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Problems with the 737MAX ?

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But they do, the X-37 is all theirs, the CST-100 will be their capsule design and looking further back they took on the Shuttle when they acquired Rockwell.


i'm not quite sure offhand where their space development is centered but it would not be Seattle, or at least not all of it. Certainly not Charleston, that factory is totally commercial oriented.







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First that is an RR issue, not Boeing although their aircraft are of course affected.


Second, the pairing restriction is somewhat odd -  RR engines get zero houred at each major service as do all aviation engines - its a total strip down. I do not know what the service intervals on Trent engines are however.


It would I suspect relate to ETOPS  certification - 787s are pretty much entirely ETOPS certified, even those that operate for example JFK/LAX - its more cost effective for airlines like United to just certify all aircraft for ETOPS operation. Some airlines did try for a time to segregate out ETOPS aircraft but it rapidly became a certification/scheduling nightmare.


For those who do not know ETOPS is a certification for a twin engined aircraft to operate  over water with a dependency of how many minutes it can fly on a single engine to a divert airport.


With the 787 it is very, very complex at the moment. The original certification was 330 minutes, which let them fly most anywhere but because of issues with the Trent engines the FAA has, for some 25% of the fleet pulled the certification back to 140 minutes.


That becomes a scheduling nightmare for the airlines not only because of what engines an aircraft had originally but because engines move between airframes via maintenance on occasion and this pairing ruling just adds to the complexity. Let alone substitute aircraft when one is declared u/s for a long haul route.


Not that I ever have been but I would not want the scheduling job for any airline operating 787s in ETOPS.


It is totally unworkable and the airlines are justifiably going to be in uproar.


787s are at their most profitable and therefor most commonly used on thin long haul routes with aircraft spread thin. There are  not have anywhere near enough the options to swap and change aircraft, let alone having to verify engine pairs.


I was once on a United 747 going Melbourne/LAX that ended up being serviced in Auckland for 10 hours then had a crew run out of hours and have to divert to Honolulu to meet a crew flown out from LAX. What should have been a 15 or so hour sector turned into over 24 hours and it was only because we had built a day in that we made the Keynote in Dallas 🙂


It could have been much simpler to resolve if United had had a spare 747 for us but airlines do not exactly have aircraft laying around.


With 787s that will most likely be even less the case.


Not really Boeing's fault but more bad press for them just the same.














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At the moment I'd see that as concept only but it could quite literally grow wings and fly.


Blended body/wing concepts are far from new, the US were testing so-called lifting bodies which embodied the same concept way back in the 60s.


Then they did not have the advantage of  CCV which test results showed to be near essential for proper control of the craft. Now CCV is very well understood but although sneaking into commercial aircraft, for example the unfortunate hybrid Boeing tried with MCAS, it is not really a feature of commercial aircraft - yet.


The simplistic design that has endured for decades of a low swept wing with under-slung engines is approaching the limits of what it can do, there are inherent aerodynamic compromises that a design such as this would take out of the picture.


If they pursue it further I'd expect to see greater blending of the engines into the body, but that may already exist in drawings just not on the model.


Pragmatically engines do not want to be too blended, as in the Comet, or maintenance becomes a chore but access here would still be very good with body/engine blending to the lower lip.


Ironically Boeing have a lot of experience with CCV, probably second only to Lockheed who are not in a commercial race but Airbus have inherited a lot of knowledge  from various projects in their defense arm.


Unlike Boeing, who have a bit of a history of trotting out concepts that go nowhere, most recently Sonic Cruiser, Airbus tend to stay pragmatic, so I would suggest that they are looking quite seriously at this for a mid century leap forward.


In typical Airbus fashion it would certainly scale well.





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The MAX is actually back to flight testing, but it failed the first pass because "a light globe illuminated when it should not have."


The indicator was apparently intended to indicate if the nose of the aircraft was pitching up, which apparently it wasn't.


That sounds suspiciously like another software glitch, probably an introduced one.


That could sound bed but assuming good code discipline it probably isn't so they could now be very close to a resolution of the problem. What they are having to endure however is being in the unwelcome full glare of oversight where every little thing is being scrutinised. That's the cross they will have to bear for quite a while which they brought upon themselves when they made the FAA look bad.


It still looks however to be a mid-year earliest return to service with a major credibility challenge to yet overcome to have the public comfortable with flying on the MAX.



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Boeing STILL can't take a trick, now FOD has been found in the tanks of stored 737MAXs:




They've been grappling with this problem for a few years as the article mentions, which makes their reducing the number of quality control engineers a year or so ago yet again a bean counter decision without regard for engineering safety demands.


FOD is, unfortunately, a very persistent problem in aviation not only during production but pretty much throughout the life of an aircraft, stories abound.


Nonetheless to have tools and rags turning up in fuel tanks is completely unacceptable and not likely to do much for the confidence of passengers, let alone crew, when this aircraft does get back to service.


I suppose the best things that can be said is that by the time the aircraft does fly again it can't possibly be much less than squeaky clean. The other thing is that a very harsh light is being shone on the management practices of the company, I'd expect more sackings and early retirements to occur.






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More on the FOD issue:




Sorry Boeing but those "new" procedures sound horribly like what I would expect to be the norm in a production facility and the "matey" tone of the email reeks of a hands-off manager trying to build rapport with people he rarely if ever sees.


Boeing's culture problems seem to go very deep...



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On 19/02/2020 at 12:49 PM, chrisg said:

not likely to do much for the confidence of passengers, let alone crew, when this aircraft does get back to service.


IMHO, Boeing is not going to recover.  They may fix their current issues, and they might not even have any new ones, but the damage to their reputation has been done and Airbus et al will have filled the gap by the time they can do that.


Bad enough to have issues like this on one product line, but obvious cheap-out errors turning up on their freakin' space capsule - the thing they should be treating like it was crafted from gold-plated diamond dust and high explosive... That's indicative of big fat systemic problems.  The kind with 'corporate bean counter' written on them.

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I do agree Cybes, the longer the exposure goes on the more that is being exposed.


I don't think I agree that they, or some reincarnation will not recover, the degree to which the American economy has become dependent upon Boeing cannot be over estimated. But they have had a litany of failures the past couple of years that has been uncovering the "greed is good" mentality that crept into the place and I find it difficult not to agree with Jerusalem that the rot began when the merger with McDonnell Douglas took place.


Basically Boeing had always been an engineering company that took big risks to keep at the forefront. More than once they literally bet the company, never more so than with the 747.


At the moment they have the stalled Max, the 777X that looks fine provided it does not get smeared by FOD as well, the 787 that is contaminated but may recover if they can sort out the Carolina factory.


In the blurry edge there is the KC-46 that is keeping the 767 line open but is beset by problems as well.


Over on the military side they have an order for F-15Xs, the Hornet, and not much else that is going to see further orders. Realistically the F-15 order is a bone being thrown to them, there may be a dribble of new Hornet orders but not much more and the C-17 line has nothing coming down it. The Harrier is finished.


Critically they do not have a new fighter or anything that purports to be "stealthy".  I don't rate stealth as high as some but the -35 has soaked up the market for a long time to come.


You have already noted that their space division is not exactly shining - overall SpaceX is running rings around them.


Whether there is enough, amazingly whilst law suits grow they are actually showing a black bottom line, but it cannot last without something new and there is no demand at the moment for much new. There will be, but it could be a long way out. Right now the market wants low risk expansion, not innovation.


The market the MAX addresses is getting very crowded as China comes in there, and the market for 777X is in competition with the Airbus 350 whilst the market for the 787 is limited.


Sooner or later the Government is probably going to have to step in.


Probably the best thing to do would be to break the company up, it is too big and shows all the signs of suffering internal rot.


That does not solve the market demand for a MAX.


The reason few orders have thus far cancelled is that it would mean airlines that need something now or very soon would be going to the back of a long order line. Were it not for coronavirus China COULD step in but they are unproven products.


Airbus, for reasons already given in this thread are not going to expand production so airlines are going to be facing a crunch.


It is not going to be solved soon but a break up and diversification whilst getting the Gordon Gekkos out of the management structure might be the only way.


Personally I'd close the Chicago office and get the managers back where they belong, Seattle, where they make airplanes, and put that Carolina factory on notice - clean up your act or your are gone.


Painful times mean painful decisions.










Edited by chrisg

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