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Ethiopian B737 MAX 8 Crashes On Departure

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Queso (netAirspace ATC Tower Chief & Founding Member) 08 Apr 19, 15:51Post
You have to be thinking about the financial side of this as well... If the airlines aren't taking delivery, they likely aren't making lease/purchase payments, leasing companies aren't receiving lease payments and aren't making purchase payments, Boeing still has to make payments on the materials they are using to build the planes, the transportation getting them to final assembly, they still have to pay their employees, they still have to pay for electricity and other utilities, rent, taxes, etc...

This has to be a HUGE cash flow problem for them, even as capitalized as they may be. How long can this go on? It's not like not getting paid during development and testing of 3 or 4 new planes, we're potentially talking about 100+ airliners sitting around not making money before there's any foreseeable money coming in for them.

Edit: And that's not even considering any penalty payments for planes already delivered not being able to be in service.
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Zak (netAirspace FAA) 08 Apr 19, 16:30Post
I obviously don't have any figures at hand, but I don't think cash flow will be an issue for Boeing. Few companies will find it easier to get more cash when they need it. With market interest rates being as low as they still are, it won't even cost Boeing a lot of money.

To put things into perspective, Boeing shares are still higher than the day before the Lion Air crash.

Boeing will be able to cope with the short-term fallout of the MAX situation. For me, the more interesting part is the awkward decision-making processes that the whole situation unveiled.

It bears some resemblance to the current situation German car makers are in. It doesn't matter for how long you've been a champion in your market. When your decision makers begin to fail (usually a result of hubris and greed), your company is heading into a dangerous direction.

It will be interesting to see if Boeing really learned a lesson here.
Yes, the new EU copyright directive is that stupid.
IFEMaster (Project Dark Overlord & Founding Member) 09 Apr 19, 23:02Post
Zak wrote:For me, the more interesting part is the awkward decision-making processes that the whole situation unveiled.


THIS^^^

I am fascinated by the cascade of poor approvals and change management that led to this state of affairs. In an organization like Boeing, facing the regulations they do on their products, even with the definite chance of some corrupt people up and down the chain, there will have been layers upon layers of peer review, change management, and move-forward approvals in both their application of Lean Six Sigma methodology that got the faulty aircraft out the door and in the sky (whether that be an actual fault or a design flaw), and in the ROI cost vs safety vs liability discussions that change management committees and ultimate management sign-off that said "ship in this state".

This isn't a "somebody f**ked up" scenario. This is a "many people f**ked up" scenario. As a program manager myself, I would love to run post-mortem on this.
"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
halls120 (Plank Owner) 15 Apr 19, 09:26Post
IFEMaster wrote:
Zak wrote:For me, the more interesting part is the awkward decision-making processes that the whole situation unveiled.


THIS^^^

I am fascinated by the cascade of poor approvals and change management that led to this state of affairs. In an organization like Boeing, facing the regulations they do on their products, even with the definite chance of some corrupt people up and down the chain, there will have been layers upon layers of peer review, change management, and move-forward approvals in both their application of Lean Six Sigma methodology that got the faulty aircraft out the door and in the sky (whether that be an actual fault or a design flaw), and in the ROI cost vs safety vs liability discussions that change management committees and ultimate management sign-off that said "ship in this state".

This isn't a "somebody f**ked up" scenario. This is a "many people f**ked up" scenario. As a program manager myself, I would love to run post-mortem on this.


Ah, “peer review.”

Today is my first anniversary at my new job, and while we don’t make airplanes, it’s a large organization that has lots of peer review, most of it useless, thanks to the cultural groupthink we struggle under.

I kept my mouth shut for the first 5 months, but at that point I finally had to say WTF are we doing here in a seniors only forum. You’d thought I had taken a dump on the floor of the Sistine Chapel based on the body language response I received, But the boss listened, and a few of my peers spoke up in my defense, and I didn’t get ostracized. Fast forward another five months later, in front of a wider audience, I once again desecrated the room with a “are we going to open our eyes now” comment. Because I now have credibility, I got more than a couple of “amens” from the room.

What we don’t have is sufficient top-down accountability, so as long as everybody thinks things are grand, no one notices the emperor is partially clothed. And I say all of this not to be critical of my colleagues- they are a joy to work with, because they all want to do the right thing, but they are paralyzed with career fear. I am very happy to be here, away from the swamp at place with a mission I believe in, but FFS sometimes I just want to scream like Howard Beale.

