As a token of appreciation for the inevitable bail out they be getting at some stage perhaps they will donate a Max for use as Airforce One.
The rest of them can be used to shelter the homeless ( on the ground).
Boeing has resumed production of the 737 Max, its passenger plane with software so flawed that its certification was yanked after being found to have caused two fatal accidents. A brief statement from the firm said “more than a dozen initiatives focused on enhancing workplace safety and product quality” are now in place at …
To show how "safe" they are, a senior Boeing exec must fly on a scheduled passenger plane running the exact same versions with the pilots having the same training as other global airlines.
I think this is the one of the major ways for Boeing to dig themselves out of this mess.
If their senior management won't get on them, they're not safe.
It wouldn't matter if there was a "defeat switch". The airframe is fundamentally unbalanced, and the inappropriate engine choice just makes the situation worse! There is no way to "fix" this aircraft except by a complete re-design from the ground up.
It astonishes me that a company like Boeing could be so misguided as to believe that software could correct basic aerodynamic flaws.....
"...make the plane easy and safe to build."
There seems to be a problem with the thinking of the top brass at Boeing. They want to make the 737 Max "easy and safe to build." but no bloody mention of "safe to fly."
See, it's always the bottom line with this bunch of chancers, keep the bonuses rolling in and to hell with the safety of their passengers and crew.
Do they have corporate manslaughter on the statute books in the US?
for the inevitable bail out they be getting at some stage
They won't be getting a bailout any time soon, as they have had an injection of $25B through private investment and debt raising in April.
If that money runs out within 24 months they will be so debt-laden I doubt they would be recoverable as a going concern at all unless the government nationalises them. They would probably go into bankruptcy and be split up and sold off as multiple independent business units, say military aircraft to LM or another large - solvent - defense contractor.
Our industry will come back, but it will take some years to return to what it was just two months ago.
For Boeing I hope they will not return to what they were two months ago. Then they would rather pull the plug right now. And from what I've learnt from a far distance, they should not only enhance product quality but also and especially production quality including their corporate culture.
It's a little bit funny how things have changed. I have a mate who is a maintenance engineer for QANTAS. 20 years ago he loved Boeing and hated Airbus. If QANTAS had a problem with a Boeing plane, a fix would be on his desk within 24 hours (at the very latest, it was often less than 6 hours), and if needed they would send Boeing staff there to help out. No questions asked. Airbus would never send anyone out and the turn around time was never less than a few days.
Just 20 years later, it's the complete opposite. He'll happily take Airbus aircraft over Boeings. Especially the newer Boeings.
Funny, how quickly higher ups in a firm forget what made them so popular in the first place.
There seems to be a widespread opinion that this change all goes back to the takeover of McDonnell Douglas by Boeing. The engineering-led culture of Boeing was replaced with MDD's corporate culture and the move of Boeing HQ to Chicago further separated the engineers from the people making the decisions.
Have Boeing received FAA clearance in order to resume production? Have they fixed the 400 planes they have waiting on delivery? Have they fixed all the other grounded 737MAX aircraft and upgraded them?
Once you stop production on such a large and complex product, manufacturing skills quickly decline. There has to be a real risk to Boeing that if the line is shut down long enough it may never restart. Even the most automated production process has a lot of critical human intervention.
Quite. It is a shame that such a superb aircraft as the 737 should be subject to somewhat shoddy software development in its next incarnation. I was told by an aerospace engineer at Airbus that it was down to Boeing using cheap computers that, while ok with the 737, are just underpowered for the requirements of the MAX. Dunno if that is true or not.
No it's not. The MAX is a lengthened 737 with new, "enhanced efficiency" engines fitted with a bizarre kludge so bad that the whole airframe becomes unstable in anything other than straight, level flight in calm air. The geniuses at Boeing decided to try to overcome the instability issues by manipulating the operation of the flight control surfaces by software - often cutting the pilots out of the loop altogether. The upshot was that the software often couldn't cope with situations that happen in real flight conditions (such as the momentary loss of a sensor signal or two) and so the doomed aircraft would do very bizarre, self-destructive things.....
Umm... because they're desparate to restart production before the product implodes completely?
