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737 Max?

Old 11-29-20, 12:21 AM
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Hondo Gravel
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737 Max?

Would you fly on a 737 Max? Just curious to what you all think about this plane flying again. Iím not sure if I would or not. I seldom fly. Last time on an airplane was 2009 on a 767... If the plane is inherently unstable then itís poorly designed and junk. Maybe they corrected the flaws that made it dive into the ground. Crazy they never told the pilots that there was an anti stall system that would activate if the nose pitched up too steep. Iím not sure I would be comfortable on a 737 Max.
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Old 11-29-20, 12:59 AM
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I had a friend who worked for Boeing. She was always paying for dinner and then expensing it.

The last time I was in a plane it as a Cessna, I think the pilot called it a swamp jumper. There's a delightful town in the North Cascades called Stehekin, you can only get there by hiking trail, boat, or float plane. It's a fantastic place to unplug, the scenery is amazing, there isn't a television for 50 miles in any direction, pretty much all there is for entertainment is talking to people, hiking, riding bikes or horses, swimming, kayaking, or climbing. There are a few dozen people there at any time. You should really visit. Take the Lakeshore or the Cascade Pass trail to get there.

A girl and I had hiked in on the Chelan Lakeshore trail. It was about 20 miles with side trips, took us 2 days. Camped on a grassy beach along the way. We enjoyed the town for a couple days and then had to head back. The boat takes 6 hours to bring you back to civilization. The plane is about 20 minutes. After a few visits we had to try the plane once and see what it's like.

We waited on the dock with our stuff and watched as the plane landed, a guy got out, followed by a terrified looking dog.

The pilot was about 85. Somebody gave him a cinnamon sticky bun from the bakery while we were loading our stuff into the rickety tin can with wings. It's just the two of us and the geriatric pilot. Before long he's pointing at mountains talking about bears he saw in meadows and not paying much attention to flying the plane. He's eating his bun and mumbling about bears. Then suddenly he goes quiet and slumps forward. The lake is 1,000 feet below us. I don't know how to fly or land a plane. This MFer just had a heart attack and now we're both going to die. Then he comes back up, "I dropped my sticky bun!"

When we landed, then floated over to the dock, I threw the door open and ran to dry land.

No I don't think there's a 737 in my future.
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Old 11-29-20, 01:07 AM
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Sure he wasn’t playing with you? Falling asleep while flying then waking up. I bet solid ground was great.
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Old 11-29-20, 02:35 AM
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I am certainly willing to let them fly without me for awhile... but I suspect I will eventually fly in one... my favorite airline, Alaska, plans on using them, eventually.

Time will tell. Boeing sure put their reputation on the line with this... so I'd like to believe they got it right this go around.
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Old 11-29-20, 09:07 AM
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LAst time I was on a plane was in 2008, an MD-90. Sit in the back rows of those at takeoff for a real boneshaking/ear-piercing rattler of a ride! (actually, all the USA carriers stopped flying them as of late-2019). I've got DVT blood clots so can't sit for long periods (+2 hours), which negates me traveling too far in one hop.

737 Max - I'd wait a while and see what happens. Is there a way the pilots can over-ride the software? Just asking because the take-off angle at the local airport near me is really steep.

More software issues - I was driving a company Chevy Malibu earlier this year when it suddenly seemed to have lost its power steering. It was EXTREMELY hard to steer it, tougher than anything I remember in my earlier days when most cars didn't have power steering. Turns out it was a software 'bug' and the software had to be reloaded.
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Old 11-29-20, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by skidder View Post
LAst time I was on a plane was in 2008, an MD-90. Sit in the back rows of those at takeoff for a real boneshaking/ear-piercing rattler of a ride! (actually, all the USA carriers stopped flying them as of late-2019). I've got DVT blood clots so can't sit for long periods (+2 hours), which negates me traveling too far in one hop.

737 Max - I'd wait a while and see what happens. Is there a way the pilots can over-ride the software? Just asking because the take-off angle at the local airport near me is really steep.

More software issues - I was driving a company Chevy Malibu earlier this year when it suddenly seemed to have lost its power steering. It was EXTREMELY hard to steer it, tougher than anything I remember in my earlier days when most cars didn't have power steering. Turns out it was a software 'bug' and the software had to be reloaded.
According to what I have read, the software now requires input from two sensors, and will only force the nose down position once... as far as overriding it... not sure. Also I suspect Boeing is going to provide more pilot training.

I have a wait and see attitude too.
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Old 11-29-20, 11:23 AM
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I definitely would not recommend flying in one of those that has sat idle for all this time. I have read that can be pretty risky. None of this applies to me though as I gave up flying for good in the last century. For several years I was commuting by airline and got so burned out I vowed never again. Don't really regret the times though. I always came in late at night and grabbed a flat rate limo at the airport livery, which was actually cheaper than a taxi to my front door.

