# Crashes in the News - Thread

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations / Flight Safety / Better Pil' started by choppergirl, Jun 8, 2016.

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1. Mar 15, 2019

### Topaz

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I'm told (again, unconfirmed) that the MCAS uses only one of the two AoA sensors on the airplane on any given flight. There's no redundancy because it's not considered a critical safety-of-flight system. Apparently the pitch-up on the MAX 8 and MAX 9 is mild, and not flight-threatening, so redundancy was not considered necessary. It would, however, been something a pilot would have been trained on, if MCAS hadn't been included in the system to automatically mitigate it. Whether that's contradictory or makes sense is left as "an exercise for the reader."

Nobody said that it does or did. The Lion Air aircraft had multiple squawks in multiple systems over the last few flights and the earlier crews of that aircraft had, properly, disabled MCAS when they ran into pitch-trim issues. The crash-flight crew did not. You can't make an airplane safe against the flight crew not following procedure. It's entirely supposition that the MCAS was even involved in the Ethiopian flight, although, of course, it's suspect given the things that were similar in the crash profiles.

Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
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2. Mar 15, 2019

### blane.c

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There are other instances were it is necessary to disconnect/uncouple the auto-pilot in aircraft. Sometimes if you are flying in icing conditions it is wise to uncouple the auto-pilot because if you are inadvertently collecting ice with the auto-pilot engaged (maybe you are distracted catching up on your paperwork) it will continuously trim the aircraft to compensate for the ice ... until it can't, then it hands you over a airplane at max trim and a load of ice. So it is better to hand fly in such conditions with the understanding that you'll be able to notice that the aircraft is requiring more and more trim and is getting sluggish handling and you know maybe a different altitude is a good idea.

So I am sure there are other scenarios were it is prudent not to have the auto-pilot engaged and situations and conditions change so a pilot may consider it to be the safe thing to do in almost any aircraft depending on what is happening.

Having an aircraft that requires the auto-pilot to be manually disengaged under certain conditions or circumstances doesn't frighten me a bit. Having it totally automated scares me totally.

3. Mar 16, 2019

### choppergirl

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Interesting article about 737 Max :
How a 50-year-old design came back to haunt Boeing with its troubled 737 Max jet

With backorders of 4,700... even if they lose a lot of them, I'd still double down on Boeing. That's a *lot* of back orders of huge \$ passenger jets!

It's a software feature that can be easily disabled. It may even be a good thing in the long run; bringing home to Boeing management they've ridden the 737 coattails as far as it will go... and it's time to maybe not smash up the new drafting board designs their engineers come to them with, to replace their holy grail venerable Model T.

But then I'm a contrarian investor - when Joe Q. Public starts buying AOL on the street corner- time to get out! When there's blood in streets at Boeing, time to buy! If you're right and it's just a really messy surface wound, and not a fatal, mortal blow... swimming pools... and movie stars...

Boeing probably has deep pockets and a huge infrastructure... huge buildings and oceans of workers to build jets.. what else can they do but keep building jets with all those machines and people. But then, so did Messerschmidt at the end of WW2. What an ego hit, from sexy BF-109's to ugh... what are we building now... funky little 3 wheeled cars. Are you serious?

Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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4. Mar 16, 2019

### Turd Ferguson

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If the Max 8 identifies as an Airbus 321, will they still be grounded?

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5. Mar 16, 2019

### Vigilant1

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Before assuming anything, should we ask it if prefers the term "jackscrew" or "jillscrew?"
And I'll leave it at that.

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6. Mar 16, 2019

### TXFlyGuy

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On my short list is any airline with the name “China”, and Aeroflot, Asiana, etc.

I always stick with the legacy carriers. First World legacy carriers. Might take exception to a country that begins with “F”.

7. Mar 16, 2019

### TXFlyGuy

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We routinely fly at 320 IAS below 10,000 in Europe. For a time there was no speed limit on departures from IAH. Until one airline got scared, and went crying to the FAA. Ruined it for everyone.

8. Mar 16, 2019

### davidb

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It is so bizarre that I have to assume that data is inaccurate. They supposedly made a radio call indicating they were having some sort of airspeed anomaly. If we assume they had a false indication of low airspeed, we would expect to see a higher than normal ground speed as they sorted out the situation. But, I can’t imagine they would accelerate to 50 knots above redline without realizing they were going incredibly fast rather than dangerously slow. That data has them reaching ludicrous speed in level flight at 1000 feet agl. The other data from Aerion that we haven’t seen must paint a different picture.

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9. Mar 16, 2019

### rv6ejguy

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Hard to believe the radar data is wrong but it's possible. As we've seen in a number of accidents and incidents, it takes a while, if ever, during the event for pilots to realize something is up with the altimeter, AOA or airspeed. It baffles me why they never cross check GPS speed. Air France 447 had many minutes to figure out these readings were invalid just by looking at the GPS. This should be drummed into flight crew. It seems there is utter reliance on what's being displayed is 100% accurate all the time and they don't think to cross check some other way when something is contradictory. This one seems almost as incredulous being in daytime VFR conditions with the facts we know so far.

10. Mar 16, 2019

### TXFlyGuy

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Several issues here, AF 447. The pilots never looked at the standby indicator. That would have answered all of their questions. I always look at pitch, and power. At cruise altitude, a 777 flies at 2 degrees nose up, and 90 to 92% N1. If you lose everything, all AS and altitude indications, just maintain pitch and power, and the plane will fly just fine.

With AF 447, had the pilot (s) done nothing, they would have survived. They actually caused the stall, and crash.

The GPS ground speed in the above was only 100 knots, so that would not have helped them as the were going down at over 10,000 feet per minute.

