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  • 17

Software Patches - Perfume for a Pig?

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I am curious to hear what members think of this article. I have written commercial firmware and software for non-aviation controller applications and I know that a LOT can be done to make the user think the performance has been enhanced by a patch. Sometimes a patch fixes a "bug" (in this case a bug is piece of erroneous code) and that is a good thing. But sometimes a patch compensates for a hardware design flaw. This article makes me think that Boeing is up to the latter. Comments? (www.zdnet.com) Más...

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Highflyer1950
Highflyer1950 5
They all had two AOA sensors but only one was wired in to the MCAS! Which is puzzling becuse usually two systems are wired in order to preserve fail safe redundancy. I find it difficult to believe Boeing could not fathom a bird strike scenario to a sensor and the resultant MCAS activation. But let’s assume both sensors were wired in and both damaged activating the MCAS, Boeings answer was to turn of the Trim Cutout Switches and manually trim to fly the aircraft. Did Boeing forget to brief this in a variant conversion course.....maybe? Was there a reference to it in the Operating Manual....yes. Did the crews say, hey what’s this bloody MCAS reference....apparently not. Had any of the crews ever turned off these switches and flew the aircarft with manual trim only......never. Did Lion Air spec out these aircraft or did they come from a leasing company? Legacy airlines in Canada/USA ordered the aircraft equipped properly and have experienced zero incidents.
JimG4170L
Jim Goldfuss 2
I agree, what happened to double and triple redundancy as well as the training Boeing had initially said they would provide, yet didn't.
vector4traffic
vector4traffic 2
The fact that it's possible to have warning devices for flight critical systems as an option breaks every regulation in the book at the FAA.
MXE
Charlie Gibbs 2
As a software designer myself, I agree that this patch appears to be an attempt to paper over a design flaw. What's particularly galling is that MCAS only takes input from one AOA sensor. So much for redundancy. I would never consider flying my Cessna 172 on only one magneto; why should the designers of the 737 MAX give up redundancy when the consequences are - as we have been graphically shown - so severe?
bobkeeping
Bob Keeping 1
Why would anyone listen to a moron who calls the FDR a "black box" This reporter/moron does it 4 times
tchartman
tchartman 1
ZDNET readers - See what airline enthusiasts are saying about your article "Boeing 737 Max: Software patches can only do so much" Time to engage flyers with system design engineers"
JimG4170L
Jim Goldfuss 1
The article clearly points out that the plane is safe as long as the proper training is received. Both US and European agencies said so. The issue appears to be Boeing not providing the training to the airlines (cost savings), not that the aircraft itself is flawed.
vector4traffic
vector4traffic 3
Have you ever heard of a flight critical system without redundancy?
DGR54Rathborne
DGR Rathborne 1
To date , i have read two different concerns , both regarding the weight ,size and positioning of these larger engines . In one comment it is said that the engines were moved closer to the wings leading edge with a shortened pylon , to reduce twisting and bouncing stresses on the pylons . This effectively moved the centre of balance backwards , which gives the aircraft a nasty habit of pitching up during the high angle of attack during the climb out . With the weight shift towards the back , it makes for the possibility of the nose to suddenly pitch rapidly up and above a safe climb angle . Hence ...MCAS . This is the scenario that i feel is correct .In the 2nd comment where the engines are moved up and forward , with all other things unchanged , this would cause the nose to have a natural tendency to want to drop ,and not suddenly pitch up . So i do not believe this scenario .In either case it is my belief that the Max-8 and -9 have a centre of balance problem , that Boeing has tried to solve with MCAS . It is my belief that no Program will solve the out of balance problem . That is my humble opinion . I'd love to hear from others ,about my comments , and thanks for letting me share my views .
patpylot
patrick baker -2
on the oftchance MCAS is or has design flaws, Boeing may consider removing MCAS from all 737 max's, and making it optional, an extra cost item. Then objections would be removed and the company may resume deliveries and the airlines could put this plane back into revenue service.

was there anything else wrong with the jetliner?
vector4traffic
vector4traffic 3
The new engines and their placement creates a pitch-up moment that constantly needs to be trimmed-out. To salvage this design they need to make MCAS work. It's now a slippery slope with the pilots wondering if they are in control.
paultrubits
paul trubits 0
It was an option.
andyc852
I do not think MCAS is an option but the light that indicates that it is in operation was. I believe SW and AA ordered this option, but ET and LionAir did not. Generally aviation accidents are caused by a series of events, and this may prove to be the case here. I understand there are two AOA sensors but the MCAS does not (yet) have software that alerts the pilots of any disagreement between the readings of both. I believe that is what the warning light indicates.
paultrubits
paul trubits 1
If you have two sensors, but the system activates if one of the sensors detects a problem you have only one sensor. The software engineers who designed this did mot understand this flaw. The impression that I get is that in the new software if there is a disagreement between the two sensors, a warning light will appear and the pilots will have the option to disable the system.
andyc852
I believe you are correct, and it is more than a little scary to think that the design flaw was undetected. I believe that all FBW systems and systems like auto-land constantly compare the data from multiple sources and flag any discrepancies.
JimG4170L
Jim Goldfuss 1
MCAS was not an option, it was part of the standard package.. The warning lights in the cockpit were.

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