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Boeing MAX production cut signals long grounding

  • Airlines seeking interim aircraft leases of six months.
  • At least one sees MAX grounding lasting until November.
  • Impact to Boeing is already significant and growing.
  • Impact on the NMA decision.

April 6, 2019 © Leeham News: Boeing’s decision Friday to reduce the production rate on the 737 MAX was a surprise in timing and scope.

This came so quickly and was steep, cutting production from 52 MAXes per month to 42. It comes on the heals that a second software problem was found, delaying submission of the MCAS software upgrade to the FAA for review and approval.

The production rate cut is effective in mid-April. This is lightning speed in this industry, where rate breaks, as changes are called, typically have 12-18 month lead times.

Boeing hasn’t announced what the second software problem is. LNA is told it is the interface between the MCAS upgrade and the Flight Control System, but specifics are lacking.

LNA interprets these combined events as indicative the MAX will be ground well past the Paris Air Show in June.

The impact to Boeing is going to be huge: customer compensation, deferred revenue, lost revenue, potentially canceled orders and potential lost orders in sales campaigns. The hit to the Boeing brand and impacts of multiple investigations won’t become clear for months to come.

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A partial line-up of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft stored at Paine Field, Everett (WA). Photo by Jennifer Schuld.

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Bjorn’s Corner

April 05, 2019, ©. Leeham News: The preliminary accident report of the ET302 crash was released yesterday. It confirmed what we wrote about earlier in the week, the pilots followed the prescribed procedure to stop MCAS. Yet they didn’t make it.

Part of why we presented Wednesday. Here follows additional analysis after studying the information in the Preliminary Crash Report.

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Figure 1. The general Flight Data Recorder trace from ET302. Source: ET302 preliminary report.

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Ethiopia issues preliminary report of ET302 accident

April 4, 2019: Ethiopian aviation crash investigators today issued the preliminary report into the Ethiopian Airlines ET302 crash.

The report may be downloaded here: Preliminary Report B737-8 MAX (ET-AVJ).

LNA will have a report on the finding today or tomorrow.

Green aircraft builder may need infusion of greenbacks

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By Bryan Corliss

April 4, 2019, © Leeham News: While one Western Washington electric aircraft company is charging forward with battery-powered flight, another may be encountering headwinds.

Zunum, which has announced plans to put a hybrid-electric-powered aircraft into the air before the year’s end, may need a cash infusion if it’s to stick to that time line.

Unlike MagniX – which announced March 26 a deal with Vancouver’s Harbour Air SCORPIONS - VINTAGE 1980 CONCERT TOUR SHIRT RARE with Def Leppard – Bothell-based Zunum is pursuing a clean-sheet aircraft design.

Summary
  • Electric plane builder Zunum plans to fly hybrid test aircraft this year.
  • The company says it plans to announce a manufacturing site — or maybe an airframing partner — in 2020.
  • Reports say the company needs more investor cash to avoid schedule slips.
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ET302 used the Cut-Out switches to stop MCAS

By Bjorn Fehrm

Note: The article offered a Video as an example of the effects of not trimming to neutral before hitting Cut-Off. After reviewing the effects of the video in the context of the article, MentourPilot decided we should leave the text but not include the video any longer. MentourPilot’s YouTube channel is an independent initiative to offer the public correct and positive information of all the work which is behind their safe travel in the skies. In the sensitive situation of an ongoing investigation of the crash of ET302, where not all facts are on the table, he concluded after discussing the impression the video left with a colleague, it was not in line with his intent of setting up the channel. In the haste of the change we took this as his company not wanting the video aired, it was not.  As facts in the ET302 case comes forward we will discuss with MentourPilot if this situation changes. 

April 03, 2019, © Leeham News: The crew of Ethiopian Airlines ET302, which crashed with 157 people on board, used the prescribed Stabilator Trim Cut-Out switches to stop MCAS, according to an article by Wall Street Journal today. Yet still, they crashed. We’ve had the information this could indeed be the case for several days, but we didn’t want to speculate in such a sensitive matter.

The Wall Street article cites information coming from the investigation. By it, we can now reveal how it’s possible the aircraft can crash despite using the Cut-Out switches. To verify, we ran it all in a simulator together with MentourPilot Youtube channel over the last days.

Figure 1. ET302 ground speed as long as FlightRadar24 could follow the flight. Source: FR24.

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Introduction

Hand Made Paris Eiffel Tower Scene City Oil PaintingApril 1, 2019, © Leeham News: Returning the Boeing 737 MAX to services following its grounding should reasonably be a straight-forward affair, if past groundings were examples.

But, to mix a metaphor, there are plenty of unchartered waters with this grounding that stand ready to complicate matters.

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Summary:
  • US FAA is no longer the leader or gold standard.
  • EASA, Transport Canada want their own reviews.
  • China, the first to ground the MAX, also suspended plane-by-plane certification.

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Pontifications: I don’t know what to make of this

By Scott Hamilton

April 1, 2019, © Leeham News: One can’t help but think, a lot, about the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes and the facts that Boeing created the system, linked it to one sensor, not two, didn’t tell the airlines pilots about it, didn’t include it in pilot manuals, didn’t have a safety alert system as standard equipment, initially blamed the Lion Air pilots and reportedly lobbied Donald Trump not to ground the airplanes.

But my thoughts haven’t stopped here.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, Part 3.

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 23, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Boeing this week presented how they plan to get the 737 MAX back in the air again. MCAS has a fix.

We look at what the fix tells us about the first implementation and the rationale behind its implementation.

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Figure 1. The improved Pilot’s Primary Flight Display presented Wednesday. Source: Boeing.


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March 28, 2019, © Leeham News: The World Trade Organization appeals panel today upheld European claims that Boeing received billions of dollars in illegal tax breaks and subsidies from the US Department of Defense, Washington State, Kansas and South Carolina.

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From a previous set of rulings, the WTO also agreed that the US and Boeing failed to cure illegal tax breaks used under a federal program called Foreign Sales Corporations of FSC (pronounced fisk) dating to before 2006.

The adverse decision comes at a time when Boeing is on the defensive over two fatal accidents of its 737 MAX program and criticism over the development and approval of the MCAS stall recovery system believed by some to be at the heart of two crashes.

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Introduction

March 28, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing 737 MAX pilots learning about the revised software upgrade to the Maneuvering Characteristics Mega Man 20th anniversary T-shirt signed by Keiji Inafune XLAugmentation System (MCAS) will need a half hour of computer-based training (CBT), the company told the media yesterday in a briefing.

Pilots of the 737 NG who have not yet made the transition to the MAX also have to be trained on the MCAS now. Boeing did not specify if this will take longer than those already trained on the MAX.

Summary
  • No estimate to MAX return to service.
  • Waiting for investigations of the crashes.
  • More information for pilots.

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