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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
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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

NOTE: Thus Wikipost is locked. Please contact JDiver by PM, or use the report post to moderator button , to request changes or correct errors, etc.

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Old May 15, 19, 8:55 am
  #571  
 
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Today's press (NYT, WSJ, CNN) indicates AA pilots and the pilots union confronted Boeing, and that the pilots did not feel safe or adequately trained and informed about the Max8 after the first crash. Credit to the AA pilots for confronting Boeing. The AA pilots knew it was the MCAS system that caused Lion Air, and Boeing knew it. Before the Ethiopian crash, or they wouldn't have been in a confrontational meeting at DFW about the system. Again, before the second crash.

The return to the air will be very slow, given apparently the complexity of the fix, the deep questions about the lack of regulatory oversight in the accreditation, and the criminal investigations now underway of Boeing. The proverbial "what did you know, and when did you know it?" questions. The AA pilots were sufficiently concerned after the first crash. It makes me question the commercial reassurances by AA prior to the grounding frankly that "our pilots are well trained and we are fully confident in the aircraft's safety." From the audio of the AA/Boeing meeting at DFW, it sounds like the pilots were anything but reassured.
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Old May 15, 19, 11:17 am
  #572  
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The BBC is carrying this.

Pilots 'raised Boeing safety fears' months before Ethiopia crash

In a closed door meeting with Boeing executives last November, which was secretly recorded, American Airlines' pilots can be heard expressing concerns about the safety of MCAS.

...

The pilots also complained they had not been told about MCAS, which was new to the 737 Max, until after the Lion Air crash off Indonesia, which killed 189.

"These guys didn't even know the damn system was on the airplane, nor did anybody else," said Mike Michaelis, head of safety for the pilots' union.

Link
Ironically, it appears AA pilots were the most informed on this issue, and AA purchased both offered safety “options” (Angle of Attack sensor display and disagree indication).

Also, the article has a good illustration on the issue.
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Old May 15, 19, 12:51 pm
  #573  
 
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Originally Posted by rowingman View Post
The AA pilots were sufficiently concerned after the first crash. It makes me question the commercial reassurances by AA prior to the grounding frankly that "our pilots are well trained and we are fully confident in the aircraft's safety." From the audio of the AA/Boeing meeting at DFW, it sounds like the pilots were anything but reassured.
I find this somewhat concerning. Are the pilots (as a group, presumably through their union) empowered to tell AA "we don't think this plane is safe and we aren't flying it"? If they are, what is the bar for doing that? And why didn't they? It sounds like they had legitimate concerns and felt strongly about them -- is that not enough of a reason?

I don't particularly care about the corporate spin from AA or Boeing (they are companies; they lie to the public through their PR departments -- that's just what they do) but I am concerned if pilots are flying planes that they have this level of concern about.
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Old May 15, 19, 12:58 pm
  #574  
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
I find this somewhat concerning. Are the pilots (as a group, presumably through their union) empowered to tell AA "we don't think this plane is safe and we aren't flying it"? If they are, what is the bar for doing that? And why didn't they? It sounds like they had legitimate concerns and felt strongly about them -- is that not enough of a reason?

I don't particularly care about the corporate spin from AA or Boeing (they are companies; they lie to the public through their PR departments -- that's just what they do) but I am concerned if pilots are flying planes that they have this level of concern about.
If pilots had a major concern, I’m sure they’d not be putting their lives on the line for AA or Boeing. Remember, they were pretty knowledgeable about the issue, and they had two safety devices installed neither Lion nor Ethiopian did. They were sufficiently concerned to tell Boeing, and presumably the APA had input to AA - maybe that input was what got the safety devices bought in the first place.

Boeing / Muilenburg needs to own up, pull out all the stops to make this a safer aircraft. (IMO, he really should make a serious apology, resign and get out of the way for newly inspired leadership with a greater commitment to passenger safety. The short term cost for that is likely to me much less than the long term cost for not doing so, particularly when you add in a sum of human lives. As I mentioned elsewhere, it seems a number of new aircraft designs that weren’t quite sorted before launching incur a blood sacrifice and the leader’s hands certainly appear bloody while they bloviate, deny and spread their soft soap.

We’ve been through this before with the Lockheed L-188A Electra. The original entered a mode referred to as “whirl mode” at certain engine RPMs and propeller settings that induced vibrations causing the wings to fall off. IIRC two aircraft were lost to whirl mode, Braniff and Northwest (The February 5, 1959, an American Airlines Electra that crashed into the East River while on final approach to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, with 65 people were killed, was not from whirl mode.) Lockheed ultimately rectified that after restrictions, the aircraft flew safely and was the platform for the popular Navy P-3 Orion. When it returned to service, AA renamed it the Electra II so passengers would get the idea this was not the whirl mode article.
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Last edited by JDiver; May 15, 19 at 1:19 pm
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Old May 15, 19, 3:27 pm
  #575  
 
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All respect to JDiver. Truly (not sarcastic). JDiver you are the FlyerTalk Man. All respect. BUT two comments on your statement: "If pilots had a major concern, I’m sure they’d not be putting their lives on the line for AA or Boeing. Remember, they were pretty knowledgeable about the issue, and they had two safety devices installed neither Lion nor Ethiopian did. They were sufficiently concerned to tell Boeing, and presumably the APA had input to AA - maybe that input was what got the safety devices bought in the first place."

