US grounds all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes

Jamie McKane

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#1
US grounds all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes

U.S. regulators reversed course Wednesday and grounded Boeing Co.’s top-selling 737 Max family of airliners after evidence emerged showing a flight that crashed Sunday in Ethiopia may have experienced the same problem as a plane that went down five months ago off Indonesia.

Satellite flight-tracking data combined with newly discovered evidence from the recent accident, raised suspicions about a safety feature on the Max that was implicated in the Lion Air crash in October, Daniel Elwell, acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, said in a briefing.

[Bloomberg]
 

Gordon_R

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#3
Interesting article on the public perception of safety, and company responses to crises: https://leehamnews.com/2019/03/13/c...moment-and-the-need-for-radical-transparency/

Boeing’s own announcements have also shown an appalling ignorance to the gravity of the situation. A Monday release touted a MAX software update that would “make a safe airplane even safer” – which is more than slightly uncomfortable when set alongside the fact that more than 150 people just died in an accident involving that same airplane.

Boeing has long been known for a secretive, buttoned-up culture that rarely admits bad news. After the 1994 crash of USAir 427, Boeing repeatedly and publicly insisted the accident was caused by a pilot’s poor response to wake turbulence. It relented only when the National Transportation Safety Board requested flight data directly from 737 and 747 operators proving that uncommanded rudder reversal was the likely cause.
For an example of how to manage a full-blown crisis of confidence, Boeing would do well to look at how US consumer giant Johnson & Johnson managed a 1982 scandal involving its market-leading Tylenol painkiller. Seven people in Chicago were reported dead after taking Tylenol capsules. Police eventually discovered that the victims died from cyanide poisoning. The suspect – who has never been identified – removed Tylenol bottles from store shelves, injected them with cyanide, and returned them to the shelves.

In a concerted effort to reassure the public, Johnson & Johnson distributed warnings to hospitals and distributors and halted Tylenol production and advertising. In October 1982, it issued a nationwide recall of Tylenol products, costing the company more than US $100M ($273M in 2019 dollars). They also halted all advertisement for the product, and even issued national warnings urging the public not to take Tylenol.
 

Gordon_R

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#4
Quite a good article on why the B737 MAX is such a series of compromises, compared to a new design: https://theaircurrent.com/aviation-safety/the-world-pulls-the-andon-cord-on-the-737-max/

Can't copy/paste text from the article, but definitely worth reading.

Title reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andon_(manufacturing)
Andon (Japanese) is a manufacturing term referring to a system to notify management, maintenance, and other workers of a quality or process problem. The alert can be activated manually by a worker using a pull-cord or button or may be activated automatically by the production equipment itself. The system may include a means to stop production so the issue can be corrected.
 

Gordon_R

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#5
Boeing hoping for a quick fix: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47622721

Boeing has told airlines it expects to have new software for its 737 Max plane ready by the end of the month.

The plane has been grounded following the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft crash earlier this month.

Documents seen by the BBC confirm that the software update will limit the operation of the controversial MCAS system.
There will also be changes to the cockpit warning systems, the flight crew operating manual will be updated and there will be computer-based training for pilots.

It is not clear how long the 737 Max will remain grounded.
 

Gordon_R

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#7
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47633085

Transport secretary Elaine Chao has asked the US inspector general to audit the aircraft's certification process.
Reuters has reported that the US Justice Department has also begun preliminary inquiries into the FAA's oversight of the Boeing aircraft.

Meanwhile, Europe and Canada said they would seek their own assurances over the safety of the aircraft, a move likely to complicate plans to get the aircraft flying again across the world.
 

Gordon_R

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#8
First cancellations: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47662967

Garuda Indonesia is seeking to scrap its multi-billion dollar order for 49 Boeing 737 Max 8 jets after the plane was involved in two fatal crashes.

The move is thought to be the first formal cancellation of an order for the aircraft.

A Garuda spokesperson said passengers had "lost trust" in the plane.
Garuda had already received one of the 737 Max 8 planes, AFP reported, part of a 50-plane order worth $4.9bn (£3.7bn) at list prices when it was announced in 2014.
 
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