My workgroup is finally learning that I don’t accept shoddy work, and that I expect their best effort. Next my managers are going to learn that they’re going to hold their staffs accountable, because I’ve started to hold them accountable. I’m doing it slowly and methodically - I’ve adopted the frog in a pot of water approach. :))

I’m willing to bet Boeing is going to fix the Max, but the question is, will the Board hold the CEO and his managers accountable?
miamiair (netAirspace FAA) 15 Apr 19, 15:17Post
halls120 wrote:I’m willing to bet Boeing is going to fix the Max, but the question is, will the Board hold the CEO and his managers accountable?


It appears the issue is the AoA sensor. In the ET crash, it took a bird strike upon rotation, which caused the disagreement/cockpit indication. After that, I can't tell you what happened yet. But I can see similarities between this and the AF447. The system tries to make it idiot proof, and it creates the mess all itself. In AF447, poor airmanship was a contributing factor. If you know where your N1 is at and you have a standby indicator, you can figure out your location on the power curve. To ET's crash, the AoA indicator loss should not have influenced the pilots in VMC. The system created the mess.

The postmortem on this is going to be interesting, both from Boeing's position and the reliance on the over-extended designee system within the FAA.

Of course they'll get over this, but waiting another two months for an airworthiness approval, seems too much.
And let's get one thing straight. There's a big difference between a pilot and an aviator. One is a technician; the other is an artist in love with flight. — E. B. Jeppesen
ShanwickOceanic (netAirspace FAA) 15 Apr 19, 15:29Post
miamiair wrote:Of course they'll get over this, but waiting another two months for an airworthiness approval, seems too much.

WN and AA seem to think it may be optimistic, with both having cancelled Max flights out to August.

This is going to be a juicy case study for many an MBA student over the coming decades.
Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast:
For it is the number of a man; and its number is One hundred threescore and twelve.
HT-ETNW 15 Apr 19, 20:15Post
The President has posted a Tweet again, suggesting Boeing should change the name of this aircraft series.

@realDonaldTrump
What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!), but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name.
No product has suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?

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As bad as Boeing's reputation has been hit, it actually might be a wise idea to give the product line a revised name, dropping the MAX and going for something more generic like 8N.
-HT
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ShyFlyer (Founding Member) 16 Apr 19, 00:07Post
HT-ETNW wrote:...give the product line a revised name...


My nomination: Boeing 737 FIXED 8
The Original Peruvian Outlaw ©
ShanwickOceanic (netAirspace FAA) 16 Apr 19, 06:49Post
Pull a reverse Airbus, pay Bombardier a load of money and call it the C-Series?

miamiair wrote:In AF447, poor airmanship was a contributing factor. If you know where your N1 is at and you have a standby indicator, you can figure out your location on the power curve.

Attitude plus power equals performance. I think we learned that in the first or second week of PPL ground school. First few hours in the air taught us not to hold the stick back when the stall warner is blaring, too.

miamiair wrote: To ET's crash, the AoA indicator loss should not have influenced the pilots in VMC. The system created the mess.

Even in IMC, I expect that a ridiculously high AoA with everything else nominal wouldn't result in the humans stuffing the nose down that far or that long. I agree, the system is at fault here... MCAS, Boeing's engineering, the FAA, so many systems. Sully aside, bird strikes shouldn't be wiping out airliners in the 21st century.

KAL 8509 is a great example of the difference a good view outside can make, though. They piled it in off the end of the runway at STN in typical British winter grot; the previous crew had exactly the same fault in good VMC, figured it out, and got it safely to STN. (That captain probably wasn't such an overbearing ass, either.)
Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast:
For it is the number of a man; and its number is One hundred threescore and twelve.
vikkyvik 16 Apr 19, 14:36Post
ShanwickOceanic wrote:First few hours in the air taught us not to hold the stick back when the stall warner is blaring, too.


To be fair to the crew of AF447 (not that I think they necessarily deserve it), once they were in the stall, the stall warning would start every time they pushed the nose down. If you realize what's going on, then it makes sense, but if you don't, I can imagine it would be incredibly confusing.
IFEMaster (Project Dark Overlord & Founding Member) 19 Apr 19, 14:01Post
Interesting article on MCAS design failures from a software engineering POV:
https://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/avi ... 6hOuBkoBFI
"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
Zak (netAirspace FAA) 19 Apr 19, 19:16Post
A very interesting article, thanks for the link!
Yes, the new EU copyright directive is that stupid.
Lucas (netAirspace ATC & Founding Member) 20 Apr 19, 20:14Post
IFEMaster wrote:Interesting article on MCAS design failures from a software engineering POV:
https://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/avi ... 6hOuBkoBFI



That was a great read.
Mark 22 Apr 19, 22:49Post
I will never fly in a 737 MAX. Period. Even after Boeing and/or the FAA come up with patches.
ShyFlyer (Founding Member) 23 Apr 19, 00:41Post
I'll fly on one now, pre-fix.
The Original Peruvian Outlaw ©
miamiair (netAirspace FAA) 23 Apr 19, 07:06Post
ShyFlyer wrote:I'll fly on one now, pre-fix.