First comment: There are always pilots out there who will fly an aircraft, even if it is demonstrably unsafe. Whether denial, macho, believing the spin, whatever, they will buckle up and show that aircraft who is in charge. There are pilots flying the Max8 today on ferry flights to the desert. Demonstrably flawed aircraft, but some pilots somewhere are flying them from Renton to storage, and the airlines (SWA, UAL, and AA) to the desert for storage. Boeing is still turning out Max8s from the plant, albeit at a slower production rate. They can't stop.

Second comment: The WSJ last week indicated that in 2017 that Boeing discovered the AOA indicator "disagreement" system which AA purchased had problems, and Boeing didn't correct it. The software issues relating to the AOA disagreement were known. It seems that AA pilots were given erroneous information from Boeing, in the face of systems consider not critical to flight safety, which ultimately proved to be disastrous. The one AA pilot in today's journalism is quoted as asking why the pilots weren't told about a system which could kill them (to paraphrase). And that was simply after the first accident.

I completely agree with your statement that Mullenberg should step down. The Audit Committee of the Boeing BOD is now enmeshed in litigation. Mullenberg makes $2M/month in comp, yet still wants to say the pilots should have recovered the aircraft. In 40 seconds. At low altitude. Fighting the aircraft on systems they had never trained to overcome. Today's WSJ indicates that Boeing told the FAA none of these systems were flight safety critical, so the FAA never examined them. The whole thing stinks.

But complete respect JDiver (truly).
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Old May 15, 19, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by rowingman View Post
Today's WSJ indicates that Boeing told the FAA none of these systems were flight safety critical, so the FAA never examined them.
That really sums up the whole issue right there.

Boeing should not be telling the FAA what is and isn't safety critical. The FAA should be telling Boeing.
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Old May 15, 19, 4:32 pm
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Boeing has gone rogue you guys...

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Old May 15, 19, 6:31 pm
  #578  
 
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I watched this documentary a few days ago and there is some really alarming stuff about the way all of this went down.
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Old May 15, 19, 7:10 pm
  #579  
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Originally Posted by rowingman View Post
All respect to JDiver. Truly (not sarcastic). JDiver you are the FlyerTalk Man. All respect. BUT two comments on your statement: "If pilots had a major concern, I’m sure they’d not be putting their lives on the line for AA or Boeing. Remember, they were pretty knowledgeable about the issue, and they had two safety devices installed neither Lion nor Ethiopian did. They were sufficiently concerned to tell Boeing, and presumably the APA had input to AA - maybe that input was what got the safety devices bought in the first place."

First comment: There are always pilots out there who will fly an aircraft, even if it is demonstrably unsafe. Whether denial, macho, believing the spin, whatever, they will buckle up and show that aircraft who is in charge. There are pilots flying the Max8 today on ferry flights to the desert. Demonstrably flawed aircraft, but some pilots somewhere are flying them from Renton to storage, and the airlines (SWA, UAL, and AA) to the desert for storage. Boeing is still turning out Max8s from the plant, albeit at a slower production rate. They can't stop.

Second comment: The WSJ last week indicated that in 2017 that Boeing discovered the AOA indicator "disagreement" system which AA purchased had problems, and Boeing didn't correct it. The software issues relating to the AOA disagreement were known. It seems that AA pilots were given erroneous information from Boeing, in the face of systems consider not critical to flight safety, which ultimately proved to be disastrous. The one AA pilot in today's journalism is quoted as asking why the pilots weren't told about a system which could kill them (to paraphrase). And that was simply after the first accident.

I completely agree with your statement that Mullenberg should step down. The Audit Committee of the Boeing BOD is now enmeshed in litigation. Mullenberg makes $2M/month in comp, yet still wants to say the pilots should have recovered the aircraft. In 40 seconds. At low altitude. Fighting the aircraft on systems they had never trained to overcome. Today's WSJ indicates that Boeing told the FAA none of these systems were flight safety critical, so the FAA never examined them. The whole thing stinks.

But complete respect JDiver (truly).
Thank you for the kind words, rowingman.

Yes, there are some macho pilots that will fly regardless; I’ve known a few, though they weren’t AA. We have a saying that has force in the pilot community, originally an observation made in 1949 by early airmail pilot, E. Hamilton Lee: "There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots."

But in this instance it’s the group / APA saying they could handle it and they believed it as a group, with possibly a few dissenting ones we’re not likely to hear about. Iirc, they wouldn’t be required to fly the MAX anyway if they expressed reservations and could have easily beeen assigned to 738s, given the relative numbers of aircraft (at grounding, 24 MAX, 304 738).

