Netflix Releases Documentary on the Boeing MCAS Failures

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Iflydogs, Feb 18, 2022.

  1. Iflydogs

    Iflydogs Pre-Flight

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    This was recently released on Netflix, it really puts a spotlight on the human toll of the tragedy.
    Downfall: The Case Against Boeing
     
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  2. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  3. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    What happened to Mr Forkner?
    Source of the deceit, or scapegoat?
    And who was writing in the internal messaging about Jedi mind-tricking the FAA, about a showdown with any regulator who insisted on pilot training on the system?

    I missed most of the past threads on the max, so I’ll need updating.
     
  4. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Line Up and Wait

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  5. mryan75

    mryan75 Pattern Altitude

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    Does it talk about how the Indonesian fellas never flipped the trim switches off, or how the Ethiopian fella did and then turned them back on again? Does it talk about the Lion Air flight the night before when a deadheading British pilot told the gents flying to flip the trim switches when the fit hit the shan and everything worked out fine (despite the fact that those same two boneheads continued a two-hour flight with a known flight control problem rather than turning around and going 15 minutes back to their point of departure)?

    Pro-tip: don’t fly third-world airlines. And yes, Ethiopian is a third-world airline.
     
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  6. Iflydogs

    Iflydogs Pre-Flight

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    It does mention that the Lion Air pilots didn't flip the switches off. It also says that Lion Air tried to get more training for the system and was ridiculed for it. It mentions that the Ethiopian air Pilots flipped the switches off but the by then the plane was unrecoverable. It mentions that Boeing's analysis showed that if actions were not taken within 10 seconds the plane would be unrecoverable. The documentary is not very sympathetic to the airplane manufacturer. Watching the testimony of the executives brought to mind Hannah Arendt's phrase "the banality of evil".
     
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  7. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Lack of training?
     
  8. Kristin

    Kristin Pattern Altitude

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    Lack of training, lack of culture of safety, pilots coming from school systems that emphasize rote learning. I won't even get on some first world Asian carriers, never mind a third world carrier.

    Boeing screwed up royally, but the is a reason that the accidents happened in third world airlines and not on American carriers.
     
  9. kmacht

    kmacht Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I wonder who funded that documentary? Seemed like nothing but a hit job on Boeing while ignoring every other contributing factor.
     
  10. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN En-Route

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  11. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    The crux of the problem is that Boeing placed band-aid over band-aid to make it fly like a 737-200. It would have been a MUCH better airplane, without all the workarounds..........and should have required a new type rating.
     
  12. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN En-Route

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    This is not true. The airplane does not meet certification requirements without MCAS due to the stick forces at very high AoA. Even with a separate type rating, it needed MCAS.
     
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  13. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    It most certainly is true. MCAS is there to simulate a 737-200
     
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  14. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member PoA Technical Administrator

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    Does it say where that 10 sec time came from? ;)

    Nauga,
    rhetorically
     
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  15. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN En-Route

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    No, it's not. It is to meet certification requirements regarding increasing pitch control forces as AoA increases. Without MCAS, the larger engine nacelles, mounted farther forward, produce enough nose-up moment from lift, that it masks the nature increase in stick forces at very high AoAs.

    Even with MCAS, the FAA would not allow a US airline to operate three generations of the 737 as a single qualification. SWA had to park their remaining Classics (737-500s, IIRC) before they could operate the MAX. The 737-200 isn't even a Classic. That's the original generation that was followed by the Classics (737-300 through -500).

    When the NGs (737-600 through -900) were first introduced, airlines that were still operating the originals (-100/-200) had to display the flight instruments as round gauges on the EFIS tubes in order to operate the NGs as a single qualification with the Classics and originals. Once the 737-200s were parked, the NG's software was switched to the current configuration of a primary display and a navigation display.
     
  16. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    The 737-MAX would/should have never been designed the way it was.....with the MCAS band-aids. It would have/should have been a clean sheet. Nope.....MCAS was quite definitely a band-aid.

    It WOULD have been designed and certified correctly had it been designed by the engineers in Seattle rather than the paper pushers in Chicago.
     
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  17. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN En-Route

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    Boeing's customers did not want to wait for, nor pay for, a clean sheet design. They would have bought Airbus instead. Boeing can't build and sell an airplane that their customers don't want.

