The real reason Boeing's new plane crashed twice
47467 upvotes
6136 comments
chamoisk
4 days ago
youtube.com
The real reason Boeing's new plane crashed twice
freenas_helpless
7103
4 days ago

Imagine being a pilot and not know that there is some software that fucks with your plane like this.

jetsamrover
2171
4 days ago

Get yourself ready for all of our cars to do this.

FunnyHunnyBunny
3624
4 days ago

Driverless cars a decade or two from now will be much safer than the millions and millions of horrible drivers. People keep acting like human drivers make smart driving decisions regularly when, in reality, human drivers are mostly horrible.

Mountainbranch
827
4 days ago

Until a car company skimps on some security measure and cause a 20 car pile up.

madden93ambulance
1915
4 days ago

And thats the point of /u/FunnyHunnyBunny. Even if/when that happens, driverless cars will still be hundreds/thousands of times safer than human drivers.

ChaoticGonzo
524
4 days ago

yeah imagine a world where all driverless cars exist, they could even be in sync inside cities, you would never theoretically need traffic lights as often and if something goes wrong with one car, the other cars can quickly respond. Imagine having cars perfectly move out of the way for emergency vehicles or other cars in which an emergency is happening etc.

ConTully
322
4 days ago

That sounds really cool, but I mean, we wouldn't even need them to act like some sort of hive-mind, just having every car independently obey the rules of the road would stop majority of crashes.

StatuatoryApe
233
4 days ago

That's the first step, the next step is the hive mind so that all vehicles can act as a swarm and will all say, brake at the same time to avoid debris, or accidents. Rear endings would almost never happen.

It'll be amazing, I'd hope to see it in the next 20 years.

pleurplus
189
4 days ago

Please don't.

Anybody that has any knowledge of network security will tell you that's a horrible idea.

Allowing hundreds of thousands of cars to be hijacked by hackers is not a great idea.

And if you hijack one to give wrong data the others will start fucking up.

There need to be trust it a distributed system, it's the entire basis of it. And it's not possible to do so when hardware is exposed...

ELFAHBEHT_SOOP
99
4 days ago

I was just thinking about how horribly terrifying hijacking a traffic swarm would be.

Computers are fast enough to recognize traffic movement through vision and other sensors. There's not a good enough reason to network this that outweighs security.

Also, people will be using their "classic" manually-driven cars in the city. This "dream state" has no room for that.

notadoctor123
12
4 days ago

There need to be trust it a distributed system, it's the entire basis of it.

You can still have it be a distributed system, but act collectively as a swarm. There are a lot of coordination algorithms that are designed to be decentralized (to avoid the exact issues you described) but have some desired emergent global behaviour built into the algorithm.

alerise
115
4 days ago

Can subways drive from my house to the bar?

Jojje22
48
4 days ago

Depends on the house, depends on the bar.

TURBO2529
20
4 days ago

Damn, well what if we allow them to go onto the earth and split apart so that they can go to distinct locations? We could call them Railways Offering Apart Directions

Paradigm6790
20
4 days ago

Can one take me to see my family living in rural Maine?

[deleted]
12
4 days ago

[deleted]

vamsi0914
17
4 days ago

Cars in general are inefficient, human driven or AI driven. With a good public transportation system, all sorts of pollution can be cut down by a fuck ton. Idk actual stats but if u guys want me to, I can do some quick research.

Public transportation is the only way to sufficiently provide transportation for humans in the long term, personal vehicles will not only cause a fuck ton of pollution, but were never gonna be able to create the infrastructure to handle that many cars properly.

code_guerilla
61
4 days ago

Public transportation is highly efficient in densely populated areas. It’s not cost effective in areas where people are more spread out.

solairee_
10
4 days ago

Exactly, I’d like to see somebody create a cost-effective public transport to my work that’s in the middle of nowhere.

hardcorechronie
68
4 days ago

That's silly, we should get rid of the humans. Less humans, less accidents.

Efften
9
4 days ago

Boom, lawyered.

Irate_Primate
27
4 days ago

There’s inevitably going to be things like this happening, but on the flip side it’s going to be a fraction of a fraction of the amount of accidents/deaths that currently occur.

Isord
17
4 days ago

And the 20 car pile up that happens once every 5 years will still be safer.

PoxyMusic
230
4 days ago

True, but I get the feeling that many people prefer having a 1% chance of killing themselves over a .01% chance of having software kill them. It's not rational, but unfortunately people often aren't very rational.

snurfer
262
4 days ago

I'm not worried about killing myself, I'm worried about someone else killing me. I would give up my own control if it meant every idiot on the road was also giving up theirs

gorgeousgeorgeII
38
4 days ago

Unfortunately the biggest idiots will be the ones demanding self-driving exemptions so they can drive like assholes. And it will be allowed: It will be a significant insurance rate hike, probably a whole separate category of insurance, and some fines. MAYBE some special drivers educational training. So the majority of folks will be out there, shuffled about with predictable algorithmic automobiles and here will come some asshole in a Mercedes-Benz flying through traffic patterns fucking everything up.

mentallyillhippo
15
4 days ago

Well plain and simple every single one of the automated cars will have a camera on it. if that individual is driving recklessly he will be taken off the road.

aceofspades9963
28
4 days ago

Yea I'm with ya there.

BBQ_FETUS
12
4 days ago

And there's the problem. It's not a trade off and everyone thinks they're a good driver. Especially the bad drivers.

astrafirmaterranova
15
4 days ago

I think I'm a good driver, but I also am realistic that a well-tuned computer can make much faster decisions based on a lot of data.

Will I be the first adopter of a self driving car? Probably not, but give it a few years (price-willing) and I'm there.

TucsonCat
179
4 days ago

If something goes wrong on your car though, you can stop.

Worst case scenario, you crash, and even then you still have a pretty damn good chance of living.

Isord
208
4 days ago

Yeah, not falling out of the sky is a big plus for safety.

MrPepesilva
44
4 days ago

But what if the gps takes me into a lake

spartagnann
52
4 days ago

No Michael it means bear right.

fart_on_grandma
84
4 days ago

This is nothing new in the automobile industry, computers have been running on vehicles for decades now.

The integration of intelligent systems to override the abundance of human errors is going to be vastly more beneficial in the long run. That is what's just coming to the market as of late.

I think it's important for us to be cautious with these new technologies but fear mongering them is how useful technological developments stall.

itsmeok
50
4 days ago

I just rented a car and they gave me a KIA. I was driving and thinking something is weird with the power steering. Turns out it had lane assist. Very odd feeling if you aren't expecting it.

Side note. I started testing it and it would steer at like 1° to the opposite side of the road when it thought it was too close to this side. Then it was like oh crap I'm headed to the other side at 2° that's too much I'm out you take over.

icecoldlimewater
26
4 days ago

Agreed. Had a rental that pulled me when I wasn’t expecting it, really irked me. I can’t imagine someone who is an inexperienced driver react to that to try to over compensate and losing control of the vehicle.

reclaimthis
26
4 days ago

My dad has a relatively new Toyota that has lane assist. I wasn't aware until it jerked me a little away from the line. I don't see this being an issue for two reasons. First the car gave me a visual warning that the lane departure system was active and that I was going into the side lane. Second the amount it move my car was very little, it more of kept the steering wheel from turning towards the oncoming lane rather than turn the car away from it.

An experienced driver should be able to tell the difference between the lane departure system and something actually wrong with the driving conditions, at least I did even without prior knowledge the system was available in this car. Though I haven't tested this above 80mph, I figure if someone is driving over that speed on regular roads they aren't good drivers to begin with.

The best part about this system is its finally forced my dad to use his fucking turn signals, even when changing lanes. The system won't activate if the turn signal is on while changing lanes.

ffn
35
4 days ago

My car has lane keep assist, and I never notice it. Because I use my turn signals.

If you hear someone complaining about it, you’re hearing someone admit that they have bad driving habits.

reclaimthis
10
4 days ago

Exactly my thoughts, a good driver shouldn't have to fight these systems. Personally I love it because it forces bad drivers to be at least a little better.

BluescreenOfDeath
16
4 days ago

It's going to depend on how the vehicle 'sees' the lane and how accurate that is.

I have a 2012 Honda accord with lane departure warning. It gets confused on rainy days, thinking the tire marks on the road from the car in front of me is the lane, and it just beeps at me like crazy. It also has frontal collision warning, which I can't turn off but also gets mixed up depending on what the road looks like (hard shadows, like going into a tunnel or under an overpass, can trip it. Sometimes just the shadows of trees on the road does it too). Luckily, all they do is beep at me and flash some lights. But my mother-in-law got a newer CRV that has lane correction capabilities, and the first time I felt it kick in I found the button to turn it off.

As a computer guy, I can clearly recognize that computers can be better at something like driving. But they don't have our sensory capabilities yet, and that is what bothers me. Giving a computer with poor eyesight superior control of my vehicle (as in, can override my control) is a recipe for disaster in my books.

When computers can more accurately handle non-standard road situations or conditions, I'll be more comfortable letting them have more control of my vehicle. Until then, if I'm gonna die in my car, I want to be responsible; not some executive looking to make a break in a new market who pushes technology not ready for real-world situations.

reclaimthis
8
4 days ago

Hey computer guy here too! :)

Giving a computer with poor eyesight superior control of my vehicle (as in, can override my control) is a recipe for disaster in my books.

This is where I think a lot of issues come from. 1. The sensors aren't as good as they should be. 2. The feature should augment the driver, it shouldn't take control away from the driver.

In a lot of places I find Toyota has a much better implementation, and this is one of those cases. At least based on what I'm hearing from others on this thread. At no point in time did I feel like the Toyota lane drift system was getting in the way of me being able to drive.

lgelissen
18
4 days ago

Had the same function in an A6 and an SQ5, works phenomenally. Going to save lifes in an actual accident. Maybe yours is faulty? Have it checked out, maybe the sensor is broken.

DeltaXray
13
4 days ago

Yeah Audi checked mine and said everything was fine. Yet I’ve had it slam on the brakes doing 70mph on the motorway for no reason several times. It’s going to cause crashes and kill people if it hasn’t already. I don’t think it’s the car as I’ve had exactly the same thing in Vauxhall’s and Seats.

AzraelAnkh
19
4 days ago

You need to hit up Audi corporate twitter or send an email go their CEO. That isn’t a small issue at all. Way above dealership garage or service centers pay grade. The fact that they didn’t pass you up the chain is alarming in its own.

serpentinepad
10
4 days ago

yeah, if that's true that's a serious issue that needs to get run up the chain well beyond the dealership

breakone9r
17
4 days ago

Now imagine a similar thing on a modern semi truck. Which is programmed to have a 6 second following distance. And NO ONE gives it to them before moving over in front of them.

This was a common complaint from other truckers that have had to deal with "automatic rear end prevention tech" for the past few years......

CL_Smooth
11
4 days ago

As someone who works on exactly this feature for another company PLEASE complain to the dealer and have them get the radar data from your car, or the piece of road it's happening on. There's always some barrier, bridge or scenery somewhere that manages to confuse the radar sensor in a way we would never imagine.

EnterSadman
9
4 days ago

A huge reason I bought an old car with a stick shift and no dumb computer gadgets is because of this. I wish I could have crank windows, but those turn out to be really hard to find.

A Tesla (etc) would terrify me -- both with how much it would try to "change" how I drive (lane assist, etc), and with how much data it's broadcasting straight to Tesla HQ.

one_why
545
4 days ago

There is. In this case it's a switch labelled "Stab Trim Cutout".

10ebbor10
644
4 days ago

The problem is that the Stab Trim Cutout also disables the pilot's own electric trim controls.

That means that the pilot needs to turn a little wheel, which makes making large adjustements complex. Undoing the MCAS's mistake with the manual trim is not a trivial thing, and we know that Ethiopean airlines tried and failed.

zashino
293
4 days ago

And in a situation where your horizontal stabilizer is way out of trim and you fly at take-off speed, manual trimming is near impossible due to the force on the horizontal stabilizer. A solution would be to pitch down (so the wind doesn't lock up the trim mechanism as much) and manually trim it as fast as possible. But in the case of the second crash, the plane was far too low to pitch down, which is why the pilot reenabled power to the trim motor. Unfortunately this enabled the MCAS system to fuck up the trim even further.

edit: fixed my mixed up vocabulary, thanks StellarWaffle!

StellarWaffle
67
4 days ago

Hey man, just letting you know that you've got the rudder mixed up with the horizontal stabilizer, which is what the pitch trim wheel controls :)

zashino
42
4 days ago

thanks! years of kerbal space program and I still can't get it right, shame on me!

Javbw
91
4 days ago

Yep.

The thing that surprised me was that the 737 is the last modern big plane to be cable actuated. It is flown with steel cables and pulleys - the last modern mechanical airliner. This was done because it was so popular, the airlines balked at having to go through lenghly retraining for pilots for a totally new fly-by-(electrical) wire system. So Boeing kept updating it. They wanted to make a new 737 replacement, but airlines really just wanted a "better" 737.

So if you "take control" of a 787 or a a380 - you are still using the fly-by-wire computer to control the plane, but the autopilot is turned off.

When you "take control" of the Max8, your muscles are the one in control. The systems that help pull the cables are disabled - you do it. Your muscles. Your feet. Your arms. Like a truck without power steering.

This is the point where I went from liking this Vox Video to hating it. "it was too late" no. It was much worse. And it pins all the problems on the engines. Whatever - if they properly trained the pilots to look out for that, it wouldn't be an issue. It is still within the scope. The villian is the airlines not wanting training costs, so Boeing worked really hard to make everything the same - and then Boeing designed an automated system that had "muscles" that a pilot's arms couldn't match.

So the Lion Air plane triggered the MCAS. The MCAS commanded full trim down. The solution to the MCAS fucking up is to disable the trim system.

But the MCAS had commanded full trim down when it was disabled. The trim system is fully electric in newer planes - this is cabled. The 737 has a manual turney-wheel for setting the trim, which only gets used when the electric system is disabled.

So the pilot pulled back with all his might (50lbs force, according to reports) loading a lot of force into the system.

And then they forgot to throttle back. They left the engines at full takeoff power because they were surprised by the MCAS. This error was a link in the accident chain.

Not throttling back meant the plane was going faster and faster in level flight - loading more and more pressure onto the control surfaces than normal.

