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Boeing 737 Max completes first passenger flight since 2019 grounding

Wednesday was a big day for American Airlines and Boeing as it was the first time since March 2019 that passengers flew on a 737 Max. The jetliner was grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes overseas. ( More...

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Fred Broussard 27
I'm somewhat encouraged by what the American Airlines Captain said about his awareness and simulator training. We always depend on the airline to maintain the airplane correctly, the flight crew to fly the airplane correctly, and the regulators to maintain safety, and other things that are opaque to us passengers. Over my 30 years of business trips and vacations, my family and I had only the typical flight issues with delays and cancelations, not crashes. I'll eventually fly on a 737 Max I suppose, but I wouldn't mind not being the first guy. Also, It would be nice to see pictures of Boeing executives with their grandkids flying on a Max first...
I think "Boeing executives" would be sufficient. No need to involve innocent grandkids.
You're probably right. Substitute grandkids for Delta, American, and United executives, and I'll call it a day.
Fred Broussard -1
what I grammatically meant to say was 'instead of grandkids, have pictures of Boeing, United, Delta, and American executives on the flying 737 Max".
Dan Douglas 2
You sound scared of Jack Dorsey with that clarification.
Gene Harrison 1
Delta doesn't fly the Max 8. Not a one in their fleet!
mbrews -5
Not just Boeing program executives - the ENTIRE Boeing Board of Directors needs numerous rides to show their supposed confidence in this snakebit model.

The model really is snakebit. We see thet AA plans to start 737 MAX commercially MIA-LGA in late December 2020. Which is the larger risk on those flights- MCAS misfire, or catching COVID from fellow travellers, during the predicted winter COVID surge ???
Roger Anderson 25
MH370 is crying himself to sleep these days
jeff slack 8
Thank you for my first good heartfelt laugh of the day! You are so correct!
linbb 1
How true too bad he doesnt say anything about Airbust and all the problems they had which also killed people like the frozen pitot tube deal.
sconklan 13
737 Max will be the safest plane in the air because of the updates and especially because their pilots will get the best training.
Doug Gilbert -2
Was also said about the DC-10 after Dallas and Sioux City. Design issues ultimately are very hard to overcome.
Coalora 7
Dallas? You mean Delta 191, which was an L-1011 and had nothing to do with the DC-10, or the aircraft design regardless? Same with Sioux City, which was an engine failure with had nothing to do with the design of the DC-10. Douglas didn't design nor make the engine of United 232, that was GE. People such as yourself are real good, because of the internet and media, at rattling off the "DC-10 deathtrap" memes... but the truth is somewhere else.
dav555 3
Exactly. It is a testament to the DC-10 design that 1)Fedex is still using them, and 2)the Air Force still uses them as tankers.
Doug Gilbert 0
Right- should have said Chicago not Dallas on the DC 10. One of FOUR fatal crashes.

The MD-11 also had many issues, which were well on display with SwissAir's issues.
Silent Bob 3
Did you read the article? Only one crash can be attributed to the aircraft, and that's the one where the cargo door blew out. The other 3 were operational issues.