    All engineering is compromises. All transports have "band-aids". Nothing is free. To increase any desirable trait results in other undesirable traits. All transports have systems or designs to mitigate the undesirable traits.

    The specific undesirable trait that required MCAS occurs only at aircraft states that should never occur during normal operations. The increasing stick force with increasing AoA at those unusually high AoA is a certification standard for all airplanes.

    A runaway stabilizer is a possibility in all transport aircraft. I have trained on the runaway stabilizer procedure on every transport aircraft I have flown. It is not a particularly challenging non-normal procedure to handle. An uncommanded MCAS activation is even easier because the primary trim switches on the yoke continue to work normally. You can fly the airplane indefinitely with MCAS firing by simply trimming out the nose-down inputs each time MCAS applies them. The Lion Air Captain kept the airplane in trim through 21 MCAS activations. They didn't get significantly out-of-trim and lose control until he transferred control to the First Officer who didn't trim out the nose-down trim inputs from MCAS as the Captain had been doing. Five MCAS activations after the transfer of control, the stab trim reached full nose-down and control was lost.

    A line from a report saying that you had ten seconds to respond to an unscheduled MCAS was posted above. That's ten seconds of hands-off flying. How long do you think I have to respond to an engine failure before control would be lost? It's a lot shorter than ten seconds. All you have to do to respond to the unscheduled MCAS activation is to apply nose-up trim with the yoke switches. You can fly it all day that way without even doing the runaway stabilizer non-normal procedure.

    Engineering is compromises.

    The original design relied on the data from the active flight control computer (FCC) and active Air-data unit (ADIRU). The 737 has two of each. They are kept separate so that when there is a failure in one side it only affects half of the primary displays and systems and a single failure can't take out both systems. The flight crew determines which system is bad, or has bad data, and switches to the other, unaffected system. The MCAS fix has introduced a complex system of combining data from both systems. That presents the threat of having a single failure affecting both systems and having invalid data on both sides. That is why the fix took so long to certify. It is significantly more complex than the original system and all foreseeable failure modes had to be addressed. Compromise.
     
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  18. NJP_MAN

    NJP_MAN Pattern Altitude

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    If it's Boieng you're going, to die.
     
  19. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member PoA Technical Administrator

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    Take a guess at the cost difference for a total design/development/cert program between a clean-sheet design and a mod to an existing airplane. *Then* take a guess at the difference in operating costs between a jet with a (new) type rating and no (new) type rating required. Same mission both airplanes. Add the two differences and see if you can guess how many customers wanted a clean sheet design. Show your work.

    Nauga,
    who doesn't work for free
     
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  20. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    I've always felt that Boeing would have been better off to work on expanding the 757 line, instead of the 737. The 757 was designed for large-diameter engines, was designed using a CAD system, etc.

    Rumor has it that Stonecipher hated the 757, for some reason.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  21. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Pattern Altitude

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    Most of the good things done in the world would never have been approved by accountants. Most of the bad things were. Little incremental changes, that all make sense, sometimes become tough to justify in the eyes of pubic opinion, because eventually, bad choices become apparent as bad. If you need a marketing plan, a plan to hide information from the regulators or try to intimidate them, if you leave leave a trail of deleted information behind, if you have to depend on the defense that "really good pilots don't have any trouble with our aircraft", then you might have a problem.

    To me the question is "should Boeing continue to be allowed to build civilian aircraft". Which is sad, because I'm positive that there a lot of good people working there, and because I'm certain that most of them had nothing to do with this.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
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  22. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    You just proved my point............ Thank you. It was the accountants in Chicago, not the engineers in Seattle who caused the problems.
     
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  23. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    Airbus is designed by engineers.............not accountants. The 800MAX will NEVER be a good airplane.
     
  24. NotarPilot

    NotarPilot Pre-Flight

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    Frontline also did a series on the Max. It was very interesting.
     
  25. Piperonca

    Piperonca Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Looks to be about an hour long. Anything new in it? Summary?
     
  26. NotarPilot

    NotarPilot Pre-Flight

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    Not sure what you mean by “Anything new in it?”
     
  27. Kristin

    Kristin Pattern Altitude

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    Airbus is designed so idiots can ride up front and hopefully not screw up the computers which hopefully do not have any bugs built into the software by coders who have no skin in the game. It didn't work so well for Air France 447, but probably is the right approach for third world airlines.