The other pilot tried desperately to turn the big trim knob, but with all the force (pilot pulling back, all the airflow) he couldn't budge it.

After trying for several minutes (while the pilot is pulling back as hard as he can) they eventually decided to turn the electric trim back on to help them.

They turned it back on, and used the electric system to re-trim the plane. The whole time this was going on, the plane was picking up more and more speed as the throttles sit at Max power in level flight.

The MCAS now had it's electrical muscles turned back on too. And the bird strike that broke one AOA sensor was still feeding it bad data, and it now got a second chance to dive the plane, which it did.

So the nose again dove down, via the trim system, and with all the speed they made, the pilots couldn't counteract the dive and it crashed.

The desire to put a better engine in was a problem. But the problem was the airlines balking at any plane that needed a lot of retraining (vs the redesign Boeing wanted to do and the 787 debacle interrupted), and Boeing working frenetically to get it certified to compete with the A320neo. They put the MCAS in there as bandaid for a narrowed flight envelope. The narrowed flight envelope isn't a deal-breaker, but they didn't talk about it because they were being pressed for a plane that didn't need pilot retraining. They didn't add additional sensors because that meant a longer type certification process. They didn't think about the outcome of the MCAS using the trim system because (like everyone after the LionAir crash), Boeing thought that whatever the MCAS did could be undone by the pilots - but that isn't true on the world's last cable&pulley plane - and you leave the throttles at takeoff power when trying to untrim.

10ebbor10
96
4 days ago

This video is extremely misleading about MCAS as well. It's been around since the 70's

MCAS hasn't been around since the 70's. You're confusing it with stall protection systems, which did exist.

The difference is that MCAS changes trim, whereas stall protection usually operates by increasing engine power and using the elevators.

ShareHappyness
36
4 days ago

The difference is Tesla tells you about the capabilities of autopilot, and that you should always pay attention. You can also always take over anytime and not have to fight the autopilot. I own a model 3, and I love autopilot.

Boeing did not tell the pilots about the mcas (according to the video). The mcas would also fight the pilots.

joshjje
30
4 days ago

Most places seem to be saying that MCAS was not on the regular 737 and was newly added to the Max and furthermore wasnt covered in the additional training. Is that not the case?

I havent done a ton of reading on it though. I realize it was probably the sensors feeding MCAS and not MCAS's fault itself, but if the above is true...

deabeatdad
13
4 days ago

If this video prevents the adoption of driverless cars for even 10% of it's viewers, just imagine the damage and death. 10.7 in 100,000 will die of a motor vehicle accident according to the CDC.

There's that hyperbolic reddit doom and gloom everyone comes here for. LOL

G-I-T-M-E
10
4 days ago

MCAS wasn‘t around since the 70‘s: it is a system that changes the flight characteristics of the MAX in way that it behaves similar to older versions to ensure that pilots can fly all types of 737 without expensive training for each model. Specifically it was added to change one characteristic of the MAX that is very different to the older ones:

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) was deployed on the 737 MAX to mitigate its tendency to pitch skywards due to the aircraft's engines being mounted further forward and upwards compared to previous models.

XdsXc
10
4 days ago

Where are you seeing this information? Everything online points to MCAS as a software that was developed by Boeing for their plane specifically.

kaplanfx
157
4 days ago

There is exactly 0 problem with the software doing something like this. The problem, is the lack of additional training for pilots to understand how the software impacts their control of the plane, and the fact that Boeing was charging extra money for a redundant sensors to determine when the MCAS might be getting bad sensor data.

Pascalwb
156
4 days ago

Isn't it problem that the software didn't disable itself when the 2 sensors didn't agree?

kaplanfx
57
4 days ago

My understanding is that the second sensor was an option, and neither of the airlines that had planes crash purchased it. That was one of the arguments for why the US didn’t want to ground the MAX originally, because the US airlines flying them all had the redundant sensor.

Phr0ztByte
127
4 days ago

So an optional configuration is for the plane to NOT nosedive for no reason what so ever. Nice.

wanze
80
4 days ago

Don't skimp on the "No crash" package.

03Titanium
25
4 days ago

“If this plane wasn’t safe then why was it flying passengers”

“I’m not saying it wasn’t safe, just perhaps not quite as safe as some of the other ones”

“Why”

“Well some of them are built so that they don’t crash at all”

“Wasn’t this built so that it wouldn’t crash”

“Well obviously not”

“How do you know”

“Because it crashed”

poopooonyou
10
4 days ago

"So how did it crash?"

"The front fell off"

10ebbor10
22
4 days ago

Both Lionair and Ethiopean airlines had 2 sensors.

The problem is the software only uses 1, and ignores the other. If that 1 sensor happens to be broken, you crash.

https://static.seattletimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/LionAir-BlackBox-WEB-1020x680.jpg

Here's a graph showing the difference between the left and right sensor for lionair.

cth777
11
4 days ago

No, an indicator light for when the two disagree was the optional part I believe.

Moonshineraider
19
4 days ago

Only one AoA vane came as standard. An additional sensor was and optional extra. Yet another optional extra was a warning light (not an automatic disabling of the system) in the cockpit so it could be manually disabled. Curious management decisions.

CloudZ1116
18
4 days ago

Boeing used to be run by aerospace engineers. Then they were bought out by McDonnell Douglas, who (having recently run their own commercial jetliner business into the ground) promptly moved the company's headquarters from Seattle to Chicago as a way to reduce lobbying costs. That should tell you something about the way the company operates now. It's still called Boeing, but it's really run by former McDonnell Douglas executives.

StellarWaffle
12
4 days ago

Two AOA vanes come standard on every aircraft. It would not be able to pass certification without a redundant sensor. You're right about the warning light though

umaro900
18
4 days ago

The main problem is having the pilots not understand how their plane is operating. If the software is disabled suddenly and they're operating as if it's on, that could be just as big of an issue potentially.

gmfreak1991
10
4 days ago

Software Engineer who specializes in aerospace here. There are many problems here and you have highlighted some correctly. For all that don't know, systems and software for aerospace is controlled by the FAA, they audit all hardware/software and they must be designed against VERY regulated specifications (notably DO-178B and DO-254.)

In the aerospace world, all systems and software are designed based off of a Design Assurance Level, DSA for short. Systems like the MCAS are Level A software, which means failure of the systems can easily result in CATASTROPHE, and loss of life.

These systems are designed with MULTIPLE REDUNDANCIES. The software/hardware is never allowed one point of failure. As /u/kaplanfx noted, charging extra money for a redundant sensor is a HUGE fuck up and should never ever ever have passed any reviews, any designs, and especially any FAA auditing. Additionally, all of the requirements, designs, software, AND testing are done independently, which means anyone who works on any piece of the software life-cycle must have a second different person review it.

Sadly there is a tendency in the aerospace world to skimp around these FAA regulations. The fact of the matter is, they are extremely restrictive, extremely time consuming to create this software, and extremely expensive because of that. Engineers slowly over time start to skip parts of the processes. They will sign their name as the reviewer for software/tests they wrote themselves. And their bosses know about it and accept it to meet their deadlines. They have FAA auditors who have audited their systems for like, 20 years, who skim the review process and are payed by Boeing so why wouldn't they pass stuff along with Boeing?

I have been a part of this system for about 6 years now and have caught plenty of heat for not allowing coworkers, clients, and clients personnel skimp around these issues. But I know that I will never have touched a piece of software that ever causes a catastrophe.

It should be noted, that if designed according to the FAA standards correctly, the failure rate of a piece of level A software will pretty much never fail. Most companies do their job VERY well. Most engineers do their job VERY well. I focused on much of the negative but what gets done right, gets done VERY right and shout out to all my fellow aerospace people that do the job right. There is a reason so many planes fly every day and it can go YEARS without a single failure. Don't stop flying people, its actually very safe, much much safer than driving.

snakesign
8
4 days ago

Pilots in the second crash were following the checklist and it still killed them. Manual trim forces are too high once you are at the airspeed directed by the airspeed disagree checklist.

" Combined with the speed which follows from an “IAS disagree” Emergency checklist procedure the Pilot Monitoring (PM) could have problems to move the trim while Pilot Flying (PF) would fight to hold the Yoke against the elevator forces. At a larger miss-trim, the situation is unattainable."

https://leehamnews.com/2019/04/03/et302-used-the-cut-out-switches-to-stop-mcas/

This isn't a training issue.

[deleted]
20
4 days ago

[deleted]

slightlydirtythroway
19
4 days ago

Of course, but pilots know about that software, it's part of their training, in this case they didn't and it was aggressive software that took direct control of operation based on sensor data alone.

Not telling pilots about the things that affect the operation of their planes is dangerous and Boeing deserves everything coming their way.

spiderborland
8
4 days ago

I mean, there are stories here on Reddit of pilots waking up in the cockpit, and seeing all the other pilots asleep, too. The planes fly themselves, and if everything goes fine... everything goes fine.

Illegals_from_LA
16
4 days ago

Try flying an Airbus.

Traditionally Boeing has let the PIC override the automated systems smartly, but not so much with MCAS on the Max8 (yes, it can be manually turned off, but if the pilots dont know what to turn off, it's an issue).

Boeing's design philosophy is moving more towards Airbus with automated systems being in prime control.

10ebbor10
16
4 days ago

Airbus allows pilots to turn all those systems off (switch the plane to alternate law).

In fact, the system will turn itself off if it detects that it's input is nonsensical or contradictory. MCAS, on the other, took the input of 1 sensor and followed it all the way into the ground.

TheAdvocate
9687
4 days ago

Little, but this video is correct. They fucked up the basic aerodynamics of a solidly engineered plane and then tried to band aid it with software. There's no excuse from a design perspective. It was all about money.

KlingonAdmiral
4718
4 days ago

And they badly band-aided it.

Airbus planes actually use a similar system, but while MCAs is fed by only two sensors Airbus uses three. The system on Airbus planes thus use whatever readout at least two of the sensors agree one. If one breaks for whatever reason, the other two will still give out correct data and the flight continus like nothing ever had happened.

If one of those sensors on a Boeing plane goes haywire ... well, never task a computer with showing intuition.

vinfox
2251
4 days ago

MCAS is fed by only 1 sensor. There are two on the plane, but only one of them informs whether MCAS will activate. Which is stupid.

FriendsOfDeSoto
2872
4 days ago

IIRC, there's a system that warns when the two sensors are in disagreement. All planes have both sensors, but the disagreement warning is a $80,000 option unlocked via software. Are you fucking kidding me? After this debacle Boeing is now giving that to everyone once the new software gets approved and pushed. Unreal.

bugbugbug3719
3749
4 days ago

Fucking DLCs

Judazzz
3187
4 days ago

I hate Pay-to-Live airplanes.
 
E: Oh wow, coin!!! Thank you very much, folks!

mrbrian200
839
4 days ago

From a company based out of a pay-to-live country where the higher priority is placed on wall street investors' maximized returns on their holdings and expect expect nothing less. Planes crashing down and people dying is merely collateral damage in a ROI risk/reward calculation.

william_13
466
4 days ago

I would be very surprised if in a few years from today a bunch of engineers don't testify that ample of warning was given to management about this. The same happened with MD-11's DC-10's, the space shuttle disaster and many other catastrophic events, but economic gains trumped expert advice unfortunately.

DanHeidel
2442
4 days ago

I worked at Boeing for about 1.5 years in the 2008-9 time period and I can absolutely guarantee this happened.

First, Boeing's corporate culture is the worst shitshow I have ever experienced. All large corporations have a lot of internal issues and problems but nothing like the Lazy B. It was like working in a company designed by Kafka. I signed up at Boeing as a programmer. When I showed up at my first day of work, the first words out of my supervisor's mouth were, "I don't know why you are here, we have no need for programmers." (The Boeing interview process is done so that at no point, do you ever have contact or communication with the team you will be working with.)

So, basically, I was cutting and pasting cells in Excel spreadsheets and doing ad hoc project management during my time there. They did have need for a programmer, but I didn't have access to install any programming software on my machine because no one knew who the local IT person was. No one. It was a year before I was able to figure that out and only because I was bored one day and was walking around the building and found the guy's cubicle by accident.

To be fair, the aging aircraft division that I was in was notoriously bad, even for Boeing. It was where they put people that the union wouldn't let Boeing fire. I would conservatively estimate 30% of my co-workers were full-blown sociopaths who would actively work to sabotage and ruin other people's work. Another 50% of the people there blatantly goofed off all day, reading the newspaper or books with their feet up on their desks (literally). The remaining 20% were people who actually cared about airplane passengers not dying and worked themselves half to death to keep things afloat. I'll give a quick shout out to Anastasia, James and all the contract workers who actually did their jobs. There are probably a few thousand people around the world who aren't dead because of you.

Anyhow, James (or was it Jim? It's been a while.) was a grouchy old engineer they stuck me next to. He was close to retirement and clearly wasn't too stoked about losing half his cubicle to an unwanted programmer that showed up one day. James had a bunch of photos of an old 747 and structural diagrams pinned to his cubicle wall. One day, I asked what those were.

They were pictures and failure analysis diagrams of JAL 123, the single worst single airplane disaster in history. 520 people died. It was because a couple of Boeing engineers fucked up. That 747SR had had a tailstrike incident on takeoff that damaged the rear pressure dome. A team of Boeing AOG (Airplane On the Ground) mechanics were flown out there to fix it. To oversimplify, they rushed and accidentally did the equivalent of 1+1=1 on one of their stress calculations. It was an error very similar to the infamous Hyatt Regency walkway collapse. 12,318 flights later, (well before what should have been at least 25-30,000 flight cycles that the crack inspection cycle would have assumed) the rear bullkhead ripped out mid flight and severed all hydraulic control lines. The plane lost all control and flew in a rollercoaster trajectory for 32 minutes before running into the side of a mountain. Many of the passengers had time to write goodbye letters to their loved ones. James had those photos and diagrams on his cubicle so that every day, he could look at them and remind himself of why his job was important and why he couldn't cut corners.

James was clearly an incredibly knowledgeable and talented engineer. He was the widely acknowledged expert in the entire department. If any other engineer had a question, they would always come to him for advice. So why was such a good engineer relegated to a department full of fuckups and malcontents? Because he wouldn't cut corners on safety.

