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Langewiesche: "What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?"
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From the New York Times:

What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?
Malfunctions caused two deadly crashes. But an industry that puts unprepared pilots in the cockpit is just as guilty.

By William Langewiesche, Sept. 18, 2019

Langewiesche is probably America’s most distinguished literary journalist on the subject of piloting.

iSteve commenter JMcG notes:

BTW, William’s father, Wolfgang Langewiesche wrote one of the seminal works of airmanship back in 1954. It’s called Stick and Rudder.

Langewiesche the Younger continues:

“Airmanship” is an anachronistic word, but it is applied without prejudice to women as well as men. Its full meaning is difficult to convey. It includes a visceral sense of navigation, an operational understanding of weather and weather information, the ability to form mental maps of traffic flows, fluency in the nuance of radio communications and, especially, a deep appreciation for the interplay between energy, inertia and wings. Airplanes are living things. The best pilots do not sit in cockpits so much as strap them on. The United States Navy manages to instill a sense of this in its fledgling fighter pilots by ramming them through rigorous classroom instruction and then requiring them to fly at bank angles without limits, including upside down. The same cannot be expected of airline pilots who never fly solo and whose entire experience consists of catering to passengers who flinch in mild turbulence, refer to “air pockets” in cocktail conversation and think they are near death if bank angles exceed 30 degrees. The problem exists for many American and European pilots, too. Unless they make extraordinary efforts — for instance, going out to fly aerobatics, fly sailplanes or wander among the airstrips of backcountry Idaho — they may never develop true airmanship no matter the length of their careers. The worst of them are intimidated by their airplanes and remain so until they retire or die. It is unfortunate that those who die in cockpits tend to take their passengers with them.

The fact that Third World airline pilots lack the airmanship of US Navy aircraft carrier pilots is unsurprising. Perhaps Boeing should have taken that into consideration?

The 737-MAX kept the ancient 737 brand name to convince airlines that they wouldn’t have to invest in a lot of retraining of their pilots. But the 737-MAX is actually a rather new airplane. To accommodate the huge new fanjets that improve on miles per gallon of fuel, the wings had to be raised, which changes how the plane flies from previous 737s. Boeing figured they could use clever software to get around these issues, but sometimes the software and hardware interact to screw up.

This appears to have happened a few times to American pilots, but our guys managed to turn off the system and save the plane. Keep in mind though that American airline pilots are really good, especially after a crash in the 2000s in Buffalo involving a commuter airline with near-minimum wage pilots.

Nobody flies more than Congressmen, so Congress responded by passing a law requiring new airline pilots to have a huge amount of experience. This means that to become an airline pilot in recent years, you need to be, most likely, either an ex-military pilot or a flight instructor. The latter tend to have a lot of experience with near-emergencies in which they have to take over from their inept clients, which is good training for flying the 737-MAX.

The unhappy customer reviews on Edmunds of the newly redesigned 2019 Toyota RAV4 crossover semi-SUV, one of America’s top-selling vehicles, are slightly reminiscent of the story of the 737-MAX, although, fortunately, less tragic.

The latest version of the RAV4 was introduced in the U.S. a little under a year ago. It has a lot of very clever software and hardware systems intended to improve gas mileage.

But many customers, often Toyota loyalists who have bought several earlier RAV4s, appear to be driven to distraction by unexpected responses introduced by these innovations that their Toyota dealership salesman never told them about.

Granted, Toyota dealerships aren’t as bad as they used to be. (In John Updike’s award-winning 1981 novel Rabbit Is Rich, small-town jock screw-up Rabbit Angstrom has lucked into a deal — inheriting his father-in-law’s Toyota dealership — that even Rabbit can’t screw up. That’s because to get into the American market in the 1960s, Toyota, the first Japanese car to sell in the U.S., had to sign contracts granting American car dealers a perpetual right to sell Toyotas no matter how badly they treated customers. Toyota has expensively bought back most of those contracts by now.) Still, car salesmen tend not to be prime performers at explaining trade-offs and work-arounds to customers.

For instance, the new higher-end all-wheel-drive systems on the RAV4 seem to make a sound like a cow mooing at around 22 mph as the rear wheel drive is disengaged to save gas. The older, simpler Toyotas didn’t do this. But then they didn’t get quite as good fuel economy.

Similarly, a lot of the complaints from customers about the transmission dawdling while they are making scary left turns seem to come from drivers unaware that they have the car in gas-saving “eco” mode, and that they would instead be less terrified in “regular” or “sport” modes.

Likewise, complaints about the car jerking while they make a slow rolling right turn seem to stem from the gas-saving gizmo that turns off the engine at stoplights, which also contributes to complaints about the engine not responding the absolute instant they step on the gas. Drivers can turn off this feature, but nobody told them this.

This appears to be a general trend where, in the interest of saving energy and reducing carbon emissions, high IQ engineers design clever systems that work well most of the time, but every so often require non-high IQ pilots and drivers to override the defaults, which doesn’t always happen.

 
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  1. “The fact that Third World airline pilots lack the airmanship of US Navy aircraft carrier pilots is unsurprising. Perhaps Boeing should have taken that into consideration?”

    Or, after Boeing learned the hard way that diversity is our class action lawsuit.

  2. JMcG says:

    Steve, the point is that many airline pilots lack the airmanship of airline pilots, not that of USN Naval Aviators. He’s not just referring to third world airlines either. His article on the Air France crash into the Atlantic some years ago really illustrated that point well.
    US Airlines generally hire pilots with at least 1500 hours in actual airplanes, with many of those hours in small airplanes.
    Many other countries put pilots in airliners with a couple of hundred hours in a simulator and a few tens of hours in a real airplane.

    Boeing hasn’t covered itself with glory lately, but this is a prime case of the Decline and Fall of Western Civilization: The Aluminum Years.

    BTW, Wolfgang’s father, William Langewiesch wrote one of the seminal works of airmanship back in 1954. It’s called Stick and Rudder.
    In aviation as in life, If you plant corn, you get corn. I’m pretty sure that should be the motto of HBD Awareness.

  3. OK, you will get over 500 comments here, Steve, is my prediction. I have not flown this bird, or any 737, but I have flown airliners and do know the industry. You will get an anti-Boeing, pro-Russkie* zealot going by the handle “FB” on here who may or may not be an engineer but claims to be a test pilot also. I don’t think anyone with his personality, least what I see on-line, should have a medical certificate – his stability is worse even than a 737-MAX at a high angle-of-attack.

    That said, I agree with all who say that software patch to fix what is really a basic design problem was not done well – there was no EICAS (crew alerting system) message to indicate when the system was activated. Whether it was incorrectly activated (due to faulty AOA probes) or correctly, it should have been obvious. I don’t think it should have been allowed to activate with an indication from only one probe.

    Yet, 5 different SouthWest airlines pilots that I talked to in person (2 crews and one other First Officer) told me that they felt safe enough in the plane. They had had 30-something of them flying, the planes having flown 70,000 – 80,000 hours so far till the grounding.

    It’s needs to be fixed, and, yes, Boeing should have brought out that -97 or, better yet, a new 757 variant instead of this “upgrade”.

    .

    * Nothing wrong with the latter, ‘cept his anti-all-things-Americanism.

    • Replies: @William Badwhite
    , @Jack D
  4. Your general point here, Steve, could rightly be applied to the consumer software industry too. I am referring to the defaults that are arranged so that all the new features are ON until you find out (in the new version, mind you) how to turn all the crap off! Listen, Microsoft: I knew how to use Word back in ’95. I did not want to continually learn how to use it every 5 years!

    That’s just great about the new features, I know you’ve got to make money and you had a sweet deal with the computer manufacturers guaranteeing sales. However, can you not just advertise your new features under a “New Features” menu item and leave me the fuck alone to use the tool. Peak Stupidity complains about Software as a Tool.

    We’re lucky that stuff is not life and death, as with what you write about here, Steve.

    Yes, we have “Eco Mode”, Normal, and “Sporty” on the one newer vehicle we have. We’re usually in normal mode, but I’d like to do more experimenting with gas milage on long road trips.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Mr. Anon
  5. IHTG says:

    This appears to be a general trend where, in the interest of saving energy and reducing carbon emissions, high IQ engineers design clever systems that work well most of the time, but every so often require non-high IQ pilots and drivers to override the defaults, which doesn’t always happen.

    Insightful observation.

  6. @JMcG

    I had the same flash – unique last name! And great book.

  7. Mr. Langewiesche’s excerpt here does not agree with me very well.

    The same cannot be expected of airline pilots who never fly solo …

    Bullcrap. Everybody has to solo to get a license, but more generally, American civilian pilots until very recently had more solo time than the average fighter jock before they got onto an airline. One had to single-handedly fly checks around in the middle of the night in the T-storms and icing in complex light twins, or fly skydivers who want you to slow down to 65 kts AND keep the prop blast down, while they take 20 seconds hanging off the plane discussing the jump! Then, you might fly banners at the beach – have you ever watched them pick up and drop the banners? (Check it out on youtube.) It was all hours, hours, hours!

    While the military guys had the whole country paying for their fuel and support, the general-aviation guys had to make money (either themselves or their small outfit). Additionally, even if flying solo, the military guys have people helping them every step. The guy flying lab samples, or feeder DHL boxes, in the middle of the night does the loading, flight planning, and would get on the pay phone (I’m going back a bit) when he diverted due to low weather to work out how to get the stuff to the destination. There’s nobody else.

    Lastly, except during wartime, the military guys fly planes that are in tip-top shape. The civilian guys often fly POS’s and get used to not everything working right. One can tell an airline pilot who has done REAL FLYING or even more so, an airplane owner, vs. a military guy.

    • Agree: El Dato
  8. black sea says:

    Langewiesche used to be a regular contributor to The Atlantic, which says a lot about how far The Atlantic has fallen.

  9. JMcG says:

    I think the most important lesson from this article is clear: Do not let those you care about fly on Third World airlines. And maybe Air France.

    • Agree: Gordo
    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @NoseytheDuke
  10. Altai says:
    @JMcG

    Boeing hasn’t covered itself with glory lately, but this is a prime case of the Decline and Fall of Western Civilization: The Aluminum Years.

    Very few people seem to bring up all this happened after Boeing went from a true organisation with a strong identity and spirit to being taken over by hedge-fund guys who cut corners, took the heart out of the company by opening up a new factory in non-union South Carolina (All hail Ronald Reagan!) whose workmanship was so poor some big customers demanded only planes from the Oregon factory and made the 737 decision that old Boeing would never have done.

    Even more amazing, Airbus was so fraught with bad internal discord that their bets all went wrong. It’s amazing to me to see this all came out just a few days after it looked like Boeing had defeated Airbus for the next generation with the failure of the A380. Then the backbone of the companies sales and it’s entire reputation was annihilated. They can only hope nothing more comes out about the Dreamliner.

    All the suits who took over had to do was let Boeing run itself, but like true spivs they sought out a free lunch by looting the company.

  11. Speaking as a sailplane pilot, I can say that when things go wrong — as in maybe having to land out — the training kicks in. I realize that when you have training, and you have an emergency covered by the training, your unconscious mind kicks in.

    It’s clear that in the 737-MAX crashes there was no training to kick in.

    And then there’s the Air France Intertropical Convergence Zone stall crash. Where airline pilots failed to recover from a stall. Really? Your modern French airline pilots are not trained in stall recovery?

    • Replies: @William Badwhite
    , @Moses
  12. … and think they are near death if bank angles exceed 30 degrees.

    Oh, come on! Who has this guy met, 200 hour airline pilots? (Yes, that’s the way overseas outfits often did things – I don’t agree.) They practice steep turns, usually 45 deg, but sometimes 60, in the Sim. Part of the problem is training departments that know so much that just isn’t true. They’ll tell you the jet can’t do a slip, but that’s because the Sim is not programmed for slips. Yes, an airplane is an airplane, but airlines do seriously discourage anything outside the norm.

    The worst of them are intimidated by their airplanes and remain so until they retire or die.

    I’ve never seen such a thing. This guy does know his flying, so I don’t know where he gets some of this stuff, overseas? BTW, I’ve got a signed copy of his Dad’s Stick and Rudder.*

    .

    * It just wasn’t signed by the author. It was signed by Glenn Beck, back before he was a cuck, but I still didn’t want to buy Beck’s book just for a signature, so I grabbed whatever I had handy at the house.

  13. The never-ending grounding of the Max appears to be political/bureaucratic/face-saving/backside-covering/institutional rather than any deep, physical flaw with the airplane.

    This is nothing like the Comet, which disintegrated in mid flight for at the time frighteningly mysterious reasons later assigned to windows with squared-off corners, cabin pressurization, and metal breaking in the manner of a paper clip that you bend enough times. It is nothing like the Electra, where the wings came off for equally mysterious reasons later assigned to a wobbling of an engine inside a springy wing reminiscent of the famous video of the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge. It is neither like the DC-10, where a cargo door could blow off or an engine could fall off owing to a combination of design shortcuts and operation or maintenance practices.

    It is, however, a lot like the AF 447 Airbus disaster, where a sensor malfunctioned, causing the automation to behave unexpectedly in a way that confused the crew. You could say the Airbus is deeply flawed in the way the automation behaves in relation to how pilots are trained to react to it, but the emphasis there was on fixing an air pressure probe used to measure airspeed that it didn’t freeze and block up.

    Here, there is an angle-of-attack sensor, that small paddle vane you have probably seen attached to the nose of the airplane as you looked out the picture window from the boarding lounge, a sensor working on a similar principle to how you once stuck your hand out of an open automobile window and felt the rushing wind pushing on it. Why is there no big concern about how and why that sensor gave false reading? Once that sensor goes bad, the pilots get all manners of dangerously contradictory and confusing readings in any kind of jet.

    The fix is probably simple — find out what is going wrong with that sensor, use the reading from the sensors on each side of the airplane combined with airspeed and altitude readings as corroboration to at least warn the crew of a bad sensor, change some lines of software so the sensor reading is not used to push the nose down quite as much, have experienced test pilots check all of the “corner cases” of the modified software, place some “line pilots” in simulators to check their reactions to the new setup and call it a day.

    But no, this is not going to happen this way, especially since the FAA appears to have the broken credibility of the FBI these days after saying “no problem!” after the first crash, Boeing apparently having shortcomings in public relations crisis skills of the Early Trump White House, and self righteously self-loathing Americans in the Media wringing their hands about how none of this can be fixed.

    • Agree: Jack D
    • Replies: @El Dato
  14. Anonymous[665] • Disclaimer says:
    @JMcG

    My dad, a naval aviator, gave me a copy of Stick and Rudder for my 12th birthday. A few years later, Erik Shilling, late of the AVG and my aerobatics instructor, autographed it for me. By then, the book had a heavily taped spine and was festooned with post-it notes and multi-colored highlighted passages. In later years, I had it autographed by Capt. Wade Tallman, VX-9, who figured out how to make the F/A-18 work, and Cmdr. Robert E. Stumpf, DFC, Desert Storm, commander of the Blue Angels, as well as some others lesser known but equally admirable.
    Wonderful book.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  15. Anonymous[665] • Disclaimer says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Lots of “military guys” did those things, too, in high school and college before their career driving pointy-nosed airplanes for Uncle Sam.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  16. El Dato says:
    @JMcG

    More like Do not let a company be taken over by the MBA robots?

    • Agree: Redneck farmer, Ibound1
  17. Other commenters with plenty of knowledge will continue to add here, so this one will just agree that Steve’s theses are correct: Airmanship is important and some of the systems going into our aircraft now do not mix well with pilots who don’t have it.

    And stop-start eco systems on cars are annoying. One wonders what kind of wear they cause on engines. There should be a way to program them to always be off, so one doesn’t have to push a button every time one gets in and drives.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Alfa158
    , @Jim Don Bob
  18. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Eco, Normal and Sport modes on my car only control the point at which transmission goes into a higher gear. On a typical long highway trip there is zero difference between them.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  19. @Achmed E. Newman

    Everybody has to solo to get a license

    Is that true everywhere outside the U.S.? I thought that Ethiopian co-pilot had less than 500 hours. Maybe he had soloed, but it wasn’t clear that he had.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  20. TWS says:

    What does Boeing call it when a plane blows up in the assembly line?

    Pilot error.

    The RAV4 problems sound a lot like the little auto pilot program problems. It’s difficult but not impossible to program a computer to fly an airplane. It is much harder to program a computer to fly an airplane like a human. Much of the programmers’ time is spent making sure that the plane responds as if a human were at the controls. Pilots will take the wheel back from an autopilot performing a manuver that feels wrong even if perfectly safe. Thus the programmers must mimic human reactions close enough to fool an experienced pilot.

    Similarly, the RAV4 is behaving like a computer is running the show not a person. That makes people uncomfortable and may be dangerous as they don’t know what their rebellious machine will do next.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  21. Jack D says:

    To accommodate the huge new fanjets that improve on miles per gallon of fuel, the wings had to be raised, which changes how the plane flies from previous 737s.

    This is not correct. The wings could NOT be raised. Wing structure is fundamental to a plane – if you raise the wings you might as well redesign the whole plane, which is what they really should have done, but they didn’t want to do that, which is what got us into this mess in the first place. You can tinker a little (they changed the shape of the “winglets” at the end of the wing) but you can’t change where they are attached to the fuselage.

    Rather, what they did is that they mounted the new, bigger engines higher up and more forward on pretty much the same wing so the bottom of the engine wouldn’t hit the ground. The 737 is of such an ancient design that it’s original engines (two generations ago) were much smaller and the landing gear is unusually short because early models had built in stairs for airports without ground facilities and the luggage had to be loaded by people standing on the ground. And there’s no place to put taller landing gear without a major redesign.

    You can see it in this diagram in this story:

    https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-fi-boeing-max-design-20190315-story.html

    When thrust is increased (such as during stall recovery), underwing-mounted engines create a nose-up pitching force if the engine is forward of the center of gravity (rear mounted engines do the opposite). The amount of this force increases the further you place the engines forward of the center of gravity based on the principle of leverage. So they introduced MCAS to counteract that.

  22. Clemsnman says:

    Toyotas are great cars for people who don’t love cars.

    Giving a lot of driving options to people who just want reliable A to B transportation with some good music/entertainment is useless. It’s not that their stupid, they just don’t care.

    All that extra efficiency crap and technology is why I hate new cars. My ’98 BMW 528i (E39) with 226k miles drives better than anything new that I often rent on trips. But, the radio and cup holders are crap, so…

  23. Charon says:

    Made a grievous error in trading in a perfectly good six-cylinder car for one of these new turbo fours with about 11 speeds in the transmission. It’s always in top gear, even at 20mph, which means if you need to accelerate quickly you can forget it.

    Yeah, it also has “boy-racer mode” but that’s even stupider. Revs like an Audi S6 on steroids and jerks around like an undergrad at a drunken party in a feminist’s imagination, err Quartz essay.

    At least I managed to permanently defeat the stop-start.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  24. istevefan says:

    The fact that Third World airline pilots lack the airmanship of US Navy aircraft carrier pilots is unsurprising.

    I have no statistics on this, but I was under the impression that the military pilot who has the better chance of being accepted as an airline pilot was the the one who flew mulit-pilot, transport aircraft. For example, airlines would find USAF pilots who flew the the KC-10, KC135, etc. more desirable than those who flew solo in fighter jets. Likewise Navy pilots who fly the new P-8 should have no trouble getting hired by Southwest since the P-8 is a civilian derivative of the 737-800.

