Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras

This is obscene. Boeing and the airlines killed all those passengers because of ‘money’.

Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras

As the pilots of the doomed Boeing jets in Ethiopia and Indonesia fought to control their planes, they lacked two notable safety features in their cockpits.

One reason: Boeing charged extra for them.

For Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers, the practice of charging to upgrade a standard plane can be lucrative. Top airlines around the world must pay handsomely to have the jets they order fitted with customized add-ons

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“They’re critical, and cost almost nothing for the airlines to install,” said Bjorn Fehrm, an analyst at the aviation consultancy Leeham. “Boeing charges for them because it can. But they’re vital for safety.”

Neither feature was mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration. All 737 Max jets have been grounded.

https://apple.news/AiaNVIIaSQSmB_8f7xC93nQ

This problem with safety is not a new issue for Boeing and the 737. People should be outraged.

Boeing Promised Pilots a 737 Software Fix Last Year, but They’re Still Waiting

Weeks after a deadly crash involving a Boeing plane last October, company officials met separately with the pilot unions at Southwest Airlines and American Airlines. The officials said they planned to update the software for their 737 Max jets, the plane involved in the disaster, by around the end of 2018.

It was the last time the Southwest pilots union heard from Boeing, and months later, the carriers are still waiting for a fix. After a second 737 Max crashed, on Sunday in Ethiopia, United States regulators said the software update would be ready by April.

“Boeing was going to have a software fix in the next five to six weeks,” said Michael Michaelis, the top safety official at the American Airlines pilots union and a Boeing 737 captain. “We told them, ‘Yeah, it can’t drag out.’ And well, here we are.”

This delay is now part of the intense scrutiny over Boeing’s response after the first air disaster, a Lion Air accident that killed 189 people in Indonesia. The second crash, involving an Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed 157 people, bore similarities to the first, pointing to potential problems with the automated system that requires the update.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/14/business/boeing-737-software-update.h...

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Neither feature was mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Why not? It's more on the FAA's door than Boeing's. I'm not making excuses for Boeing, but when the watchdog is asleep ...

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17 users have voted.
gulfgal98's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness One of the roles of government is to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens it serves. In this day and age of deregulation or a regulatory capture, one of the first things to fall by the wayside is the health and safety of the citizens.

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13 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Propaganda is one hell of a drug." Abby Martin

"politicians are cowards." Mike Gravel

zoebear's picture

@gulfgal98

what is being regulated by FAA are sleeping just fine.

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If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

@zoebear
like any sociopath.

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13 users have voted.
Mark from Queens's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness @The Voice In the Wilderness

How do you live like that?

And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don’t you?

“What didya do today honey?

Oh, we made arsenic childhood food now - goodnight. [snores] Yeah, we just said, you know, 'is your baby really too loud?' You know? [snores] Yeah, you know, the mums will love it.” [snores]

Sleep like fucking children, don’t ya?

This is your world, isn’t it?

And of course all the regulatory jobs are captured by lobbyists, which is part of the so expertly greased Revolving Door in DC. That's why it's a capitalist Free-For-All - there's literally no one at the wheel. Everyone's just getting paid, buying new vacation homes and not not worrying about being prosecuted in the Two-Tiered Justice System that immunizes the wealthy, politicians and murderous cops.

Hey, it's just a job. I gotta get paid. But like at the Nuremberg Trials, though, "I was just following orders" doesn't remove culpability.

"We must continue to remind ourselves that in a free society all are involved in what some are doing.

Few are guilty; all are responsible."

- Abraham Joshua Heschel

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15 users have voted.

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Mark from Queens

"We must continue to remind ourselves that in a free society all are involved in what some are doing.

Few are guilty; all are responsible."

Free society? ROTFLMAOASTC!!

Exhibit A: Without resort to violence, please show exactly how we American plebes can reliably correct this problem. (Sledgehammer clue: you can't. Without the power to vote against the interests of the Wall Street Casino, there's no appropriate "response ability" to meet this responsibility with!)

