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Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras

"One of the optional upgrades, the angle of attack indicator, displays the readings of the two sensors. The other, called a disagree light, is activated if those sensors are at odds with one another." ( More...

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Alan Cordery 10
How can safety be an “option “ on a plane worth tens of millions. Welcome to todays World where the pursuit of profit turns normal people into cretins. Then people preach about not needing regulations. The only people who need regulations are humans, because, given the opportunity, they will lie, cheat and steal to get ahead. Not all, but enough to really count.
jmilleratp 8
If you have a system that is taking inputs from two sensors, then including a disagreement alarm involving those two sensors should be standard equipment. The aircraft never should have been certified without that being standard equipment.
Martin Cooper 2
Well said. A man that refuse to accept the -- that BOEING and the FAA trying to feed us.
Boeing will raise the price a few thousand and install these two things as standard from now on. Seems clear to me that pilot training needs to be improved to move from the 737NG to any MAX version.
Shenghao Han -1
Now you know why 737 Max was almost 1M cheaper than A320s
John Rumble 8
The real crime is that the anomaly caused by the bad sensor was noted on the Lion Air and they kept it in service, only to crash the next day.
jmilleratp -3
Yet another blame-everyone-but-Boeing post.
srobak 4
No - Boeing is at fault here for sure.... but this should have been pulled from service as well when the issue was discovered. 2 failures - if not 3.
As opposed to yet another blame-nobody-but-Boeing post.
Ron Chambers 6
Pilots Fly! They just don’t just push buttons and turn nobs. Hands on, remember it’s “ Maned Flight”, back to the basics boys and girls. These's strikes where “Pilot Error”.
John Rumble 3
Unfortunately yes they do. That's why they were forced to start upset training so they would know how to react when the modern jetliners went out of the performance envelope.
207etops 2
MCAS operates only during manual ("hand flying") flight. There are three ways to keep MCAS from being active. Using the yolk mounted trim switches de-activates MCAS for five seconds, engaging the autopilot (which uses information provided by both AOA's) or using the stabilizer trim cutout switches to remove electric power to the stabilizer drive motors (as the pilots would do in a runaway stabilizer non-normal). Boeing's main fault in this is to not be emphatic with airlines to incorporate MCAS into their training curricula.
I've read elsewhere that MCAS operates only during manual flight, but this account suggests the opposite:

"After flaps 1 to "up" and above clean "MASI up speed" with LNAV engaged I looked at and engaged A Autopilot. As I was returning to my PFD (Primary Flight Display) PM (Pilot Monitoring) called "DESCENDING" followed by almost an immediate: "DONT SINK DONT SINK!"

I immediately disconnected AP (Autopilot) (it WAS engaged as we got full horn etc.) and resumed climb."

jmilleratp 1
I think that these two comments perfectly point out the core issue: MCAS is either too confusing, or has been made too confusing. Any computer system needs to consider how people are going to use it and interpret it. And, that isn't working well, to be certain.
Highflyer1950 6
So they cheaped out and didn’t buy the options. Blame the airline “if” they spec’d out the aircraft like most inadequately trained/knowledgeable carriers do? Probably would have located MH370 within hours if the airline had subscribed to ACARS monitoring or had real time Flight dispatch tracking/following? Some other poster asked the question whether the stick shaker activated as well as MCAS, haven’t seen a reply yet?
Shenghao Han 1
MACAS should be an option, and those two options should be mandatory Prerequisite before MACAS option.
Steve Cutchen 3
Well, unfortunately, the relocation of the engines forward is not an option.
srobak 1
Some of you guys who are hammering Boeing might want to take a closer read of the article.

Yes - sadly the 2 safety features are optional. They are not required by the FAA on any aircraft right now. Consequently - many do not even have it - even aside from the 737. Obviously there is a problem with these sensors - and that's a whole 'nother issue - as seeing they aren't failing on other aircraft with MCAS. The manufacturer of those sensors is about to have a very bad day if that's ere this all RCAs back to.

