How much longer to fix the 737 Max

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by brien23, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. AGLyme

    AGLyme Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It will be different in a good way re Quality. The FAA, other Cert authorities around the globe, the Airlines and the Military are no longer doing business as usual with respect to inspections, certifications, and product acceptance.
    Boeing is in shock that the Max is still grounded. The execs are more in shock the FAA is in their plant dictating what can be sold and what needs more work to make it right.

    Just in time too. The Chinese and Russians will be building airliners soon and competing directly with Boeing and Airbus. That competitive dynamic will keep the Quality up and the short-cut-creep to a minimum.
     
  2. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    Probably wouldn't have been a successful sales technique. Poor business decisions had put them into a weak competitive posture.
     
  3. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    As reported elsewhere and not checked...

    $39M in stock options and an $11M pension.

    Not bad for getting fired.
     
  4. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    And the souls of 346 people to haunt him. I hope the millions prove little comfort.
     
  5. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    should have never let Boeing buy Douglas.....the du-opoly thingy caused this.
     
  6. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Be interesting to know if he cares late at night or if he feels the peasants just flew it wrong.

    Highly likely he didn’t know what MCAS even was when this all started.
     
  7. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    But I think only in select markets. Without being part of any western bi-lateral agreements, getting their new aircraft certified in the US, Canada, UK, etc. will make the MAX re-cert debacle look like child's play. The Russians tried with their Mil helicopters to meet western certification standards but could never reach that bar on a large scale. So it will be interesting to see how much of a competition they will be to Airbus/Boeing on a global scale even though most of the future growth is in their backyards and other subordinate areas like Africa.
     
  8. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Yes, two competitors to the 737:

    Chinese Comac C919. They have a few hundred orders already. Not yet certified.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comac_C919

    Russian Tupolov Tu-204, since about 1994. Tupolov has been making other airliners long time before that - I flew on an older model when visiting the Soviet Union about 1990. Fast and noisy. Nowhere near as nice as an Airbus 320, which I flew on a few days later.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupolev_Tu-204
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
  9. brien23

    brien23 Cleared for Takeoff

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    The Chinese do have people that know what they are doing, those that don't lets just say they do not get a severance pay like Boeing gives. At half the price of a 737 Max the Chinese Comac C919 will be a player in the world market and I would not sell them short for approval in the U.S.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
  10. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Neither of those are recognized by EASA, ICAO or the JAA. So, they really are not that much of a competitor.
     
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  11. AGLyme

    AGLyme Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Talking long term here... I was a kid in the 70’s when the Japanese car companies major-league disrupted a beautiful oligopoly here in the USA. Profits were high, Service was bad, quality was terrible, gas mileage worse. It took 10 years or so, but the Japanese car companies changed forever the quality of everyday driving.
    The Chinese and Russians will build competitors to Boeing and Airbus and make an equally as good mousetrap with far lower cost. They don’t have the huge legacy pension and union costs that the western monsters have. And both countries will and can successfully reverse engineer without apology.
    Finally, The big airline markets are in Asia and the Middle East and not just North America and Europe any more.
    I wouldn’t bet against them for a 2030 rollout of an equivalent 777 / A330.
     
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  12. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    FYI: the problem with Chinese and Russian built aircraft is that they don't have the "birth to death" regulatory system. Without that, they will never enter the western market or approval. I don't have knowledge on the fixed wing side, but was involved on the helicopter side for a number of years. When you talk ADs, Airworthiness Limitations, etc. the Russian/Chinese regulatory systems lag way behind the FAA, TCCA, UK CAA, LBA, etc. So it's not only about the costs of production. There is a reason quite a few countries buy Boeing/Airbus to fly international routes. The Russian Antonov company is one of the few that can, but they mainly specialize in large cargo ops vs carrying pax which operate under a different set of approvals.
     
  13. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Not today. They're not stupid; if they want to sell a lot of airliners, they will adapt and overcome. The Chinese probably first, I suspect. They seem to be able to go from zero to whatever is required in a relatively short time, if and when it suits them to do so.

    Why do you think China has been buying aircraft manufacturers and subcontracting build and assembly work? I think it's to gain access to and begin to understand how to deal with the regulatory and paperwork aspects of the business. They are doing what the Japanese did with electronics manufacturing a few decades ago.
     
  14. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    but....unlike the auto industry.....aviation is regulated.....world wide. So, if you don't play well with the regulators you will not operate in the important place$$.

    Which brings us back to Boeing.....I think they were caught....they hoodwinked the FAA in several areas....and now they are being yanked back into submission.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
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  15. NoHeat

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    About your main points I have no quibble at all, but [quibble] one adjective deserves correction, and that's the word "Russian" applied to the maker of Antonov airplanes. It is from Ukraine. Note the Ukrainian flag, livery, and email address in the photo below. [/quibble]

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    They haven't in that past 50 years, and in my experience with the helicopter side they won't in the next 50 years. Too expensive. Their goal is to overwhelm those countries that don't require the elevated regulatory system. It's the same reason Uncle Sam supports/buys Russian aircraft for Iraq/Afghanistan/etc. for their main line ops. Yes, China invests in western aviation technology to steal the technology, but does not apply western/ICAO regulatory systems to their in house process. Big difference.
    FYI: It was meant in general only for this discussion. And it's part of the reason they can operate globally considering NASA and other western entities use them consistently.
     
  17. AGLyme

    AGLyme Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I was going to stop after the last post as I am pontificating too much here...; )
    But... focusing on China for a sec, over the last 15 years China created a sizable aerospace Parts and Assembly cluster... they pretty much make all the parts one needs to build engines and airframes. China's aerospace factories and machinery are world class. Their workforce is growing grey hair and learning the black magic of making tough tolerance Parts and Systems. Where they used to fail a lot, and I lost track a couple of years ago, was NPI (New Parts Introduction, which is the aero equivalent of R&D). But the OEM's are there in force teaching them what they need to know to make good quality Parts. The Airbus Tianjin Plant has made hundreds of A-320's... so, they have a local workforce who assembles one of the biggest selling airliners today.

    https://www.airbus.com/newsroom/new...acility-marks-10-years-of-quality-manufa.html

    I don't see a large leap to branding their own airliners for sale all over the world. The technology is there, the Plants are there, they have solid Western tech examples to copy from, and, they have the capital.

    PS: Most of China's top aero Parts manufacturers are owned by... tah dah... the Chinese Government...
     
  18. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    which is why 70% of those MAX aircraft on hold are going where?.....China and other export countries. lol ;)
     
  19. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    Very true. But... so long as they build for Airbus or Boeing or... they rock due to the outside regulatory oversight requirements. It's when they build for themselves with zero outside oversight that they fail the litmus test across the board. Could they ever achieve a higher level? Sure. But I think that could only happen if the market demand drastically exceeds the capabilities of Airbus and Boeing combined. Which I don't think they will allow at the present moment.
     
  20. Crow

    Crow Filing Flight Plan

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    A friend sent me this email covering a little of Boeing's history.

    A sad, but familiar, tale of modern day industry.
    The Coming Boeing Bailout?

    Let’s start by admiring the company that was Boeing, so we can know what has been lost. As one journalist put it in 2000, “Boeing has always been less a business than an association of engineers devoted to building amazing flying machines.”

    For the bulk of the 20th century, Boeing made miracles. Its engineers designed the B-52 in a weekend, bet the company on the 707, and built the 747 despite deep observer skepticism. The 737 started coming off the assembly line in 1967, and it was such a good design it was still the company’s top moneymaker thirty years later.

    How did Boeing make miracles in civilian aircraft? In short, the the professional engineers were in charge. And it fell apart because the company, due to a merger, killed its engineering-first culture. What Happened?

    In 1993, Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of Defense, Bill Perry, called defence contractor CEOs to a dinner, nicknamed “the last supper.” He told them to merge with each other so as, in the classic excuse used by monopolists, to find efficiencies in their businesses. The rationale was that post-Cold War era military spending reductions demanded a leaner defence base. In reality, Perry had been a long-time mergers and acquisitions investment banker working with industry ally Norm Augustine, the eventual CEO of Lockheed Martin.

