Boeing 737 Max cleared to fly again by FAABack to Forum
I would. Given the mistakes done in the past, I am convinced that both FAA and EU equivalent did a very serious job. And anyway, I’d fly anything these days, just for the sake of flying 🙂18 Nov 2020
At this time the aircraft only has tentative conditional clearance to fly within the USA jurisdiction – and this only after the mandated modifications have been made and signed off.
There is no clearance for the 737 Max to fly to or in most of the rest of the world i.e.the EU.19 Nov 2020
And the other international regulators will have to sign off too (EASA for Europe, I believe) – although I understand they have been working in tandem with the FAA.
I’m still not going to fly on one until it has had at least two years of incident-free service; and I have been checking to see how one can tell them apart. It had been suggested that the new sharklets were distinctive but apparently they are available as a retrofit on the older models. The engine size and placement is another clue, depending on the angle of view that might be hard to tell – but perhaps the most distinctive is that the MAX has serrated engine cowlings (a feature of the new engines) and the previous generations do not.19 Nov 2020
As a retired airline pilot, I would not hesitate for one second to get on a 737-8 (Max is no more). There is more to the accidents than just a problem with the MCAS. Granted the system was a major factor in the accident, but there were other issues that led to the crash. I will say, those airlines involved in the crash are also on my fairly lengthy list of airlines I will not fly. The DC-10 had the same issues and yet, that aircraft seemed to have no issues after the ORD crash (I have about 1200 hours on the DC-10).
As was the case of the DC-10, the 737-8 is probably the most scrutinized aircraft in aviation history.
1 user thanked author for this post.19 Nov 2020
I read that it will cost US$1,000,000 to modify each MAX to meet the FAA’s new requirements (which include rerouting wiring loops which were too close together, a breach of pre-existing requirements which wasn’t picked up on prior to the dreadful incidents which led to the grounding).
That’s less than 1% of the list price but presumably a higher percentage of the price that airlines actually pay, but with over 800 airframes built that’s another hefty bill for Boeing to pay. I wonder if they are also going to pick up the bill for additional simulator training, which will be another hurdle to its reintroduction to service.
1 user thanked author for this post.19 Nov 2020
@philsquares, I agree with you that I would fly it without a problem as it has been so heavily scrutinized and every possible problem dealt with. That said, I am not sure your point that ‘The DC-10 had the same issues and yet, that aircraft seemed to have no issues after the ORD crash (I have about 1200 hours on the DC-10).’ , as I thought the DC-10’s first were having an issue with the Cargo doors as the ground crew couldn’t see if the locking pin was secured or had even forced the closure (not 100% sure of the technical terminology ) and the ORD crash was a cracked pylon pin issue which ended up in finding a number of cracks on other carrier’s DC-10 engine pylons. I am not a pilot so would believe what you say, but I always thought the troubles with the DC-10 (a plane I loved flying on) were not similar to those incurred by the Max.19 Nov 2020
Sorry if my reference to the DC-10 was not clear. It was not like the Max at all. The problem with the DC-10, among several, was the engine pylon attach bolts and pylon design on the DC-10-30/10. The 10 and 30 were GE powered, while the -40 was Pratt & Whitney powered. American airlines maintenance was taking a shortcut by using a forklift to change engines on the 10/30. It was not an approved maintenance procedure and was stressing the pylon attach bolts. However, the accident revealed a host of other design problems such as the location of the hydraulic lines, pilot training procedures approved by the FAA but were wrong. The list is pretty long and the problems were all rectified in the long run. The -40 was not actually grounded but both JAL and NWA, the only two airlines who operated that model, did not fly the aircraft during that time.19 Nov 2020
I’m already booked on AA’s flight from LGA-MIA on the 7M8, in Dec. Trip report to follow.
I would think the odds of catching COVID-19 are higher than the 737MAX crashing. I confess I flew one early this year (Jan) from MCO to MIA and I am still around to tell the tale.19 Nov 2020
Phil, perhaps your positive comparison of the 737-8 with the DC-10 is perhaps a rather unfortunate one in that as of September 2015 (the last commercial passenger flight recorded) the DC-10 had been involved in 55 significant accidents including a staggering 32 hull-loss crashes that resulted in some 1,360 passenger fatalities and several thousand passenger injuries. Many claim that bad luck played a significant part in the many of the accidents however as I don’t want to be ‘unlucky’ when flying in the 737-8 I won’t be chancing my luck any time in the next few years.20 Nov 2020
Nothing against ASN but if you want a better look at accidents/incidents and accident rates/1,000,000 departures, you might want to look online for the Boeing Statistical Summary. It is published annually and the last one published is 2019, so a new one is scheduled to be released very shortly. Is the DC-10 the safest airliner flying? Certainly not. But when you look at the accident rate/departures it will put things into perspective. Just saying there are XX hull losses doesn’t really offer much in the way of safety or reliability.
I think you might be surprised with what you find in the Stat Sum.20 Nov 2020
With respect I personally would think twice about relying on any published Boeing Statistical Summary of aircraft safety given recent revelations regarding this company.
However clearly the DC-10 is not actually the worst large production passenger jet aircraft in service in the past 40 years (or so – of the 36 types checked) although it is very close to the top of any list re ‘fatal accident rate per million departures’ with only its sibling the MD-11 the DC-8 and B-707 having significantly worse safety records. This with the latter types being from a much earlier era of course.
My check did not include Russian or Chinese aircraft as accurate Russian aircraft statistics are difficult to come by, but some of most popular models from the Soviet era would almost certainly make the top end of any list.
Statics show that the DC-10 was not a by any measure a very safe aircraft and also that statically the B-737-MAX is clearly currently the most unsafe aircraft delivered in the past 40 years.20 Nov 2020