However -

The two airlines with crashed planes did not buy these safety options. Lion Air is very much a budget airline - so that's not completely surprising.

However - in the US - Southwest - another budget airline - DID buy the option. So did American.
United however - did not.

Think about this for a moment.
ron baird 1
Shareholder profits and senior officer stock options relying on increased profits
Ok, I'm not a pilot or an aircraft engineer expert,but I have a good deal of self-learned knowledge of aircraft systems and how to correct a stall or unknown angle of attack, but can somebody answer this question for me? Why can't a pilot just immediately flip a switch to turn off the automatic stall protection software to (hopefully) avoid a computer commanded stall avert nosedive? Don't pilots have an option to immediately switch to manual flight operation? Do budget airlines, and many foreign airlines teach, and insist that pilots be certified to manually FLY the aircraft, instead of being trained only to operate the computer software? THAT is scary!
David Reed 2
I think the simple answer is no. I watched a demonstration it was more than one step and add to that the time necessary to diagnose the problem when you aren't at cruise altitude and don't have a system warning you of the conflict.
Can it be disengaged BEFORE takeoff roll?
Justthefacs 1
You get what you pay for. Don't blame Boeing, blame Ryan Air and Ethiopian Air management.
Mike Bogue 1
Ummm, why blame Ryanair for anything? The first incident was with Lion Air.
there is no comparison between purchasing a car with "options",and purchasing a large aircraft with "options"..options are leather versus cloth seats,a 4 cylinder versus a 6 cylinder engine,or an automatic or a stick features on vehicles are mandated such as air aircraft that carries hundreds of passengers daily,should not be sold with "options" except maybe the interior decorations and far as the instrumentation ,radar,computer programs, and whatever else makes for safe flying ,its a given those should not be an "extra",and would be updated in a new model aircraft..its also a given that pilots should have simulator training on newer and updated aircraft,and not just a few hours on an i pad, as it is said was done with the boeing 737 max..boeing as the manufacturer should be held responsible for not explaining fully and totally how the upgrades,including computer programs,in this aircraft,are operated,and not emphasizing the importance of training on the specifics..
srobak 1
Actually there is a bit of a comparison. Currently only front air bags are are required. Side and curtain airbags are not. Nor are rear seat bags. They SHOULD be - IMHO.... and they have saved a lot of people on the cars that are equipped with them. But it is either offered as an option on many vehicles - or come standard on your better-equipped & higher-end models and brands.

That being said - I do agree with the rest of your point that passenger safety should never be optional in passenger aircraft.
bbabis 1
Does anyone remember when rear seats and bumpers were options on cars? Later on seat belts were options. It is just taking time for aviation to catch up.
Bernie20910 1
If time were all that it was taking that would be one thing, but it's also taking lives, and that isn't acceptable.
bbabis 1
Unfortunately Bernie, throughout history it is the lives lost that ultimately cause the change. In this instance, it is extra training as a result of the accidents that will solve the issue. I don't think an AoA indicator and disagreement light would have helped either of these crews. They just didn't know how to disengage electric trim or turn a wheel.
Mike Williams 1
As someone who is looking for a replacement car on line. I see the options air bags are listed as "up grades". Does any car maker has any option has an air bag option. I suspect NO. I'm no expert.
Mike Williams 2
I see this is covered again by other commenters.
jmilleratp 1
My not-that-expensive car from 2002 came with front and side airbags included.
Leo Aubry 1
Cars are on the ground as I know and dont cary 150 or more saouels.
Martin Cooper -6
I don't believe ehat I am reading, to make this plane a SAFE plane to fly BOEING has it as an OPTION? Give me a break. It will be on future plabes as STANDARD, are you kidding me? How stupid does BOEING and the FAA think we are to accept BS as this, clearing BOEING as neglegence, and we have STUPID readers going along with this BS brcsuse it didn't happen to a plane load of AMERICANS, as if others lives diesn't matter.
Not "safe." "Safer." Safer is a continuum. "Safe" is only hypothetical or theoretical.
dav555 -3
Way to go Boeing. Making safety features optional and charging for them? Please. There are human beings flying on these machines you know. In response to a silly comment here regarding automobiles, even the cheapest cars include safety features like airbags, anti-lock brakes, etc. I have always praised Boeing and believed that it was the best aircraft manufacturer in the world, but now I'm having doubts. The incompetent executives at Boeing had better wise up and fast.
They do now. They didn't always. Were auto manufacturers to blame when customers opted for cheaper cars without ABS and then had accidents that would've been prevented by ABS? Or were the customers to blame for choosing non-ABS cars? They're rhetorical questions.
dav555 -2
You guys are comparing apples to oranges. Safety on a car is very different from safety on an air craft. A car only transports a few people at a time whereas an aircraft may contain hundreds of people, making an accident much more tragic. Second, in a car you're on the ground and always have a chance of survival in a crash, in an airliner one is hundreds or thousands of feet in the air and rarely survives a crash.
bbabis 3
Safety is safety. Your argument is that we don't have to make cars safe. If you kill one at a time a million times you've still killed a million people. It's the headlines that make the difference.
srobak 1
Actually there is a bit of a comparison. Currently only front air bags are are required. Side and curtain airbags are not. Nor are rear seat bags. They SHOULD be - IMHO.... and they have saved a lot of people on the cars that are equipped with them. But it is either offered as an option on many vehicles - or come standard on your better-equipped & higher-end models and brands.
patrick baker -4
the airline is paying roll royce prices , so trick it out with everything necessary to potential flight hazards. This is silly thinking- "extras???"
The NY Times' headline could just as correctly read "Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines Refused To Pay For". Or if space is tight, "...Features Airlines Refused To Pay For."

But no. Blame America First is the NY Times' MO.
jmilleratp 1
The Boeing acolytes are officially on this post.

[This poster has been suspended.]

btweston 0
What does that even mean?

[This poster has been suspended.]

John Rumble 2
But the Volkswagen won't fall out of the sky and if you hit the brakes it stops
Martin Cooper 0
This was suppose to BE a MERCEDES among Commercial Jets, BOEING just screwed up plain and simple,

[This poster has been suspended.]

srobak 1
His point is along these lines:

Actually there is a bit of a comparison. Currently only front air bags are are required. Side and curtain airbags are not. Nor are rear seat bags. They SHOULD be - IMHO.... and they have saved a lot of people on the cars that are equipped with them. But it is either offered as an option on many vehicles - or come standard on your better-equipped & higher-end models and brands.
F Minook -2
!) The FAA should be renamed the AAA. The Airline Aviation Administration. They seem to work more closely with the airlines and manufacturers than for the the flying public. They work more closely with them to increase the profitability of the industry. Congress does nothing stop the AAA because of the "kick backs" that they receive for elections. The AAA approved the MCAS and the design changes by granting Boeing the authority to make the changes according to another article that I read. It is right for the DOJ and the IG for the FAA to investigate the short comings of the FAA. President Trump has named another insider to head the FAA which is bad for the public.
2) I was a failure analysis for a well known company and the data for the AOA on the first crash indicate that there was excessive ESD entering the left side AOA data to the computer. The computer interpreted the data as a high angle of the nose and naturally tried to prevent a stall. The records show that the AOA vane was replaced before the crash and the static test was good. The computer did show that there was a problem during taxi to take off that ESD was present in the readings. Boeing should request all data from the grounded airplanes to look for ESD signals of the left side data. There is a mechanical flaw that allows ESD to enter the vane system wiring. This flaw may only be on a few planes but the process would clear the airplanes. The problem may be a hardware intrusion into the left vane cabling.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

DAL521 -4
It would be better if it were forbidden to let full testosterone loaded idiots in a airplane! Idiots, who constantly think they can to it better, and in the end, women can do it better!


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