    Perry was so aggressive about encouraging mergers that he put together an accounting scheme to have the Pentagon itself pay merger costs, which resulted in a bevy of consolidation among contractors and subcontractors. In 1997, Boeing, with both a commercial and military division, ended up buying McDonnell Douglas, a major aerospace company and competitor. With this purchase, the airline market radically consolidated.

    Unlike Boeing, McDonnell Douglas was run by financiers rather than engineers. And though Boeing was the buyer, McDonnell Douglas executives somehow took power in what analysts started calling a “reverse takeover.” The joke in Seattle was, "McDonnell Douglas bought Boeing with Boeing's money."

    The merger sparked a war between the engineers and the bean-counters; as one analyst put it, "Some of the board of directors would rather have spent money on a walk-in humidor for shareholders than on a new plane." The white collar managers responded to the aggressive cost-cutting and politically motivated design choices with the unthinkable, affiliating with the AFL-CIO and going on strike for the first time in the company’s 56-year history. "We weren't fighting against Boeing," said the union leader. "We were fighting to save Boeing."

    The key corporate protection that had protected Boeing engineering culture was a wall inside the company between the civilian division and military divisions. This wall was designed to prevent the military procurement process from corrupting civilian aviation. As aerospace engineers Pierre Sprey and Chuck Spinney noted, military procurement and engineering created a corrupt design process, with unnecessary complexity, poor safety standards, “wishful thinking projections” on performance, and so forth. Military contractors subcontract based on political concerns, not engineering ones. If contractors need to influence a Senator from Montana, they will place production of a component in Montana, even if no one in the state can do the work.

    Corrupt procurement is one reason (aside from more and more high-ranking military officials going into defence contracting work) why military products are often poor quality or deficient. For instance, the incredibly expensive joint strike fighter F-35 is a mess, and the Navy’s most expensive aircraft carrier, costing $13 billion, was recently delivered without critical elevators to lift bombs into fighter jets. Much of this dynamic exists because of a lack of competition in contracting for major systems, a practice enhanced by the consolidation Perry pushed in the early 1990s. Monopolies don’t have to produce good quality products, and often don’t.

    At any rate, when McDonnell Douglas took over Boeing, the military procurement guys took over aerospace production and design. The company began a radical outsourcing campaign, done for political purposes. In defense production, subcontractors were chosen to influence specific Senators and Congressmen; in civilian production, Boeing started moving production to different countries in return for airline purchases from the national airlines.

    Professional engineers immediately recognized this offshoring as a disaster. In 2001, a senior Boeing engineer named L. Hart Smith published a paper criticizing the business strategy behind offshoring production, noting that vital engineering tasks were being done in ways that seemed less costly but would end up destroying the company. He was quickly proved right.

    The first disaster was Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, a test case in how to attempt to cut costs and end up driving up expenses. The company went over budget by something like $12-18 billion. As Sprey and Spinney put it, “You don't have to be wearing a deer-stalker hat to deduce that the practices bred by DoD procurement have finally infected the executive suite of Boeing's commercial division.” Aside from the offshoring of key capacity, the 787 had significant engineering problems, including electrical systems that caused battery fires on the planes.

    In 2005, Boeing hired its first ever CEO without an aviation engineering background, bringing in James McNerney, who got his training in brand management at Proctor & Gamble, then McKinsey, and then spent two decades at General Electric learning from Jack Welch how to erode industrial capacity in favor of shareholders. He brought these lessons to Boeing, and launched a 737 version with new engines, the 737 Max, to compete with a more fuel-efficient Airbus model.

    The key decision was, rather than fix the fundamental aerodynamic control problems caused by the new engine, to band-aid the existing 737 software, while pretending that flying the 737 Max was just like flying old ones. That way, airlines would be able to buy the plane and not have to retrain their pilots, as pilots must be re-certified any changed flight procedures but don’t have to be re-certified for new models with unchanged flying qualities. Unfortunately, the aerodynamics of the 737 body didn’t fit with the Max’s bulkier engine, which was obvious during the first wind tunnel tests.



