From the New Republic:
Boeing issued this statement:
We understand and regret the concern caused by the release Friday of a Nov. 15, 2016 instant message involving a former Boeing employee, Mark Forkner, a technical pilot involved in the development of training and manuals. And we especially regret the difficulties that the release of this document has presented for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators.
It is unfortunate that this document, which was provided early this year to government investigators, could not be released in a manner that would have allowed for meaningful explanation. While we have not been able to speak to Mr. Forkner directly about his understanding of the document, he has stated through his attorney that his comments reflected a reaction to a simulator program that was not functioning properly, and that was still undergoing testing. We are continuing to investigate the circumstances of this exchange, and are committed to identifying all the available facts relating to it, and to sharing those facts with the appropriate investigating and regulatory authorities.
Boeing engaged in an extensive process with the FAA to determine pilot training requirements for the 737 MAX 8. This process was a complex, multiyear effort that involved a large number of individuals at both Boeing and the FAA. This effort itself was just a part of a much larger regulatory process for the design, development and certification of the 737 MAX 8.
In that regulatory process, Boeing informed the FAA about the expansion of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) to low speeds, including by briefing the FAA and international regulators on multiple occasions about MCAS’s final configuration. The process also included evaluation of MCAS in low-speed configurations for both training and certification. The simulator software used during the Nov. 15 session was still undergoing testing and qualification and had not been finalized, but it, too, provided for MCAS operation at low speed. Separately, a low-speed version of MCAS was installed on the airplanes used for training-related flight testing that the FAA administered in August 2016. And FAA personnel also observed the operation of MCAS in its low-speed configuration during certification flight testing, beginning in August 2016 and continuing through January 2017.
We understand entirely the scrutiny this matter is receiving, and are committed to working with investigative authorities and the U.S. Congress as they continue their investigations.
We are deeply saddened and have been humbled by these accidents, and are fully committed to learning from them. We have developed improvements to the 737 MAX that will ensure that accidents like these can never happen again, and are committed to continuing to work closely with the FAA and global regulators to ensure the MAX’s safe return to service.
From the New York Times:
“For months, Boeing has said it had no idea that a new automated system in the 737 Max jet, which played a role in two fatal crashes, was unsafe.
But on Friday, the company gave lawmakers a transcript revealing that a top pilot working on the plane had raised concerns about the system in messages to a colleague in 2016, more than two years before the Max was grounded because of the accidents, which left 346 people dead.”
Read the full report.
Boeing’s troubles with 737 MAX could continue, this time from Europe.
According to the BBC, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will conduct its own tests on the Boeing 737 MAX before it is permitted to fly in Europe. This represents a break from international protocol of aviation regulators accepting each other’s standards and findings.
Will the 737 MAX be allowed to fly in the United States (under the FAA’s clearance) and not in other places?
Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker.
By Dhierin Bechai – The Aerospace Forum.
This report and article is one of the best I have read on the Boeing 737 MAX from an engineering viewpoint. It is must reading for anyone who flies, wants to fly or flies on in the future. READ HERE
Above Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker. Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are stacking up in a lot of locations.
Other related articles:
The grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX continues and the commercial damage for airline operators appears to be increasing as the loss of capacity is now at its highest during the peak summer season for many operators. But just how large is the damage and what is the current status?
Using our latest analytics tools, we tracked back to mid-February and compared the schedules filed then against the latest schedules filed for all B737Max operators and the numbers are staggering.
41 Million and counting….
In the table below we have outlined the original planned capacity for selected operators and compared that to the current planned B737 Max operation; in essence a “before and after” assessment of the grounding.
Table 1 – Selected Scheduled Airline B737 Max Grounding Impact
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser
For every carrier there appears to be a significant reduction in capacity offered, much of which would have been assumed in the original planning of the carriers for this financial year. Last minute schedule adjustments are we know challenging for any carrier, but the scale of the B737 Max grounding has been very disruptive for many.
China Southern are the largest carrier impacted with a loss of some 3.8 million seats whilst American Airlines have lost close to 2 million seats. Indeed, across five major North American airlines some 11 million seats have been dropped from sales compared to the schedules filed in mid-February.
Many carriers have of course made operational adjustments, continued to operate aircraft with perhaps lower levels of capacity and incurred significant additional cost as part of that recovery programme. Accountants will of course be keeping a very close eye on every expense incurred as a result of the grounding as they prepare a series of claims for the inconvenience caused.
November Scheduling Dilemma
The introduction of the winter schedules for many airlines in the last week of October normally results in a slight seasonal reduction in capacity, at least until early in the new year. Just as importantly that date is a key planning milestone for many carriers and at the moment a number of airlines continue to show B737 Max services from the end of October as they are yet to finalise and adjust their schedules.
For many airlines contingency plans will already have been put in place and a realistic return to service of the aircraft by that date as speculation continues on when the aircraft will be able to re-enter commercial operations. Of course, for the airlines in any subsequent compensation claim publishing scheduled services from November onwards certainly doesn’t harm their case.
Chart 1- Planned B737 Max Capacity By Week Selected Scheduled Airlines
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser
Calculating the cost
The cost of the B737 Max grounding will of course vary from airline to airline. Some carriers may have had a higher dependency on Max flying, some may have had quicker and cheaper access to alternate aircraft, and some may perhaps have been able to mitigate some of their cost. Alongside the cost there will also be a loss of revenue for many airlines, some of whom may have sold more cheaper advanced purchase capacity based on B737 Max capacity and then found themselves unable to revenue manage their flights as originally intended.
Using a notional US$100 for the combined impact of additional costs; both direct and indirect and the loss of revenue then for the airlines affected the impact of the lost capacity could be running towards US$ 4 Billion and that assumes a November reintroduction which looks increasingly unlikely. When the expected profit for the airline industry in 2019 is some US$ 28 billion losing such a some will inevitably hit that expectation; especially when some of the world’s most profitable carriers are impacted.
Reuters is reporting Boeing plans further changes to the MCAS software on the grounded Boeing 737 MAX to address a flight test flaw uncovered in June.
The change incorporates now taking input from both flight control computers.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE