737 Max Updates and Cancellations


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On 9/23/2020 at 7:49 PM, Rich Pulman said:

With full nose-up trim, what Gz load would you get at minimum-clean speed? Does the emergency checklist make any mention of using bank angle to help prevent excessive AOA in the event of a pitch up?

No idea on first question.  Can you elaborate?

Checklists make no mention of the use of bank angle to prevent or manage nose-high attitude, always good tactic to keep in your toolbag, although AOA would remain the same regardless of bank angle, no? 

Current FCTM states that "in extreme cases it may be necessary to aerodynamically relieve the airloads to allow manual trimming." There's also mention of changing speed towards the in-trim speed to relieve effort required to trim.

In practice, anything more than several seconds of unnoticed runaway stab trim can require significant effort to hold the aircraft level. And manual trimming can be very difficult gusting near impossible when such a force is applied through the control column.  If no other technique to retrim works, what does work well in an AND mistrim is to slowly pitch up to about 20 degrees nose up, relax the control column pressure, and manual trim like mad (can we still say that?)  The effort to pitch up to 20 degrees nose up is only very slightly more difficult than holding the aircraft level.  When the air load is removed from the elevator (unloaded), the manual trim is as easy to move as on the ground.  A few cycles like that and you'll have 'er trimmed out good and proper.  ANU mistrim would obviously be handled with a pitch down then relax. 

This technique is detailed in the 1982 FCTM and earlier versions as a technique to use if other methods fail and is referred to as the "roller-coaster" technique, although if done gently and smoothly, there is no significant deviation from 1g. Why reference to the technique has been removed from later versions is a mystery to me.

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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'???  

Posted Images

From the article:

Quote

 

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.

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Media Advisory – FAA Administrator Scheduled to Pilot 737 MAX

September 30, 2020

Flight is scheduled for Sept. 30 at 9 a.m. PT with a media availability to follow at 11:30 a.m. PT.


FAA Administrator Steve Dickson is scheduled to pilot the Boeing 737 MAX on Sept. 30 in Seattle.

Afterward, a news conference will be broadcast live on the FAA’s website and social media platforms.

Dickson and FAA Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell were in Seattle this week, completing the recommended new pilot training for the aircraft as part of the preparation for the flight. Elwell will not be aboard the flight on Wednesday.

For planning purposes, the flight is schedule to depart from Boeing Field at approximately 9 a.m. Pacific Time on Wednesday. The flight is expected to take about two hours.

Dickson will brief reporters on his flight at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time.

WHO: FAA Administrator Steve Dickson

WHAT: Post flight briefing of the 737 MAX

WHEN: September 30 at 11:30 a.m. PT

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FAA head calls test flight of 737 ‘productive’ but work remains

From BNN Bloomberg – link to story

30 September 2020 | Alan Levin, Bloomberg News

The Boeing Co. 737 Max airplane lands during a test flight in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson, who is licensed to fly the 737 along with several other jetliners from his time as a pilot at Delta Air Lines Inc., will be at the controls of a Max that has been updated with a variety of fixes the agency has proposed and may soon make mandatory. Photographer: Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg

The Boeing Co. 737 Max airplane lands during a test flight in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson, who is licensed to fly the 737 along with several other jetliners from his time as a pilot at Delta Air Lines Inc., will be at the controls of a Max that has been updated with a variety of fixes the agency has proposed and may soon make mandatory. Photographer: Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg , Bloomberg

The chief aviation regulator in the U.S. called a test flight of the Boeing Co. 737 Max Wednesday “productive,” but said the agency hasn’t completed its work assessing the fixes needed to return the plane to service.

Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson, a former airline pilot who is licensed to fly the 737, flew the plane for more than 90 minutes over Washington state. Dickson had promised last year after becoming FAA administrator to fly the aircraft before the agency approves its return to service.

“I like what I saw this morning,” Dickson said at a post-flight briefing in Seattle. “But we are not at the point yet where we have completed the process.”

While Dickson’s flight isn’t required by FAA rules and has no direct impact on the plane’s certification, it marked a symbolic milestone as the company and airlines prepare to resume flights on the controversial plane.

Dickson stopped short of endorsing the jet’s return. He said the controls felt “very comfortable” during maneuvers to test the revised system linked to two fatal crashes, and the training he received left him “very prepared.”

