To advance production, beat competition and fly high Boeing may have risked the lives of many thousand passenger in this large scam of aviation industry.
Boeing boasts to be the largest company in the aviation technology sector, it is one stop shop for satellites, air force equipment, navy equipment, military assets, and civil aviation.
American aviation market reached tremendous heights when Boeing’s domestic competition McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed, Fokker, and even Convair joined the industry in the 1960s.
However, Boeing in modern times has endured various setbacks with their previous two planes B-787 Dreamliner and B-737 Max 800
The crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 have rocked the aviation industry, sparked numerous investigations, and resulted in the grounding of hundreds of Boeing 737 Max jets worldwide.
Boeing in latest development phase introduced an aircraft that would suit the demand of the current aviation market that needs a narrow body, long-distance planes to cut down the prices.
A British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Frankfurt would likely be operating A-320 While, in the Indian aviation sector, Indigo operates the largest fleet of A-320 and A-321 or their Neo versions.
Moreover, Airbus was offering a lucrative deal to the American Airlines, which had been using Boeing aircraft on most of its domestic and international routes to counter this Boeing launched B-737 Max 800 in 2011.
A Wall Street Journal article claims that the B-737 was put into production even before the board of directors approved the project.
It says,” it did not even wait for its board of directors to approve the design before offering it to American Airlines, which was on the cusp of buying [A320neo craft] from Airbus.”
Boeing 737 MAX is an advanced model of the previously widely used B737-800, the max model, however, incorporates bigger and fuel-efficient engines that are placed slightly ahead towards the cockpit. When the plane takes off these heavy engines tilt the plane too high which results in steep take-off.
Now, at the take-off speed if the plane is too steep it leads to a situation called, stall- Stall happens when the aircraft is at cruising altitude but loses power, the sudden drop in the altitude or a nose dive is the result of stall.
The stall can be recovered if pilots are able to generate enough thrust to compensate the freefall.
However, Boeing 737 Max suffers stall immediately after the take-off that makes it more difficult thus, “Boeing developed Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), that Journal mentioned was used” to compensate for the extra pitch up produced by its larger engines at elevated angle-of-attack (AOA),” The Journal reports.
If the AOA sensor detected too steep a pitch, the MCAS would elevate the horizontal stabilizer — the little wings on the airplane’s tail — to push down the nose of the plane.
However, Boeing has two AOA sensors and technically MCAS must rely on both sensors to initiate the correction, However, in the original MCAS design, a signal from just one of the AOA sensors could trigger the MCAS to push down the nose repeatedly.
If that AOA was faulty, the MCAS would push the nose down even though the 737 MAX was not actually stalling and at normal cruising altitude — thus sending it into a nosedive.
An initial probe into the Lion Air 610 crash found the MCAS system at fault. Lion Air had 189 people on board and its last activity shows a steep nosedive into the Java Sea.
The Wall Street Journal noted,” In the Lion Air crash, the stall-prevention system, based on erroneous sensor information, repeatedly pushed the plane’s nose down. According to a preliminary accident probe, the pilot battled the flight controls while facing a cacophony of alarms before losing control and plunging into the Java Sea.” Said the Journal.
Mother of all Scams:
Southwest Airlines, is the largest buyer of Boeing aircraft, to accommodate the demands of the airlines for fuel efficient, narrow body long-range aircraft, Boeing developed a plane that could have avoided regulatory scrutiny and required little or no new training for the pilots.
However, most shocking of all, airlines that paid extra got better protection from the faulty MCAS than those who did not.
Budget airlines such as Lion Air and others got no training on MCAS and had no mention of the system in the cockpit manual- that is necessary for the pilots to check if an emergency strikes.
Both Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29, 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019, were sent in a steep nosedive due to erroneous sensors.”
Pilots were not trained on the MCAS system and plane flight manual had no description of this kind of system in place.
Journal also reported that American Airlines has paid extra to get cabin alert signal and Boeing executive Mike Sinnett assured American Airlines “this wouldn’t have happened to you guys.”
It is also noted that Boeing’s mid-level managers had told their staff members that the company would have to pay Southwest Airlines $ 1million every time if pilots were to train on the system.
Boeing is working on a fix to the MCAS system, which would require that both AOA sensors deliver similar readings — within 5.5 degrees — before triggering the MCAS to tip down the nose, along with FAA making training and checking of system compulsory before the grounded planes take to the sky.
However, after the recent Paris Air show where Airbus easily outpaced Boeing.
Boeing has to quickly get back all the grounded 737 Max because profits is at one side, while the other side is more humane.
People today fly without even thinking about the technology behind the aircraft and if that technology has a snag, it results to tragedies like the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airways. I personally love flying and I love comparing Boeing vs Airbus but if it comes to safety and security, I would fly with an aircraft manufacturer that assures me that the air travel with them is safe.
Editing Inputs: Taru Medha