This was the final stages of the 787 rollout, which was behind schedule and full of issues. James had constantly raised red flags about safety corners Boeing was cutting on the 787 rollout. Things like putting the plane out before there was a good understanding of crack propagation speed, nondestructive testing protocols and repair protocols for all the carbon fiber on the plane. These were extremely serious issues that Boeing swept under the rug to get the 787 out faster. Because he wouldn't toe the line on this, James got exiled to the shitty little backwater I ran into him at where he was counting the days until he could retire and spend his time SCUBA diving out at Edmonds.

To this day, I refuse to fly on a 787. I'm sure that the Dreamliners that came off the assembly line after about a year or so were fine but there's that first year of production that, as far as I'm concerned, are ticking time bombs. I talked to many engineers who had worked on that program to know just how badly they rushed that initial production.

So, as far as I'm concerned, fuck Boeing. This was inevitable. I'm honestly shocked it took this long for something like this to happen.

pleasedothenerdful
45
4 days ago

At which point those executives' golden parachutes will activate and they will suffer exactly zero consequences while the stockholders bankroll huge settlements to the victims' families.

karmisson
202
4 days ago

it's only for new skins though

aNeedForMore
72
4 days ago

Yeah, the old ones don’t have the handling flags that the new ones do

Judazzz
35
4 days ago

So wait, a smoldering crash site is actually just a very clever camo outfit?

Socal_ftw
105
4 days ago

They should have bought the Boeing loot boxes to instantly unlock, not worth the grind

AConvincingMonika
39
4 days ago

Thousands of hours is right, 80,000 dollars is more than most pilots make in a year (in the US)

In_It_2_Quinn_It
17
4 days ago

But if you're flying a 737 you'll be making more than that.

AConvincingMonika
19
4 days ago

But you've got to survive flying it long enough to buy the DLC!

maynardflies
10
4 days ago

Not necessarily, a lot of airlines fly the 737, and I could see a right-seater earning less than that

thoroughrice
9
4 days ago

What? The average pilot salary in the US is over 100,000/year

hunt234
8
4 days ago

Yes. The three airlines in the US that fly the MAX average far more than $100k a year.

HiddenKrypt
187
4 days ago

Yup. When people talk about EA being the most evil company, I have to laugh. They don't even have the ability to be really evil. What are they gonna do? Ruin your video games? Nestle killed babies for profit. Coke funded death squads to keep workers from unionizing. Chiquita fucking bananas have a more evil history than EA. Granted, if the game developer union idea gets more traction I could see EA going the Coca Cola route.

SomeWigger
74
4 days ago

As a Teamster (UPS not Coke) I know how evil companies get. I keep encouraging kids in my class to spread Union propaganda, and its been working.

I can't believe I've worked alongside Anti-Union people in a Union job. Bitch, you have your fucking healthcare PAID FOR, PAID vacation, 100k plus job after 4 or so years, the list goes on.

If lighting strikes so can we boys!!

WhatisH2O4
126
4 days ago

Dude, they're in fucking every industry now. I work with UPLCs (fancy chemical separation machines) and these things will cost $60,000 new with the software running $10,000+. Despite that, at least one of the companies doesn't offer any real training on how to use their software when you purchase their products. The manuals are trash and they sell online training modules for a few hundred a piece...at the lowest.

chrisbucks
39
4 days ago

Ha, I work in broadcast TV and it's the same shit. Belden is one of the worst, they'll sell you the hardware and then piecemeal you on features. Often things that you would just expect as standard are sold as optional extras that can be unlocked with a new licence key. The funny thing is, we purchased their latest hardware range and the software provided cannot interact with the hardware. It took them a year to admit that it was software incompatibility, we spent hours testing cabling to ensure it wasn't our fault, but instead of fixing the software they just sent us an old model of the hardware as a "long term loan".

Minorpentatonicgod
25
4 days ago

In live sound, what we do with gear like that is throw it the fuck away and move onto something else and never buy anything from said company ever again.

g-m-f
72
4 days ago

TIL Boeing is owned by EA.

pixl_graphix
11
4 days ago

Boeing and EA are owned by the same people. That is, stockholders that want profit more than anything else.

avi550m
193
4 days ago

It's like buying a car and saying, 'Hey, seat belts are optional'

MrBabyToYou
319
4 days ago

It's more like lane assist, but if you don't pay the extra money it will steer you into a concrete block without warning. With the extra cash you unlock the ability to understand why it's steering you into a concrete block in time for you to disable the "steer into concrete block" feature.

WagwanKenobi
67
4 days ago

Not exactly. The package is like saying, base-model lane assist comes with one sensor, and add-on comes with two sensors. If you're going for the first one, you better pray it doesn't fail.

It's playing the risk-reward game (aka gambling) where the risk is human lives and the reward is $80k, which is an irrelevant sum of money for an airline or a manufacturer.

colorizemars
57
4 days ago

But the base model is not air-worthy, so it should not have been approved by the regulator.

Not to mention, in the best case it would have provided at most a few hundred million of extra profit to Boeing and now they are losing billions just because of lost business and who knows how much in lost reputation and liability.

Sure, in retrospect (or even in advance) it is a no-brainer for the buyers to pay for this. But it is just as much a no-brainer for Boeing to include it in the list price.

Garathon
11
4 days ago

That's why it's so completely moronic by Boeing to expose themselves to this issue for $80k.

MoneyManIke
8
4 days ago

Ehh this makes it seem like the extra cost is for the extra parts. All the planes have all the sensors you just pay to enable them. Having said that most manufacturers that have options like that aren't putting hundreds of people in the air. I'm certain that people who only bought one sensor did so with the presented idea that this plane was no different similar to the A320. Boeing killed 300 people and nobody's doing anything about it.

RoseEsque
17
4 days ago

Hey, seat belts are optional

I mean, they used to be. Until, you know, technology became easy and effective and they became mandatory.

moose04
23
4 days ago

I read that all American airlines bought it as well.

niconpat
77
4 days ago

I remember being amazed that you could buy a commercial airliner like you would buy a car.

If a car company charged you extra for something like this there would be uproar. Imagine the saleperson saying "It's $500 extra for a software option that detects if the cruise control sensors are working correctly, otherwise it might drive you into a wall at 120mph but you can take that risk if you want"

cranktheguy
68
4 days ago

I mean, that's what happens today. Regular cruise control will just drive you into a wall or the car in front of you if you don't manually turn it off, and you need the expensive package if you want the adaptive cruise control.

WorkSucks135
7
4 days ago

But both forms of cruise control have a failsafe, it will turn off completely if you tap the brakes.

-cheeks-
46
4 days ago

[Slaps the fuselage of the 737 Max]

This bad boy can stall so hard!

gnarlysheen
227
4 days ago

We should jail every executive responsible for the decision. Examples need to be made and punishment should be Swift and harsh. Deter future generations from making these same mistakes.

But if there is any lesson to take from the 08 financial crash it is that there is a different set of rules for elites. Nothing will come of this.

khansian
33
4 days ago

The problem is that guilt when it comes to a large, diffuse corporation is that responsibility is difficult to determine. Likely, many small errors and decisions led to the eventual outcome.

And simple rules and punishments like "execute the CEO if people die", like Nassim Taleb's love of Hammurabi's Code, are going to shut down the industry since it may well be that the CEO can't really guarantee mistakes don't occur.

mrtoomin
18
4 days ago
Hongxiquan
33
4 days ago

did we? I think the we you're talking about is a certain faction of rich people who had a vested interest. There's no democracy involved in this red tape removal.

chavs_arent_real
21
4 days ago

Regulatory capture

IronTek
9
4 days ago

Do you blame Boeing for charging for it, or the airlines for being too cheap to pay for it (how about both)?

TaxExempt
16
4 days ago

Boeing.

Randomlucko
8
4 days ago

Both. But a heavier burden on Boeing without a doubt, specially if the sensors are already on the plane and it's only a software unlock.

bighak
225
4 days ago

A three sensor system is often used for 'similar' things

It's obligatory for a flight critical system. Boeing clearly lied about MCAS being non-critical. On top of that they weirdly decided to only rely on one sensor of the two they had. This is an insane mistake that no engineer would make in a normal situation. Even more insane, a team of engineer. Then the FAA let it happen. The FAA let Boeing self-certify critical systems!

atfyfe
81
4 days ago

The Vox video really drops the ball by not discussing this aspect of the disaster.

Fnhatic
18
4 days ago

Because Vox doesn't know shit about what really happened. This is just popular speculation.

atfyfe
12
4 days ago

Vox, in a nutshell.

DrizztDourden951
19
4 days ago

From what I understand, this is more of a management decision than an engineering decision. The engineers are apparently pissed off about this.

Moreover, MCAS isn't actually critical. MCAS was a band aid to make the MAX8 fly like any other 737, even though the changes made it almost an entirely different airplane from a piloting perspective. Airlines wanted a bigger, more efficient 737. They didn't want an entirely new plane because that would have required them to retrain the pilots. So here we have MCAS. It's very much a noncritical system; however, due to a series of fuckups, it has been given the ability to cause a critical failure, and this went undocumented as far as the airlines are aware.

So engineering failed by making a software error. Management failed by selling a plane with the option to use only one sensor for this system. Management failed again by failing to provide proper reset procedures (yes, they provided some procedures after the first crash, but they amounted to pulling the plug and then plugging it back in, which is suboptimal for the conditions). And then management failed yet again by not taking immediate action on this problem.

To my understanding, Boeing really does have great engineers. They are just stifled by a severely bloated team of subpar managers.

BaddoBab
11
4 days ago

I'd still argue that it's a critical system that its failure can lead to catastrophic outcomes quite easily.

The same way you can still climb out and fly of one of the engines blow up (not recommended for passenger comfort) you can still disable MCAS and fly manually. Nevertheless, both should be rated critical systems.

That doesn't detract from the fact that indeed the management and communication culture doesn't seem to be particularly great (reminds me of the stuff that was talked about when the 787 was released, like rumours of QA so bad that some airlines wouldn't accept planes from one specific site).

The fact that they already had a software patch in the pipeline when the first crash occured would mean they had finally (I assume after loads and loads of engineers bombarding them with requests) given in to the demand to fox that horrible piece of engineering. I'm not aware of any special notice or indication to pilots about the existence and behaviour of MCAS prior to the one given out after the first crash, so either they still couldn't see the problem or just didn't give a fuck.

caverunner17
36
4 days ago

Both Airbus and Boeing do it.

MTOW - Max Take Off Weight. Essentially how heavy the plane can be when taking off. The planes are certified for a certain weight, but buyers can purchase lower weight variants for a discount (they don't need the range, for example), but there is literally no difference between the aircraft. If they ever want the full range, they can purchase the paper upgrade for the full capabilities.

IIRC, Tesla does this as well for their cars.

FriendsOfDeSoto
29
4 days ago

Unlocking extra capability/range/capacity is one thing, keeping people alive is quite another. The Tesla autopilot hardware is in every car, and the safety features of it are active for everyone. They only unlock the wiz-bang auto navigation stuff for a fee.

C-C-X-V-I
58
4 days ago

That's fucking insane

KypAstar
52
4 days ago

Wait, is there legitimately no backup sensor??? On an Airplane???

I know they have low safety factors and all, but sensors usually have an insane amount of redundancy in modern designs. Thats mind-bogglingly careless by those engineers.

vinfox
35
4 days ago

Honestly, yeah. Again, the issue is they thought "well if there is an, issue, the pilots woll just turn it off with this same process they have been trained to use for years and go about their busienss and things will be fine" but... yes its it's incredibly careless and stupid.

It wasnt supposed to be something where an issue was catastrophic. But it was.

dultas
35
4 days ago

Isn't it worse than that? I think the standard procedure to disengage automatic trim on older models was pulling back on yoke, but MCAS doesn't disengage that way, and there was no documentation of that change in the manuals or training until after Lion Air.

It's like if a car manufacture sold you a car where the cruse control no longer stopped if you tapped the brake but you had to put it in neutral instead and they didn't bother to tell you about that change.

Reuters Report

SloightlyOnTheHuh
244
4 days ago

Worked on a few systems where safety is important and I can not image a safety critical system with one or two identical sensors. 3 are required to give a safe result.

vinfox
239
4 days ago

The thought process (which, again, was stupid) was that MCAS wasnt a safety crtitical system, it was more of a convenience system. It adjusts the flight profile so that flying the MAX feels the same as flying the NG, the last 737 version, and so the new engine nacelle shape doesnt lead to a potential stall if the pilot doesnt adjust the pitch forward during turns.

There are a few problems with that. The biggest is that if mcas triggers erroneously, it pitches forward toward the ground and becomes hard to fight. Thats because of a SECOND design oversight where it can retrigger repeatedly. If the pilot pulls back to normal without turning the system off through the trim runaway procedure, the AOA system will still show its incorrect value, so MCAS will just go into effect again. That was the culprit in these crashes.

Pilots know how the procedure but because autopilots involve limited movement (which mcas is, up to 10s, not continuous) identifying it as runaway trim is very difficult -- especially if you dont know that system exists, as in the case of lion air.

Ultimately, the biggest issue is that this system was only engineered with everything working properly in mind. They didnt think about what would happen in the case of malfunctions, which is a huge fuckup. And in this particular case, malfunctions have a cumulative effect that really bones you.

newleaf00
125
4 days ago

asking someone to diagnose a problem where they dont even know the system exists under an extreme stress situation where they have only 2-3 minutes to figure it out is really too much.

OmniYummie
86
4 days ago

That's why this shit wouldn't fly (literally) on the military side of aviation. Even if a system is not flight critical, if a failure of that system can directly lead to a catastrophic failure (loss of life, permanent disability, or >$10 million in damage) it's still considered safety-critical and should be required to meet the risk control objectives for the applicable design assurance level (probably B).

I'm probably biased because it's what I do, but INDUSTRY SHOULDN'T SELF-CERTIFY.

MoonMerman
29
4 days ago

Everything you said is true for commercial airliners as well. They simply dropped the ball evaluating the impact this system would have.

monorail_pilot
40
4 days ago

MCAS has a second function though, which is to counter the underswung momentum of the engines during stall recovery. Essentially, if the plane stalls, and the pilots institute full thrust prior to pitching down, the increased thrust of the LEAP engines (which is below the CG of the aircraft) could prevent stall recovery from ever occurring.