He said he didn’t have trouble manually adjusting the trim, which raises and lowers the plane’s nose if the electrical system is off-line. Pilots in an Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10, 2019, had difficulty doing so and pilot unions have asked for more training on the process.

At the same time, he also said he had discovered “a few items” that he wants to raise with Boeing and his team oversees the plane’s certification. The unspecified issues have to do with how the proposed new documentation is worded, he said.

The jet, Boeing’s best-selling model, was grounded in March 2019 after two crashes left 346 people dead. A software system implicated in both crashes was redesigned and the FAA is also requiring Boeing to rework potentially dangerous wiring and to revise the design of the plane’s flight computers.

The FAA could give final approval to the fixes soon and is also preparing to release proposed new pilot-training requirements. Other regulators in Europe and elsewhere have said they are also close to approving the plane.

Michael Stumo, whose daughter died in the second crash, blasted the Dickson flight as having “no statistical validity but creates a sheen of product endorsement.”

“This hyped test flight is a public relations gift from FAA administrator Dickson and deputy administrator Elwell to Boeing’s public relations and marketing efforts,” Stumo said in a written statement.

Asked about the comments, Dickson said, “This is not a publicity stunt” and defended the agency’s attempts to provide Stumo and other family members involved in a lawsuit against Boeing with as much information as is allowed.

“Since I ultimately will be charged with making the decision on this aircraft, before I’m going to sign my name on the dotted line I believe that it is important for me to lead from the front and be here to really see the nuts and bolts of how this process is being completed,” Dickson said.

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https://www.reuters.com/article/boeing-737max-delta-idUSKBN26M5JK

Boeing courting Delta, others to take 737 MAX 'white tails' - sources

SEATTLE/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines is among airlines Boeing Co has approached to buy dozens of 737 MAX jets built for clients that have since scrapped their orders or gone bust, two people familiar with the matter said.

As the 737 MAX edges closer to commercial flight after an 18-month grounding, Boeing is scrambling to find buyers for the so-called “white tails” - jets painted white, awaiting an airline livery, or whose color schemes need to be swapped.

The 737 MAX’s ban following two fatal crashes had already caused some carriers to walk and the number of unsold jets has soared as the COVID-19 pandemic decimated demand for air travel and new aircraft.

Boeing has had discussions with Delta to take 40 of the 737 MAX “white tails,” the people said.

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BUSINESS NEWS
OCTOBER 6, 202010:37 AMUPDATED 2 HOURS AGO

American Airlines delays Boeing 737 MAX pilot training

By Tracy Rucinski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - American Airlines AAL.O has delayed plans to begin scheduling Boeing Co BA.N 737 MAX training for its pilots in November, the Allied Pilots Association said on Tuesday, as the grounded jet awaits regulatory approval to return to the skies.

Boeing is seeking approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a series of changes to the 737 MAX following two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 that triggered the aircraft’s global grounding. The FAA has also yet to determine new pilot training requirements for the jet.

 

Last month, American said its training plans could be canceled if the 737 MAX was not recertified.

“We have not made any definitive plans regarding the 737 MAX as the return to service timeline remains fluid,” an American Airlines spokeswoman said. “That’s why we recently adjusted the pilot training scheduling process and will continue to do so depending on when the MAX is recertified.”

 

She said American Airlines remains in contact with the FAA and Boeing on the recertification process, and continues to work in close collaboration with the pilots union.

Attempting to start MAX training for pilots in November seemed “a bit premature,” as we said recently, said Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines’ pilots.

https://ca.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idCAKBN26R2SY

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FAA Updates on Boeing 737 MAX

FAA Updates on Boeing 737 MAX10/6/2020

The FAA posted the draft Flight Standardization Board (FSB) report on the proposed pilot training for the Boeing 737 MAX this afternoon. It can be found here under FSBR B737

 

The report incorporates the recommendations from the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) which recently met for nine days. The JOEB was comprised of civil aviation authorities from the United States, Canada, Brazil, and the European Union. 

The comment period on the draft FSB report will last through November 2, 2020. The FAA will publish a final FSB report after reviewing and addressing public comments on the draft FSB Report.