    This is the story, including previously unreported details, of how Boeing developed the Maneuvering Characteristics...

    The testing in 2012, with air flow approaching the speed of sound, allowed engineers to analyze how the airplane’s aerodynamics would handle a range of extreme maneuvers. When the data came back, according to an engineer involved in the testing, it was clear there were serious issues to address.

    The old Boeing would have redesigned the plane’s control surfaces to fix the faulty aerodynamics, but the McDonnell Douglas-influenced Boeing now tried to patch the problem with software. And it was bad software, some of written by outsourced engineers in India. The Federal Aviation Administration, having outsourced much of its own regulatory capacity to Boeing, didn’t know what was going on, and Boeing didn’t tell airlines and pilots about the new and crucial safety procedures.

    The disregard for engineering integrity and safety had come from the Wall Street driven financialization of the 1990s, through General Electric’s McNerney, but also from military procurement culture. Current CEO Dennis Muilenburg has presided over a series of problematic projects in the defense division, from the X-32, the losing entry in the F-35 joint strike fighter contract, to the long-troubled Airborne Laser system. Muilenburg has handled the 737 Max problem the way a defense official would, through public relations and political channels rather than the way a civilian engineer would, which would be through an honest review of engineering choices.

    The net effect of the merger, and the follow-on managerial and financial choices, is that America significantly damaged its aerospace industry. Where there were two competitors - McDonnell Douglas and Boeing, now there is one. And that domestic monopoly can no longer develop good civilian aerospace products. Hundreds of people are dead, and tens of billions of dollars wasted.

    Boeing now has a rocky situation ahead of it. Buyers in the international market have little trust in the current leadership of the company, and it will face significant liability from victim families and from airlines who bought the jet, as well as cancellations of orders. There is a criminal investigation into the company, as there should be. This like likely to have significant and severe financial consequences.

    The right policy path would be Congressional hearings to explore what happened to this once-fine company, followed by a break-up of the company into a civilian and military division, or if possible, find a way to create multiple competitors out of this fiasco. Muilenburg should be fired, his compensation clawed back, and the Department of Justice should clean house and indict every relevant executive who empowered what looks like fraud at the core of the 737 Max fiasco. Congress should expand the FAA inspectors so they can once again do their job. With a new leadership team in place, Boeing could fix the 737 Max and begin planning great aircraft again.

    In other words, we should put safety conscience civilian engineers back in charge of both building planes and regulating them. Otherwise, planes fall out of the sky.
     
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  21. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Great analysis.... ;)
     
  22. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    Thanks Mr @Crow, that was a nice read.
     
  23. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    It is precisely this type of continued underestimation that will enable the complacency needed to allow them to get past us. But hey, what do I know?

    Merry Christmas, everyone.
     
  24. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    USA Today (not known for being aviation friendly) has an article up that says numerous Boeing internal e-mails hot released showing amongst other things, the Chief test pilot essentially saying he lied to the FAA.

    Ugly.

    Waiting to see who else picks it up and actual wording used.
     
  25. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Many of those articles originated and were re-prints from the Seattle Times....good stuff.
     
  26. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    FWIW: It's far from a "continued underestimation" as the topic of new model competition is discussed regularly within the industry. And in certain markets quite extensively in my experience. But it boils down to the "global" civil certification of these new models. When Russia, China, India, etc. make the move to certify their new aircraft models for standard civilian use in the US or other bi-lateral country, then we'll see how it falls in place. But for the same reason Boeing eked out another variant with the MAX due to the extensive cost and lead time for a new clean-sheet model, these other standalone foreign manufacturers have not (never) started the same process which can cost $100M+ and 5-10 years process time. Add in various flight restrictions by a number of entities, both private and public, concerning the use of non-Airbus/Boeing equipment, even with a possible "global certification" it can be a very complex situation of the who, what, where can use or fly these new models. However, as stated here several times, Asia/Africa are the emerging markets and it is these markets that Russia/China are concentrating on due regulatory issues and the simplicity of bringing a new aircraft model to the public market. Enjoy your day.:)
     
