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Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes and effects on AA 737 MAX 8s (NOT reaccommodation)

Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes and effects on AA 737 MAX 8s (NOT reaccommodation)

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This thread is dedicated to the effect on AA from the October 29, 2018 and March 10, 2019 crashes if two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in Indonesia and Ethiopia, respectively.

To discuss reaccommodation by AA subsequent to the grounding of all Boeing MAX 8s and 9s by the US Federal Aviation Administration on 13 March 2019, please refer to 737 MAX grounded 13 Mar 2019. What to do if you were supposed to fly on one?


13 March 2019: All US airline Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft are grounded by US Federal Aviation Administration emergency order. AA has removed all 737 MAX 8 from scheduling through...
“Based on the latest guidance, the airline anticipates that the resumption of scheduled commercial service on American’s fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will occur Aug. 18, 2020.”14 Feb 2020

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The thread regarding the 10 March 2019 Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 737 MAX 8 crash out of Adis Ababa is Ethiopian Airlines: Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes on way to Kenya [ET302 ADD-NBO 10MAR19]. Link.

The thread regarding the 29 October 2018 Lion Air JT 610 737 MAX 8 crash out of Jakarta is Lion Air flight from Jakarta has crashed
. Link.

The best narrative and information available is probably the Aviation Herald’s Crash: Lion B38M near Jakarta on Oct 29th 2018, aircraft lost height and crashed into Java Sea, wrong AoA data, by Simon Hradecky, created Friday, Oct 25th 2019 13:35Z, last updated Friday, Oct 25th 2019 16:05Z. Link.

American Airlines ordered 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8 (7M8) with options for 60 more. The first 737 MAX -8 flew at the assembly facility in Renton, WAshington, USA on 29 Jan 2016. Deliveries to AA commenced in late in 2017, with four delivered in 2017,16 more during 2018, with 20 more to be delivered during 2019. IATA code B38M; AA code "7M8".

Link to the story of how 737 MAX’ birth in the DFW Admirals Club and the forces that shaped it.

29 October 2018: Indonesian carrier Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29 crashed into the sea soon after takeoff with the loss of all aboard, apparently due to the erroneous data from a faulty Angle of Attack sensor, which caused the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) to assume the plane was about to stall, which activated the downward force on the Stabilizer Trim to get the nose down. Link to BBC article.

Link to Aviation Herald discussion.

Link to FlyerTalk airline forum thread regarding this incident.

“Instead of switching off the Stabilizer Trim the pilots appear to have battled the system.” Link

This aircraft had been written up as having a faulty AOA indicator for the previous three flights it had taken. It is unclear if Lion Air had performed adequate maintenance procedures after the reports or withdraw the aircraft from service until the fault could be completely cleared.

7 November 2018: The US Federal Aviation Administration / FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD note) covering the AOA within a few days, giving US airlines 30 days to comply with the AD.

7 November 2018: Boeing issued revised operating instructions covering the revised MCAS used in the MAX 8, updating the MAX operations manual. See the manual update and the switches referenced in this post.

See “What is the Boeing 737 MAX Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System?”, updated November 17 to explain the MCAS and electric trim override operation, here: link.

10 March 10, 2019: An Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 departing Addis Ababa to Nairobi turned back to the airport soon after takeoff, but crashed with the loss of all aboard.

Link to BBC article.

Link to Aviation Herald discussion.

Link to FlyerTalk airline forum thread regarding this incident.

10 March 10, 2019: The US National Transportation Board / NTSB has dispatched an investigation team, as have Boeing, to Addis Ababa to assist the Ethiopian investigators in determining the cause(s) of the crash. The “black boxes” (cockpit voice and the flight data recorder have been recovered.

A revised MCAS is in the works, and the FAA is expected to issue an AD note when the MCAS update is done. This is expected to occur in May, 2019.

11 March 2019: China grounded its 737 MAX 8 (not MAX 9) fleet.

11 March 2019: the US FAA stated it would not ground US (AA, AS, UA, WN) 737 MAX aircraft at this time.

Link to FAA Airworthiness Notification for USA registered B38M aircraft PDF.

Link to Wall Street Journal article.

