Moon of Alabama – Sept 3, 2019
United Airline and American Airlines further prolonged the grounding of their Boeing 737 MAX airplanes. They now schedule the plane’s return to the flight line in December. But it is likely that the grounding will continue well into the next year.
After Boeing’s shabby design and lack of safety analysis of its Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) led to the death of 347 people, the grounding of the type and billions of losses, one would expect the company to show some decency and humility. Unfortunately Boeing behavior demonstrates none.
There is still little detailed information on how Boeing will fix MCAS. Nothing was said by Boeing about the manual trim system of the 737 MAX that does not work when it is needed. The unprotected rudder cables of the plane do not meet safety guidelines but were still certified. The planes flight control computers can be overwhelmed by bad data and a fix will be difficult to implement. Boeing continues to say nothing about these issues.
International flight safety regulators no longer trust the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which failed to uncover those problems when it originally certified the new type. The FAA was also the last regulator to grounded the plane after two 737 MAX had crashed. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) asked Boeing to explain and correct five major issues it identified. Other regulators asked additional questions.
Boeing needs to regain the trust of the airlines, pilots and passengers to be able to again sell those planes. Only full and detailed information can achieve that. But the company does not provide any.
As Boeing sells some 80% of its airplanes abroad it needs the good will of the international regulators to get the 737 MAX back into the air. This makes the arrogance it displayed in a meeting with those regulators inexplicable: