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A Leap Forward for the Troubled 737MAX

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Though there are many opinions out there on the Boeing 737MAX, this is good news for the airline industry and Boeing overall. ( Mais...

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Maxwell Johnson 19
I drive 737s for a living and would happily fly the Max with my whole family on board. In fact, my training having included management of runaway trim incidents, I would not object to piloting the pre-fix Max. Those tragic incidents, with their inexcusable loss of lives, should never have been more than annoying inconveniences. Obviously, the MCAS system needed to be fixed as did the sweetheart relationship between FAA and Boeing. I strongly suspect that the software issues have long since been resolved and FAA is now doing damage control and reputation repair. That's OK, there's no such thing as "too safe." It will be interesting to see if FAA and EASA hold Airbus to the same strict standards.
Paul Hurford 6
Maxwell: While not an ATP, I too would fly the MAX with my entire family as well. I remember well the tragic incidents with the L-188 Lockheed Electra in the late 50's. Different reasons for both failures, but the L-188 air frame is Super Safe today. I believe that the 737 MAX will have a similar history, and the FAA and Boeing will never forget this last year.
Maxwell Johnson 5
I'm too young to remember the heyday of the Electra but it was an experience of riding in the jumpseat of an old cargo-converted Electra as a child that convinced me to become a pilot.
ImperialEagle 2
The early days for the L188 were pretty dicey. However, air travel back then was also dicey compared to the level of safety prevalent today.
Boeing had a reputation for not putting enough tail on their aircraft. (307,314,707)
Douglas had a reputation of relying too much on old design.
Lockheed had a reputation of designing for speed on the cutting edge. Chronic flutter issues. (L14,P38,L188).

Yes, the L188 was a great aircraft. Too bad it took a generation of jets to prove how good it was, especially as a niche aircraft.
I miss them terribly.
Michael Dendo 6
Thank you for your insight Mr. Johnson. My question is will Boeing ever be the great engineering company they were before McDonald Douglas stole the company.
Mark Kanzler 0
It's so easy to blame McDonnell Douglas - a company which made great planes.
Douglas isn't what drove Boeing to drive down cost and price. Competition with Airbus necessitated the Boeing find ways to increase efficiency and reduce cost.
James Simms 2
I also would not have any issues flying the 737 Max. The 727 had issues when it came out as a result of pilots not understanding the flap system of the plane.
ImperialEagle 2
Crew did not "get" flying jets! Many were fresh off of pistons and did not grasp the concept of staying ahead of the airplane. The flaps weren't so much of an issue as the sink-rate and slow spool-up of jet engines.
With 40 degrees of flap you had better keep N1 at about 80% if you needed to toga.This was un- natural to many crew new to the jets.

