Boeing - Design Issues...

HomeBuiltAirplanes.com

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes.com:

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
11,085
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
So the regulator (the FAA) was not effective at doing their job. Now they are blaming their ineptness on Boeing?


BJC
 

Vigilant1

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
4,839
Location
US
Meanwhile... The answer and probably simple solution to avoid the chaos was on pprune since November of 2018.
https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/614857-indonesian-aircraft-missing-off-jakarta-62.html#post10311501

In other words - if MCAS screws up, 1 notch of flaps is all it takes to deactivate.
Or, just use the cutoff switches and trim manually using the wheels (like it says in the checklist).

When there is an unexplained flight control anomally, randomly reconfiguring the plane is a risky course of action. In particular, deploying flaps can be expected to produce a downward pitch force, which is the problem the crew is already fighting. Finally, at the airspeeds shown in some of these incidents, flap deployment would have been bad.

There were already switches and procedures to address the problem. They will be enhanced, as they should be.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
12,845
Location
Memphis, TN
Deactivating is what these crews were trying to avoid to the point of crashing in a way. It’s not that the plane is unflyable with it off, it’s that you have to accept you got what you got once it’s off. Rebooting the system in hopes that it will get better is against training. Yet one crew did it a couple of times and the other seemed to have not recognized the true problem. The two problems are the plane has a flaw and the crews did not know how to put up with it. It’s a dumb down system and that is the elephant in the room no one wants to admit. Boeing, FAA, pilots, airlines. The public is scared and f flying and now the magic box that keeps them safe does not work is how they perceive it.
 

plncraze

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
May 11, 2006
Messages
1,788
I quoted BJC and it didn't save!
What I had said after the quote in the above post was that Boeing apparently had internal procedures which were not followed and these procedures were the justification for continued manufacturing of the product. The FAA would catch these later and complain but would never pull their big guns out.
It would be interesting to see how far up the FAA food chain these issues travelled and why nothing ever happened. It would be frustrating to see the FAA get like the NTSB where they can only act on their "wish list" after people were killed.
 

Hephaestus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2014
Messages
1,698
Location
YMM
Or, just use the cutoff switches and trim manually using the wheels (like it says in the checklist).

When there is an unexplained flight control anomally, randomly reconfiguring the plane is a risky course of action. In particular, deploying flaps can be expected to produce a downward pitch force, which is the problem the crew is already fighting. Finally, at the airspeeds shown in some of these incidents, flap deployment would have been bad.

There were already switches and procedures to address the problem. They will be enhanced, as they should be.
From reading the pprune random jumping around. Sounds like flaps1 is a pretty safe spot what was it 2%5%? It's not 10. But you've got a AOA warning light on the panel, the trim starts to run away... Selecting flaps 1 disables the mcas, gives you back your electric trim control buttons so you're not trying to fight the manual wheel which sounds nearly impossible. Get things controlled first and fly the plane...
 

Wanttaja

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
1,466
Location
Seattle, WA
I quoted BJC and it didn't save!
What I had said after the quote in the above post was that Boeing apparently had internal procedures which were not followed and these procedures were the justification for continued manufacturing of the product. The FAA would catch these later and complain but would never pull their big guns out.
It would be interesting to see how far up the FAA food chain these issues travelled and why nothing ever happened. It would be frustrating to see the FAA get like the NTSB where they can only act on their "wish list" after people were killed.
Basic problem is expertise on the Government side.

Where DOES an FAA regulator get the technical know-how to monitor the development of an airliner? The only way they can is to actually work for a company developing aircraft for years, even decades, before leaving and going to work for the FAA. The problem here is, good engineers generally don't want to do that. They'd rather keep building aircraft, rather than monitor the people who are doing the work. Plus, there's often a conflict of interest issue...they usually can't go directly from Boeing/Airbus to a monitoring position at the FAA.

Think about it: Where is the FAA going to get people who understand aircraft software to the point where they can detect issues with MCAS?

So the FAA ends up with the "Authorized Representative" system...experienced Boeing engineers are designated as FAA watchdogs (they no longer use the terms DAR or DER, just AR). The monitoring ability of these folks depends on what degree of autonomy they actually have.