The whole thing though is going to be a mess to clean up, from Boeing fixes to FAA regulation. The MAX should have never been given joint ratings with the NG and that is the true failure here. For all of the issues with Boeing and system design, this would have gone from an air worthiness directive after a couple of dozen incidents without a loss of life, to 300+ bodies and 2 airframes destroyed because Boeing was dead set on a joint type certificate.

Aviation regulations are written in blood. These changes will be no different.

vinfox
8
4 days ago

https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/bdfqm4/the_real_reason_boeings_new_plane_crashed_twice/ekycv03?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

I agree. The way it was certified needs to be looked at, hard (and then used as precedent for future certification)

Be-Right-Back
53
4 days ago

Similar to a system where I worked on with high pressure steam. We required 4 safety valves independent from each other all with the capacity to handle the entire system alone. This was based on the assumption that in a worst case scenario where 1 of the four would fail to operate, and the 2nd was currently tagged out for maintenance, and the 3rd was isolated from the system because of a steam rupture casualty that there would always be one available.

User72733
37
4 days ago

This is because of learned history from explosions. Stream was the power source for a long time in the past with spotty safety. The reason we have steam boiler insurance is because they often just exploded for no reason and takes out the entire 🏢.

JonSnowgaryen
64
4 days ago

Good thing Boeing has plenty of experience making planes so they would definitely think about it!

Oh, wait...

fnordfnordfnordfnord
26
4 days ago

An alert is required and the aircraft/machine must be taken out of service until the faulty sensor is repaired.

JermStudDog
19
4 days ago

Isn't that what Minority Report is about?

I thought it was a fun and interesting way to show the whole point of redundant system checks. Guess that's because I'm an IT guy to begin with and saw the system for what it was, then when that became a focal point of the story, I was pleasantly surprised.

ColorsByVest
8
4 days ago

Isn't that what Minority Report is about?

I believe it was also very similar to Michael Crichton's Airframe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airframe_(novel)

PinkFreudMayweather
17
4 days ago

It's called redundancy and it's not a secret haha

Gov_Martin_OweMalley
38
4 days ago

“Two is one and one is none.”

CommitVelocity
32
4 days ago

Out of curiosity, what happens when none of the three sensors agree on a value?

IDiabhal
393
4 days ago

The Airbus has a system of flight control "laws", which define how much control the computers have over the aircraft. Normally, the aircraft operates in "Normal" law, where these automatic protections can activate.

A disagreement of all three sensors would cause the flight control computers to downgrade the aircraft to "Alternate" law, where the aircraft effectively says to the pilot "I dunno anymore, your problem now" and these protections deactivate. You can also force the aircraft into alternate law, which is useful if two or three of the sensors give the same wrong reading, and the aircraft tries to do something stupid.

It is worth noting that there have been two occasions (that I know of) where Airbuses have done what the Max did in these cases, and the pilots were able to disable the system and recover the aircraft.

Source: I fly Airbuses.

Edit: spelling

-gildash-
79
4 days ago

Great explanation. From a layman's pov thats exactly how I would want it to work - smart enough to know when it should hand control over to a human.

Shaman_Bond
73
4 days ago

We spend a lot of time making sure the EEC software does everything it can to create safe, conservative judgements whenever there are failures. You'd be surprised at how many layers of fail-safes we include in safety critical logic.

Whenever features are disabled or passed up, it's always at the behest of upper management/business analysts. The engineers themselves rarely want to cut corners.

Source: I'm a flight controls engineer for A320neos

shingdao
21
4 days ago

Whenever features are disabled or passed up, it's always at the behest of upper management/business analysts. The engineers themselves rarely want to cut corners.

Many attacking Boeing engineers but the decision to cut corners here was very likely not up to them as you suggest and then the FAA looked the other way. Still, I wonder if any whistleblowers will emerge?

theawesomeone
9
4 days ago

Do you think engineering at Boeing is done with the same perspective and that this issue was influenced by managers?

Shaman_Bond
9
4 days ago

Yes. Almost all engineers want to improve and create. No one wants to make things less safe, especially in such a heavily regulated industry like aerospace is.

I've encountered many instances in our design windows where they ask us why scope was increased or why we are going over hours to implement this fix. It usually just takes a small presentation/document to show we are implementing better design that will save costs downstream, are improving the safety of a system, or are future-proofing a defect instead of being a band-aid fix. This has always worked for me whenever my team's designs go over schedule.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if the program managers at Boeing forced their systems/controls team to send through bad/incomplete software in order to meet cert deadlines in order to compete with the Neos.

Falc0n28
15
4 days ago

Or even worse when it’s only at 1500’ AGL just after takeoff

Ancmaint
14
4 days ago

In things like a cat III autopilot. Aircraft will have three autopilots. If one autopilot disagrees, the other two will vote it out and lock it out. If all three go out the system shuts down and gives control back to the pilots.

nikomo
14
4 days ago

This scales up pretty nicely too. SpaceX uses 3 dual-core consumer-grade Pentiums for their rockets, where both cores run the same program.

So they basically have 6 independent agents voting. Very good for getting reliable operation cheaply in a radiation-bombarded environment.

williamwchuang
56
4 days ago

An Airbus has actually crashed because two sensors were broken and gave out the same exact wrong numbers so the correct sensor was ignored. It minimizes the risks but still doesn't eliminate it.

letsgofire
9
4 days ago

Crash would not be imminent. The pilots could still disable the MCAS and fly it manually. There are switches to manually disable. Also, without that, when the pilot starts manually trimming, MCAS would disable for a short period, then re-engage, if sensor continues feeding erroneous data. The pilot would have to keep adjusting trim to avoid going nose down or stalling. This is not to excuse Boeing or make Airbus look better, just stating the facts. Is MCAS even a thing for A320? Closest I could find is Alpha Protection, but that works differently and was not a hidden feature.

newleaf00
82
4 days ago

yes but there was no way for them to design a new 737 and still be competitive. airlines were in the process of buying new 737 class planes and if they switched to airbus, they'll go all airbus and boeing would be locked out of the 737 class. so there was no way for them to have done it. i think it takes like 10 years to manufacture a new airframe.

boxsterguy
143
4 days ago

yes but there was no way for them to design a new 737 and still be competitive

There was. It just required them to redesign the 737 in the 80s or 90s rather than continuing the ancient early-60s airframe design into the new millennium.

newleaf00
76
4 days ago

It just required them to redesign the 737 in the 80s or 90s rather

lol that's what i said. by the time they had to create the 737 max, airbus was already at their door. it's all about the window where airlines upgrade their planes. boeing management was only looking at the next quarterly profits and not thinking long term. they actually did something similar that allowed airbus to even grow in the first place. they ignored medium sized planes and airbus was able to find an opening. boeing had the monopoly and sat on their laurels. after this 737 max debacle, it's going to hurt them big time.

boxsterguy
9
4 days ago

boeing had the monopoly and sat on their laurels.

Not really, though. The Boeing/Airbus duopoly has been going on for decades. Boeing was never in the majority enough to sit still and let Airbus eat their lunch.

Also, Airbus isn't blameless here, either. Their A300 airframe is also 50+ years old, even if the A320 is from the 80s instead of the 60s. So their airframes are also ancient (though comparatively newer than Boeing's). They're just lucky that they haven't run up against the kinds of limitations that Boeing has, yet. They're there, and if the airframe lasts another ~20 years you can bet they'll have similar problems (not necessarily, "The body is too low for a big ass engine", but there will be something that has to compromise to fit into a 50, 60, 70+ year old airframe design).

I don't have any solid answers here. Obviously if there was value in building a new airframe instead of extending the one they already had, Boeing would've done the latter. Somehow we need to make that industry value updating airframes more than once or twice a century. Maybe that's extra regulations that make the old airframes unprofitable to continue. Maybe it's tax incentives to build new instead of repurpose old. I don't know. But as it stands right now the industry is just bodging together shit on top of shit, and Boeing's only the latest that got into trouble for it.

Bananus_Magnus
12
4 days ago

Also, Airbus isn't blameless here, either. Their A300 airframe is also 50+ years old, even if the A320 is from the 80s instead of the 60s. So their airframes are also ancient (though comparatively newer than Boeing's). They're just lucky that they haven't run up against the kinds of limitations that Boeing has, yet.

What exactly are you arguing for here?

Boeing made a shitty business/engineering decision which ended up in people dying, and you're about how Airbus also has older frames so they're equally to blame???

Maybe the difference is that Airbus managed to engineer their current aircraft without compromising safety for money.

IncorruptPimp
10
4 days ago

The airframe of the A300 and the A320 series is very different. The A320 series' airframe was designed during the very late 70's under the JET programme and is a single aisle compared to the double aisle A300. Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1997/1997%20-%202904.html (there's many more, just Google it.) You can clearly see that the airframe of the single aisle S.A1/2/3 (A320) family really deviates from the physical features on the widebody A300/A310. Key differences include the much more rounded nose cone, much different tapering of the stern, and also the much more bullet shaped airframe of the widebodies compared to the single aisle airframe of the A320 family. TL;DR Did you mean the A300 and the A330/340 maybe? Because the single aisle airframe of the A320 family isn't really that much like the airframe of the A300 at all.

ycnz
9
4 days ago

Err, do you have a source for the A300 and A320 using the same airframe? This post rather implies that the A320 is closer to the A330s than the A300/A310s.

nacey_regans_socks
55
4 days ago

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=F4IGl4OizM4

This is how they got around that. If it had longer gear the airframe would have to be modified from its current design and it would have lost it’s common type certificate with the old 737. The “type certificate” is what the FAA uses to say a certain type of plane is similar enough that a pilot certified in the type can fly any plane. This saves a ton of money on training and maintenance there for saving the operating airline money. It’s why the 737 max had so many half assed work arounds.

Note: I’m an aircraft mechanic but do not work on this type of aircraft.

friend0rags
39
4 days ago

So maybe the sensor should trip an alarm instead of taking over when pitch is too high for a possible stall?...

AtomicFlx
66
4 days ago

But then it wouldn't have a common cockpit feel from the older 737's, hence MCAS. The problem is avoiding re-certifying the aircraft, AND retraining all the pilots. Training pilots is a huge expense and avoiding that makes the plane a better option for airlines.

gravitas-deficiency
120
4 days ago

TL;DR: it would have been more expensive. That's why people have died, to be absolutely clear: because Boeing prioritized profit over safety to a frankly unjustifiable degree.

n3onfx
8
4 days ago

Jesus fuck, a warning about a critical feature failing is "optional" now.

Druggedhippo
9
4 days ago

Angle of Attack indicators themselves have traditionally not been a critical component for airlines. A NASA review into AoA indicators found no "documented" evidence (though there was heaps of anecdotal ones), that it was inherently beneficial to flight.

Review of Research on Angle-of-Attack Indicator Effectiveness - NASA 2014

... definitive works quantifying these benefits were not found. The literature did show that AoA can be a beneficial display and may be used in the following phases of flight: take-off, climb, turning, maximizing cruise, descent, final approach, low speed maneuvers, maneuvers to flare, landing, as well as high g turns, approach to stall, and identifying and recovering from stalls at low and high altitudes. However, definitive works that determine the requirements for an AoA display were not found...

However, most of the literature concerning the benefits in these areas is conjecture based on the information available from an AoA display and how it may be used by a pilot/crew.

The problem is that Boeing created a critical system that relied on AoA, which was MCAS, without then considering the AoA should become something the pilot should know about.

vinfox
20
4 days ago

There's not any indication that AOA vanes are less reliable than anyone thought. They're the same vanes they always were, and there were malfunctions before the MAX. The issue is just that when there is a malfunction now it's potentially catastrophic.

TheAdvocate
8
4 days ago

reminds me of the DC-8 with the slightest of icing and you can easily over rotate...

Scout_022
44
4 days ago

I'm wondering why they didn't just make the landing gear taller? that seems like it would have corrected the lowness problem. but then again, I'm not an airplane engineer.

Mexnexus
160
4 days ago

They could not do it, the gear is part pf the legacy certification that allowed Boeing to use the old design, if they made the changes it would need a recertification as a new plane and it would take months and lots of $$$ to do it and also lose comonality with other aircraft and fleets.... so they could not do it...

FARTBOX_DESTROYER
148
4 days ago

the legacy certification

well it sounds like we've identified another issue.

Mexnexus
79
4 days ago

You are right Boeing has used this 60´s design way too much... and its bitten them.

runfayfun
12
4 days ago

No, it's bitten the pilots and passengers who died. Boeing might get hit with a multimillion dollar fine and lose a lot of customers, but the money they saved in the interim is massive and (many economists might say) overcomes that.

GekkePrutser
9
4 days ago

Unfortunately you're right :( Same twisted business economics as the Ford Pinto.

StyxFerryman
71
4 days ago

One of the features of the 737 is you can load both passengers and luggage without special equipment. Making it higher off the ground would defeat that.

In addition if you put longer undercarriage on, you also have to re-engineer a lot of other things. Longer undercarriage weighs more, needs bigger space for stowage when retracted etc etc. If you're not careful you end up with a completely new plane, or at least one that needs to undergo the full certification process.

Basically Boeing were struggling to make the 737 stay competitive with various Airbus A320 models and screwed things up.

Scout_022
26
4 days ago

Hmm. Seems like they should just design a whole new plane.

cwosont
60
4 days ago

The development costs of a clean-sheet aircraft design can easily run into the tens of billions, which is what Boeing was trying avoid. Developing a re-iteration of an already certified aircraft, which pilots and airlines are already familiar with, was the most cost-effective option.

Of course this doesn't justify it, but explains why they took this route.

Olliemon
9
4 days ago

Boeing were all for a clean sheet aircraft, in fact that was their plan all along, they knew full well that the 737 wasn't really up to the job - the NG series of aircraft are already a bodge job.

The reason they didn't build a new one was simple, and it wasn't to do with retooling or development costs or anything like that, otherwise they'd never had made the 787 they'd have just re-engined the 767, the reason is simple: Southwest Airlines and Ryanair.

Those two airlines have such a huge quanitity of existing 73Xs that they are more than able to demand things from Boeing, and at all costs they want to avoid retraining their entire airline on a new type, hence the "new" aircraft had to be a 737, and it had to have a common type with the 737NGs that those airlines already own.

