Friday, March 29, 2019
Bonn, Germany


Continued from Part 1

He who opens a school door closes a prison (Victor Hugo)

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you (Maya Angelou)

e now know that Boeing charged extra for safety features that could have prevented the crashes; and that the software upgrade for the 737 MAX will be out by the end of April, almost two years after the aircraft was rolled off the production line.

Let's get down to the facts. The Ars Technica writes that the crashed Lion Air 737 MAX, and the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX aircraft had more in common than aircraft design and the apparently malfunctioning flight system that led to their demises. Both of the planes lacked optional safety features that would have alerted the pilots to problems with their angle of attack (AOA) sensors. The New York Times writes that as the pilots of the doomed Boeing jets in Ethiopia and Indonesia fought to control their planes, they lacked two notable safety features in their cockpits. One reason: Boeing charged extra for them. The BBC news reports that the Boeing 737 Max jet that has been linked to two deadly crashes failed to include two safety functions in its standard model, features that cost extra for airlines that bought the planes.

Daily Active Kenya wrote: As the world continues to sent tributes to the affected crash victims of the doomed Boeing Ethiopian jet, new details of how the plane lacked two notable safety features in their cockpits have emerged. It was discovered that the Standard 737 Max planes are not equipped with a so-called angle of attack indicator or an angle of attack disagree light. The reason why the jet lacked these safety devices is that the Boeing company charges an extra fee for these gadgets. For Boeing, the practice of charging to upgrade a standard plane can be lucrative. Top airlines around the world must pay handsomely to have the jets they order fitted with customized add-ons. Many airlines, especially low-cost carriers like Indonesia’s Lion Air, have opted not to buy them and regulators don’t require them. Boeing’s optional safety features, in part, could have helped the pilots detect any erroneous readings.

Just about two weeks after the crash of the Ethiopian jet, another crashing of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet was averted after the plane made an emergency landing. Something is wrong with this Boeing aircraft. The CNN writes (on March 27) that a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft from the fleet that was grounded after two deadly crashes made an emergency landing in Florida on Tuesday, March 26.

No passengers were aboard that Southwest Airlines Flight 8701, which was being ferried from Orlando International Airport to Victorville, California, for short-term storage during the grounding, the airline said. Just before 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, the two pilots aboard the flight reported "a performance issue with one of the engines shortly after takeoff. The crew followed protocol and safely landed back at the airport." The global fleet of 737 Max jets was grounded indefinitely on March 13 after two fatal crashes involving the aircraft in March and October.

As I noted in Part 1 of this article, now that many lives have been lost, Boeing is going to do what it should have done right from the start. Because it will lose a lot of money as the 737 Max 8 series have been grounded all over the world due to safety concerns, the plane manufacturer is now planning to make the safety features it was selling to airlines, prior to the Ethiopian Airlines' crash, a permanent feature, and for free. Daily Active Kenya writes that in the wake of the two deadly crashes involving the same jet model, Boeing will make one of those safety features standards as part of a fix to get the planes in the air again. The NY Times writes that the aircraft manufacturer said the safety features will become standard on the planes and included in a software update that is expected to correct issues with the 737 Max jets.

The CNBC writes (March 27) that Boeing unveils 737 Max fixes, says planes are safer. That Boeing previewed its software fix, cockpit alerts and additional pilot training for its 737 Max planes on Wednesday, March 27, saying the changes improve the safety of the aircraft which has been involved in two deadly crashes since October. Mike Sinnett, Boeing vice president, said these while previewing the changes to pilots, reporters, and regulators at Boeing facilities in Renton, Washington: "We're working with customers and regulators around the world to restore faith in our industry and also to reaffirm our commitment to safety and to earning the trust for the flying public. We're working with pilots and industry officials. We have 200 of them today in our Renton facility and we'll be spending time with them today to explain the updates we're making to the 737 Max, to get their input and to earn their trust."

For Boeing, anything it does now to boost customers' confidence might be too little, too late, as the damage has already been done. It will take Boeing years to assure airlines that its planes are safe again. In order to make more profit, Boeing forgot the maxim "Safety First", by making safety features in its planes optional and with additional cost. Now, the market is reacting, and instead of gaining, Boeing is losing. Many airlines which ordered Boeing planes, prior to the Ethiopian Airlines' crash, are now canceling them. The winner here now is the European Airbus.

The CNN Business writes (March 26) that as Boeing struggles with the 737 Max crisis, it's big rival Airbus has announced a huge order from China. The European plane-maker said Monday, March 25, that it has reached a deal to sell 300 passenger jets to Chinese airlines. The agreement was signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to France, a few days ago. Indonesian airline Garuda said, last week, that it is seeking to cancel a multibillion-dollar order for 49 737 Max aircraft from Boeing.

Capitalism is the heart and soul of America, and Boeing, as one of the biggest and most important American companies, the pride of the nation, a megacorp or octopus, is only interested in its bottom line (profit) than in anything else.

The point I'm making here is that too much love of profit is deadly. The United States' crass pursuit of wealth is ruining the world (uncouth capitalism). While the Europeans are closing prisons and opening more schools, the United States is allowing many of its schools to be dilapidated while building more prisons; while the Europeans are building "bridges" to reach so many other peoples of the world; the United States is building walls; while the European Union (EU) and China are becoming more assertive and influential in the world; the United States' global power or influence is waning. And while every vote counts all over the world, the archaic electoral college system remains in the United States, and that's a bane of democracy over there.

The difference between the European Union and the United States, in terms of protecting lives, is clear. Europe will require car-makers to install speed limiters as from 2022. According to CNN Business, new cars sold in Europe from 2022 will have to be fitted with systems to limit their speed.

Under new safety rules agreed by the European Union, all new vehicles are required to have "intelligent speed assistance" systems as standard equipment. European Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said in a statement that 25,000 people are killed each year on European roads, with the vast majority of accidents being caused by human error. In her words: "With the new advanced safety features that will become mandatory, we can have the same kind of impact as when the safety belts were first introduced".

To be concluded!






Continued from Part 1