Apr 042019
 
 April 4, 2019  Posted by at 12:17 pm Primers Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,


Rembrandt van Rijn The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp 1632

 

 

We had already been told that in the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crash which killed all 157 people on board, the 4-month old 737 MAX 8’s anti-stall software reengaged itself four times in 6 minutes as the pilots struggled to straighten the plane post-takeoff. In the end, the anti-stall software won and pushed the plane nose-down towards the earth. Now, Ethiopia -finally?!- released its report in the March 10 crash:

Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges said that the crew of the Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi on 10 March “performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but were not able to control the aircraft.” As result, investigations have concluded that Boeing should be required to review the so-called manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system on its 737 Max aircraft before the jets are permitted to fly again, she said.


The results of the preliminary investigation led by Ethiopia’s Accident Investigation Bureau and supported by European investigators were presented by Ms Moges at a press conference in Addis Ababa on Thursday morning.

Ethiopia is being kind to Boeing. However, though the anti-stall software played a big role in what happened, Boeing’s assertion (hope?!) that a software fix is all that is needed to get the 737MAX’s back in the air around the globe rests on very shaky ground (no pun intended whatsoever).

 


737 MAX 8. The angle-of- attack (AOA) sensor is the lower device below the cockpit windshield on both sides of the fuselage. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

 

The Seattle Times did an article on March 26 that explains a lot more than all other articles on the topic combined. The paper of course resides in Boeing’s backyard, but can that be the reason we haven’t seen the article quoted all over?

If the assertions in the article are correct, it would appear that a software fix is the least of Boeing’s problems. For one thing, it needs to address serious hardware, not software, issues with its planes. For another, the company better hire a thousand of the world’s best lawyers for all the lawsuits that will be filed against it.

Its cost-cutting endeavors may well be responsible for killing a combined 346 people in the October 29 Lion Air crash and the Ethiopian Airlines one. Get a class-action suit filed in the US and Boeing could be fighting for survival.

Here’s what the Seattle Times wrote 9 days ago:

 

Lack Of Redundancies On Boeing 737 MAX System Baffles Some Involved In Developing The Jet

Boeing has long embraced the power of redundancy to protect its jets and their passengers from a range of potential disruptions, from electrical faults to lightning strikes. The company typically uses two or even three separate components as fail-safes for crucial tasks to reduce the possibility of a disastrous failure. Its most advanced planes, for instance, have three flight computers that function independently, with each computer containing three different processors manufactured by different companies. So even some of the people who have worked on Boeing’s new 737 MAX airplane were baffled to learn that the company had designed an automated safety system that abandoned the principles of component redundancy, ultimately entrusting the automated decision-making to just one sensor — a type of sensor that was known to fail.

That one paragraph alone is so potentially damaging it’s hard to fathom why everyone’s still discussing a software glitch.

Boeing’s rival, Airbus, has typically depended on three such sensors. “A single point of failure is an absolute no-no,” said one former Boeing engineer who worked on the MAX, who requested anonymity to speak frankly about the program in an interview with The Seattle Times. “That is just a huge system engineering oversight. To just have missed it, I can’t imagine how.” Boeing’s design made the flight crew the fail-safe backup to the safety system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS. The Times has interviewed eight people in recent days who were involved in developing the MAX, which remains grounded around the globe in the wake of two crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) was already a late addition that Boeing had not planned for initially. They wanted a plane that was so like older ones that no training would be needed, but did put a much heavier engine in it, which was why MCAS was needed. As I wrote earlier today, they cut corners until there was no corner left. On hardware, on software, on pilot training (simulator), everything was done to be cheaper than Airbus.

 


The angle-of-attack (AOA) sensor of the 737 MAX is the bottom piece of equipment below just below the cockpit windshield. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

 

A faulty reading from an angle-of-attack sensor (AOA) — used to assess whether the plane is angled up so much that it is at risk of stalling — is now suspected in the October crash of a 737 MAX in Indonesia, with data suggesting that MCAS pushed the aircraft’s nose toward Earth to avoid a stall that wasn’t happening. Investigators have said another crash in Ethiopia this month has parallels to the first.