That's why you've got the abortion that is the Max - it is most certainly Boeing's fault that these accidents happened, but they never wanted to build the plane in the first place.

stillusesAOL
24
4 days ago

But aerodynamics can’t be that important on planes, can it?

curiouslyendearing
140
4 days ago

Christ, all of that was so fucking stupid. I can't imagine the horrifying frustration of having the plane your supposed to be flying keep trying to take control from you.

Whoever thought it was a good idea to build software that can intentionally take control from a pilot was an utter idiot.

VealIsNotAVegetable
129
4 days ago

It's one thing for it to intentionally take control from the pilot to make a correction, but the fact that the system was designed to repeatedly intervene when the pilot is actively countering the intervention is just absurd.

It should have failsafed to "pilot input is contrary to intervention input, deactivate system intervention and trigger alarm". If they weren't going to install multiple sensors, at least program a basic logic of - If Computer says down & pilot says up, then computer must be wrong.

TiedtheRoomtogether_
39
4 days ago

Not a reliable solution either.Look at Air France 447

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_447

DeepEmbed
30
4 days ago

This is the basic step that would have cheaply prevented these tragedies. They have a line of code that says, essentially, “If pilot fights automated correction, trigger alarm, report error, stop fighting the pilot.” The pilot would see the warning, be able to decide if a remedy was warranted, or make an emergency landing.

Imatworkreadonly
14
4 days ago

That entirely defeats the purpose of stall protection systems.

If the plane is about to stall, it’s because the pilots fucked up.

BurnedRope
236
4 days ago

No but I bet they have their lobbyists hard at work

qwicmbl
302
4 days ago

Yea one is our acting Secretary of Defense.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_M._Shanahan

lamexcuse
46
4 days ago

Jesus Christ. Yet another unconstitutional “acting” secretary.

RhodesianHunter
14
4 days ago

A couple more decades of this and we're basically Russia.

Kraelman
8
4 days ago

It's fine, he doesn't need any experience because Donald Trump knows more about the military than anybody.

MassiveSwanker
52
4 days ago

Patch notes: fixed a bug where the plane would crash

XTraumaX
994
4 days ago

dumbfounding is why the MCAS only takes data from 1 angle of attack sensor. We have been flying airplanes since the

A better question is why did Boeing decide that the AoA disagreement sensor or protocol or whatever it is was an "optional" thing to put on the plane and why did they upcharge the airlines to have that in their plane?

Something that would've seemingly saved all the lives on both of these planes is completely optional?

I'm no aviation expert or anything. But that's seriously messed up.

JohnTheShtHead
237
4 days ago

yea it's bizarre to someone who is on the outside. i mean...this had to make sense to someone right? i'm kind of curious for the explanation.

somewhat_brave
262
4 days ago

Boeing didn’t want to include it at all, but American Airline’s safety people insisted on having it so Boeing charged them extra to put it in.

mrjimi16
116
4 days ago

That doesn't sound like an optional feature, it sounds like a custom feature. Which is worse.

kinkade
56
4 days ago

woah

tigermilk__
33
4 days ago

since corporations are people, can we charge this one with murder?

uptokesforall
44
4 days ago

Murder requires intent. But wrongful death is appropriate.

Remember that the 9/11 victim's fund was set up not just out of the goodness of politician's hearts but because they wanted to avoid people sueing the airlines. Even in the case of motherfucking terrorism, there were grounds to go after the airlines. (If there weren't then charges would be dismissed in the initial hearing!)

You better believe Boeing has lawsuits coming it's way for this.

Whether they can dent it's bottom line or the people at top will be held liable, IDK. I expect Justice will be tempered by favoritism towards one of our largest defense contractors.

NSFWormholes
61
4 days ago

As an engineer in a large manufacturing company, I can only offer a little ones opinionated input... But I've been in fairly high level meetings with the CEO and VPs and all levels of management (as an administrative role) and the whitewashing of problems that goes on is mind boggling.... Until you realize that the currency for management isn't quality or safety, it's profits and self promotion. It's not amazing to me that this happened... IN ALL HONESTY... It's amazing it doesn't happen every day. It's everyone below management who keeps reach other alive every day, because the number of utterly boneheaded calls that are made every day is truly remarkable. Deep Water Horizon, Challenger, Takata airbags, you name it. These things happen 99 times out of 100 because of management cutting corners and allowing high risk processes to run. The only reason they don't happen every day is because the people in the trenches want to go home in one piece and go the extra mile to make sure they day.

The_Vat
37
4 days ago

Captive regulator

stupidfatamerican
19
4 days ago

Simple. Money.

rudyv8
14
4 days ago

coming from a place that makes fire trucks and rhymes with fierce. They get lots of money and the people in engineering are getting screwed over for profits. Management doesnt give a crap because "there will never not be work" due to the government contracts they get etc. Completely mindless to the fact things can change quickly when this shit hits the fan.

CapsUnlocker
19
4 days ago

It isn't just government contracts. People still buy Ford even after they calculated it would be cheaper to knowingly allow people to burn to death instead of spending approx. $11 per car in a recall or the Ford/Firestone tires incident and of course their role in the Argentinian Dirty War.

The same goes for many big companies including Nestle, Coke, Chiquita Banana, and on and on.

The consumer's memory is short for whatever reasons.

ediboyy
359
4 days ago

A better question is why did the FAA not mandate the redundancy and make the software and extended pilot training a requirement for licensing?

PresentlyInThePast
388
4 days ago

IIRC Boeing lobbied for the right to self-certify their own planes.

salgat
354
4 days ago

This is why both less regulation and regulatory capture can be extremely dangerous.

Hotshot2k4
83
4 days ago

In essence, this highlights the importance of transparency. Transparency can help combat regulatory capture.

pandabearak
114
4 days ago

You can be transparent as much as you want - lots of cities have public meetings all the time with regards to simple planning decisions. This situation has nothing to do with transparency, though. It has to do with oversight and teeth in regulations. If the FAA can't afford to regulate and/or isn't allowed to regulate, posting some PDFs online about regulatory decisions is about as useful as the toilet paper it's printed on.

Hotshot2k4
12
4 days ago

The fact that cities have public meetings and that so much of what they do is a matter of public record has been very helpful in terms of accountability, and it's a safe bet that federal regulation agencies would draw a lot more public attention than some town hall meetings, so even less would be missed. One of the ways in which regulatory capture is demonstrated is by taking note of different treatment of companies by the same agencies, and greater transparency, depending on how and where it's implemented, could make its detection much easier.

pandabearak
12
4 days ago

The fact that cities have public meetings and that so much of what they do is a matter of public record has been very helpful in terms of accountability after the fact

FTFY. Doesn't do much good to be transparent if the FAA has no teeth and can't stop approvals in their tracks.

randomman87
10
4 days ago

Exactly. People say make it open and it'll change. But making it open just means they put it on the internet buried behind 5 useless horrible government websites. They're not going to put it on the front page news. No ones even going to notice. And they were happy to comply. Now it's open. What more could you possibly expect them to do? They've complied with your request.

PresentlyInThePast
14
4 days ago
nar0
13
4 days ago

The worst part is why they could fix it with a software update.

Every plane comes equipped with the necessary sensors and systems to stop these accidents but they are software locked out until you pay Boeing a fee for the optional safety package.

_zenith
11
4 days ago

True, but it does allow you to detect when one is in disagreement with the other

Hazytea019
9
4 days ago

Someone decided money was more important than safety.

whatthefir2
727
4 days ago

Yeah it took the FAA a lot longer than most other countries to ground the MAX

akhorahil187
772
4 days ago

The US suspended operations less than 24 hours after Europe did. And the current administration did so against the advice of the FAA and major US based operators of the 737 Max, whom all expressed confidence in the aircraft.

Fantisimo
82
4 days ago

we're kind of lucky that boeing started to blame the shutdown

NeillBlumpkins
9
4 days ago

Well the FAA had maintenance scheduled for the plane that crashed, and that maintenance was missed because of the shutdown. Boeing isn't innocent, but they didn't pull that statement out of thin air. Ostensibly, if he hadn't thrown a temper tantrum because he wasn't getting his way, that plane wouldn't have crashed. These are just facts.

Edit for you fucks downvoting: The maintenance was to fix the MCAS system and sensors...

So, it would fucking fix the problem.

damnatio_memoriae
14
4 days ago

Maintenance isn't going to fix bad design and zero training.

mjangle1985
45
4 days ago

He did it only after the FAA advised him to do it. The narrative that he overruled them on this is false.

TheVegetaMonologues
62
4 days ago

Um, can you not interrupt the circlejerk, please?

Spaceman2901
14
4 days ago

Shortly after the second crash, I had the opportunity to chat with a Southwest pilot (who had flown both the 737 NGs and the 737 MAX. He was supremely confident in the aircraft (citing the disagree light and the stabilizer runaway procedure).

He was shocked when I told him that the disagree light he takes for granted was an optional extra that Southwest paid for.

whatthefir2
14
4 days ago

There is an acting one though

Benandhispets
102
4 days ago

I mean people would normally also face jail time if they were responsible for so many deaths.

whatthefir2
24
4 days ago

Not if it’s an earnest accident. If they knew what they were doing was unsafe and went ahead anyway then yeah, jail time

ExistentialPhase
56
4 days ago

They were working on a "fix" software update after the Lion Air crash in October, but they didn't warn pilots or airlines that this was a fleet-wide problem. So yes, they knew what they were risking.

vamsi0914
33
4 days ago

Manslaughter is a crime, even if it was accidental.

TheVegetaMonologues
21
4 days ago

This probably wouldn't be considered manslaughter. More like criminal negligence.

BullsLawDan
11
4 days ago

Manslaughter is a crime, even if it was accidental.

Ok and? This wasn't manslaughter.

omniron
10
4 days ago

There’s already been documentation released where they knew they were cutting corners.

It’s LITERALLY impossible for a project like this to NOT have someone know this was unsafe. Not sure if you’ve ever designed anything, but there’s engineers and technicians who spend hours scrutinizing the placement of the threading of even a single screw determining what the broader impact would be.

_ThereWasAnAttempt_
13
4 days ago

You mean the administration that grounded all these planes despite objections from Boeing, airlines, FAA etc?

The antitrump circlejerk knows no limits I guess.

MarlinMr
16
4 days ago

Boeing is very lucky given the current US administration, given the precedence, will do jackshit to hold them accountable.

Boeing literally runs the DoD. Literally.

liedel
84
4 days ago

Literally.

You seem to be unfamiliar with the meaning of that word.

[deleted]
1710
4 days ago

[removed]

BigChickenTrucker
1258
4 days ago

I'm a software developer, and this tragedy has made me so glad I don't work on any mission critical software. I cannot imagine the guilt of being the person who wrote the bug that killed hundreds of people.

Bugs are a fact of life in software development, but good lord at least my bugs don't kill people.

Edit: Appreciate all 300 of the people who have said it's not a bug, it's a design flaw. I agree, and I was being overly simple for folks who might not know how the software design process works. Regardless of what you call it, I can say I know I would take no comfort in telling myself "it was a process problem". The fact is, this design consideration should have been taken into account and planned for during the planning process, and it wasn't, and people died because of that. My heart goes out to the development team, because I guarantee you they are all suffering with serious guilt.

iisixi
518
4 days ago

It doesn't even sound like a software bug but a hardware failure with crew not being trained to turn the software off if the hardware is providing faulty data.

Comp_uter15776
242
4 days ago

From my understanding the MCAS system would automatically re-engage even if it was disabled, so there was no way to definitively counteract it if the sensors kept providing faulty data.

E: Just to clarify I'm referring to the pilots only attempting to disable MCAS without using the cutout switches. Having to manually trim isn't ideal and if the crew weren't aware of MCAS being able to be completely shut off that way then they would not have known to keep it on manual trim.

ikedag808
187
4 days ago

So basically when this one particular sensor goes it causes the plane to nosedive into the earth with no way to disable it. Holy fuck....

Comp_uter15776
136
4 days ago

Yeah, so it would dip the nose down, pilot/FO attempts to correct it, the aircraft sees this as the pitch increasing dramatically and counteracts this with a bigger pull down until the point where they are nosediving. If the crew can disable it they get a brief respite but without knowing why MCAS was just pulling the nose down they wouldn't have been able to determine that pulling up causes the aircraft to fight it more.

Cerrebos
51
4 days ago

I thought plane had software for that ... you know, not going nosedive until crash.

What a weird software bug indeed : able to bypass everything that control the plane back to normal, invisible bug in testing, no one thinking about the risk of not being able to disable it. It's not "one mistake" in plane crash, it's always the sum of everything which could go wrong happening at the same time until it's too much.

Comp_uter15776
22
4 days ago

I'm sure there are alarms to notify the pilot but at that point they'd most definitely already be aware of the issue, but outside of certain jets like the F-16 which has (A)GCAS I don't believe there are any automated systems on the large commercial craft - probably comes down to $$$. The MCAS system was designed to prevent stalling from the increased AOA of the change in engine configuration on the MAX 8 by pushing the nose down. If the aircraft believed it was at a danger of stalling, it may automatically override other anti-collision systems.

But yes, why Boeing didn't bother to let pilots know about the functionality change is beyond me.

Bottled_Void
10
4 days ago

Pull out the two trim switches and trim manually fixes it.

But knowing to do that is the trick.

luketabor
19
4 days ago

From what I understand of the Ethiopia Airlines crash, the following are at least plausible, if not likely:

  1. The stabilizer trim was set (by MCAS) beyond the point elevator authority was lost. It wasn't until after this point that the pilots hit the trim cutoff switches.
  2. The aerodynamic loads on the stabilizer and jackscrew meant manual trim adjustments were very difficult, if not impossible, with the elevators at full extension. Releasing the control stick alleviates this and allows manual trim adjustment, but then the aircraft would enter a much steeper dive.
  3. Manually correcting the extreme trim angle would have required turning the trim wheel dozens of times. This may not have been possible in the amount of time available to the pilots, especially considering #2.
  4. Because of #2 and #3, the pilots re-engaged the trim cutoff switches to regain electric trim control, at which point MCAS re-engaged and continued aggressively trimming the stabilizer. This is the condition the airplane was in at the time of the crash.
ehr0c
9
4 days ago

IIRC that's exactly what the book says you're supposed to do for runaway trim correction.

ehr0c
10
4 days ago

No, you can absolutely disable the system.

TheOrangeFuhrer
162
4 days ago

Have you read about that one software bug that caused a medical radiation machine to overdoes people? That ones fucked.

I just write apps to let people watch TV lol. If I fuck up people dont get to watch their show... Our QA process is pretty tight so I dont understand how something like Boeings fuck up passes QA.

Edit: Therac-25: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therac-25 is what I'm talking about. Thanks /u/Miss_Speller for reminding me of it.

Miss_Speller
69
4 days ago

The Therac-25. That is so famous that it is often used as a case study in hardware/software system design failures.

TheOrangeFuhrer
65
4 days ago

This is the worst part of the whole thing:

"AECL had never tested the Therac-25 with the combination of software and hardware until it was assembled at the hospital."

They never tested the fucking product in it's entirety until it was actually put into a hospital for use.

Supple_Meme
36
4 days ago

Sounds like a typical day as a software engineer /s

Prelsidio
27
4 days ago

Didn't the video just explained the issue is with the sensor giving bad readings?

This seems like a hardware problem, not software. Maybe they should have redundant sensors so they can crosscheck results and at least alert the pilots in the process if so.

Pascalwb
28
4 days ago

When you have 2 sensors and 1 breaks. You have no idea which. So continuing to use this data is pretty bad decision.

DookieNuts
12
4 days ago

But at least the software will know something is not right.

Giving an automated system the ability to crash the plane without adding redundancy to its input is outrageous.

Nothematic
8
4 days ago

Which is why systems on an aircraft are supposed to be double redundant. One goes down and the other two are consistent, so you know which one is faulty.

mackpack
64
4 days ago
Clapaludio
754
4 days ago

If you want your stomach to turn even more you can check out this video with telemetry and cockpit voice recorder of a Russian Airbus 310 crash.

https://youtu.be/RrttTR8e8-4

The pilot let his son at the commands, which pressed a bit too hard on the flight controls and partly deactivated the autopilot.
Partly is the keyword because the pilot didn't know that, and tried correcting while the plane was correcting in its own way.

If only he let the automatic system do their job, they wouldn't have entered that spinning stall.

__LordRupertEverton
345
4 days ago

From the wiki: Pilot error, untrained minor in command of controls

SilentJac
38
4 days ago

Gdi, edgar

shazam99301
164
4 days ago

This one is terrifying.

EarthlyAwakening
120
4 days ago

One of the most terrifying for me is this. There was absolutely no way the pilots could've saved this situation as the cargo went free and shifted inside the plane suddenly.

notyourmethlord
23
4 days ago

That's enough reddit for me today.

usaf5
19
4 days ago

One of my best friends was the first officer on that flight.

lemineftali
14
4 days ago

What’s the story from your perspective?

usaf5
40
4 days ago

The AIB pretty much covered it all. NAC failed to properly train the load on the equipment being moved and definitely didn't provide them with the correct straps, and non defective ones.

They had straps break when they landed at BAF from their pick up and the straps on the first MRAP broke and it rolled back pushing into the ones behind it until all 5 pushed through the bulkhead destroying the Blackbox and horizontal stab corkscrew.

They stood no chance and knowing what we know now and seeing that video it's amazing they got the nose back down.

Knowing FO Brokaw back to his acft MX days I know he and that crew fought like hell to save it.

Still celebrate their lives every year on their bdays talk to his wife all the time.

Unfortunately I've been impacted a couple of times of aircraft mishaps. I always think about the families of those involved in these accidents. That pain is forever.

EDIT: Thanks for the gold

tahlyn
15
4 days ago

And this is why I need Xanax to fly.

Reacher-Said-Nothing
149
4 days ago

They did it themselves with their control inputs. The a310 is such an aerodynamically stable plane that if they had just all suddenly passed out in the cockpit instead, it wouldn't have crashed.

Probably didn't help that Russian attitude indicators are completely backwards from western attitude indicators:

https://i.stack.imgur.com/BoTMI.jpg

Russians are trained on the difference, but there have been more than one instance of them forgetting in emergency scenarios. The first planes they ever fly on use the Russian indicator, then eventually when they move up they retrain to the Western indicator. Emergency scenarios might make them revert to their basic instincts from their early years.

EDIT: Better example. Western indicator: https://youtu.be/dsCt88b5lwI?t=11 Background moves, crosshairs don't.

Russian indicator: https://youtu.be/WiH9G3W1i38?t=84 Plane-shaped crosshairs move

nightpanda893
96
4 days ago

The Russian one just seems so counter-intuitive.

nikoel
15
4 days ago

To be fair. It is not. The graphic is very poor unless you already know what you’re looking at

ELI5: Western one: the horizon moves and the plane is fixed in the foreground

Eastern one: the horizon is fixed and the plane is what moves in the foreground

This graphic is much better (even though quality leaves a lot to desire http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/images/adis.jpg )

Neither is better or worse than it’s counterpart. But imho they create a risk if a pilot jumps from one machine into an other.

(Eg in Helicopters we have a similar problem. Some manufacturers have their blades spin clockwise and some anticlockwise. So pilots jumping from one aircraft into an other, are applying the opposite pedal as they increase power. If pilot has a brainfart and by pure muscle memory apply the wrong pedal, a spin can result. This thankfully doesn’t happen often. In training most are taught to react what the aircraft is doing rather than mechanically apply inputs. But there is no reason to have these two systems anymore. Chose one side and stick to it

MintberryCruuuunch
26
4 days ago

holy shit the passengers not know what the fuck is going on. This is not helping my flying anxiety.

Clapaludio
24
4 days ago

Don't give in to that anxiety. Flying is still various orders of magnitude safer than using a car.

psimwork
49
4 days ago

Michael Chrichton wrote a less well-known book https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airframe_(novel) which used that incident as inspiration.

Metuu
36
4 days ago

I read that book when I was like 12 on my way to Florida in a god damn plane.

Great book. Terrible timing.

phthalo-azure
9
4 days ago

The book was great, and almost read like a non-fiction commentary of the state of the airline industry at the time. Scared the shit out of me...

instantrobotwar
34
4 days ago

FYI this video started my aerophobia. Which took about 7 years to overcome. I'd advise not watching it.

MationMac
33
4 days ago

The pilot let his son at the commands

That cannot possibly be legal?

ChunkyLaFunga
34
4 days ago

The child was not controlling the plane, they only disabled the autopilot by accident. It was against airline regulations though for them to be in the seat though.

Clapaludio
9
4 days ago

Even at the time, nope it wasn't legal.

JunahCg
33
4 days ago

Thank you for linking that for those interested; there is no way in fuck I'm clicking that

Lington
35
4 days ago

I have a fear of planes and I watched it and I honestly don't know why I do this to myself

Banana___Hammock
24
4 days ago

The animation is interesting to watch. You can tell that autopilot is trying to correct course while the pilot is basically fighting against it.

chilachinchila
17
4 days ago

Holy shit

Xtremeskierbfs
8
4 days ago

looks like it went straight down for thousands of feet, the G forces must have been insane

youdirtywanka
1039
4 days ago

This video lacks to mention the pressure put on these companies to maintain a planes FAA type rating which would require pilots to undergo long training sessions for new model planes. That's why Boeing didnt mention the MCAS system and stated the plane was pretty much the same as its predecessor.

I feel for the engineers that were probably strong armed into green lighting the sensors from higher ups. People lost their lives because of it and now the FAA is under investigation.

whatthefir2
336
4 days ago

It did mention that in the video though

coreyonfire
408
4 days ago

It does mention the certification, but it doesn’t go into a lot of detail about it. The video sort of implies that the reason Boeing rushed the 737 MAX to market was to compete with Airbus. But it doesn’t really explain that a key reason that Boeing tried to classify the new upgrades as essentially the same old plane. New upgrades require new certifications, which take time. New upgrades also require extensive new training for pilots, which takes even more time. By playing down the changes, Boeing could skate through an expedited approval and certification and get the plane to market faster.

This whole ordeal was a failure on multiple fronts (software team for the MCAS issues, executive team for downplaying the changes to skirt regulatory process, FAA for not doing due diligence, etc) and it’s probably very difficult to fully explain in a short 5 minute video how this horrible situation came to be.

davesidious
69
4 days ago

And the reason for Boeing wishing to rush to market - Airbus.

doscomputer
27
4 days ago

That quip in the video by itself sounds more like it was just pure hubris on boeings part. Though still very negligent of boeing, they werent sloppy only because they were trying to compete.

semidecided
21
4 days ago

they werent sloppy only because they were trying to compete.

But that's exactly why they were sloppy.

polarisdelta
7
4 days ago

MCAS should have been discussed, required or not. It's not something the pilots should have to worry about but it is something that might try to take control from them. Airbus training goes into very complete detail about the different Flight Law control modes as well as a variety of other things the plane is doing at any given moment that you can't fully interrupt or control to keep things stable.

Unfortunately though I don't think it would have helped. The 737 has vanishingly few fully automatic features, long term rated types might not be able to dredge up a single new software item in time. More than that the Ethiopian crew had between them 160 hours on type. There are an awful lot of things that can surprise you with those kinds of numbers and if one of them happens at under 1000ft agl your chances of surviving start looking pretty grim. I don't know the Lion Air numbers but if you can't get your shit together enough to be allowed to fly under EASA/Europe then I don't want to step foot on your airplane.

Reacher-Said-Nothing
127
4 days ago

All of these explanations are missing the most important flaw with the 737.

MCAS logic can be patched in code.

Pilots can be trained on AOA sensor failure and know how to disable MCAS.

But you can't fix the fact that the vertical stabilizer will JAM in its position when the MCAS pushes it that far:

https://leehamnews.com/2019/04/03/et302-used-the-cut-out-switches-to-stop-mcas/

Generally when you want to move that bigass fin on the back of the aircraft, you either spin a bigass wheel to your side in the cockpit, or you press little switches on your yoke to do it for you electrically. Well if the MCAS starts going bonkers and pushing that stabilizer too far down, you need to completely disable electric trim to disable MCAS.

But if you disable electric trim, the only way you can move that stabilizer back up to its normal position is with the manual trim wheels.

The manual trim wheels stop working when the stabilizer is too far down and you're flying too fast, because the aerodynamic forces jam it against its own jackscrew, and it can only be recovered by using the electronic trim assist.

But turning on electronic trim assist turns on MCAS. Which pitches the stabilizer back down again.

NOBODY could have saved that plane. It was doomed. Not a team of Boeing engineers could have stopped the fact that the stabilizer was down, the only way to move it up was with electronic trim, but the electronic trim was tied to MCAS that was trying to move it down.

You can't patch that through code, it is a fundamental aerodynamic flaw with the 737 in general, although at least the other ones don't have the MCAS system.

cortezblackrose
19
4 days ago

You can patch it by creating a sequence that allows the pilot to disable MCAS but still allow the electrical systems to work, no?

Reacher-Said-Nothing
28
4 days ago

A switch, really. It needs a "MCAS OFF" switch. Because right now all they have is a "Everything electrical related to the stabilizer, including MCAS" off switch.

Guyupnorth
8
4 days ago

They made a plane that doesn’t fly properly and tried to patch a physical problem with software and killed over 300 people.

sparksterz
7
4 days ago

Thanks for explaining that. I didn't really understand why they wouldn't be able to manually fix it, but it makes a lot more sense to me now.

Nosen
30
4 days ago

How does the FAA type rating work? I take it from your comment that it’s a big piece of the puzzle in understanding these crashes.

Codeine_Cowboy
31
4 days ago

The fact that Southwest's entire fleet is made up of 737s had a lot to do with this. The impact to their bottom line to add an additional type rating would have been tremendous.

whatthefir2
20
4 days ago

Basically you have to get specific training and a check ride on any different aircraft that weighs more than 12500 pounds. A commercial pilot can switch between aircraft lighter than that weight without mandated training (assuming they have the proper certificate)

Boeing and airlines want to make new aircraft that are more efficient but don’t want to make the airlines retrain all their pilots because it is expensive and time consuming. So that means they will do lots of work to make it so that pilots don’t have to be retrained when their airline gets a new more efficient plane. In other words the new plane should be so similar to the older model that a new “type rating” isn’t needed.

Juicy_Brucesky
199
4 days ago

Honestly, I think only 2 planes crashing causing a lot of hoopla is a good thing. Car manufacturers know about issues with cars (that you probably get in every single day of your life) but won't do a recall if they think surviving the lawsuits from the family members of those who died would be cheaper than doing the recall

trifleMap
43
4 days ago

The stakes are simply so much lower in a car than a plane that it's difficult to make a direct comparison.

The safety margins for a €90million airliner cruising at 900km/h, 10,000m high, carrying 2-300 people, are so much narrower than they are in a €15,000 car that will carry at most 5 people, cruising at 90km/h on a road.

At the same time, the training level of pilots is so much higher than your average driver, and there's so many more unforeseeable hazards when it comes to driving. These all lead to lots of car crashes, it's impossible to get much consternation about a handful of crashes.

It's getting better though, most OEMs now apply the same functional safety techniques that have been bread and butter in aviation for a while. New cars are trying their hardest to help you not to crash, as well as protecting you in case it fails to do so.

Team-CCP
17
4 days ago

Which car company do you work for?

jetwildcat
28
4 days ago

A major one.

massenburger
67
4 days ago

git commit -m "fix bug that was literally killing people. added comments. converted spaces to tabs (fuck you jeremy)."

pcakes13
8
4 days ago

Boeing should be forced to install triple redundant sensors/MCAS systems on every single plane at their own expense, as well as pay for mandatory simulator time for any pilot flying this jet. None of that will happen.

vector_ejector
756
4 days ago

Boeing immediately after the crash: "Definitely the fault of the airlines. Yup. Totally their fault for not training their guys!"

Boeing after it comes out they're actually at fault: "This is our mistake and we own it. We're sorry, guys, honest!"

_101011111
233
4 days ago

Just like Boeing covered up the issue with the rudder system back in the 90s. They point the finger at everyone else until backed into a corner.

Credit to /u/Admiral_Cloudberg who made the Imgur post.