Everything in aviation is risk based. The only way to be completely safe is to never leave the ground. The Sioux City DC-10 accident happened because it was assumed (obviously incorrectly) that an uncontained failure taking out all 3 hydraulic systems was virtually impossible. We (collectively) learned from that and now hydraulic systems are separated, which significantly reduces the risk of a catastrophic failure but still can never eliminate it.
Dan Douglas 2
The Swiss Air issues were poorly insulated wiring for the onboard entertainment systems which caught fire, I believe.
John Macaulay -9
Go for it...jump on a Max but hopefully you won't come to regret this decision like I'm certain all the passengers were similarly confident of the Max being safe but, know, are no longer with us.
John Macaulay, of course there's the matter of the 40-50 million passengers that flew on the MAX prior to the grounding who didn't regret flying it..present company included a dozen times or so. The thing is your argument can be made regardless of the mode of transportation. Travel carries risk. It could be our time next....or not. With the MAX, and the level of scrutiny it has undergone, I'm fairly confident that the risk to fly on this aircraft will be no greater than any other. The souls lost with the two crashes is extremely tragic. I think of them and their families often.
I wish they’d ask me to go. In these times a little good news goes a long way.
I can't wait to start flying the Max again
TristansDad 2
I've flown with American from Dallas to Tulsa before. It wasn't meant to go to Tulsa, it was meant to go to Vancouver. But, hey, whatever. I hope this time they actually planned to fly that route ;-)
oh and the next stop, a 57 MAX ;)
Peter Fuller 4
“This was a demo flight....” the article says, so not carrying paying passengers. The need to ferry the airplane from storage to AA maintenance base at KTUL for FAA-required upgrades presented an opportunity for a publicity flight.
tony turner 3
This was not a “demo” flight. All mods and updates have been completed on this aircraft, and the FAA had signed off on it. The CEO, COO, and CFO of AA and their families were onboard
Impressive...hopefully the errors that were fixed make the aircraft safer once again!
Rick Hundley 3
Boeing 737 Max 8 is the safest plane in the air. After over 18 months of being tested/ The plane is safe.
TedG1 3
How do we know that the next new plane to go through FAA certification will be safe? Apparently, MCAS wasn't even known by the FAA prior to its initial certification. Does the FAA now have enough competent engineers to perform proper certifications? Is there enough money in its budget for that? My fear is no longer about the Max; it's about the next new plane that becomes FAA certified.
David Beattie 2
I feel totally safe flying in the Max but I understand the public’s trepidation. Perhaps they could demonstrate the aircraft’s reliability by flying around vaccines like UA is doing. Might be a real “SHOT IN THE ARM” for their reputation!
they may have completed the first passenger flight the question is how will the public fell on getting on board?
saso792 -2
Did someone trip and fall? LOL Sorry, I couldn't help myself with my filter turned off.
Frank Barber 2
When Boeing moved its corporate HQ to Chicago the power shifted from engineering to bottom line corporate thinking. It took a while for that changed to have an effect. The MAX is not the only thing that when wrong. Take the 787 problems not only with the battery but it has other issues. the push to get airplanes out the door over shadowed the previous cautions that Boeing had been known for in it's previous reputation.
M. R. 2
737MAX will have the most orders filled and be one of the most successful planes Boeing has produced. Ever. The pilots love it
m f 2
No, most of them find the cockpit cramped and loud. The -700 is a good performer, the -800 is fine, but the -900ER is a lumbering pig that rarely hits the upper 30's. The 737 should never haver have been Max'd, but AA twisted Boeing's arm with their neo purchase and here we are today.
pilots actually hate the 900 - Regular or mAx
John Macaulay -2
Are you including those Max pilots who, courtesy of Boeing's criminality, covering up of safety issues, are no longer with us?
David Beattie 1
I would include the two Indonesian pilots who did NOT die the night before on the very same aircraft that crashed because their jump seat rider who knew his emergency procedures, told them to turn off the trim switch. They did, and the flight continued normally to Jakarta. I understand that the software design of the MCAS system was ridiculous but the incompetent response to the failure was the ultimate cause of the crash. Just the same as an engine failure. Yes, it’s bad that engines fail but all airliners are certified to fly with a failed engine if flown correctly. There was a DC-9 crash in the 80s where the pilot stomped on the wrong rudder when an engine failed and the airplane snap rolled and augured in. I’m sure the lawyers sued Pratt Whitney though.
Pull the plug - taught within the first few hours of flight training.
Sojo Hendrix 1
Can someone explain the "certain circumstances" that would cause a stall on the Max for which the MCAS software was developed to avoid? That risk remains. My disgust has been with "coding your way out of a design flaw" situation that Boeing undertook rather than (then or now) moving on from the 737 airframe. Thanks.
Silent Bob 1
This is the fundamental misunderstanding about the Max and MCAS. It has nothing to do with the aircraft’s stall behavior or response to a stall. MCAS only purpose is to artificially change elevator force based on certification requirements.