But that is an issue with Airbus...as they have purposely removed the pilot from much of the actual flying of the aircraft. Boeing has a different philosophy.

But I question a system that operates in the background (MCAS), and the pilots have little or no training on.

I might have missed it, but is there a 737 MAX pilot on this forum who can shed some real light on this subject?

11. Mar 16, 2019

### davidb

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Yes, I am a “737 MAX pilot”. What specifically would you like me to comment on that I haven’t already?

Edit add: some of my posts shortly after the Lion Air crash were made from a position of ignorance as I had not yet actually flown the Max and did not have the clarifying information later made available to us. I had done the Max training months prior the crash and I can confirm there was no mention of MCAS at that time. I do side with Boeing on not really needing to know about details of MCAS. I do believe the procedures that have been in place for the decades since I’ve been flying the 737 are adequate for dealing with an inadvertent MCAS activation. I last flew the Max two days before the grounding and was scheduled to fly it tonight. I have no reason to doubt I (and my fellow pilots) could safely handle any anomalies that could occur with any 737 short of multiple catastrophic failures. However, I do think it’s prudent for a software/input revision to MCAS and I’m guessing that will be in place before the grounding order is lifted.

Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
12. Mar 16, 2019

### rv6ejguy

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Agree with your first statements but GPS would have told them they were either stalled or had a 400 knot headwind... They might have been able to figure it out from there to disregard the ASI, altitude and speed warnings.

13. Mar 16, 2019

### rv6ejguy

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What is the procedure if you suspect a complete MCAS failure? Can the system be fully disabled and can you maintain sufficient pitch control manually if the pitch trim is locked full travel in either direction? Have you trained for this in the Sim?

14. Mar 16, 2019

### Marc Zeitlin

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Or, since 2/3 of Ethiopia is Christian, maybe they just raised their hands in the air and said "it's in the hands of Jesus!". Twice as likely, in this case. Sheesh.

15. Mar 16, 2019

### plncraze

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Thank you davidb, for your offer.
A broad question I have about different cultures flying the same aircraft is how the various crews approached the automation. When you were trained in the Max were you given explicit instructions or told where to find the instructions to shut off various automated systems? The stories of the two crashes seem to make it look like the crews were fighting the airplane.

16. Mar 16, 2019

### TXFlyGuy

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Here is my observation, if Boeing had to resort to this kind of “hidden band aid” to make the plane flyable, there is a basic flaw in the design. Rube Goldberg?
A good friend (737 pilot) says he did not get any training with regards to MCAS initially.

This begs the question...how many times has this happened, with the pilots being able to successfully deal with the situation, and safely land the airplane. In this case, we would never hear about it.

It took two catastrophic events to bring this to the forefront of everyone’s attention.

17. Mar 16, 2019

### Vigilant1

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A bit over the top. You could say the exact same thing, with equal validity, about all pitch trim. Is it "Rube Goldberg?" I can only imagine how you must feel about the yaw damper.
"There's something wrong with the airplane if you need this "trim" band-aid to make the plane flyable." Nope. In both cases (stab trim and MCAS) the plane is flyable when it is turned off, and it doesn't make the plane "flyable," it just makes it easier to fly. And in both cases (trim and MCAS), the system can malfunction resulting in the need for crew intervention.

I'm sure that's true, and virtually everyone now agrees that the MCAS should have been the subject of crew awareness and training. But if your friend knew enough to turn off the electric trim and use the wheel (the thing that kept spinning the wrong way right there, with the stripes on it), which is the standard action when the stab trim isn't behaving as expected under any circumstances, then he would have been fine whether he'd heard of MCAS or not.

Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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18. Mar 16, 2019

### davidb

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This is probably a good point to highlight what the FAA and US carriers have been putting emphasis on the last year or two. For the last decade or two, many of the accidents and incidents of commercial aviation are a result of improper actions to instrument anomalies and improper upset recovery actions. Under this umbrella is stall recognition/recovery, recognition of unreliable airspeed indications and the proper actions to deal with that, and unusual attitude recovery procedures.

In the past, recurring training focused on the usual stuff like engine failures and hydraulic failures but that’s not what’s killing people in recent times. It’s the unusual anomalies that somehow lure pilots into losing control of an airplane that is otherwise flyable. While most of these accidents involve pilots of limited experience or questionable training, that’s not to say any of us couldn’t fall prey.

Hence, the FAA has mandated all US airlines emphasize this upset recovery training during our recurring simulator training sessions. I just went through some of that training and agree that it is worthwhile. I didn’t learn anything new but it was good to practice some of that stuff.

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19. Mar 16, 2019

### TXFlyGuy

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Might tell that to the 347 souls that perished on two commercial flights. With qualified pilots at the controls.

Edit: I have been told the Max is different in this regard, from all other 737’s. The bottom line is this was done as a cost saving measure. In order to maintain a common type rating for the entire 737 fleet.
This allows airlines to save money as they do not have to retrain the pilots. A prime example of money comes before safety. The design should have been from a clean sheet of paper, even though the FAA would then require a separate type rating.

When the B-737-900 was being developed, Boeing wanted to modify the landing gear, allowing for more engine clearance from the ground. The Feds shot that idea down, saying they would no longer give a common type for the -900.

And this, the most bizarre of all things from Boeing...

In fact, it was since been revealed that 737 MAX operators were not informed about MCAS, or trained on its operation. Documentation detailing the changes made between the two generations of aircraft didn’t mention the automatic system, as Boeing believed it wasn’t something pilots would need to be consciously aware of. As such, many pilots didn’t learn about MCAS until the first fatal accident had already occurred.

Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
20. Mar 16, 2019

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