    There is a different mentality involved in flying fighters than in working with a crew trying to provide a flight your cargo doesn’t even notice.

    As I said I have no numbers on this, so anyone who is a commercial pilot please correct as necessary.

    PS. Here is my obligatory compliment for the 757.

  25. Jack D says:

    The fact that Third World airline pilots lack the airmanship of US Navy aircraft carrier pilots is unsurprising. Perhaps Boeing should have taken that into consideration?

    There was an article the other day that Boeing has formed an internal safety panel to make sure that this doesn’t happen again and that making the planes more idiot proof for future 3rd world pilots would be a consideration.

    During certification, it was pointed out to Boeing engineers (by other Boeing engineers who were supposedly wearing FAA hats – the way the FAA does this instead of sending its own employees is suspect because the “Team FAA” engineers know who signs their paycheck) that there was no backup for the MCAS system which relied on a single sensor. Boeing replied that the PILOTS were the backup – if anything went wrong they would just turn it off. This was doubly unwise in that the pilots turned out not to be a good backup system and also that just turning it off was not that simple given that it was pretty much hidden from the pilots and that when you turned it off the plane might be in a configuration where it was really hard to manually correct it.

    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
  26. mmack says:

    Steve,

    Re the RAV4 and any other 2019/2020: Sadly a lot of those nifty features come from the government “fatwas” (hat tip Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com for that phrase) around gas mileage Uber Alles! As noted cars today must:

    – Completely wrap their drivers in a safety bubble so no one may ever get hurt, visibility and injuries from airbags be damned
    – Get 1000 miles/gallon of gasoline, ignoring an owner’s personal desires of vehicle size, performance, or affordability
    – Expel the scent of flowers and chocolates from their tailpipes

    I jest, only slightly. Trying to balance those three competing requirements from a government that has its VIPs roll around in armor plated SUVs means engineers have to add stupid features like ASS (Automated Start/Stop) which saves a thimbleful of gasoline while prematurely wearing out your battery and starter (I think about the traffic I used to encounter on I-55 or I-294 and cringe thinking about a car constantly starting and stopping its engine in that traffic). Now the government has figured out people abandoned sedans for Pickups, SUVs, and CUVs, so now they play “The ENTIRE nameplate/company model line must average X miles per gallon” card, which is why you’re seeing turbocharged V6, and in GMs case, a turbocharged 4 cylinder full sized pickup trucks. God forbid you go with a low revving, long lasting V8.

    This also answers a question you posted some years back on why styles, specifically clothing and cars, haven’t changed much over the years. The government mandates on fuel economy and safety mean cars have evolved to a basic aerodynamic shape. Consider a 1986 Ford Taurus, the first mass market “aero” styled car, wouldn’t look out of place today in a Ford showroom. Oh the split bench seat up front and column mounted transmission shifter would be a dead giveaway when you opened the door, but the basic appearance fits right in.

  27. @JMcG

    Now that you’ve gotten promoted to the article, in the interest of accuracy, Wolfgang is the father of William, and it is Wolfgang who wrote Stick and Rudder.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  28. Paul Rise says:

    I’m not denying his prominence, and he might be dead on here, but the writers recent take on Malasya flight mh370 was laughable.

  29. Jack D says:
    @istevefan

    In the days of the Soviet Union pretty much all Aeroflot pilots were ex-military (and I don’t think they picked only transport pilots). Aeroflot pilots were noted for flying in a way that was less considerate of passenger comfort than Western pilots – for example after takeoff they tended to climb more steeply (probably there was also no incentive to save fuel either).

    Airliners are more capable of acrobatic maneuvers than you might think. Famously, in the 1st demonstration of the 707 to Boeing brass, the test pilots did a barrel roll in front of them just to show off. As you say, the pilots are taught not to do any stomach churning maneuvers for the sake of the passengers but the planes are well capable of executing them with complete safety if not comfort.

  30. @istevefan

    The 75 and this commenter thank you, iSF! I think the big airlines will hire a military pilot from any type of operation, very readily*. These guys also have very good connections.

    .

    * Because the fighters don’t fly so much, unless one were a long-termer, he may have to get more hours somewhere just to meet the minimum requirements.

  31. All technology after 1995 should be banned would be a great comment generator!

  32. @Jack D

    The initial climb speed, hence angle, (through 1000 ft above the ground) is based very specifically on engineers’ performance calculations. There is no room for show-offs on takeoff for that reason alone. It’s all about losing an engine and still missing all the terrain.

    That was Tex Johnson with the 707, right over the SeaFair festival in Seattle (over Lake Washington). He almost got fired. When asked “how did you know the plane would do it?” he explained that they’d already done ’em over Moses Lake. Haha! I highly recommend a book called Wide Body, Jack. It starts from the development of the B-47 swept-wing bomber, then through the 707 days, then the 747 story.

  33. Jack D says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Other than the wear on the starting system (which is obviously greater but cars with stop-start have beefed up starters) I don’t think it’s an issue. Whatever additional wear there is is going to be counterbalanced by the fact that the engine is going to have fewer hours on it because it is going to be running less of the time. Cold start is hard on an engine but warm starts aren’t bad. Of course any time you add complexity you may take away from long term reliability – modern cars are just full of electronics that are all going to go bad eventually.

    I don’t own any cars with stop start but I’ve driven them as rentals and I was not annoyed by it at all. I suspect that there are better and worse implementations. The idea of not idling your engine when the car is not moving is sound. As we move to electric cars it will be a non-issue.

    • Replies: @pbr19
    , @Buzz Mohawk
    , @JMcG
  34. Is skill with a highly maneuverable, high performance jet fighters really that directly transferable to handling a lumbering airliner?

    Half the things you could do in an F-16 would probably break up a 737 in mid-air.

    Would you rather have an ex-military pilot who flew fighters, or someone who flew more similar transports like the C-130 or C-5?

  35. The reason that car manufacturers are having to be clever about “improving” fuel economy is to comply with federal government violation of property rights…I mean mandates.

    CAFE standards.

  36. Mr. Anon says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Listen, Microsoft: I knew how to use Word back in ’95. I did not want to continually learn how to use it every 5 years!

    It’s not even your copy of Word anymore. Now you just lease it. Microsoft sucks. Their consumer products are garbage. My next computer will be a Mac.

  37. Mr. Anon says:
    @Jack D

    Airliners are more capable of acrobatic maneuvers than you might think. Famously, in the 1st demonstration of the 707 to Boeing brass, the test pilots did a barrel roll in front of them just to show off.

    It wasn’t just to the Brass, it was in front of a crowd of 250,000 people watching the Hydro races on Lake Washington.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/60-years-ago-the-famous-boeing-707-barrel-roll-over-lake-washington/

    It was a 1G roll, so the load on the airframe through the yaw axis was approximately the same as the load due to it’s own weight when it’s sitting on the ground.

  38. Anon[336] • Disclaimer says:

    Split ductless air conditioner/heater in Japan (Japan’s HVAC) have all kinds of confusing settings like quiet mode and economy mode. If they have the technology to make the things quieter and cheaper, why isn’t it the default? Talking to a tech I learned that all these features do is reduce the effectiveness by not reaching the goal temperature or taking really long to do so. In fact, to really get the damn things to work right you need to enable a powerful mode or manual blower strength mode. They could eliminate a couple of dozen buttons by just making it reach the goal temperature as set and keep it there. If you want quiet or cheap set the temperature closer to the outdoor temperatures.

  39. Kyle says:

    My 1991 Toyota Camry gets 35 mpg consistently. It’s small and doesn’t have all the extra weight of airbags. Dimensionally it’s not very cramped. It’s boxy, long, wide, and low. The trunk is huge, you can fit a couple of bodies in it. The back seat also has a 60 40 split, and with both seats down you can fit plenty of surfboards inside. Small Crossover suvs get similar gas mileage and have smaller, more cramped interiors than my Camry. They are safer with airbags and advanced safety systems, and they are more comfortable in the sense that you can sit high and upright, you don’t have to sit in a leaned back position, although I think my car has better leg room and elbow room. My car is front wheel drive, but I’ve never had a problem with snow and ice as long as the tires have tread. On the other hand if you’re the type of person who squeezes every last mile out of tires, all wheel drive is a smart investment, especially if you live in northern states.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  40. Mr. Anon says:
    @istevefan

    Chesley Sullenberger was an F-4 Phantom pilot. Al Haynes, the pilot of the DC-10 that crash-landed in Sioux City IA in 1989 was a Marine Aviator (which probably means he flew fighters, but perhaps not). I suspect that most fighter pilots are not like Maverick in Top Gun.

    • Replies: @istevefan
    , @Jim Christian
  41. Alfa158 says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Depends on the car make. On our Mercedes there is a button to turn off start/stop mode but you have to turn off the start/stop every time. Pretty annoying. On our BMW X1, which is functionally equivalent to a RAV 4 except it doesn’t have the butt-ugly Japanese styling, you can also disable it with a button and then it stays that way every time you start the car. Much smarter. I also notice that if you do use start/stop, the BMW has much less of a lurch when it restarts. I’ve never tried the Eco mode in the X1, just Comfort for regular driving and Sport on mountain roads. I’ll have to try it out and see if Eco also does something obnoxious.

  42. pbr19 says:
    @Jack D

    I used to drive my father’s Peugeot people carrier (I am in UK – possible terminology differences) which had the eco thing. Nightmare! Approaching a roundabout, see the gap and … no revs. Nearly caused a crash. Huge, useless whale of a thing accommodated Pater’s mobility scooter and winch. But I always made sure to switch it off.

    Contrarywise the new Ford I have – the system works perfectly and I don’t switch it off.

  43. @Jack D

    The first time I landed in Budapest it was 2002, and I noticed that the taxi drivers at the airport curb would keep their engines off and stand next to their open, driver-side doors. When they had to move their cars forward a few meters as space opened ahead, they would push their cars.

    In this manner, they waited and moved along the pickup area. Such was the cost of fuel, the need to conserve, and probably the fresh memory of harder times. They don’t do that anymore, but maybe their new taxis have stop-start.

    My father in-law over there remembers waiting in line for whole days to get his monthly 8-liter (2-gallon) ration of diesel for his Dacia, a car he waited months for after placing his order. (He was still driving the little, orange car when I met him that same year I landed in Budapest.) He was an army colonel and fortunate. Most of his countrymen didn’t have cars in the communist era. Now they have parking problems because everybody has a car and nothing was built with cars in mind.

    Regarding electric cars, they will make sense when we build more nuclear power plants. The LFTR reactor is the way to go.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Romanian
  44. An elderly friend of mine drove her son’s new vehicle – a Subaru, I think it was – and reported to him he should get it looked at because it “pulled” when she was turning. That’s the auto-turn feature, he told her.

  45. JMcG says:
    @Jack D

    A properly executed barrel roll is a one G maneuver. You shouldn’t be able to tell you’re not straight and level. There’s a great video of the inimitable Bob Hoover pouring ice tea with one hand while flying a barrel roll with his other hand and both feet. The 707 would of course, take lots of vertical space to barrel roll.

  46. JMcG says:
    @Jack D

    Let me tell you about pulling out of Dublin Airport into a multi-lane signal controlled roundabout and having your engine quit. I hadn’t the faintest idea what the hell was going on.

  47. @Jack D

    Yours has to be the most accurate, concise and understandable explanation of the flaw with the MAX.

  48. Anon[276] • Disclaimer says:

    In Japan many companies hire employees based on their university’s prestige, and then after intake training assign them to specific jobs. This is true in government civil service jobs also. I spoke to a female computer programmer from a large corporation who was assigned to the job and learned it from scratch after being hired, having exhibited no particular interest in the field previously. Other staff end up learning accounting or personnel.

    All Nippon Airlines, at least, does the same for its pilots. HR? Pilot? Front desk? Ground crew? It seems like it’s the luck of the draw. A television documentary followed a hapless ANA pilot-to-be on his journey to California to learn how to pilot a single engine prop plane (where all pilots start). California and Florida are cheap places for Japanese airline companies to get their pilots trained. The poor kid flunked out of his first test. But he buckled down and managed to squeak through on the next evaluation. The program presented this as a dramatic human narrative showing admirable spunk and determination. I myself, on the other hand, couldn’t help thinking that I’d rather have a pilot who aced his flight training from day one.

    After seeing that I tended to fly American or United. But I later spoke to someone who told me that the idea that U.S. pilots are all ex-military flyboys is a myth.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    , @Jack D
  49. gwood says:

    The C4 Corvettes had the widely hated feature that forced jumping from 1st to 4th gear. Word soon got around that opening the console and cutting the purple wire would disable it. By some strange coincidence there was only one purple wire in the bundle…

  50. istevefan says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    Additionally, as an airline pilot you will be flying with a crew so you need to be able to get along with them. Fighter pilots tend to be the confident types with large egos because that is the personality type suited for their profession. However, it might not be the best type for working with a civilian flight crew.

  51. pbr19 says:

    That’s a SAAB copy isn’t it?

  52. These cars y’all are talking about, that shut off at stoplights: does that stop the air conditioner too?

  53. SafeNow says:

    My FAA Max-approval theory: Boeing was forced to tale the the hit for the flight 800 missile strike…so relaxed approval was payback. It was not necessarily an overt conspiracy among FAA people; rather, it was what antitrust lawyers call “conscious parallelism.”

    My Boeing theory as to the relaxed design and rollout of the Max: In my California, Proficient/conscientious/fastidious” was replaced by “get it basically right” as the more relaxed standard. This became contagious across geography, professions, and cultures. Boeing caught the bug, and got the Max basically right. The dive boat got fire safety basically right. Examples abound. Idiocracy is arriving, and Boeing was not immune.

    • Replies: @SimpleSong
    , @J.Ross
  54. @International Jew

    No, and the engine will restart if other systems or battery drain requires it. Typically, you’re at a red light or stuck in traffic and the fans keep blowing refrigerated air that comes off the still-cold condenser for the brief time until you go again.

    • Replies: @International Jew
  55. @Achmed E. Newman

    zealot going by the handle “FB” on here who may or may not be an engineer but claims to be a test pilot also.

    FB is a loon! Also the woman with the Russian/Ukrainian/some kind of -ian name that I can’t remember who will chime in repeatedly about how it “was the flaps”.

    5 different SouthWest airlines pilots that I talked to in person (2 crews and one other First Officer)told me that they felt safe enough in the plane

    Same goes for American Airlines pilots I know. But Steve has a point – Boeing should know that 3rd world airlines (and Air France, though maybe France IS the 3rd world) will buy their airplanes and put systems managers that don’t know how to fly into the pilot seats, so design their planes accordingly.

    One small quibble Steve – the commuter accident you referred to took place near Buffalo, not in Ohio. Colgan Airways 3407.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  56. Jack D says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    a car he waited months for after placing his order.

    Only months? In E. Germany the waiting list for a car was many years long. One of the mosts pathetic things I ever read about the Communist system was the story of someone who betrayed her closest friends and became a Stasi informer not in exchange for a car (that would have been bad but at least almost understandable) but in exchange for being moved up on the waiting list for a car.

    The Dacia 1300 was a license built version of a Renault 12 and so was not bad by E. Bloc standards compared to indigenous designs such as the Trabant. By Western standards the R12 was not a great car but they did sell millions of them – in those days Renault really owned the French market. After the end of the Cold War Renault acquired Dacia and uses it as their low priced brand – they sell well in 3rd world markets where people can’t afford more expensive models.

    I didn’t know that they did a diesel. Maybe it was some kind of engine swap – when I was in E. Europe I saw a lot of strange conversions like cars converted to LP gas or CNG because it is cheaper than gasoline to run.

  57. Today’s the birthday of the US Air Force and you mentioned the navy! The USAF has a lot of guys who fly a lot of hours also. If you are an infantryman pinned down by enemy fire who do you want to see a navy plane that drops little bombs and then flies back to his nice carrier for a bowl of ice cream, or an A-10 warthog fighting for freedom at 6000 rounds a minute after blowing up an armor column with missiles. Then the wart hog will fly overhead like a protective angle.
    The USAF is the definition of air power. The navy is just a flying club.
    Take a zoomie to lunch today.

    • Replies: @Jack Henson
  58. @Jack D

    Planes get out of trim all the time which requires control input by the pilot. We need pilots in the cockpit, not computer scientists. I don’t see the need for MCAS. The engines create a nose up pitch due to them being below the CG, not in front of. The rear engined birds usually have their thrust lines run close to the CG or slightly above so they may produce a slight nose down pitch as thrust is applied.

  59. to become an airline pilot in recent years, you need to be, most likely, either an ex-military pilot or a flight instructor

    Back in the 1980s and 90s, I knew quite a few South African Airways pilots, and all of them were former military pilots. They were pretty good. Nowadays, I avoid SAA if I can. Until recently, El Al also recruited primarily from Israel Air Force, but they seem to be moving to a different model: https://m.jpost.com/Israel-News/El-Al-to-launch-flight-school-in-the-US-moving-away-from-Israel-Air-Force-560197

  60. @istevefan

    I have no statistics on this, but I was under the impression that the military pilot who has the better chance of being accepted as an airline pilot was the the one who flew mulit-pilot, transport aircraft.

    I don’t know if the statistics are readily available, but just anecdotally: I know a ton of ex fighter pilots and every single one of them that was interested in an airline job was hired. The people making the hiring decisions at airlines (at least at US ones) are in the flight department, which is filled with pilots. Pilots know that fighter guys for the most part finished ahead of the transport and bomber guys in flight school (there are some exceptions, e.g. the Air National Guard where you fly what the unit flies). Btw my knowledge of this is all pre-Tailhook (before they put women in fighter units) so excuse the use of “guys”.

    The transport and bomber guys end up with more total hours usually, but its not necessarily more experience, just the same hour over and over again. If you can fly a fighter well, you will have no trouble transitioning to an airliner. It takes a tiny bit of time to adapt to needing to be way more in front of the airplane (i.e. you can’t just roll in 90 degrees of bank if you need to get back on course) but that’s not a big deal.

    Also, airlines hire a lot of pilots that come up the civilian route. As of the last time I looked at the data (mid 1990’s), it was around 50/50 military vs. civilian. It may have skewed more civilian as the Vietnam-war era guys turned 65 and had to retire. A lot of the civilian pilots have lots of time flying in worse weather, in and out of less equipped airports (no ILS), in worse airplanes, while making crappy money. They did it because they like to fly and that shows up in their flying – they’re generally pretty good.

    There is a different mentality involved in flying fighters than in working with a crew trying to provide a flight your cargo doesn’t even notice.

    Flying fighters involves a lot of coordination with other fighters. You are working extensively with other flight crew, they’re just in different airplanes. Two and four-ship takeoffs, formation flight, bombing runs, etc are all very coordinated.

    The crew concept in airliners (called Crew Resource Management) is mostly about the captain not being a dictator and being willing to accept input from the FO. The old days of the FO’s job being “gear up, flaps up, shut up” are long gone.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  61. @International Jew

    Good question, IJ. A mechanic friend and I looked into this while driving a rental recently. Buzz is right, but I’m not sure it was clear. The engine will start back up, if you sit long enough to where the off the condenser has warmed up too much. We tried it.

