been denied bail ahead of a court appearance on Monday.

    NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said most cases in the past week have been associated with local clusters and close contacts of known cases.

    However seven cases were of unknown origin.

    “These unlinked cases have been in people from southwestern Sydney, western Sydney, southeastern Sydney and Sydney local health districts.”

    Public health officials watch over as members of the Muslim community wait in line to celebrate the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha at the Auburn Gallipoli Mosque in Sydney. Photo: AAP

    The Thai Rock Wetherill Park cluster is nearing 100 COVID-19 cases, while the cluster in Potts Point has reached 24 and the funeral events cluster sits at 25.

    A popular venue on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, meanwhile, was on Saturday forced to shut after hosting a COVID-positive patron on the afternoon of July 24.

    The Bavarian in Manly underwent deep cleaning and reopened to the public on Saturday afternoon. Patrons on the afternoon of July 24 should monitor for respiratory symptoms.

    The Harpoon & Hotel Harry in Surry Hills, Matinee Coffee in Marrickville and Tan Viet in Cabramatta are among other venues required to undertake deep cleaning in recent days.

    Harris Farm Market in Leichhardt and Darlo Bar in Darlinghurst also on Friday confirmed they were frequented on July 26 by COVID-positive people and have undergone deep cleaning.

    Qld infection nursing home link

    Diana Lasu (left) and Olivia Winnie Muranga (right) are under police investigation.

    Queensland’s latest case of COVID-19, confirmed on Saturday, is a woman who may have been infectious while working at a Brisbane nursing home.

    The facility at Pinjarra Hills in Brisbane’s west had already been locked down and staff and residents are being tested after the woman’s husband tested COVID-positive on Friday.

    The case has been linked to the women who flouted quarantine after a trip to Melbourne, roaming across Brisbane while possibly infected.

    The sunshine state on Saturday imposed tighter border restrictions, adding visitors from greater Sydney to the banned list, along with all people from Victoria.

    Adelaide is set to receive 170 people on Saturday on a repatriation flight from India, with all going into hotel quarantine. Officials are expecting at least some to have COVID-19.

    South Australia also recorded a new case of COVID-19 on Saturday – a man aged in his 20s who had returned from interstate and has been in quarantine.

    The Northern Territory has reported one new case of coronavirus – a woman who travelled from Melbourne.

    Doctors’ safety plea

    Victorian anaesthetists are calling for ‘fit testing’ of personal protective equipment, citing concerns that not enough is being done to protect health workers from coronavirus.

    Three doctors are reportedly among those in intensive care as the state struggles to contain the virus.

    And as hospitalisations grow in the state, the level of infection risk and the effectiveness of PPE is worrying many.

    Anaesthetists are commonly called on to intubate patients needing help to breathe, and so they are among those face-to-face with the most severe COVID-19 cases.

    The Australian Society of Anaesthetists says it has made “numerous approaches” to federal and state health departments asking that fit-testing of PPE become mandatory in all hospitals.

    Fit testing involves checking whether airborne particles can penetrate an N95 mask and other safety gear.

    One method involves spraying a solution at the face, which if able to be smelled or tasted, means the mask has failed.

    Melbourne anaesthetist Bob Cox said the astronaut-like suits worn by overseas doctors are better because they don’t obstruct vision and are more comfortable.

    “At the moment we’re using equipment that is totally disposable but it has its limitations in that it may not be as safe,” Dr Cox said.

    “To have doctors ending up in intensive care on ventilators is not good, let alone anyone else.”

    -with AAP


    In bid to reduce COVID-19 risk, Ottawa will require all Alaskan travellers through B.C. to provide exit date

    Ian Bailey


    UPDATED JULY 30 2020, 10:09PM

    Canada is cracking down on U.S. citizens passing through British Columbia to Alaska with newly announced rules that include travellers having to display signs in their vehicles identifying themselves as Americans and naming a date for their exit from Canadian territory.

    The new rules take effect on Friday.

