737 Max Updates and Cancellations


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Who cares how Southwest  feels.  They got what they demanded,  they get what they deserve. 

14,000 Words Of "Blame The Pilots" That Whitewash Boeing Of 737 MAX Failure The New York Times Magazine just published a 14,000 words piece about the Boeing 737 MAX accidents. It is headlined:

On a humourous note, maybe Boeing just wants to be more.....'environmentally friendly'???  

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Regulators to examine pilot training for Boeing 737 Max jets

From Canadian Manufacturing – link to story

The review will include aviation officials and pilots from the U.S., Canada, Brazil and the European Union

September 12, 2020  by The Associated Press

Aviation regulators and pilots from several countries will begin next week reviewing Boeing’s proposal for training pilots to fly the revamped 737 Max, a sign that the grounded plane is moving closer to returning to service.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Sept. 11 that the review will start Sept. 14 at London’s Gatwick Airport and last about nine days. The review will include aviation officials and pilots from the United States, Canada, Brazil and the European Union.

The FAA said several other steps remain before the plane can resume flying, including a review to make sure Boeing’s changes comply with safety regulations.

Boeing changed computers and flight software on the Max after an automated anti-stall system pushed down the noses of two jets before they crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing 346 people. Max planes have been grounded worldwide since March 2019.

U.S. safety investigators who reviewed the two crashes recommended that Boeing reconsider assumptions it made about how quickly pilots can respond during an emergency.

A spokesman for Chicago-based Boeing said the company expects to win regulatory approval to resume shipping new Max jets in the fourth quarter. It could take longer before airlines resume using the plane because of maintenance and pilot-training requirements.

Earlier Sept. 11, Europe’s flight safety authority said the first flight tests for the Max were completed.

Separately, congressional scrutiny of FAA’s original approval of the Max is about to increase. A Senate committee plans to vote next week on a bill that would impose new restrictions on the FAA’s use of employees of aircraft makers like Boeing to make safety certifications about their own planes.

Congressional aides say if the measure had been in effect at the time, it would have required FAA to examine the Max and its flight-control system more thoroughly by deeming it a new plane and not simply an update to the Boeing 737, which began flying in the 1960s.

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Link to story https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/us-congress-boeing-crash-report-1.5725876?cmp=rss

Link to FAA updates: https://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=93206&omniRss=news_updatesAoc&cid=101_N_U

Boeing, U.S. regulator made series of errors ahead of 737 Max crashes: congressional report

Soc

Transportation committee says what it learned calls for urgent reforms in how planes are approved

The Associated Press · Posted: Sep 16, 2020 8:16 AM ET | Last Updated: 19 minutes ago

A House of Representatives committee issued a scathing report Wednesday questioning whether Boeing and government regulators have recognized the problems that caused two deadly 737 Max jet crashes and whether either will be willing to make significant changes to fix them.

Staff members from the Democrat-controlled transportation committee blamed the crashes that killed 346 people on the "horrific culmination" of failed government oversight, design flaws and a lack of action at Boeing despite knowing about problems.

 

The committee identified many deficiencies in the Federal Aviation Administration approval process for new jetliners. But both the agency and Boeing have said certification of the Max complied with FAA regulations, the 246-page report said.

"The fact that a compliant airplane suffered from two deadly crashes in less than five months is clear evidence that the current regulatory system is fundamentally flawed and needs to be repaired," the staff wrote in the report released early Wednesday.

The report highlights the need for legislation to fix the approval process and deal with the FAA's delegation of some oversight tasks to aircraft manufacturer employees, said committee chairman Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon.

"Obviously the system is inadequate," DeFazio said. "We will be adopting significant reforms."

He wouldn't give details of possible changes, saying committee leaders are in talks with Republicans about legislation. He said the committee won't scrap the delegation program, and he hopes to reach agreement on reforms before year's end.

The House report stems from an 18-month investigation into the October 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia and the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March of 2019. The Max was grounded worldwide shortly after the Ethiopia crash, which killed 18 Canadian citizens.