While this is an important step, several key milestones remain:

  • Final Design Documentation and Technical Advisory Board (TAB) Report – The FAA will review Boeing’s final design documentation to evaluate compliance with all FAA regulations. The multi-agency TAB will also review the final Boeing submission and issue a final report prior to a final determination of compliance by the FAA.
  • Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) & AD – The FAA will issue a CANIC providing notice of pending significant safety actions and will publish a final AD that addresses the known issues for grounding. The AD will advise operators of required corrective actions before aircraft may re-enter commercial service.
  • FAA Rescinds Grounding Order – This marks the official ungrounding of the aircraft, pending completion by operators of the work specified in the AD, along with any required training.
  • Certificates of Airworthiness – The FAA will retain its authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates for all new 737 MAX airplanes manufactured since the grounding. The FAA will perform in-person, individual reviews of these aircraft.
  • Operator Training Programs – The FAA will review and approve training programs for all Part 121 operators.

These actions are applicable only to U.S. air carriers and U.S.-registered aircraft. While our processes will inform other civil aviation authorities, they must take their own actions to return the Boeing 737 MAX to service for their air carriers.  The FAA will ensure that our international counterparts have all necessary information to make a timely, safety-focused decision.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Boeing 737 Max is safe to fly again, Europe's aviation regulator says

ct. 16, 2020, 7:44 AM MDT
By Sam Shead, CNBC

Europe's aviation regulator has declared Boeing's 737 Max aircraft safe to fly. The aircraft was grounded in March 2019 following two accidents that left 346 people dead.

Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency,told Bloomberg Friday that he's satisfied with the changes Boeing has made to the aircraft, adding that the aircraft could return to the region's skies before the end of 2020.

 

The announcement comes even though Boeing is yet to implement a software upgrade that his agency demanded. It could be two years before it's ready.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-16/boeing-max-declared-safe-to-fly-by-europe-s-aviation-regulator?srnd=premium-europe&sref=ctSjKj2N&sref=7mwUMHq1

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/boeing-737-max-safe-fly-again-europe-s-aviation-regulator-n1243714?cid=sm_npd_nn_fb_nw&fbclid=IwAR1TQ7gZTHvJh7hjRMgRI3_xoffkb6K4HFiJwptSqZGDG7I5S6PUTmHsxKA

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Boeing explores selling Seattle-area jetliner headquarters
by Editor  October 16, 2020 in global financial news  0
Boeing explores selling Seattle-area jetliner headquarters
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Leaders of the jetliner unit would transfer to vacant workplaces in Boeing’s close by Plant 2 complicated or its Everett campus to Seattle’s north, individuals conversant in the matter mentioned. Many staff would proceed to work at home—as they’ve executed throughout the coronavirus pandemic—whereas typically sharing communal work stations on a short lived foundation, mentioned the individuals, who requested to not be named because the plans are confidential.

The examine is a part of a broad, systemic assessment of all of Boeing’s actual property holdings, even its Chicago headquarters, Chief Monetary Officer Greg Smith mentioned. Boeing is already slimming down its century-old manufacturing base round Seattle, the place it’s making ready to shut a manufacturing line for the 787 Dreamliner to deal with an plane market gutted by the pandemic.

“We’re evaluating all actual property throughout the globe,” Smith mentioned in an interview. “However no choices have been made apart from what we’ve introduced.”

Smith is spearheading a five-pronged evaluation of Boeing’s infrastructure, overhead, operations, investments and suppliers.

Boeing rose 3 p.c to $169.19 at 12:08 p.m. in New York after climbing as excessive as 5.6 p.c earlier within the buying and selling session. The acquire was the sharpest on the Dow Jones Industrial Common after Bloomberg Information reported that Europe’s high aviation regulator mentioned that modifications to the 737 Max made it protected sufficient to return to service.

International Portfolio

Boeing has already determined to shift its product growth group again to Everett, clearing out a 338,577-square-foot workplace tower that it leased in close by Mukilteo. That transfer was reported earlier by the Puget Sound Enterprise Journal.

Globally, Boeing is reviewing a portfolio that spans 2.4 million sq. toes of workplace house and 124 million sq. toes of factories and warehouses, one of many individuals mentioned.

The trouble encompasses each property the U.S. manufacturing big owns or leases world wide, with groups updating Smith and Chief Govt Officer Dave Calhoun on a weekly foundation. They’re digging into how effectively the properties are used as we speak and accounting for longer-term tendencies reminiscent of decreased demand for jet gross sales and the shift to house workplaces that was spurred by the pandemic.