  62. Old Prude says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    As a former military pilot and airline pilot I agree with the entire comment. My father who owned, flew and even built his own airplanes has better airmanship than I can hope for. Hell even my own brother who owned Pipers and Cessnas probably has more stick and rudder skill than me.

  63. @William Badwhite

    Romanzia or something. I’m pretty sure she was wasted throughout that whole thread, which went on about a week or so… those Russkies and their Stolichnaya!

  64. anon[366] • Disclaimer says:
    @JMcG


    BTW, Wolfgang’s father, William Langewiesch wrote one of the seminal works of airmanship back in 1954. It’s called Stick and Rudder.

    This is backwards. William is the son who is still writing.
    https://infogalactic.com/info/William_Langewiesche

    Wolfgang is the father who died in 2002.
    https://infogalactic.com/info/Wolfgang_Langewiesche

    Stick and Rudder was first published in 1944, and remains in print. For good reason.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  65. @Hypnotoad666

    Half the things you could do in an F-16 would probably break up a 737 in mid-air.

    The pilot would be aware of this.

    Would you rather have an ex-military pilot who flew fighters,?

    Fighter pilots need to move their airplanes from Point A to Point B in level “max relax” flight all the time. Its not that complicated. Its not like they spend all their time pulling 5 G’s or inverted.

    One comparison might be – could you take an Indy 500 driver and teach him to drive a minivan on an interstate? I’d guess you could.

    someone who flew more similar transports like the C-130 or C-5?

    One airline interview question this guy might get would be “what went wrong in flight school that you ended up in the C-130”? Actually that’s mean-spirited and a bit obsolete of me: lots of those airplanes are now flown by the Guard and as I said in a different post, in the ANG you fly what the unit flies. There are plenty of really good sticks flying transports in the ANG (and correspondingly, some serious hacks flying fighters in the ANG. See Syracuse’s performance with the Viper in the first Gulf War). But generally speaking, in the active duty Air Force, the transports and heavy bombers are flown by people finishing further down their class than are fighters. In the Navy they end up in helicopters or “rotary wing”. This is FAR from a concrete rule, just a general direction.

    • Replies: @Old Prude
    , @JEM
  66. @Jack D

    I didn’t know that they did a diesel.

    Oops. He now drives a Dacia turbodiesel. His 1300 was indeed powered by “benzin” (gasoline.) My mistake.

  67. Old Prude says:
    @istevefan

    During the hiring interview with the psychologist for Delta airlines, he asked if I ever made a mistake in the cockpit. Sure. Haven’t we all? In the cab ride back to the hotel with another of the candidates, he remained steamed by the fact that when he was asked the question and told the shrink he had never made any mistakes, the shrink didn’t believe him! Golly that made him mad! I nodded my head and thought, there’s one less applicant I need to worry about. I have to think the guy was a fighter jock. Or a Marine.

    • Replies: @istevefan
    , @Moses
  68. @Jack D

    We need pilots in the cockpit, not apps. Planes get out of trim all the time and require a control response from the pilot. I don’t think MCAS is needed.

    Under wing engines produce a nose up moment because they’re below the aircraft CG, not because they’re ahead of the CG.

    They should have changed the wing assembly years ago for the 737 so taller landing gear on would stow in it- or just replaced with the 757.

  69. Old Prude says:
    @William Badwhite

    One thing I noticed in my Delta new hire class was the Navy, Army and civilian pilots were all serious people. The Air Force pilots struck me as rather immature. The Marines were just odd.

  70. JEM says:
    @William Badwhite

    As the expression goes, ‘there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots’.

    At the time I was growing up, I’d have never gotten left (or front) seat in anything purely due to my vision, this was no longer true a few years after I’d pretty much aged past the opportunity.

    The transport guys probably get more hours than just about anyone else in the service, especially these days, so while if I had enough money to buy the FAA and a Congressman or two I’d be zipping around in the sky in an F-15, I’m quite happy to ride around commercial toothpaste-tubes behind someone with zillions of Herc or Seahawk hours.

  71. istevefan says:
    @Old Prude

    Are you a commercial pilot? If so, what do you fly?

  72. Jack D says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Yet, 5 different SouthWest airlines pilots that I talked to in person (2 crews and one other First Officer) told me that they felt safe enough in the plane. They had had 30-something of them flying, the planes having flown 70,000 – 80,000 hours so far till the grounding.

    Read Langewiesche’s article. Both of these planes could have been easily saved with better piloting and/or maintenance. All they really needed to have done was to turn off the electric stab trim at the first sign of trouble. The Indonesian plane had experienced the same problem the night before (a 3rd pilot riding along in the jump seat told them what to do and they landed safely) and should not have been grounded. Used parts from dubious sources were installed and not tested – they just falsified the logs and put it back in the air. Neither of these crashes happened in the US where both piloting and maintenance are better.

    Both of these airlines have serious deficiencies in their pilot training and aircraft maintenance which neither the airlines themselves nor their governments are willing to (or perhaps even capable of) address. Boeing is in a delicate situation because the airlines that caused these crashes are also their customers. You don’t win future orders by accusing your customers. There is also the element of raaacism. Nowadays, saying that brown pilots and aircraft maintenance crews are less competent than Western crews is not a good idea either. So Boeing wound up taking all the heat because they could not deflect it without creating even bigger problems for themselves. Flying on a plane made by a racist mfr. is even worse than flying on a dangerous one.

    That being said, Boeing’s philosophy has always been that the pilot is supposed to fly the plane. On an Airbus, the pilot makes suggestions to the software and the software flies the plane, always with the option to ignore the pilot’s suggestion if it doesn’t think it’s a good idea. In the worst case, you get, “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” ala Hal but if the pilot is not that good, the computer will save his ass for him. Dunning-Kruger also comes into play – every pilot (and every driver) thinks that HE is an above average pilot but half of them are wrong.

    This philosophy was created at a time and in a place where Boeing could count on a certain level of competence and intelligence and airmanship from its pilots. As you say elsewhere, in the US, by the time you are sitting in the cockpit of a 737 you probably have had lots of experience (usually with only your own ass on the line or maybe a few others at most) with inferior aircraft and unexpected failures or weather conditions and have gained the ability to quickly analyze such situations and improvise a solution and an almost instinctive or birdlike ability to operate the controls in a way that will not put you into a spiral dive. If you didn’t have those things, you’d probably be in the cemetery already instead of at the controls of a plane with 200 people depending on you for their lives. BUT, in the case of these 3rd world airlines (and even European carriers that do their own ab initio training) the pilots are just not of that caliber – they are trained to fly by the checklist and if it’s not on the checklist they are at a loss as to what to do.

    Going forward, Boeing is going to have to come to grips with this. We see this in the case of a lot of consumer products that have been made “idiot proof” (often at the cost of functionality – pill bottles for arthritis medicine that require a lot of grip strength to unscrew the cap) because the manufacturers have to recognize that their products are being operated by idiots and they, and not the idiots are going to be blamed for it anyway (both publicly and legally) unless they alter the product to idiot proof it. It’s ironic because MCAS was itself an automated system intended to idiot proof an unintended stall situation that no pilot should fly into in the first place, but they are going to have to make the planes even more automated – the idiot proofing systems are going to have to have another layer of idiot proofing in case the 1st layer of idiot proofing itself behaves idiotically because you can’t count on the pilots to be your backup.

  73. Screw the environment. Just give me a carbureted engine, manual transmission, rack-and-pinion steering. I know and understand every operational part of the vehicle and there’s nothing that can’t be repaired or replaced by a talented amateur.

    It’s why my 1952 Ford 8N still runs fine.

  74. I watch that show about airline crashes. It seems to me that many pilots turn on the autopilot as soon as something goes wrong and expect it to correct things. I remember the claim about third world pilots, they are taught switch on the autopilot as soon as wheels up .

    Then I remember a program about the jetliner missing in the south seas. A Boeing engineer took the (hot) tv hostess through below deck of a Boeing similar to the one gone missing, and he said in effect, we have to make the systems capable of being used by idiots. My ears did a double take. He said it nice, like there are different levels of training and experience in an international force.

  75. peterike says:

    “Airmanship” is an anachronistic word, but it is applied without prejudice to women as well as men. Its full meaning is difficult to convey. It includes a visceral sense of navigation, an operational understanding of weather and weather information, the ability to form mental maps of traffic flows, fluency in the nuance of radio communications and, especially, a deep appreciation for the interplay between energy, inertia and wings.

    It’s almost like he’s saying only white men should be commercial pilots.

    unexpected responses introduced by these innovations that their Toyota dealership salesman never told them about.

    It’s my impression that in New York City at least, car salesmen are now entirely black, Hispanic or Arab. Not a white to be found. Maybe that’s not true at the high-end, but seems that way on the rest. And their grasping pushiness is a misery.

  76. JR Ewing says:

    I hate auto-off ignitions with a passion. To be sitting in the car at a stop light and have everything go quiet is very unsettling, as is the pause between hitting the gas and the engine responding. In my day, the car going quiet meant you had stalled out and had to get the car started back up again. 40 years of driving experience doesn’t just get forgotten because the car is now more eco-friendly. It makes me intuitively think something is wrong with my car.

    Luckily, BMW allows drivers to disable the “feature” by simply pushing a button on the dash and it stays off even after the car has been parked and restarted. I’ve yet to see another make of car that doesn’t make you turn it off all over again every time you get back in the car, even expensive luxury cars of other makes.

    Unfortunately, I’m sure the day is coming where you won’t be able to turn it off at all.

    • Replies: @Yngvar
  77. @Anonymous

    Maybe some, but I if they went military, they probably skipped the working G/A world in which you really have to get the job done each day or night.

    BTW, I hope you aren’t talking about the CAP. Those guys have hour-long flight-planning meetings for their next day’s mission, which is to fly across the state to get the oil changed! Hours are hours, though…

  78. @John Pepple

    It pretty much HAS to be the case. If you don’t solo, how can the instructor be sure you can do it on your own, as in taking passengers up for just a spin? The guy obviously got to the airlines very early if he had 500 hours. What a deal for him! (I know nothing about the guy, so this is not a criticism of his role in the crash.)

  79. Jack D says:
    @William Foster

    We need pilots in the cockpit, not apps. Planes get out of trim all the time and require a control response from the pilot. I don’t think MCAS is needed.

    The problem is that with the growth of low cost carriers, 3rd world airlines, etc. truly competent pilots are in short supply, especially at the prices that these airlines are willing to pay. Ticket buyers are very cost driven – the airline with the cheapest ticket price will always win in the market, regardless of the passenger experience they offer (see Spirit, Ryanair). In the case of Lion, regardless of safety.

    In the article, Langewiesche gets into some of the technical details of why MCAS was installed – it wasn’t just a question of unexpected nose up moment but also non-linear control forces, an unusually mild (and therefore perhaps unnoticeable) G-break, etc.

    However, MCAS was supposed to kick in in a part of the flight envelope where no pilot would normally go. This is why they felt safe not even mentioning it in the manuals – to their thinking this was something needed to satisfy the FAA but most Maxes would be sent to the scrapyard at the end of their useful life without MCAS having been triggered even once. Most (living) pilots are able to avoid putting their planes into an unrecoverable deep stall but since the consequences are so severe (no parachute lever like on a Cirrus) it was wise to have a system to prevent that even if it would only be needed once every million hours or whatever the tiny risk was.

    And this would have been likely true if MCAS only activated when it was supposed to activate. BUT since it was triggered by a single AoA sensor and AoA sensor vanes tend to get damaged, it wound up going off when it wasn’t supposed to, not just once but on several different aircraft.

    Under wing engines produce a nose up moment because they’re below the aircraft CG, not because they’re ahead of the CG.

    Yes, but the moment is greater the further ahead of the CG you are because the lever arm is longer.

    Again, Langewiesche (contrary to a lot of earlier press reports) says that while the nose up moment of the Max was slightly greater for this reason, that really wasn’t the main reason for MCAS but rather more technical control force , buffeting and G-break issues at certain (unusual) points in the flight envelope. Remember the idea of the Max was not just to have a plane that behaved predictably (nose up moment for underwing engines is present in all planes with underwing engines and is well understood by all pilots) but that behaved the SAME as the old 737 so that no re-training would be required.

  80. Now we finally have it. An article that is just plain idiot lies. Wrong. Incorrect. False.

    Lies in the service of the writer’s insane little hobbyhorse.

    And defending corporations. Typical typical typical. This website and this writer are shills.

    The plane is badly made because Boeing needs more money. Any child could know this if they weren’t blinded by the fact that their job requires them being blinded.

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/09/14000-words-of-blame-the-pilots-that-whitewash-boeing-of-737-max-failure.html#more

  81. Anonymous[197] • Disclaimer says:

    Sloppy editing over at the NYT Mag: Air France 447 crash was in 2009, not 2015– it’s not as if this was the worst crash in the history of the airline, or anything. They can’t train ’em for factsmanship

  82. @Clemsnman

    Ya, I have an eco mode in my ’09 accord.

    It’s called “slow down and ease off the gas”.

    My sport mode is called “step on it”.

    So much total bullsh*t is crammed into modern cars. I don’t plan on buying a new overdesigned pos so I’ll keep running mine for as long as I can…

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
  83. @JMcG

    The fact that Third World airline pilots lack the airmanship of US Navy aircraft carrier pilots is unsurprising. Perhaps Boeing should have taken that into consideration?

    Actually, airlines prefer former military transport pilots; guys and gals with experience in heavies and who have been forced to learn EPs to the point of being able to do them in their sleep. There’s only one country in the world with enough military transports to generate a pipeline full of pilots for the major airlines, and even then the pipeline needs to be topped up with CFIs who then work their way up through the regionals. The rest of the world takes what they can train, often in the US, which is why the 911 student pilot/hijackers didn’t attract more attention.

    You haven’t flown until you’ve done a wing-down instead of a crab-and-kick in a 747.

  84. Ken52 says:

    A contrary view
    But the piece does not really say what brought the Boeing 737 MAX down. It does not explain the basic engineering errors Boeing made. It does explain its lack of safety analysis. It does not mention the irresponsible delegation of certification authority from the Federal Aviation Administration to Boeing. There is no mention of the corporate greed that is the root cause of those failures.

    Instead the piece is full of slandering accusations against the foreign pilots of the two 737 MAX planes that crashed. It bashes their airlines and the safety authorities of Indonesia and Ethiopia. It only mildly criticizes Boeing for designing the MCAS system that brought the planes down.

    The author of the piece, William Langewiesche, was a professional pilot before he turned to journalism. But there is so much slander in the text that it might as well have been written by Boeing’s public relations department.

    The piece is also riddled with technical mistakes. We will pick on the most obvious ones below. The following is thus a bit technical and maybe too boring for our regular readers.

    Langewiesche describes the 737 MAX trim system and its failure mode:

    That’s a runaway trim. Such failures are easily countered by the pilot — first by using the control column to give opposing elevator, then by flipping a couple of switches to shut off the electrics before reverting to a perfectly capable parallel system of manual trim. But it seemed that for some reason, the Lion Air crew might not have resorted to the simple solution.
    Wrong: The manual trim system does not work at all when the stabilizer is widely out of trim (i.e. after MCAS intervened) and/or if the plane is flying faster than usual. That is why the European regulator EASA sees it as a major concern and wants it fixed.
    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/09/14000-words-of-blame-the-pilots-that-whitewash-boeing-of-737-max-failure.html#more

    • Troll: Aft
    • Replies: @JMcG
    , @Jack D
  85. @mmack

    Meh, I still get better mileage in my manual ’09 accord than any of these modern cars do.

    It’s about how you drive it. Not trading it in…

  86. @Jack D

    Yes, but the moment is greater the further ahead of the CG you are because the lever arm is longer.

    No, the lever arm is the perpendicular distance from the line of action of the force (somewhat close to parallel to the wind chord) to a line through the center of mass*. Pushing the engines just forward does nothing to change that.

    (OK, you don’t have to answer, Jack. I’ll know what that means. ;-} )

    .

    * i.e. take a line through the center of mass that’s parallel to those engine thrust vectors. It’s the distance between them.

  87. @TWS

    Finally. Somebody on here who isn’t a brainwashed fool. You got it. You can pretty much count on “pilot error” being a lie. You would think people up on all the latest conspiracy theories would get this. But no. Not when it gets in the way of banging away at their silly little prejudices.

  88. JOHn F says:
    @JMcG

    Other way around: Wolfgang was the father, and William the son.

  89. @mmack

    So it couldn’t be the manufacturer’s fault. Nooo. And SUVs couldn’t be a corporate/government bribery scam. Nooo. All you fools are alike. You blame the wrong people. It’s like that quote that’s going around about the one thing philospher’s can’t understand the most is why people join in on their own suppression.

    • Replies: @mmack
    , @Reg Cæsar
  90. Dr. X says:

    U.S. commerical pilots who do not have military training can be frighteningly stupid.

    There was a crash of a Continental Q-400 in Buffalo in 2009 that killed all 50 people on board. The airplane started icing on approach, and when the stall indicator went off and the stick shaker activated, the fucktard pilots did the exact opposite of what they were supposed to. Instead of dropping the nose to increase airspeed and recover from the impending stall, the pilot overrode the stick pusher and pulled all the way back on the yoke, making the aircraft stall completely and drop like a rock.

    The captain was some Walter Mitty type who had been a salesman or something and decided to get into commerical flying in his 40s. The co-pilot was a 23-year old girl who went to community college and was making about $16 an hour flying. Five minutes before the crash she was heard on the cockpit voice recorder saying that she had never deiced an airplane before.

    I like airplanes. But I don’t travel anywhere that I can’t get to in a pickup truck with a .357 revolver under the seat.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    , @El Dato
  91. anon[283] • Disclaimer says:

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-aviation-safety/2017-safest-year-on-record-for-commercial-passenger-air-travel-groups-idUSKBN1EQ17L

    The 3rd world all of a sudden deteriorated?

    No commercial jet passenger deaths in 2017 strikes me as statistically remarkable. The overall systems and processes have been largely “de-risked”.

    That is both a blessing and the source of unrealistic expectations. For gods sake, this method of transportation defies Gravity. A shocking minority in the US want to imprison Boeing personnel involved with this problem. One of the reason the overall system has improved to this extent is that accidents are largely openly and honestly investigated, which is why it is reckless to start throwing around draconian punishments to “improve” something that isn’t broken.

    Safety in the worst backwater country is better than the US in the 90’s.

    I would say that airmanship isn’t essential to fly a commercial jet. Otherwise 2017 would have been impossible. No?

    Mostly you want someone who is able and willing to follow directions.

    US pilots had plenty of airmanship back when they were crashing a plane every couple of years.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  92. Perhaps world airlines should do all their recruiting in Saudi Arabia. Didn’t the 9/11 bunch exhibit exceptional piloting skills the very first time any of them was at the controls of an airliner, in spite of minimal training in aircraft of any size or complexity?

  93. JEM says:

    There’s plenty of blame to go around.

    The 737 design is an antique that exists largely because of Southwest – it’s been stretched well beyond its limits, it’s a three-foot-long dachshund. It should have been replaced with a new design twenty years ago.

    MCAS may be unavoidable as a result, but Boeing made some utterly inexplicable choices in its design: use of only a single sensor as an input and failure to sanity-check its input against other readily-available inputs (accelerometers, airspeed, etc), and finally the decision to radically increase its control authority well into the development process.