Regulators are testing planes with revamped flight control software, and Boeing hopes to get the Max flying again later this year or early in 2021, though the pandemic has complicated the outlook for the aviation industry.

Software flaw inadequately communicated

The investigators mainly focused on the reason Boeing was able to get the jet approved with minimal pilot training: It convinced the FAA that the Max was an updated version of previous generation 737s.

In fact, Boeing equipped the plane with software called MCAS, an acronym for Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which automatically lowers the plane's nose to prevent an aerodynamic stall. Initially, pilots worldwide weren't told about the system, which Boeing said was needed because the Max had bigger, more powerful engines that were placed further forward on the wings than older 737s.

 

In both crashes, MCAS repeatedly pointed the nose down, forcing pilots into unsuccessful struggles to keep the planes aloft.

Committee investigators said they found several instances in which Boeing concealed information about MCAS from the FAA and airlines.

Read the congressional report:

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Boeing, which is headquartered in Chicago and has its production facilities in Washington state, didn't disclose that MCAS worked off a single sensor called "angle of attack," which measures a plane's pitch. It also didn't disclose that a gauge that would have alerted pilots to a malfunctioning sensor didn't work on the vast majority of the jets.

Boeing also concealed that it took a company test pilot more than 10 seconds to determine that MCAS was operating and respond to it, a condition that the pilot found to be "catastrophic," according to the report. Federal guidelines assume pilots will respond to this condition within four seconds.

Four Boeing employees working as "authorized representatives" with permission to act on the FAA's behalf to validate aircraft systems knew about the test pilot's slow response. But there was no evidence that they reported this to the FAA, the report said.

Another authorized representative raised concerns in 2016 about hazards of MCAS repeatedly pointing the plane's nose down, but the concerns never made it to the FAA.

Repeated MCAS activation and faulty sensors "were the core contributing factors that led to the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes more than two years later," the report said.

Additional training would've lowered plane's cost

According to the report, Boeing wanted to keep details about MCAS from the FAA so it wouldn't require additional pilot training. That would ruin Boeing's sales pitch for the Max — that pilots of older 737s wouldn't have to go through extensive simulator training to fly the new planes.

Investigators found that Boeing had a financial incentive to avoid more pilot training. Under a 2011 contract with Southwest Airlines, Boeing would have had to knock $1 million US off the price of each Max if simulator training was needed.

"That drove a whole lot of really bad decisions internally at Boeing, and also the FAA did not pick up on these things," DeFazio said.

He added that Boeing had an internal meeting in 2013 and agreed never to talk about MCAS outside the company. At one point, MCAS was listed in pilot training manuals, but an authorized representative signed off on removing it, he said.

In a statement, Boeing said it has worked to strengthen its safety culture and has co-operated with the committee. The company has incorporated many recommendations from committees and experts who have examined Max issues.

'Change is always hard'

Boeing said it has learned from mistakes.

"Change is always hard and requires a daily commitment, but we as a company are dedicated to doing the work," the statement said.

The FAA said in a statement it looks forward to working with the committee to make improvements, and it's already making changes based on internal and independent reviews.

"These initiatives are focused on advancing overall aviation safety by improving our organization, processes and culture," the FAA said, adding that it is requiring a number of design changes to the Max before it can fly again.

When it came to FAA oversight, investigators said they found multiple examples of agency managers overruling technical and safety experts at the behest of Boeing.

In an interview with investigators, Keith Leverkuhn, former Boeing general manager for the Max who was promoted in the company, said he considered development of the Max a success despite the crashes.

"I do challenge the suggestion that the development was a failure," the report quotes him as saying.

The Senate's commerce committee postponed a planned Wednesday meeting following up on changes to a bipartisan bill introduced in June giving the FAA more control over picking company employees who sign off on safety decisions. One improvement contemplated may be that a plane with significant changes from previous models would need more FAA review.

 

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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:

https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Launch-Decision-Technology-Deviance/dp/022634682X

https://www.amazon.com/Organization-Limit-Lessons-Columbia-Disaster/dp/140513108X

 

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

https://transportation.house.gov/committee-activity/boeing-737-max-investigation

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.

Edited by Don Hudson
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