In a recent article, the Seattle Times interviewed several ARs regarding their attempts to provide oversight. In one man's case, he disagreed with Boeing's desire to eliminate/streamline some testing. Boeing took him off the Max program and replaced him with a more-amenable AR.

Had a talk with a friend over the weekend...he's worked all sides of this: He's a former Boeing manager, he worked for an airline doing acceptance inspections when they acquired Boeing, and also worked for the FAA (he's an A&P, too). He traced the problem to one factor: The merger of Boeing with McDonnell-Douglas. Many upper-level management positions were assumed by McD personnel, and these brought in lower-level managers that they were used to working with.

His point was that the previous Boeing emphasis on partnership with customers and Government went by the wayside, with McD's more aggressive philosophy intended to maximize profitability. The AR program, which worked under Boeing's old philosophy, was viewed as just another way to cut costs in the new environment.

The result? The 787, plagued with schedule and cost issues relating to attempting to save costs by subcontracting a large portion of the aircraft to foreign companies (and, eventually, to set up a whole new factory for it). The 737 Max (the 737-900 was developed prior to the merger). The 767 tanker, mired in development delays stemming from use of (cheaper) inexperienced engineers and quality issues due to attempts to reduce the cost overrun.

Ron Wanttaja
 

pwood66889

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
1,605
Location
Sopchoppy, Florida, USA
"The engineers didn’t do a good job of analyzing failure modes. Furthermore, the assumptions of pilot reactions weren’t reflective of current training practices."
As an ol' computer code cutter, I know that one needs to translate from the "Domain Experts" to the programmers to get it right. I have blundered, but was saved when one Expert said "What about..." I never would have guessed. Now, if one of the above engineers would have soloed...
As to "current training practices," there may be cultural issued. I note that no American (not chauvanist, just saying) carriers have experienced MCAS problems. This whole thread seems devoted to a chain of bad practices leading to bad results.
 

davidb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2008
Messages
1,702
Location
Vacaville, CA
Recently a 737 crew (not a Max) had a bird strike on takeoff climb out that sheared off the AoA vane. The flaps were still in the takeoff setting. They got a continuous stick shaker. They left the flaps at the takeoff setting, flew around the pattern and configured for a safe landing. Had it been a Max, the result would have been the same. Their “instinctive” actions were likely training they had decades prior to this event. When something weird happens, focus on flying the airplane with known pitch and power settings. If it’s controllable, don’t be in a rush to change things.

Since we’re still building new aircraft with new ways to get in trouble, it’d be nice to have pilots that have been trained to have more of a test pilot mentality. We can’t train for everything and training is expensive but recent history has shown that pilots with vast experience and training fare better in the unforeseen realm.
 

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
11,085
Location
97FL, Florida, USA

bmcj

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
13,355
Location
Fresno, California
Rebooting the system in hopes that it will get better is against training.
I mentioned this before, but I was told by someone that the MCAS had a max allowable pitch trim deviation (let’s call it 2° for the sake of an example), after which it would not trim further. He went on to say that each time the system was rebooted, the MCAS cache was reset to zero and allowed another retrim to occur, thinking that it had not trimmed yet (in other words, it would drive the trim from 2° down to 4° down before registering its max allowable value). Each reboot would allow another 2° of retrim. For the record, I’ve not seen any verification on this, so I cannot vouch for its accuracy.
 

bmcj

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
13,355
Location
Fresno, California
He traced the problem to one factor: The merger of Boeing with McDonnell-Douglas. Many upper-level management positions were assumed by McD personnel, and these brought in lower-level managers that they were used to working with.

His point was that the previous Boeing emphasis on partnership with customers and Government went by the wayside, with McD's more aggressive philosophy intended to maximize profitability.
That sounds like a scapegoat argument to me. Douglas has their own successful line of airlines before the merger and had worked with FAA under the rules just like Boeing did. It’s easy to throw someone under the bus when they are no longer around to refute it.
 

Wanttaja

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
1,466
Location
Seattle, WA
That sounds like a scapegoat argument to me. Douglas has their own successful line of airlines before the merger and had worked with FAA under the rules just like Boeing did. It’s easy to throw someone under the bus when they are no longer around to refute it.
Could be.

