Apparently Ryanair have just ordered 75 Boeing 737Max aircraft, but the question is would anyone wish to fly on one, or indeed on any other Boeing aircraft bearing in mind the short cuts on safety that have been revealed within Boeing by the various investigations which have taken place into the safety of the 737Max.
What Ryanair have actually done is increase their initial order from 135 to 210 because they were offered a huge discount.
I wonder why
My information is that it isn’t an order but an option to buy. Rather different.
Problem is we won’t have a choice. You’ll turn up expecting a 737-800 and there’ll be a Max on the tarmac (I almost wrote at the end of the jet bridge). My gut tells me that the Max is now probably the most scrutinised aircraft ever. But it still feels somewhat creepy.
At the danger of welcoming others into my own slightly obsessive habit of paying close attention to aircraft types and their various failures, I have always found articles by this guy:
to be excellent, and this one is no exception: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/18/magazine/boeing-737-max-crashes.html
But the short answer is that NO - I will not fly one of those aircraft, ever, under any circumstances. Not just because the pilots are no longer military veterans who could nurse the old kite home on one engine, or land it on a carrier in a dark and stormy night, but because it’s a fundamentally aerodynamically unstable design, kept in the air by software and assuming the pilots always respond correctly and immediately under stress to any deviation. As Kegworth, as well as many other incidents, taught us this almost never happens.
No, nor any other machine that takes me more than about 20 feet from the ground. If I can’t get there by road, rail or ship, I ain’t going.
Happily, we have found that with a little care, it is possible to arrange to fly to where we wish to go in the USA by using aircraft other than those manufactured by Boeing.
I wonder whether there will be any significant effect on passenger numbers where competing airlines use different makes of aircraft (Boeing or non-Boeing) once all the travel restrictions are lifted.
I’ve flown in soviet/russian/kazakh Illuyshins and Tupolevs that would never be allowed anywhere near European airspace, so probably wouldn’t give it a second thought. I’m not that bothered if I never fly again though.
give me a stick, a rudder and mark #1 eyeball any day for flying… FBW doesn’t exploit piloting skills to the full - by and large the people up front are just as much passengers as the self loading cargo up back they just have a better view of disaster looming
Having read the lengthy, but most illuminating article linked to by @Michael_Forster above, it would seem that at least to a certain extent the Fly By Wire system was instigated by Airbus to stop the less experienced pilot from doing something catastrophically stupid.
What would be nice is to have a pilot training system whereby they are all required to fly each aircraft type for which they are licensed by the seat of their pants (without instruments). Knowing that the pilot can actually fly the plane by ‘feel’, and what they can see out of the window, would be very comforting. In a real emergency there is simply no time to be looking through check lists to find out what to do. The pilot’s response should be instinctive.
That concept unfortunately is defeated very much by the concept of FBW. Very little is actually felt by the pilot through the side-stick just as much as the basic instrumentation is in short supply. But basically, I agree.
Micheal, most if not all aircraft have been “fundamentally aerodynamically unstable” for the last 40 years or so. Any aircraft bigger than a cessna or piper these days relies on software even the older boeings and the airbus (totally) do so. I am sure you have been on a 737 or A300 sometime during the last 20 years which means you were being flown by one of many computers installed on the respective aircraft. On another note, most of the mil vet pilots i know and have flown with dont want to be busdrivers (myself included) so we keep the private pilots licence alive with small GA ships and Microlights.
Robert, the FBW was instigated by Airbus for commercial and competetive reasons. A pilot doesnt step out of a Cessna 150 into the cockpit of a A300, it takes numerous years and many stages before they are allowed in there.
I had always hoped that you would be right on that point Roger, but according to the New York Times article referenced above, and from my own recollection of a TV series I saw detailing the training of EasyJet pilots, for some airlines, pilots seem to do exactly that.
It seems that these days, young people with little (if any) flying experience can pay their £100k, receive training from an airline both on the ground and in the air, and then qualify as a passenger jet co-pilot after only 12 to 15 months.
Perhaps there should be a rule requiring new pilots to start on cargo only planes so that they gain experience without endangering a couple of hundred passengers when they make an error.
Yes @Robert_Hodge I saw that series too as I’m sure @Rocam did being the flyer I know him to be.
I’m sure Roger will answer your point for himself but I don’t think he meant how it’s been interpreted… You certainly do not literally gain your PPL one day, and step into the controls of a «heavy » the next as P1, P2 or even as a supernumerary (not in Europe anyway!) until you have undergone significant training (and passed the exams) at ground school, in the flight SIM and then as a s/n occupying the rh seat with a training captain in the lh seat and in the « jump seat » as the a/c used is invariably licensed for two pilot operation.
The traditional route is by « hours building ». In order to do this, pilots become instructors on light aircraft at flying schools (requiring a CPL) and build the hours required that way. As this is classed as « aerial work » they need appropriate licensing/training to do so and the route to heavies and that coveted rh seat can be long and tortuous.
But there’s no mistaking the fact that either route takes a significant amount of time, training and testing for ATPL (or freight). I’m sure you knew that already…
True, but those plane were all designed to operate that way from the drawing board. The problem with the ‘Max’ is the hybrid grafting of the old airframe with the new engines that would never have been selected / positioned where they are if the plane was being designed the way all those others were. It was a short cut, and that’s never a good engineering solution.
That, and the cheap / quick approach of allowing a single point of failure in the sensors.
I am as concerned for the people who are always first at the scene of the accident (the pilots) as much as I am for the passengers, especially as they (especially the bus drivers) can often be coerced into flying planes that aren’t appropriate for their skills, usually by commercial pressures.
Michael, i also saw the Squeezy documentary, which by the way, depicted a very short progression from the cessna to the A300. Every pilot who flies one type of airliner has to go through an OCU to be able to legally fly the follow-up model and commercial carriers dont “coerce” pilots into jumping from one ship to the next due to the legal implications on them and the pilots arent generally acceptive either due to other things such as Ramp checks etc. I am not saying it doesnt happen as like most things in life as i am sure somewhere it does.
usually banana repubs who are not allowed into EU or FAA airspace…
Or “Susie Air”