    Yes, these pilots may have been undertrained.

    Yes, they may have seat-of-the-checklist flyers.

    Yes, in some cases a more experienced pilot might have been able to save a plane that was trying to kill them.

    Yes, recognizing the problem early on, pulling back the power and setting flaps 5 or killing the trim power would have mitigated the problem.

    But in the end Boeing gave them a plane that was trying to kill them.

    I believe Langewiesche misinterpreted one of the pilots’ statements about ‘helping with the trim’ to assume he was talking about the toggles and not the manual trim wheels; it’s been demonstrated that depending on airspeed and g-loading the load on the trim jackscrews reaches a point that a normal human cannot turn the trim wheels without heroic measures (flying a rollercoaster track to unload the trim screws at the peak of the humps) not even known to pilots on many majors.

    I will note your analogy with RAV4s and other modern cars isn’t entirely apt. If you look at the number of sensors any modern car uses and sanity-checks against each other for engine controls, ABS, stability control, airbags, etc. it makes Boeing look pathetic. No automakers’ general counsel would EVER let a product get out the door with something equivalent to what Boeing did. And by law the EPA would stomp on any automaker that didn’t sanity-check its engine-control sensors.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  94. @Jack D

    Yep, I agree mostly, Jack. I was just reporting that SWA had had no occurrences (going by my 2nd-hand info) of the MCAS system activating, either correctly or incorrectly. Those switches in question are close by, but if you don’t know what’s going on for long enough, oh boy.

    What I DON’T agree with is Scarebus’ philosophy of “the computer knows best”. Maybe for inexperienced pilots, it may have to be the way though …

  95. @William Foster

    Under wing engines produce a nose up moment because they’re below the aircraft CG, not because they’re ahead of the CG.

    Under-wing engines are usually positioned near the centre of gravity to prevent what you describe. Being below the CG would not be a factor, rather it would be the position of the engines along the fore-aft line relative to the CG that would affect pitch attitude, so moving the engines aft might cause pitch up by the moment of the engines aft of CG.

    That is not the case with the 737-MAX, where the engines are somewhat forward of the CG. In fact, the pig is quite nose heavy, in part because of the engines, but also the added length of fuselage.

    But wouldn’t that make the nose pitch down? Yep, and at low thrust you get just that.

    The problem at takeoff and climb is that as you pitch up, increasing the angle of attack, the airflow over the engine nacelles gives an additional component of lift that, because the front of the nacelles, where this additional lift is generated, is ahead of the centre of gravity, amplifying the effect of this lift by pushing the nose up.

    MCAS wasn’t designed so much to keep the aircraft from stalling as it was to prevent the pilot from inadvertantly inducing a stall, because as the nose is pushed up by the nacelle-induced lift, it lightens control pressure fed back to the pilot, and the natural tendency of a pilot is to pull harder and re-trim (raising the angle of attack further toward stall) at what seems like an appropriate feel to the control forces.

  96. @William Foster

    We need pilots in the cockpit, not apps. Planes get out of trim all the time and require a control response from the pilot.

    This is very true but not easily addressed. The US military generates a large supply of pilots that few other countries can replicate; and general aviation (GA) – where a sizable chunk of US airline pilots learn to fly – to the extent seen in the US doesn’t exist much outside the Anglosphere.

    More countries than not are opposed to the idea of their citizens flying to and fro in their own airplanes without getting permission from various bureaucrats and ministries. In addition, GA is pretty expensive so not something your basic Ethiopian or Malaysian or whatever is going to be able to afford. My apologies if I’m telling you things you already know, I may have misinterpreted your comment.

    We are very fortunate here in the US that GA had already grown huge before the post WW2 regulatory behemoth came along. I suspect GA would have been mostly strangled in the cradle if it came along afterwards.

    • Replies: @istevefan
  97. @SafeNow

    Yeah this is a good point, and part of me thinks its due to the rise of software as a very important part of engineering (and the broader culture) and that bleeding into more traditional branches of engineering.

    When you are engineering a physical thing, once the design is done you need to take it to the machine shop to get it prototyped. That is relatively expensive and time consuming. Then if it seems to be working OK and you send it to production you need to make tooling, set up lines, etc. That is really, really expensive. So you spend a lot of time at the drawing board thinking about every way this could possibly go wrong before you ever do anything in the real world.

    In software on the other hand, you just write your program, compile it, and look for bugs. The process of finding a bug, fixing it, and compiling again costs basically nothing, compared to the process of redoing a prototype or redoing a bunch of tooling if something gets to production. If there is a problem with deployed software you push out a patch, which is much less of a big deal than doing a recall of an automobile or airplane or whatever. Software is just much more forgiving of a ‘let’s try this and just see if it works’ approach, which certainly gives a better speed to market. But when you apply that philosophy to physical stuff bad things start happening.

  98. Mr. Blank says:

    This isn’t just a problem with RAV4s, or even Toyotas. It’s all the new cars. I bought a new car earlier this year, and while test-driving different models, I found that they all have all these weird quirks that seem centered around saving gas. As Steve notes, a lot of it has to do with odd engine or transmission behavior at low speeds. I can see this really getting on the nerves of people who spend a lot of time in stop-and-go traffic.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @AnotherDad
    , @Precious
  99. indocon says:

    737 MAX is like a car that has an engine so powerful that it will fly off the highway curve if the gas pedal is pressed to hard!! Having spent a few years as a product engineer in

    [MORE]
    automotive world, that sounds absolutely crazy to me.

    My bold prediction…..737 MAX will not fly again, and that will lead to BK of Boeing. One by one the Industrial dominos of heritage America keep falling.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  100. istevefan says:
    @William Badwhite

    . The US military generates a large supply of pilots that few other countries can replicate; and general aviation (GA) – where a sizable chunk of US airline pilots learn to fly – to the extent seen in the US doesn’t exist much outside the Anglosphere.

    Why don’t those nations who can’t, or won’t produce enough pilots just outsource and hire American ones? I mean we seem to bring in H-1 B visa guys all the time. Why wouldn’t foreign nations do the same in regards to American pilots?

  101. J.Ross says:
    @SafeNow

    I have long complained (weakly, as I have no engineering chops) that there is a standard of “oh well, it pretty much works,” which would have been unthinkable to previous generations. There have been a hundred things that were just plain wrong with every recent computer I’ve used (and a thousand with smartphones), but none were anywhere near as bad as an aircraft malfunction, and almost all were more or less resolved by retrying, restarting, or by swapping out applications.
    Microsoft Windows Ten, which distinguished itself as unusably awful even by Microsoft standards, within this month managed to have yet another major update problem years after its release. Normally the thing about Microsoft is, they suck because they’re rushing to market, but if you come back to their product after a while, they’ll have all the bugs worked out and it’ll actually be pretty good. Windows 10 managed to be the exception to the good thing about Microsoft.

  102. WJ says:

    Why even have pilots in cockpits? Computers can fly those things better than people. That’s what we are constantly being told about driverless cars- the machine can do it better and safer. It would seem to be that if this is true in the complicated space of our road system with a number of hazards then it would be much truer in the skies.

    This really hold true for military aircraft. Some crappy drones probably with a price of one hundredth of the price of an F 35 jacked up oil prices and have us on the brink of war with Iran. Most certainly we don’t need manned aircraft for military missions but politics and AF/Navy pr will get in the way of that changing too much or too fast.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Jack Henson
  103. @Kyle

    My 1991 Toyota Camry gets 35 mpg consistently. It’s small and doesn’t have all the extra weight of airbags. Dimensionally it’s not very cramped. It’s boxy, long, wide, and low. The trunk is huge, you can fit a couple of bodies in it.

    Even with rigor? Asking for a friend.

  104. Jack D says:
    @istevefan

    Not so much American but a lot of the HK and Middle E. based airlines seem to hire a lot of UK, Oz and NZ pilots.

  105. Because foreign nations aren’t interested in replacing their native populations with Americans?

  106. @istevefan

    Why don’t those nations who can’t, or won’t produce enough pilots just outsource and hire American ones?

    It varies nation by nation. Some (such the Koreans) consider it a point of pride that they can do first world things like fly airliners (though the Koreans are generally viewed as awful pilots) while others have no problem outsourcing (many of the Middle Eastern carriers). The first time I flew on Qatar Airways I was apprehensive until I heard “this is your captain speaking” in an Australian accent.

    Some other factors:

    – not that many Americans want to move to distant (or 3rd world) countries so they end up with on/off arrangements similar to crews on offshore drill rigs. I understand Qatar not only pays pilots extremely well but also the pilots head to Doha (business class, no cost to the pilot) for a month, crank out their flying, then head home for a month (business class, no cost to the pilot). This has the effect of having a bunch of pilots working half-time but being paid full-time. Qatar flies a lot of long-haul international routes (typically much higher revenue than short-haul domestic stuff) so can get away with that. Ethiopian or Air Botswana or whatever isn’t going to be able to pay that premium and few American/Aussie/Canuck pilots want to live there. “Good news! I was hired by CEIBA Airlines! The bad news is I have to move to Equatorial Guinea”.
    – The US has its own pilot shortage of sorts for a number of reasons. Many of the commuter airlines are really struggling to find pilots. About 5 or so years ago American Eagle had most of an entire pilot class quit when informed they’d be domiciled in San Juan, PR. Pilots willing to give up a job flying turbine equipment (something you mostly need to get hired by a major airline) was unheard of 15 or 20 years ago. Its gotten so bad some of the commuters are even paying pilots salaries they can live on! Contrast that with the typical commuter starting pilot salary in the early 90’s: $18,000 and you need to pay for your simulator time.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Johann Ricke
  107. Jack D says:
    @Anon

    Since the end of the Cold War the US doesn’t produce enough surplus military pilots to fully support civil aviation, if it ever did.

  108. Jack D says:
    @William Badwhite

    I wasn’t just the early ’90s. At least up to the time of the Colgan crash (2009) the regional carriers were still paying their pilots peanuts. The idea was that you would put in your time for starvation wages and then get hired by a major but still it was an untenable situation to be paying a skilled pilot less than he would make at Starbucks. At some point people get the market signal and supply comes back into balance with demand at a more appropriate price point.

  109. ‘…This appears to be a general trend where, in the interest of saving energy and reducing carbon emissions, high IQ engineers design clever systems that work well most of the time, but every so often require non-high IQ pilots and drivers to override the defaults, which doesn’t always happen.’

    It sounds like everybody’s caught Windowitis. Remember Windows 8? Apparently, all kinds of neat innovations.

    I wouldn’t know. I never did figure them out.

  110. @Jack D

    In the movie “Idiocracy”, it’s clear that the engineers of the distant and competent past did a great job designing for idiots; in 2505, when we join the future world, most stuff still works pretty well! Sure, in one wide angle shot we see a tall building held together with baling wire, but think about infrastructure: if those sewers and water systems weren’t doing their job, everybody would have been dead already (at least in the cities).

    Granted, they had a catastrophic famine coming what with their recent turn to using Brawndo for irrigation. So human history might very well have ended around 2506, had Joe not turned up to save the day.

  111. @Buzz Mohawk

    And if those automated systems misjudge how much charge is left on your battery?

    Y’all have given me yet another reason to keep fixing my 15-year-old manual-everything car.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  112. SafeNow says:

    A 2016 Johns Hopkins study found that 250,000 deaths per year are caused by medical negligence. That equates to 2 jumbo jets crashing EVERY DAY. We tolerate that. We tolerate all manner of error, relaxed performance, and aggressive apathy. A 1st-page story in the L.A. Times yesterday: “Pedestrian deaths are up— Experts baffled.” I am not baffled….Look both ways, and you won’t get killed. Metaphor.

  113. Jack D says:

    Maybe in a different era (one where there were more than 2 global manufacturers of large jets) you would have been right, but at present some airlines will have no choice but to keep buying from Boeing because Airbus does not have enough production capacity to supply the entire world market by itself.

    China is coming on board with the Comac C919 but they are just getting cranked up and it is really a previous generation plane – basically a copy of a 30 year old A320 (notably NOT a copy of the 737) so it is never going to be appealing outside the China market. If this incident happened 10 or 20 years from now when China had a fully competitive plane available and the production capacity to crank out the volume needed, then it would have been curtains for Boeing but it ain’t. Ditto the Irkut MC-21 – on paper it is a 737 competitor but the Russians have never been able to make an aircraft that Western airlines are willing to buy.

    The MCAS failure was a terrible screw up (worsened by the pilots involved – they were the anti-Sullies) but the 737 is still a fundamentally sound aircraft with one unsound and fixable subsystem. You can be double triple sure that the next version of MCAS is going to be bulletproof and aside from that, there are no (known) problems with this plane. Cancelling the Max, let alone all of Boeing, would be an overreaction to what was really a relatively minor and confined issue. Boeing’s casual attitude toward the reliance on a single sensor was somewhat troubling but every aircraft involves thousands of such decisions and you’re bound to get it wrong once in a while. It was just unfortunate that this one came to bite them (and the victims) so hard.

  114. Bannon says:
    @Altai

    taken over by hedge-fund guys who cut corners, took the heart out of the company by opening up a new factory in non-union South Carolina (All hail Ronald Reagan!) whose workmanship was so poor some big customers demanded only planes from the Oregon factory and made the 737 decision that old Boeing would never have done.

    What’s South Carolina got to do with it? I’m glad this red state has a chance to help save the company before it’s brought down by the unions and blue state politics. You’re repeating Leftist (pro-union) media propaganda under an article about a plan made in the Pacific Northwest state of Washington.

    • Replies: @Alden
  115. @Jack D

    The idea was that you would put in your time for starvation wages and then get hired by a major but still it was an untenable situation to be paying a skilled pilot less

    You are correct. I cited the early 90’s because that is when my direct experience was.

    It was doable if you were younger (early to mid 20’s) and could live with a few other pilots. You were willing to put with X now because it would lead to Y later. Kind of like grad school. The bigger the Y, the smaller the X you could tolerate. At some points those lines cross though.

    Part of the “scissor” today is that jobs at major carriers aren’t as great as they used to be. No defined benefit pension plan (all gone in the post 9/11 bankruptcies and not coming back), its hard to “non-rev” everywhere with your family because through yield management the airlines have gotten really good at selling almost every seat. And dating things a bit, back in the “good old days” the stewardesses (not “flight attendants”) had to be single, under 30, and pass weight checks so the pilots had a steady supply of good-looking women riding around with them.

    Now you have a 401k; most seats are sold so you can’t (easily) take your wife and 2.2 kids skiing on spring break for airfare of $0.00; and instead of good-looking women as FA’s, it’s 70 year old grandmothers and swishy gay guys.

    You mention the Colgan crash – the captain Renslow was pretty old for a commuter guy (mid 40’s if I remember correctly) and apparently had some mid-life revelation that he wanted to become an airline pilot. He wasn’t in it for the money (at a major carrier), hadn’t had a life long interest in it, and wasn’t very good at it. Meanwhile the FO was domiciled in New York but couldn’t begin to afford to live there, so lived somewhere on the west coast (Seattle I think) and commuted. Renslow was a hack who sucked at flying and the FO was exhausted and very low-time. Believe it or not even in such a situation it still took crappy weather and the end of a really long day to make the events line up.

    Congress made some changes in the aftermath that mostly just caused a different set of problems. Requiring an ATP (minimum of 1,500 hours required) or restricted ATP (750, different set of training requirements) just makes FO’s that much harder to find and makes the path to even a commuter job that much harder (IOW, shrinking the X even more). Hence one reason for the shortage. Plus if you have 1,500 hours and an ATP, depending on who is hiring, you can sometimes go direct to a major and bypass the commuters altogether.

  116. Jack D says:
    @International Jew

    Anything is possible but battery voltage is easily measured and the system is not likely to get it wrong and is programmed to leave you with a margin and not wait until the battery is on the borderline of being dead. If your autostart system doesn’t have enough juice to restart the car, then the battery was probably going bad anyway and would have done the same the next time you turned the key manually. Cold start requires a lot more power, especially in the winter.

    • Replies: @International Jew
  117. anonymous[223] • Disclaimer says:

    Gosh, more scary aviation news. This is one for the jobs Americans “just wont do anymore” file.
    According to a criminal complaint affidavit filed in federal court, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani admitted during an interview Thursday that he tampered with a navigation system on the plane so that he could collect overtime work. Wow, American Airlines hired a mechanic with a name like that to service its planes. We are lost as a nation.

    https://www.chron.com/news/article/American-Airlines-mechanic-accused-of-sabotaging-14419009.php?cmpid=hpctp

    • Replies: @anon
  118. @Christopher Chantrill

    Speaking as a sailplane pilot,

    Very cool sport. I’m a moderately high time commercial pilot (the certificate, not the job – I haven’t flown for money in years) and just getting into sailplane flying. Sailplane pilots used to tell me how you can really learn stick-and-rudder, its flying at its essence and I’d just hear “blah blah blah” while thinking there’s nothing you can do in a sailplane I haven’t done in a Decathlon. Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. You guys come the closest to being a bird as I imagine people can get.

    Your modern French airline pilots are not trained in stall recovery?

    They’re taught “stall avoidance”, but not recovery. Sad I know.

    • Replies: @istevefan
  119. JMcG says:
    @Anonymous

    Erik Shilling was your aerobatics instructor? That’s worth a beer any time. My copy of Enola Gay is signed by Paul Tibbetts and Dutch VanKirk.

  120. This type of software design flaw also caused a number of Flash Crashes in the stock markets. It doesn’t really matter how high operator IQ is.

  121. JMcG says:
    @StAugustine

    OMG. You are of course completely correct. I plead fatigue. How embarrassing to make such a simple avoidable mistake in the course of criticizing others for doing the same. I’ll take that to heart.

  122. Jack D says:
    @WJ

    We are probably going to always have a least 1 pilot for psychological reasons but I think there will come a point where they will allow the co-pilot to stay on the ground. 90% of each flight can be managed with 1 pilot plus the autopilot. You could have a roomful of co-pilots taking care of a very large # of flights in those phases where a copilot is needed or an emergency arises. In case of emergency you’d have some guy like Sully to help you out (great job for an older pilot who wants to go home every night) and not a kid with 300 hrs. To do this job, you don’t have to move to E. Mogadishu so they could recruit more Americans. The fact that the copilot is safe on the ground and is not worried about dying in the next 30 seconds will enable him to think more clearly.

    Especially in the Indonesia crash, in addition to the main error that finally killed them, the pilots made a number of strategic errors – they should have climbed as high as possible and flown in a straight line in order to give themselves as much wiggle room as possible and to simplify their search for a solution but they did neither, nor did they convey the seriousness of their situation to ATC who therefore kept ordering them to different altitudes and vectors when they should have been left alone. A clear headed highly experienced copilot on the ground would have likely not made these mistakes.

    They already fly drones remotely – the pilot on the ground has all the controls and instruments that he would have sitting in the cockpit and a video feed. Technologically it’s no problem.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  123. JMcG says:
    @anon

    You are of course correct. Please see my new culpa above.

  124. JMcG says:
    @Ken52

    He does explain that allowing the plane to accelerate past Vne will prevent manual trim from being effectively used. Accelerating past a critical speed is even more basic airmanship than performing a runaway trim emergency procedure.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  125. istevefan says:
    @William Badwhite

    Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. You guys come the closest to being a bird as I imagine people can get.