    “These measures are put in place to further reduce the the risk of introduction of COVID-19 cases and to minimize the amount of time that in-transit travellers are in Canada,” the Canada Border Services Agency said in a statement Thursday in announcing the new rules.

    B.C. Premier John Horgan, who has advocated for keeping the Canada-U.S. border closed during the pandemic and expressed concerns about Alaskan-bound travellers lingering in B.C., welcomed the new measures.

    “We look forward to the day when our borders are open and we can welcome travellers from all over, but we aren’t there yet. These enhanced measures will ensure those travelling to Alaska take the fastest route possible with minimal contact in communities that are working hard to contain COVID-19,” Mr. Horgan said in a statement.

    Dr. Bonnie Henry, the B.C. Health Officer, also said she was pleased with the new policy. “I think that’s great. That’s a really helpful step,” she told a daily COVID-19 briefing.

    Although the Canada-U.S. border was closed to most travel on March 21, Americans travelling for what have been deemed essential reasons can cross.

    Under the rules announced Thursday and aimed at travel to and from Alaska, in-transit foreign nationals must enter Canada at one of five identified CBSA ports of entry – three in B.C., one in Saskatchewan and one in Alberta – and are limited to the most direct route north to their exit while avoiding all national parks, leisure sites and tourism activities.

    Before entering the United States, the travellers must report to the nearest CBSA point of exit to confirm they are departing Canada.

    En route, travellers are to display an issued vehicle “hang tag” on their rear-view mirror that show they are transiting, and the date of their exit from Canada, while the back of the tag will feature conditions imposed upon entry and public-health tips.

    The measures also apply to foreign nationals travelling through Canada from Alaska.

    According to a statement from the spokesperson for the federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, travellers who fail to exit Canada as scheduled would be the subject of a follow-up investigation by the enforcement and intelligence operations division of the CBSA. A traveller could be removed, and be issued a one-year exclusion order.

    Discretionary and optional travel across the Canada-U.S. border remains banned.

    Staff Sergeant Janelle Shoihet of the British Columbia division of the RCMP said, in a statement, that the new tags will help Mounties determine why American travellers are in Canada, and whether they are required to be travelling directly to Alaska.

    She said that if a traveller is found to be contravening the Quarantine Act requirements, the RCMP could issue a $1,000 violation ticket. Staff-Sgt. Shoihet said, so far during the pandemic, six violation tickets have been issued in B.C. for failure to comply. However, she said she did not know the nationality of those ticketed.

    Last Sunday, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the state to date – a total 231 newly diagnosed individuals in the state, which is home to about 731,000 people. The agency linked the case count to widespread community transmission from social gatherings, several seafood industry outbreaks and a backlog of test results that have entered the system.

    The commissioner for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services warned that the surge had to be stopped, noting daily cases over 100 will soon diminish hospital bed capacity.

    As of Wednesday, there were 84 new resident cases and 36 non-resident cases. A spokesman for the Alaska Governor was unavailable for comment on Canada’s new measures.

    We have a weekly Western Canada newsletter written by our B.C. and Alberta bureau chiefs, providing a comprehensive package of the news you need to know about the region and its place in the issues facing Canada. Sign up today.





  19. Regarding the unwelcome federal police presence in non-federal places when State forces already had guarded Federal Property by decades-old arrangement, perhaps the administration is just testing the American tolerance levels for after the election?

    We don't know what their plan is because almost the entire US government is in an "Acting Something-or-other" guessing role, and his plans change between breakfast and noon according to mood, press coverage on Fox and the usual, fathomless insecurities.

    2024 is the key here, not 2020.

  20. Only Congress has the power to legally delay an election. It will not do so.


    Though the term is frustratingly imprecise, the United States is devolving into a failed state.

    This means that it is increasingly incapable of:

    • protecting its citizens from violence and, these days from their destruction/death;
    • a willingness to carry out established laws and lawful actions;
    • relying upon its long-established, substantive institutions to support Constitutional authority of a democratic government;
    • recognizing and correcting the "democratic deficit" - the decades-long disconnect between public opinion and public policy.

    Anything is now possible.

    • Thanks 1