    All companies have accountants. Boeing used to be run by engineers. Then the bean counters and Wall Street folks took over, and the culture changed.
     
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  28. Kenny Phillips

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    Let's see: Boeing allowed MCAS to exceed the original scope of "airplane modelling", they sold planes with a single AoA sensor, with woefully inadequate warning should that part fail, charged thirty grand if you wanted a backup, and allowed MCAS to operate based on the data from a single point of failure.
    Yeah, both of the crashes were potentially avoidable, with proper training and proper reactions. Then again, Sully could have made it back to a runway.
    I have no issue hammering "third world" airlines, but the cards were stacked against them.
     
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  29. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    Or the fact that Airbus and its former entities are extensively subsidized by multiple governments in the development of new aircraft. Always helps when the accountants are public employees than private employees. Remove those subsidies and it is doubtful there would be many new Airbus airplane or helicopter designs.
     
  30. Notatestpilot

    Notatestpilot Pre-Flight

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  31. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    And boeing isn’t heavily subsidized through tax breaks?

    Boeing would be out of business without preferential gubmint treatment.
     
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  32. Kristin

    Kristin Pattern Altitude

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    I would say that the deck is stacked against any pilot coming from a culture that emphasizes rote memorization over understanding and creative thinking. Throw in a dash of authority worship and you have a shaky operation regardless of the aircraft. Check out Asiana Airlines' crash at SFO. That will tell you all you need know. I spend years teaching students for a foreign carrier. I have seen the beast up close.

    I have always thought Sully should have pushed that big red button, stopped the world, teleported into a simulator so he could have figured out whether he could have gotten back to LGA, and then teleported back to the plane and executed the maneuver.
     
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  33. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    Keeping your own money is not a subsidy in my world.
     
  34. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Preferential treatment is.

    I wish I could be a billionaire or huge corporation when I grow up so I don’t have to pay taxes.
     
  35. Kenny Phillips

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    This will get me banned, but the highest earners and corporations pay the vast majority of income taxes. Vast. Look it up. The press will point out a few that get free rides (like hammering on Elon Musk) without knowing the details.
     
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  36. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    Actually the case against the US and Boeing wasn’t on the tax side but on the US paying exorbitant costs for military equipment from Boeing which was labeled as “subsidies” by the EU. However, from a money standpoint what the US paid for military equipment pales in comparison to what EU companies receive in annual government subsidies.

    Regardless, after years of back and forth legal wrangling between the US and EU at WTO hearings, the EU got there azz handed to them to the tune of $7B in damages for their aviation subsidy practices. As to whether Boeing would be out of business not at all. Actually, it was quite the opposite as written in the WTO filings which stated it was Airbus as a whole would not be in existence without those EU subsidies or previous French government subsidies.

    There are a number of public documents on this if you choose to read, but as an example there was one EU subsidized loan program that Airbus used where is funded new aircraft designs but Airbus would only have to pay it back if the new aircraft was a commercial success. I wonder how much the EU government lost on the A380? Last I read the EU gave Airbus over $22B for the design of the A380 and A350. Can you imagine if the US taxpayer's money was used to design and bring to market the Boeing 787? Tax credits are hardly subsidies or loans.
     
  37. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    You speak emotionally not logically.
     
  38. kmacht

    kmacht Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I never said Boeings design didn't play a major role in the crashes, just that the documentary was very lopsided against them and did not even talk about any of the other contributing factors. It was never mentioned why the AOA was bad, that the pilots flew the plane even after the previous flight experienced a similar issue and had to disabled the trim system. They never went into why Boeing was pushing so hard to make the plane fly like previous models (i.e the insane certification process), who at the FAA was in charge of oversight and why they never caught or questioned the MCAS system, what training was provided regarding a runaway trim failure, anything related to the 10 second scenario they kept falsely claiming, etc. The whole documentary just tried to paint Boeing as doing everything because of corporate greed and while that was likely part of it, it wasn’t the only contributing factor. I would still like to know who financed the film and wouldn’t be surprised at all if it was a group or lobbyist organization involved in the crash lawsuit.
     
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  39. dmspilot

    dmspilot Final Approach

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    The parts I colored red are not correct. Sensor =/= Indicator
     
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  40. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    As it probably turns out...............Boeing could have designed a clean sheet MUCH better airplane............and offered free type ratings.
     
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