May 10, 2019 | Kendall Creighton FAA ‘credibility’ is now at stake Boeing now realizes that it needs more than executive spokespeople, lobbyists, and public relations specialists. It wants pilots and flight attendants to vouch for the MAX safety fixes. Boeing is desperate and does not want to wait the 6-12 months it would take to properly vet, test and install software and hardware fixes, and retrain pilots to operate the MAX aircraft even if the MCAS (the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) should balk. Pilots, flight attendants, software experts and passengers need a united front. We must tell Boeing and the FAA, they have lost public trust. It has to be earned back or will be lost forever. The revelations over the past month of Boeing mismanagement are simply stunning. Boeing and the FAA are now under criminal and well as safety investigations by the Department of Justice, Congress, the Department of Transporation’s inspector general, and international civil aviation regulators. There is no quick PR fix for the MAX. No airline and no commercial aircraft model has EVER survived three crashes in a short period because of the same problem. And any aviation union or software expert or company that vouches for the Boeing-proposed iPad-only retraining along with an unvetted, undisclosed software fix would lose all credibility if another MCAS-related crash happens. The current Boeing CEO is hopelessly conflicted and compromised. His self-regulation and anti-union policies, coupled with promises to Wall Street of doubled profit margins, led to the MAX debacle and to related problems for other Boeing aircraft. Of course, he cannot keep his job if he admits his mistakes. so he just doubles down and risks another crash. The Boeing board members need to take charge and replace their discredited, profit-hungry CEO immediately with a safety-conscious engineer or pilot. That will earn back trust in Boeing and U.S. commercial aviation. Otherwise, board members risk losing their own credibility and positions. Paul Hudson President FlyersRights.org The Frantic FAA Rush to Recertify So many revelations! Here are are six noted by eturbonews.com: The certification authority, the FAA, has partially or substantially delegated safety assessment authority to the manufacturer, Boeing. A design change of 400% on the limit of the tail rotation angle, from 0.25 to 2.5 degrees, was implemented after the 737 MAX was certified as airworthy. The design of the MCAS can allow unlimited self-activation, possibly at the maximum permitted tail rotation, over the pilot’s objections. Both the FAA and Boeing were aware of the first three issues but made no significant changes before the second plane crash occurred in Ethiopia. Some safety features had become optional extras on Boeing aircraft. The FAA and Boeing have said the problems of the 737 MAX can be fixed with software alone. And here is what we’ll call a seventh point – a horrifying analysis of the multiple wrong decisions (very readable by laymen), published in spectrum.ieee.org: The critical flaws are multiple in an aircraft that requires an “anti-stall” feature that can consume half of the stabilizer trim authority with one actuation, writes career pilot/software developer Gregory Travis. Your Comments to FAA Are Invited FlyersRights.org has asked for – and received – extended time for the public comment period on Revision 17 of the Flight Standardization Board’s Report. The comment period is now open until May 15. Here is our news release: Press Release: FlyersRights.org Demands Simulator Training for 737 MAX Pilots, Moves for FAA to Extend Deadline for Public Comments on Differential Training FlyersRights’ meets with the NTSB The Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Robert Sumwalt, met with FlyersRights.org recently about the Boeing 737 MAX accidents. A recap by FlyersRights.org’s staff attorney, Andrew Appelbaum is below: Overall, the Chairman seemed very open to our perspectives and to changing his opinion. However, his starting point seemed to be very trusting of Boeing’s software fix and quick to downplay the magnitude of Boeing’s decision to change the engine position of the MAX. A major hurdle for the NTSB is its limited authority. Chairman Sumwalt explained how the NTSB is a reactive agency by statute and cannot initiate a more proactive investigation into the MAX certification process and the FAA. An investigation into the 737 MAX certification would have to be done by DOT/FAA on their own accord or under the direction of Congress. The problem is Congress, believing the FAA lacked expertise and budget, increased the scope of ODA in the last re-authorization bill. The Chairman emphasized that the NTSB (and the FAA to a lesser extent) simply do not have the technical expertise or legal authority, and must rely on Boeing for the technical expertise. The Chairman tried to argue that modifications are made to planes all the time, requiring Boeing to compensate with a new feature. His point was the engine position change was just another change of this nature, but we impressed upon him that this change was so fundamentally different because it made the plane unstable (in addition to the defects of MCAS and its implementation). We discussed the FAA’s practice of grandfathering and waivers, emphasizing that either the MAX should be the last 737 variant, or that the MAX should have to be re-certified as a new family of aircraft. And with Captain Sullenberger’s permission, we conveyed his position that the FAA should mandate simulator training for MAX pilots. He seemed willing to explore having public meetings to bring public attention to the issues, and that seems to be most promising area for action by the NTSB. We urged the Chairman not to rest on a track record of safety as an excuse not to conduct oversight and stop preventable accidents.