Boeing has been working to rejigger its MAX software in recent months, and that includes a plan to have MCAS consider input from both of the plane’s angle-of-attack sensors, according to officials familiar with the new design. “Our proposed software update incorporates additional limits and safeguards to the system and reduces crew workload,” Boeing said in a statement. But one problem with two-point redundancies is that if one sensor goes haywire, the plane may not be able to automatically determine which of the two readings is correct, so Boeing has indicated that the MCAS safety system will not function when the sensors record substantial disagreement.

The underlying idea is so basic and simple it hurts: safety come in groups of three: three flight computers that function independently, with each computer containing three different processors manufactured by different companies, and three sensors. The logic behind this is so overwhelming it’s hard to see how anyone but a sociopathic accountant can even ponder ditching it.

And then here come the clinchers:

Some observers, including the former Boeing engineer, think the safest option would be for Boeing to have a third sensor to help ferret out an erroneous reading, much like the three-sensor systems on the airplanes at rival Airbus. Adding that option, however, could require a physical retrofit of the MAX.

See? It’s not a software issue. It’s hardware, and in all likelihood not just computer hardware either.

Clincher no. 2:

Andrew Kornecki, a former professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University who has studied redundancy systems in Airbus and Boeing planes, said operating the automated system with one or two sensors would be fine if all the pilots were sufficiently trained in how to assess and handle the plane in the event of a problem. But, he said, if he were designing the system from scratch, he would emphasize the training while also building the plane with three sensors.

The professor is not 100% honest, I would think. There is zero reason to opt for a two-sensor system, and 1001 reasons not to. It’s all just about cost being more important than people. That last bit explains why Boeing went there against better judgment:

[..] Boeing had been exploring the construction of an all-new airplane earlier this decade. But after American Airlines began discussing orders for a new plane from Airbus in 2011, Boeing abruptly changed course, settling on the faster alternative of modifying its popular 737 into a new MAX model. Rick Ludtke, a former Boeing engineer who worked on designing the interfaces on the MAX’s flight deck, said managers mandated that any differences from the previous 737 had to be small enough that they wouldn’t trigger the need for pilots to undergo new simulator training.


That left the team working on an old architecture and layers of different design philosophies that had piled on over the years, all to serve an international pilot community that was increasingly expecting automation. “It’s become such a kludge, that we started to speculate and wonder whether it was safe to do the MAX,” Ludtke said. Ludtke didn’t work directly on the MCAS, but he worked with those who did. He said that if the group had built the MCAS in a way that would depend on two sensors, and would shut the system off if one fails, he thinks the company would have needed to install an alert in the cockpit to make the pilots aware that the safety system was off.

There you go: A two-sensor system is fundamentally unsound, and it’s therefore bonkers to even discuss, let alone contemplate it.

And if that happens, Ludtke said, the pilots would potentially need training on the new alert and the underlying system. That could mean simulator time, which was off the table. “The decision path they made with MCAS is probably the wrong one,” Ludtke said. “It shows how the airplane is a bridge too far.”

Kudos to the Seattle Times for their research. And yeah, we get it, at over 5000 orders for the plane, which costs $121 million each, there’s big money involved. Here’s hoping that Boeing will find out in the courts just how much.

 

 

Home Forums Boeing’s Problem Is Not Software

This topic contains 14 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  protricity 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #46465

    Rembrandt van Rijn The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp 1632     We had already been told that in the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 cra
    [See the full post at: Boeing’s Problem Is Not Software]

    #46466

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    Boeing’s Problem Is Not Software

    That’s correct; it’s a cultural thing; such as neo-liberal economics (the Chicago School); not taking care of society’s health needs; education, and wounded veterans.
    Everything for the elites and nothing for the serfs.
    Look for the easiest, cheapest solutions for the 737 Max; the spice must flow…

    #46467

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    Speaking of elites; Boeing doesn’t have to be concerned with them regarding the 737 Max; I’ve read they (the elites) all fly in private jets…

    #46468

    As the -no 2 (?!)- supplier to the US military, Boeing is no stranger to killing people

    #46469

    But still, if you trace the -lack of- logic in my essay, what are these people thinking? The reasons behind 3-sensor are so obvious, but they’re still, after the two crashes, working on 2-sensor

    #46470

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    The important thing is the recognition of the reality of “their” thinking; I can’t begin to fathom their logic.
    Murder is our business? Death is our desire?
    Beats me…

