Woody Pusher

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  1. 60 Minutes Australia - Boeing 737 MAX - Fatal Flaw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFKk8iI4taI On a subject that 60 Minutes USA is not likely to show.
  2. Look at what has turned up in the Wall Street Journal! https://www.wsj.com/articles/boeings-own-test-pilots-lacked-key-details-of-737-max-flight-control-system-11556877600 Boeing’s Own Test Pilots Lacked Key Details of 737 MAX Flight-Control System A culture of close collaboration between test pilots, engineering staff deteriorated in later stages of aircraft’s development By Andrew Tangel and Andy Pasztor May 3, 2019 6:00 a.m. ET Boeing Co. limited the role of its own pilots in the final stages of developing the 737 MAX flight-control system implicated in two fatal crashes, departing from a longstanding practice of seeking their detailed input, people familiar with the matter said. As a result, Boeing test pilots and senior pilots involved in the MAX’s development didn’t receive detailed briefings about how fast or steeply the automated system known as MCAS could push down a plane’s nose, these people said. Nor were they informed that the system relied on a single sensor—rather than two—to verify the accuracy of incoming data about the angle of a plane’s nose, they added. Investigators have linked faulty sensor data to the flight-control system’s misfire, which led to crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that took 346 lives. The extent of pilots’ lack of involvement hasn’t been previously reported and could bring fresh scrutiny from investigators and regulators already looking into Boeing’s design and engineering practices. It isn’t clear whether greater pilot participation would have altered the ultimate design of the flight-control system. But the scaling back of pilots’ involvement and their lack of detailed knowledge about the plane’s system add to the list of questions about engineering and design practices facing the Chicago-based aerospace giant. A Boeing spokesman said test pilots and senior pilots didn’t have less of a role in the design, briefing and testing of the final version of MCAS when compared with their counterparts who worked on previous models featuring important new systems. “Listening to pilots is an important aspect of our work,” the spokesman said. “Their experienced input is front and center in our mind when we develop airplanes. We share a common priority—safety—and we listen to them carefully.” The MAX fleet has been grounded world-wide since the second crash in March, while Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration complete a software fix to make MCAS less potent and have it rely on dual sensors. Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg recently told investors Boeing would examine how it could improve the process of developing airplanes. Boeing’s test pilots are an elite full-time crew, usually consisting of former military aviators, who try out systems on new aircraft before engineering specifics are locked in. Such test flights occur before the final version of the airplane is produced, cockpit procedures are set and the aircraft is delivered to customers. Boeing’s management has long prided itself on close collaboration between test pilots and engineering staff. For decades, and particularly through the development of the first version of the wide-body 777 in the early 1990s, Boeing talked up how its roster of pilots and commercial aviators specifically recruited for feedback provided suggestions about the model’s cockpit design and function. A senior Boeing executive said pilots have remained intimately involved in aircraft development. “The test pilots have to be fully aware of what those capabilities are, and how the airplane will respond in those situations because they are ultimately the judge and jury,” the senior Boeing executive said in a recent Wall Street Journal interview. After Boeing decided to develop the MAX in 2011, executives overseeing the program welcomed and acted upon pilots’ suggestions, including adding larger cockpit displays, a senior pilot involved in the process said. Any suggestions that touched on safety got full attention, this pilot said. But over time, an internal restructuring that began in 2009 introduced changes in that process, eventually reducing pilots’ clout, according to people familiar with pilots’ role in the process. Boeing had consolidated its testing and evaluation teams into a companywide group of pilots and labs to streamline operations as it kept a lid on costs. The teams had previously worked independently within Boeing’s commercial and defense divisions, which some pilots say had the effect of keeping aviators closer to engineering divisions on particular development programs. About midway through the MAX’s development, the senior pilot recalls warning a Boeing executive about taking pilots out of the loop: “Something is going to get by, and it’s not going to be pretty.” The senior Boeing executive said he hadn’t heard such concerns and defended the consolidated testing group. The restructuring added no additional cost pressure for testing, he said, and instead strengthened the group by making more resources available across the company. The MCAS system was a new addition to Boeing’s 737 series, meant to kick in automatically and operate in the background to prevent a plane from stalling. A stall can occur when a plane is flying too slowly and its nose is too high to maintain lift. In the MAX, MCAS uses sensor data about the plane’s angle to push down its nose and keep it from stalling. One former Boeing pilot who participated in some later-stage MAX test flights recalls hearing about MCAS in a general way, but wasn’t given further details. For instance, this pilot never learned about the system’s reliance on a single sensor transmitting data about the angle of a plane’s nose, or how far MCAS would be able to move a plane’s adjustable tail fin known as a “horizontal stabilizer,” which controls the up-and-down movement of a jet’s nose. Test pilots did have the opportunity to try out the MAX and its automated system under various scenarios, but those didn’t include testing the full force of MCAS, some of these people said. Looking back, some pilots contend Boeing could have missed design flaws given their cohort’s at times limited involvement in the craft’s development. In 2016, a year before the MAX began commercial service, some test pilots suggested adapting MCAS, initially designed to operate at high speeds, to also work when the plane was traveling at slower speeds, according to one of the people familiar with the matter. By then, test pilots had less say in how design revisions were implemented. They also weren’t told explicitly that in its final iteration, MCAS commands would be four times as powerful than in earlier versions, according to people familiar with the matter. That change was earlier reported by the Seattle Times. In hindsight, test pilots “had no real input” into the ultimate MCAS design, one of the people said. Senior Boeing pilots at times found themselves excluded from meetings involving engineers, prompting them to sometimes invite themselves or show up unannounced, according to this person. The senior Boeing executive said last week that current development programs aren’t characterized by such friction.