Sad

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

OzoneTom's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness
The FAA claimed that they did not have the resources to evaluate and test the plane. And with rising workload and falling funding that would be true.

Since the answer is never to actually provide funding needed for any government regulator to perform it's job, the solution is to outsource the job to private enterprise.

What could possibly go wrong? We all like tax cuts amiright?

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13 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

Why not? It's more on the FAA's door than Boeing's. I'm not making excuses for Boeing, but when the watchdog is asleep ...

The honest and honorable do what is right regardless of whether or not they are being watched.

Boeing has shown itself to be neither.

Diablo

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13 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides

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dervish's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness It's being fed prime rib by the industry.

This whole fiasco represents exactly what happens when you allow corruption to go unchecked.

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@dervish
I'll have to remember that one.

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Shahryar's picture

Like those "self-driving" cars that run over and kill people...Common sense says it's the responsibility of the company that makes them. And common sense says the people who made the decision not to upgrade (and the people who ok'd defective software) should be charged with 346 counts of manslaughter.

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18 users have voted.

@Shahryar @Shahryar
He claimed he couldn't see a 6'3" 250 pound man walking with a cane in the middle of a crosswalk because it was "dark and raining". It was after dawn and witnesses at the restaurant he was walking to for breakfast say there was a light drizzle. I think he was looking at a cell phone or GPS. No ticket. No charges. Who needs an 81 year old white man in Chicago anyway, huh?

EDIT: For anyone who cares, he's still alive but in intensive care with a breathing tube and liquid feeding tube. I'm hoping he will make it. Very worried that he's been on a continuous Fentanyl drip that they just switched to Vicodin. My daughter, a CNA, tells me that's a good sign that they switched. He's my wife's brother. after their older sister died in January, I told him he shouldn't live alone. If he hadn't lent me $4,000 at passbook rate in 1970 for a down payment I probably wouldn't have a house today. He ca live with us as long as one of us is alive and after that our daughter will probably take Uncle Bob in. Ironic that he survived three tours in Vietnam and might get it crossing the street in Chicago.

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19 users have voted.
Eagles92's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness And am sending lots of good thoughts your BIL's way.

I've stopped commuting on my bike, which I wasn't always consistent with but enjoyed, and sold my road bike outright, because invariably whenever "accidents" between cars and cyclists or pedesrtians occur, all the driver has to say is "I didn't see." It's infuriating and heartbreaking at the same time, because the most vulnerable in the equation always loses.

I sincerely hope Bob recovers, and soon.

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14 users have voted.

@Eagles92

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4 users have voted.
Amanda Matthews's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness
out of this ok. I’ve seen some really crazy stuff drivers have done lately (nothing like your BIL) and I’m glad I’m not out there fighting the herd anymore. People have become RUTHLESS and negligent to a criminal degree (watched a guy the other day drive all the way up the side of the interstate to the next exit because he/she didn’t want to wait in line during rush hour.

I sincerely hope he recovers without any lasting effects. That is so sad.

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11 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

@Amanda Matthews
I'm really getting ticked at "driving while stoned on Android".
Can self-driving cars be worse than Illinois drivers?
While I agree with de-criminalization of all use of marijuana, I'm concerned that legalization will exacerbate the problem of stoned drivers.

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4 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

I'm really getting ticked at "driving while stoned on Android".
Can self-driving cars be worse than Illinois drivers?

Yes, they can be.

Germane to the Essay: The core fault here is the abuse of high-speed computers and associated electromechanical servomechanisms to compensate for shitty aerodynamics. If the airframe is unflyable without computers, it shouldn't be allowed into the sky with them. A brick is still a brick, and it will never be an Airframe, no matter what it may be fitted with. To continue my paraphrase of the cover text of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells,

"If you are in possession of such equipment please hand it into the nearest police station."

source of the Tubular Bells quote

As to the other issue you brought up:

While I agree with de-criminalization of all use of marijuana, I'm concerned that legalization will exacerbate the problem of stoned drivers.