    #46471

    Well they do want to sell planes too, or so I’m told

    #46474

    DFC
    Participant

    Hi Raúl

    Very interesting post, I agree with you, this is not a software problem is a much more profound and far reaching causes to these disasters. Some of them:

    1) I think Boeing is accustomed to the “easy” profits of selling products to the Pentagon, easy wins from taxpayers, and did not develope new civil aircrafts as Airbus did

    2) Airbus marketed a new plane A320Neo in 2011 build to accomodate high efficiency (bigger) motors, Boeing did not have anything similar at that moment. We live in an era of cheap tickets and the fuel efficiency is king

    3) Boeing transform the 1960’s 737 quickly to accomodate the new high efficiency motors, to compete in this market without wait for a new design (+10 years), but the motors are in an “unnatural” elevated and forward position that makes de plane more prone tu up the nose

    4) To avoid the inherent aerodynamic instability with the new motors and at the same time to avoid costly training for the airlines (customers) they field the MCAS, using, at the same time, the same sensors of the “old” 737. After all the driverless systems is the future…

    5) The FAA follow, from 2005 onwards, a process of “self-regulation”, and then some employess of the companies made the safety assessments of their products, and all the certification process for the 737 Max was based on the principle of “sufficient similarity” (like the GMO). This employees, of course, are subject to pressure from Boeing to market the plane ASAP

    6) To justify the principle of “sufficient similatity” they do not change the systems of sensors, and the MCAS system use, in fact, only one sensor of the two. Also to avoid more “costly” training (only 30 min un an Ipad is enough) and time for certification (every change affect the process)

    7) As is the “same” 737, they (Boeing and FAA) considered it was not necessary to include all the charasteristics of the MCAS in the flight manual, because it is an “intelligent” system

    At the end you can see here how a plutocratic system pervert all the chain of safeguards that could prevent such disasters, starting from the FMEA and Hazop analysis, continuing with the “collabotative” regulator (FAA), the self-regulation regime, financialization of the chain of decisions, they know they are too big to fail, etc….

    It is not a technicall problem at all (like the case of VW and the dieselgate), it is a systemic one

    Cheers
    David

    #46475

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    Well they do want to sell planes too, or so I’m told

    Ostensibly yes; but they’re bankrupt in everything but money.
    Increasingly, I think we’re witnessing the future going forward…

    #46476

    VietnamVet
    Participant

    Exactly. To fix the problem, Boeing must add a fly-by-wire flight control system with multiple sensors and at least triple redundancy. Test and train the pilots. Only the Seattle Times reported this. This takes time and money. If the 737 Max is re-certified without these minimum safety features, then corporate monied interests have won once again. The lowlife coach passengers be damn. The corruption is so deep that ethics is archaic. Governments incompetent;
    “Crashing jets. Dangerous strollers. Scary pork”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crashing-jets-dangerous-strollers-scary-pork-thats-a-world-without-regulators/2019/04/04/f479a528-56ff-11e9-8ef3-fbd41a2ce4d5_story.html?utm_term=.48e6ae6429c9

    #46477

    V. Arnold
    Participant
    #46478

    Boeing wants everyone to think software is the problem. Hence the apology in its current form. Works so far.

    #46479

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    Boeing wants everyone to think software is the problem. Hence the apology in its current form. Works so far.

    Agree. This is where critical thinking and additional information can cut through the “software” lie.
    The plane was majorly redesigned; new, larger engines, needing a different mounting location which changed flight characteristics; the tail was modified as well.
    A veritable patchwork of poorly designed and engineered modifications.
    Then certification procedures were corrupted to a process of self certifications…
    Effectively; there was no legitimate certification procedures…
    346 dead mere weeks apart; but the Boeing CEO is very sorry for those deaths…
    Rings hollow on this end…

    #46495

    Dr. D
    Participant

    Sure those guys don’t want to put on a smock or something? Today’s lesson is going to be messy.

    They could also get around ALL their plane troubles by just having PILOTS fly them, not computers. That has risks too, but you’re trading diminishing returns of the ever-increasing infrastructure that collapses empires, for the daily risk of a pilot’s human judgment. They might add up the same, who knows, but in which case the pilot + plane solution will be a LOT cheaper. And, Boeing, you can blame the pilot! A win-win.

