What’s Wrong With Boeing? New Autopilot System Changes Causing Plane Crashes!

22 Марта 2019 06:59
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What’s Wrong With Boeing? New Autopilot System Changes Causing Plane Crashes!

Russian designers can create not only the best weapons in the world. Most recently, the third prototype of MS-21-300 successfully passed the test flight.

Here's the plane, still in factory coating. This is a commercial airliner designed by the Yakovlev Design Bureau and the Irkut Corporation with a flight range of up to 4,000 miles. It's designed for domestic and international flights. On the market, the MS-21-300 has every chance of becoming a real competitor for the French Airbus A220 and A320 and the American Boeing 737 MAX.

 

Until now, Airbus and Boeing were the leaders in this niche and in fact competed with each other. Boeing was a little bit ahead. However, Boeing's position was seriously damaged after the crash of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in Ethiopia on March 10th. 157 people died. This model was grounded in dozens of countries around the world, including its home, the United States.

See the details in a report by Alexander Khristenko, our staff correspondent, from Washington.

The latest Boeing 737 MAX can't be seen anywhere in the skies. Because of the total ban, only proven and tested planes of previous generations fly and, of course, the competitor Airbus. Airlines, meanwhile, are hastily reshaping their flight plans.

The main question is «what's wrong with the newest Boeing?» Two planes have crashed in the past six months, both owned by reliable airlines in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Both crashes happened in good weather while ascending. According to satellite data, the pilots seemed to have struggled to control the aircraft. The aircrafts' noses went up and down many times. Then, the planes fell at a speed of over 450 miles per hour. There are suspicions that the crews were trying to cope with the new MCAS computer system. Der Spiegel reported that it was installed in order to compensate for the design's shortcomings.

After all, the 737 model was designed in the 1970s. Some design solutions came from the 50s. In order to avoid spending time and money on designing a brand new plane but to still hold competition against the latest Airbus A320neo, Boeing decided eight years ago to install a new engine on the old structural framework. It's more fuel-efficient but it's almost eight inches bigger and 6.5 feet in diameter overall. It turned to be critical for the low plane. Designers had to lift the front landing gear, shorten the engine mount, and move it forward. This changed the center of gravity and created an aerodynamic penalty. In flight, the plane could lift its nose too high, which could lead to a stall.

This was the point when designers decided to mitigate the drawbacks by software means. Receiving data from two angles of attack transmitters placed on both sides and impacted by the airstream, the MCAS system analyzes the positioning of the aircraft. If the nose is raised too high, it forcibly tilts the stabilizers in the tail section which should get the aircraft back onto a level flight. But it seems that the system is faulty and perceives a usual climb as a dangerous flight mode. At the critical stage at low altitudes, it suddenly changes the angle and pushes the aircraft to the ground. Now, pilots around the world are trying to simulate this situation. The preliminary conclusions are disappointing: pilots have mere seconds to solve the problem and this makes them, along with the passengers, prisoners of the computer.

«We can't pull back».

The MCAS system works in the background, showing no signs of its presence. Initially, Boeing didn't even inform pilots that the system exists. They thought that this little precision steering wouldn't be noticed.

Boeing advertised this as a great advantage. They say that in the new model of the 737 the controls are the same as the previous aircraft's, so airlines could save money on retraining pilots. As a result, American pilots had 56 minutes to retrain on iPads to operate the new aircraft. Only after the first accident in Indonesia did Boeing admit that there's a third pilot in the cockpit: an electronic pilot. The United States refused to ban the aircraft until the bitter end. Donald Trump issued the ban when 50 countries had already grounded the 737 MAX.

Donald Trump: «Boeing is an incredible company. They are working very, very hard right now, and hopefully, they’ll quickly come up with the answer. But until they do, the planes are grounded».

The decision was made at the highest level because Boeing, with its revenue of $100 billion, is one of the pillars of the USA's economic and military power.

The company was founded in Seattle in 1916 by William Boeing, the son of a German immigrant. He was a timber merchant obsessed with aviation. Having profound knowledge about wood processing, he could build the first wooden hydroplanes or, as people called them, «flying boats». But the company managed to soar on military contracts during WWII. Thousands of B-17 and B-29 bombers were sent to Europe. The company started designing commercial aircraft only in the mid-1950s.

Today, Boeing builds fighters, satellites, and combat drones. It's among the Pentagon's top five contractors. It's no surprise that Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan is a former Boeing employee.

Thomas Anthony, Aviation Security Program: «Who's the number one exporter in the USA? Boeing. So they're a powerful force and any decision about them conforms with the fact».

Despite the ban on flights, Boeing does not intend to halt production of the 737 MAX. The company has contracts to produce more than 5,000 of the planes. The black boxes should help to determine the cause of the incidents. It is noteworthy that Ethiopia's officials sent them for analysis not to America, but to France, to the country that produces Boeing's eternal rival — Airbus.

Alexander Khristenko, Nikolay Koskin, Vesti Nedeli, the United States.

Источник: Вести

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