Boeing 737 Max

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  • #1743456

    Captain™
    Participant

    When this awesome plane returns to the skies (petty soon), will any CR members be scared to fly on it.

    Captain™

    #1743541

    Joseph
    Participant

    Relatively very few people even check what kind of plane they’ll be riding in before purchasing a ticket.

    #1743559

    DovidBT
    Participant

    @Captain
    Why don’t you provide an expert analysis of why the crashes occurred, and who was at fault?

    #1743560

    Goldilocks
    Participant

    Will you?

    #1743617

    Captain™
    Participant

    Why don’t you provide an expert analysis of why the crashes occurred, and who was at fault?

    I’m no expert (I only fly a Cessna 172) but I’ve read many articles about it, and I can try to explain what happened from those articles. (I cant post links, but everything I will be saying comes from the website of the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association.) I will explain in it in a few posts, to make it easier for the mods

    Captain™

    #1743643

    Captain™
    Participant

    I will continue tomorrow, as it is getting late here and I need to get some sleep.

    Captain™

    #1743642

    Captain™
    Participant

    What happened in both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Air crashes was simply an MCAS malfunctioned. After the Lion Air crash, Boeing revealed the MCAS system. When pilots first found out about it, they felt betrayed by Boeing, because they didn’t tell them about the system. But Boeing and the FAA agreed that it required no additional training, as all one had to do was to turn off the system. When the Ethiopian plane crashed, more facts about MCAS were revealed.
    MCAS worked based on a single angle-of-attack (AOA) indicator which measured the angle between the wing and the air. When the angle became to great, it activated and forced the planes nose down with the trim.
    That is one of the mistakes that Boeing made, and they are currently working to add a second sensor to the system. But that is not the only reason the planes crashed.

    Captain™

    #1743636

    Captain™
    Participant

    Their is a big difference between Airbus and Boeing. Airbus uses fly-by-wire, in which everything is controlled by wires. When the pilot moves the stick , a computer tells the ailerons and elevator how much to move. This enables Airbus to use the side-stick, which takes up very little space.
    Boeing only uses hydraulics. When a pilot moves the yoke (not a stick), he is directly controlling the ailerons and elevators. This does take up more space, as there is a yoke in front of the pilot.
    Most pilots who have flown both Airbus’s and Boeing’s say they prefer Boeing because they feel more in control. Everything is predictable, and they don’t have to worry about any electrical failures, as there are many backup hydraulic systems in case one breaks.

    So when Boeing installed MCAS into the Max, it was the first fly-by-wire piece to be used in one of their planes. They decided not to tell pilots because they felt it was not necessary. If the MCAS would malfunction, it would do the same thing that an electric trim malfunction would do, force the nose down. All pilots have to do is the same thing that they do if the electrical trim malfunctions, which is, to simply turn off the electric trim.

    Captain™

    #1743633

    Captain™
    Participant

    Airlines usually stick as much as possible to the same plane so they only have to train pilots for one type of plane. Boeing made all the models of the 737 similar enough that once a pilot had a rating for one model, he can fly all of them.
    A few years ago, a new larger engine was developed and Airbus started using it. As there is intense competition between Airbus and Boeing, Boeing decided to put it on the 737. This required to change the location of the wheels and move the engines higher so they wouldn’t hit the ground.
    By doing this, the plane now handled differently than all the other 737s, and the airlines would not want to buy it. Boeing created a system that automatically moves the nose down a little, to counteract the excessive nose high tendency, and make it act the same way as the other 737s. This system is called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

    Captain™

    #1743844

    Captain™
    Participant

    The mods accidentally approved my posts out of order. The correct order is #1743633 then #1743636 then #1743642 then #1743643.
    Continuation from post #1743642.

    A big factor in both crashes was pilot experience, or rather, lack of it.
    America and Europe have different requirements to become an airline pilot. In Europe, one only needs a commercial certificate which consists of at least 250 hours of flight time. Then you need to get a rating for the plane you fly and now you are ready to fly for an airline.

    In America, you need an airline license which consists of 1500 hours of flight time. This means that any pilot flying for an American airline, has almost 5 times more experience than their European counterparts.