The overarching query is “how can we arrange the corporate to be leaner and extra aggressive on the opposite aspect” of the disaster, Smith mentioned. He additionally serves as Boeing’s govt vice chairman of operations.

There are dangers to consolidating operations, from distracting employees to damaging the corporate’s tradition, and the rewards aren’t at all times clear lower. With the 787 program, the availability chain accounts for about 70 p.c of prices and the magnitude of the profit from shifting to a single ultimate meeting line in South Carolina is unclear, JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst Seth Seifman mentioned in a report this week.

Suburban Area

In actual property, the identical tendencies driving Boeing’s assessment are weighing on the pricing of the house it’s excited about vacating.

The rise of distant working has the potential to lower workplace demand, mentioned Danny Ismail, an analyst at actual property analysis agency Inexperienced Road. That makes it troublesome to inform how a lot Boeing may get for Longacres and will complicate a sale.

Typically, workplaces have fetched round $175 a sq. foot in Renton, Ismail mentioned. However there’s a large variation and never that many transactions for comparability.

Some buildings within the Seattle suburbs have fetched premium costs throughout the pandemic, although. In September, Fb Inc. agreed to purchase outside retailer REI’s never-used company headquarters in Bellevue, Washington, for $368 million.

“The indicators of life which might be there are within the suburban markets,” mentioned Chris Kagi, an workplace dealer for Savills in Seattle.

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8 hours ago, Malcolm said:

Many staff would proceed to work at home

This is the big result of the Covid nonsense

Many people have realised that the 'home office' is the new future

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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!

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You make a good point Don.

We are eliminating what I always referred to a passive communication.

several years  ago they took our position out of the STOC center and moved them to a remote location.  Something I always disagreed with.  When sitting tn the STOC center you could hear what was going on with all aspects of the operation.  This came in handy when Maintenance was being blamed for a delay.  It was easy to protest on the spot and clear things up.  This resulted in an increase of delays due to maintenance after our guys were removed.  That is only a single example of the passive communication that goes on.  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. 

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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.

 

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5 minutes ago, Don Hudson said:

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.

 

Don: the reality disconnect is def. a problem.  An ongoing example of that is some of the posts in the Non Aviation Discussion Forum ?  but all joking aside, face to face has always been better, at least to most generations but we can not ignore the current generation "Z" who is evidently very comfortable with virtual contact. 

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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.



 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pilot Unions, Crash Families Seek Changes to 737 Max Training

'Emergency checklists are "clunky at best"

Tue Nov 03, 2020 -  Bloomberg News
Alan Levin    

(Bloomberg) -- Pilot unions and families of those killed in a crash of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max are asking for revisions to proposed new training for the grounded jetliner.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s proposed new training module and emergency checklists for the Max are “clunky at best” and should be streamlined, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said in comments filed with the FAA before Monday’s deadline.

A group of dozens of family members and friends of the 157 people who died on an Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10, 2019, go further, seeking additional design changes and publication of a more detailed training outline.

“The FAA’s proposed update to the 737 Max pilot training requirements is inadequate to rectify Boeing’s history of 737 Max-related failures and insufficient to prepare pilots to safely fly the airplane,” the family group said in its comments, also posted on Monday.

Most of the 29 comments posted on a government website by 4 p.m. Monday were highly technical and don’t appear to create a huge challenge to the FAA’s work finalizing changes to the plane that will allow it to return to service, possibly before the end of the year.

Several people urged the FAA to allow the use of simpler flight simulators that don’t replicate the motion of a plane but are far cheaper to use and easier to access during the pandemic.

Boeing’s best-selling jet was grounded after the Ethiopian crash, which was the second fatal accident involving a malfunctioning flight-control system. A total of 346 people died in the crashes.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents crews at American Airlines Group Inc., is also asking for additional training in how to handle emergencies while flying at high speeds.

The FAA on Oct. 6 proposed requiring simulator training for pilots qualified to fly on earlier models of the 737 before they can carry passengers on the Max. Such training wasn’t originally required when the plane was introduced.

The agency has also proposed multiple changes to the plane itself, including revisions of the system linked to both crashes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If the MAX does return to service the big question remains...... Will carriers take delivery of the units currently in storage by Boeing or walk away ....   ??? and then of course what about the MAX that the airlines have stored. I wonder what the cost would be per aircraft to bring them back into service and of course if this would / will result in more aircraft than required, what will then happen.