    This story also goes the other way: BECAUSE the FAA requires eternal compliance and regulation, that is WHY they chose not to take the correct solution of re-adjusting the plane’s airframe. So the Government and FAA to some extent CAUSED Boeing to make bad decisions. I’m not waxing poetic on corporations being responsible without oversight, but reckless endangerment is illegal and they can be sued in any case exactly as now. It needs to be brought up because multiply by 100,000 industries, each with their own arcane regulations, enforced according to lobbyist influence (i.e. against the little guy and never against the monopolies) and the compliance may in fact suck out all the profit, the production, and now even the safety advantages of having a regulator. Look at Fannie Mae and the SEC.

    Since the FAA is already allowing manufacturing companies to “self-test” and “self-regulate” (like the SEC) why not just dispense with the illusion and save some money by disbanding them? They’re not doing anything anyway. If not, why not, and how many empty seats would you need to fire to reform them?

    #46569

    protricity
    Participant

    Why did that Boeing crash? Yet again we don’t get an ‘ex plane’ ation. Turns out Flying Fortresses have a HUGE SECRET to them. Ready??
    Imagine you’re on a Jumbo Jet airplane and suddenly all the engines stop working, what happens next? Well …. the next thing that happens is that all these bags drop out of the ceiling and you HAVE TO PUT THEM ON, and they make you stoned within seconds so you pass out. Ever wondered why these masks exist? Why is it necessary to sedate airline passengers?
    Consider: In all heavier-than-air jet planes (like Jumbo Jets), if one or multiple jet engines fail, only one jet engine is required stay in the air! There is no explanation yet from Boeing or NASA as to how Jumbo Jets can stay in the air with only a SINGLE ENGINE operating on ONE (not both) wings. Remember the movie Memphis Belle (1990)? Remember at the end of the movie, the B-17 Bomber was flying with only a SINGLE ENGINE operating ONLY ONE WING? Why didn’t the plane immediately drop to one side? What about the real life examples where *ALL* engines failed and the massive plane was able to turn 180 degrees and return safely to the ground? (Read: Miracle on the Hudson cited at the end of the OP for an example). Have to agree after the last few crashes that something mysterious is failing within these planes, right? I mean, it’s not an led light that’s the problem here.
    The Big Secret: Electromagnetic technology secretly keeps the planes afloat once the (noisy) jet engines are running, while propellers are only used to move the plane forward. EM is 10\^39 more powerful than Gravity, thus anti-gravity technology is trivial and simple to design, and was invented a very long time ago. Starting in WW2, this technology was built into the planes in such a way that their own pilots and engineers did not realize it. This was the only way they could get these TEENAGE PILOTS into the planes and send them hundreds of miles on bombing raids. Allied bombing raids using child pilots is the inspiration behind the book Ender’s Game. Older vets would have objected to the global air-force bombings, and they still do today, thus all pilot decision making has been replaced by AUTOMATED DRONE AI. Smaller stunt planes do not need such technology to fly (many still use it, as do all drone bombers), but all Boeing Bombers (i.e. B17, B52) absolutely did since they needed to carry a major payload (unlimited weight) in bombs. These automated over-sized cargo bombers were responsible for over 15 million deaths during the 20th century as they dropped Napalm and other incendiary bombs over 3 thousand human cities towns and villages. Had the allies used normal anti gravity technology to win the war, they would have sent the Memphis Belle boys in flying saucers. The pilots would be well aware of the technology by the end of the war, and we’d all be in our own saucers today.
    The only reason to build an airplane that could never fly by aerodynamic technology alone *IS* to hid the technology from the very pilots who are winning the Allies war. Can you agree that saturated air bombing won WW2? All those houses in that movie The Pianist? 67 Cities in Japan, etc etc. This is how we won WW2. We CHEATED! This is how NAZI Germany, North Korea, Japan (and more recently) Vietnam and Yugoslavia were completely destroyed. This is why you CANNOT get an aviators license without DIRECT APPROVAL by the FAA, which requires a written and oral test proving that you ‘understand’ (believe in) aerodynamics heavier-than-air flight. This is why the NASA/Boeing boys club has always been so corrupted. This is why NASA is fake, created entirely in-house by Lockheed Martin and Boeing. This is why Jumbo Jets have not improved in design in over 70 *YEARS*. This is why all Jumbo Jets look identical. This is why they NEVER CRASH (with the exception of a major uptick in unexplained crashes since 2014). This is why 9/11 involved (cgi) Jumbo Jets and turned airports into PRISONS. This explains ALL UFO SIGHTINGS. This explains CHEMTRAILS (No human pilots required). Consider that this is the secret NSA (and recently TSA) were created to protect. This is why basically everything you know about the ruinous 20th century, our darkest century. How does one keep such an obvious secret this whole time? Any country that doesn’t go along with ‘the plan’ gets bombs instead of airports.