The requirement is for elevator control force to increase as AOA increases towards a stall, making it harder to further increase AOA. Most aircraft, including previous 737 models accomplish this naturally through normal aerodynamics. However the Max failed to meet this requirement due to the new engines, the control force approaching a stall was too light. I’m not privy to all the possible solutions but obviously MCAS was the end result. Initially MCAS was only supposed to activate once per “event” and only have limited authority over the horizontal stabilizer. Somewhere in the process those limitations were removed, I haven’t delved deep enough into the investigation to figure out why. So the end result is that in the 2 crashes circumstances were such that the MCAS activated and continued to run the elevator trim to an extreme nose down position that the crews were unable to properly diagnose and correct.
I was wondering this myself. There are some good details on the MCAS Wikipedia page. As Silent Bob said, MCAS isn't about stall, MCAS is about flight control laws. There are multiple moving parts with why MCAS is the culprit or victim here. That the change to the 737 Max center-of-gravity because of larger engine fans placed slightly forward of normal isn't the issue. The issues show up in 1)that creating a flight control law for something previous 737s didn't do should have been brought in front of the FAA. 2)Creating a flight control law for something previous 737s didn't have might have forced the FAA to create a different type-rating for the 737 Max. Type-ratings are a big deal for everyone: the manufacturer, the pilots, the airlines, and require (potentiallY) certification of the 737 Max as a new airplane. Think billions of dollars and a year or two to certify. It turns out that because of the crashes, what Boeing was trying to avoid it had to deal with anyway, and probably would have cost Boeing lost orders anyway, but without loss of lives had they certified and been clear about MCAS upfront. Also, MCAS was invoked in an error situation with the Angle-of-Attack sensors, but in most normal flight scenarios, Angle-of-attack sensors don't disagree, so there wouldn't be an issue with MCAS. With the ET 302 crash, there was a warning. Had the pilots been alerted that MCAS would be invoked if there's a AoA disagree message, then they might have taken the appropriate action. More information here.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Coalora 24
Well, if this year has taught us anything, it's that some people will go out of their way to be and stay afraid.
mike flanders 7
And politicians will use it to their advantage. And the media will use it in any way they can imagine to increase ratings.
Lee Withers 1
And critical!
William Smith 12
Every aircraft type has had its share of issues. Some more, some less. The only way to absolutely ensure your safety is, don't bother getting out of bed in the morning. Just a side note, more people die or are injured just taking a shower in the morning. More people die in a car wreck in the US each year than in airplane crashes worldwide. So, be afraid. That is your choice. You have never been guaranteed your next breath or next heartbeat. You will die someday. It could be today, or tomorrow, or 50 years from now. Only God know the exact day and time of your checking out from this world. It is something that you have no control over, nor is there anything you can do to prevent it.
You forgot to say "I'll be back"
While it is true what you say I still don't want to commit my life to a plane which still has only 2 of the stall sensors instead of 3 which is state of art for such things. Moreover the real cause of the accidents has been the unfit assembly of too big engines to this plane and also in the wrong place. This is still the case and has been circumvened now by software updates and pilot training. I neither trust Boeing who lied to the public and maybe also to the FAA nor to the FAA who accepted tests by Boeing instead of doing it themselves. I wil avoid this plane. At least AA is fair by allowing rebookings.
The size and placement of the LEAP engines had absolutely nothing to do with either crash. The crashes had everything to do with MCAS design and faulty AOA sensors/vanes. MCAS was not designed to correct a poor aerodynamic design or aerodynamic "instability". It was designed to mimic the feel of the NG variants though every aspect of the performance envelop. Did engine size/power, and placement changed the MAX's handling characteristics compared to the NG variant? Yes. Did this mean the aircraft is/was "unstable"? No. Boeing failed horribly with the decision to implement MCAS. They would've been better off leaving the MAX as is, getting it certified with a new type rating, and absorbing the cost to train the pilots and document accordingly. This would have cost them a few billion dollars over the life of the program. Instead MCAS cost them $25-30 billion.
> the FAA accepted tests by Boeing instead of doing it themselves