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  27. Checkout_my_Six

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    Last edited: Dec 25, 2019
  28. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    I think you're 100% correct on that one. But the ironic thing was Boeing didn't even want to do the MAX as stated in various 2010/2011 articles that surfaced through this current review process. The only reason they made plans for it was if Airbus was going to move forward with the NEO--which they did and started the MAX down this path. There are also other articles with Boeing stating they knew the MAX was a stop-gap endeavor and planned to replace all the MAXs with a new clean sheet model by 2030! But as I recall with the 787 being so behind in its certification process and subsequent ops issues, this new-model-MAX-replacement fell to the wayside and then there was a MAX 9 and a MAX 10 on the board. Will be interesting how all this plays out with the 777x and it's folding wing tips as a variant to the original 777. Glad I stuck to helicopters.
     
  29. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I understand, from folks who worked at Boeing, bout +10 years ago there was a clean sheet design that was preferred by the engineers....management decided it was to much innovation and expense and schedule risk. So, against the workforce desires, management decided to go for the bastardized band aided design....and here they sit with the results of highly paid executives. It will be profitable....but, as we engineers know, it's far better and cheaper to "design it in" than to fix it later.
     
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  30. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    Agree. But I believe it was the "schedule risk" of getting the new design certified and giving Airbus a 5+ year advantage with the NEO that started the MAX band-aid, while the other items you mention were fodder for management over the design team.
     
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  31. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    well....the exec's rolled the dice....and got snake eyes. They were advised...and chose to ignore it.
     
  32. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Cleared for Takeoff

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    It's not just about the type rating.

    Manufacturer's don't design an airliner then go try to sell it to the airlines. They talk to the airlines to see what they want to buy then they design and built it.

    The airlines didn't want to wait for a new design that would cost more. They wanted a less expensive, more efficient, airplane now. If Boeing told them 'No', they would have gone to Airbus.
     
  33. Checkout_my_Six

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    No....they couldn't go to Airbus now....even if they wanted to. That choice is 10-15 years out....in back log.

    Both Boeing and Airbus have a healthy pipeline of orders into the next dozen years....hence the arrogance of the Boeing exec's to "think" they pull their weight and hoodwink the regulators.
     
  34. X3 Skier

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  35. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    To summarize: "human experience and judgement bad, government judgement and government-approved rules good." That about it?

    Remove judgement to reduce risk? Well, at least until you hit the limits of the model used to construct the software. And we're soon going to see robo-calls of balls and strikes in baseball....

    The dumbing of America. Sigh.

    On the other hand, reviewing the 767F crash thread, sometimes the pilots don't exercise appropriate judgement.
     
  36. Jeff767

    Jeff767 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The Max is safe and ready to fly. It’s all about politics now.
     
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  37. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    yup.....the good CEO, Muilenburg, was saying that too...and see where he is now. lol ;)

    It's bigger than a software issue. These fixes have a way of rippling thru the system when analyzed correctly.

    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20380523
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2019
  38. DaleB

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    But they already got their tens of millions in bonuses and incentives, so what happens now is immaterial. The laser focus on short-term performance is what's limiting or slowly killing a lot of companies.
     
  39. Sluggo63

    Sluggo63 Line Up and Wait

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    Really? I've been purposely not engaging on this thread for a while since it's not going to change anyone's mind about what happened and who's to blame. But this article made me post.

    I think it's about the most asinine thing I've read regarding the Max debacle.

    You think this is a correct assessment of the situation the pilots faced?
    This is what happens when businessmen write about aviation and get it totally wrong.

    The article and it's premise is faulty and actually proves the opposite. These Max accidents have pushed the timeline for fully autonomous flight to the right by many, many years.
     
    Tarheelpilot and TCABM like this.
  40. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Check_my_Six
    so...maybe you're a little confused with a good design and a poorly executed band-aid upgrade.

    Airbus....worked thru a lot of automation issues....and is now much better.