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Boeing and FAA issue safety alert for 737 Max 8

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  • Boeing and FAA issue safety alert for 737 Max 8

    Capt Tom, I read your newsletter yesterday with great interest and note your opinion that this crash was mainly due to maintenance issues and pilot incompetence. But this morning, this ....


  • #2
    Marta, what you read was exactly what I was writing about. . . except that the media makes it look like this is a Boeing problem, makes it look like it is something new, makes it look like pilots don't know about it. Total B.S. I was trained hands-on to deal with this in 1965.

    I think Boeing is concerned that these substandard airlines need to make sure their pilots know what they should have known all along.

    This reminds me of the Asiana crash at SFO on a beautiful sunny day. The pilots did not know how to land by hand. So the airline tried to blame Boeing. Doh't buy it.


    • #3
      I ama SOAR member but did not see or get Captain Tom’s newsletter but would like to receive. Is there a way to do so Please?

      thank you,


      • #4
        You can sign up for the newsletter at

        I also put it on the SOAR Facebook page at


        • #5
          I’ve subscribed per your instructions. I’m hoping I will receive.


          • #6
            Capt Tom-
            While I know airline pilots to be highly-trained, dedicated, and safety-conscious as a group, do you think there is any correlation between the continued modernization of aircraft and the possibility of the dumbing-down of new pilots given the automation said modernization has introduced?

            Today we are ALL safer on just about ANY airline that we are driving to work, but do you think there could be a focus more on training to know the automation more than a focus on training to know how to handle things when the automation fails?

            If both the Lion and Asiana events were pilots relying too much on automation instead of sheer skill, my reasoning above could, in some small way, be accurate.


            • #7
              Automatic can reduce workload, but when things go wrong, automation can make it difficult to figure out what it is that is going wrong. That is apparently what caused the 2013 Asiana crash at SFO. It was a beautiful sunny day, but the pilots crashed the plane because they were unskilled at landing the plane by hand, which they needed to do because the ILS was shut down.

              But this crash is not an automation issue as the way this system works on a Boeing is the same now as on the 707 and all other Boeings since.


              • #8
                Capt Tom, thank you for responding.


                • #9
                  So now that another crash of the Boeing MAX 8 Captain Tom, do you think that US airlines will follow suit with grounding these models until details are sorted out about the cause?
                  I am flying SW in 3 1/2 weeks and am not sure if it is the Boeing 737-800 or 737 MAX but in any case am not feeling very comfortable right now.

                  Also, FYI I completed SOAR many years ago and used to post from time to time, however I was unable to log on and / or retrieve my username & password hence the new screenname.

                  Thank you.


                  • #10
                    I don't believe the crashes are related, not do I believe there is anything at all wrong with the 737 MAX.


                    • #11
                      What about the news today that pilots hae expressed concerns about the airplane in the past few months before this crash? Do you think those were legitimate concerns?


                      • #12
                        I too question the new 737 MAX 8 and the proper training. One incident points to an isolated encounter, but two, in this short frame, opens the door for more investigation. Listened to a lengthy NPR segment on this today, and there have been pilots reporting issues with this to the anonymous database run by NASA, but accessible to the FAA--since NASA is an impartial 3rd party. Without the details from the Ethiopian crash, we don't know the exact details. But it was apparently enough, from today, to ground them here in the US. It's a small fraction of flights--biggest hit to Southwest--so it shouldn't impact too much.

                        Whether it's warranted will remain to be seen, but it seems worth grounding them until Boeing, the FAA, and the airlines can align on a better understanding, is worth it. Some of the database entries were pilots noting that the manual on these was not sufficient, and how Boeing clamed these were just upgraded 737s and didn't need any add'l training or different simulators. Apparently, that was not 100% accurate. A change to an automated system seems like something that needs add'l, PROACTIVE, training,

                        I'm no longer a fearful flier, but NOT doing something better to get to the bottom of this is wrong. This could be much ado about nothing in the end, but if it saves lives, so be it.
                        Last edited by oneant; 03-13-19, 11:54 PM.


                        • #13
                          You are right to question proper training. But the procedure for dealing with stab trim motor operating when you are not pushing the buttons to make it run is to push the buttons and thereby stop it. This is required to be memorized. The problem is not the 737 MAX. It is airline. Lion Air had over ten crashes in the same period of time when all the major airlines in the U.S. had zero. Doesn't that tell you where the problem is?


                          • #14
                            I too have been following all this hub-bub about the max planes. One thing I found of interest is that the US was the last country to ground these planes. And the box from the Ethiopian crash is being sent to Germany, not the US - perhaps it's simply a proximity thing. I realize the safety record of these planes in the US has been basically perfect, but why were we so slow to react? A lot of people will point to corporate greed and that brand and dollars were more important than lives. I don't see grounding the planes as saying they are bad or unsafe, just that due diligence is being done to ensure they are safe. And to also build trust with the public that lives are the top priority.


                            • #15
                              Slow to react. There was NO reason to react because, if you recognize the first crash had nothing to do with Boeing but was 100% the screw up of an incompetent airline and government authority, you have only one crash that MIGHT reflect on Boeing, and at no previous time has a plane been grounded with one crash before the black boxes have been examined. Look at the A330 that crashed between Rio and Paris. Even after the cause WAS known, the plane was not grounded.