    Do you think all the glider training that German youth undertook in the 1930s contributed to their prowess as Luftwaffe pilots?

    • Replies: @William Badwhite
  126. Anonymous[209] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    The problem is that a lot of pilots are guys who just really want to fly and they’ll put up with terrible pay and conditions in order to do this. The rich ones might even be willing to do it for free. This is wonderful for employers of course but there are few other professions like this. (I bet road haulage companies wished little kids dreamed of being long distance truckers.)

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  127. anon[292] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr. Blank

    It’s all the new cars. I bought a new car earlier this year, and while test-driving different models, I found that they all have all these weird quirks that seem centered around saving gas.

    Thanks to the tag team of GW Bush and BH Obama saving the planet.
    Can’t wait to see what the cars of 2025 are like.

  128. Jack D says:
    @anon

    Mostly you want someone who is able and willing to follow directions.

    Mostly. Except when something goes wrong for which there are no directions.

  129. anon[292] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous

    Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani admitted during an interview Thursday that he tampered with a navigation system on the plane so that he could collect overtime work.

    Seems pretty American to me. He would have fitted right in on a GM assembly line in 1972.

  130. @William Badwhite

    though the Koreans are generally viewed as awful pilots

    Koreans specifically, or pilots from the Orient in general? Any idea why?

    • Replies: @William Badwhite
  131. @istevefan

    I can’t speak to that – I don’t really know much how much glider training German kids had versus kids in other countries.

    My sense is that a lot of being a good fighter pilot (besides the airplane itself, which is hugely important) relative to other fighter pilots (i.e. apples-to-apples comparison in terms of training) is situational awareness aka the “clue bird” (partly a function of intelligence, but not solely intelligence), decisiveness, and aggression. The Germans in the 30’s and 40’s certainly would do well on the intelligence and aggression part.

    Also I’m not sure that the Luftwaffe pilots were or were not markedly better or worse than the RAF or USAAF pilots they faced. Maybe some other commenters could weigh in.

    Its hard to do exact comparisons for a lot of reasons, one of which is the Germans tended to fly their fighter pilots until they got killed, then plug in a replacement. The USAAF cycled pilots though so you had a more even mix of highly experienced guys + have the clue bird but still have some things to learn guys + rookies across squadrons.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  132. Ibound1 says:
    @SafeNow

    Wait until we have “Medicare for All”.

  133. mmack says:
    @obwandiyag

    Troll, I can’t even . . .

  134. Anonymous[209] • Disclaimer says:
    @William Badwhite

    Physical strength is also very important. This is as true today as in WWII, because although the control surfaces are no longer directly controlled by the pilot, he is subject to much stronger G-forces.

  135. @Johann Ricke

    Koreans have had a number of high profile accidents or mishaps (e.g. Asiana in San Francisco), much more so than the Japanese. China is fairly new on the world jet-flying stage. I believe they’ve had quite a few accidents domestically, but how those break down to pilot error versus pretty poor aviation infrastructure I’m not sure.

    Until fairly recently, KAL was not allowed to fly into the United States without a western pilot in the cockpit. Such common sense is unthinkable today because racist.

    See this post from a western pilot that worked in Korea as an instructor.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3041469/posts

    • Replies: @Alden
  136. @Mr. Blank

    I found that they all have all these weird quirks that seem centered around saving gas. As Steve notes, a lot of it has to do with odd engine or transmission behavior at low speeds. I can see this really getting on the nerves of people who spend a lot of time in stop-and-go traffic.

    And because of immigration you’re going to increasingly be in nothing but stop and go traffic.

    (Someday some actual conservative is going to pick up the $1000 bill that is tying increasing traffic congestion to immigration.)

  137. Jack D says:
    @Ken52

    Wrong: The manual trim system does not work at all when the stabilizer is widely out of trim (i.e. after MCAS intervened)

    i.e. after MCAS intervened REPEATEDLY

    This is true at some point but not at first. What should have happened is that the first time the electric trim acting in a strange way (for any reason including this strange mysterious one that they didn’t even know about) the pilots should have flipped it off using the big STAB TRIM button on their yoke that is there for that exact reason, and taken over manually trimming the aircraft. Had they done that right away it would have been fine. But instead they left it on until it was far too late and the MCAS had done its (wrong) thing over and over (at double the normal electric trim speed!) , each time driving the plane further out of trim and eventually the plane (after like 9 or 10 rounds of this) was wildly out of trim beyond their ability to manually re-trim it. The plane (despite the shitty defective system) gave them maybe 7 or 8 chances to save themselves and the lives of their passengers and they missed all of these chances until eventually it was too late.

    • Replies: @Saggy
  138. @Mr. Anon

    Use OpenOffice (the open source suite).

    Free download.

    Works great.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
  139. “Airmanship” is an anachronistic word…

    How about avigation?


  140. @Jack D

    Jack, I hate that “perfect storm” term, but if there ever was a time for it … see, the FAA mandatory retirement age was changed from 60 y/o to 65 y/o about 10 years back. By 6-7 years back, that was catching back up, there were lots of ex-Vietnam-era military pilots retiring, and the ATP certificate became required (to fly an airliner – before ’13 one just needed a Commercial, which could mean LT 250 hours), meaning 1,500 hours required …

    Indeed, good old Supply and Demand did work it’s magic, but I will say there was a 2 year lag in which the regional airlines wouldn’t believe their own lying eyes or what pilots themselves were trying to tell them. Things came to a head in ’14-’15.

  141. @istevefan

    I don’t expect Jack D. and Mr. Badwhite to know ALL of this, but I will say that plenty of American pilots do go overseas (China and India are the big ones) to make big bucks with the 1st $100K or so exempt from the arms of the IRS if residency is established, blah, blah.

    For some of the jobs in those particular areas, they say you, as a Captain, are damn close to doing single-pilot again, but with a helper. I would not mind that at all though.

  142. @obwandiyag

    And [immigration] couldn’t be a corporate/government bribery scam. Nooo.

    मैंने इसे आपके लिए ठीक कर दिया है।.

    我已经为你修好了。

    Lo arreglé.

  143. Precious says:
    @Mr. Blank

    After my old car died I recently purchased a 2003 Honda. I have no interest in new cars charging me an arm and a leg for features I don’t want.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  144. although, fortunately, less tragic.

    Some poor Hmong sucker spent two years in jail for accelerating when he should have braked, and killing someone in another vehicle. Apparently he wasn’t proficient enough in English to get across that it wasn’t him, but his Toyota.

    It finally came out that it was indeed his, and everybody else’s, Toyota.

    https://www.twincities.com/2015/01/07/toyota-denies-fault-for-fatal-st-paul-crash/

  145. Jack D says:
    @JMcG

    In the Ethiopian crash especially, the pilots left the throttle at full takeoff power the whole time for reasons that no one understands at present.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  146. @JMcG

    My own travel tip is that if you can smell sewerage while walking the streets then the national airline is to be avoided. I live and breathe yet.

  147. @Jack D

    But the place where I found out my battery was dead would have been my garage, rather than at some random stoplight.

  148. prosa123 says:

    According to Jalopnik, Kia dealers had a reputation for less-than-stellar customer service. It’s because when the brand first arrived in the US in the early 1990’s many of its customers were people with poor credit who were unable to buy better-known brands like Toyota or Honda. They’re easy marks for aggressive salesmen. Kia today has a broader appeal and most of the dealers have gotten better at customer service.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  149. My knowledge of commercial aviation begins and ends with how much legroom I can get because I’m really tall, so I’ve got no insights to offer.

    But I wanted to say thank you to everybody who does know what they’re talking about for taking the time to post so much good stuff in this thread. It’s been interesting and instructive.

    • Replies: @John Pepple
  150. Jack D says:
    @prosa123

    Mitsubishi used to be the king of selling to bad credit (cough, black) customers. Nissan seems to be competing for the crown lately.

    • Replies: @Marty
  151. Glaivester says: • Website

    Talking about new features on cars, my most hated feature is the always-lit-up dashboard. In the older cars, the dashboard only lit up when you turned on the headlights. In the new cars, it is lit up all the time, so if you start driving when it is dark out, you don’t immediately notice if you haven’t turned on the headlights.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Almost Missouri
  152. Jack D says:
    @JEM

    The 737 design is an antique that exists largely because of Southwest – it’s been stretched well beyond its limits, it’s a three-foot-long dachshund. It should have been replaced with a new design twenty years ago.

    A clean sheet aircraft design costs billions and pretty much every time you do it, you are betting the company. It’s easy for you or me to spend other people’s money this way. The only reason Airbus is not out of business over the A380 flop is that they got $4 billion of Euro government subsidies. There’s a reason why Boeing is the sole remaining US airliner mfr – it’s a tremendously risky business that usually ends in failure if you stay in the business long enough.

    The 737 was a great workhorse and didn’t have to be made any better in the abstract, it just had to be better than (or more or less equal to) the A320. That was true until A320neo came out a few years ago (itself a less than perfect aircraft though no catastrophic incidents yet). At that point Boeing had to respond. A clean sheet design at that point would have taken too long. By the time the first one rolled off the assembly line 5 years from now Airbus would have owned that whole market.

    Yes, now in retrospect the Max was a bridge too far and there was too much pressure from the sales side to impose requirements more driven by sales imperatives than safety (e.g. that MCAS had to be, in effect, kept secret from the pilots so that they could say that the planes were the same and no new training was required. But at the time it seemed like the best solution – fastest time to market, lowest development cost and a “good enough” aircraft.

    • Agree: JMcG
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  153. Jack D says:
    @Glaivester

    I know what you mean, but if you look closely there is usually a little indicator light that shows whether the headlights are on. It’s not as obvious as having the whole dashboard lit up but it is there if you train yourself to look for it. Or you could get a car with automatic headlights.

  154. Marty says:
    @Jack D

    In the Bay Area, the Mitsubishi Outlander and Outlander Sport seem extremely popular with whites. Haven’t seen a single black driver yet.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  155. @Jack D

    My dad worked for years on Lockheed’s L1011 three engine widebody jetliner. Lockheed bet the company on that … and lost when Rolls-Royce couldn’t deliver the engines on time. Congress had to bail Lockheed out.

    Then the 1973 energy crisis showed that forecasts of rapidly growing jet travel were too optimistic, so it didn’t make sense for both McDonnell-Douglas and Lockheed to be selling nearly identical jets. And even though the Lockheed 3 engine widebody turned out to be a little safer than the DC-10, nobody knew that until the late 1970s. By then, airlines had mostly preferred to buy from McD rather than Lockheed, which had been out of the airliner business since jets had come along. So, about 400 DC10s were built to 250 L1011s.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    , @Jack D
  156. @The Alarmist

    You’re not implying that you actually believe the 19 Arab student hijacker actually took over those planes and then flew them into the trade center towers are you? Cause if you are you have no credibility. You might get away with that BS in the Guardian or the LA Times but when you spout that BS here you are going to be called on it.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    , @El Dato
  157. JMcG says:
    @Jack D

    Everyone understands, Jack: Cognitive overload.

  158. Moses says:
    @Altai

    Very few people seem to bring up all this happened after Boeing went from a true organisation with a strong identity and spirit to being taken over by hedge-fund guys who cut corners, took the heart out of the company

    Reminds me of auto industry guru and GM veteran Bob Lutz’s book “Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business”.

    Lutz writes passionately about how the old GM was run by designers and “Car Guys” who goddamn just loved cars and everything about them. They produced the classic designs and muscle cars.

    Things went south in the 60s/70s when the soul-less bean counters took over. Who can forget the warmed-over sh*t-boxes GM produced in the 80s? GM lost its soul.

    Great lessons ands stories in that book.

  159. Moses says:
    @Christopher Chantrill

    Speaking as a sailplane pilot, I can say that when things go wrong — as in maybe having to land out — the training kicks in. I realize that when you have training, and you have an emergency covered by the training, your unconscious mind kicks in.

    “The training kicks in.”

    ^Yes. This.

    Without training your mind is too panicked to think clearly and decide on a course of action let alone execute. Training and drilling done again and again and again is critical. When the crisis happens your brain slides into autopilot and the training takes over. Training not only tells you what to do, it keeps you calm.

    I have some flying experience, but really learned this sailing (which is quite similar to flying re: checklists, procedures, technical stuff). The sailing school drilled us again and again on how to handle the boat and dock safely when your engine quits in the marina and your sail is down.

    Still an inexperienced skipper, I was out with my parents and sister who were total newbies. We were entering the marina on the way to the dock. Some idiot in a tiny outboard put his boat in our path to fish. I jammed the motor into reverse to avoid hitting this cretin. The motor stalled and wouldn’t restart.

    The training took over at this point. I had practiced exactly this situation many times, and handled it well. (Wind hitting the side of the boat acts like a small sail, giving you some steering and time if you know how to angle the boat).

    We got into the slip and docked without incident.

    If I hadn’t had that specific training I would have made a real mess of it.

    • Agree: El Dato
  160. Moses says:
    @Old Prude

    During the hiring interview with the psychologist for Delta airlines, he asked if I ever made a mistake in the cockpit.

    I’ve found the question “Tell me about a job mistake you made and what you learned from it?” a valuable tool in hiring any position.

    People who say “I don’t make mistakes” are the ones who hide mistakes and make them worse. I know because I once hired someone who said “I’ve never made a mistake” and then she made plenty and hid them. Lesson learned.

    People who answer the question well show they not only communicate honestly, but they use their brain and learn from mistakes.

  161. @Jack D

    The Trabant is a great car from the DDR. What could go wrong with paper pulp fenders and a two stroke motor? I wish I would have bought one when I was in East Berlin in 1992. I could have bought one for 50 USD. Now they are collector cars.

    But I’m biased in favor of two strokes. I still ride my 1977 Yamaha RD400D, and I love smoking big bore Ducatis at stoplights on PCH on Sundays. The smell of blue smoke Motul is irresistible. California labeled it a “gross polluter” in 1985. When I pull into Cook’s Corner biker bar all the old timer Harley guys want to take it for a spin. Rumor has it that RD stood for “rapid death,” so I politely remind them they wrecked theirs in high school.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  162. Anonymous[160] • Disclaimer says:
    @istevefan

    One problem is that there is no .“general aviation” in many countries. Either flying doesn’t appeal to them, the masses are too lazy and stupid, or the local governments have taxed and regulated it to death.

    Or some mixture of the above.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  163. @2stateshmustate

    OK, I’ll play.

    What is your alternative hypothesis?

    Bonus question: Everyone who spouts their bile about an evil US government either killing 3k Americans or allowing a sinister, evil foreign government to get away with it is, if it is true, righteously indignant, but no one I have heard or read has suggested an action plan: What’s your plan to right this wrong? Apparently you are satisfied being nothing more than a Keyboard Kommando acting on limited intel.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  164. @Steve Sailer

    Was that the RB211 engine? The UK government had to bail Rolls-Royce out as well, one of their wiser decisions.

  165. @William Badwhite

    Isn’t one of the reasons for the declining supply of ex-military pilots that the size the military fleet size has decreased drastically over the last half-century? Modern aircraft, especially modern combat aircraft, are way more sophisticated and expensive (in real dollar terms) that the aircraft of the 1950s and 1960s, the F-105/F-106 era of first generation combat aircraft?

    https://secure.afa.org/Mitchell/Reports/MS_TAI_1110.pdf

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  166. anonymous[352] • Disclaimer says:

    James Dickey’s Alnilam was the literary Bible of airmanship.

  167. @PiltdownMan

    That hotlink to the number of USAF aircraft from 1950 to 2008 appears to be broken. Here is the chart.

  168. Gordo says:

    The United States Navy manages to instill a sense of this in its fledgling fighter pilots by ramming them through rigorous classroom instruction and then requiring them to fly at bank angles without limits, including upside down. The same cannot be expected of airline pilots who never fly solo and whose entire experience consists of catering to passengers who flinch in mild turbulence, refer to “air pockets” in cocktail conversation and think they are near death if bank angles exceed 30 degrees.

    Not sure about that, the Swissair 737 pilot who repatriated Western prisoners from Iraq in Gulf War I barrel rolled it just because he could and all his passengers thought it was a great laugh.

  169. Gordo says:
    @Jack D

    Aeroflot pilots were noted for flying in a way that was less considerate of passenger comfort than Western pilots – for example after takeoff they tended to climb more steeply (probably there was also no incentive to save fuel either).

    Some of those Eastern European airline pilots in the 90s were clearly missing their MiGs they way they used to take off.

  170. @PiltdownMan

    Not only were they churning out new aircraft quickly, PdM, but also new models. The models were coming so fast and furious, that they got through the 84’s, 86’s, then the century series (6 of them) then back to the beginning to the F-4’s, all in that late 1940’s early 1960’s period. The reasons for all the missing numbers is just serious proposals or prototypes that don’t get bought.

    Now, you see 2new fighters ever 30 years(?) It’ll go pilotless anyway. Unlike with the airlines, there’s really no reason they shouldn’t, that I can think of. Anyone?

  171. @SafeNow

    Yeah, but for the medical mistakes there are no reporters, excuse me, “journalists” around. Also, what Ibound1 said. With government healthcare, excuse me, “single payer”, “it’s gonna get a lot worse before it gets better” (said by every journalist every report about California).

  172. Hibernian says:
    @The Alarmist

    Pipeline is also topped up with former fighter pilots.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  173. Hibernian says:
    @Dr. X

    As was mentioned above, the required hours were increased as a result of this incident.

  174. Hibernian says:
    @indocon

    “My bold prediction…..737 MAX will not fly again, and that will lead to BK of Boeing.”

    With the acquisitions of McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell, Boeing became a major defense contractor beyond just the transports and tankers, closely related to their civilian transports, that they’d been building before these acquisitions. (They built heavy bombers back in the day, and small military aircraft in their very early days. They started off with naval seaplanes in WW1.) They’re too big a defense contractor to fail, and would probably be bailed out by Uncle Sam, like Lockheed in the immediate post-Vietnam era.

  175. El Dato says:
    @Inquiring Mind

    The fix is probably simple — find out what is going wrong with that sensor.

    Negative. It is a system problem.

    Yes, having the airlines become less libertarian in their approach and have it actually maintain planes instead of finagling the maintenance reports would be useful. Not having a pilot school with 93% success rate would also help.

    But there is a deep problem: the pilots seems unable to handle a partially automated plane. They are not sure whether to trust this psychotic child or how to fully take over from it. They lack situational awareness. They go through checklists instead of flying. They take stupid decisions that seem to come from test materials instead of from the “here and now”. The do not get or filter out what the airplane is actually telling them (like the overspeed indicator rattle).

    It could well be that such semi-automated systems become pure danger with less than excellent pilots working under partial information and time constrains. Bad integration: results in craters.

    Seriously read the article. It’s good. Took me 2h. (Kill JavaScript to access)

    The author says that a higher level airmanship would have saved the day. Absolutely. But that’s something you are unlikely to see, instead it’s going to get worse. And indeed:

    …thousands of similar crews are at work around the world, enduring as rote pilots and apparently safe, but only so long as conditions are routine. Airbus has gone further than Boeing in acknowledging this reality with its robotic designs, though thereby, unintentionally, steepening the very decline it has tried to address. Boeing is aware of the decline, but until now — even after these two accidents — it has been reluctant to break with its traditional pilot-centric views. That needs to change, and someday it probably will; in the end Boeing will have no choice but to swallow its pride and follow the Airbus lead.

    Because this is not what one wants:

    But something slightly different occurred. On Getachew’s orders, Mohammod flipped the cutout switches to reactivate the electric trim, but apparently less to use the thumb switch — Getachew gave it only two halfhearted tries — than to activate the autopilot as a way of disabling the MCAS. The record shows four attempts in rapid succession to engage the autopilot, all of which were refused because autopilots are not recovery devices and will not engage if they sense pressures on the control column — meaning that an airplane is being flown out of trim.

    This airplane had heavy pressures on the controls — remember, Getachew was muscling his control column halfway back. Now, in apparent desperation to persuade the autopilot to engage, Getachew did the unthinkable and released his pressure on the control column. The column snapped forward, and the airplane responded by violently pitching down, 20 degrees below the horizon. Just then, with the stick shaker still rattling, the MCAS kicked in and achieved full nose-down trim, doubling the angle of the dive. As the speed shot through 450 knots, the pilots hauled back on their control columns to no effect. Six minutes after takeoff, the airplane hit the ground doing approximately 600 miles an hour. It buried itself into a 30-foot-deep crater in farmland about 32 miles southeast of the airport. Within a week, the Boeing 737 Max was grounded worldwide.

    Also, doubts about Ethiopia:

    In the case of the Ethiopian investigation, we have an airline and an investigative body that historically have not been able to isolate themselves from the country’s dysfunctional political life. Carbaugh mentioned to me that he was serving as Boeing’s chief pilot of safety in 2010 when an Ethiopian crew lost control of a 737 NG, the predecessor of the Max, killing all 90 people aboard. The airplane had just departed from Beirut. The subsequent investigation was led by a brilliant Lebanese airline pilot named Mohammed Aziz, who after nearly two years of obstructionism and obfuscations by the Ethiopians produced a report laying the blame squarely on the pilots, who had overshot assigned compass headings left and right, overbanked repeatedly, stalled twice and, for lack of airmanship, entered a lethal high-G spiral dive.

    The report was passed around for comment before publication. The French, Americans and Lebanese all agreed that it was complete. Ethiopia vociferously disagreed. Shortly before the report was to be released in 2012, Carbaugh stopped by Addis Ababa to demonstrate a new 787 Dreamliner, four of which the airline had ordered. He told me that a senior official from Ethiopian Airlines asked him to come to his office for a private talk. According to Carbaugh, the official said: “The report is coming out. Boeing has influence over the N.T.S.B. and the Lebanese. You need to get them to change the findings. They need to say that an Israeli shoot-down or a bomb was a possible cause of the accident.”

    Annex: “Pilot Pirx” had the right response in Stanislaw Lem’s “The Conditioned Reflex”. Written in ’66, when Lem was 45. Did Lem have colleagues in aviation? Wow, I read those practially when it was written. Didn’t understand what it was SAYING.

    Without taking his eye from the screen, Pirx started screaming into the microphone: “Langner! Stop! Stop! Hey, come back! Langner, stop!”

    The receiver crackled with interference. The willow-green wings pulsated — not in rhythm to normal breathing, but sluggishly, tenuously, at times becoming alarmingly inert, signaling a possible respirator breakdown. The blip on the radar had reached the outer periphery; it was at the bottom of the coordinate grid, or roughly a kilometer and a half from the station, far enough to put Langner among the towering outcrops under the Gap. Then it ceased moving, flaring up with every sweep of the tracing beam, always in the same place.

    Maybe he had fallen. Maybe he was lying unconscious…

    Pirx dashed out into the corridor. Quick — outside! Get your ass into the pressure chamber! He got as far as the airtight door; as he was racing past the kitchen, something black against white had caught his eye. The photographic plates! They were lying right where he had dropped them in all the panic over his partner’s sudden disappearance…

    He stood before the chamber door, too dumbfounded to move.

    The whole thing was like a replay, a repeat performance. Langner cuts out in the middle of making supper, I take off after him, and — neither of us comes back. The hatch will be open… In a few hours the Tsiolkovsky team will start radioing the station… No one will answer…

    A voice yelled, “Get going, you fool! What are you waiting for? He’s out there! Caught in an avalanche, for all you know. You can’t hear anything up here, remember? He’s still alive, pinned down somewhere, hurt, but alive, breathing! Come on, what are you waiting for?!”

    He didn’t move. All of a sudden he spun around, stormed into the radio station, and checked the displays. Situation unchanged. The butterfly’s quivering, tenuous pulsations came at regular four-to five-minute intervals now; the blip on the radar was still hovering on the edge of the cliff…

    He checked the position of the antenna. It was at the lowest possible angle, automatically positioned for maximum detection range.

    He brought his face up close — very close — to the breathing monitor and remarked something peculiar. The green butterfly was not only furling and unfurling its tiny wings at regular intervals; it was also vibrating — like the breathing pulsations, but more accelerated and somehow overlapping them.

    Langner’s death throes? Convulsions? My God, the man was dying out there and all he, Pirx, could do was stand there, mouth agape, and monitor the movements of the cathode-ray tube, now aflutter with a double pulsation!

    Unexpectedly, acting purely on impulse, he grabbed the antenna cable and tore it out of the wall plug. At that point, something amazing happened: the butterfly, its antenna disconnected, cut off from any input, kept right on pulsating…

    Guided by the same blind impulse, he lunged toward the console and enlarged the antenna angle.

    The blip under the Gap began drifting toward the edge of the screen. The radar kept sweeping the area at closer and closer range, then — suddenly — it picked up a second blip, this one larger and stronger than the first. Another space suit!

    A man. It was moving like a man. Slowly, deliberately, it was proceeding downhill, skirting the obstacles in its path, now to the right, now to the left, heading straight for the Gap, toward that other, more distant dot — that other man?

    Pirx’s eyes bulged. There were two dots — one close and mobile, the other far off and stationary.

    The Mendeleev station was manned by a team of two: Langner and himself. But the display said three.

    Impossible. The instrument had to be lying.

    In less time than it took to think, Pirx was back in the chamber, armed with flare gun and cartridges. A minute later he was standing on top of the dome, firing as fast as he could load, straight down, in the direction of the Sun Gap. .. He fired indiscriminately, not being choosy about the colors. Finally, out of the impenetrable dark came a reply — an orange star that exploded over his head and showered him with iridescent ostrich feathers….

  176. Hibernian says:
    @SafeNow

    Thing is, in aviation, a lot of people get killed in one incident, more so with the passage of time as the largest planes get even larger. It’s more newsworthy and therefore a bigger PR problem.

  177. El Dato says:
    @Dr. X

    The captain was some Walter Mitty type who had been a salesman or something and decided to get into commerical flying in his 40s. The co-pilot was a 23-year old girl who went to community college and was making about $16 an hour flying.

    If that was a Japanese Anime, they would have prevailed!

    Meanwhile, I have obtained a Software Engineering view from the friendly paper-sharing site in Ukraine or thereabouts (because the original is paywalled). This article does not seem to have all the facts yet, in particular no mention is made that in all cases, the captain’s side of the automation was of the opinion that the plane was in stall mode, clearly an error obvious to the crew.

  178. @Clemsnman

    huge % of mechanics drive toyotas so i disagree with the sentiment of toyota of drivers not liking cars. people enjoy cars in different ways. For me a big part of enjoying a car is being able to drive it generally trouble free and being able to do most repairs myself.

  179. @Hibernian

    I’m looking at it 30 years on from when it mattered to me. Ages ago, fighter jocks were considered by many chief pilots to be too hot-rod to essentially be bus drivers, and I gather that more fighter jocks successfully transitioning over the years have put that notion to rest for many, but there are still more than a few airlines that prefer military guys who flew heavies.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  180. Romanian says: • Website
    @Altai

    All the suits who took over had to do was let Boeing run itself, but like true spivs they sought out a free lunch by looting the company.

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/boeing-goes-to-pieces/

    Cool article from East Asia-hawk Eamonn Fingleton.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Dan Hayes
  181. Romanian says: • Website
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Dacia, queen of the roads. Any PUBG players out there also know it.

    My father kept his until 2010, a 1310 model. I learned to drive on one (stick, of course, we don’t do automatics). I was taught to take the car out of gear while waiting at a red light to save on wear and tear and to avoid higher revs to save on fuel. He traded it in a Cash for Clunkers program because my mom wanted a new car and had been lobbying for a decade. I told him it would be a collector’s item one day, but he did not believe me.

    The largest Dacia producer is now Morocco because of easy transport via Tangier Port. And the place is full of Dacias, which was surreal when i was visiting. Took a lot of photos of Dacias with camels alongside them out in the boondocks for the people back home.

    We also made Oltcit through a partnership with Citroen, but the French exited after 1990 and Ford eventually bought the factory. And these are just the biggest names. A lot of stuff was produced based on licenses in Romania.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  182. Sparkon says:
    @The Alarmist

    OK, I’ll play.

    What is your alternative hypothesis?

    I‘ll ask you and anyone else the same question: Do you honestly think that is a real Boeing 767?

    Image Michael Hezarkhani CNN, 9/11/2001

    Boeing designed the 757-100 as a replacement for the 727, but the airplane got no orders, as the bean counters at the airlines preferred the less costly but less capable 737. The 757 is the narrow body version of the 767.

    I don’t like any automated system taking control from driver or pilot either one.

    Rather than using any version of Windows, I suggest using a live version of Linux while online, or for other chores. Linux Mint, for example, comes with Libre Office Writer. Mint was the long time leader at Distrowatch, but has been passed in recent months by both Manjaro and MX Linux. I’ve tried them both, but prefer Mint.

    I do use Windows 10 offline for certain tasks despite its shortcomings, and I have been able to get certain valuable legacy software to run on Win 10 despite the operating system’s proclamations to the effect that “your software will not run on Windows 10,” at the very beginning of the installation process. A$$holes!

  183. @Clemsnman

    “Toyotas are great cars for people who don’t love cars”. white guys are jealous of toyota so they spread this false rumour guys like you, if you wish I will give many toyota and lexus models models that are great to drive overbuilt will last forever, german cars on the other hand are overpriced with horrible reliability with junk resale so people lease instead of buying , buying lexus or infiniti would be wiser but whites are racists as hell so you would rather lease the inferior german.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  184. Jack D says:
    @Steve Sailer

    airlines had mostly preferred to buy from McD rather than Lockheed,

    The Lockheed was the more advanced airplane but the DC-10 was cheaper and could carry a bigger load.

    The design was dictated by the engine technology of the times. The FAA would not let twin jets out over the open ocean and the 3rd engine has to be as skinny as possible so it would fit in the tail. Skinny engines were also thought to have less air resistance.

    Today we have the complete opposite – engines keep getting fatter and fatter because the you want the maximum amount of bypass – most of the air blown by the big fan in the front bypasses the core of the engine, which is more efficient. And 2 engines are enough so you don’t have to worry about squeezing one into the tail.

    So the total market for these planes turned out to be 650 units. 500 units would have been profitable for either McD or Lockheed but they ended up splitting the market so that neither one made any money on it. This is why corporations hate competition.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  185. We’ve reached the ‘blame the third-world pilots’ level of the Boeing PR campaign (which was the first approach as well): Unstated is the reason the US uniquely has all these kick-ass pilots who can fight through incompetent Boeing engineering and ergonomics – the skills learned in dropping bombs on wedding parties and other brown people in fighting the infinite number of wars. Of course, also unstated is that the FAA – ‘captured’ by Boeing, as they say in the study of administrative law – is as equally guilty for the problem as Boeing, and is now given the task to provide the PR basis to allow Boeing to ‘fix’ the problem partly created by the FAA, without noticing the problem. It remains a mystery of why any non-American airlines would have anything to do with this shambles.

  186. Jack D says:
    @Romanian

    I was taught to take the car out of gear while waiting at a red light to save on wear and tear

    Isn’t everyone taught this? Keeping the clutch down increases the wear on the throwout bearing not to mention your left knee. You should also not “ride the clutch” – unless you are shifting keep your foot off the clutch pedal as even light pressure may create slippage which is damaging.

    Soon this skill will fall into the same category as the ability to drive a team of horses – manual transmissions are well on their way to being extinct at least in the US. I think maybe 1% of new cars in the US have manuals. Most models don’t even have one available even if you want it.

    • Replies: @RAZ
    , @Simply Simon
    , @Romanian
  187. Jack D says:
    @petit bourgeois

    paper pulp fenders

    Trabants were made of Duroplast – the whole body and not just the fenders. Duroplast is a phenolic resin (Bakelite) plastic that is reinforced with cotton fiber waste. The most similar material in the West would be Formica, which uses brown paper rather than cotton fiber as reinforcement. This stuff is not that good in a crash but it doesn’t rust which is more than you can say of Detroit iron from that era.

    E. Germany was short on steel. Most of the steel mills had been in the West (Ruhr Valley) before the war and that part of Germany had specialized in high quality consumer goods manufacturing – cameras, glassware, watches, fine porcelain, etc. – just the thing (not) for a Communist economy.

  188. Jay Dee says:

    While there is little doubt that flying skills have deteriorated over the years, there are other things to consider as well.

    The Clinton Administration discontinued many of the DOD specifications relating to systems engineering, reliability and safety. The result? Boeing quit using them.

    Fly by wire is more than just a computer. Mechanical and electrical reliability is a struggle. Software reliability is damned near impossible. A programmer never knows if there is one last bug nor do programmers engage in things like Fault Tree Analyses to look for hidden failure modes.

    Boeing management farmed out the programming to foreign contractors. Hey, what could go wrong? It’s just flight control software.

    Finally, Boeing actually had a safety system design that would have prevented these crashes. Rather than being a part of the airplane, Boeing management decided to offer it as an option. Most purchasing departments didn’t really understand what they were buying. Many elected not to purchase the safety system including the two airlines that experienced crashes.

  189. Jack D says:
    @Marty

    Extremely popular would have to be an exaggeration. The main buyer for these cars is nobody:

    http://carsalesbase.com/us-car-sales-analysis-q2-2019-compact-suv-segment/

  190. @Charon

    Eric Peters is a man with strong, well informed opinions on this.
    https://www.ericpetersautos.com/

  191. @Jack D

    Russian joke:

    Man finally gets his chance to order a car at the dealer.

    The dealer says: “come back three years from now on the first Monday in October to take delivery.”

    The man says: “Morning or afternoon?”

    The dealer says: “Its three years from now, what difference does it make?”

    The man says: “In the morning, the plumber is coming.”

  192. @The Last Real Calvinist

    The Professional Pilots Rumor Network, especially after a big crash, is also very interesting and instructive.

  193. Jack D says:
    @Romanian

    When it comes time to hang the capitalists, they will vie with each other for the rope contract.

    The Japanese aircraft industry was dismantled after the war and the pre-war manufacturers had to make motor scooters and such instead of Zeros that could be used to bomb Pearl Harbor (again). The current Subaru Corporation was formerly known as the Nakajima Aircraft Company. Mitsubishi made the Zero.

    What’s surprising is not that the Japanese are trying to get back into aircraft now, but that they didn’t do it 30 years ago when they were riding high.

    • Replies: @Romanian
    , @Anonymous
  194. @Buzz Mohawk

    And stop-start eco systems on cars are annoying.

    Stop-start systems are the most retarded idea in a long time, and a major reason that the “new” car I just bought was a 2014 that did not have this crap on it.

    The claim is that you can save up to 3% on gas. Let’s see: gas is $3/gallon so I am saving $0.09, while wearing out a starter and battery.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  195. RAZ says:
    @Jack D

    Driving a manual is pretty much a lost art (as will be any driving some day when automated systems take over). I love driving a manual. Shifting an accelerating car is one of life’s little pleasures. Learned how when I was getting my second car in 1980. Then drove manuals up till my previous car – needed to replace a BMW needing lots of work (swore never again to take a German car past warranty). Took an automatic BMW then which had the Stop/Start thing, which I hated so I had software changed – it took hours at the dealership, but no cost for it. And the car started in a neutered lower power mode I had to hit a button on each time I started up to get back to full power.

    Replaced that with a manual! Audi S4. Which I just bought off of my lease – since can’t get manuals anymore on new ones. So much for swearing no German cars past warranty.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  196. Yngvar says:
    @JR Ewing

    They should play engine sound over the car speakers.

    • LOL: Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    , @Jack D
  197. @Jack D

    A relative flies for Air Canada. He says that training on a new plane takes 2- 3 months. Simulator time is so scarce and expensive that they flew him to Germany for 2 weeks.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  198. Dan Hayes says:
    @Romanian

    Romanian:

    Too bad that Fingleton is no longer published by the UR. He joins some others that Proprietor Ron has dropped. But Ron is always acquiring new talent, e.g. Emeritus Prof Steve Cohen.

    • Replies: @Romanian
  199. Alden says:
    @Altai

    I assume the S. Carolina factory was staffed with 80 IQ useless blacks. The feds gives grants bribes tax breaks other exemptions to large corporations to hire incompetent blacks. Johnson/Nixon started that program 55 years ago.

    I’ve heard that the quality of Mercedes cars differs a lot depending on which factory it’s made. The badly made cars come from southern factories with lots of blacks. Supposedly some Mercedes dealers won’t accept cars from southern factories.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  200. Alden says:
    @SafeNow

    I skimmed through the LATimes article on pedestrians deaths. Seems poor and minority neighborhoods hardest hit. We all know why.

  201. Jack D says:
    @RAZ

    So much for swearing no German cars past warranty.

    I wish you much luck. I have sworn off out of warranty modern German cars due to bad experiences. Audis handle like a dream but they want you to lease one for 3 years and then lease another one. They are not built with either serviceability or durability in mind.

    At the very least find an independent VW mechanic (Audis are VWs under the skin and VW mechanics can’t charge their customers “luxury car” rates). The other good thing about Audis is that they sell a lot (of some models) over in China so there are cheap aftermarket parts available. I don’t suggest these for critical components but say your car needs a little plastic windshield washer nozzle or the little plastic hubcaps with the Audi logo or a power window switch – you can pay the dealer $40 for the factory part or buy the China version for $1 on ebay. Or maybe you need a new key fob and it’s $400 from the dealer and $15 used on ebay. For other things you can try to find the German OEM manufacturer and put in the Bosch oxygen sensor or the Mann filter instead of the same item with an Audi part # which doubles the price for a physically identical item. These things add up over time. Spending $1K/yr on repairs is doable but if it’s $4k/yr then you might as well make those lease payments instead.

    • Replies: @RAZ
  202. Alden says:
    @Bannon

    Cars and trucks made in southern factories are often defective because so many blacks work in those southern factories.

  203. @flyingtiger

    This would have more teeth if the AF wasn’t trying to kill the A10 for the better part of two decades for an unproven dog of a wunderweapon like the F35.

    The Navy uses the term “aviator” because of the fact the landing strips are in the middle of an ocean that can be incredibly unforgiving. Ask Kara Hultgreen how affirmative action and this set of risks worked out for her.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  204. Alden says:
    @William Badwhite

    Read the article. It’s just about more Asian Ways that should stay in Asia.

  205. The flip side of airmanship is seamanship, and we hear stories of destroyers crashing into cargo ships in the middle of the ocean because SWOs have less time on a boat than the leader of an Outward Bound trip.

