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

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

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Old Jun 17, 19, 6:57 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
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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 19 August 2019.

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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.

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.

Currently, AA has removed the 737 MAX 8 aircraft from scheduling through 19 August 2019. The FAA must clear the MAX before it can fly again. AA has 24 MAX 8s grounded and has canceled 115 daily flights as a result. 30 April 2019

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Old Mar 12, 19, 4:06 am
  #196  
 
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Originally Posted by justinbrett View Post
But they could also put out a directive to turn the offending systems off with other performance restrictions/guidance until such time as the problem can be completely fixed.
The problem is, the suspected offending system is something they had to put in place because of the changes they made to the Max model. My understanding (and other can correct me if I'm wrong) is the new engines had to be further forward than previous 737 models, shifting the center of gravity on the plane. The system they developed is meant to adjust for those changes, in order to allow the plane to keep the same type rating as other 737s; this way pilots can operate either model without having to be certified on the newer model. Eliminating the system (turning it off) would alter the characteristics of the plane substantially that the FAA would need to reclassify it as a new type, and pilots would need to be certified on the 737 Max separately from their certification to operate the 737.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 4:40 am
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer View Post
The problem is, the suspected offending system is something they had to put in place because of the changes they made to the Max model. My understanding (and other can correct me if I'm wrong) is the new engines had to be further forward than previous 737 models, shifting the center of gravity on the plane. The system they developed is meant to adjust for those changes, in order to allow the plane to keep the same type rating as other 737s; this way pilots can operate either model without having to be certified on the newer model. Eliminating the system (turning it off) would alter the characteristics of the plane substantially that the FAA would need to reclassify it as a new type, and pilots would need to be certified on the 737 Max separately from their certification to operate the 737.
My understanding of the system is that is a failsafe. The COG changes for every flight depending on the load, you don't need a system to account for that. The system is designed to auto-correct the angle of attack if put in a stall position. As it turns out, it may have made the problem worse as the pilots may have overcorrected once the aircraft started moving itself.

If this is indeed the cause, there is still some pilot error involved for putting the aircraft into a stall position. I'm also unaware that while the failsafe might be a good idea, it is not essential for flying (indeed Boeing have said it may be turned off inflight, but training on how to do this wasn't included in the max conversion).
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Old Mar 12, 19, 5:11 am
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Originally Posted by IADCAflyer View Post
Setting aside the blatant political implications in your post (which aren't allowed outside OMNI/PR), please do take note that neither the Canadian aviation authority nor the European aviation authority have announced any groundings at this time....
As someone who lives in China and has flown on Shanghai Airlines 737 MAX more than a few times...I'm quite happy that the CAAC has decided to ban this aircraft. I don't care if it is political or not, I think it's better to be cautious than to just let it ride. I imagine that public pressure will eventually cause the FAA to do what CAAC has done. Hopefully these aircraft remain grounded for some time as they are outfitted in an extremely uncomfortable way by FM with terribly thin seats and tiny toilets. From the comments on the AA forum I gather other carriers around the globe have chosen to outfit the MAX in a passenger unfriendly way as well.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 6:28 am
  #199  
 
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Originally Posted by justinbrett View Post
They have the black boxes now. I would think Boeing will have a pretty good grasp of the situation in 48-72 hours. If they have doubts they'll ground the fleet. But they could also put out a directive to turn the offending systems off with other performance restrictions/guidance until such time as the problem can be completely fixed.

From my armchair POV Boeing and the FAA are responding as they should. As stated above none of the major Western aviation authorities have grounded the aircraft. There's way too much media and speculation in this story and not enough fact.

Certainly, if evidence is found on the black boxes to support a grounding, I would expect that to occur.
From my POV, there's really no evidence either way. That is to say, there's no evidence that the 737 MAX should be grounded, but there's no evidence either that the 737 MAX should not be grounded in light of the fact that there has now been 2 fatal accidents within months of each other, both at the same stage of the flight.