Boeing haven't openly proclaimed there've been "yes" responses to all those questions. Had all answers been "yes" I'd expect a very public, very excited announcement to that effect.
Therefore, my money's on the answers to all being firmly "no".
They do, however need clearance to fly the plane commercially
Boeing needs approval from aviation regulators from other countries and not just the FAA.
Because of the MAX fiasco, the FAA has lost all "credibility". All the world aviation regulators, from Japan, China, EU, AU & NZ, Russia, etc. now have a "say" in it as the FAA "rubber stamp" is no longer worth any currency.
"Boeing don't need FAA clearance to build the planes. They do, however need clearance to fly the plane commercially - this is something that I believe they are unlikely to get in the near term."
Sure, you can build whatever you want, but WHY would they build aircrafts that are:
2- unlikely to fly soon
My guess would be that Boeing has a bunch of customers with contracts signed many years ago that are obligated to either take the aircraft -- certified or not -- or pay a substantial contract cancellation payment.
I mean, why, other than locked in prior bad luck/judgment, would anyone buy an aircraft from Boeing or anybody else given the current air travel market? I should think that there will shortly be hordes of slightly used aircraft available for lease or purchase at very attractive prices.
So ... perhaps one more year of whopping bonuses for Boeing management ... then ...
Airlines pay a deposit when they order, but they have a loan arrangment to cover the total cost of the plane when they receive it. So taking possession of the airplane is cash-flow positive - they get their deposit back, basically. Which for certain airlines is a very important consideration...
My guess would be that Boeing has a bunch of customers with contracts signed many years ago that are obligated to either take the aircraft -- certified or not -- or pay a substantial contract cancellation payment.
Bad guess. They have long-running contracts with customers for airworthy 737 MAX aircraft. If an aircraft is not certified, it is not airworthy, therefore Boeing would be in breach of their supply contract.
There was an article in the Seattle Times (Boeing's "home town" newspaper, therefore they have a local interest in Boeing journalism) about large cancellations of 737 MAXs vs Airbus aircraft (A320's) from the same airline (i.e. airline A had both 737 MAX and A320 orders, and they cancelled or reduced their MAX orders but leaving A320 ones untouched) because it was easier for airlines to get out of their purchase contracts weith Boeing because they could cite Boeing for non-compliance, where they had no such get-out with Airbus-ordered.
Ah, found the article, Boeing takes new blow with Avolon scrapping $3.8 billion 737 MAX order and this is the relevant quote:
“I do expect this to be the start of loads of deferrals and cancellations. I suspect that the Max is easier to cancel, and get back your deposit, as its been grounded for almost 13 months now,” said Nick Cunningham, an analyst at Agency Partners in London.
"Some of our customers are reporting that reservations are outpacing cancellations on their flights for the first time since the pandemic started."
The same effect would be produced when most reservations in the system had been cancelled, as fewer bookings with the potential to be cancelled would remain.
In such circumstances an actual drop in the number of reservations could still meet the stated criteria.
Putting the 737 Max back into service could cause another massive drop in bookings for the airlines that use it, particularly now that Covid-19 has got people used to not flying. I certainly wouldn't take the risk myself, until they've been flying for a couple of years without accidents. And I presume they have to get approval from each country they fly over, and find pilots who're prepared to fly them. I think the most sensible thing to do would be to rebuild them all as an earlier model of 737; and the second-best would be to use them for cargo only, between coastal airports and flying only over the sea.
Ryanair had apparently agreed to buy several of the 737 Max. It will be interesting to see if they fly them and possibly slightly terrifying to think that the alternatives will be extending the life of the current 737 fleet, some of those aircraft are looking "tired" these days, or taking a flight on a Max.
No no no, they're not 737-MAX's, they're 737-8200's - a completely different beast unrelated to the MAX so nobody needs to get worried about getting on one of Ryanair's examples.
(It's actually the specific model number of the high-density -8 version of the MAX generation of 737's, but strangely was not being used by anyone in their paintwork until after they started falling out of the sky)
"Putting the 737 Max back into service could cause another massive drop in bookings for the airlines that use it, "
People have short memories, especially if they have even bigger memories to block them out with. I doubt that when air travel starts becoming relatively common-place again that most people will be thinking about the 737MAX. They'll just be glad of a little normality.
