Was the 737 MAX a mistake?

The 737 MAX is the most controversial plane of the 21st century. The MAX is based on a 50-year-old design, in fact, its initial launch was before man walked on the moon or when computers the size of entire rooms were as powerful as your mobile phone but after Boeing lost 69 more orders for the MAX it begs the question, was reinventing the half-century-old design a mistake?

The first Boeing 737 was launched by Boeing in 1965 as the Boeing 737-100, it was a short and stubby thing and entered service with Lufthansa in 1968, in the 60’s it’s fair to say engine technology was “basic” in comparison to modern-day tech. Engines were long and small, they weren’t efficient but did the job. This forms the problem of the 737 MAX, no one in 1965 would have predicted a jet based off the same design would be flying 50 or so years later, it’s like if you told people in the '60s that twin-engined jets would be flying over the Pacific, they would laugh. This old design wasn’t meant to be flying in the 2010s and according to Boeings then-president they didn’t even want to re-engine the 737, the design had passed its use-by date and they wanted a clean-sheet design. The reason the MAX exists? The A320neo. The A320 had an advantage though, it was designed 20 years later, engines and technology were advancing and they made it higher off the ground. Boeing pushed out the MAX early to compete with the A320neo seemingly without adequate testing. For reference, the 737 is so low due to 1960’s technology with the lack of aerobridges and modern machinery, the A320, however, say this technology evolving and was designed to meet the tech evolution. Using the old 737 design with new more efficient engines meant Boeing had to make changes to an old design, they made the wings higher and implemented computer technology to counter the effect, MCAS, as it’s known, was floored, pilots had been trained on an iPad and the sensors weren’t working properly and had inadequate backup systems. Yet the FFA trusted Boeing, they certified them mainly because of trust, not thinking Boeing would build a killing machine, it seemed as Boeing seemed to want to milk as much money from an old design as possible, this milking ended in disaster, killing 346 innocent people in 2 separate crashes

I should mention there’s a lot more to this and I’ve only covered a brief portion of the all of this. Was the MAX a mistake though? In my opinion, no. While poor pilot training is a major fault as well as some design faults, its specs are really good. The MAX won’t fly again for a while and personally I don’t trust the FAA, I want my countries aviation safety authority to certify and I know there’s a lot of trusts lost in the FAA, time will tell what happens but the safety of hundreds of passengers is worth adequate safety checks


Virgin Australia has delayed it’s 737 MAX deliveries until 2021 image credit

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I don’t think the aircraft itself was a mistake. However, Boeing making the actual decision to not tell the pilots about MCAS was a mistake, and it took 346 lives and probably a billion or so dollars, and Boeing’s reputation with it. All for one computer.

Had Boeing told airlines and pilots about MCAS, presented it and produced it just as any other aircraft, this all could have been avoided. The pilots would have known how to counteract the MCAS and stop it from crashing.

Yes, it’s a failure. And it’s 100% on Boeing. They made a stupid decision and it cost them BIG.

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From there Boeing’s downfall started.

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Excuse me being off topic, but wouldn’t Virgin Australia not get their 737-8 MAXes, because they were gonna go bust? There’s no guarantee they are going to go bust, but if that’s going to happen, I don’t think they’re gonna get it

I don’t think it was a mistake. Now I do believe if Southwest wasn’t involved with a MAX I think we would seen a rebuilt 757. You mention that it’s based on a 50 year old airframe, great. The C-130 is still being produced from the 50s, just because it is old doesn’t mean to stop producing it.

I do think the MCAS issue is partially Boeing but there’s so many factors involved with those two incidents.

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First, I am sad for those lives lost in the two crashes. I pray for their families.

I don’t think the MAX was a mistake; there were just mistakes made within the program that do need to be fixed.

For example, I read from a credible source (I forget what it was) that the stab trim cutout was all that was needed to turn MCAS system off in the cases of the crashes. The problem was, pilots were not aware of this and the similar location in the cockpit compared to the NG.

I think that pilot training could have been a little more than a two-hour iPad differences course. I think, before dying them for the airlines, pilots ought to have flown the aircraft for themselves, at least in a simulator.

I believe in this aircraft and even want to fly it. That’s how confident I am in Boeing and the FAA. Everyone makes mistakes and, if handled properly, learns from them. This is one of those (costly) cases.

The 737 is a great airframe, and the MAX will carry the icon that previous 737 families have held for many years.

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Fair to say it was rushed?

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Maybe, a little bit. This caused some things to be overlooked.