Boeing had no choice but to carry out the changes, but the company never stopped trying to deflect blame. While the investigation was ongoing, it adopted a philosophy of trying to avoid paying out damages to families of crews because this could be legally interpreted as an admission of responsibility. It had tampered with the PCU from the Colorado Springs crash and repeatedly tried to misdirect the investigation with “alternative” theories. It is widely suspected that Boeing knew about the problems with the PCU for decades but had done nothing, despite the hundreds of reported incidents. Because no one was collecting all the accounts of rudder deflections, it was likely that no one except Boeing realized how common they were. It was not until people started dying in crashes that enough scrutiny was placed on the 737 to uncover this history of ignoring the problem.

heyitsike
45
4 days ago

They bully their suppliers and believe they are above everyone in the industry. I think it’s about time we get out those old anti-trust law books.

SmudgeyHoney
21
4 days ago

My dad was in the Colorado Springs flight. Boeing blamed it on weather for years.

NoJelloNoPotluck
10
4 days ago

Just read the report. Sorry for the loss of your dad.

thecatgoesmoo
79
4 days ago

My guess is it was a very high up decision to rush this engine and software to the market while the actual engineers building it were screaming "we didn't get to test all scenarios for this... and thats a huge problem".

But yes, I think a VP or whoever made the call of "lets get this to market" should absolutely be in jail.

magusxp
20
4 days ago

This totally smells like scummy management

Preseli
17
4 days ago

There was definite racism leading up to this which boeing indirectly supported. I remember being replied to here on reddit that the fact both crashes where from Africa and Asia was likely the leading cause.

Exemplified that the US was the last reluctant nation to ground the 737 Max.

alltheacro
349
4 days ago

Pretty sure this thread is full of Boeing PR flakeys trying to manage" the story and spread blame around or make it seem inevitable.

Higher up. I responded to someone claiming this was all the fault of airlines not wanting "billions" in retraining costs. Except the Max was made in response to companies switching to the new Airbus Neo...which involves retraining. And then they threw in some comment about this all being the fault of "corporate capitalism", whatever the hell that is.

NigmaNoname
41
4 days ago

Capitalism does it again

R-Slash-Username
12
4 days ago

Capitalism also is why we have affordable air travel in the first place. If Airbus didn't have any financial motivation to increase their market share and their share price then they wouldn't have designed a more fuel efficient plane that allows airlines to sell you cheaper flights.

The competition between Airbus and Boeing has had a net positive on consumers. It's the reason there's innovation in the the industry.

Guano_Loco
9
4 days ago

Which is why we have regulations. Capitalism needs someone reaching in once in a while to say, “maybe not lads. Too many deaths with this one right?”

fuzzyspudkiss
9
4 days ago

Sounds like it's time to put tariffs on Airbus to prevent them from messing with our American companies.

Udontlikecake
8
4 days ago

It’s funny you mention that, because it’s likely to happen because both the US and EU have been illegally aiding their respective airlines.

whatthefir2
464
4 days ago

Well your flight isn’t a on a 737 Max so you’ll be alright

TheSoundOfMusak
144
4 days ago

I asume most airlines have grounded the 737Max for the moment, at least AeroMexico has for sure, causing delays, flights to be overbooked, etc., until they get a fix from Boeing.

obmckenzie
66
4 days ago

This is an article with a list of countries and what steps they've taken towards te 737-Max. From grounding to banning from their airspace:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/which-countries-have-grounded-the-boeing-737-max-jets

Cpt_Soban
57
4 days ago

Australia has announced a temporary ban on flights by 737 Max aircraft, although none of its airlines currently operate them.

Oh good, thanks Qantas!

Shawnj2
7
4 days ago

I mean; there’s no reason to operate new 737s in Australia- basically any flight will be long haul unless you want to go somewhere remote or you want to go to Perth, both of which would be operated by regional jets or smaller planes

An old 737 Combi or 737-200 with a gravel kit might be useful for some flights, but MAXes aren’t really helpful and Qantas would probably prefer the A320 NEO since they’re not reliant on the 737 type rating like Southwest is in the US

bhagatkabhagat
41
4 days ago

So, FAA is an american government authority right? How can a corporate entity hold so much power over a government regulation authority that they can pressure them to haste approvals?
Surely something needs to change.
Because you are not a regulation authority if you can be influenced like that.

M4D_SCIEN7IST
10
4 days ago

100% agree. The FAA is just as much at fault as Boeing. Americans like to politicize things and many will claim this is the fault of greedy capitalists and many others will fault the power-hungry government. News flash - it's both! There are evil, greedy people everywhere. We have to work as a world-wide community to challenge these people so that these things won't keep happening for the sake of money.

alvinchang
10
4 days ago

Hi, Alvin here (from my personal account.) Read the Seattle Times pieces! They describe how the power dynamic between a corporate entity and government agency can be unhealthy (for the public, at least) when the agency is given regulatory authority, but not enough resources to actually do the job well.

uw19
371
4 days ago

The video was great, but fails to mention how Boeing sold indicators for a faulty angle of attack (AOA) sensor that MCAS relied on as an expensive optional add-on. Many airlines with lower budgets didn't purchase this extra software update. What's more, even though the Boeing 737-MAX has 2 AOA sensors, MCAS only relies on 1 sensor to determine if it needs to engage. Both of these issues will be released as fixes to the MCAS update.

Reacher-Said-Nothing
359
4 days ago

None of that solves the major aerodynamic flaw. The Ethiopian pilots knew what to do, they disabled the MCAS, but they then had a different problem:

https://leehamnews.com/2019/04/03/et302-used-the-cut-out-switches-to-stop-mcas/

Disabling the MCAS disables the electronic trim assist. The MCAS put the vertical stabilizer in a very steep downward position that makes the plane point downwards towards the ground. But now that MCAS is disabled, you need to fix that stabilizer and move it back up to flat. But they couldn't. Combined with their high speed, the aerodynamic forces on that deflected stabilizer jammed it against its jackscrew.

Now normally that wouldn't be such a big deal because you have electronic trim assist to move it back up to a normal position. Except the only way you can disable MCAS is by disabling electronic trim. But you can't fix the stabilizer that's pointing your plane towards the ground, because it's jammed, because it's too far deflected, and your manual trim wheels don't work.

A Boeing engineer would not have been able to save that plane. And you can't fix an aerodynamic flaw through code and training.

Arghem
165
4 days ago

The whole "it's a software problem" is a very effectively astroturfed spin. These crashes were 99% related to hardware problems. Single point of mechanical failure for the MCAS sensors and manual trim wheel not working. Software just made the problem worse. Boeing wants the fix to be just a cheap software update. Unfortunately public opinion seems to have bought this hook line and sinker.

chavs_arent_real
43
4 days ago

It is a software design decision to make disabling the MCAS also disable the electronic trim assist.

Homeboy_Harambe
40
4 days ago

Yeah that’s a super important detail. MCAS and similar systems in fly-by-wire systems aren’t that problematic generally speaking. The real issue is that there was no redundancy sensor pre-installed if the primary angle-of-attack sensor failed. The MCAS has no idea if the data fed to it is faulty and will always fully execute on it. That’s maybe the largest safety oversight in the 737-8 Max. A system that can critically ‘fight’ pilot inputs while relying on a single sensor.

Goborn
16
4 days ago

The strangest thing to me is how something so important gets green lit with only a single source as backup. For reference every other system on board a passenger plane that is used in its operations goes down to a single source is classified as an emergency and a mayday call. Single hydraulics, single electrical, single engine, single pilot is a non decision mayday call and immediate landing follows.

ZettabyteGamer
43
4 days ago

Ironically the max will probably be one of, if not the safest aircraft flying for the next few years. They simply cannot afford to have another crash.

UnfairSprinkles
95
4 days ago

Someone should tell physics.

mbleslie
17
4 days ago

Will it ever be safe though? I mean, no amount of software can fix the plane's natural tendency to stall at high thrust. Unless they rejigger the mechanical design of the aircraft itself, the fundamental problem remains.

monopixel
17
4 days ago

The corrected 737 Max will definitively be safe. Boeing and the FAA cannot afford to mess up again on this.

Why could they afford to fuck up the first time? What is the justification? Right. Not getting on that plane, thanks.

nyc_student
11
4 days ago

I remember having that conversation about the note 7 with a friend, after the recall he insisted they would be fixed.

Ducklenuts
8
4 days ago

hundreds of people weren't killed by their phones catching fire

shadowfusion
243
4 days ago

That's like adding an overly aggressive lane keep assist to your car when you took it in for a tuneup and not telling you that they did it or why. Should have been one of the big topics of the training with details of what it did and how to disable in emergency.

Platypuskeeper
89
4 days ago

The whole thing is stomache-churning. Hundreds are dead in two plane crashes. Not because of a collision, not because of bad weather, or a maintenance failure, not because of some catastrophic damage or human error. No, hundreds are dead here because the software of two completely air-worthy planes 'decided' to crash into the ground because of a single faulty sensor, Even with the pilots acting as they had been trained.

It's what I find most disgusting here. There was nothing seriously wrong with the planes nor pilots. This might be the first time we've seen crashes of this magnitude due to nothing more than bad programming. It's frightening.

Plasma_000
19
4 days ago

Also there’s the greater issue here of using software patches to bandaid integral design flaws.

ImprovingTheEskimo
208
4 days ago

Am I the only one who find find the cadence of this background music annoying? It's almost a parody of this type of documentary. The buildup to a sudden 'stop' and then narrator says something 'profound', then the music starts over again.

draginator
208
4 days ago

That's vox in a nutshell. Miss some details, add emotional ones, and take a stance on an issue rather than just reporting the facts.

rustypig
104
4 days ago

Every documentary takes a stance on an issue, you will always have to choose which facts are relevant to include and which aren't, and your personal beliefs and biases will always influence that, even if you're trying to be objective.

shallowminded
15
4 days ago

I mean, this thread is full of people saying

"video should have included [tangential context; dense technical explanation; or rationale for the rationale behind a decision]"

and I can see a documentary that would include those things, but absolutely not a six-minute one for a general audience. So the necessary level of editing is pretty strict to start with - you don't even need to get very deep into personal biases

Triptolemu5
12
4 days ago

The fact that the title is 'the real reason' alone gave me reason to doubt it's veracity.

VTFC
132
4 days ago

I didn't even notice the music

kaminongo
10
4 days ago

Same, reading this comment and realise there were music made me thought: “When did they added the music in?”

WarAndGeese
18
4 days ago

I've concluded that it's the users' fault. This video creator makes videos that they think will reach the widest audience, and I assume data has shown that the most people have short attention spans (for a 6 minute video) and get swayed by dramatic music and pauses and scenes of dead people. I am confident there are better more technical explanations of why the planes crashed, but this is the video that was submitted and upvoted more, and it was upvoted more because of the above reasons, and therefore we are watching it instead of the less dramatic and more technical explanations.

Reacher-Said-Nothing
16
4 days ago

The normal response to this is actually to nose down a bit and reduce stress on the stabilizer to move it. Instead, the pilot re-enabled the electronic stabilizer trim to move the rear stabilizer, turning MCAS back on and sealing their fate.

They were at 400ft at that point. They did not have enough altitude to do the "suddenly pitch down to get a split second of control authority on the stabilizer trim wheel" maneuver.

They re-engaged the electronic trim as a last ditch hail mary.

ency6171
14
4 days ago

In the Ethiopian crash, the very-junior First Officer actually recommended the correct course of action, which was to follow the Runaway Stabilizer Trim checklist, effectively disabling MCAS.

This was the recommended action from Boeing after the Lion crash right?

Assuming you're correct that it was actually the FO that recommended it (haven't read the preliminary report yet), that means the FO actually had positive contribution into trying to resolve the issue! Pretty sad to see that, during the first few days, there were comments discrediting him, saying the FO must have fucked up big time, because he's too junior or something and his low flight hours..

lil-hazza
86
4 days ago

Jesus christ. Hundreds of people died and he's worried about the brand of the plane?!

UnvoicedAztec
23
4 days ago

He really has no empathy for human life, like when he threw paper towels at the victims in Puerto Rico.

NoLox123
18
4 days ago

Thats a GREAT fix.

BurzerKing
13
4 days ago

Those comments gave me cancer

GoldVaulto
11
4 days ago

What a great idea Mr. (My) President!! pleeease let me continue licking your boots through my computer screen.

Reacher-Said-Nothing
9
4 days ago

People continue to admire and support this man.

MarioKartGuy27
105
4 days ago

Welcome to money. Boeing couldn't give two shits about the 300+ people dead. All they care about now is their PR. Shit like this makes me so angry.

PilotTim
136
4 days ago

Ok, Boeing may have made some mistakes but to say the people that work there and run the company don't care about saving lives just isn't accurate.

zoapcfr
68
4 days ago

A lot of people treat companies as if they were a singular person, rather than an ever changing conglomerate of many different people, each with their own thoughts and feelings. I would imagine the vast majority of those people care a lot about the lives lost.

vamsi0914
15
4 days ago

Except it is accurate. They didn’t care. They didn’t care to train pilots on flying the new model cause they were like that’s too expensive. They cut corners and there is no defending that. If pilots knew how the “automated system” worked, they could’ve overrode it and manually taken over. Because software is NEVER 100% accurate.

ehr0c
22
4 days ago

Boeing doesn't pay to train pilots, airlines do.

SmokinDroRogan
31
4 days ago

But airlines get their plane information from Boeing. If Boeing says it requires almost no new retraining, airlines will likely listen. Both are at fault.

etheran123
9
4 days ago

Just wondering, who do you want to be held accountable? The poor dude who wrote the software? The hundreds of engineers that designed the plane?

When you say someone should be held accountable, who would it be?

IWantedToEatTheDonut
7
4 days ago

Do they typically note what plane will be used on a specific route?

PantlessCrocodile
12
4 days ago

Delta does when you book your flight, but they don’t have any 737 Max-8’s anyways. American Airlines and southwest are the only American Airlines who have them. Southwest exclusively flies 737’s, so when they are not grounded, I’m not sure if they let you know which is which beforehand.