    By Endless War.
    Oh, wait, what’s that? Allies were the ‘good guys’? Victors of war never lie? Holocaust and Pearl Harbor weren’t false flags events? Save it.

    FAQ:
    Q: You’re an idiot.
    A: that wasn’t a question.

    Q: Why do people like you post these everywhere and even get banned and shunned for it?
    A: Because we believe as soon as the world realizes this one thing about airplanes, we can start the healing process from 100 years of endless war. Doesn’t that sound good?

    Q: No seriously, WHY are you doing this?
    A: If you can’t tell, there is a serious epidemic of censorship destroying the internet we used to know. A big part of the problem lies in the arrogance of those privileged enough to still be on these networks. Until we get our rights back (ALL OF US), your caged safe zones will continue to rattle

    Citations:

    Remember Kosovo in 1999 under Clinton?
    https://www.sott.net/article/410544-Who-directed-the-destruction-and-breakup-of-Yugoslavia-and-how
    “Several thousand missile and bombing raids were carried out over Yugoslavia during the NATO aggression. Several tens of thousands of bombs and missiles were dropped with a total weight of more than 22,000 tons. Hundreds of industrial plants, oil depots, power plants, and infrastructure including hundreds of road and railway bridges were destroyed or seriously damaged. A large number of historical and architectural sites and monuments were destroyed, along with hundreds of schools, universities, libraries, and more than 20 hospitals. Nearly 40,000 homes were completely destroyed or damaged.”

    Boeing apparently is crashing up dozens of fatal crashes EVERY YEAR. Here’s an example: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/03/atlas-air-the-boeing-crash-no-one-is-talking-about.html“The Recent Deadly Boeing Crash No One Is Talking About” (3rd crash in the USA last month, but no coverage)

    https://rense.com/general79/among.htm
    “We already have the means to travel among the stars, but these technologies are locked up in black projects and it would take an Act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity…Anything you can imagine, we already know how to do.” -Ben Rich, stated during a 1993, Alumni Speech at UCLA

    Aerodynamics eh?

    Pilots landed a ROOFLESS airplane – Aloha Airlines Flight 243


    “Roofless Boeing 737”

    https://www.cnet.com/news/boeing-787-dreamliner-wows-with-near-vertical-takeoff/
    “Vertical Takeoff Boeing 737”

    https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/do-not-publish/287-959247e4-3aba-4c0a-a83b-639145e81a64
    “Foreign ownership of thousands of U.S. aircraft cloaked in secrecy”

    When jet engines fail, the passengers feel no drop. Just like in Loony Toons!!!
    https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2019/01/15/miracle-on-the-hudson-10-year-anniversary-
    “It was a very foreign feeling – the plane actually shuddered and kind of stopped in mid-air,” said one passenger.

    It’s the pilots fault. No it’s the auto pilot. No it’s the software! Here’s a ‘patch’!
    https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/15/18267365/boeing-737-max-8-crash-autopilot-automation
    “Deadly crashes raise questions about AI automation”

    You can have blind faith in aerodynamic engineering, just don’t have blind faith in Boeing.
    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/2-deadly-crashes-raise-questions-about-faas-close-ties-to-boeing
    “2 deadly crashes raise questions about FAA’s close ties to Boeing”

    Aerodynamics? No.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-52_Stratofortress
    “The modification created enough capacity for a total of 60,000 lb (27,215 kg) using 108 bombs. Thus modified, B-52Ds could carry 22,000 lb (9,980 kg) more than B-52Fs”

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