The disagree and display systems: the disagree alert system wasn’t functional if the AOA indicator display system wasn’t installed. “. The Max’s software would only allow the disagree alert to work on airlines that had purchased an optional AoA indicator as well.“ In AA, it was functional as I understand it because AA ordered both. (Southwest iirc only ordered the disagree alert, which indicates they believed they were covered but weren’t
because they didn’t buy the AoA indicator. UA purchased neither, as many others did including Lion and Ethiopian.)

Link to WSJ article for those wanting to read it.

That review, which involved multiple company subject matter experts, determined that the absence of the AOA Disagree alert did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation. Accordingly, the review concluded, the existing functionality was acceptable until the alert and the indicator could be delinked in the next planned display system software update. Senior company leadership was not involved in the review and first became aware of this issue in the aftermath of the Lion Air accident.
Though senior management keeps trying to make excuses, I imagine a number of lawyers will have a field day with that and the lack of speedy action that may have allowed the Ethiopian loss. I’d not be surprised to see the term “criminal negligence” in their filings. Let the BoD chew on that as they record the long term costs of this fiasco.
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Old May 15, 19, 8:08 pm
  #580  
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This 60 Minutes Australia piece, while a bit dramatic (because that's TV in 2019), features Dennis Tajer from AA...and his opinion seems clear: Boeing screwed up bigtime.

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Old May 15, 19, 8:28 pm
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Another interesting WSJ clip, with Nader talking about the cozy relationship between Boeing/airlines and FAA. Remarkably, he wrote a book about it in 1994 and lost his grandniece in the Ethiopian Max crash...

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Old May 15, 19, 11:11 pm
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The gist of the documentary basically is that Boeing tried to hide the pitch up problem and MCAS from everybody, and put only one mandatory censor to avoid the need for extra pilot training and to speed up certification. The insinuation is that Boeing did it because they thought that the airlines wouldn't have bought the Max if they knew about the design flaw and the MCAS and the need for more pilot training.

Last edited by nk15; May 15, 19 at 11:17 pm
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Old May 15, 19, 11:21 pm
  #583  
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APA’s Dan Carey on Youtube.
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Old May 16, 19, 6:30 am
  #584  
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Originally Posted by nk15 View Post
The gist of the documentary basically is that Boeing tried to hide the pitch up problem and MCAS from everybody, and put only one mandatory censor to avoid the need for extra pilot training and to speed up certification. The insinuation is that Boeing did it because they thought that the airlines wouldn't have bought the Max if they knew about the design flaw and the MCAS and the need for more pilot training.
Assuming you're referring to the 60 Minutes Australia piece, I think the insinuation is that Boeing "did it" because they thought they had no chance of competing with Airbus on aircraft orders if they didn't get this plane out to customers ASAP...which meant it absolutely HAD to be offered without a separate type certification.

It's becoming more and more, in my mind, a classic case of profits over safety. Airbus caught Boeing with their pants down - 100% on Boeing, as they made some horrible wrong decisions in the 2000s, not the least of which was halting 757 production. A" 757 MAX "would have been easy to put efficient engines on, would have had the seating capacity needed to compete with the A320/321 neo, and would have had the ground clearance and components to allow for future improvements without destabilizing the wing/engine area.

It's also becoming clear to me that Southwest's obsession with maintaining an all-737 fleet has had the unintended consequence of Boeing kowtowing too much to the cost control that such airlines have tried to stretch across 40 years.
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Old May 16, 19, 7:51 am
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Originally Posted by DenverBrian View Post
Assuming you're referring to the 60 Minutes Australia piece, I think the insinuation is that Boeing "did it" because they thought they had no chance of competing with Airbus on aircraft orders if they didn't get this plane out to customers ASAP...which meant it absolutely HAD to be offered without a separate type certification.

It's becoming more and more, in my mind, a classic case of profits over safety. Airbus caught Boeing with their pants down - 100% on Boeing, as they made some horrible wrong decisions in the 2000s, not the least of which was halting 757 production. A" 757 MAX "would have been easy to put efficient engines on, would have had the seating capacity needed to compete with the A320/321 neo, and would have had the ground clearance and components to allow for future improvements without destabilizing the wing/engine area.

It's also becoming clear to me that Southwest's obsession with maintaining an all-737 fleet has had the unintended consequence of Boeing kowtowing too much to the cost control that such airlines have tried to stretch across 40 years.
I agree it was about the speed of the certification, but I also think they were trying to hide the pitch up issues and the MCAS completely from airlines and pilots (maybe even the FAA?), that's why there was no mention of it in the pilot training manuals. They were hoping, against common sense, that the one sensor will never malfunction.

Or, even worse, they perhaps knew it could/will happen at some point but planning to correct it later (when and if needed, e.g., after a crash), after they passed the certification and got the first orders and deliveries out...

Last edited by nk15; May 16, 19 at 9:41 am
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