    Graph twitter likes saying technology makes you gay. You can take this literally as well as figuratively where it makes systems stupid. In both the Navy and the civvie airliner cases the idea that technology was a panacea made the systems stupid.

    My experience with technology making you stupid was on one of my deployments where we were getting infantry privates who had trained on the latest and greatest simulations, because the need for manpower meant they couldn’t extend basic but the idea was that putting them in front of a light gun game would make them equivalent to a seasoned grunt.

    Anyway, during our first contact while everyone with sense is getting behind something, these guys drop to a knee in the middle of the damn street. After literally running out and dragging guys behind cover because their OODA loop was fucked to shit, we asked why they did that. “Because in the simulation that’s what we did.”

    Whew.

  206. map says:

    Fuel economy? That’s a joke in these vehicles.

    I have a 2018 Honda CRV AWD. The thing averages 21 mpg, in econ mode in all conditions.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  207. Jack D says:
    @Alden

    Why would you assume that? 1/3 of the S.C. population is black but the other 2/3 are white.

    Here is a photo of a small group of Boeing SC employees – I count maybe 1 black out of 40 people in the photo.

    https://airwaysmag.com/industry/boeing-south-carolina-100th-787-delivered/

    I think the way it works with Mercedes is that some models sold in the US (SUVs, C class) are made ONLY at their Alabama factory (for the American market) and others (E class, S class) are imported from Germany so you don’t have a choice if you want a particular model. There have been some cars that were made in 2 factories – Chrysler used to make its minivans in both Windsor, Ontario and St. Louis. The ones made in (whiter) Windsor were better. Mazda used to bring in some 3’s from Japan and some from Mexico, now they are all from Mexico.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  208. RAZ says:
    @Jack D

    Thanks. Love driving the car now but know there will be a day that I will regret this and wonder why I can’t just lease an A4 or Accord like everyone else and turn in at the end of the lease. My brother in law drives an about 16 yr old RS6 which he has serviced at an independent shop. Not as convenient for me as it is for him but will probably start going there. Will be less expensive than an Audi dealer and my brother in law is impressed with them. I had bought a plan through Audi and they owe me a 45K service so still have that upcoming.

  209. Jack D says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    According to the article, in 3rd worldish places they squeeze a whole bunch of guys into the sim – not just the pilot and copilot and instructor but a few more guys standing up in the back. And they log them all as having completed the sim training even though the pack in the back had no opportunity to touch the controls.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  210. @Sparkon

    I‘ll ask you and anyone else the same question: Do you honestly think that is a real Boeing 767?

    Assuming its not real, where did the real airplanes UAL and AA lost go? Where did the crews and pax go?

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    , @Sparkon
  211. @Jack D

    “the ability to drive a team of horses.” You all should know there is a lot more to driving a team of horses than simply driving. Before a team can be driven they have to be harnessed and harnessing a horse can be involved if you have not done it before, A procedure has to be followed starting with mounting the horse collar which BTW is the most important part of the harness arraignment. An ill-fitting or cheap collar will be the bane of the strongest stallion because all the weight of whatever is being lugged is transferred directly to the collar and can cause painful galling around the neck and shoulders. A good harness is made of quality leather and a set can be quite heavy.

    After the team of horses is harnessed they have to be hitched to what every kind of vehicle they will be pulling, usually a wagon or farm implement. All have a tongue extending to which is attached a double tree and two single trees. The horses have to be backed into place and the single trees attached to two chains that are the end part of a strap that extends all the way to the collar. Also extending from the collar is a chain that is linked to a yoke that fits on the front part of the tongue. Once all this completed the team can be started out with a simple slap of the reins or maybe a “tsk.” A team can be trained to turn left by a command of haw or right by gee.

    I have good memories of my youth on our farm in Ohio driving horses. I learned how to harness a horse at an early age probably no more than twelve. That was back in the early 1940s and life was much simpler back then. One other thing stands out in my memory of harnesses. They eventually absorb the sweat of the horse and this gives off a unique, but not unpleasant smell that lingers throughout the age of the harness. Years after my grandfather retired from farming the harnesses he had used still hung on a rack in his barn and emitted that smell.

    I apologize to all the posters to whom all this is old hat.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  212. Jack D says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    How much stop start saves really depends on what kind of driving you do. If it’s mostly fast moving highway driving you will save hardly anything. If it’s city driving or stop and go traffic, it’s going to be more than 3% savings.

    In addition to extra starter wear (I think batteries really wear more by age than use) there is additional wear on the engine, especially the main bearings which depend on an oil film for lubrication. In a normal car you might have 5 ,000 starts over the life of the car. Stop start is going to increase that by a factor of 10. A properly designed start stop system anticipates that and should not lead to premature failure, but the components have to be more heavy duty which raises their initial cost.

  213. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    The Southern car factories today have a less black workforce than the old Big Three plants in Michigan and elsewhere in the north used to have. The old Big Three plants in the north had a very black workforce, much of it from Southern blacks who moved up north for those jobs in the early 20th century. Ford’s Rouge factory workforce was a quarter black as early as the 20s.

    The Southern factories today tend to be non-union and have greater worker discipline as a result. The foreign automakers would probably not open as many plants in the South if they had to deal with a unionized, heavily black workforce, like Detroit had to.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/28/magazine/28detroit-t.html

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  214. @Mr. Anon

    It’s not even your copy of Word anymore. Now you just lease it. Microsoft sucks.

    Meh, no software is ever your copy. Ever read a EULA? From the start, every package I ever saw, you purchase the right to use the software, not the software itself. Sure as hell, sooner or later, whether you still have the disks or not, they will revoke your use of the software when they can claim end-of-life-cycle and refuse to provide updates. It isn’t just Microsoft though, it’s all of them, QuikBooks, various tax software writers, Adobe. You only purchase the privilege of using it until you cannot. Then, you purchase it all over again. And Lordie! Have they ever gotten good at Digital Rights Management! No more pirated copies for you! Oh, need support? Pay. Intuit is really good at that. Gotta feed the troops in the trenches.

    Agree Microsoft sucks. I’ve got an update waiting that I know is going to screw up the boot sector on my free Win10 download/’upgrade’ to Win7 and prevent the computer from starting until I do a system restore. Except, ooops, I had to buy a full boot-able copy for 100 bucks to get the system restore tools. Win7 was fine, but they’re abandoning it. Like it or not.

  215. Icy Blast says:
    @Altai

    The A380 failed? I never heard about that.

  216. @Mr. Anon

    I suspect that most fighter pilots are not like Maverick in Top Gun.

    You are correct. They are the ones who unlike Pete Mitchell, did not crash their plane, killing their RIO.

  217. @WJ

    Because the enemy can’t hack a human pilot and electronic warfare is not the West’s forte.

    You sound like a Raytheon lobbyist.

  218. Romanian says: • Website
    @Jack D

    What’s surprising is not that the Japanese are trying to get back into aircraft now, but that they didn’t do it 30 years ago when they were riding high.

    I think they realized that the future belongs to those who have a large enough internal market to give an advantage to the aircraft manufacturing company while it vies for market share abroad.

    What they did was use attempts at creating local fighters as a means of transferring technology and then implanted themselves firmly in global production chains for aircraft manufacturing, as the Fingleton article also details. Just like most roads lead to Samsung in the smartphone business (Samsung being Korean and the main supplier of components for iPhones). Becoming a source of producer goods meant that they would be covered against the downturns of individual brands and affected only by the movements of the general market.

    Of course, we should not attribute to the Japanese decision makers some sort of collective consciousness. I am sure that there were corporate and government factions that wanted to have a go at the mid-size airplane business, as seen with Mitsubishi’s announcement of such a plane years ago (Mitsubishi being a prime source of components for Boeing, including the carbon fiber wings), but other factions won out.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  219. Romanian says: • Website
    @Dan Hayes

    Is Mr. Unz dropping them or are they leaving like Razib Khan? Fingleton is now a Forbes writer; being associated with unz.com could not be comfortable for him in this day and age. Peter Brimelow of Vdare was also a Forbes writer, but not anymore.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  220. Anonymous[160] • Disclaimer says:
    @eastkekestaniisawhiteguy

    The Ferraris I’ve driven (they were not million dollar cars then but are now, except the 308) impressed me in a lot of ways but the shift gate is awkward and balky. Porsches shift well, as do BMWs and cars with the later Borg Warner T-5s.

    But the five and six speed Toyota box used in Supras is the best. The Aussies swap them into slant six, hemi six and LA engine Mopars. That’s what I’d do if I ever did another project car.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  221. Romanian says: • Website
    @Jack D

    I had no way if this sort of behavior is also common in richer countries where cars get changed more often, or which find the repair costs easier to bear. Manual is still king around here – though more and more women are discovering the joys of automatic. As for horses, regulations against horse drawn carts in towns (mostly gypsy drivers) were drawn up in the early 2000s and they were still a frequent sight on the high roads, though less frequent now. I have never seen one drawn by more than two horses.

  222. Anonymous[160] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack Henson

    In fairness women are not made to be fighter aces but in flying COD and anti sub airplanes off the boat they have a good safety and performance record.

    • Replies: @Jack Henson
  223. Anonymous[160] • Disclaimer says:
    @Romanian

    They should have gotten into GA aircraft with indigenously designed engines and avionics in the 70s. They could have cleaned up when Wichita crapped out allegedly over pwoduct wiability. Keep your US based infrastructure expendable and/or judgment proof and you’re good, because no gaijin will win a dime in Japanese court.

    Piss on Wichita and Williamsport. They had it coming for cucking.

  224. Anonymous[665] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    What’s surprising is not that the Japanese are trying to get back into aircraft now, but that they didn’t do it 30 years ago

    NAMC YS-11
    Shin Meiwa PS-1 and US-1A
    Kawasaki C-1 and C-2
    Kawasaki P-1
    Mitsubishi MJR-90
    Etc.

    Incidentally, Zeros didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor.

  225. @William Badwhite

    Assuming its not real, where did the real airplanes UAL and AA lost go? Where did the crews and pax go?

    Ooh, ooh! I saw this in a movie or TV show once … space aliens took them somewhere else in the universe.

  226. Saggy says: • Website
    @Jack D

    The plane (despite the shitty defective system) gave them maybe 7 or 8 chances to save themselves and the lives of their passengers and they missed all of these chances until eventually it was too late.

    Because they didn’t know what the hell was happening with this preposterous and hidden system for correcting a design flaw that should never have been built.

    Boeing officials should be brought up on charges for the original design, moving the engine up, the faulty software for ‘fixing’ the problem, and for hiding the whole system from the pilots.

    There is a lengthy dissection of the blame the pilots excuse currently on the Moon Over Alabama link on Unz, and a detailed technical account of the unbelievable series of blunders, shortcuts, and design glitches that led to catastrophes here … https://www.truthdig.com/articles/why-boeing-may-never-recover-from-its-737-debacle/

    Note: I’m a former Lockheed avionics engineer …

    • Replies: @Jack D
  227. Jack D says:
    @Anonymous

    The 6 speed manual on the current Mazda 3 is schweet – it shifts like butta. It’s literally the nicest stick that I’ve ever driven. It makes you feel like you are a better driver than you really are, which is a sign of top notch kit.

    However, it’s a complete waste since the automatic is both faster and gets better mileage, so what’s the point. No matter how fast you are on the shifts, a computer is going to be faster. The manual transmission is one of those things that was perfected just in time to be totally obsolete, like the IBM Selectric typewriter, which is the schweetest typewriter ever built but it’s still a typewriter..

  228. Jack D says:
    @Saggy

    The instabilities that MCAS was supposed to remedy are in fact rare and while it was a kludgy software solution to a hardware problem, it would have (and still probably does) work to patch them. There are lots of modern aircraft (e.g. the stealth bomber) that are COMPLETELY unstable in all configurations and don’t tumble from the sky like stones on every flight only because of software.

    These instabilities were not at all involved in the 2 crashes because MCAS was FALSELY triggered by a bad sensor. Allowing MCAS to trigger off of a single sensor (when 2 were already installed on the plane anyway) was a BIG and inexplicable mistake (as was the lack of any disagree light or error message if the sensors disagreed). These were big and inexcusable screw ups and heads need to roll because of them. Someone clearly lost sight of the safety culture at Boeing and put profits first.

    BUT this is not what killed the passengers. The pilots did and we know that other (better) pilots in the same situation were able to figure this out. They had done this in the Indonesian aircraft the night before (whereupon Lion sent out the same plane, unrepaired the next day). This is not a situation where you put 100 pilots in the sim and none of them are able to land after the failure. Salvation (turning off the electric STAB TRIM – right away and not after MCAS had driven the plane wildly out of trim by coming on repeatedly 8 or 9 times- another basic failure in software that shouldn’t have been allowed on the icemaker in your fridge let alone in a plane with 200 lives at stake and which would have take 1 line of code to fix) was only a button press away.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  229. @Anonymous

    Yeah but we live in Clown World where an admiral making that argument would be shouted down by necksnapping members of the Squad and advertising agencies would turn it into “But she persisted” advertising for Nike.

    So we have to dumb down standards and feed our daughters to Woke Gayperium.

  230. Dan Hayes says:
    @Romanian

    Romanian:

    I suspect it’s a mixed bag of voluntary and involuntary UR departures. In the spirit of speculation here’s my take on some of the departed:

    Fingleton’s Forbes gig long predated his UR history. To me, it’s inconceivable that Finkelstein would have any qualms about being associated with the UR. Maybe the American Conservative was not too happy with Gottfried writing for both publications. Napolitano seemed to have gone off the rails in his later unhinged vendetta against Trump coupled with his infatuation with the all wise and prescient Mueller.

    I’d like to reiterate that the acquisition of Steve Cohen to the UR is a very welcome development.

  231. @Sparkon

    The 767, depending on the variant carries a wing span of 156-170 feet. The width of the old WTC towers was 208 feet. Level the plane and visually, the dimensions fit.

    • Agree: The Alarmist
  232. sbarrkum says:

    This whole failure of defensive aspect of US weapons in Saudi Arabia against Houthi drones/missiles has parallels to the Boeing 737 MAX fiasco. It was blamed on foreign pilots, and no culpability of Boeing’s slip shod systems (The NY Times feature on 2019/09/18 is a good example)

    Well folks, 90% of Boeing aircraft sales are to foreign countries. All have either put their purchases on hold or cancelled.

    The FAA reputation has also taken a hit. Countries/Companies are going to wait for alternate sign off by Aviation Authorities of other countries.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  233. Anonymous[160] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Henry Ford was as loved by blacks as he was detested by Jews because he hired blacks to assemble his Model T. Blacks can do repetitive physical jobs not requiring abstract judgment fairly well. The Model T Ford, indeed all prewar Fords were pretty simple cars. That also had a lot to do with it.

    Modern cars are all tightly packed and highly integrated. Design for Black Assembly May need to be taught to engineers, under a euphemism of course, much as Pratt and Whitney had a “Murphy’s Law” squad whose job was to see if they could put it together wrong: they then changed it to make sure it only went together one way.

  234. Mr. Anon says:
    @Sparkon

    I‘ll ask you and anyone else the same question: Do you honestly think that is a real Boeing 767?

    Yes.

  235. Requiring at least a hundred hours flying time in an airplane like a J-3 Cub or a Citabria before moving on to anything else at all would do absolute wonders for air safety at minimal cost if we started making Cub like airplanes in quantity and therefore cheap. A new Cub or Champ cost the price of a new Buick in 1947. It could again if we made the right changes, especially with modern automated manufacturing methods. Ribs could be waterjet cut or of an injection molded composite, the fuselage assembled in fixtures using robotic welding, and a Monokote like material used to replace the doped Grade A fabric.

    The cost to design and certificate this airplane, complete with an integrated avionics suite allowing for all VFR and basic IFR training, and a new designed liquid or blower air cooled diesel engine that runs on #2 diesel ,K-1 or Jet A, and to build the modern plant needed to turn out 25,000 of these buggers in five years with the building and all the spiffy new automated equipment? Dock the Chair Force one (1) of the scheduled F-22 fighters and you’ll have money left over.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    , @Jack D
  236. @Yngvar

    As I recall, that was one of the civilizational features of “The Marching Morons”, the source code for Idiocracy.

  237. @Sparkon

    The fuselage is wide enough (767 is a widebody, 757 is narrowbody, and the difference is noticeable), and as pointed out by Jim Christian, the 47.6m of 767 wingspan takes up enough of the Tower’s 63m width to be distinguishable from the 38m of 757 wingspan.

    Thanks for playing.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  238. @donvonburg

    It would be better to give primary training in a T-6 (the original l North American one) … it unmercifully kills those without the skills.

  239. Jill says:

    No matter how you look at it Boeing has a problem

    • Replies: @Jack D
  240. Sparkon says:
    @The Alarmist

    So you really think a mostly aluminum airplane could penetrate the steel box columns on the exterior of WTC 2 like a knife slicing into butter?

    No reaction from either building or airplane proves the image is CGI.

    Fake, in other word.

    You must not be playing with a full deck.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    , @Jack D
  241. Yngvar says:
    @Sparkon

    «Atta told Binalshibh he wanted to select planes departing on long flights because they would be full of fuel, and that he wanted to hijack Boeing aircraft because he believed them easier to fly than Airbus aircraft, which he understood had an autopilot feature that did not allow them to be crashed into the ground.» 9/11 Report, page 245.

    Mohamed Atta shared your skepticism concerning automated systems.

  242. Anonymous[241] • Disclaimer says:
    @PiltdownMan

    Missiles changed the game. They not only made most heavy bombers obsolete, but a single-engine aircraft with a rack of AA missiles can do as much damage as a fleet of gun-armed fighters.

  243. Jack D says:
    @sbarrkum

    This whole failure of defensive aspect of US weapons in Saudi Arabia against Houthi drones/missiles has parallels to the Boeing 737 MAX fiasco.

    This is doubletalk. First of all, they were not Houthi weapons, no matter how much you want to stick your head in the sand and pretend that the Iranians didn’t send them. Houthi weapons are things like Enfield rifles, not cruise missiles. I realize that a lot of people don’t want the US to be in a war with Iran but you have to live in reality. Say, “The Iranians are pushing back on our sanctions and we are not willing to get into a war over that so we are just going to let them get away with this”, but don’t lie and say “Houthi weapons”.

    2nd, the US doesn’t have some sort of magical defense that covers the entire Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We can set up Patriot batteries and anti-drone defenses around specific sites and they are pretty effective but apparently these particular sites were not defended because they were not thought to be under threat. Saudi Arabia did not think that it was at war with Iran. A weapons system cannot be effective if it is not deployed. This has f-kall to do with the MAX.

  244. Jack D says:
    @Jill

    Sure, just call up COMAC and ask them to send over 50 of them C919s tomorrow. See what they tell you. American Airlines that tries to save a nickel by removing 1 peanut from each bag would love to buy half price jets if they could, but they can’t.

  245. Jack D says:
    @donvonburg

    Future trainers are going to be electric. They are perfect for this role because they only go up a short amount of time and return to base. Future trainers will be composite or something, they are not going to be built with updated versions of Wright Brothers construction methods.