11 March 2019: AA APFA Flight Attendant union spokesperson asked AA to ground the MAX 8s. (TPG)

11 March 2019: AA pilots through their APA union have requested passengers allow the investigators do their work and refrain from jumping to conclusions. “We caution against speculation about what may have caused this tragic accident,” the Air Line Pilots Association said in a statement. (TPG)

12 March 2019: The nation members of the European Union, the United Kingdom and several other nations ban their airlines’ operation, and other airlines’ overflight or flights, of the B38M aircraft. Link to New York Times article.

12 March 2019: Other USA airlines operating 737 MAX aircraft (of all types) are United (UA), Southwest (WN). AS has ordered the MAX 9, but deliveries have not yet been made.

Link to The Points Guy “how to tell if you’re flying a 737 MAX 8” article

13 March 2019: American Airlines pilots’ union APA issues statement in support of the AA B38M: “The AA APA spokesman says AA's MAX 8s have additional indicators on the planes, which others do not have. He says they're the only ones equipped with TWO AOA displays - one for each pilot. This, I guess, is why AA feels they can keep flying the MAX 8. The spokesman said he felt UA and SW (WN) were getting these added to their MAX planes. “ - Econometrics

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2019/03/1...ilot-says.html

13 March 2019: Canada grounds Canadian B38M aircraft. The US is the sole remaining nation to allow operation of the 737 MAX 8. Link to USA Today article.

13 March 2019: US Federal Aviation Administration issues emergency order for immediate grounding all USA airline operated Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft, effectively immediately. Link NYT story.

13 March 2019: American Airlines issues announcement of 7M8 grounding. Link to PDF. According to AA:

On average, American operates 85 flights per day on the MAX 8, out of 6,700 departures throughout the American Airlines system. Our operations center is working to re-route aircraft throughout the system to cover as much of our schedule as we can.
13 March 2019: AA issues policy allowing those scheduled for 7M8 flights through April 4 to refund or change without fees for cancellations, or to make free changes to their flight plans. See the thread linked to at the top of this Wiki for a link.

14 March 2019: It is announced the French BEA will retrieve the data from the Ethiopian Cockpit Voice Recorder and Flight Data Recorder.

Link to Eight things you might not know about black boxes
By Cristen Tilley, ABC Australia

15 March 2019: BBC article states FAA says the MAX will not be cleared for flight at least until May. Link to story.

15 March 2019: On the other hand, CNBC states Boeing will have the anti-stall software update for the MAX ready in ten days, and that the FAA is expected to sign off on the modification on March 25, 2019.

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Old Oct 30, 19, 12:16 am
  #691  
 
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Originally Posted by nmpls View Post
Grounded plane hasn't crashed. Amazing success.
While I agree that pilot training re:hand flying could be better, it is also important to design a plane that won't crash twice in quick succession with average pilots.
These were well below average pilots. The PIC had the flu and was called in as a replacement at 4 am. The FO had repeatedly failed checkrides because, among other things, he couldn't find checklists, and on the fateful flight he...wait for it...couldn't find the checklist. The investigation found that had he actually run the full checklist, everyone would have been safe. I believe that the MAX 8 in its previous configuration wouldn't have crashed twice in quick succession with average pilots - it crashed (at least one of the times) with underqualified pilots. In the new configuration it will likely be one of the safest airliners in the sky.
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Old Oct 30, 19, 12:29 am
  #692  
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Originally Posted by dblumenhoff View Post
These were well below average pilots. The PIC had the flu and was called in as a replacement at 4 am. The FO had repeatedly failed checkrides because, among other things, he couldn't find checklists, and on the fateful flight he...wait for it...couldn't find the checklist. The investigation found that had he actually run the full checklist, everyone would have been safe. I believe that the MAX 8 in its previous configuration wouldn't have crashed twice in quick succession with average pilots - it crashed (at least one of the times) with underqualified pilots. In the new configuration it will likely be one of the safest airliners in the sky.
Which investigation was this?
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Old Oct 30, 19, 12:36 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Which investigation was this?
The Lion Air crash investigation.
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Old Oct 30, 19, 12:42 am
  #694  
 
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Originally Posted by AAdamE View Post
MCAS was not in the flight manual. 350+ people died because of negligence, lets not waste time normalizing that and blaming pilots, when it's clear Boeing dropped the ball, and deliberately tried to cover it up. It's not a pilots job to overcome that.
the NTSC report is out and identified 9 causes, including MCAS, a faulty sensor, inadequate maintenance, poor pilot training, failure to heed lessons from previous incidents, pilot error, errors by lion air management, etc etc

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50177788

http://knkt.dephub.go.id/knkt/ntsc_a...l%20Report.pdf
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Old Oct 30, 19, 5:26 pm
  #695  
 
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Originally Posted by rbAA View Post
When they stop falling out of the sky.
They didn't just fall; they nosed downwards and accelerated into the ground.