I would have no problem with single engine planes though. I enjoyed watching float planes coming and going from harbours around the Strait of Juan De Fuca, but I was on one of those all day whale watching cruises at the time.

Now somewhere around '90 a guy offered me a round trip in his little high wing Cessna to and from his home in Tennessee near AEDC, where I worked off & on several years during those times, for some technical assistance on a big job coming up. The trip south was fun in daylight. He let me take the controls a few times when all you had to do was keep it straight and level when little wind gusts tried to do otherwise. I helped push it in and out of his little rented hanger and refuel it with cheap convenience store gas he hauled in an old tank in the back of his truck. He even showed me a burned out shell of a similar plane in the weeds at the end of the runway that the pilot walked away from. When the working part of this trip was done I really did not want to spend another night in his home with his wife and kids. He understood, but the weather had turned foul, stormy all the way North. All my wheedling and cajoling and his hourly calls for weather reports finally convinced him it was worth the risk so off we went. Needless to say, we lived. He had to radio pretty constantly for altitudes and updates so I couldn't say much over the headsets (speak when spoken to). Afterwards he told me he had never been so concerned while flying, even showed me his flair up of stress related eczema. But he said every time the numerous lightning flashes illuminated the dark cockpit he would look over at me and I always had this big **** eatin' grin on my face so it was worth it to him.
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Old 11-29-20, 11:30 AM
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I would fly on one today If it was a US carrier with a US trained flight crew (and a select few foreign carriers)
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Old 11-29-20, 12:21 PM
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The Max is a poorly conceived bodge that was made to keep an old plane barely competitive in the market with engines it can't fit, and sidestep regulations about a "new" plane, rather than make a competitive product that might carry through the 21st century. This and the OFT flight show that Boeing is coasting on regulatory capture.

That said, it's still many times safer than being in a car, much less on a bicycle.
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Old 11-29-20, 12:22 PM
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It's got to safer than some Atlanta bike commutes.
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Old 11-29-20, 01:30 PM
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I'm a fan of the tried tried and true. The old Gooney Bird from the "30s is still flying and providing reliable transportation after more than 85 years. https://www.airforcemag.com/article/...le/1285gooney/
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Old 11-29-20, 01:56 PM
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My childhood best friend's wife and two of his three kids were on the DC10 that crashed from control issues in Iowa in 1989. (He had a bad feeling in his gut and wouldn't let one of his twins go,) The other twin survived lightly injured. His wife and the older brother did not.

I read later that the plane was designed with the tail hydraulic controls AND both backups running past the tail engine in the same place! So a broken turbine blade cuts everything? (I just read the Wikipedia report. I did not have the story quite correct, but not far off. Also got reminded of the flying skill exhibited to bring that plane down and land it. Wow! (And one of the pilots was a passenger! He worked the throttles, the only effective means of control the plane had.

I've flown DC10s a few times since. Always gave me the creeps. Jet engine fan blades get thrown, Not often but it will probably always happen every once in a while. (I think about that when I am sitting next to an engine also. That blade will go right through the fuselage skin and me. But it won't take out the whole plane.)

The planes I loved and felt safe on? The old 727s. Yes, a whole lot of them have crashed but that is because they have been flown way past their expiration date because they are such good planes that they are the favorite of fly-by-night airlines. (They did have the bad habit of a momentary loss of control just before touchdown and hard landings happened a lot. I observed the landings of my flights like 55 yard field goals, Down the middle? Missed? 3 points but that was close! Good ones and the captain got a "nice landing".

I want to be a passenger on planes that the pilots can fly when the auto stuff goes haywire. Disconnect and do it the old way. The two coolest pilot stories of relatively recent years in my book are the pilot who set his plane down on the Hudson River and got everybody off. And the pilot whose malfunctioning fuel gauged told him he couldn't make Miami. He was ordered to set the plane down at a quadrant out at sea and wait for pickup. He knew that was not likely to end well; that a few would almost certainly die due to panic, etc - at best. Now he lived in Florida. He knew the waterways, canals and levees of the Everglades. Knew the levees had wide dirt roadways along the top, were dead straight and were Army Corp of Engineers designed and built. So he disobeyed orders and did an old fashioned no instruments whatsoever landing. Rolled to a stop, Nobody got hurt, Plane was in perfect shape. (It did take a couple of years to get the plane out. I didn't hear how they did it. Might have paved the levee and flown it out.

I get that planes are getting harder to fly. Aerodynamics. Wings and tail surfaces are now using higher tech foil sections to get lower drag and fuel consumption. I studied that stuff in school. I have Abbott and van Doenhoff "Theory of Wing Sections" with its 370 page appendix of airfoil data. I have designed, built and sailed boats using those foil sections. The fast sections are far less forgiving. Easy to stall, hard to re-establish flow. The old NACA 00 series foils were so forgiving you could do almost anything. Foils like the 63 series are far lower drag but much less forgiving, (My racing dinghy had 63-like foils. I once stalled them in a race in very little wind and it took me maybe 5 minutes to re-establish flow while the race was disappearing up-river. That was a one-design boat and I do not know the foil section info but I took very good care of the thin, very carefully shaped foils. They were fast.)
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Old 11-29-20, 04:51 PM
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The two-engine control thing was fully metabolized by the industry and is one of the reasons that twin jets are now allowed to fly over oceans. The cowlings also now have Kevlar armor for the fans.

My Dad worked for Sperry (later Honeywell) and I did a couple of internships there. When he started as a field engineer, planes had actual gyroscopes, and when he retired in design, they were phasing out their fiber optic ring laser gyros and installing GPS and piezoelectrics. He worked on pretty much every American airliner. I was proud of him and them. The culture I remember twenty-plus years ago was not what has been described surrounding the Max, which sounds like a lot of cutting corners and bamboozling customers and regulators.

727's had a couple of things against them that favored the 737. Probably the biggest is that they couldn't fit high bypass fans and that made them gas hogs compared to the next generation. Another is that their flaps were optimized for La Guardia, and though they worked great making lift, they were loud. When I was in college one of the nearby businesses had a cottage industry making revised linkages that changed the angle of attack of all the elements to quiet them down.
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Old 11-29-20, 09:30 PM
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Australia and New Zealand are on my bucket list so I will have to get on a plane if I want to go. A 777 sounds like a safe bet. When I look at airfares for down under that bucket might take awhile to kick
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Old 11-29-20, 10:00 PM
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I'd rather not.
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Old 11-30-20, 03:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post
Would you fly on a 737 Max? Just curious to what you all think about this plane flying again. Iím not sure if I would or not. I seldom fly. Last time on an airplane was 2009 on a 767... If the plane is inherently unstable then itís poorly designed and junk. Maybe they corrected the flaws that made it dive into the ground. Crazy they never told the pilots that there was an anti stall system that would activate if the nose pitched up too steep. Iím not sure I would be comfortable on a 737 Max.
I would. After what has happened, they will go to great lengths to ensure it is safe. It will probably be the safest plane in the world.
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Old 11-30-20, 07:28 AM
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All but a very few of my flights are working trips. They don't often give me a choice on planes. OTOH they will let me extend my stay if I pay the extra on my own. Done that a few times.
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Old 11-30-20, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by alo View Post
I would. After what has happened, they will go to great lengths to ensure it is safe. It will probably be the safest plane in the world.
While I tend to agree that Boeing likely worked to ensure that there will be no more problems with this aspect of the 737MMAX, I doubt it will be the "safest plane in the world..." They took a reasonable airframe and made some concessions to make it a MAX, so it is not as inherently safe as other existing airframes. I suspect, given the choice, Captain Sully would opt to not have to fly it "deadstick" over the Hudson.
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Old 11-30-20, 10:06 AM
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Will I fly on a 737 MAX? Yes.

Someone mentioned Deep Vein Thrombosis. If you aren't already wearing them, I highly recommend compression socks when traveling plus a baby aspirin a day.

My qualifications: About 4000 hours military time in the T-38 and A-10 and was trained as an Aircraft Crash Investigator (the Air Force title is Safety Officer). I have type ratings in (FAA says I'm qualified to commercially fly) and have flown the MD-80, 727, 737, 757, 767, 777, and 787 with maybe 10,000 hours or so in big jets.

Boeing really, really screwed up on this one. They were attempting to build a jet that did not require more training or a different type rating than the 737s that were currently being flown. This resulted in some different performance characteristics and, in order to make it fly like the older 737s, they installed the MCAS system WITHOUT telling users about it. There was a lack of redundancy in system failures and some differences regarding a runaway trim system.

What is runaway stabilizer trim? Motors are driving the elevators, the horizontal tails, to move the nose up or down. In a stall, the MCAS was driving the stabilizer to move the nose of the aircraft down. On prior models of the 737, applying yoke pressure opposite the direction of the stabilizer movement, i.e. nose is going down so I pull the yoke back to bring the nose up and that would cutout the stabilizer trim motors and stop the stabilizer movement. On the MAX, this did not work.

All Boeing jets have "STAB TRIM CUTOUT" switches on them located behind and slightly left of the throttles. These switches will remove power from the stabilizer trim system to prevent it from doing what happened on the 2 737 MAX crashes. Lifting the red guards on these switches and moving them to CUTOUT turns off the stabilizer trim motors. This works on the MAX.