On the other hand, it'll take a while before numbers of flights ramp back up and the MAX is still grounded anyway. Maybe there'll be more than enough certified aircraft to cope, even without any of the 737MAX aircraft.
"... particularly now that Covid-19 has got people used to not flying."
I don't think so - most people regularly go months or years between flights. It won't have made any difference except to make people look forward to flying more (getting out of HMP UK looks very attractive).
“more than a dozen initiatives focused on enhancing workplace safety and product quality”
Honestly, I don't fucking care whether John Doe does´t cut his finger anymore during assembly.
in a goddamn fireball 'cause they cut the corners during type approval.
Is that so hard?
Sadly, for Boeing exec's, yes.
Those dozen+ initiatives are way cheaper than getting recertified as safe to fly. Thus they'll focus on what they have (apparently) done, definitely not on what they want to avoid at all costs. As a bonus they think it will sound good.
Combine with regulatory capture and a general loss of critical-thinking ability across the board, and I fear a lot of people will buy into this. Even those who really, really shouldn't.
Even if the FAA approve them (and hopefully it's a full type approval process and not just the same shtick as last time), Boing are going to have to do some serious work to convince the rest of the world that they are safe to fly. Then they are also going to have to convince the global public that they are safe. Much like cars and IT I suspect that the vast majority of the flying public have no real interest in the plane they'll be on, but if there's a plane people will be checking for, it's going to be this one. As an airline, at a basic level, it's some interesting sums to consider loss of bookings vs potential running cost savings.
Don't bet on it.
They're too big to financially fail, but one too many politically embarrasing situations and Boeing will start to lose those big contracts. Then they'll start losing money and cutting jobs (after all, they won't need the people who were working on those contracts anymore). They might get one or two bailouts, but no politician wants to be challanged on why they're spending so much money on an embarrasment of a company, and with less people working at Boeing there's less incentive for politicians "bringing jobs to their states". That's when the government will yank support and Boeing will go down hard.
The death Boeing dies will be a political one.
Airbus has a "Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility" in Mobile Alabama, where they produce A320 family planes since 2016.
I believe that Northrop Grumman has a big hand in the Boeing fighter programs, so they could probably take over Boeing Defense. But I agree, the US fighters are in a dire situation between obselescence and disfunction, both causeing increased costs and lower availability. They should probably look to replace their older F-16s with the Gripen.
If/when the 737 MAX takes to the air they are going to need to be insured. How will Lloyds, etc, assess them as a risk ?
It would have been far cheaper for Boeing to have done a proper redesign job and made it higher off the ground when the fitted the bigger engines. The few bob saved on retraining pilots just would not be noticed compared to the consequential loss from by cutting corners. This is what you get when you let bean counters rather than engineers make decisions.
not room for more undercarriage
Exactly: which is why it should have been redesigned, but that would have taken it out of spec as far as 737 pilots certification - so the pilots would have had to do some training. They were afraid that the training need would have reduces sales - so they pushed the engines forwards which made the plane unstable, so they came up with a software bodge to correct the instability.
Unstable: engines in front of the center of gravity, so more thrust pushes the airplane nose up.
Incorrect; power/thrust centerline is a minor issue (faced by all aircraft designs with low-slung engines), already dealt with by "Speed Trim System". MCAS was meant to combat an additional pitch-up tendency caused by lift generated by the engine nacelles at high angles of attack (especially at low speeds). CoG has nothing whatsoever to do with this; it is unlikely that CoG changed by very much vs the NG, and is extremely simple to compensate for during loading. Aircraft are also capable of flying with CoG in quite a wide range, and it changes throughout flight. Not unstable, unless you shove it to the edge of its flight envelope .
"it should have been redesigned, but that would have taken it out of spec as far as 737 pilots certification....They were afraid that the training need would have reduces sales"
You're not far wrong. Redesigning the landing gear and related parts (like wing storage) would have changed too much from the 737 Type Certificate, so the plane would have required all new FAA certification. The product, not the users. Training was also a concern, but independent of the TC. Airlines didn't want to pay for training, and Boeing offered to save that cost.