  246. Sparkon says:
    @William Badwhite

    The 767 purported to be UAL 175 was receiving and acknowledging ACARS data well after its alleged crash into WTC 2 on 9/11, as was UA 93 after its reputed crash near Shanksville. There is not enough evidence to determine the fate of the airplanes nor of the passengers

    According to distinguished former CIA pilot John Lear, a 767 cannot fly at 500 mph while at 1000 feet altitude. Neither the engines nor the airframe are designed to fly at high speed in the thick atmosphere below several thousand feet altitude.

    On 9 September, the motel manager, cleaning the room that al-Shehhi had vacated, found a bag containing a German/English dictionary, a protractor, flight manuals and local airport listings. Another employee later reported finding a box cutter.

    Well sure, with kinda sorta incriminating evidence like that, who could doubt al-Shehhi’s ability to thread a needle in a 767 on 9/11 while in a high speed turn, especially when he had several hours practice in a 727 simulator?

    I suppose any passengers on UA 175 deplaned after the 767 landed somewhere. Recall that Mineta ordered all the jetliners to land immediately at the closest airport, so it would not have been difficult for UA 175 or UA 93 to land somewhere unnoticed.

  247. Jack D says:
    @Yngvar

    No, BMWs only do that when you press on the gas (they really do – I kid you not).

    https://theoutline.com/post/6158/your-car-is-pumping-fake-engine-noises-into-your-ears?zd=1&zi=uhooryt4

    Car buyers like the vrrooom vrroom sound of a big V-8 but lots of modern cars have turbo-4s that whine like sewing machines instead. Software comes to the rescue. Consider it the MCAS of cars. With a few more lines of code, your speakers could play the sound of an idling engine so you’d feel better about stop/start.

    Lack of noise at low speed is an issue for electric cars – they sneak up on pedestrians like cats. So they have to tie an electronic bell to their collars so people can hear them coming. So far it is mostly an electronic spaceship kind of sound but I think there is room for creativity so that you could personalize your tune.

  248. JMcG says:
    @Jack D

    The Saudis can go pound sand into sugar cookies for all I or any American should care. When is this madness of shedding blood and spending money on some of the vilest people and places on the planet finally going to end?
    Let them blast away at each other until the last mullah dies with his fingers wrapped around the last sheikh’s throat.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  249. @The Alarmist

    The T-6 used to be known as the AT-6 (advanced trainer) for a reason. The PT’s sorted out who could or could not move on to the ATs.

  250. sbarrkum says:
    @Jack D

    First of all, they were not Houthi weapons, no matter how much you want to stick your head in the sand and pretend that the Iranians didn’t send them.

    Did I say Iran did not give (or possibly provided the parts to assemble) to make these drones or missile. Houthi Weapon supplied by Iranians vs Saudi Weapons supplied mainly by the US.

    This has f-kall to do with the MAX.

    The US weapons are seen to be out dated and overpriced to combat asymmetric warfare. Its Russia thats selling the big ticket weapons to Turkey, Iran and India.

    Boeing is suddenly seen to be cutting corners and making unsafe airplanes. Pretty much all of its foreign sales have been put on hold or cancelled.

    Weapons, aircraft made by companies more interested in their stock price and cutting costs and not the product. American capitalism at its best

  251. sbarrkum says:
    @Jack D

    First of all, they were not Houthi weapons, no matter how much you want to stick your head in the sand and pretend that the Iranians didn’t send them.

    Did I say Iran did not give (or possibly proved the parts to assemble) to make these drones or missile. Houthi Weapon supplied by Iranians vs Saudi Weapons supplied mainly by the US.

    This has f-kall to do with the MAX.

    The US weapons are seen to be out dated and overpriced to combat asymmetric warfare. Its Russia thats selling the big ticket weapons to Turkey, Iran and India.

    Boeing is suddenly seen to be cutting corners and making unsafe airplanes. Pretty much all of its foreign sales have been put on hold or cancelled.

    Weapons, aircraft made by companies more interested in their stock price and cutting costs and not the product. American capitalism at its best

  252. @Glaivester

    It also seems to me that recent models have much brighter dashboards, to the extent that at night it obscures the view of what is outside. Then there is now often an illuminated center console glow-screen full of irrelevant information that is difficult/impossible to dim. The modern automobile dashboard is a smorgasboard of light pollution, with a very low signal-to-noise radio. One suspects another triumph of the marketers over the engineers.

    • Agree: Hibernian
  253. @Sparkon

    The aluminum aircraft pretty much vapourised when it hit the core. The vapourised aluminum increased the heat produced by the burning kerosene, which was burning hot already by being heavily oxidised by the wind being sucked up rapidly through the core. The heat compromised the integrity of the supporting columns. When they failed, gravity pulled the twenty+ floors above straight down through the rest of the floors below.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
    , @Jack D
    , @Hibernian
  254. Jack D says:
    @Sparkon

    Does that answer your question?

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  255. Anonymous[160] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Alarmist

    Look at what civilian insurance companies want for minimum times before they will write coverage on one now.

    Even in WWII you flew the T-6 after the Vultee Vibrator, which had an even more vicious stall break, and that after a Stearman or a little five cylinder Ryan like the one Harrison Ford busted up a while back.

    Personally I think my friend Don is right. Although other designs will work, the J-3 in one of its variants (I prefer the Reed Clipped Wing STC-legally aerobatic and more importantly it doesn’t float like a U-2 in ground effect) is simply unsurpassed as a primary trainer. Give it an 85 horse Continental that will burn car gas and a wood prop that won’t bend the crank if you nose it over and what more could you want?

    If you are trainable it will train you. If you are not it will weed you out, but you will walk out of the wreck and if the name plate survives they’ll fix it back up in no time.

    Brits will argue for the Tiger Moth, well and fine, but it takes a lot more hours to build and those struts and wires are finicky. A J-3 like airplane could be cheap to build if they built enough of them and we made pwoduct wiability an impossible excuse. I think the answer might be to have a shell company overseas set up and then fund the Civil Air Patrol to buy a thousand of them for training “yoots” to fly. Then you just rely on the fact the only takers will be white kids from rural or suburban backgrounds.

    Keeping the existing GA infrastructure one hundred percent out is the real key. They are all “can’t c***s” and will screw the project up with avthink and a failure mentality. Hire ag engineers, race car fabricators, carny ride designers, whatever, and hand them the FARs and AC 43-13-1B and tell them: Here are the rules. A biography of Smokey Yunick might help. Follow the rules, but don’t add on what is not there. If you have questions, call the FAA and write down who said what. Don’t tape them. Don’t piss them off. Just make sure they get what they want.

    And buy legal insurance, but incorporate the shell company with a provision in its charter that they can not buy product liability insurance and cannot agree to a settlement unless full details are publicly disclosed. So if Arthur Alan Wolk sues , if he wins, he gets the office keys to a shell company.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    , @JMcG
  256. @Jack D

    We can set up Patriot batteries and anti-drone defenses around specific sites and they are pretty effective but apparently these particular sites were not defended because they were not thought to be under threat. Saudi Arabia did not think that it was at war with Iran.

    The thing about anti-aircraft batteries is that even the best-trained personnel occasionally take down non-combatants or friendly aircraft. My guess is they generally only turn them on when it’s clear there’s a threat, and close down flight corridors around areas under threat, which is a huge inconvenience for all the air traffic that has to waste time and aviation fuel doing detours around the area cordoned off.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIM-104_Patriot#Operation_Iraqi_Freedom_(2003)

  257. Jack D says:
    @JMcG

    That would be fine if they weren’t sitting on that giant pool of oil. Now Saudi oil is a lot less important to America than it used to be but it’s still important to global markets and for better or for worse, the US is the guarantor of the global trade system (because there is no one else willing or able to fill that role). Without that trade the dollar is no longer the world reserve currency and our dollars would be like the pesos that our real economy now justifies. We are riding the tiger and there’s no way to get off. If world trade (including oil) doesn’t flow, then it’s Dark Ages 2.0. Hope that you are all stocked up on ammo and hardtack.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
    , @Anonymous
  258. @Jack D

    Without that trade the dollar is no longer the world reserve currency and our dollars would be like the pesos that our real economy now justifies.

    That’s a canard. The dollar is the world reserve currency because we let foreign countries run large trade surpluses against us. The day this stops, those countries will still have large dollar holdings by virtue of the size of the US economy, but it won’t be the vast majority of the currency reserves of foreign central banks. The US dollar has its current value because of Microsoft, Intel, Google, Facebook, Boeing, Pfizer, Amgen, United Technologies, Archer Daniels Midland and a host of other globally-dominant or leading edge companies. If Brazil was headquarters for these companies, the real would be a hard currency instead of the closest thing to toilet paper we’ve seen in a non-basket case country.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  259. Sparkon says:
    @Jack D

    Not at all. The Twin Towers were not made out of watermelon, nor was the airplane made out of playing cards. It’s a false analogy.

    Concentrate. The 767 is a mostly hollow aluminum tube with some stronger parts for the engines and landing gear. The Twin Towers were framed on the outside by steel box columns, not watermelons.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  260. Sparkon says:
    @The Alarmist

    The 767 had to penetrate the steel box columns before it ever got to the core. Sorry, but in the physical world, aluminum gives way to steel.

    Aluminum cannot cut steel, and that’s why knife blades are made of the latter, and not the former.

    Bullets too.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    , @Anonymous
  261. Jack D says:
    @The Alarmist

    Please don’t confuse us with facts.

  262. @Anonymous

    I did my ASEL in a J-3 on floats, and it seemed actually quite tame considering what it was carrying, but the instructor was one for good airmanship, so maybe that’s why it didn’t seem too difficult. I also had taildragger and aerobatic time before that, which might have already drummed some of the basics into me. These should all be required training. A commercial ticket is a good start to flying to the aircraft’s limits, but only just that.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  263. @Sparkon

    You are seriously out of your depth.

  264. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    Fortunately for Americans who are not financial elites, and much of the rest of the world, the role of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency is doomed in the not too long run.

  265. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sparkon

    If the aluminum has enough mass and velocity it will smash, rather than cut the steel. Pieces of thin wood have penetrated structural steel in tornadoes or hurricanes. Lead bullets punch holes in heavy steel plate all the time if they are going fast enough.

  266. @Sparkon

    The steel curtain on the exterior was not all that strong, and at most it sliced the mass of the aircraft into chunks that continued on into the core, which was the more serious structural mass. You’d be surprised what a chunk of aluminum can do to a column of steel when it hits it in excess of 400kts. I don’t have any pictures of that, but this one is an amusing analogue:

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Sparkon
    , @Hibernian
  267. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Johann Ricke

    Microsoft, Intel, Google, Facebook, Boeing, Pfizer, Amgen, United Technologies, Archer Daniels Midland

    Some of these things are not like the others.

    Facebook could be duplicated easily and cheaply as far as physical plant and software. United Technologies is Pratt and Whitney (and a lot more , I defy the Russians or Chinese to make a turbine engine that can compete on reliability, fuel consumption or TBO. I mean I wish they would, but they can’t.)

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
  268. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Alarmist

    I don’t have any pictures of that, but this one is an amusing analogue:

    no pun intended

  269. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sparkon

    According to distinguished former CIA pilot John Lear, a 767 cannot fly at 500 mph while at 1000 feet altitude. Neither the engines nor the airframe are designed to fly at high speed in the thick atmosphere below several thousand feet altitude.

    Max indicated speed (IAS, close to TAS at sea level standard day) on most jet trnsports is under 400 kias I think. I’m sure that if there is a military 757 variant and it isn’t classified the Air Force “dash one’ is on line somewhere. The TCDS may have that listed as well. Those are public and on line.

    But…….time out….John Lear is the idiot son of Bill Lear who was famously disinherited and was a frequent guest on Fart Smell Coast to Coast with goofy UFO and moon landing hoax claims. Not sure he is someone to be used as a credible reference.

  270. @The Alarmist

    The fighter mafia still dominates the USAF and they refer to transport guys as “trash haulers”.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    , @The Alarmist
  271. @Anonymous

    Some of these things are not like the others.

    Facebook could be duplicated easily and cheaply as far as physical plant and software.

    One thing you can’t do is duplicate first mover advantage. There’s a reason the world uses the Gregorian calendar instead of any number of traditional ones. And Facebook is the worst social media website there is, except for all of its competitors. Remember Myspace?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  272. @map

    I have a 2018 Honda CRV AWD. The thing averages 21 mpg, in econ mode in all conditions.

    Really?! I just bought a 2014 Honda CRV AWD and got 31 mpg doing 70+ on the highway with the AC on. The engine was turning less than 2500 RPMs. My Econ mode is my (very light) right foot.

    • Replies: @map
  273. @Jack D

    My pilot cousin’s girlfriend is also a pilot who does simulator training. She said the first thing she likes to do is cut all the electrical power on takeoff.

    Sim sessions can last 4 hours. They both have a bunch of great stories.

  274. Hibernian says:
    @Sparkon

    “I suppose any passengers on UA 175 deplaned after the 767 landed somewhere. Recall that Mineta ordered all the jetliners to land immediately at the closest airport, so it would not have been difficult for UA 175 or UA 93 to land somewhere unnoticed.”

    Keeping that conspiracy quiet requires the silence of 2 planeloads of passengers, the crews, and their families. That’s a lot of people to intimidate, kill, or bribe. Oh, I’m sure, some will go along with it out of loyalty to the Deep State. Not very many. Maybe the passengers and crew were handpicked for the operation. Seriously, imagine the families grieving for their dead and finding that they survived. I’m sure that could be kept quiet.

    Maybe you have a scenario that would pass the laugh test. I’d like to hear it.

  275. Hibernian says:
    @The Alarmist

    Some people obviously concentrate on the weight and strength of the steel skeletons of the towers and neglect the strength of the aluminum in the airframes, the speed of the planes, the weight of the planes, and the large amount of flammable, volatile fuel carried by the planes.

  276. Sparkon says:
    @The Alarmist

    The steel curtain on the exterior was not all that strong…

    Sure it was, and it wasn’t a “curtain.” Rather, the Twin Towers used what is called a tube-within-a-tube design. The inner element was the central core, the outer tube was the perimeter steel box columns – 240 in all – that enclosed the structure like a cage.

    Each steel box column had four surfaces made of 1/4″ steel at the level where the 767s allegedly hit.

    Show me the aluminum knife that can cut steel. Good luck even finding a knife with an aluminum blade. Aluminum is too soft.

    Airplane bodies are made from aluminum because it is light and because airplanes are not expected to encounter anything but air. Airplanes have their name for a reason.

    Even birds tear through the fragile skin of an airplane, but you think a 767 can fly through a steel-framed building, and leave its friggin shape in the steel facade out to the wingtips, and poke its soft nose entirely through the building. The mind boggles…

    To penetrate steel, check out what the anti-armor boys use, and the velocities achieved by anti-tank rounds – over 5,100 fps

    Meanwhile UA 175 was supposed to be flying 590 mph when it hit WTC 2, or about 865 fps, about as fast as a speeding BB.

    So no way does a soft projectile like a 767 while traveling as fast as a BB penetrate the dense matrix of steel box columns on the exterior of the WTC, and no way does a 150-ton airplane destroy a 500,000 ton skyscraper.

    And in Hezarkhani’s notorious picture, the airplane has plunged into the building, but there’s no fireball, no nothing — just an impossible scene.

    Bologna with cheese.

  277. Hibernian says:
    @The Alarmist

    The impulse/momentum equation: mv = ft

    The momentum, mv, imparted to one of the towers by the plane that struck it is very high, because the velocity of the plane, is very high. Therefore the plane exerts a lot of force on the tower. Of course, there’s a lot more to it, but concentrating on the greater weight and strength of the steel to the exclusion of all else gives a distorted picture.

  278. Hibernian says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    In the service where the officers do the fighting, it’s logical that fighting officers, rather than officers who sometimes transport troops into battle, but more often haul cargo or haul troops from a safe area to a somewhat less safe area, run the service.

  279. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Johann Ricke

    People don’t buy P&W engines because they invented jet engines. They buy them because they have better specific fuel consumption and longer TBO and better support than their competitor, who was making jet engines before they were. And the first companies to make jet engines are now extinct or out of the engine business.

    Apple and half a dozen companies had microcomputer operating systems before Microsoft. Microsoft had IBM’s imprimatur back when that mattered and the home computer market went IBM compatible because they could pirate the software from work.

    If Facebook was in any other country they’d have been taxed into being profitable, but not hugely, a long time ago. And indeed had Facebook been able to exist in the US at any time between the end of the First Gilded Era and the election of Reagan, we would have taxed them too. Top corporate taxes in the JFK/MM era were what, seventy percent? No business paid that, but that was the statutory high rate and they had to reinvest in approved way not to be devastated. There were NO billionaires in the US between the death of Henry Ford 1 and Daniel Ludwig, a shipping magnate, who became the first post-Ford US billionaire in the mid-70s.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  280. Jack D says:
    @Anonymous

    Becoming the dominant player is more important in some industries than others. Your friends don’t all have to be using the same OS for you to talk to them but they do have to be on the same social media site. If you go to the video store and all the tapes are VHS you had better have a VHS machine in which to play them. If all the appliances in the store are AC only then you had better have AC power in your house.

    Note that neither VHS nor Facebook nor AC were first movers but they became the dominant player at a fairly early stage and once they achieved dominance they were untouchable (for a while).

  281. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    That bring back memories. I had a U-Matic machine before either VHS or Beta and I strongly felt it was the best, but U-Matic tapes were all licensed for public play and heinously expensive whereas Beta and VHS were “home use”. Beta had better video quality but Betamax machines were more complicated, the later Beta pro formats were deliberately incompatible, and VHS had a super long play mode that enabled you to tape 6 hours on one cassette, crummy quality, but consumers didn’t care.

    I was never that much into videotape because I was a serious audiophile from the mid-80s to the mid-2000s. I was building speaker cabs and tube amplifiers back then. I did that and film photography. Serious video was still very big money so I stayed out. The U-Matic was a surplus school buy. Later I had a VHS machine as everyone did but never seriously got into the intricacies of it.

    I was at an estate auction a couple of weeks ago and they had what was originally no less than twenty grand of videotape specific repair and test equipment (at original purchase) that went to a kid, a high school age kid for about $250. It was mostly Sencore stuff, with the scope and Super Cricket transistor tester and what not, but they wouldn’t separate the lot. I’d have bought it but have no storage space anymore since I downsized. What he’s going to do with it I have no idea.

  282. @Sparkon

    According to distinguished former CIA pilot John Lear, a 767 cannot fly at 500 mph while at 1000 feet altitude. Neither the engines nor the airframe are designed to fly at high speed in the thick atmosphere below several thousand feet altitude.

    The 767 VMO 360kt / 0.86 MMO max placard speeds are the highest speeds the plane should be flown, not an absolute limit. The aircraft are designed to be reliable to at least that speed. Push the throttles full foward and you’ll cruise right past that speed without the wings falling off, even more so in a shallow dive. 500kts is plausible on a clear, turbulence free day, especially if you don’t care what happens to the aircraft.

  283. @Jim Don Bob

    That’s why back in my days we had SAC, TAC, & MAC.

  284. JMcG says:
    @Anonymous

    Hey, has anyone seen Jack D and Arthur Wolk in the same room at the same time?

  285. Langewiesch’s article is bang on. Your summary is nonsense.

  286. map says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    I kid you not. I’ve had bad fuel economy in the 2015 model I had before and the 2018 model.

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