737s have a trim wheel on either side of the throttles and whenever the trim changes, this wheel spins. it's very annoying but a good indicator of airspeed changes and if airspeed isn't changing and that wheel is spinning, something is wrong. In all the training I've done, I have learned if you have a flight control or configuration problem, keep your current airspeed and altitude, i.e. DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING or you will make your life far more difficult. So, stabilizer trim starts to runaway, apply yoke pressure opposite the runaway. If that doesn't work, turn the STAB CUTOUT switches to CUTOUT. Set pitch and power for to hold current parameters. Then get into the emergency checklist. If you aren't familiar with your aircraft systems and you take excessive time to get into your checklist, this problem only gets worse.

MCAS hosed the pilots in two jets that crashed because they didn't realize the jet would keep driving the nose down and opposite yoke pressure would not stop the runaway. However, had they turned the STAB CUTOUT to CUTOUT, that would have stopped the runaway. But they induced another problem by allowing their airspeed to increase dramatically. The large airspeed put airload pressure on the elevator that the pilots were not able to overcome using manual trim. Had they just pulled the power back and allowed the jet to slow down, they would have had no problems using the manual trim. I think one of these jets actually had this problem the day before and a pilot in the jumpseat explained it to the flying crew.

So, Boeing screwed up but I'll place some fault at the feet of the pilots because those jets were still flyable if they turned off the stab trim motors and had done that pilot thing instead of relying on automation features like autothrottles. I do not think either of these accidents would have occurred with pilots at US carriers. I have not reviewed the MCAS fix but I am will to bet there is a crap ton of redundancy and limits to the MCAS system now (which should have been there in the first place.)

I'm not sure if I explained all that very well but, yes, I would fly on a MAX when they start flying again. I think that might be as soon as January for my airline.
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Old 11-30-20, 10:40 AM
  #20  
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Will_G, Thanks for that excellent explanation.

From the news media, I understood that Boeing offered extra training, for a fee, explaining all of this and how to properly use the MCAS system... but that these particular foreign airlines had chosen not to have their pilots take the training. Apparently there were also training DVDs available. (or software).
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Old 11-30-20, 06:16 PM
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I would fly a 737 max no worries. (although I don't know how many months/years before my work would put me on a plane again).

My understanding is the international pilots were not properly trained, and I got that impression from a guy I know who just retired as an AA (and former military) pilot. Looks like Will G has a more complete understanding of it
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Old 11-30-20, 06:33 PM
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The key to this story is: Boeing Screwed Up. By published accounts, their initial response was more mismanagement, driven by budgetary, image, and scheduling concerns. The key to trusting Boeing again is knowing they have addressed the systemic cultural issues that created the initial problem and the rushed response. I'm not convinced.
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Old 11-30-20, 10:06 PM
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My uncle was a military fighter pilot then after he was in the military he was a pilot for AA. I was a passenger as he piloted a MD80 from San Antonio to DFW. But I wasn’t aware he was the pilot of this flight. I sat by this nice looking woman or girl at the time 1990 and trying to impress her I said my uncle flies for AA and she was polite but wasn’t buying it . After landing in DFW to meet family my uncle came out the cockpit to surprise me that he was the pilot the girl gasp for air in shock that I wasn’t lying. But she was moving on to San Diego to meet up with her fiancť so no score for me but was a bit amusing. She was a cool girl. My uncle was flying on to Seattle so I went on with family in DFW. My aunt was saying it’s just like being a bus driver What a B, I was thinking this is a lot more than driving a bus Heck I have even driven a bus.
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Old 12-01-20, 02:37 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post
Australia and New Zealand are on my bucket list so I will have to get on a plane if I want to go. A 777 sounds like a safe bet. When I look at airfares for down under that bucket might take awhile to kick
If I were you, I'd go USA Tokyo, stay a few days, then Tokyo Australia on Japan Airlines. They have Sky Wider Seats. More like a Premium Economy seat than regular economy. Food is awesome, actual restaurant quality and the staff great. Plus you get a free stopover in Tokyo.On the 777 pick the back row of seats, not only do you get excellent cabin service, since the kitchen is just there, but those seats have a great window and extra leg room. On the 787, all the outer seats are in pairs. Bikes travel as luggage, as long as the box is under 203cm total.
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Old 12-01-20, 03:04 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
The key to this story is: Boeing Screwed Up. By published accounts, their initial response was more mismanagement, driven by budgetary, image, and scheduling concerns. The key to trusting Boeing again is knowing they have addressed the systemic cultural issues that created the initial problem and the rushed response. I'm not convinced.
Likely, the problem has been resolved, as well as possible, considering it is a compromise design.

But I tend to agree regarding the nature of the company... this attitude of "coverup, deliver on time," seems rather pervasive in some larger companies... NASA fell into it, with the resultant Challenger disaster. I can't help but wonder if this mentality comes from a business school "project management style" that seems to have arisen in the 80's.
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