"so they pushed the engines forwards which made the plane unstable, so they came up with a software bodge to correct the instability. Unstable: engines in front of the center of gravity, so more thrust pushes the airplane nose up."
They did move the engines forwards, but that wasn't the problem. "Center of Thrust" is often not at the "Center of Lift." The problem was that 1) Boeing kept the same "pilot feel" to avoid retraining, 2) To maintain that same pilot experience, they added a feature (MCAS) to alter control behavior...and didn't tell pilots, 3) They used insufficient hardware for MCAS, 4) They botched the MCAS software, and 5) They made safety-critical alerts an optional feature for extra cost.
Pilots could be trained to fly the 737MAX without MCAS...just as they could be trained to fly the A320NEO.
If the 737MAX were a pizza, Boeing changed some ingredients. But then added Chrome Yellow so that customers wouldn't be put off by the color. And conned the regulator into letting them not mention it on the label.
In the spirit of the multitude of "is it..." websites, would someone please build isit737max.com, so you put in a flight number and it comes back with "YES, you might die" or "NO, you're probably alright". It can't be too difficult, seeing that sites like SeatGuru are already able to identify the plane type by flight number and present the seating configuration.
I for one am in no hurry to fly any route that uses 737MAX, and will be checking before booking in future.
When the planes started crashing, Ryanair announced that the substantial number they were buying (50?) would be part of their general fleet, rather than flying on specific routes. So the only way to be sure would be to line up at the gate and read the registration on the plane. Of course, you could always walk away from the gate. But Ryanair would still have your money by then, which is what they care most about.
Unless all Ryanair flights are marked as "MAYBE - do you feel lucky?", which rather defeats the point of the site, then the information isn't going to be all that helpful.
@Dave - yeah like the info you find via a Google search of "Ryanair" is all true.... Flew 48 times to/fro my home in Spain in 2019 plus several European business trips all on FR. Guess what? I am still under the illusion that I am alive. Why do I choose to fly FR? Because you only pay for the services you use, unlike every other airline that add "free hold baggage", "free reserved seating", "free hand baggage" etc to the price of your ticket. BTW, it is Ryanair, not RyanAir.
>Unless all Ryanair flights are marked as "MAYBE - do you feel lucky?",
Free(*) lottery ticket with every 737-MAX flight
* Free tickets with a £10 service charge, £3 convenience charge for printing your own lottery ticket and a £5 credit card fee for not charging your card,
"risk of dying"??? Ryanair has an excellent safety record.
Anyway - Ryanair has changed. I think Mr O'Leary realised that some of his policies were so extreme as to alienate passengers to the point that they would refuse to fly on his planes. And I still meet^W used to meet people who hold this position. I fly with them four to eight times a year, because they are the only option using my nearest airport and going where the rellies are. I've had reason to phone them a couple of times to get a name changed (cos I didn't make the booking) to match the passport - done without quibble and without charge, despite their Ts & Cs. And they no longer really enforce the cabin bag size rules. I have yet to see someone get pulled over, even when their backpack is clearly *way* outside the 55x40x20 limit. As long as it is "cabin-size", it's fine.
With world airlines losing lots of cash, it is unlikely that there will be any new orders for Boeing (or Airbus) before next year. Many airlines are likely to cancel their existing 737 Max 8 orders to recover their deposits as soon as they can do so without penalties. It would not surprise me if some of the current 400 parked 737 Max 8 aircraft never carry passengers.
Why build more ?
Further to Trump's suggestion of rebranding the MAX, I propose:*
737 MEX - Made in Mexico (a reflection of the post-truth world we now live in)
737 MIX - What happens to those onboard when it crashes (aka 'A Kenwood')
737 MOX - Public fooled again? (But not The Who - also not to be confused with Mixed OXide nuclear fuel unless it crashes in to an NPP)
737 MUX - Converted to air transport of swine, though all the pigs I've known have been very clean.
*I'm sticking to three letters and vowels - no Toad, Badger or Mole.
