FAA issues Final Airworthiness Directive for Max 8
Boeing and FAA had Great Falls
Egg Repair Recipe more than AD
Boeing once held the preeminent aerospace manufacturing position in the world, an achievement based on decades of premier aircraft design, manufacturing and support. Their relationship with the FAA and other certification authorities was excellent, again due to continuous adherence to the highest levels of integrity. The corporate culture appeared to exemplify the SAFETY CULTURE which is essential to reaching the premier airworthiness standards.
Those failures caused Boeing to fall off of a Humpty-Dumpty wall. Not only was the global Boeing egg cracked, but the FAA’s reputation was tarnished.
One of the frequent criticisms of Safety Management Systems (SMS) is the costs associated with administering this state-of-art risk reduction discipline is its cost. The Harvard Business School should include a case study of the Max 8 in one of its textbooks, citing the billions of dollars lost by Boeing by not assigning a real risk factor to its MCAS design.
So, now the Humpty-Dumpty’s have fallen what must be done to put the two eggs back together:
- Careful completion of the AD steps required; there may be financial reasons to kick this inventory out quickly, but that would be extraordinarily myopic!!!
- Establish a SAFETY CULTURE from the top down!!! The past practice was inadequate. For example a blue chip Board of Directors must include one or more members with engineering experience/expertise. The Board’s resume sends a message to the rank and file as well is a source of exemplary example SMS dedication.[i]
- The Boeing ODA now reports to the Engineering Management- good. More is needed; quite clearly the disrespect shown by these Boeing employees for the FAA and other CAAs was inappropriate, especially given the “designees’” responsibility to the Administrator.
- Resurrect their relationships with the CAAs around the world, an Egg Repair task which the FAA shares. Boeing’s presence in the Capitol still has some credibility (large numbers of its employees are located in a number of key states), it should lobby for increased budget for the FAA international budgets.
- Increase its engineering competence. The Administrator has announced his 2021 budget which will “hire more software and systems engineers, human factors experts and other technological subject matter experts.”
- “Our aviation safety organization has a 10-year workforce plan. We’re in the process of reviewing our needs and we will have a focus on human factors experts, systems engineers, software engineers, data scientists so we can stay ahead of new technologies as they’re introduced,” Dickson said.
- In February, the FAA published its 2021 budget request, $17.5 billion, including $10 million assigned to adding 50 new technical employees. This would be the first phase of an increased hiring effort, as the agency actually expects to need a total of 236 new safety critical and safety technical positions.
- “We have plans to recruit system safety engineers, software engineers, as well as additional human factors experts,” Dickson said.
- There will also be increased coordination between the FAA’s flight standards division and AIR in future certification projects. Another change from the agency is a focus on integrating the FAA’s aircraft evaluation group pilots into the overall certification process earlier. Pilots from the evaluation group are to start receiving more training on system safety assessments and certification procedures so that they have more visibility over the type of issues maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) presented to Ethiopian and Lion Air pilots.”
- That’s a fantastic statement, but Congress has the final say!!!
- Recruitment of qualified engineers is an estimable goal but remember Boeing and other OEMs can hire/pay/keep PHDs.
- The FAA lost considerable stature through its Humpty-Dumpty fall, especially their relationships with other CAAs. The number of and speed with which its peers grounded the Max 8 are symptoms of their diminished respect for the FAA. The Egg Repair task sheet for both Boeing and the FAA MUST include positive, remedial actions around the globe.
- This campaign oddly should get some collateral support from EASA; for, if the international network of CAAs allied to perform safety checks of extraterritorial OEM sites, the multinational aerospace manufacturing program will fail.
The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday proposed changes that Boeing must make to the 737 Max, potentially clearing the way for the plane to start flying again by the end of the year.
The changes include updating the plane’s flight control software, revising crew procedures and rerouting internal wiring. Once formally published, the proposal will be open to public comment for 45 days, after which the agency will issue a final ruling.
The agency concluded in a related report published on Monday that its proposal was in line with Boeing’s recommendations. The report said the company’s recommendations had sufficiently addressed the problems that contributed to two fatal crashes, resulting in the worldwide grounding of the jet.
“The F.A.A. has preliminarily determined that Boeing’s proposed changes to the 737 Max design, flight crew procedures and maintenance procedures effectively mitigate the airplane-related safety issues that contributed” to crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people, the agency said.
Several other obstacles remain before the F.A.A. lifts its grounding order on the plane, including the development of pilot training requirements and the review and filing of additional documentation.
RETURN OF THE MAX
How the Boeing 737 Max could make a comeback.
Niraj Chokshi covers the business of transportation, with a focus on autonomous vehicles, airlines and logistics. @nirajc
The FAA has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for a Boeing 737 MAX airworthiness directive (AD) (PDF) as another step to clear the grounded Boeing 737 MAX jets for flight again.
The NPRM proposes mandating a number of design changes. The NPRM is open for public comments with 45 days of publication. To assist with the review of the proposed AD, the FAA also published their Preliminary Summary of the FAA’s Review of the Boeing 737 MAX (PDF).
In short, the NPRM proposes the following steps to be taken before any 737 MAX will be allowed to operate revenue flights:
- Installation/Verification of Flight Control Computer (FCC) Operational Program Software (OPS)
Note: Boeing updated the FCC software to eliminate MCAS reliance on a single AOA sensor signal by using both AOA sensor inputs and changing flight control laws to safeguard against MCAS activation due to a failed or erroneous AOA sensor.
- Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) Revisions
- Minimum Equipment List (MEL) Provisions for Inoperative Flight Control System Functions
- Installation/Verification of MAX Display System (MDS) Software
Note: Boeing has revised the AOA DISAGREE alert message implementation to achieve the original design intent to be standard on all 737 MAX aircraft.
- Horizontal Stabilizer Trim Wire Bundle Routing Change
- AOA Sensor System Test
- Installation/Verification of Flight Control Computer (FCC) Operational Program Software (OPS)
- Operational Readiness Flight
PARIS (Reuters) – Europe’s air safety watchdog has no firm date for Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX to resume flights, it said on Tuesday, adding that the U.S. planemaker had some more work to do before a 17-month-old safety ban could be lifted in Europe.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Monday issued a proposed directive requiring four design or operating changes in the wake of two fatal 737 MAX crashes, in a move which could lead to the agency lifting a grounding order on the jet later this year.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) declined to comment directly on the FAA documents, but said it was still waiting to conduct its own test flights before the commercial ban could be lifted in Europe.
“…we are still working to conduct our test flights, scheduling of which has been hampered by the travel restrictions due to COVID-19,” a spokeswoman said by email
“The test flights are a prerequisite for EASA to approve the return to service of the 737 MAX in Europe.”
EASA reiterated it would only return the aircraft to service once it felt it was safe.
“In general, good progress has been made but there is still some work which Boeing needs to complete,” the spokeswoman said.
“In the light of this position, and in common with the FAA, we cannot yet predict a firm schedule for the return to service and the ungrounding of the aircraft in Europe.”
EASA scrutiny is one of a number of hurdles to a widespread return to service, including getting Canadian approval and a public comment period of 45 days on the FAA’s proposed changes, as well as finalising a new set of pilot-training procedures.
Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun told analysts last week he expected MAX deliveries to resume in the fourth quarter, comments that were interpreted as a suggesting that the U.S. return to service could slip into next year.
Reporting by Tim Hepher. Editing by Jane Merriman
[i] Though news from the past, (2017-2019) this is not good— FAA proposes fining Boeing $1.25 million for exerting undue pressure on safety reps in South Carolina https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/faa-proposes-fining-boeing-1-25-million-fine-for-exerting-undue-pressure-on-safety-reps-in-south-carolina/
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