Friday, January 24, 2020

Federal Aviation Advisory Panel's Report On Boeing's 737 MAX Is More Cover Up And Nonsense

Image may contain: one or more people and suit
Boeing's new CEO (David Calhoun) is convinced the public will be 'all in' and get back on the MAX when pilots do, and regulators approve it.

It is often said while watching certain movies, mainly science fiction (e.g. 'The Matrix'), that you have to strongly apply the suspension of disbelief. Else, within minutes you are likely to cease conscious viewing and simply erupt into peals of unconstrained laughter at the nonsense coming at you. Well, I had pretty well that identical reaction on reading the recent account (WSJ, 'Panel Backs How FAA Gave Safety Approval For 737 MAX', January 17, p. A4).   This was after reading the following codswallop:

"A federal advisory panel evaluating the safety approval process for Boeing's 737 MAX concluded regulators adhered to policies in certifying the plane and determined it wouldn't have been safer if it had received the scrutiny of an all new aircraft."

Of course, that is tommyrot and balderdash.  First, the approval process and certification - mainly letting Boeing itself have at it - was full of holes and misfires,  apart from which you have a 'fox guarding the henhouse' scenario.See e.g.:

In addition it is a bold-faced lie to claim the jet would not have been safer in the mode of an all new aircraft.  As I pointed out in my Nov. 14 post, "A proper redesign of Boeing's MAX 8  would require extending the fuselage height, and thereby not getting a simple recertification. "  

More mind-boggling in the case of the piece is when one reads (ibid.)

"Lee Moak, co-chairman of the independent committee set up last year declined to identify the mistakes made during certification of the now -grounded jets,  instead describing current procedures as 'appropriate and effective'."

Which is more horse pockey, especially given that within a day of that report's exposure in the WSJ we learned a new software problem had emerged.  This one involves the software preventing the jet's  flight control computers  from powering up and also verifying they are ready for flight- according to industry and government officials (WSJ, 'Boeing Finds Another Software Problem', January 18, p. A1)

The new issue was uncovered  (ibid.) when:  "engineers were loading the updated software - including an array of changes painstakingly developed over roughly a year- into the flight control computers of a test aircraft". 

Pardon me, but this shows me Moak is out to lunch, and the whole "let Boeing certify the thing" was nutso  - plus unsafe (including the whole MCAS system as well). Also, contrary to Moak's twaddle  all the "current procedures" are nowhere near adequate or safe if this software- developed over a year- wasn't even found  defective until being loaded into an actual aircraft.   Let's also note this revised software was "intended to fix the automated MCAS system" - to prevent the plane from crashing again.

Again, another reminder why I never want to see the inside of this flying boondoggle.  Even for a short trip to Vegas.

As if this new software glitch wasn't enough, barely a week earlier Boeing was forced to admit (finally) that Ipad training wasn't sufficient and flight simulators were needed for training. (Following which we learned Boeing had insufficient simulators to proceed with pilot training when - and IF - the MAX is ever re-certified. ) 

The latest  'MAX' fiasco intruded a day ago when Boeing announced it doesn't expect federal regulators to approve its changes to the grounded plane until this summer.  Which means, of course, it won't be flying this summer - but more likely months later- if ever.  Even if approved this summer all 'MAX' -using airlines - e.g. Southwest, United, American - will need additional time to train their pilots on flight simulators.  Already, Boeing has had to set aside $9 billion to cover customer compensation - for loss of parts of their fleets- as well as  working through the backlog of orders (4,500 jets).

Personally, as I wrote before, this monstrosity ought not be airborne, period, because of its severe design flaws.  As I noted, no software "fix" should be used to correct what is in essence an aerodynamic design flaw.

Moak's clownish "federal advisory panel" report received the best brush off from Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee who said (WSJ earlier item):

"It would be the height of irresponsibility to leave the (certification) delegation system as is and just hope for the best."

Indeed, and this move - daft as it is - certainly wouldn't impress or coax the flying public into getting inside one of these glorified tin can "self -hijacking"  contraptions anytime soon. In the most recent surveys, more than 50 percent of flyers would choose another aircraft - or not fly at all.

Never mind. Boeing's new CEO -David Calhoun-   is totally convinced the flying public will be there lining up to get on the MAX once regulatory approval passes. ("And pilots get on that airplane and support that airplane" (WSJ,  'Boeing CEO Puts Faith In MAX', today, p. B1, Business & Finance).

Well, maybe. Until the next crash - then all bets are off. 

No comments: