Boeing 737 MAX family NEWS ONLY

Forgot about the NASA test aircraft Mark Nankivil plus the FedEx examples.
Saw quite a few MD-11s at Memphis last year on our Spring Break Road Trip after which the announcement came out about retiring their MD-11 fleets. Even saw an MD-10 on the ramp awaiting delivery to a tech school. Really need to get back down there and take pics again....

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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The NTSB are doubly displeased with Boeing. Not only did the doors plug media event violate NTSB rules, but so did the dutch-roll announcement from a few days before.

On top of which NTSB says both statements contained inaccurate or unproven assertions (with the 'designed to make Boeing look better' left unsaid). They seem particularly pissed that Boeing portrayed the whole point of the Alaska Air investigation as finding the individual responsible, rather than working out how it was allowed to happen.

Apparently this is the second time this year NTSB have had to slap Boeing's wrist for unauthorised disclosures. They just seem incapable of learning.
 
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Quite honestly, how they got this far down the line mystifies me. Pretty sure most other companies would have sunk beyond trace by now.
Because they kept pumping the stock price. The current state of US industry allows only three checks on a huge company like this: regulatory agencies, Congress, and the stock market. The Agencies aren't funded/empowered enough, Congress is Congress, and the stock market only cares about "share price go up."
 
Well, the right question would be more: how many other airplane companies have we like that out there?
That answer is "none in the US, and only one other in the world"

So I'm betting that Boeing Commercial gets bailed out. With a massive restructuring involved.
 
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Not with my tax dollars--for those, it should be nationalized...CEOs and managers replaced by Drill Instructors barking at soldiers putting the planes together.
Dude, the government cannot make a successful business out of a whorehouse.

I'm not joking, the IRS took over one in Nevada (legal business in that county), and the place closed.
 

'“The fact that one employee could not fill out one piece of paperwork, in this condition, and result in an accident, was shocking to all of us,” says Lund.'

No mention of the systems that allowed it to happen, and then failed to catch it. *Sigh*

Also pretty much says Boeing was taking recruits off the street and putting them on the line unmonitored with only days of training.
 
TLDR: 1-Boeing has three different teams working on the door plugs, plus the team from Spirit working on the hole where the door plug should go. 2-Team A removed it to let Team Spirit do their fix, but 3-apparently didn't generate any paperwork to say it needed to be put back. 4-Presumably they had a work order for this, and presumably every aircraft has a work log of some description. Why did that work order not tag the door as not fit for flight? And generate a placeholder work order for putting it back? 5-Team Doors then put the door plug back in 'temporarily', 6- without the bolts, 7-because they were moving the aircraft outside and didn't want things getting wet. Apparently they do this 'often'. (*headdesk* Why aren't the doors team making entries in the work log to say the aircraft has an not-fit-for-flight-part-fitted? And checking the paperwork to ensure a fit-for-flight fix is in the system). 8-And finally there's team C who should have done the work, who we've been blaming for months, who were never told the work needed doing.

About the best you can say is it's a miracle this never happened before. The entire process positively invites a cockup.

Sweet Jesus, what you describes looks like a mental asylum rather than an aerospace company.

Boeing python's flying circus.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QfqJwkuCTw
 
Once again, that this airframe went into service and flew for a considerable time (given the plugged exit door was free to move and didn´t provide full sealing as reported by passengers) is a proof that the asylum extend way beyond Boeing. In my book, cabin crew are to inspect the cabin, ground crew are to insure that the plane (and its cabin) are in order to safely host passengers for the next flight and front seaters (let´s call them that way) are accountable for following the plane airworthiness as does the FAA when attributing a registering number (you don´t just stamp an approval because a big stuff is parked on the front apron).

Hell yeah, something went wrong :mad:
 
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Because they kept pumping the stock price. The current state of US industry allows only three checks on a huge company like this: regulatory agencies, Congress, and the stock market. The Agencies aren't funded/empowered enough, Congress is Congress, and the stock market only cares about "share price go up."
Something mentioned numerous times in the John Oliver video
 
Once again, that this airframe went into service and flew for a considerable time (given the plugged exit door was free to move and didn´t provide full sealing as reported by passengers) is a proof that the asylum extend way beyond Boeing. In my book, cabin crew are to inspect the cabin, ground crew are to insure that the plane (and its cabin) are in order to safely host passengers for the next flight and front seaters (let´s call them that way) are accountable for following the plane airworthiness as does the FAA when attributing a registering number (you don´t just stamp an approval because a big stuff is parked on the front apron).

Hell yeah, something went wrong :mad:
The plug was hidden behind the cabin lining panels, which the cabin crew would have needed to remove for any meaningful inspection. Have you ever even *looked* at the inside of an airliner cabin? What it takes to inspect what is covered by those panels? You are flogging that dead horse again.
 
In my book, cabin crew are to inspect the cabin, ground crew are to insure that the plane (and its cabin) are in order to safely host passengers for the next flight and front seaters (let´s call them that way) are accountable for following the plane airworthiness as does the FAA when attributing a registering number (you don´t just stamp an approval because a big stuff is parked on the front apron).
The cabin crew would need to disassemble the area where the plugs are in order to make that inspection. Including removing the seats so that the interior panel can come out. They'd get fined tens of thousands of dollars personally for doing so, as that is not something they are permitted to do by the Federal Aviation Regulations. That's the job of a MECHANIC. And then corporate would get fined on top of that for requiring their employees do something prohibited by the FARs. Corporate would also likely be in breach of the collective bargaining agreements with their mechanics as well, for another very large fine, this time going to the union.

If the plug is seated properly, it sits flush or very nearly so with the skin of the aircraft. I'm talking less than 1mm/0.040" here. Ground crew might note that the plug is sitting a little proud of the surface, which would require the mechanics to disassemble the interior to check the plug. Two or three rows of seats depending on where the seat pitch ends up relative to the interior panels, and that's not counting where to put those seats so they're out of the way... It may require removing every seat behind the plugs so they have room to work!

Considering that EVERY 737 MAX has already had that done (by January 27) and any deficient plugs corrected (and reported to the NTSB), you're asking for a hell of a lot of appearance of compliance for absolutely no actual compliance.
 
No. All pilots have that responsibility.

Since they were aware of passengers reports, they could have simply directed the cabin crew to confirm/infirm the report (fresh air abnormally entering the cabin) and, in case of any doubts, direct one of them to pass their hands around the joint while in flight*. Easy and Quick.

Pilots are not requested to be Engineers or Mechanics. But they are trained and supposed to make themselves proficient to troubleshoot safety problems (at least alert when a potential one surface). There is much more than starring at charts or the 1st class menu.

*They are the ones supposed to know that there is an emergency exit hidden there
 
No. All pilots have that responsibility.

Since they were aware of passengers reports, they could have simply directed the cabin crew to confirm/infirm the report (fresh air abnormally entering the cabin) and, in case of any doubts, direct one of them to pass their hands around the joint while in flight*. Easy and Quick.
That joint is covered by interior paneling. Any joints visible inside the cabin are joints between panels, not the joint of plug to fuselage. When was the last time you were inside an airliner?

Passing your hands over random panel joints is extremely unlikely to help.

The only proper way to check the plug's state, is, as already mentioned by @Scott Kenny :
1) remove several rows of seats
2) remove the panel that covers the plug
... as has since been done, at considerable cost, on any plug-afflicted 737 MAX. On terra firma. By mechanics.
 
@Arjen : If passengers report abnormal airflow coming out of the panel, passing your hand along the joint or in its general location would confirm/infirm a breach or anything else deemed abnormal. There is enough here to direct an inspection.
That´s their job.
 
No. All pilots have that responsibility.

Since they were aware of passengers reports, they could have simply directed the cabin crew to confirm/infirm the report (fresh air abnormally entering the cabin) and, in case of any doubts, direct one of them to pass their hands around the joint while in flight*. Easy and Quick.

Pilots are not requested to be Engineers or Mechanics. But they are trained and supposed to make themselves proficient to troubleshoot safety problems (at least alert when a potential one surface). There is much more than starring at charts or the 1st class menu.

*They are the ones supposed to know that there is an emergency exit hidden there
No, there was NOT an emergency exit there... there was a plug that completely sealed (or was supposed to) that opening with the only way to open would be to remove interior finish panels and unbolt the 4 bolts.
 
C´mon, we all know what we are discussing. There are no doubts among us (we have all seen the installation diagram posted in this thread) that the plug is covered by the interior finish.
If the seal is breached, the airstream abnormal intensity and effect will still be localized, as reported by passengers. We have temperature gradient and outflow*. Those kind of things are directly affecting passenger comfort (at the least), something that is the responsibility of the crew (including the front seaters) to survey and address.

*Whistling noises were reported if my mem stands right
 
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NY Times, 2024-03-12:
Quote 1, executive summary:
A day before the door plug blew out of an Alaska Airlines flight on Jan. 5, engineers and technicians for the airline were so concerned about the mounting evidence of a problem that they wanted the plane to come out of service the next evening and undergo maintenance, interviews and documents show.

But the airline chose to keep the plane, a Boeing 737 Max 9, in service on Jan. 5 with some restrictions, carrying passengers until it completed three flights that were scheduled to end that night in Portland, Ore., the site of one of the airline’s maintenance facilities.

Before the plane could complete that scheduled sequence of flights and go in for the maintenance check, the door plug blew out at 16,000 feet, minutes after embarking on the second flight of the day, from Portland to Ontario International Airport in California.
Quote 2, warning signals:
Donald Wright, the vice president for maintenance and engineering for Alaska Airlines, said the warning signals — a light indicating problems with the plane’s pressurization system — had come on twice in the previous 10 days instead of the three times the airline considers the trigger to take more aggressive action.

Alaska Airlines has repeatedly asserted that there is no evidence that the warning lights, which could also be caused by electronic or other problems, were related to the impending plug blowout.

“From my perspective as the safety guy, looking at all the data, all the leading indicators, there was nothing that would drive me to make a different decision,” Max Tidwell, the vice president for safety and security for Alaska Airlines, said in an interview.
Quote 3, whistling noise:
In his court filing, [lawyer representing passengers] Mr. Lindquist said that passengers on a previous flight heard a “whistling sound” coming from the area of the door plug. The documents say passengers brought the noise to the attention of the flight attendant, who then reported it to the pilots. When asked about the report, Alaska Airlines said it could not find any record of a report of whistling coming from the plane.

Almost a week before the blowout, the 737 had been taken out of service on Dec. 31 because of an issue with the front passenger entry and exit door. Records show the plane resumed service on Jan. 2. However, on Jan. 3, a pressurization warning light was triggered during at least one of the plane’s flights. Alaska Airlines officials said the plane was inspected by engineers and the carrier determined it was safe enough for the plane to continue flying.

The next day, the same light was again triggered.

A spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines said it was then that engineers and technicians scheduled the deeper inspection of the plane for the night of Jan. 5 in Portland. But the airline chose to keep the plane flying with passengers as it made its way across the country that day.

The revelations about the warning signs of a potential problem have raised questions about whether routine inspections should have been able to weave together various indications of an issue and avert the incident.

Jennifer Homendy, the chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, told reporters last week that over the 154 flights the plane had flown since entering service in the fall, small upward movements of the door plug had left visible marks [likely noted in the aircraft's maintenance log - where else?], and possibly created a gap between the panel and the fuselage.

Alaska Airlines officials said they did not notice any unusual gaps between the door plug and the plane’s fuselage during inspections on the days leading up to the door plug coming off [again, likely noted in the aircraft's maintenance log].

Additional evidence includes the pressurization system lights on previous flights and the unconfirmed [lack of records] reports of a whistling noise.

I would repeat cabin crew could have done little more than report passenger concerns. The aircraft involved had an unrelated-to-the-plug front passenger entry and exit door issue (wayward door handle) prior to two occasions where warning lights came on, followed by the blowout a day or so later.

At some point, Alaska Airlines may have dropped the ball in not keeping accurate records of passengers complaints, but the absence of complaints records lands us in the 'absence of proof =/= proof of absence´ thicket.

What remains unchallenged: a 737 MAX was delivered with an improperly installed fuselage plug.
 
I think that is incorrect. If the report from passengers had been taken with care, i-e professionalism, the ground crew would have directed their attention toward the plug and not front door. The cost equation threshold would have been adverted.

Once again, that´s why you have this chain of responsibility to pass and treat information precisely.

You don´t bring your personal car to the mechanics without a word or two explaining your concerns for God sake.
 
NY Times, 2024-03-12:
Quote 1, executive summary:

Quote 2, warning signals:

Quote 3, whistling noise:
... small upward movements of the door plug had left visible marks [likely noted in the aircraft's maintenance log - where else?],
Pretty sure Homendy's talking about witness marks on either the door plug or the hole it sits in. So no entry in the maintenance log because the marks were between two close fitting bits of metal until the plug exited the aircraft, and literally impossible to see.
 
You don´t bring your personal car to the mechanics without a word or two explaining your concerns for God sake.

"I can hear something banging in the boot (trunk)"

Is that their loose stuff, seat not fully locked, loose tyre tools, loose tyre, loose cover over the tyre, loose light fitting, hatchback not locking properly, broken exhaust mounting, broken suspension, crack in the chassis, broken bumper mounting, or what?

I was woken up at 5AM this morning by someone hammering - I stuck my head out of the window and it was definitely hammering, but I couldn't even be sure whether it was coming from up the street or down the street, and that was with very little other ambient noise to confuse the issue. Noise is imprecise.

"I can hear a whistling noise" doesn't tell you where the problem is. Could be coming from centimetres away, could be coming from metres away and finding an exit near the passenger. Could be from airflow through the cabin, airflow through the aircon system ducting, and so on. "I can hear a whistling" does not say "the door plug is about to pop out of the aircraft", there are dozens of other things you would go to first.
 
Really?
Once again, not all passengers reported this. If a lawyers can come around a dozen of witnesses in a matter of a week, among the thousands that the plane flew, there might have been something to look anteriorly to the in -flight failure (and there is always - better loose some time with checking the words of some "nutty" than leave a safety issue unchecked).
But as the NTSB preliminary report doesn´t even mention this, focusing only on technical accounts from industry professionals, I guess that we would have to wait for the trial.
 

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Lawyers will hopefully act in the best interests of their clients.
The NTSB's brief is to find out what happened. Since 1967. I will have their report, please.
 
I think that is incorrect. If the report from passengers had been taken with care, i-e professionalism, the ground crew would have directed their attention toward the plug and not front door. The cost equation threshold would have been adverted.

Once again, that´s why you have this chain of responsibility to pass and treat information precisely.

You don´t bring your personal car to the mechanics without a word or two explaining your concerns for God sake.
And if your complaint at the mechanic is "it makes a funny whistling noise" be prepared to spend an absolute fuckton of money while they have the car for long enough to find that whistle.

Again.

It requires disassembling a significant chunk of the interior to gain access to the plug. Probably removing all seats behind the wings on both sides so that the mechanics have room to work. There's an hour or two for your night check team. Then pull the interior panels out. That's a trivial amount of time, even if you're trying to be gentle so they can be reused. Next you have a lot of insulation to remove, and that absolutely sucks. Now the mechanics can finally look at the plug itself. Where was that photo that showed a plug with the bolts in and tightened to spec?

That's not ground crew work.

Mechanics.

The plane was going to the maintenance base
at the end of the day.


There were ZERO indications that there was a reason that plane could not fly overland routes. Yes, the Airline pulled it from overwater routes due to the alarms on the pressurization system, because having both pressurization controllers working is on the Minimum Equipment List for ETOPS.

Those alarms? There's about a dozen different things that could cause that alarm. None of which would suggest "rip the interior apart and check the plugs." Furthermore, you are assuming that the plug was not reseating itself when pressurization was let off and that there would be something to catch the mechanic's eyes before ripping half the plane apart.

The Cabin Pressurization AUTO FAIL alarm is specifically saying that the primary pressurization controller is having issues maintaining cabin pressure. It could be the controller itself, it could be one of the hydraulic valves DC electrical motors, it could be the outflow door itself, it could be the pressure sensors, it could be the wiring harness between all those parts. None of those components are near the plug, so there's no reason for the crew to specifically look at the plug. If the plug was standing proud of the skin the mechanics might catch it out of the corner of their eye as they walked around the plane. But with it only standing 1mm/0.040" tall of the skin, you'd have to have the lights hit it perfectly on the way into the hangar to cast a shadow, and the spotter would have to be looking right at the perfect spot to see that 1mm shadow from 30ft away. (edited to correct method of actuation)

There are no further details as to what caused the Cabin Pressurization AUTO FAIL alarm.

This is not a modern car that can tell you that cylinder #4 misfired when the engine was at 785rpm, at 1943MDT on Thursday the 23rd of May. Aircraft systems don't have that much memory or even data collection capabilities.

The indication that would be needed was something along the lines of "outflow door position is abnormally low compared to pressure differential." Translation: there's more air coming out of the cabin than just the outflow door opening, there is a leak someplace.

From Wiki:
The aircraft involved in the accident had its cabin pressurization "AUTO FAIL" indicator illuminated on three previous occasions – on December 7, January 3 (in flight), and January 4 (after landing). This indicates that the primary automatic cabin pressurization controller was disabled by a fault condition, which can be caused by a problem with the controller itself, one of the valves it controls, an excessive pressure differential, an excessive rate of cabin pressure change, or a high cabin altitude. When a fault is detected, pressurization control automatically transfers to an alternate automatic controller. The "AUTO FAIL" indicator alerts the crew to this change, but no intervention is prescribed.[49] On each occasion of a fault, the alternate controller was used, and flights proceeded normally.[20] However, due to the faults, Alaska Airlines had restricted the aircraft from operating extended overwater flights (under ETOPS rules) until a detailed maintenance inspection could occur.[20] It is not yet known if the indicator warning is related to the accident; the NTSB investigation will include the issue.[20]

Note 49 is from a Nordwind Airlines procedure that is uploaded to Scribd. Airline-written procedures are considered legal documents in terms of what actions if any they tell the crew to do, and are pretty consistent between airlines.

Note 20 is from the NTSB Media Brief on January 7.

========================================

I am an A&P mechanic, with experience on heavy commercial aircraft.

I am telling you that you are panicking over something that the airline had very little indication was wrong, and that you are blaming the wrong people in this case.
 
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Airliners are not instrumented like a laboratory gig. The gauges and procedures are indicative regarding the type of problem and more troubleshooting is expected to close on a faulty system. A technical investigation can´t stop at staring at the instrument panel. You know that. Mechanics do have often to trace back the faulty system and pilot´s indications are key to that.

When those passengers reported thd problem, a significant piece of evidence was disregarded that should have been taken into consideration. That it would be by pedantism, inattention, fatigue, miscommunication, that very fact is there as surely as an uncompleted plane being put into service by Boeing.
IMOHO, the NTSB should have that covered in their investigation as well. It makes no sense otherwise.

And remember, the voice recorder band was erased by being inappropriately deactivated, the pilots flew a plane with a known deficient pressurization system without refreshing themselves regarding the appropriate procedures (they claimed to have been surprised by the door banging open ; one of them did not down an oxygen mask as (if my mem stands right) is recommended when there is a risk of decompression), both being experienced, The pilots turned back with an elevated speed in complete disregard for the passengers. I read 270kts. Do you realize how fast it is for being exposed to that airstream (both seats close to the opening were torn apart!)? I think both pilots should have known better. Personal opinion only obviously.