    Captain™

    #1743910

    Little Froggie
    Participant

    What happened was their idea of placing machine or technology in front or in place of person. No. No machine in the world would EVER replace mankind. True, there are advantages of automation and technology – but a person has and should have the last (actually beginning, middle and last) word.

    Technology should never have forced the plane anywhere, it should just have given the pilots the reading or assessment (wrong or right) of the situation. And maybe suggested the proposed correct course of action. But it should be up to the pilots to act. HEY – There are trained pilots in there, those who trained a long time, learning how to fly. And they’re sitting right there. Let THEM direct the plane up or down as needed. They know how to do it. No need to override an experienced pilot’s training.

    And btw nothing comes CLOSE to a Cessna, in a Cessna YOU’RE flying it, you actually feel it. In the other ones you’re controlling machines that control machines that control machines that fly it.

    #1743949

    Forshayer
    Participant

    As the Captain said, the difference is in the experience of the pilot. There were on average about 8.600 flights every week on these planes before they were grounded. This plane was in service for quite some time before these 2 crashes occurred. They were flown mostly in the USA and China where they were flying without much fanfare. I’m sure once the software is updated and the pilots familiarize themselves with the plane it will be fine.

    #1744024

    Captain™
    Participant

    There is another big difference between America and Europe.

    In America is relatively cheap. You can rent a small plane for only $100 to $150 an hour, or less. Some rental companies will have you pay for the fuel, many don’t. Otherwise the only fee that you need to pay is the landing fee (which many airports don’t even have) which, unless you are flying into a big airport like JFK, is pretty cheap. That means you can go flying with 3 friends and only pay approximately $25-$35 an hour each. Also, since America has a government owned air traffic system, it remains up to date and the best in the world.

    This means that pilots in America fly often with very little hassle. If I want, I can approach JFK in a Cessna 172, and with no prior warning, ask JFK for permission to land, and they will allow me to land. In Europe, landing clearance needs to be obtained sometimes days beforehand.

    In Europe, the air traffic system is privately owned. This means that there are many more fees than just a landing fee. There is a takeoff fee, air traffic control fee, and many other fees. This doubles the cost of every single flight. As there is a pilot shortage worldwide, it is common for airlines to train pilots from zero hours to first officer. This means that from the very first flight, pilots are being trained how to fly an airliner. They focus on flying with a crew, rather than by oneself. They focus on flying with autopilot, rather than actually flying an airplane.

    This means that American pilots in general, have way more experience flying than European pilots.

    Captain™

    #1744061

    DovidBT
    Participant

    My knowledge of the Boeing 737 MAX issues is limited to what I’ve read in news articles.

    My impression is that the problem was not the fault of the pilots. Having 10,000 hours of flight experience in Cessna 172’s would not have helped them.

    Someone at Boeing had the nifty idea of having the airplane automatically correct a stall or imminent stall, which all pilots learn how to do very early in flight training. The stall correction feature malfunctioned, and the pilots lacked the specific knowledge of how to override the overly complicated automatic system.

    #1744155

    Captain™
    Participant

    Having 10,000 hours of flight experience in Cessna 172’s would not have helped them.

    That is not necessarily true. You learn many things from flying small planes that is very helpful when transferring to the big jets. One thing that all pilots are taught, no matter the type of plane, is if there is any malfunction of any electrical system, then turn it off and hand fly the rest of the way. Another thing learnt, is to make critical decisions in seconds. ATC, the weather, or the airplane itself can throw curveballs at the pilot that require instant responses.
    A pilot with a thousand hours in any type of plane, is better prepared to react correctly than a pilot with 250 hours.

    Think about it. The MCAS system malfunctioned twice in 6 months. Why did it only malfunction now? The 737 Max has been around for a few years already with no problems.

    The truth is, is that the MCAS malfunctioned many times. Many American pilots reported experiencing the exact same events that the two accident flights experienced. The difference is that each time it happened, pilots just turned off the electrical trim and it stopped. the two accident flights, the pilots tried to override MCAS by manually trimming up. This didn’t work, yet they continued fighting it all the way down. If they would have just flipped the right switches, they never would have crashed.

    If the pilots would have been more experienced, than maybe they would have responded correctly.

    Captain™

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