So right now, I would say everyone is pretty much operating on speculation (and probably to some extent politics). Only time will tell whether grounding or not grounding the 737 MAX is the right decision.

Personally, I will be avoiding the 737 MAX for now (even if it were a comfortable plane), but I understand as well those who have decided they will continue flying the plane.

EDIT: Not sure what your definition of "major Western" is, but it appears Australia has now banned the 737 MAX, although the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority does admit they are doing so while awaiting more information to assess the safety risks.

Last edited by flyingeph12; Mar 12, 19 at 6:37 am
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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:28 am
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Looks like AA is playing it safe. I received an automatic rebooking notice for a flight I have scheduled on on a 738, switching metal to a 321. Heard from another pax on a different flight (same metal, same day, same destination, different origin) that it also happened to them.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:31 am
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Originally Posted by justinbrett View Post
If this is indeed the cause, there is still some pilot error involved for putting the aircraft into a stall position. I'm also unaware that while the failsafe might be a good idea, it is not essential for flying (indeed Boeing have said it may be turned off inflight, but training on how to do this wasn't included in the max conversion).
At least in the case of the Lion Air crash, the current theory is that the angle of attack sensor was giving an erroneous signal and the plane was not in fact at risk of stalling, but MCAS was pushing the nose down anyway due to the bad sensor reading.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:31 am
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Yeah, I just received an automatic rebooking...

Originally booked on AA2216 PDX-DFW next Friday... Rebooked via LAX/Eagles Nest. Ugh.

Better than safe than sorry I suppose.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:34 am
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Originally Posted by birddogmax View Post
Looks like AA is playing it safe. I received an automatic rebooking notice for a flight I have scheduled on on a 738, switching metal to a 321. Heard from another pax on a different flight (same metal, same day, same destination, different origin) that it also happened to them.
Originally Posted by BOSishome View Post
Yeah, I just received an automatic rebooking...

Originally booked on AA2216 PDX-DFW next Friday... Rebooked via LAX/Eagles Nest. Ugh.

Better than safe than sorry I suppose.
Those are the Oasis conversion planes that are out of service, nothing to do with the current issue.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:36 am
  #204  
 
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For all the many faults humans have, there are times when it would be better to have, exclusively, a human at the controls. Something to think about.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:39 am
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Originally Posted by justinbrett View Post
My understanding of the system is that is a failsafe. The COG changes for every flight depending on the load, you don't need a system to account for that. The system is designed to auto-correct the angle of attack if put in a stall position. As it turns out, it may have made the problem worse as the pilots may have overcorrected once the aircraft started moving itself.
And my understanding is more in line with Lux Flyer. That the plane would handle quite differently under certain flight conditions than a 737NG (primarily related to the size/placement/shape of the MAX engines, whose housings apparently generate incremental lift at high angles of attack, which would push the nose up more and eventually result in a stall), and in order to not require pilots to get new certifcation on this new type, they came up with the system to compensate and make the aircraft behave more similarly to a NG.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:41 am
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UK has now joined the list of those grounding the 737 MAX / removing flyover rights

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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:41 am
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AA has around 24 MAX aircraft in the fleet from memory (but a larger number on order) - could they effectively remove this number of aircraft in one go from the current schedule with minimal disruption?
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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:47 am
  #208  
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That depends on what you mean by minimal. Every (sanely managed) carrier has spares. They could park 24 Maxs tomorrow and cover those routes with spares from among the mainline fleet of ~940 non-MAX aircraft. They could cut scheduled flights (say, effective 4/1) to build back the available spares to a normal level. AA had to ground 80 MD-80s immediately back in 2008 to inspect wiring bundles. Post-merger the fleet's a lot bigger today.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:52 am
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Training. Training. Training.

But that costs money.

And seats must sell for slightly more than zero.

Hence... tragedy.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 8:07 am
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Do we know what routes have the MAX on them for AA as of today or, alternatively, how the aircraft is displayed when looking at flights on aa.com? Is it 737 800 or 737 MAX or something else on aa.com? I've got a flight and am curious more than nervous.
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