 

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35 minutes ago, Malcolm said:

If the MAX does return to service the big question remains...... Will carriers take delivery of the units currently in storage by Boeing or walk away ....   ??? and then of course what about the MAX that the airlines have stored. I wonder what the cost would be per aircraft to bring them back into service and of course if this would / will result in more aircraft than required, what will then happen.

 

Why wouldn't the aircraft in storage not be utilized ????

In many cases these are brand new aircraft that were not even delivered yet ??

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42 minutes ago, AIP said:

Why wouldn't the aircraft in storage not be utilized ????

In many cases these are brand new aircraft that were not even delivered yet ??

Maybe because there are not enough passengers to warrant bringing them into service ?  There are hundreds of aircraft currently parked because there are no passengers to ride in them.

Also evidently the following might have kicked in:

Quote

“If an OEM cannot deliver a contracted airplane by 12 months from the contract month of delivery… the purchaser has the right to cancel. So, some airlines and leasing companies have decided that, because of the market uncertainty, maybe it’s a good idea to reduce their financial exposure. One less airplane to expense and one less airplane to worry about putting into service.”

Re the ones currently parked by airlines, does anyone on this forum have an idea of what mtce needs to be done to bring them back into service and also of course what crew training hours (ground and air) is involved?

Here is a recent article on the subject:

https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2020/10/05/iba-group-boeing-737max-return-to-service-airlines.html

Boeing 737 Max's return presents unprecedented technical, resource pressures

 


By Andrew McIntosh  – Staff Writer, Puget Sound Business Journal
Oct 5, 2020, 5:03pm EDT
If aviation safety regulators approve the 737 Max's return to regular passenger airline service this fall, Boeing will cruise into territory that no other aerospace manufacturer has ever entered, a top industry expert says.

IBA Group President Phil Seymour said the series of pressures and challenges that Boeing, aircraft lessors and airline customers will face are massive if and when authorities greenlight the Max’s return following its grounding in March 2019.

“This is new territory. It’s very rare that these new aircraft have been grounded for so long,” Seymour said during a recent webinar on the Max return to service. “Boeing cannot afford any post-storage incidents on the Max.”

More than 760 Max jets have been grounded since March 2019, following two crashes that killed 346 people in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

Boeing delivered around 360 Max jets to airlines, which have been parked, and there’s another 400 aircraft that were manufactured that are not delivered and parked on lots around Seattle, Everett and Moses Lake in central Washington.

Boeing has said it will work to get airline-owned Max jets into the air first, then shift to getting parked jets delivered afterward. Boeing’s Renton plant also has started making new Max jets at a rate of six a month, too.

“The scale of this operation can by no means be underestimated,” said Seymour, a claim confirmed by a former senior Boeing insider. “Extended storage of these airplanes creates a series of new technical issues.”

The industry may also suffer manpower issues because of pandemic-related layoffs Boeing, airlines and aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul companies have made.

“We expect full and clear instructions will be issued,” the IBA president said.

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Seymour thinks stored Max jets should be required to make five or six short, empty test flights before flying people again for safety. (Federal Aviation Administration inspectors will approve each jet’s return, but its worker union this week called for major changes to the Max before it takes passengers.)

Since the Max crisis began, Boeing has lost close to 1,000 orders for the 737 Max and the manufacturer was unable to deliver its jets. Africa’s RwandAir became the latest last week, confirming it dropped two Max orders.

Boeing did win a handful of new Max deals in August, but cancellations still outpaced them.

Seymour thinks the worst is over.

“There is an expectation that there will be more cancellations in the current order book, but from a valuation point of view, we’re not taking any particular negative view of the Max in the current situation,” he said. “There is still an order backlog of more than 4,000 jets.”

Grounded jet issues
IBA listed potential issues with grounded jets parked in long-term storage as they're brought back to service:

Corrosion, condensation, mold and mildew
Avionics system failures
Fuel contamination
Seizing of moving parts, valves sticking
Seals and tire degradation

 

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How Long Will The Already-Built 737 MAXs Take To Enter Service?