Originally Posted by UKtravelbear View Post
And don't assume that just because the FAA re-certifies it that the rest of the world will accept that and allow it to fly in their airspace

FAA basically trashed it's international reputation with other regulators over the MAX and it will take a heck of a long time to get it back.
So true. We can talk about how everything is safer and better regulated here in the US, but have we forgotten that the FAA allowed Boeing to do their own checks.
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Old Oct 30, 19, 7:28 pm
  #696  
 
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Originally Posted by dblumenhoff View Post
These were well below average pilots. The PIC had the flu and was called in as a replacement at 4 am. The FO had repeatedly failed checkrides because, among other things, he couldn't find checklists, and on the fateful flight he...wait for it...couldn't find the checklist. The investigation found that had he actually run the full checklist, everyone would have been safe. I believe that the MAX 8 in its previous configuration wouldn't have crashed twice in quick succession with average pilots - it crashed (at least one of the times) with underqualified pilots. In the new configuration it will likely be one of the safest airliners in the sky.
So, in order for this to have not been a catastrophe, the FO would have had to find and run a full checklist in about 5 seconds? Sounds like a design flaw to me...
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Old Oct 31, 19, 9:58 am
  #697  
 
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
So, in order for this to have not been a catastrophe, the FO would have had to find and run a full checklist in about 5 seconds? Sounds like a design flaw to me...
Runaway Trim is initially a MEMORY ITEM with essentially three items that can be performed instantaneously. After these items are done, only then do you refer to a checklist.

AUTOPILOT - OFF
AUTO THROTTLE - OFF
STAB TRIM CUTOUT SWITCH(s) - CUTOUT

It is most definitely not a design flaw. Nearly every transport category aircraft has some version of RUNAWAY TRIM/TRIM CUTOUT procedure.

Unfortunately, in both crashes the flight crews didn’t properly follow this procedure.

Last edited by clubord; Oct 31, 19 at 10:04 am
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Old Oct 31, 19, 10:04 am
  #698  
 
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Originally Posted by clubord View Post
Runaway Trim is initially a MEMORY ITEM with essentially three items that can be performed instantaneously. After these items are done, only then do you refer to a checklist.

AUTOPILOT - OFF
AUTO THROTTLE - OFF
STAB TRIM CUTOUT SWITCH(s) - CUTOUT

It is most definitely not a design flaw. Nearly every transport category aircraft has some version of RUNAWAY TRIM/TRIM CUTOUT procedure.
That's great, but at the end of the day, without an MCAS system neither aircraft that did would have crashed as neither event would have occurred. Design flaw.
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Old Oct 31, 19, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
So, in order for this to have not been a catastrophe, the FO would have had to find and run a full checklist in about 5 seconds? Sounds like a design flaw to me...
Where are you getting 5 seconds from?
https://www.businessinsider.com/lion-air-crash-timeline-boeing-737-max-disaster-killed-189-2019-10
The first signs of trouble are at 6:20, first MCAS activation is at 6:25 am, and the plane crashes at 6:31. Plenty of time to run a checklist.

Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
That's great, but at the end of the day, without an MCAS system neither aircraft that did would have crashed as neither event would have occurred. Design flaw.
No one is trying to argue that Boeing is completely blameless here. It was a really poor design to have a single point of failure for the MCAS system by having it linked to only one AoA sensor. However, on the question of "would you be willing to fly a 737 MAX" when recertified, my answer is that with a mainline US carrier with qualified pilots, I would have flown it even without the repair. MCAS has activated multiple times before on US flights, and it doesn't make the news because pilots knew what to do.
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Old Oct 31, 19, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by dblumenhoff View Post
Where are you getting 5 seconds from?
https://www.businessinsider.com/lion-air-crash-timeline-boeing-737-max-disaster-killed-189-2019-10
The first signs of trouble are at 6:20, first MCAS activation is at 6:25 am, and the plane crashes at 6:31. Plenty of time to run a checklist.



