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Kyle Boatright

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LinkedIn just managed to fully explain what went wrong with the 737max to me :)

Was a poorly conceived bump of an article outlining how kaizen brought us the exemplary 737max.

:confused:

Tell me you guys aren't stuck with these insane philosophical ideas that should remain in corporate boardrooms? (We "in the field" guys removed this methodology about 5 years ago, as it was just another massive inefficient waste of time, one quarterly meeting that's rehearsed and planned the day before - for when the head office guys visit. :D)
We have an internal group which repeatedly rolls out a new way of doing business, then finds another one two years later, lather, rinse, repeat. They are in the business of keeping their bureaucracy alive, not in the business of improving our business. 6 Sigma, Lean, Kaizen, TQM, DOE, etc.

That said, all of these tools have some merit, but mostly they are situational tools, not corporate "lifestyles".
 

Speedboat100

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Just like they normally don’t let the engineers test fly the airplane. But it was not an engineering problem. It was a manufacture problem. With the evidence on the faulty parts plain to see.

But hey...thousands of those flufs flying, with only one blow up that I’m aware of. So the odds are in our favor.

I used to laugh on the story when FAF flew Mig-21s and their spare parts didn't fit. So a group of specialists came from Soviet Union to install them...by banging them on with a hammer...big one.

I was building a danish ward drobe and a metal part didn't fit....I took a rubber hammer...and banged it on place. Problem solved.

So is it a problem is some parts aren't just the right size or not ?
 
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Wanttaja

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Ron, I don't know if you're familiar with the very successful Viper car development. Rumor has it that the development team physically locked themselves in a separate building into which only development team members were allowed. No Big Shot Weeenies were allowed, which reportedly teed them off! They dev team said give us the budget and get out of our way. They delivered the prototype in record time and within budget.
Hadn't heard about it, but that's about what we were doing when we started RP back in the mid-90s. Even had our own independent IT organization. If we needed something, our in-house IT guys drove to Comp USA to pick it up.

Mind you, there are downsides. Since the security issues were so severe, our area got next to no upgrades or improvements over the years. The place got to be a real pit. Loose linoleum, carpets slipping, mold, bad lighting, exposed wiring, etc. One year a co-worker left a bag of candy in her desk when she left on vacation, and a week later she came back to a desk full of rat poo. I once walked out our front door, and a light bulb (filled with water from a leak) broke away and landed right behind me.

Not sure if it's in your annual evaluation, but toward the end of my career, one of the evaluation criteria we had was safety issue reporting. We had to report at least three safety issues each year.

With as old and as grungy as our facilities were, it was easy to walk around and note problems. After I got ten, I'd just hand out the extra ones to the other members of the team during group meetings so everyone could get their minimum.

...do you remember the Boeing one Find A Way!...
Sorry, I 5-S'd that memory a long time ago. :)

Ron Wanttaja
 

wktaylor

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wanttaja… Hmmm...

The Boeing design for a supersized military transport [competing with C-5A] looks an awful lot like the Antonov AN124... or is it really the other-way-around???

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonov_An-124_Ruslan

In the early 2000s the Boeing developed the 737 variant AEW&C [E-7 Wedgetail] with a spiny-back surveillance antenna. The flat blade antenna on-top of the pylon was pitch-up destabilizing the in same fashion as the 737-Max engine forward-re-position is. The engineering solution to that dilemma was aerodynamic: add [2] [inverted] V' ventral fins on the aft fuselage. These fins are streamlined in normal flight... but as the Acft pitches-up they become more/more effective for 'nose-push-down' force at higher/higher angles of attack... hence maintaining positive pitch stability [with added benefit of same effect in Yaw].

https://www.airliners.net/photo/Australia-Air-Force/Boeing-E-7A-Wedgetail-737-7ES/582213?qsp=eJwtjEEKwkAMRa8iWbuRgoXu6gV04QVC8rHF6gyZQB1K724c3D3eg7eRpLfj4/eaQQMVsMlER8ps/Co0bPREXZNpMPVdf2CskUsyv9RQyo5RBNmhf381hf0SirTTI86nANitMXXn8DqXvHB7wHleaN+/Sh0umQ==

The Learjet 55C Longhorn solved the same problem [nose-up pitch instability] issue essentially the same way... large inverted V ventral fins on the aft fuselage.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learjet_55
 

Wanttaja

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wanttaja… Hmmm...

The Boeing design for a supersized military transport [competing with C-5A] looks an awful lot like the Antonov AN124... or is it really the other-way-around???
Airplanes designed to do the same specialist task tend to look the same. F-15 vs. SU-27, Il-76 vs. C-141, even Buran vs. the Space Shuttle.

Or take that Boeing C-5 competitor, whose picture I'd posted a few pages back. Quick photoshop job to switch to a T-tail...and how many people, glancing at the drawing, would assume it was an early concept drawing of the actual Lockheed C-5?

Planes built to the same specifications tend to end up shaped the same....

