Trump Gov't FAA Shutdown Delayed 737 Max 8 Fix

    The Ethiopian plane crash on 3/10/2019, Sunday killed all 157 people on board a recently introduced Boeing 737 Max aircraft . WaPo

    Below, On how the Trump government shutdown delayed safety and software improvements that Boeing planned to introduce for the 737 Max 8 aircraft.

    QZ com, 3/12,  today,:

    Straightforward safety upgrades to the jets’ software to fix the automated safety feature, were originally expected in January according to multiple reports. But they were delayed until April, the Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 10, because of “engineering challenges,” “differences of opinion” between federal and Boeing officials, and the 35-day government shutdown, during  which “consideration of the fixes was suspended.”

    Yahoo, November 29, 2018:

    SEATTLE/PARIS (Reuters) - Boeing Co <BA.N> is weighing plans to launch a software upgrade for its 737 MAX in six to eight weeks that would help address a scenario faced by the Lion Air crew during last month's deadly crash in Indonesia, two people briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

    Crash investigators are focusing on the possibility that a new anti-stall system that repeatedly pushed the Lion Air jetliner's nose down was being fed by erroneous data from a faulty sensor left in place after a previous hazardous flight.

    Six to eight weeks from 11/2018 would have been weeks before the crash in Ethiopia.

    The FAA still has no permanent Administrator, and is run by an Acting Administrator, as are many top posts in the Trump administration.

    Wall Street Journal, Feb. 10, 2019:

    Boeing is developing revised software for an automated flight-control feature that can forcefully push down the nose of MAX aircraft and was implicated in a high-profile Lion Air crash in Indonesia this past October. But the work has dragged on months longer than initially anticipated following the accident, these officials said.

    In addition to engineering challenges, they said, another reason for the delay stems from differences of opinion among some federal and company safety experts over how extensive the changes should be.....The 35-day partial government shutdown—during which consideration of the fixes was suspended—also created further delays.

    January 2, 2019 Letter from 61,000 member Airline Pilots Association to President Donald Trump on the Trump government shutdown, the FAA, and aviation safety:

    At the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) there are fewer safety inspectors than are needed in order to ensure the air traffic control infrastructure is performing at its peak levels of performance. There are also airline and aircraft manufacturing oversight activities that either stop or are significantly reduced. These safety and oversight inspections will potentially allow for the introduction of safety issues that put passengers and airline crews at risk.

     

    Comments

    Don't forget, this important work the FAA does in conjunction with the aviation industry, was largely suspended for 35 days, due to the futile Trump demand for funding.....his Wall.


    Trump ś re election org claims the Democrat (from Washington)chairman of the Aviation sub committee is preventing a proper investigation.


    Boeing has done the investigation and had the software and control system fix, the FAA has to approve it before deployment. Congress has nothing to do with it.

    That's why ALPA, above, sent the letter on safety concerns to Trump, not some subcommittee....the airline pilots know how the government works, even if Trump, and too many Americans don't know, or don't care.


    Yes ALPA´s position has to be accorded high credibility.

    I´ve been looking unsuccessfully  for the ¨Trump 2020¨releases which seemed to imply that Trump himself was complaining that the House Aviation sub committee was slow rolling the need for an investigation. Of course there should be one. Personally my guess is that somehow Boeing will be found with little if any responsibility. Right now the people with both the most information on the subject and the most to lose if there is another crash  are those Boeing executives. 

    That does not mean I am suggesting there shouldn´t be an investigation. Of course there should be  primarily of the crashes but also of the extent to which the Administration´s actions, including the shut downs delayed learning the facts.


    Trump may have said it ... but a congressional subcommittee would not be in a position to prevent the FAA from fully investigating an accident.

    Congress can open *additional* investigations or investigate issues outside the FAA mandate (e.g. explore the extent to which the actions of executive policy makers may have contributed to an accident), but the FAA is operating under established laws.


    Trump is an inveterate, prolific liar and anything he or his campaign say is just lies, deflection and partisan spin. I am amazed you look up what he says.

    My question is, why is the FAA shutdown causing delays to fixing this aircraft's apparent problems (Boeing has said in 11/2018 they would have "fixes" ready by January-Feb) not being reported at the top of newspapers and TeeVee news across this country and the world?


    From what I heard on Rachel last night, the FAA and Boeing are arguing about whether the fixes were enough. The FAA says that the shutdown caused a further five week delay.


    Yeah, good she is bringing it up. The impact of the 35 day shutdown on airline safety is a lot bigger than "Benghazi'.

    I note the Ethiopians want to send the black boxes to London, not the US as the Trump administration demands.

    I say send it to London. No one trusts Trump's America to report the facts.

    Wall Street Journal:

    "U.S. air-safety investigators on Tuesday engaged in intense behind-the-scenes discussions with their Ethiopian counterparts regarding where the black-box recorders found amid the wreckage of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 will be downloaded..."


    I am reminded that Boeing is the company that manufactures Air Force One. Trump complained about the cost of the plane after he was elected.

    Early Tuesday, Dennis A. Muilenburg, the chief executive of Boeing, spoke to President Trump on the phone and made the case that the 737 Max planes should not be grounded in the United States, according to two people briefed on the conversation…

    …Mr. Muilenburg has worked to cultivate a relationship with the president, although it has sometimes been uneasy.

    Shortly after he was elected president, Mr. Trump assailed Boeing for the estimated cost of its program to build new Air Force One planes that serve as mobile command centers for the president.

    The “costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter a month after winning the election but before he took office. A couple of weeks later, Mr. Muilenburg visited Mr. Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., to try to smooth things over.