No one is trying to argue that Boeing is completely blameless here. It was a really poor design to have a single point of failure for the MCAS system by having it linked to only one AoA sensor. However, on the question of "would you be willing to fly a 737 MAX" when recertified, my answer is that with a mainline US carrier with qualified pilots, I would have flown it even without the repair. MCAS has activated multiple times before on US flights, and it doesn't make the news because pilots knew what to do.
I'm no pilot or expert here (and apologies for being pedantic), but I'm willing to bet that with a plane that big there was a point of no return somewhere between 6:25am and 6:31am
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Old Oct 31, 19, 10:52 am
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Originally Posted by dblumenhoff View Post
Where are you getting 5 seconds from?
The interval between repeated MCAS activations.

Originally Posted by dblumenhoff View Post
However, on the question of "would you be willing to fly a 737 MAX" when recertified, my answer is that with a mainline US carrier with qualified pilots, I would have flown it even without the repair. MCAS has activated multiple times before on US flights, and it doesn't make the news because pilots knew what to do.
Personally, I am of the opinion that any pilot of any experience level could make a mistake. I would prefer it if the aircraft they were flying were designed in such a manner that if a pilot takes a few extra seconds to identify and correct a problem, the aircraft does not fly itself into the ground.
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Old Oct 31, 19, 10:54 am
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Originally Posted by bscooter26 View Post
I'm no pilot or expert here (and apologies for being pedantic), but I'm willing to bet that with a plane that big there was a point of no return somewhere between 6:25am and 6:31am
Based on my read, the last time the plane descends for good it is at 6:31:31 and it crashes at 6:31:53. I'm not a pilot either, but it seems as long as they are more or less maintaining altitude, there is a possibility of recovery if you know what to do. It seems to me the point of no return is 6:31:31.
(I also acknowledge there is a typo in the article and shows this happening at 6:33:31, after the plane has crashed)
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Old Oct 31, 19, 5:05 pm
  #703  
 
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
The interval between repeated MCAS activations.
There is nothing to stop them from manually trimming the plane even during an MCAS activation, so the time between is not the only time they could have taken action. They had either 6 or 11 minutes to identify and solve the problem depending on where you count from. The 5 seconds is a red herring.

Personally, I am of the opinion that any pilot of any experience level could make a mistake. I would prefer it if the aircraft they were flying were designed in such a manner that if a pilot takes a few extra seconds to identify and correct a problem, the aircraft does not fly itself into the ground.
Yes, pilots make mistakes. That's why airplanes have checklists - they've saved countless lives. An engine failure is also potentially life-threatening, and yet they happen all the time and people are safe, because pilots use their checklists and either restart the engine or land the plane. And I'm not saying that Boeing is innocent here - had they been more transparent about this issue, pilots could have practiced this in a simulator just like they practice engine failures and they would more quickly recognize it as a very specific issue rather than running a checklist about runaway trim more generally. All I'm saying is:
1) An ATP holding pilot who passed all checkrides and who was healthy and on FAA minimum rest could have recovered
2) Once the problem was identified, pilots could recognize the issue and respond appropriately (even the flu and whatever situation) and the plane would be plenty safe given that
3) Once they make these repairs, it will likely not have any false activations anyway
4) Even if none of the above were the case, my back of the hand calculation suggests that if the MAX kept up its existing safety record up until the point of the crash, it is STILL SAFER THAN DRIVING. So if you are saying you would never fly a MAX, you shouldn't be getting in any cars either.
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Old Oct 31, 19, 7:11 pm
  #704  
 
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
That's great, but at the end of the day, without an MCAS system neither aircraft that did would have crashed as neither event would have occurred. Design flaw.
Pilots not properly following procedures is definitely not a design flaw.
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Old Oct 31, 19, 7:20 pm
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Originally Posted by clubord View Post
Pilots not properly following procedures is definitely not a design flaw.
It is when the need for the response is because of a faulty system.
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