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            Hazy Future

                                                          THE 737 MAX MAY START FLYING AGAIN
                                                            IN THE U.S. IN JANUARY NEXT BEFORE
                                                     REGAINING THE TRUST OF THE PUBLIC AND
                                                      THAT OF REGULATORS IN OTHER REGIONS

                                                                                    Arun Sivasankaran

        It is not a good time to be Boeing CEO Dennis  on a 737 Max before the two crashes, Muilenburg had a tough
        Muilenburg.  Just when it seems like Boeing  time in the spotlight.
        was making progress in its attempts to get the
        737 Max back in the air comes news of trou- In the Firing Line
        ble for its 737 NG aircraft. A predecessor to  Indonesia’s National Transport Safety Committee (NTSC), which
        the 737 Max, about fifty 737NG planes have  investigated the Lion Air crash that killed the 189 people on board
        been grounded after several operators, includ-  on October 29, 2018, mainly points fingers at Boeing and the
        ing Qantas, Korean Air, Southwest Airlines,  Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The design and certifica-
        Gol Linhas Aéreas, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air and  tion of the 737 Max 8 is the primary cause of the accident, the
        Garuda Indonesia Airways, discovered cracks  committee said in its report made public in October, days before
        on the aircraft.                             Muilenburg took the heat from lawmakers. “During the design and
          For  a  company  that  is  desperately  trying  certification of the Boeing 737 8 (MAX), assumptions were made
        to shore up its safety reputation, the task of  about flight crew response to malfunctions which, even though con-
        earning the confidence of operators and the  sistent with current industry guidelines, turned out to be incorrect,”
        flying public just got a whole lot harder. If that  investigators wrote. The design of the Maneuvering Characteristics
        wasn’t enough, there was the grilling by law-  Augmentation System (MCAS) system itself was a contributing
        makers for two straight days, in front of an  factor, as it relied on information from a single external sensor,
        audience that included people who had lost  “making it vulnerable to erroneous input from that sensor.”
        family members in the twin crashes that killed   Investigations by the committee revealed that Boeing was able
        346 people. From admitting at a congressional  to design and test its own system without proper oversight or a
        hearing that he knew, before the second deadly  thorough safety assessment from the FAA. Boeing engineers did
        crash of the 737 Max in March, that a test pilot  not expect the MCAS system to fail continuously and repeatedly,
        had raised questions about the safety of the  the report stated, and failed to seriously consider that possibility.
        jet, to acknowledging mistakes in the design  The cwasn’t the only panel to take Boeing and FAA to task for
        of a Max flight-control system and revealing,  the two deadly crashes. An international flight safety panel, which
        perhaps unwittingly,  that he had never flown  included representatives from NASA, the FAA and civil aviation

         ASIAN AIRLINES & AEROSPACE                                              October/November/December 2019 | 5
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