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Thread: FBI Joins Criminal Probe Into 737 MAX Approval

  1. #1

    FBI Joins Criminal Probe Into 737 MAX Approval

    While it should not come as a surprise following news that a grand jury subpoena - which listed the Justice Department’s criminal division listed as a contact - had been sent to Boeing and the FAA, scrutinizing the development of Boeing 737 MAX jetliners and in particular whether corners had been cut with its anti-stall (MCAS) system, moments ago Boeing stuck tumbled when the Seattle Times reported that the FBI has joined the criminal investigation into the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX, "lending its considerable resources to an inquiry already being conducted by U.S. Department of Transportation agents."
    The federal grand jury investigation, based in Washington, D.C., is looking into the certification process that approved the safety of the new Boeing plane, two of which have crashed since October, the Seattle Times reported.
    Conveniently, the FBI’s Seattle field office is located close to Boeing’s 737 manufacturing plant in Renton, as well as nearby offices of Boeing and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials involved in the certification of the plane, which means that the probe should be rather quick.
    The investigation, which is being overseen by the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal division and carried out by the Transportation Department’s Inspector General, began in response to information obtained after a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on Oct. 29, killing 189 people, Bloomberg reported earlier this week, citing an unnamed source.
    It has widened since then, with the grand jury issuing a subpoena on March 11 for information from someone involved in the plane’s development, one day after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 near Addis Ababa that killed 157 people, The Associated Press reported this week.
    A story by the Seattle Times over the weekend detailed how FAA managers pushed its engineers to delegate more of the certification process to Boeing itself, sparking confusion just what the FAA's role actually is, and whether it delegated its own duties to the "supervised" company in exchange for kickbacks. The Times story also detailed flaws in an original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA.

    More at: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-...7-max-approval
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  3. #2
    And why are we still flying a plane from 1967? Southwest Airlines, that is why.

    They want to keep a common type for cost savings. So Boeing keeps bowing down to one of its largest customer and modifies they aircraft so it doesn't need more training and certifications. When "glass" was introduced, Southwest made Boeing give the option for "round" dials so as not to change training (expenses, etc.)

    737 should have been dead a long time ago.
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  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Danke View Post
    And why are we still flying a plane from 1967? Southwest Airlines, that is why.

    They want to keep a common type for cost savings. So Boeing keeps bowing down to one of its largest customer and modifies they aircraft so it doesn't need more training and certifications. When "glass" was introduced, Southwest made Boeing give the option for "round" dials so as not to change training (expenses, etc.)

    737 should have been dead a long time ago.
    But you get to fly a classic.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    But you get to fly a classic.
    I was an instructor on the 737. Glad I will never have to fly it again, most uncomfortable cockpit in our fleet. And safety...you wouldn't believe me if I told you how the are pushing it to the limits, notice all the runway overruns lately from the newer 737?
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  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Danke View Post
    I was an instructor on the 737. Glad I will never have to fly it again, most uncomfortable cockpit in our fleet. And safety...you wouldn't believe me if I told you how the are pushing it to the limits, notice all the runway overruns lately from the newer 737?
    You mean you wouldn't pay to get to fly one of these?



    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  7. #6
    Seems a bit odd to launch a criminal investigation before the accident investigations are complete.
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  8. #7
    Sounds like regulatory capture.
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    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
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    They are what they hate.” - B4L


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Danke View Post
    And why are we still flying a plane from 1967? Southwest Airlines, that is why.
    That's certainly a large part of it. But there have to be other reasons why its first replacement, the 757, failed so completely.

    Yes, if the replacement is not much of an improvement, but just change for the sake of change, a staid company like Southwest is liable to be the death of it. But is that all there was to it?
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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    You mean you wouldn't pay to get to fly one of these?



    I might take that for a spin . Any machine guns on that or do I just get to drop hand grenades ? Take too much room to store though unlike my jap Zero.
    Do something Danke

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by oyarde View Post
    I might take that for a spin . Any machine guns on that...
    The Gotha carried three Parabellums.

    Quote Originally Posted by oyarde View Post
    ... or do I just get to drop hand grenades ? .
    Hand grenades? That beast was no ground attack trench strafer. Bomb load ranged up to 1500 pounds.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    I don't really care if I happen to be wrong about your positions, you are wrong about mine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    I didn't vote for Trump.
    A POX ON BOTH YOUR PARTIES

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Collins View Post
    Seems a bit odd to launch a criminal investigation before the accident investigations are complete.
    Unless they already know about the payoffs .
    Do something Danke

  14. #12
    https://leehamnews.com/2019/03/22/bjorn ... more-29712

    Bjorn’s Corner: Why did Ethiopian Airlines ET302 and Lion Air JT610 crash?
    By Bjorn Fehrm

    March 22, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Last week we covered what we knew about the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash.

