The 737 MAX Issues and the FAA+Boeing’s Response: My Opinion

Good morning everyone, and welcome to a very special blog post today. Recently, I wrote a short essay on my views on the 737 MAX and my thoughts on the FAA’s reaction to the issue. I have decided to share it on the blog.

I think it goes without saying that this post will be very controversial. Just know that I respect everyone’s opinion if they think differently. Let’s just hope I don’t lose too many followers after this post. ūüėČ

Without further ado, here we go.

As an aviation enthusiast, I am very interested in the current state of aviation. Among the many issues plaguing the aviation industry is lowered profits which has lead to cost cutting, resulting in a decrease in service standards. However, the most important part of flying is making sure passengers can arrive at their destination safely. That is why the current Boeing 737 MAX issues have caught my eye. Within the last nine months, two planes have crashed due to a failure of the MCAS system of the plane,  killing all 339 people aboard the two aircraft. This is obviously a horrible safety record for such a new aircraft (the MAX came out in 2016), but even worse is how nobody at the Federal Aviation Administration seems to be too concerned about the issues they are being faced with. Even though the plane obviously has multiple fundamental issues, the FAA is not pressuring Boeing to necessarily solve all of them. This forms a lot of doubts about the safety of the aircraft even after it goes back into service, and questions the ethical standards of both Boeing and the FAA regarding  their safeguards for the passengers who are actually going to fly on the plane. It seems like both Boeing and the FAA have be become more concerned about costs than about passenger safety.

But first, for the uninformed, let us start with the basics. The Boeing 737 MAX series was introduced in 2016 as the newest version of the 737, and the successor to the 737 Next Generation series. The first plane was delivered in 2017, and since then, nearly 400 planes have been delivered and over 5,000 have been ordered [1].  In October 2018, Lion Air flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea near Indonesia, killing everybody on board and shocking the world. It is so unusual for a plane to crash with such little information, and even more so with such a new plane. After some speculation, the most likely theory was that there was a fundamental problem with the new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, more commonly known as MCAS. With the new design of the engines further in front of the wing, MCAS is designed to prevent a possible stall by pushing the nose down if it senses that a stall is occurring. However, for whatever reason, the MCAS engaged even though the plane was not stalling, and because the crew was not trained on the new system and how to prevent it from operating in case of an emergency, there was nothing they could do to stop the plane from crashing into the ground. 

In the succeeding months, more and more design flaws were found on the plane, but for whatever reason, nothing was done about them, neither by the FAA nor by Boeing. In March 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 (the same model involved in the Lion Air crash), ploughed into the ground right after takeoff from Addis Ababa International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, killing everyone on board. This sparked absolute outrage. After the previous incident, Boeing insisted that it was okay to keep flying, knowing that there were issues with the aircraft. And now, as if the first incident was not enough, a further 157 souls were gone. All public trust was lost in the aircraft, and in the hours succeeding the crash, pretty much every single international aviation board in every country grounded the aircraft. The one exception? Of course, the United States. The FAA only suspended the aircraft from flying hours later, after it was clear that nobody was even willing to fly it anymore. Today, more and more issues are being found, such as the most recent issue in June with the runway stabilizer trim [2]. If the FAA and Boeing do not start being more honest about their efforts to fix the issues, it is unlikely that public support and trust in the aircraft will ever come about again.

As mentioned earlier, both of these incidents and the reactions by both the FAA and by Boeing show that in this instance, both organizations could be more concerned about money than about passenger safety. As mentioned earlier, safety should be the number one priority when flying millions of passengers across the globe. To be clear, both organizations are generally extremely good with constantly making aircraft more and more safe, and tragic issues with planes do occur. That being said, there is no way that a plane should continue flying after multiple design flaws are found after not one but two crashes. Flying is known to be the safest method of transportation in the world. If trust in that safety diminishes and people are not willing to fly a brand new aircraft (and possibly similar older models as well, based on reputation), it could be terrible for both the FAA and Boeing, all because both organizations decided to be too arrogant in by allowing an unsafe aircraft to not only fly, but keep flying after it proved to be fatal.

Thank you for reading this very special post. Stay tuned for a new review coming very soon!

Boeing_737_MAX_grounded_aircraft_near_Boeing_Field,_April_2019-1.jpg

[Featured image from CBS News]

Essay Sources:

[1] https://theconversation.com/boeing-737-max-after-two-fatal-crashes-an-expert-explains-the-issues-113833

[2] https://onemileatatime.com/new-boeing-737-max-safety-issues/

 

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