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Would you fly on this plane?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Rack Kit, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    There are several reports, apparently, of pilots around the world finding that they have been switching off the autopilot of Max 8 planes during the take off phase when they notice that the nose is being forced down incorrectly. It all stems from a airframe design that is marginally unstable, due to the wing position, that allows more passenger space - or something. So, software updates are no doubt being hurriedly tested on simulators I would imagine.
    ariegur likes this.
  2. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    Bigger diameter engines, which had to be fitted forward and higher than the original. This has moved the centre of thrust a long way and affects handling. The software was to try to hide this from the pilots and safety regulators.
    cctaylor and cutting42 like this.
  3. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    Slightly off topic but as there seem to be a few frequent flyers here....I have some queries about taking prescription meds into Mexico.

    I'm off to Cancun in a week. 10 hours+ I think, in a 787 Dreamliner. I have a very much love/hate thing with flying. It's not the flying per se, but the fact that when they shut that door, you aren't getting off until 'they' say so.
    So.. I'd like to take a few tabs of Diazepam to see me through the flights. I reckon 2x5Mg.. 4 x 5Mg at most will do it.

    This from a while back explains:
    My latest 'score' was for 14x5Mg from my new Doc last week. As yet untouched. Thing is, I'm taking along all of my usual meds,in original boxes, with a copy of my Repeat Prescription. Splitting between hand and hold luggage just in case one or other goes missing. They are all pretty uncontentious, being things like Beta Blockers/Statins and so on for my ticker. Also some anti biotics in case a tooth abscess kicks off again.

    Planning to do same with Diazepam,but only taking a max of 4 tabs. I could easily fit them in my wallet and just take along a prescription as evidence. I don't have the Diazepam on repeat so would need to try to get a copy of the 'script' from the pharmacy... I believe they retain them for two years.

    Thing is, it seems the letter of the law says you cannot take 'Psychotropic' drugs into Mexico, even prescribed ones, or maybe you can.. if you have a Prescription, and a copy translated into Spanish. It's not entirely clear.
    I doubt they'd bang me up for 4 Valium tabs.. but I don't want hassle of any kind.

    I've given up on taking Co Codamol for Dental Pain because apparently they have 'Opiate Sniffing Dogs' at the airport. and Codeine is illegal too... FFS!! And I have a full , stamped, official explanation of my dental issues from the hospital, detailing drugs prescribed.

    What does the team think?
  4. ariegur

    ariegur pfm Member

    We had a debate on this point here few months ago about the importance of the pilots‘ skill.
    What comes out now and seems very odd to me is that pilots are reporting anonymously about problems in flights to a NASA’s file that was created for this purpose.
    If they report to their companies they are afraid to lose their licenses if it comes out that they made mistake during flight.

  5. Jonathan

    Jonathan pfm Member

    air travel isn't much fun anymore - not without an element of risk - so i say overwhelmingly 'SURE'
  6. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    I’d not split your drugs or anything valuable for that matter between your hold and hand luggage. I put everything I’m concerned about losing in hand luggage. Stuff still gets stolen from hold luggage as I found a few weeks ago when BA took my carry on bag at the gate from me. Just make sure it’s well within their size limits and if they announce they’re taking hand luggage to place in hold, point out yours contains essential medicines for the flight. Recently I took a strip of prescription tablets to S.America and cut the prescription label from the box to have on me.
    Make sure to take mosquito repellent!
  7. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    Yes it would be different for commuting.
  8. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Talk to the airline and have a full list authorised before you go.
  9. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    ^^^ this - or wrap in clingfilm, put in a cigar tube, and insert where the sun don't shine..........
  10. TimF

    TimF pfm Member

    Have we gone too far? Over the course of time reading about the various disasters involving airplanes, I have often wondered if industries are trying to do too much, too fast. I have worked in some highly mechanical and automated industries, dealing mainly with production/manufacturing equipment in highly regulated environments. And while it hasn't been the airline industry, it has given me much to think upon. So much risk is taken every day, the constant push for a better bottom line seems paramount.

    There is always the constant push to take the human error out of the equation, most of the time through automating and designing out human intervention as much as possible. Obviously in anything such as designing airplanes and the many systems it uses, better than just good design up front on the many systems is paramount, reliability, safety etc. is key. Basically a whole slew of things affect all of this.

    As the charge comes from above to continually automate, I find we typically, and unfortunately, dumb down one of the most key parts of the equation, the people themselves. Training seems to be one of the last things to get implemented, and if it does, usually it is not very comprehensive or easy to follow. When something does happen, no one knows what to do, either because the issue/problem is so infrequent, too cumbersome, too technical etc. and things suffer.

    While there are possibly many things going on here with this Boeing jet, and so much seems to point at autopilot or things of this nature, I wonder, have we gone too far in trying to automate and take the pilot out of the equation? How much training does a pilot get on new jets, new systems? I feel for them very much so, yes, they are paid for what they do, and many lives are in their hands each and every day they step into the cockpit and take on a flight. But thinking how a normal, routine day can go to hell in split seconds, and that every response or move they may make or not, can involve many lives. Where is that fine balance between the computer running the show and the pilot also being able to do what needs to be done as well?