Same here.
And let's get one thing straight. There's a big difference between a pilot and an aviator. One is a technician; the other is an artist in love with flight. — E. B. Jeppesen
vikkyvik 23 Apr 19, 14:06Post
ShyFlyer wrote:I'll fly on one now, pre-fix.


I wouldn't. It would be too nerve-wracking, every time the nose pointed down a bit.

Even though I think nothing would go wrong.
GQfluffy (Database Editor & Founding Member) 23 Apr 19, 14:20Post
I like the 717 and the Airbii narrowbodies for comfort sake (I'm fat and in my head there's more room in those a/c cattle car class seats) but...

Meh...99.9999999999% of western-built commercial airliners are solid. If it's my time it's my time.
Teller of no, fixer of everything, friend of the unimportant and all around good guy; the CAD Monkey
IFEMaster (Project Dark Overlord & Founding Member) 23 Apr 19, 16:44Post
miamiair wrote:
ShyFlyer wrote:I'll fly on one now, pre-fix.


Same here.


I wouldn't. Not because I think it'll break and crash, but because the current implementation of MCAS is a single point of failure, and any system with a single point of failure is inherently unsafe, no matter how small the odds are of that single point of failure actually failing. When my life literally depends on that particular system *not* failing, it's an extra "nope" from me.
"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
JLAmber (netAirspace ATC & Founding Member) 23 Apr 19, 22:01Post
Inspiring to see this thread has found its level...

For the record I would fly on a 737MAX, but then I've flown an unticketed flight on an Emerald Airways HS748 captained by a man who had spent the previous evening attempting (and failing) to show me what a lightweight I am, so make of that what you will.

One thing about this whole sorry saga that interests me (if nobody else) is the additional program cost and whether that takes the 737MAX project beyond the point where a clean sheet design would have been more financially viable as well as being the right decision for the long-term development of single-aisle for Boeing (which a clean sheet clearly was). The 757 would have happily stood a MAX development and, with the benefit of hindsight, that would have been the way to go but the 737s is at, and some would argue is beyond, the limitations of the initial design, meaning Boeing would probably have been wiser to consign it to the annuls of history and start afresh. Obviously it's too late to change things and the 737MAX will be Boeing's single-aisle offering for the next 20 years, but I wonder how many more issues will arise as a result of the need to bend a design that is over 50 years old to fit modern aviation.
A million great ideas...
GQfluffy (Database Editor & Founding Member) 23 Apr 19, 22:22Post
Arm-chairing the piss out of things here but-

Would you be surprised if the 737 MAX never really recovers from this? Oh sure, it will somewhat...but...Boeing is going to have to take a division of designers and start them much sooner on this clean sheet sooner than later I would think.

They probably already have; I always thought I heard/read the A320 NEO and 737 MAX were essentially stopgaps until both manufacturers could come up with a clean-sheet design.

But hell...the 737 (now classics, the -300, -400, -500 etc) in the early 90s had those rudder issues that sent several into the ground and it survived those to become the the most sold commercial airliner ever.
Teller of no, fixer of everything, friend of the unimportant and all around good guy; the CAD Monkey
ShanwickOceanic (netAirspace FAA) 23 Apr 19, 22:34Post
JLAmber wrote:One thing about this whole sorry saga that interests me (if nobody else) is the additional program cost and whether that takes the 737MAX project beyond the point where a clean sheet design would have been more financially viable as well as being the right decision for the long-term development of single-aisle for Boeing (which a clean sheet clearly was).

That's an intriguing what-if. A clean-sheet design while Airbus is warming over a 30-year-old product?

JLAmber wrote:The 757 would have happily stood a MAX development and, with the benefit of hindsight, that would have been the way to go

And that one... Where we are now, with the shorter variants of, well, everything, not selling or not even making it to production, I can imagine something 757-sized doing very well indeed. But back when the likes of Easyjet were buying A319s, and Frontier thought A318s were a good idea, would it have been seen as just too much aircraft?