Ron Wanttaja
 

rick9mjn

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Airplanes designed to do the same specialist task tend to look the same. F-15 vs. SU-27, Il-76 vs. C-141, even Buran vs. the Space Shuttle.

Or take that Boeing C-5 competitor, whose picture I'd posted a few pages back. Quick photoshop job to switch to a T-tail...and how many people, glancing at the drawing, would assume it was an early concept drawing of the actual Lockheed C-5?

Planes built to the same specifications tend to end up shaped the same....

Ron Wanttaja
 

rick9mjn

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i saw this quote today , and i think it somewhat says a little bit of wisdom aout this subject.......good day../ rick.........

.....The things they don’t teach you at Harvard, in Elon-speak, ‘the product errors will reflect the organizational errors”.
 

Wanttaja

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BJC

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Seattle Times article....

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/boeing-whistleblowers-complaint-says-737-max-safety-upgrades-were-rejected-over-cost/

"Seven weeks after the second fatal crash of a 737 MAX in March, a Boeing engineer submitted a scathing internal ethics complaint alleging that management — determined to keep down costs for airline customers — had blocked significant safety improvements during the jet’s development."

Ron Wanttaja
It would be good to know much more before passing judgement on the engineer’s complaint. Did they say what the specific “significant safety improvements” were?


BJC
 

Wanttaja

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It would be good to know much more before passing judgement on the engineer’s complaint. Did they say what the specific “significant safety improvements” were?
Sorry, didn't realize the online version was just a quick summary. From the main article:

"The complaint, a copy of which was reviewed by the Seattle Times, suggests that one of the proposed systems could have potentially prevented the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people. Three of Ewbank's former colleagues interviewed for this story concurred."

Apparently, Ewbank had proposed installing the same sort of synthetic airspeed system as was used in the 787. From the article: "...it would have detected the false angle of attack signal that initiated events in both accidents, so potentially could have stopped MCAS from activating and repeatedly pushing down the nose of the jet."

"But installing it in the MAX would likely have meant that 737 pilots needed extra training in flight simulators. Running thousands of pilots through simulator sessions would have delayed the jet's entry into service and added substantial cost for Boeing's airline customers, damaging the MAX's competitive edge against the rival Airbus A320neo."

Ewbank also alleges "...that in one instance, Boeing hid in-flight safety incident data from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)."

Ron Wanttaja
 

BJC

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Thanks, Ron, that adds more credibility to the engineer’s complaint. With each new bit of information, Boeing’s management looks worse and worse. Sad to see a once fine company self distracting.


BJC
 

flyboy2160

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I fully understand that a 2 out of 3 voting system on an AoA failure would be best, but I also understand the counter argument that has been made: if the pilots had treated the mess just like any other runaway trim issue, they might have avoided the crashes.

I don't have firsthand knowledge of this, but have been told that too many modern pilots are not comfortable flying in unusual attitudes without the computers. When the 737 rudder issues arose, the aerobatic flight school where I was renting regularly got taken over by airlines training their pilots to be more comfortable flying stick and rudder in unusual attitudes. (rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr and I didn't get to fly rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)

I mean, c'mon, if you're faced with conflicting computer controlled info, wouldn't your first reaction be to start shutting off the computer systems one at a time - just like the 737 manual calls for - and fly that sucker by the cables and hydraulic boosters?

Where's Denzel Washington when you need him?

 
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Speedboat100

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I fully understand that a 2 out of 3 voting system on an AoA failure would be best, but I also understand the counter argument that has been made: if the pilots had treated the mess just like any other runaway trim issue, they might have avoided the crashes.

I don't have firsthand knowledge of this, but have been told that too many modern pilots are not comfortable flying in unusual attitudes without the computers. When the 737 rudder issues arose, the aerobatic flight school where I was renting regularly got taken over by airlines training their pilots to be more comfortable flying stick and rudder in unusual attitudes. (rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr and I didn't get to fly rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)

I mean, c'mon, if you're faced with conflicting computer controlled info, wouldn't your first reaction be to start shutting off the computer systems one at a time - just like the 737 manual calls for - and fly that sucker by the cables and hydraulic boosters?

Where's Denzel Washington when you need him?


I agree Bonin at the Air France flight 447 controls made a mistake 80% of the FSX players could have gotten away with.
 

Wanttaja

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Another Seattle Times article today:

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/boeing-pushed-faa-to-arelax-737-max-certification-requirements-for-crew-alerts/

In 2014, Boeing convinced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to relax the safety standards for the new 737 MAX related to cockpit alerts that would warn pilots if something went wrong during flight, according to documents reviewed by the Seattle Times.

Seeking an exception, Boeing relied on a special FAA rule to successfully argue that full compliance with the latest federal requirements would be “impractical” for the MAX and would cost too much.

“They went through the process and weren’t required to step up,” said an FAA safety engineer familiar with how the waiver request was handled and who asked for anonymity because he spoke without agency authorization.
....
The Seattle Times reviewed the relevant parts of the document that Boeing submitted to the FAA to win its exception. They show the federal regulator struck out four separate clauses that would be requirements for any new jet being produced today.