  • byJoanna Bailey
  • October 14, 2020
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Boeing has set itself an ambitious timeline for delivering the stored inventory of 737 MAX aircraft. Earlier this year, it said it wanted to get most of the 450 aircraft settled with airlines within the first year of the type being approved to fly again. CEO of leasing giant Air Lease Corporation (ALC), Steven Udvar-Hazy, spoke candidly about the challenges facing Boeing in an interview with Aviation Week, noting just how difficult the path ahead will be.

Boeing 737 MAX car park Around 450 MAX are believed to be built and awaiting delivery. Photo: Getty Images

Boeings ambitious timeline

Nobody, least of all Boeing, expected the MAX grounding to drag on as long as it has. In the early part of the crisis, the company continued to build the 737 MAX at a similar rate, expecting the type to return to service in a matter of weeks. Over the course of 2019, Boeing began to slow production, eventually pausing it completely in December last year.

Now, with recertification by the FAA, EASA and Transport Canada hopefully just weeks away, Boeing is faced with a huge inventory of stored aircraft. Around 450 are thought to be completed and parked up, awaiting delivery.

 

Speaking with Aviation Week in an interview yesterday, industry veteran and chairman of leasing giant Air Lease Corporation (ALC), Steven Udvar-Hazy, commented,

“The Boeing Company faces the largest inventory of built new aircraft in its history of more than 100 years.

“Inventory has been built and has been growing, and a number of cancellations can be seen literally every week. Boeing has to make some tough decisions, before the end of the year, on how to deal with this.”

737 MAX Boeing wants to deliver most of the built inventory within a year from recertification. Photo: Getty Images

In July, Boeing stated that it would deliver most of the 450-strong stockpile within one year of resuming deliveries. Indeed, during its second-quarter earnings call, the company said it would prioritize deliveries ahead of new aircraft manufacture in a bid to get those planes out of the door.

It’s an ambitious timeline and one that is getting tougher by the day. With cancellations coming thick and fast, and no clear idea just how many will be actually taken up, is Boeing being realistic with this goal?

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The white tails are making it tough

Since the grounding of the 737 MAX, cancellations have begun to flood in. Earlier this year, it was assessed that as many as 600 737 MAX had been removed from Boeing’s order books so far, and the shirking of contracts continues to march on. Some of these aircraft are now considered ‘white tails’ – aircraft that are built but have no customer to take them on.

But this should not necessarily be seen as a vote of no confidence in the 737 MAX. As Udvar-Hazy noted,

“If an OEM cannot deliver a contracted airplane by 12 months from the contract month of delivery… the purchaser has the right to cancel. So, some airlines and leasing companies have decided that, because of the market uncertainty, maybe it’s a good idea to reduce their financial exposure. One less airplane to expense and one less airplane to worry about putting into service.”

GECAS MAX The 737 MAX cancelations do not necessarily signify the companies don’t have confidence in the plane. Photo: Boeing

The ALC boss expressed concern that many of these cancelations may not really be outright cancelations. The MAX is a great aircraft, after all, and offers significant improvements in both efficiency and operational flexibility over its predecessors. He stated that, in some cases, cancelations may have been enacted as a future negotiating tactic, to improve pricing or other conditions of the sale later on. This, he says, creates a huge headache for Boeing.

“What we have today is a huge inventory of 737s that have been built, many of which have been legally cancelled. But Boeing has a tough time determining how many of those that are cancelled will be reactivated in due course.”

boeing 737 MAX order cancelation getty images Many regulators need to approve the type before it can fly worldwide. Photo: Getty Images

He noted the widespread regulatory hurdles that need to be passed before the MAX is able to fly worldwide. Although the FAA, Transport Canada and EASA are on the road to recertification, multiple other regulatory authorities will need to agree also before the plane is free to fly everywhere. Add on top of that the challenges presented by COVID, and it’s likely to be some time before Boeing has a completely clear picture of what’s happening with its backlog and its stored inventory.

“Airlines are very reluctant to make long-term commitments in this era of uncertainty,” Udvar-Hazy concluded.

While the impending approval of the 737 MAX to fly again is a light at the end of the tunnel for Boeing, it seems it’s just a transition where one problem ends, but a whole raft of others begin. With the ongoing COVID crisis making airlines unwilling to commit to their deliveries, it’s going to be a tough couple of years as Boeing deals with twin catastrophes, the likes of which have never been seen in aviation before.

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