    In the passing week, more facts have been revealed. We also have the first lead why both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights finally dived to the ground.

    Figure 1. The FR24 speed curve of the ET302 flight. Source: FlightRadar24.

    The similarity with Lion Air JT610 crash
    The data from the Flight Data and Voice Recorders have been read out by the French Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA) and sent to the Ethiopian authorities, who lead the investigation.

    The Ethiopian transport minister said the data shows “clear similarities” to the Lion Air crash six months ago.

    The conclusion is then we have another Angle of Attack (AoA) fault of 22 degrees, which invokes stall warning at rotation and subsequently MCAS trimming once flaps are retracted.

    The trim jack of ET302 was also found with the trim position full nose down. Why the crew didn’t switch the trim system off we will know in due time.

    How JT043 was saved
    We now know the crew which did switch the trim switches off, the flight before JT610, did so because a third Pilot from the sister company Batik air, flying clap seat in the JT043 cockpit, could observe the cacophony of actions an AoA disagree of 20 degrees invokes.

    He had a free head as he had no flight role. He was the one which proposed switching the trim switches off after having seen the usual trimming from Speed Trim after takeoff not stopping. It was also trimming in the wrong direction (Speed Trim helps the Pilot with the feel of the aircraft by trimming in the background during takeoff and initial climb, mostly trimming nose up).

    The Captain switched the trim off, check how this felt, then switched it on again and finally decided the switches off were better. He did not reach this conclusion because he observed a trim runaway.

    The constant trimming in the background when flying manually is a normal state for a 737, especially after takeoff. Speed Trim is at work. Trim Runaway is when the trim is running full speed in one direction only. This did not happen, neither when Speed Trim was active (before flaps up) nor when MCAS took over.

    What the JT610 Pilots worked on until they crashed
    We now know the Captain of JT610 was calm during the fatal flight. He flew the aircraft and asked the First Officer (FO) to go through the Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) which contains the Emergency checklists, to find the relevant emergency procedure for the strange behavior of the aircraft.

    As the FO couldn’t find anything which fitted to their situation, the Captain handed the FO the control of the aircraft (after line A in Figure 2) and took the QRH to see if he could find a cure for the sick aircraft.

    The Captain had successfully counter trimmed MCAS 21 times and probably told the FO to do the same. The FO trimmed, but he did it in too short periods, B in Figure 2. Gradually the MCAS got the trim moved more and more nose down (the top A in Figure 2).

    Figure 2. The Flight Data Recorder traces released to the parliament for JT610 crash. Source: Indonesian authorities.
    I know from pilots who have tested to fly a 737 in the simulator that you can keep the nose up with the Pilot controlled elevator, even against a full nose down trimmed horizontal stabilizer.

    So why did JT610 and ET302 dive and crash? The pilots held against as the simulator pilots did? We know this for sure for JT610 where we have the Column force traces (C in Figure 2) and can assume this for ET302.

    MCAS didn’t crash the aircraft, Blowback did.
    The cause of the final dive has bugged me since the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) traces from JT601 were released. I couldn’t find a plausible answer. I tried different theories but none was convincing.

    This week a poster in the Professional Pilot’s forum revealed the Boeing 737 has a blowback elevator problem at high dynamic pressures (thanks Dominic Gates of the Seattle Times for pointing me to this post). Now the penny dropped.

    I know all about blowback problems of elevators. It was the most dangerous shortcoming of the fighter I flew, the SAAB J35 Draken. Even more dangerous than its famous “Super stall”, a Pugachev Cobra like deep stall behavior the aircraft would only exit from if you “rock it out” of the stall (more on this some other time). While “Super stall” is scary, Blowback is deadly.

    Blowback means the elevator is gradually blown back to lower and lower elevation angles by the pressure of the air as the speed increases. The hydraulic actuators can’t overcome the force of the air and gradually back down if the force of the air grows too strong.

    If a blowback phenomenon is confirmed for the 737 at the speeds and altitudes flown, this is what happened at the end of the JT610 flight and probably ET302.

    When a pilot experiences a stall warning like a stick shaker, his reaction is to lower the nose and increase the speed. He wants to build a margin to an eventual stall. If he simultaneously has “Unreliable airspeed” warning, the built margin will be larger.

    In both of these cases, the pilots are flying faster than normal at the low altitudes they flew (5,000ft pressure altitude for JT610, 9,000ft for ET302). This is to build a safety margin while sorting out stall warning and flight control problems.

