737 Max "Fix" Causes Entire Computer System to Crash

Mish

Boeing is now testing its 737 Max fix in real planes. In doing so, Boeing has uncovered yet another problem.

Well, It Worked in the Simulator

Yet another problem came to light when testing a 737 Max fix designed to prevent fatal the crashes that have kept the plane grounded since March.

This problem surfaced when testing the fix in real planes instead of a simulator.

Please consider Boeing Finds New Software Problem That Could Complicate 737 MAX’s Return.

The latest glitch, which Boeing said Friday it was working to correct, prevents the jet’s flight-control computers from powering up and verifying they are ready for flight, according to industry and government officials.The length of the delay will largely depend on how long it takes Boeing engineers to address the problem and verify its elimination, though coordination with international regulators and other factors could complicate the process.

The software problem occurred as engineers were loading updated software—including an array of changes painstakingly developed over roughly a year—into the flight-control computers of a test aircraft, according to one person briefed on the details.

A software function intended to monitor the power-up process didn’t operate correctly, according to this person, resulting in the entire computer system crashing. Previously, proposed software fixes had been tested primarily in ground-based simulators, where no power-up problems arose, this person said.

Delays Stretch to 2022

Leeham News reports MAX Delivery Process Will be Slowed by FAA’s Fewer Resources.

Some Wall Street analysts believe Boeing can deliver 25 of the stored airplanes a month. Analysts typically gain some guidance from Boeing’s Investor Relations office before publishing a note. However, a person with direct knowledge of the plans says the FAA has only 10 inspectors, who will work Monday-Friday from 8am to 4pm. LNA has one report that the FAA now has arranged for 50 inspectors, but the person with direct knowledge can’t confirm this.

The planes each will have to go through detailed inspection after months of storage. Test flights by Boeing and the customer are routine. Squawks identified have to be resolved and, if necessary, an additional test flight performed. The entire process, called flow, normally takes about eight days, LNA is told. With the FAA assuming control on its own workday/weekday schedule and with only 10 inspectors, the flow could increase to 13-14 days per airplane.

It will take well into 2022 to clear the inventory,” LNA is told. “The process will really be slow. Boeing’s reputation with the FAA is damaged.”

Add Another Delay of Unknown Length

The above article pre-dates the latest glitch. Thus, the latest glitch is certain to cause more delays as well as increased lack of faith in the company.

Worst Yet to Come for Suppliers

Also consider Boeing Hasn’t Hit Bottom Yet. Neither Have Suppliers.

Production rates

When Boeing restarts production, it won’t be turning a key and resuming rate 42/mo, which was in place when production shut down this month. Based on available information, the initial production rate will be between 10-15 MAXes per month. The return to rate 42 likely won’t occur until 2021. Achieving rate 57/mo, which was the goal by the end of 2019, now likely won’t occur until late 2022 at the earliest.

Impact on suppliers

The impact on suppliers is going to be profound. Spirit Aerosystems last week announced it would lay off 2,800 employees for an indefinite period. It has no information from Boeing about the timing to restart production, nor at what rate.

The slow ramp-up means recalling employees, at Spirit, and any other supplier will be a gradual return to previous employment levels. It will be challenging for Small suppliers to stay in business.

Manufacturing Has Peaked This Economic Cycle

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On Friday, I commented Manufacturing Has Peaked This Economic Cycle

Key Manufacturing Details

  • For the first time in history, manufacturing production is unlikely to take out the previous pre-recession peak.
  • Unlike the the 2015-2016 energy-based decline, the current manufacturing decline is broad-based and real.
  • Manufacturing production is 2.25% below the peak set in december 2007 with the latest Manufacturing ISM Down 5th Month to Lowest Since June 2009.

Recessionary Numbers

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Supply Chain Disruption

A slowdown in autos coupled with a huge slowdown at Boeing seals the fate of manufacturing for this economic cycle.

Even if the economy avoids recession, the manufacturing recession is sure to escalate.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (31)
No. 1-17
magoomba
magoomba

All go to crusher. Start over. So solly.

Herkie
Herkie

737 Max was an abortion of a jet, it never should have been allowed in the air. I will never fly on one. It will be "repaired" and you will be forced to fly on it. I will just not fly. That is an option you know.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

I believe Cognizant H1Bs wrote the control software. You get what you pay for.

FrankieCarbone
FrankieCarbone

I'm stunned that this happened. The mission critical engineering sector is fanatical about quality. Almost cult-like which is a GOOD thing for the public. Stunned. Absolutely stunned.

ksdude69
ksdude69

Can't leave well enough alone the old ones were getting from point A to point B just fine. On another note, hilarious how mfg's are always crying about not being able to find enough help and the younger generation not as interested. I wonder why? I tell every kid I meet to stay the hell away from it. Of course, working for someone else is always a risk but mfg takes the cake.

Wxtwxtr
Wxtwxtr

What happens when just ONE of those 25 waiting jets falls out of the sky?

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

"The impact on suppliers is going to be profound."

...

Yes. Durable goods orders will take a big hit ... coupled with new vehicle loans souring at an accelerating rate ...

Got Popcorn?

Freebees2me
Freebees2me

Wow!

I fly Southwest and they’ve ordered a bunch of these planes, but I’m not sure I’d want to fly one.

Boeing is facing a enterprise threatening event.. Chapter 11 cannot be ruled out. This is generating staggering losses and wiping out their supplier base as we speak...

What a bunch of clowns...

This software apparently wasn’t only used on the 737 Max, it must also be plugged into Boeing’s Corporate Headquarters for managing their business.

Latkes
Latkes

If it works on the simulator and not the real planes, then the issue is with the simulator. The engineers can't develop working software if their specs match the simulator, but the simulator doesn't match the real thing.

WashDC
WashDC

How long before the slow down at Boeing impacts GE Aviation enough to impact GE’s bond rating? If we are looking for an elephant big enough to choke the market...

Sleemo
Sleemo

This is a fascinating study in the unwillingness of large organizations to admit defeat. Let me give them some advice: no one will fly these planes. Ever.

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

I work in MilDoD / FAA environments. It would have to be with deliberate intent to fail to follow DO-254 processes and policies.

I remember when one of our sensors failed a pyrotechnic test. A small bolt backed out, and its collision ripped 3 processor pins off the board pads. It took 3 weeks of reviewing paperwork before the customer would allow us to open the housing to inspect the sensor. Failure of this sensor would not have lead to harm or death of anyone. I can't imagine taking less time to resolve a problem for something orders of magnitude more complex than a sensor.

tz3
tz3

They must be saving more than I thought by moving to the Indian outsourcing company.. H1-B sting?

lol
lol

Why is everyone getting on Boeing's case?They are simply doing what virtually every US manufacturer has done over the last 20 years,ie shift parts to over seas vendors to take advantage of slave labor.So what if quality is non existent,shoddy junk gets imported and slapped on the airframe!Look at GM and the junk they import from Mexico (via China),Craftsman (lol),Honeywell,there's no quality just cheap Chinese junk,Boeing's simply getting on the band wagon,leave them alone!

kiers
kiers

Boeing should have known you can NOT take, say, Ford's or GM's "platform" engineering model (whereby many model cars/trucks share an underlying production line platform, but they change the spec on the engine on different models etc) does NOT take to aerodynamics! For God's sake they should KNOW aerodynamics.


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