If Colorado's experience is indicative, you have little reason to worry. The foreseen disasters have simply failed to materialize.

Computers, meanwhile, keep failing at the worst possible times......

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8 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides
I've driven there. Illinois drivers are the worst in the nation with the possible exception of New York City.

In possible explanation there was a scandal some years ago about driving schools paying for passing tests.

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dervish's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness Not the whole state of Florida mind you, just Miami specifically. They are legendarily bad.

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3 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@dervish
But I'll take your word for it.

Is enforcement the reason? I haven't seen a driver pulled over in years. I only see my local police cars as they pull into our village's police station or at an existing crash site. Don't even see them at Dunkin Donuts anymore.
All the towns seem to rely on red light cameras plus speed cameras (Chicago) and others. Automated tickets are all they care about. Driving on the wrong side, following too closely (inches!) weaving around, no one cares about those. No quick automated revenue.

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3 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

I've driven there. Illinois drivers are the worst in the nation with the possible exception of New York City.

In possible explanation there was a scandal some years ago about driving schools paying for passing tests.

Sounds like your experience of Illinois drivers is far more Chicago than Rantoul.

(I was born in Rantoul.) Smile

And I would suspect more the pressure levels of work life (which lead directly to people driving hopped-up on Android and/or iOS) than a non-interstate bribery scandal. "Push, push, push, gotta make every second of every day pay....."

Hmmmmm.... maybe Chicago drivers need to do more marijuana, not less!

Wink

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1 user has voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides
That the reckless speed demons I see on the interstate downstate are really Chicago area drivers heading to or from the six county area.

However, two fiery crashes on back to back days just outside Effingham?

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Granma's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness my thoughts and best wishes are with all of you.

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dkmich's picture

nothing is more important than making money.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

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gulfgal98's picture

@dkmich We have a winner!

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14 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Propaganda is one hell of a drug." Abby Martin

"politicians are cowards." Mike Gravel

snoopydawg's picture

overrides the auto control and pilots after they take it off it. How this could be acceptable can only be explained by corporations desires to make profits regardless of whether people are safe.

Boeing’s optional safety features, in part, could have helped the pilots detect any erroneous readings. One of the optional upgrades, the angle of attack indicator, displays the readings of the two sensors. The other, called a disagree light, is activated if those sensors are at odds with one another.

Boeing will soon update the MCAS software, and will also make the disagree light standard on all new 737 Max planes, according to a person familiar with the changes, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they have not been made public. Boeing started moving on the software fix and the equipment change before the crash in the Ethiopia.


The angle of attack indicator will remain an option that airlines can buy. Neither feature was mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration

. All 737 Max jets have been grounded.

“They’re critical, and cost almost nothing for the airlines to install,” said Bjorn Fehrm, an analyst at the aviation consultancy Leeham. “Boeing charges for them because it can. But they’re vital for safety.”

I'm wondering why no whistleblowers came forward after the first crash or even before. When was the system installed on the planes? Anyone know?

Boeing should be sued so hard that it collapses them. Anyone care to bet that Boeing knew damn well what happened after the first crash and yet stay silent about it?

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11 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Eagles92's picture

@snoopydawg He had an essay last week (Friday) about the MAX8, and likely has some additional insights to add here.

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@Eagles92 they're careful when they do, they Could get shitcanned for some of the knowledge they're imparting, I'm sure.
Corporations Do SUCK, ya know?

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Ya got to be a Spirit, cain't be no Ghost. . .

Amanda Matthews's picture

@Eagles92
https://caucus99percent.com/content/does-anybody-want-hear-about-boeings...

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I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

dervish's picture

@snoopydawg just before the second crash, it was known.

At the end of the day, it sounds like the MAX is a jerry-rigged design anyway, and Boeing has been trying to use software patches to compensate for serious design flaws. The aircraft should have been re-designed completely, but instead they slapped over-powered engines on an old design to avoid the expense of having to certify a new aircraft.

Hopping up your old Ford Pinto doesn't make nearly as much sense as simply designing a new car.

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."