But for me, the situation is similar to finding out that the guy living next door just got arrested for some long string of crimes. You think, "Gee, he was such a nice guy," then start thinking about all the little creepy clues that you just shrugged off, over the years. I worked for the company from 1981 to 2017, and saw the effect of the M-D takeover in my particular area. The effect of the change of leadership between the 1994 (one day) and 2000 (40 day) engineer's strikes was especially apparent.

One of the things I remember from the 2000 strike was older, retired engineers who just couldn't believe we could be so disloyal to Boeing. They just didn't understand how much the company had changed after the merger....

Ron Wanttaja
 
Last edited:

Richard6

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2010
Messages
700
Location
Plymouth, MN USA
Latest from AvWeb:

https://www.avweb.com/aviation-news/boeing-outsourced-coding-for-9-an-hour/

"Bloomberg is reporting that Boeing outsourced coding of software on the Boeing 737 MAX to engineers who were paid as little as $9 an hour. The company and some of its suppliers laid off their own engineers in favor of subcontracting coding work to offshore companies...."

Ron Wanttaja
Well unfortunately, this is not a single story about Indian "engineers" working from India for company's in the US. The company i worked for here in Minneapolis, started sending our drawing work to India. The quality of the work was crap, a lot of rework required.

The next stage was to bring the Indian people over here to work along side of our engineers, showing them our strategy and design guidelines. Well it wasn't long after that designers were being laid off.

As far as I know, we didn't use any Indian programmers, but I could be wrong as I was a electrical system designer at the time.

Our products did not involve any danger to humans if something wen wrong.

Richard
 

Wanttaja

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
1,466
Location
Seattle, WA
The editorial in the Seattle Times pretty much echoes what I've been posting:

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/what-will-it-be-boeing-great-airplanes-that-generate-cash-flow-or-great-cash-flow-period/

"In the ’90s, Boeing business culture turned to employee engagement, process improvement and productivity — adopting the “quality” business culture that made Japanese manufacturers formidable competitors.

"In the late ’90s, Boeing’s business culture shifted again, putting cost-cutting and shareholder interests first...."

He doesn't make the connection, but of course "the late '90s" coincides with the McDonnell-Douglass merger.

Ron Wanttaja
 

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
11,085
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
The editorial in the Seattle Times pretty much echoes what I've been posting:

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/what-will-it-be-boeing-great-airplanes-that-generate-cash-flow-or-great-cash-flow-period/

"In the ’90s, Boeing business culture turned to employee engagement, process improvement and productivity — adopting the “quality” business culture that made Japanese manufacturers formidable competitors.

"In the late ’90s, Boeing’s business culture shifted again, putting cost-cutting and shareholder interests first...."

He doesn't make the connection, but of course "the late '90s" coincides with the McDonnell-Douglass merger.

Ron Wanttaja
FWIW, a relative had nice career with McDonnell. He often speaks about the change in culture at McDonnell that began with Sandy McDonnell’s retirement. He has nothing but disdain for Boeing management.


BJC
 
Last edited:

Vigilant1

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
4,839
Location
US
Underlying reason for the change in Boeing corporate culture? Likely external? As competition increased, pressure to improve efficiency also increased.
At the year prior to their merger in '97, McD-Douglas had about 10% of the world commercial airliner market, Boeing had 60% and Airbus had 30%. Boeing had meager competition and could afford to pile on extra layers/costs. After the merger (and the costs of gobbling up McD-D), they (correctly) saw Airbus as a real competitor and commenced to tighten things up. Maybe some poor decisions were made in the process, but the bleeding has stopped.
 

BBerson

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
13,106
Location
Port Townsend WA
That editorial author contradicts himself. First he said the airplanes are mature with little innovation possible. Then he said they should have invested in several unneeded new designs and executive bonuses, instead of buying the stock back.
And Boeing doesn't need to attract new investors if they are buying back the stock.

It is never in the interest of any stock owners to destroy the safety reputation Boeing had with these crashes.
 
2
Top