Ron Wanttaja
 

Wanttaja

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Shipmate, shipmate, but didn't both the crashed crews already have indications that something was seriously amiss with the computerized flight control system?

Just start turning HAL off.
"HAL, you're ugly and dress funny. No one wants to date you" :)

To us old grizzled veterans of the air, with creases at the corner of our steely-blue eyes and faint tinnitus ringing in our ears, turning off the automation is the natural cure. "ForSAKE that evil computer, return back to the good 'ol days of stick-and-rudder! Cin ah git an A-MEN???!!!"

But air safety for the airlines is just a huge game of whack-a-mole... no sooner do you pound out one issue, than another pops up in its place.

Take the '50s. All those pilots trained during the war, who'd flown C-47s and C-54s all over the world. No automation. Should have been the golden age of air transport.

Nope. Pilots were good, but the hardware wasn't up to it. Planes like the Constellation, DC-7, and Stratocruiser featured the top aeronautical engineering of the day, but they depended on engine technology that had been taken to the limit...and past. It wasn't just engine failures, it was engine fires, and problems that would require ditching into the open ocean. See Northwest Orient Flight 2... had to plop into Puget Sound, practically in sight of the tower at the airport it took off from and just a hop, skip, and a jump from the factory it was built at.

But...DeHavilland, Boeing, and Douglas had the solution: Jet-powered transports. Plenty of thrust, good reliability, and a tendency to go quietly to sleep rather than light whole wings on fire (though more apt to throw things).

Golden age of safety? Well, it helped. But the piston-trained pilots of the 40s and 50s had trouble. Jets didn't give the rapid response to power changes that they were used to. Even as a kid, I remember a series of undershoot accidents in first-generation jet transports.

More training helped, and probably the early visual flight simulators. Yay?

Not quite. Two factors came up. The first was the need for CRM...cockpit resource management. It was realized that the "The Captain is always right" mentality wasn't really the best, for the modern jet age. There were accidents which, they suspected, might have been avoided if the crew had dared to speak up.

This was hard on the experienced captains, but this was also coupled with the oil crisis of the '70s. Airlines became a lot more conscious of the fuel running through those JT8Ds. Now pilots had to fly more efficiently...sure, a crash would probably ruin your career, but if you shoved the throttles a bit further forward to make up schedule or because you keep a bit of extra airspeed, the beancounters would be on your case.

With deregulation came meaningful competition, and the airline that had the cheapest fares carried the more people and (within limits, of course) stayed in business. The beancounters took over. Pilots were not only required minimize fuel use, but were expected to protect the equipment as well. The Air Florida crash in Washington DC could have been avoided by a crew willing to say, "XXXX the beancounters" and shove the throttles to the firewall.

But, no.

More efficient engines came into play, and airlines became more interested in saving money. With increased automation came the opportunity let the computer do more of the flying with the emphasis on minimizing fuel costs. This had its own transition problems, such as the Airbus mowing through the tops of the trees at the end of a low pass.

The ultimate, of course, is trying to program an airplane so it flies like another to save transition costs. Good idea, in theory. But it reminds me of an old saying:

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is...."

With the automation comes more complex aircraft, and of course, the airlines are reluctant to pay for the costs to train pilots to operate them. So the push is on to make the automation transparent to the pilots...but too often it's a case of "out of sight, out of mind." The computers messing up is NOT the first thing that comes to mind, when pilots encounter problems. And computers (and their sensor systems) DO mess up.

Now... the above might imply that the safety rate hasn't improved. It has, tremendously. And, to some extent, that is DUE to the automation. But, of course, sometimes in spite of it.

Lets take a look at two incidents at San Francisco. The first rightly famous... Asiana Flight 214. The crew inadvertently deactivated some of the automation on approach, didn't monitor the airspeed, and landed short. Three people dead, 187 injured.

Lots of screaming about reliance on automation on the aviation forums. "Pilots should hand-fly their airplanes more!"

So let's run the calendar ahead three years. Air Canada flight 759 is landing in the dark, but lines up on a taxiway rather than the runway. A taxiway with four other airliners sitting loaded, ready to take off. The waiting pilots on the ground warned the tower, who told the Air Canada jet to go around. It came within 60 feet of the waiting planes on the ground.

But how did the automation let the jet line up on the taxiway?

The simple answer: They weren't using it. They were hand-flying the airplane, like all the forum screamers said they should be. Human error lined the aircraft up on the taxiway rather than the runway.

In this case, of course, no one was injured. But it was close, and survival had depended on pilots on the ground noting the issue. It could have very easily turned out to be a worse accident than Asiana.

So obviously a balance is necessary. Balance is just that... "balance." Achieving it requires smart engineers, input from experienced pilots, managers and execs more interested in safety that profit, and an FAA watchdog doing its doggone job.

Ron Wanttaja
 
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