Readers here will be familary with the idea of a software workaround to cure a system design issue. Normally this is just a nuisance, it might irritate people when it doesn't work but it doesn't usually result in fireballs like it does when its applied to aircraft. The fundamental problem that the MAX had, the 'out of control trim' situation where the plane found itself unflyable with the cockpit crew unable to correct it, is something that's been lurking since the earliest models of the 737. It hasn't made headlines because the problem was understood and even documented in the manuals for early plane versions. Where the MAX screwed up was that by moving the engines they made a nuisance problem into a truly dangerous one and their drive to keep development timescales, costs and avoid re-certification meant that they applied a software workaround which 'should have worked'. (Many of El Reg's readers know exactly where that's going.) Anyway, since the MAX is designed to turn what was a short haul plane into a long distance capable aircraft with configurations designed to mimic cattle car traveling conditions -- the'MAX' refers to MAX profits -- the idea of spending any time on that plane doesn't appeal to me. There are alternatives.
"Readers here will be familary with the idea of a software workaround to cure a system design issue."
You mean like TCP retransmits to handle lost packets? Or automatic choke in a car? Sure.
"The fundamental problem that the MAX had, the 'out of control trim' situation where the plane found itself unflyable with the cockpit crew unable to correct it, is something that's been lurking since the earliest models of the 737."
The 737MAX "out of control trim" problem is MCAS. That feature is new with the MAX. The earliest 737s in 1967 did not have anything like MCAS. Previous generations of the 737 have had problems, like the rudder, but I don't know of a persistent runaway trim problem. Perhaps you will enlighten us.
if the Max is allowed to fly again its lower operating costs may be welcome.
I understand the bulk of those lower operating costs is lower fuel consumption, while fuel is quite cheap right now.
Of course that won't be the case in the long-term, but it seems like the already delivered 737MAX planes would be sufficient to handle the lower public demand for quite some time, if they were allowed to fly.
I guess Boeing is getting cheap enough loans that it will still be profitable to build jets now, and warehouse them for years until anybody wants one at anything like normal price.
"workplace safety" is the main concern, for sure. Not customer safety.
Personally I think both Airbus and Boeing should have pilot overridable anti-stall systems. (And in Boeing's case, non-automatic massive trim adjustment.)
The novelty of actually flying an aircraft not relying on faulty AOT sensors and other sh*t...
"I think both Airbus and Boeing should have pilot overridable anti-stall systems. (And in Boeing's case, non-automatic massive trim adjustment.)"
They do. Pilots can choose lower levels of automation. The Ethiopian pilots disabled (cutout) the automatic trim when they suspected a fault in the automation.*
"The novelty of actually flying an aircraft not relying on faulty AOT sensors and other sh*t..."
Novel to whom? Anyone with IFR, including all commercial pilots, are trained to fly "partial [intrument] panel". If it really goes to hell, they can just set Pitch (degree of nose-up) and Power (engine setting) and the aircraft will go pretty much straight ahead. This will hopefully give time to troubleshoot why the Angle of Attack sensor, speed sensor, windshield, etc, are unpleasant.
Take an exploration flight at your local flying school. You'll find there's an awful lot of common sense and an awful lot of Plan A/B/C and an awful lot of "that seems like a good idea, but here's what really happens and why." The details can be overwhelming, but I think you'll be much reassured that airplanes are pretty well designed and that pilots are well prepared to fly them.
*p15 of the Interim Report http://www.aib.gov.et/wp-content/uploads/2020/documents/accident/ET-302%20%20Interim%20Investigation%20%20Report%20March%209%202020.pdf
There are so many MAX carcases languishing unsold or belonging to airlines about to go bust, and such a long ramp back up to normality once covid is beaten, that one wonders where on earth a market might be found for yet more hulks with nowhere to store them.
A cynic might suggest that by "restarting production", Boeing is doing something quite different. Firstly, casting a bit of ground bait to restart the sales effort for all those existing carcasses in its car park. Secondly, avoiding lawsuits for all those component supply contracts it signed just before the virus hit.
But, dear Boeing lawyer, I am of course no such cynic (even if you did worm my ID out of Vulture Central's systems).
“Our industry will come back, but it will take some years to return to what it was just two months ago.” - particularly when you keep reducing staff due in part to your own self-inflicted quality control failures, and the FAA's inability to protect/ cover for your egregious failures resulting in the death of 100's.
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