It ended up taking decades for the crews to learn that the jets had to be flown by the book not the seat of their pants.
Bob Hearst 1
Can we call you "Max737" v
Ike Newton 20
I suspect that when certification tests are completed and the Max returns to service, it will be the safest commercial aircraft flying. Keep at it Boeing.
Could not agree more. Very few aircraft in history have been through this much scrutiny and they are not done yet. The DC-10 had its day as well as the F-111. And maybe add the early V-22 issues but those were not to this level.
James Simms 2
Add in the 727 as it has several crashes early in it use.
Tom Glass 1
Much like going to a restaurant that received a bad sanitation rating last month. This month they're probably the cleanest place in town to eat, except you can't get a table due to the virus.... Oh well, the analogy still works. Even with the 2 issues with this latest version of AC, the 737 history as a whole is I'm sure still one of the safest in commercial history. That doesn't absolve Boeing or the FAA of responsibility for the errors, but I'd still fly on one, particularly now.
Randy Brown 8
Sounds like a bunch of anti American trolls posted here. This will be the safest plane ever. The only variable will be the foreign pilots and maintenance crews that crashed before. Here let’s put a Pakistani crew in so we know their the best pilots out there. Some of these foreign crews are so good they don’t even need a license.
Paul Hurford 2
Randy: What article are you reading? (or) who are the "bunch of anti American trolls posted here." Of course it will be a safe plane, as described by others above. Seriously, I just don't understand your reference to anti-American trolls.
Well said,and i would have liked to be on board with you. it has been a long time, maybe u can answer this question for me: had the mcas failed as it did in both planes, would you have been able to bring me home.
selmer40 4
Why use a MAX 7, not a MAX 8, for testing? The MAX 8 was the problem airplane.
30west 14
Because the MCAS software, not a particular MAX airframe variant, was the focus of the problem attributable to Boeing.
mbrews 2
- The other answer is Boeing saves time. Doing these tests on MAX 7 allows Boeing to a)continue certification of MAX 7 variant SIMULTANEOUS with b) testing of the heavily revised control software. Software changes go much much beyond the mcas. Making it ultra complex by Boeings software developers.
Greg Bunker -1
I would agree. The Max-8 should be the airframe being tested since, I believe, engine placement among other changes were made to this iteration.
Peter Fuller 4
Engine placement on the MAX differs from the NG, but is the same for all four versions of the MAX. It doesn’t matter which version is used for these tests.
Bryan Morgan 1
I guess the FAA will finally determine that shutting off the A/P it will fly like a normal aircraft
robert eagle 0
Is it true that airlines fly with autopilot engaged most of the time because it provides a smoother flight with no spilled drinks in first class? And can a pilot become too accustomed to flying "hands off"? The (older) aircraft I am familiar with had a large red button on the controls to disengage the A/P and if that didn't work, there was a handle to pull to physically disengage the clutches.
Could the MAX accidents have ended differently if the pilots sprang to life at the first sign of trouble, disengaged everything and took control themselves? Or is this what happened.
Just wondering.
Silent Bob 3
No, not really. In fact in rough air the autopilot can actually make things worse because it can’t feel and anticipate changes as well as a human pilot. In most cases it is recommended to disengage the autopilot in greater than moderate turbulence to avoid over controlling.

Dependence on automation is a well known problem in modern commercial aircraft operations. Most airlines advise hand flying as much as possible when workload permits, but with complex departures and arrivals and busy ATC environments we still spend the vast majority of a flight on autopilot. Since the advent of RVSM airspace it is required to use the autopilot in cruise from 29000 to 41000 feet because of the reduced vertical separation.

The Max accidents happened because the crews were confused about what was happening, in part due to multiple conflicting indications. The MCAS is only operational with the autopilot off, in the Lion Air crash the captain repeatedly tried to engage the ap but it wouldn’t engage probably due to the airplane being way out of trim. They weren’t able to ascertain why the trim was running nose down and by the time they activated the cutout switches the nose down force was too much to overcome. At one point during the Lion Air flight they did manage to cut off the trim, but they never pulled the power back and their high speed made it impossible to manually move the trim. As a last resort they reactivated the trim at which point MCAS started trimming nose down again and sealed their fate.
Maximilian Steinhauser -9
This plane and Boeing lost all trust. Remember the excessive penalties Volkswagen had to pay in the US which didn't hurt anybody's health to the zero penalty boeing had to pay for deliberatley killing hundreds of people. The Us justice has a double standard.
Michael Dendo 1
And you are sure that the pilots flying those planes were trained well and we're competent?

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James Bruton 7
A little sensitive about your VW's? You should be. They're junk and their motor design is ridiculous.
James Simms 3
Never mind China & India w/worse pollution issues than the US. They are untouchable sacred cows to some people.

Methinks he been associated/the Green Party too much.
Thomas Schneider 1
Maximilian Steinhauser, VW sells nearly 400,000 new cars in the US each year. And that's just VW. Then we have Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Hyundai, Kia,Suburu, and Fiat. That's a very diverse offering of vehicles not of US origin. This does not sounding like protectionism to me...and clearly, you know not what you say.

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Michael Dendo 5
Robert this may be a little "dark". Can you name ANY plane developed in the last 50 years that hasn't had a mechanical, software or a design flaw? Started flying when I was 5 years old and I even flew and survived a Vicount.

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