  3. @Don Hudson Thanks for your reply to my last post (a couple of pages back!). Yes, I agree with your interpretation of how the final AND occurred. However, in respect of my comment, " manual trimming may be impossible ", a Mentour Pilot video taken in a B738 Full Simulator has some points of interest - applicable to ET320. The "roller coaster" method - to unload the HS and allow manual trimming, IF they'd known to use it, wouldn't get a look in due to terrain. Speed reduction may have, but it appears the crew didn't understand what they were dealing with. Note:- these runaway stabilizer correction scenarios were migrated from the FCOM to the FCTM as of the 732. The damming feature of the MCAS fitted to the MAX, is it is actually a system configuration control activated without cross reference to other ADIRU data, and hasn't the ability to detect a 'single point' air-data failure and remove itself from the control equation.
  4. @Don Hudson, It's the bits that are not said, that lead to confusion. Boeing's FCOM Bulletin states that "Electric stabilizer trim can be used to neutralize control column pitch forces before moving the STAB TRIM CUTOUT switches to CUTOUT". Missing; is it failed to WARN that the electric trim MUST be used BEFORE using the CUTOUT switches, in order to NEUTRALIZE the back force on the control column. This effectively means that if the aircraft is not properly trimmed before activating the CUTOUT switches, manual trimming may be impossible. My feeling is that the throttles were set for the projected climb, and the trim problem, UAS, stick shaker, warnings etc.. overwhelmed the crew, and eventually the increasing airspeed resulted in HS 'blow-back' - or HS stall. That's when the final AND occurred.
  5. FBI joining criminal investigation into certification of Boeing 737 MAX March 20, 2019 at 12:55 pm - Updated March 20, 2019 at 1:29 pm By Steve Miletich Seattle Times staff reporter The FBI has joined the criminal investigation into the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX, lending its considerable resources to an inquiry already being conducted by U.S. Department of Transportation agents, according to people familiar with the matter. The federal grand jury investigation, based in Washington, D.C., is looking into the certification process that approved the safety of the new Boeing plane, two of which have crashed since October. The FBI’s Seattle field office lies in proximity to Boeing’s 737 manufacturing plant in Renton, as well as nearby offices of Boeing and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials involved in the certification of the plane. The investigation, which is being overseen by the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal division and carried out by the Transportation Department’s Inspector General, began in response to information obtained after a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on Oct. 29, killing 189 people, Bloomberg reported earlier this week, citing an unnamed source. It has widened since then, The Associated Press reported this week, with the grand jury issuing a subpoena on March 11 for information from someone involved in the plane’s development, one day after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 near Addis Ababa that killed 157 people. The FBI’s support role was described by people on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the investigation Representatives of the Justice Department, the FBI and Transportation Department declined to comment, saying they could neither confirm nor deny an investigation. A Seattle Times story over the weekend detailed how FAA managers pushed its engineers to delegate more of the certification process to Boeing itself. The Times story also detailed flaws in an original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA. Criminal investigations into the federal oversight of airplane manufacturing and flight are rare, in part because of the longstanding belief that a civil-enforcement system better promotes candid reporting of concerns without fear of criminal repercussions. Those criminal cases that have occurred have focused on false entries and misrepresentations. In 1998, Transportation Department and FBI agents, acting on a whistleblower’s allegations, served a criminal search warrant on Alaska Airlines, seeking evidence of maintenance irregularities. The investigation expanded to include the January 2000 crash of Alaska Flight 261 that killed 88 people, which the National Transportation Safety Board later blamed on the airline’s faulty maintenance practices and poor FAA oversight. But no criminal charges were filed, although the FAA, in a separate administrative review, ultimately found that Alaska and three of its managers had violated safety regulations, fining the carrier $44,000, revoking the mechanic licenses of two of the managers and suspending the license of the third. Federal criminal charges were brought over the May 11, 1996, ValuJet Flight 592 crash that took off from Miami International Airport and plunged into the Everglades minutes later, killing 110 people. Federal prosecutors in Florida filed a 24-count indictment against SabreTech, an airline maintenance contractor, and its workers over alleged violations in the handling of oxygen containers blamed for the crash. SabreTech was found guilty on nine counts but was acquitted on conspiracy charges, according to news reports. An appeals court later overturned all but one of the counts, the improper training of employees.
  6. PARIS (Reuters) - France’s air accident investigation agency BEA will analysis black-box flight recorders from a Boeing 737 MAX 8 which crashed near Addis Ababa on Sunday, a spokesman said. Ethiopian Airlines said earlier it would send the two cockpit voice and data recorders abroad for analysis. The French announcement resolved uncertainty over the fate of the two recorders after Germany’s BFU said it had declined a request to handle them because it could not process the new type of recorder used on the 737 MAX jets, in service since 2017. The BEA is one of the world’s most active air crash agencies alongside the National Transportation Safety Board of the United States and has laboratories at its Le Bourget headquarters.
  7. Well, you are in a no win situation. You can't be in or go into A/P mode because you'd have an air-data discrepancy, yet the AD says STS runaway trim wont happen in Auto Pilot mode? No good arguing over it now, the problem the Lion Air crew encountered was the proverbial 'elephant in the room' one. Looked for the expected UAS and got kicked in the bum.