Will you fly on a 737-Max?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

This morning the Indonesian authorities published their report on the crash into the sea of the Lion Air flight in October 2018.

737-MAX 8 Artwork. Image © Boeing

It doesn’t make pleasant reading, not for the relatives and friends of those who died, not for Boeing and not for the likes of you and me who put their trust in plane makers and regulators.

Mechanical and design problems with the flight control system were among the causes of the crash and the MCAS (Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System) which was designed to make the aircraft easier to fly was criticised for its imperfections. This software and the failure of sensors seems to be a major factor in pilots not being able to efficiently control the aircraft.

Parts of the manual that pilots use were missing and, in one very bizarre passege, it apears that a replacement centre was bought at a shop in Florida and not even tested after being installed!

What confidence does that give you as a passenger?

On top of the revelations earlier this week that as early as 2016, Boeing employees were pointing out problems with the plane and that these are alleged to have been covered up and you wonder why you should ever travel on a 737 Max at all.

You also wonder whether you should ever travel on any plane that has been certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration because they seem to have accepted whatever they were told by Boeing. They certainly didn’t do much in the way of checking whether what they were told by Boeing was accurate.

This week, the head man who oversaw the development of the 737 max left but should the head of the company leave as well?

There have also been reported problems with the 787 that the media picked up on a couple of months ago. KLM apparently was concerned about the poor quality control that seemed to be in place.

All-in-all it doesn’t give passengers a great deal of confidence in Boeing or the 737 Max.

In the UK, the biggest user of the plane will be Ryanair but it won’t use the word “Max” presumably not to raise nervousness in passengers. IAG which owns Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia and Vueling will also not use the word on its planes. TUI which has seventy of the planes on order and some sitting idly at airports such as Manchester and Brussels, hasn’t said if it will drop the word.

As yet none of the three airlines is refusing to take the plane but will passengers fly on them when they are introduced into the schedules

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