Boeing 737 Max Disaster Reflects Boeing’s Design ‘Philosophy’

Business,Regulation,Technology,The State

Bill Scott:
“The current problem with the brand new Boeing 737 Max stems from a major, disastrous shift in Boeing design philosophy that now allows computers to control critical functions without pilots’ knowledge or control. Pilots MUST be kept in the loop and be able to disconnect all automated flight-control functions with one switch on the control column and/or throttle(s). The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) on the B737-8 MAX aircraft violates that (and other) tenets that Boeing once considered sacrosanct. And the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) let them get away with it.”


William B. Scott, author of “The Permit,” is a full-time author and consultant. He retired in 2007 as the Rocky Mountain Bureau Chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology. Over a 22-year career with the international magazine, he wrote more than 2,500 stories, and received 17 editorial awards. He is a coauthor of two other novels, “Space Wars: The First Six Hours of World War III” and “Counterspace: The Next Hours of World War III,” and a nonfiction book, “Inside the Stealth Bomber: The B-2 Story.”

During a nine-year Air Force career, Bill served as aircrew on classified airborne-sampling missions, collecting nuclear debris by flying through radioactive clouds; an electronics engineering officer at the National Security Agency, developing satellite communications security systems; and an instrumentation and flight test engineer on U.S. Air Force fighter and transport aircraft development programs.

Bill is a Flight Test Engineer graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and a licensed commercial pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings. He has logged approximately 2,000 hours on 80 aircraft types, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from California State University-Sacramento.

One thought on “Boeing 737 Max Disaster Reflects Boeing’s Design ‘Philosophy’

  1. eamon

    While Boeing and the FAA are being raked over the coals for allegedly killing hundreds in the pursuit of profits, let us not forget the B737 MAX, like all Boeing equipment, has a handy means of disabling a runaway stabilzer the two crews in question seemed to have panicked and forgotten, leading to their demise.

    For too long, aircraft manufacturers, in their quest to push the limits of technology and efficiency have forgotten the simple rule of ‘thou shalt fly the airplane’ lest the unwary pilot, enamored by the bells and whistles, be led astray.

    Trump was right when he said ‘airplans have become too complex to fly.

    Airline management and insurance companies share some blame as today’s aircraft can virtually fly themselves, leaving the younger, less experience crews, to sit on their hands and ‘manage’ the flight with the sophisticated application of ones and zeros through Flight Management Systems and 200-plus computers identifying as an ‘airplane’. Think of self-driving cars in the air and you’ll see where this is going.

    This is the price we pay when aircraft are designed to make up for the deficiencies of inexperienced pilots and poor training.

    Are we there yet?

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