As I listened to the multi-millionaire Michael O’Leary berating just about everybody, as he foretold of deep cuts to services, job losses amongst Ryanair crew; and also a slight cut in his own personal wealth: I smiled. It was a smile reflecting my own sense of ‘Schadenfreude’, mainly because I don’t like the man, his attitude towards Ryanair passengers; about whom it is alleged that he coined the phrase ‘Self-Loading Cargo’, and his airline’s attitude towards those who have complained. But Michael O’Leary’s problems are not all of his own making, mainly because he’s been caught up in the ongoing saga surrounding the grounding of all Boeing 737-MAX jets after the two fatal crashes.
Anyone who watched the BBC Panorama’s shot across Boeing’s bows would, like me, have little time for the self-serving statements of that mealy-mouthed Chief Executive, who earns a mind-boggling $23.4 millions last year. The major problem with, and seemingly the ONLY cause for both jet crashes, stems from a need to alter the operation of the aircraft, and this alteration being controlled by the addition of computer software, controlled from ONE outside sensor. This software, needed because Boeing had installed much bigger engines onto virtually the same airframe pattern. This engine addition can make the plane tilt upwards, so to remove this flaw, Boeing installed ONE sensor on to the outside of the jet’s fuselage, and, as I previously stated, fed the sensor’s output on to a software system named M-Cas (The M stands for manoeuvre ability). So if the sensor detected that the jet was tilted too far upwards, then the horizontal tailplane elevator AUTOMATICALLY forced the jet downwards until the optimum angle was achieved, and then the tailplane returned to normal. So far, so stupid.
But then Boeing, who is allowed by the Federal Aviation Authority to virtually self-certify their aircraft for flight status, made several mistakes, all at the same time. They DEPENDED upon the satisfactory operation of ONE sensor to perform a major in-flight corrective manoeuvre, instead of two sensors with one as a back-up: they DID NOT INCLUDE ANY INFORMATION about the M-Cas system in the pilot’s manual, including how to switch the garbage off; and they did not include any details in the pilots’ training about M-Cas. The cross-over training programme from the old 737 to the 737-MAX was fifty minutes presented on an iPad, and M-Cas is never even mentioned! Boeing’s software engineers then made the catastrophic decision to allow the M-Cas control system to be re-energised every few seconds, so that if the jet’s control surfaces had been set back to achieve level flight, if the damn sensor was still reading ‘incorrectly’, the tailplane elevator would AUTOMATICALLY force the jet’s nose down once more.
On the financial side of things Boeing, they increased the dividend by 20%, all the senior people got big bonuses; but not once was the fatal flaw in the jet’s control surfaces even considered so important as to issue an immediate NOTAM, they did not ground the fleet because that might have damaged the profitability of their best-selling jet: THEY DID SWEET F**K ALL! The CEO, Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg’ would not even discuss the two crashes. In the second of the two crashed jets, 137 people died, and Boeing, despite knowing of the fatal flaw with ONE sensor; still did SWEET F**K ALL.
371 of the 737-MAX jet fleet are grounded, and the costs from airlines who cannot fly their passengers are steadily building up. Boeing states that the crashes resulted from a ‘series or chain of events’, and will not accept that responsibility for over three hundred dead passengers and crew lies with their soiled, money-grubbing and greedy attitudes.