GQfluffy wrote:I always thought I heard/read the A320 NEO and 737 MAX were essentially stopgaps until both manufacturers could come up with a clean-sheet design.

I have no idea what I'm talking about, but it seems to me that it may not be the airframe manufacturers we're waiting on. Given the fun Rolls Royce has been having with the 787, and similar issues on the A320neo, there may not be much point in doing anything revolutionary with the airframe if the engines have reached the limits of current technology.

Unless, of course, current technology won't fit under the wing of your antediluvian airframe and your software hacks turn out to be a step too far... {boxed}
Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast:
For it is the number of a man; and its number is One hundred threescore and twelve.
IFEMaster (Project Dark Overlord & Founding Member) 24 Apr 19, 00:16Post
JLAmber wrote:The 757 would have happily stood a MAX development and, with the benefit of hindsight, that would have been the way to go but the 737s is at, and some would argue is beyond, the limitations of the initial design, meaning Boeing would probably have been wiser to consign it to the annuls of history and start afresh.


I wonder if this 737MAX situation will catalyze the 797 exploratory work. Throwing software at a hardware problem brings additional limitations, so maybe a clean sheet design isn't such an impossibility after all.
"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
JLAmber (netAirspace ATC & Founding Member) 24 Apr 19, 15:37Post
GQfluffy wrote:Would you be surprised if the 737 MAX never really recovers from this? Oh sure, it will somewhat...but...Boeing is going to have to take a division of designers and start them much sooner on this clean sheet sooner than later I would think.


Once the fixes are in place and fully approved, I suspect Boeing will look move on to a new single-aisle design. This whole debacle must have an impact on that decision and can only bring it forward.

ShanwickOceanic wrote:That's an intriguing what-if. A clean-sheet design while Airbus is warming over a 30-year-old product?


The A320 has the benefit of being deliberately future-proofed in light of the issues the 737 already had by the time the A320 design was firmed. By then the 733 had already required some extensive redesigning to accommodate a more powerful engine that in itself required some re-engineering to fit. The current neo & neoX offerings from Airbus are without doubt the end of the line for the A320 but even they are not at the limits of how large a powerplant the type can take, such was the care taken to not experience the same problems that the 737 continues to suffer from.

ShanwickOceanic wrote:I have no idea what I'm talking about, but it seems to me that it may not be the airframe manufacturers we're waiting on. Given the fun Rolls Royce has been having with the 787, and similar issues on the A320neo, there may not be much point in doing anything revolutionary with the airframe if the engines have reached the limits of current technology.


Definitely more of an issue with the larger twins like the A35X & 777X where the turbofan design is being pushed to its limits. Rattling bearings on PW1100s aside, the current offerings are more than efficient enough to support a further generation of airliners, so long as they are accommodated correctly....
ShanwickOceanic wrote:Unless, of course, current technology won't fit under the wing of your antediluvian airframe and your software hacks turn out to be a step too far...


IFEMaster wrote:I wonder if this 737MAX situation will catalyze the 797 exploratory work. Throwing software at a hardware problem brings additional limitations, so maybe a clean sheet design isn't such an impossibility after all.


This is exactly what I was thinking. For the sake of reviving the 737MAX line it's feasible that Boeing will keep any such project quiet until they are sure they can offer something firm, but I would bet they will see a clean sheet replacement as much more of a priority now than before the 737MAX groundings.
A million great ideas...
IFEMaster (Project Dark Overlord & Founding Member) 24 Apr 19, 17:50Post
JLAmber wrote:
IFEMaster wrote:I wonder if this 737MAX situation will catalyze the 797 exploratory work. Throwing software at a hardware problem brings additional limitations, so maybe a clean sheet design isn't such an impossibility after all.


This is exactly what I was thinking. For the sake of reviving the 737MAX line it's feasible that Boeing will keep any such project quiet until they are sure they can offer something firm, but I would bet they will see a clean sheet replacement as much more of a priority now than before the 737MAX groundings.


Another benefit to a clean sheet design for the 797 is upfront variations. Airlines want a plane that does that the MAX does with that capacity? Can do. Airlines also want a plane that holds a few more PAX and goes a bit further? Also can do, and can do in design before a single rivet is punched. 752 v 753 equivalent, and everything inbetween if wanted or needed. Can't do that with software, and I'd bet that Boeing will be VERY hesitant to make anymore hardware hacks like they did with the MAX.
"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein

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