    As they pass 300kts they enter the area of elevator blowback according to the poster. As the FO is losing the nose due to short counter trims against MCAS at B in Figure 2, the speed increases at the same time as more angle is required to keep the nose level.

    As blowback stops him from getting the elevator angle he needs, the aircraft started a dive at D and speed increased further. The FO pulls harder but nothing happens (C in Figure 2). The Captain now stops reading the QRH and pulls as well. It’s too late. The elevator is gradually blown down to lower and lower angles as the speed increases and the dive deepens.

    What could have been done?
    The only remedy to the blowback induced dive would have been a full nose up trim application, for a long time (throttles to idle and air brake would also have helped). But the reaction to trim is slow and the aircraft was now heading for earth. The reflex is not to trim but to pull for all there is, by both pilots, you have seconds to stop the dive. It didn’t help.

    If this is confirmed as the scenario for the end of both JT610 and ET302 I wonder why the danger of flying to fast at low altitude, while sorting out a raiding MCAS, was not communicated when the MCAS Airworthiness Directive was released after the JT610 crash.

    MCAS forcing the horizontal stabilizer to full nose down should not have doomed JT610 or ET302. Their applied speed margins did.

    The JT610 crew knew nothing about MCAS and a potential blowback problem. The ET302 crew knew about the MCAS problem but not about the danger of flying to fast while sorting MCAS.

    I have checked with longtime pilots of the 737. They have not heard of a Blowback problem when flying at elevated speeds at low altitude. And before MCAS there was no reason to, it was beyond normal flying practice.

    But the JT610 investigators saw what can happen when you run into the MCAS rodeo. Why didn’t they warn to keep speeds within normal speed range for the altitude?
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  15. #13
    As R. John Hansman, a professor of aeronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told me in a March 28 interview,

    “As I understand it, at high angles of attack the Nacelles -- which are the tube shaped structures around the fans -- create aerodynamic lift. Because the engines are further forward, the lift tends to push the nose up -- causing the angle of attack to increase further. This reinforces itself and results in a pitch-up tendency which if not corrected can result in a stall. This is called an unstable or divergent condition. It should be noted that many high performance aircraft have this tendency but it is not acceptable in transport category aircraft [emphasis mine] where there is a requirement that the aircraft is stable and returns to a steady condition if no forces are applied to the controls.
    ...
    More: https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterco...ine-placement/
    Kind of my thought on the essential design of the new MAX 8 aircraft. Some military aircraft are inherently unstable (F-117 for example), and they require automated adjustments. But for passenger aircraft, I would prefer an inherently stable design. Keep it simple, stupid.
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
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  16. #14
    A lot of things that seem to leave Boeing liable on this...
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul
    They are what they hate.” - B4L


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  17. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    A lot of things that seem to leave Boeing liable on this...
    I guess that was an understatement on my part...

    ———

    Boeing Pilots Detected 737 Max Flight Control Glitch 2 Years Before Deadly Crash
    October 18, 2019

    New evidence indicates that Boeing pilots knew about "egregious" problems with the 737 Max airplane three years ago, but federal regulators were not told about them.

    Investigators say the plane's new flight control system, called MCAS, is at least partially to blame for 737 Max crashes in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia this year that killed 346 people. Acting on data from a single, faulty angle-of-attack sensor, MCAS repeatedly forced both planes into nosedives as the pilots struggled, but failed to regain control.

    The pilots in the Lion Air plane that crashed in Indonesia last October did not know MCAS existed, as Boeing did not disclose any information about it in pilot manuals or in training material.

    Newly revealed instant messages sent between Boeing's then-chief technical pilot for the 737, Mark Forkner, and another technical pilot, Patrik Gustavsson, in November 2016 indicate that Forkner experienced similar problems with MCAS during a test session in a flight simulator.

    In a transcript obtained by NPR, Forkner writes that "there are still some real fundamental issues" with the system that he says Boeing engineers and test pilots "claim that they are aware of."

    As the two pilots banter back and forth in the messages, Forkner says the system is "running rampant in the sim on me," then adding, "I'm leveling off at like 4000 ft, 230 knots and the plane is trimming itself like crazy."

    Forkner calls the problem "egregious" and writes that he had "basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly)" before experiencing the glitch, when he had told the FAA that MCAS was safe and did not need to be included in pilot manuals.

    Later emails, also newly disclosed, show Forkner still telling the FAA that MCAS didn't need to be covered in the manuals.
    ...
    More: https://www.npr.org/2019/10/18/77145...ore-deadly-cra
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul
    They are what they hate.” - B4L


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.



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