    Sorry for my rambling, mainly my heart goes out to the families and lives of those lost in situations like this. I try to keep from thinking that it could have been avoided if only a better part, one that might have cost pennies more but was nixed due to cost savings over the long haul, or a cover up of bad engineering, yet that too creeps in. Hopefully, in failure, we learn. And change. At least that is the hope.
  11. RJohan

    RJohan pfm Member

    Good rambling, TimF!

    As I understand the situation, having heard experts:

    Modern planes are highly automated, but the pilots are trained to take over when the auto pilot and related systems give up. In this case the Max 8 is prone to stall while climbing as the center of gravity has been moved in relation to older 737's. Instead of tutoring pilots already flying the 737, Boeing has installed a new system so that it should behave like an good old 737 and keep everybody happy. Only the system can fail and, from the previous fatal Max 8 accident report, the pilots didn't even knew how disengage it!

    The last time I flow, more than ten years ago, was with a pal who was an amateur pilot in a very small ultra light air craft. That was at least fun! As is driving a car.
  12. h.g.

    h.g. pfm Member

    I have worked in the aerospace industry and even once for my sins many decades ago as an apprentice briefly had the task of collecting data for a 3 monthly moving average chart of inflight shutdowns. Pilot error is a significant factor in aeroplane crashes. As aeroplanes are increasingly made more efficient and/or manoeuvrable they use and sometimes require more computer control to be able to fly. We don't yet know what happened but if the problem is related to what some are speculating might have been done to accommodate a change in engine size and position then there may be a case that things were taken further than was perhaps prudent with respect to safety. But we don't know yet and when we do the newspaper articles may not give a particularly balanced view of the pros and cons.
    Gaycha, narabdela and TimF like this.
  13. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    When I was taking buprenorphine, a prescribed controlled drug, I was advised a copy of my prescription was not enough to cover me for travel outside the UK. I carried a letter from my GP on headed notepaper explaining my need for the medication. I was never challenged but I carried it in my wallet everywhere.
    Mullardman likes this.
  14. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    Right. Pharmacy could only supply copies of the counterfoils from repeat meds. Couldn't, or wouldn't supply any sort of copy of a separate 'script' for diazepam.. which rather begs the question WTF have they done with the original in the 2 days since it was filled?
    Went down to Docs. In seconds they printed out a full statement of all my meds, why prescribed and by whom. Only lacking a signature and stamp, which they agreed to get done by Monday. No charge.
    I'll go with that for now and investigate what Airline and Insurers can bring to the party.
  15. TLS

    TLS pfm Member

    Today's aircraft are required to perform at a high rate of climb to reduce noise over large cities. No wonder planes are flying near stall speed when making steep turns to avoid populated areas. Regional noise reducing rules to please voters could be too restrictive for safety.
  16. sean99

    sean99 pfm Member

    The best description I've read is that Boeing were caught out with no competition to the A320 Neo, and so rather than do a clean sheet design they did one more cycle of the 737 - an airframe design that was perhaps too out of date to handle the new design cycle. Thus the plane ended up with some rather unfortunate handling characteristics for which a software workaround was invented. It also sounds rather like the FAA and Boeing may have been rather too cozy during certification. This software workaround may be the source of the crashes. I have also read that initial pilot training omitted to mention the software workaround that might take control away from the pilot - many pilots very unhappy about this.

    The $64k question for Boeing is whether the aircraft can be made safe without expensive mechanical retrofits. I'm certain I know Boeing's answer to this, and after the shenanigans of the past week I don't feel I can trust the FAA to adequately vet Boeing's yes, so I'll be looking carefully at what other regulators around the world have to say.

    Definitely much sympathy for the deceased and their relatives, but also some sympathy for engineers at Boeing who I suspect were boxed into this corner by senior management and the accounting department, and who I am sure will be putting in crazy working hours trying to find an acceptable solution for a problem not of their own creation. Such is the life of an engineering drone.
    suzywong and davidsrsb like this.
  17. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    As ever... 'Follow the money'...
    ian r likes this.
  18. Tony Lockhart

    Tony Lockhart pfm Member

    Everyone needs to remember that airliner travel now is far, far safer than it ever has been. Comparisons with other forms of transport are pointless, so I won’t go there.
    There really is a constant push for continuous improvement, as no airline wants to lose an aircraft. Any good ideas are at least acknowledged and considered. (In the EU, USA, Australia, Canada etc).

    These aircraft just will not fly again until Boeing can prove to the regulatory authorities that robust steps have been taken. The whole aviation industry relies almost completely on customer confidence, so they’ve no choice. And in the US, the FAA can be very tough to deal with.

    If it turns out that Boeing have not only hidden their software ‘fix’ from pilots but from the FAA too, there’s some very painful action coming their way. I wouldn’t want to be facing that!
    ian r likes this.
  19. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    I wouldn't want to have to face having all those deaths on my conscience if I'd deliberately falsified or hidden safety critical info. But then I suppose if I'd done so, I wouldn't have a conscience in the first place.
    Tony Lockhart likes this.
  20. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    Modern aircraft are less stable. Cutting the size of big tail surfaces saves weight and drag. Military aircraft stability has got to the point that a human pilot cannot fly them without the computer and civil is following behind. The snag is that military aircraft have ejector seats
    TheDecameron and cctaylor like this.

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