    “It was a terrific conversation,” Mr. Muilenburg told reporters after the meeting, explaining that he had given Mr. Trump “my personal commitment” that Boeing would build new Air Force One planes for less than the $4 billion estimate. Weeks after the conversation, Boeing donated $1 million to Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee. The company had donated the same amount to help finance President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2013.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2019/3/12/175323/799

     


    Good question. Not because I believed any of it of course. Just trying to pass along the ¨party line ¨. 

    Yeah ,interesting question on the non-coverage. ¨If it bleeds, it leads.¨But not this time.

    FWIW , my  experience  working for a  Boeing subcontractor is :they simply take over.

    ¨Your house is my house- OK? ¨

    Install  people  in your premises   with an open invitation to attend any discussions they feel like.And  ¨help¨ you.

    Not a criticism. Probably a good thing if you´re a potential passenger. Mostly.


    The Secretary of Transportation has the authority to ground the planes until the issue has been identified and corrected.

    Trump tweeted the following:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-tweets-airplanes-becoming-far-too-complex-following-ethiopian-airlines-n982146

    Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are....

    ....needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!


    Because he saw "The Great Waldo Pepper" once and it stuck in his head how a pilot should be.


    Yeah ... Trump has this issue from time to time.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/05/trump-wants-godda...


    What's going on is this issue is running into his ego about running his own airline that failed. Nothing more. When the Boeing CEO golfs with him, and takes him seriously, it strokes his ego as being a stable genius about everything. Likewise, Trump would flip on the Boeing CEO if the guy made him look bad, and would do so in a New York minute.


    Leakers tell all on Trump @ WashingtonPost.com:

    Trump disparaged Boeing 737s in private before grounding the plane after deadly crash

    The president, who equivocated over what to do since the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy, opined that Boeing’s most popular model paled in comparison to his own personal jet, a 757.

    As President Trump consulted with administration officials Wednesday over whether Boeing’s 737 Max jetliners should be grounded after a crash killed more than 150 passengers in Ethiopia over the weekend, he shared his pointed opinion of the type of plane in question.

    In his words, it “sucked.”

    The president said Boeing 737s paled in comparison to the Boeing 757, known as Trump Force One, which he owns as a personal jet, according to White House and transportation officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. He questioned why Boeing would keep building the model and opined that he never would have bought a 737 for the Trump Shuttle, the small airline he briefly ran three decades ago that relied on 727s before going bankrupt, the officials said.

    Later in the day, Trump agreed with his aides that the Federal Aviation Administration, as the industry regulator, should formally announce the decision to ground the 737 Max planes, according to two White House officials. But when reporters were brought into the White House for a previously scheduled immigration event, he scrapped the plan.

    “We’re going to be issuing an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 Max 8 and the 737 Max 9 and the planes associated with that line,” Trump announced, catching some industry officials by surprise.

    The chaotic scene capped a harried three-day period in which the United States lagged almost every other major country [....]

    Trump added to the confusion Wednesday by suggesting that the decision to ground the plane was “psychologically” important but was neither urgent nor conclusive.

    “We didn’t have to make this decision today. We could have delayed it,” he said Wednesday. “We maybe didn’t have to make it at all. But I felt it was important both psychologically and in a lot of other ways.”

    The equivocation reflected an administration that was reluctant to take the step of imposing a nationwide suspension initially opposed by Boeing, the country’s second-largest federal contractor.

    Trump was inclined to announce a grounding on Tuesday, but he received pushback from the FAA, which had not yet reached a decision, according to officials familiar with the deliberations. But Trump also equivocated himself, telling advisers that grounding planes would cause panic and could hurt the stock market, according to two people who spoke to him [....]



    Ethiopia sent the black boxes to the EU, in France and possibly Germany, not the US NTSB as the Trump administration requested.


    The United States used to be the gold standard for airline safety. The country is no longer trusted. The Boeing Max 8 should have been shut down in the United States first. We knew there was a problem.


    Yes. No doubt about it. 

    This on the original Max software fix approved by FAA-

     NYT article today "To compensate for the engine repositioning, Boeing added MCAS to replicate the handling characteristics of earlier 737 models...”.  

    Comment from reader:

    No....this plane is aerodynamically unstable as designed and MCAS is a bandaid meant to mitigate that fact.  Boeing was too cheap to design a plane from scratch and so slapped these larger engines on an old design and fudged software to make it “ safe” to fly.  Sorry, but this airframe was NOT designed to handle these engines, hence the tendency to pitch up.


    There is great irony in that he ran to "MAGA" exactly as to this kind of thing, no? Political opponents should rub that in. On second thought, I imagine some campaign ads along those lines are being created already this evening....


    It get$ worse.

    "As the pilots of the doomed Boeing jets in Ethiopia and Indonesia fought to control their planes, they lacked two notable safety features in their cockpits.

    One reason: Boeing charged extra for them....

    Sometimes these optional features involve aesthetics or comfort, like premium seating, fancy lighting or extra bathrooms. But other features involve communication, navigation or safety systems, and are more fundamental to the plane’s operations.

    Many airlines, especially low-cost carriers....opted not to buy them — and regulators don’t require them.... One of the optional upgrades, the angle of attack indicator, displays the readings of the two sensors. The other, called a disagree light, is activated if those sensors are at odds with one another...."   NYT

    Another "option" is a backup fire extinguisher in the cargo hold, an illegal configuration in some nations like Japan, but OK with Boeing ang Boeings shills at the FAA.

    We are not talking about charging extra for checked bags.

    This is American business, money and profits over safety, and a government captured by those it is supposed to regulate. Deregulating is not the answer.


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