EnUnLugarDeLaMancha
71
4 days ago

Another problem (not mentioned in the video) is that the Federal Aviation Administration doesn't have enough resources to do its job. The FAA had to resort to delegate to Boeing parts of the work of certifying their own planes. There is no evidence that this delegation was involved in these crashes but it's shows that the FAA itself needs reforms too: https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/failed-certification-faa-missed-safety-issues-in-the-737-max-system-implicated-in-the-lion-air-crash/

BraggsLaw
39
4 days ago

No national aviation administration has the money to pay an army of engineers to sit on their hands until they need to certify a new airframe or investigate a crash once a year. The DER/DAR system is actually pretty good because the buck stops with their delegates. If one of them was negligent they are criminally liable which will sure put the fear of god in the rest of the DER/DARs if someone goes to jail over this.

thedennisinator
20
4 days ago

Delegation is actually ok since both the FAA and Boeing have a shared interest in keeping planes safe. Here's an explanation from flagsfly, someone more familiar with the matter:

Yes. This system is called an ODA, Organizational Delegation Authority. It's not as sinister as people make it out to be. The interests here are aligned, making unsafe airplanes doesn't make the company money. The volume of substantiation material alone and the fact that it's not without oversight make pencil whipping incredibly hard. The FAA sends a team to audit the ODA and go over each project in excruciating detail every two years, and they are aware of every project that is opened anyways because notification is required. It saves an FAA engineer from 1) having to handhold new engineers or applicants to actually produce certifiable documents and 2) having to attend lots and lots of meetings. 80% of my day is spent on administrative or educational tasks and 20% maybe actually get applied directly to producing a certifiable substantiation document.

A lot of times even in big companies like Boeing, the engineers who just designed a brilliant new product don't even have the first clue on how to prove their product is safe and meets all regulations, and they at least know certification exists. Small companies sometimes come to us after realising no one actually will buy their product without an STC, and their first reaction is "What's an STC?" And then you need to redesign their entire product because their engineers put electrical wires waayyyyy too close to a fuel line. Anyways the FAA doesn't want to deal with that bullshit. They want to tackle new innovation and revolutionary ideas, not the 500000th time someone is trying to certify a new first class seat or a WiFi router. So they delegate the routine and mundane functions to experienced engineers in the industry.

Think about it like taxes sort of. You can file your taxes for free with government forms, or you can pay TurboTax to help you navigate the incredibly complicated tax system. Except in this case the complicated regulatory system is written in blood and all that and the government is short staffed and doesn't have time to try to educate you on what exactly you need to do to comply to the regulations because this other guy over here is trying to certify a MACH 3 business jet and Boeing over here is doing all composites and shit our regulations don't really address that so we need to figure out how exactly they need to comply with them. So they really really don't want to deal with lightbulbs or passenger seats or a new lavatory or some guy having a bold new idea to put two wifi routers of this different model instead of one.

Anyways, there's a whole industry called Certification that exists just for that, it's normal and common, Boeing does it, Airbus America's does it, every single legacy airline has an ODA, and there's a few hundred independent ones.

Source: I do certification.

Edit: Specifically to this Boeing situation, the failure here seems to be communication between the engineers and the cert guys, as reportedly this new behaviour of the MCAS (trimming nose down repeatedly) never was included in the safety analysis. But it's more a fuckup than maliciousness, especially in a project with so many moving parts and a tight deadline. If the FAA retained this function I don't think it would've helped, as we are still reliant on the engineers to at least tell us it does something. The FAA probably wouldn't catch the issue either in the grand scheme of things because it's such a minor function of a minor part it's probably governed by a lines or two lines of code, and reviewers aren't superhuman unfortunately :(

BlueBottleTrees
60
4 days ago

Is this the sort of thing that someone will go to jail for or do they get a golden parachute?

Supple_Meme
50
4 days ago

What, are the Indonesians and Ethiopians gonna waltz into the US and arrest whomever they think is at fault?

skyesdow
17
4 days ago

The funny thing is if a bunch of Indonesians or Ethiopians killed 300 Americans you can bet that those war-mongering fucks would invade these countries in no time.

hmmm333344
19
4 days ago

It’s a multi-billion dollar company run by elites with numerous political connections and influence, so yea, I’d wager golden parachute.

LiterallyaDinosaur
53
4 days ago

And there is no political motivation behind that decision, no way...

AtomicRocketShoes
16
4 days ago

For those interested, this is a very good explanation almost walkthrough of the events and a pilot elaborating on it, which is very informative. However it is a 25 minute video of an expert talking, while the OP Vox video is graphics rich 5 minute explanation designed for a wider audience. I do think the Vox video glosses over some important details that this video discusses, particularly the part where the pilot couldn't manually set the trim and reenabled the MCAS.

coolkirk1701
18
4 days ago

As an aviation major i have to point out its always better to listen to people who know what theyre talking about before listening to internet news services.

wiseoracle
21
4 days ago

Having a major doesn't make the video inaccurate at all. Instead, if there was anything non-factual about it, you should of point out the inaccuracies from all the things you've learned.

kharlos
10
4 days ago

Simply poisoning the well and leaving is more fun though. /s

Reacher-Said-Nothing
10
4 days ago

An angle of attack sensor is a physical small wing about the size of your fist that rotates on a pivot attached to the outside of the aircraft. Like a weather vane, it always points into the direction of the wind. That way you can tell the difference between the direction the plane is pointing, and the direction the plane is moving, by looking at the direction the air is flowing over it. It's not like an accelerometer chip or something, it's a large mechanical device that has to be built to withstand ice and dirt and lightning. They should have had 3, but "dozens" you'd be running out of room to put them on the aircraft, they need to be in certain aerodynamic areas to properly capture the wind stream.

Imreallythatguy
9
4 days ago

That's what i don't understand. Failure modes are a well understood topic in aviation especially when associated with pitch control which can send you nose down into the ground. I don't understand why there isn't like half a dozen sensors that compare data in case one is faulty or installed wrong. That sort of thing is standard operating procedure and insures an incredibly low chance that several components all fail at the same time for something bad to happen.

Atraidis
34
4 days ago

I never understand apologist comments like this with the characteristic false equivalencies like "when a car fails you fix it." There are many logical errors there. Two planes crashed minutes after take off as a result of the same system.

the situation I doubt is as simple as Boeing and airbus were overly competitive and short sighted

You made this claim with less evidence than what was presented in the video

MorningNapalm
12
4 days ago

I don't think it's being an apologist to look at something critically... and the video didn't provide much in the way of sources for the information cited.

There is more to the story, and what's worse I don't think the actual cause has been determined yet. We know it has something to do with the MCAS system, but we don't know exactly what or how it was caused.... So from that standpoint this video is very premature.

Finally, you're right that 2 planes crashed just minutes after take off. But don't forget that 1000's of other 737 Max's have been flying just fine for years.

It's ok to be skeptical until evidence is provided, in fact it's healthy. Don't just take things at face value.

RepublicanKnitter
11
4 days ago

So you're saying it's more nuanced than just a black and white issue. Issues like these are usually multi-layered.

I am a little more curious about the Lion Air crash. What is the redundancy if the AoA Sensor is damaged?

slacker0
8
4 days ago

Another example of moronic Donnie behavior

MeanMortgage
10
4 days ago

This will probably get buried but I had to reply, there are a lot of ignorant comments in here. I work in the aviation industry and have followed this story somewhat closely. It is a sad story but there is also a lot of bad information floating around as well.

Airplane crashes are almost never caused by a single fault or error. They are usually the result of multiple issues all occurring at the same time which causes an accident. In this case it seems to be due to a combination of software programming, pilot error, and bad sensor data all combining. Throwing all this at Boeing's feet is a bit unfair imo. They seem to hold a good amount of responsibility, however I think the media has gone too far in assigning all the responsibility to Boeing (again imo).

What is MCAS?

The ELI5 version is it is a system that was added to help keep the stick force linear for the pilots. Without it the pilots would be pulling up on the stick and have areas where uneven force occurred which would make it much more difficult to fly. It was added due to the larger engines added to the MAX that create lift at higher AoAs. The system is NOT a stall prevention system like so many have said before. It was added as a certification requirement. A somewhat similar system already exists for NG and MAX called speed trim which has not caused any issues. The best explanation I have found of MCAS can be found here.

Why is Boeing allowed to certify their own systems?

While many people like to point to Boeing being delegated to certify parts of their work, I would like to say that airplanes are very complicated and Boeing/Airbus has thousands of engineers working on them. Having the FAA try to individually approve every aspect of an airplane is not economically feasible. Instead there are delegates at the company that work as FAA Authorized Representatives (ARs). These are specialized experts that will approve work done. Boeing isn't the only company that does this. In fact I've heard EASA delegates even more of its work to Airbus (I'm not sure of this and am not that familiar with the process overall). It may not be an 'ideal' situation as there is certainly room for error but having the government be more involved would be much more expensive and time consuming. I think you would also still have some of the same issues of influence between the FAA and Boeing. There are only 2 major commerical airline manufacturers so to become an expert in a field you will likely have worked at one of these companies.

Why wasn't there more documentation for MCAS for pilots?

I'm no pilot so I can't answer for them whether they would like to know about this or not. I can say that in general the information that is given to pilots is made in a way to not be overwhelming. Telling them every little fact or feature on an airplane can overload them with information. Information that will go in one ear and out the other. Should they have been given more information about MCAS? In hindsight it may seem obvious. However, while their training may have not explicitly stated MCAS it did state how to deal with a runaway stabilizer and AoA disagreement.

Boeing tried to profit off of "safety" system?

This was related to an AoA disagreement and AoA reading display that could be added to the airplane as an option. This option was in fact not a safety option that Boeing wanted to profit off of. Pilots are mostly trained not to use AoA readings to fly so this option is not really helpful for pilots and can be added to the "too much information" category for pilots. It was only offered because some pilots are trained to use AoA to fly (Navy I believe?) so it can be helpful in these cases.

Ethiopian Airline pilots followed proper procedures

While the full transcripts of the cockpit recordings haven't been released, the preliminary report did include data showing the pilots did turn off MCAS. However, later they turned this system back on. This is not following procedure and the preliminary report did not address why this happened. The preliminary report did simply state that the pilots followed procedure. One note however, the report was released by the Ethiopian government who wholly owns Ethiopian Airlines. There is a bit of a conflict of interest there imo. Boeing and the NTSB were not given the chance to add their comments to the preliminary report from my understanding. Also, this may be a bit of an unpopular opinion but there was an Airworthiness Directive sent out after the Lion Air crash informing pilots of proper procedures in the case of a runaway stabilizer. The Ethiopian Airlines pilots should have been well aware of this procedure and how to address it given the previous accident. I'm not a pilot so any pilot can chime in here if I am wrong about what they should have been aware of.

Why is only 1 AoA sensor running the system?

There are two AoA sensors on the airplane. Only one of them is used on a given flight. That sensor switches back and forth between flights (unless the system is reset). This has been the standard on 737NG and was not changed for the MAX. There are procedures for an AoA disagreement which the pilots should follow. The actual sensors are fairly reliable and have been used on multiple aircraft so they are not new to the MAX. The Lion Air flight had maintenance work performed on the sensor but the work did not fix incorrect AoA issues. The reason for the wrong AoA readings on the Ethiopian flight is not known yet but I have heard people say a possible bird strike on the sensor caused it but don't think that was confirmed.

Boeing cut corners to compete with Airbus

This video and a few other articles I read have implied that Boeing cut corners by trying making the MAX. Updating an old platform in the 737 instead of coming out with an all new design. I'm not sure I agree that statement of thinking. Boeing definitely created the MAX in a competition with Airbus, however it is also what airlines wanted. Training pilots to an all new aircraft costs airlines money. Having them transition to a modified existing platform is easier. For Boeing, why would they want to create an all new airplane? Creating an all new platform takes years and years of work plus billions of dollars in investment compared to revamping an old design. Using an existing design and updating it is quicker and easier for certification. Saying that this is cutting corners is not how I feel about this practice. The 737 is the most popular commercial airplane of all time. It has billions of flight hours on its platform and has been flying for years are years. That means all the issues and problems with the platform are pretty well known. This will mean a safer airplane to fly on. In this case it was a new system that was added that helped to cause the accidents. Now imagine an entire aircraft full of new systems. There is much more potential for issues to pop up that were not expected. Again, making airplanes is difficult and even the most thorough of testing can sometimes not flush out issues that happen while out in service. I don't think this is Boeing being lazy or cheap, I think it is just the fact that airplanes are difficult to manufacture.

MCAS was an issue previously reported as troublesome

The video says that there were instances of pilots reporting odd behavior likely due to MCAS. There is no record of Boeing ever being told this information or having any reports of MCAS playing a role other than the accidents. I think it is a bit misleading to act like this was a potential known issue that was ignored as I haven't heard any reports that this was the case.

Sorry if I come off as too pro-Boeing but I am a bit surprised by the anti-Boeing comments in this thread. I think the MCAS system was far from perfect and we saw the results of that. However, I don't think this is due to Boeing being cheap or trying to cut corners. Airline accidents sometimes occur although very rarely now which is a good thing. It is sad when they do happen but also the biggest reason for improvements to safety in future designs. Every airplane accident results in future improvements and safety features to prevent them from happening again. This is one of the reasons for airline safety improving so drastically over the years as we learn how to prevent a similar issue from occurring again. Flying on an airplane is incredibly safe, one of the safest things you can do and hopefully we can learn from these accidents to make it even safer.

alexja21
8
4 days ago

I actually fly the MAX, and I've spoken briefly with our company's rep who visited Boeing recently, flew the MAX Sim, and received Boeing's briefing on what actually happened.

I'm not even sure I want to watch this video and subject myself to yet another astoundingly misinformed effort by the media to explain what happened. Listening to the news these last few weeks fives me the exact same impression as CNN's infamous "Who is 4 Chan?" video.

mr_ent
9
4 days ago

Very good and accurate mini-doc.

I would like to point out that they did not show how simple it is to disable the MCAS system.

To disable the MCAS, you need to use the stabilizer trim cutout switches (STAB TRIM CUTOUT) located just behind the thrust levers.

Switch Location

What the switches look like.

ThatPersonFromCanada
12
4 days ago

Make sure to include that if you don't catch it within seconds the force on the manual stab trim is so great due to the nose down that it's already unrecoverable?

mr_ent
10
4 days ago

Not at all. You have the manual trim wheels. You need to have the aircraft slower than 300 knots for that to work, but the aircraft should not be at that speed below 10,000 feet.

That also being said, the flaps being down is a way to disable the MCAS system as well.