Why would they do such a thing?
John Macaulay -1
What a ridiculous comment. It's said that there are three kinds of dishonesty, Lies,vDamned Lies & Statistics. Would you knowingly board a plane which had multiple instances of fatal crashes & a company that manufactures them which covered up the safety issues. Perhaps, instead of equating airlines safety with other forms of death, it would be a more worthy exercise to inquire why no guilty Boeing personnel are imprisoned for outright covering up of fatal flaws in the Max.
AL Purcell 0
Excellent Comment Congrats!!
Silent Bob 4
You're afraid because the media and society have conditioned you to be. It's virtually impossible to get a non biased factual report on anything, not just politics.

The fact is the 737 Max, and commercial aircraft in general, are exceedingly safe when operated and maintained by highly trained and experienced professionals. Unfortunately there are parts of the world where training and experience is hard to come by, and so aircraft have to be designed and operated with that in mind.

Boeing obviously miscalculated the risks and abilities of some underdeveloped countries to operate their aircraft safely, and it didn't help that bad management and poor engineering allowed critical flaws to develop that were not caught by the FAA whose oversight was clearly lacking.

Rest assured the Max will now be arguably the safest aircraft out there as it's been scrutinized with a fine tooth comb, and everyone is now aware of its faults in the unlikely event they reoccur.
John Macaulay 1
I liked you better when you were silent, Bob. Miscalculation? That certainly a very sanitary way of expressing that the responsible parties contributed to serial MURDER. Not once but multiple times times dozens of passengers. Ever wonder why none of the culprits who petrated the Max safety cover-up are sitting in prison? I do & will forever hold Boeing & the FAA responsible for the loss of my family members.
Do you want revenge, or do you want to make sure the same thing never happens again?

Wanting both is understandable, but the reality is the two goals conflict so we can't have both.
WhiteKnight77 1
Equating the airlines who bought barebones aircraft even though Boeing stated buying a more full-featured aircraft with them being guilty of murder is no different than me stating that you as a car maker is at fault for the wrecks that killed people due to a faulty airbag.
John Macaulay 0
I'm not a carmaker but if I failed to disclose devious flaws that would lead to fatal accidents then, yes, makers of any item which causes death should be held accountable. It is a travesty that no Being exec faced any charges, multiple instances of manslaughter.
WhiteKnight77 2
Then Ford should have been charged for such with the Pinto. That never happened. Why wasn't Lee Iacocca charged?

If you buy a car that does not have the safety options you want, it is not the carmaker's fault. Should Boeing have made it a standard option for multiple sensors? You could argue that, but to hold them criminally accountable for the airlines own ineptitude is laughable.
dav555 1
I agree with you that Boeing executives should be held accountable for the flawed MCAS system which caused the crashes, although there *might* also be some blame to attribute to the airlines who failed to train the pilots properly. I wonder how you know there was a "cover-up" by Boeing. Yes, Boeing screwed up. For example, there should be 2 AOA sensors on every aircraft since the MCAS relies on that. However, the airlines also share some responsibility. At a minimum, Boeing execs should all lose their jobs and be fined millions of dollars for their failure which cost lives. I do not think that they are guilty of "murder".
Silent Bob 4
The Max did, and does, have 2 AOA sensors. The problem, or one part of it, is that the system did not require both inputs to agree in order to activate MCAS. The systems are separate, the left side AOA signal goes to the Captain's instruments and the right side to the FO's. Also there was no alert to the pilots if the two sides disagreed, it was designed into the software but for some reason had not been activated yet. Obviously part of the fix(es) is to require both AOAs to be in agreement for MCAS to activate and the alert messaging is now active.
*might*? Is that like maybe there is, maybe there isn't?
It sips fuel - end of story .. . you and your kids will fly on a MAX or likely not go, if you want to go ... and for the price you're willing to pay. Welcome Aboard
Ron Hebron -1
I want to go first.


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