I think that the main issue was that pilots were not properly and adequately trained in the stabilizer trim and MCAS system compared to the 737 NG.

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I totally agree you want quality over quantity

No, it wasn’t a mistake in my mind. They just thought the system wouldn’t have an impact on the pilot as it was an automatic feature. I heard FAA may release the plane soon, but overall I love the look on the plane. I wish it would be added into Infinite Flight this year, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.

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Although I know for pilots to able to fly the plane, they need to either needed to be trained or do some sort of simulator.

And to prevent that for even being needed (not to say it shouldn’t happen) MCAS on the 737M should have had the same built in protections that MCAS on the 767 Pegasus has, that would have prevented both crashes, I won’t get into all the issues, you can look those up yourself if your interested, but for whatever reason, and I’m sure they had one even if it was flawed and I doubt it was simply to save a buck since they already had the software, the 737M didn’t have things like MCAS being disabled after the pilot pitched down a certain amount, and it was given a much larger trim rage at its disposal, not to mention a larger number of circumstances to activate during. I suspect this was initially because it was made on the Pegasus for sum what different reasons, more because of a potential weight and balance issue on the Pegasus, not because of the aircraft handling differently at a near stall full power situation on the max, so the system needed some modifications of course, but alas, it’s my understanding that the MCAS on the Pegasus (assuming the software was good) simply wouldn’t have put the plane into this sort of constant extreme trim down situation. Not to mention that the system wasn’t redundant. I think people either forget, or don’t know that this was MCAS try two, and missed a whole host of safety features because of it’s different use case, and focus too much on the lack of awareness to pilots.

But I digress, I don’t think the plane was a mistake personally…

Little disclaimer that all the information here comes from personal research on the internet, I’d say fairly extensive, but alas, I would strongly recommend you double check anything I said above before you base an argument off it or something, I’ve tried to get the most accurate information, but I’m no expert…

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The C130 has a very different track record from the MAX. The MAX was rushed through design.

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The MAX is a good aircraft but the battle against the A320Neo and the Southwest’s Threat to buy A320s if the 737 didn’t get an update. The MCAS is the mistake.

The aircraft was not a mistake. The way Boeing handled the issue, on the other hand was.


They ignored all efforts made against the aircraft’s systems, despite knowingly dispatching it to customers with a defect in the system. This is how Boeing lost my respect. They had pilots in simulators warn them of the issues but they continued with the project just to keep up with Airbus. I’m not saying Airbus is any better, but the way they handled the issue was utterly irresponsible, ignorant, and incompetent. Here’s a video I strongly suggest watching regarding Dennis Muilenburg and the 737MAX.

video

https://youtu.be/5UAcIh7jUsc

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I actually think the a320neo was the biggest mistake. This forced Boeing to make another 737 whilst they actually wanted to make a completely new, innovative aircraft. Making the Max wasn’t a mistake, they were forced into it. They could have made a way more fuel efficient and safe aircraft which would have been better for the planet and the industry. This obviously doesn’t excuse them from making an unsafe aircraft.

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I would say no, but also yes.

Why I think it was not a mistake: The 737 MAX was, and will be a great and safe aircraft. The way Boeing dealt with the crashes was extremely bad and foolish on their end.

I fully believe this next statement from a Boeing employee.

“We messed up, and we regret it deeply, but we will do it right this time”

Why I think it was a mistake: They should have given us a 757 MAX :)

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Not a little, Boeing needed a competitor for the A320neo and rushed to get a new aircraft out on the market. With everything that’s happened, the A320 family has even taken over the 737 as the best-selling aircraft, which may be unrelated but proves that their efforts maybe should have gone towards “perfecting” the MAX rather than rushing it.


Boeing was not forced into anything. The A320neo is a modern version of one of their older aircraft, like the A330neo is to the A330. Can’t really blame Airbus for not doing anything wrong since from their perspective, they’re making modern aircraft that are fuel-efficient.


The MAX was not a mistake, it’s a lesson for Boeing and all other aircraft manufacturers to realize that the planes they’re making aren’t just for money, but that they’re transporting thousands and millions of people whose lives are at risk.

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If they didn’t make the max, the financial damage would have been ginormous.
They didn’t have a choice

Interesting video about how Boeing ended up screwing it up so much:

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They’ve likely lost more money than they would have, and if they’d have spent more time working on the design and teaching pilots, it’s possible this wouldn’t have happened but they’d still be making money. The MAX cost Boeing $2.9 billion, so that’s already a very large loss, but it can’t be Airbus’ fault for creating a new aircraft

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