The plug blowing out at such a low alt would also indicate that an appropriate pre-flight inspection could have detected a faulty panel adjustment. The faulty pressurization indicator in the climbing portion of the flight (at such a low alt, just above cabin pressure activation) could have seen another crew electing to turn back or circle the time the cabin crew made an inspection...

All this are signs that the craziness certainly didn´t stop at Spirit or Boeing.
 
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Was a busy Sunday, Boeing reached final terms with Spirit on Sunday to purchase it for $37.25 per share mostly in a paper swap (it maxed out its ability to pay in cash when a $35.50 a share offer was rejected). The Airbus-Spirit terms had already been agreed and a tandem Airbus/Boeing announcement is now likely this Monday.

https://www.ft.com/content/c35beaff-03d3-4a55-89ff-8adce4e064ac

At the same time family members of the two MAX crashes were notified on Sunday morning that that afternoon the US Justice Department will give Boeing an ultimatum that they will charge the company with criminal negligence for failing to comply with the previous plea deal, but are offering the company just a fine, further 3 year suspended prosecution and a government overseer if they plead guilty by Saturday. Families are planning on urging the judge not to accept the plea deal if Boeing agrees.

 
When those passengers reported thd problem,
- How many passenger reported 'whistling noises'?
- Where in the cabin were reporting passengers seated?
- Were 'whistling noises' reported on other Alaska Air aircraft as well? If so, did those other aircraft have improperly fitted fuselage plugs, or were other possible causes for the 'whistling noises' found?

I suffer from a mild form of tinnitus, since 2007 I hear a whistling noise that obscures cricket song, something I loved hearing.
 
it seems to me that TomcatVIP is trying very hard to deflect attention and responsibility for the incident away from Boeing and onto the airline.
 
That´s an erroneous lecture on your part (and I did read me back, as surprised I was by your say). I regret it.

Regarding Spirit, @WatcherZero more details here that seems to show that not everything is arrested at this stage:


irbus SE (stock exchange symbol: AIR) has entered into a binding term sheet agreement with Spirit AeroSystems in relation to a potential acquisition of major activities related to Airbus, notably the production of A350 fuselage sections in Kinston, North Carolina, U.S., and St. Nazaire, France; of the A220’s wings and mid-fuselage in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Casablanca, Morocco; as well as of the A220 pylons in Wichita, Kansas, U.S.

With this agreement, Airbus aims to ensure stability of supply for its commercial aircraft programmes through a more sustainable way forward, both operationally and financially, for the various Airbus work packages that Spirit AeroSystems is responsible for today.

The transaction would cover the acquisition of these activities. Airbus will be compensated by payment of $559 million from Spirit AeroSystems, for a nominal consideration of $1.00, subject to adjustments including based on the final transaction perimeter.

Entering into definitive agreements remains subject to an ensuing due diligence process. Whilst there is no guarantee that a transaction will be concluded, all parties are willing and interested to work in good faith to progress and complete this process as timely as possible.

What is surprising is that Airbus get compensated $0,5B before further discussions.
 
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What is surprising is that Airbus get compensated $0,5B before further discussions.
$0.559 billion, in fact. It appears the parts of Spirit Aerosystems that Airbus would acquire are more of a burden than a boon to the current owner(s).

Surprising went out the window for me in this sorry affair a while ago.
<edit> Boeing would pay $8.3 billion for what would remain of Spirit Aerosystems:
The all-stock deal, that values the supplier at $4.7 billion, or $37.25 per share, was announced Monday after months of discussions between Boeing and the company it spun off in 2005. Boeing in March announced its intention to buy Spirit, saying recombining the companies would boost safety.


The total transaction value is approximately $8.3 billion, including Spirit’s last reported net debt.
 
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