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Thread: irrational fear of flying

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    V-salon: come for the bikes, stay for the incredibly knowledgeable participants whose expertise/experience spans human endeavor 👍.

    Here’s a link to a Seattle Times article with the most comprehensive summary I’ve read thus far: https://www.seattletimes.com/busines...light-blowout/

    Three takeaways that I noted:

    - This plug design has been in use since the 737-900ER went into service in 2007. This further reinforces Saab’s point that the root cause is likely in manufacturing, not design.

    - Only four (4) bolts secure the plugs in place. There’s little (no?) margin for assembly error.

    - The incident aircraft had multiple maintenance write-ups for pressurization problems before the plug blew out. With 20/20 hindsight, there were red flags that weren’t adequately addressed by current maintenance procedures. On the positive side, the airline did restrict the aircraft from extended overwater operations per Extended Range Operations (EROPS) / Extended range Twin engine Operations (ETOPS) standards.

    Greg
    Old age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm every time…

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Thanks to all for the enlightening discussion. I’m spoiled.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Here’s an instagram post showing one of the plugs undergoing inspection: https://www.instagram.com/p/C1yaSQ7u...1iczA2MGgybmpm

    And here’s a YouTube video with more background:

    What can I say, I geek out on aviation technology as much as I do on bikes 🤣

    Greg
    Old age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm every time…

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Thanks all for contributing personal knowledge to this thread.

    I’m fascinated and frustrated by the arc of the Boeing story. A classic tale of pissing away core values and brand equity for executive and shareholder compensation. As a resident of the former land of Boeing I feel betrayed. I also remember the local pride in Boeing from my childhood and wonder if the culture might still be restored.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by 72gmc View Post
    Thanks all for contributing personal knowledge to this thread.

    I’m fascinated and frustrated by the arc of the Boeing story. A classic tale of pissing away core values and brand equity for executive and shareholder compensation. As a resident of the former land of Boeing I feel betrayed. I also remember the local pride in Boeing from my childhood and wonder if the culture might still be restored.
    The Boeing story is a microcosm of the 21st century United States. Substitute “United States” for “Boeing” and “wealthy elite” for “shareholder” and you have summarized my mindset.

    Greg
    Old age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm every time…

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    The Alaska Airlines plane that lost a piece of its fuselage in midair on Friday was not being used in long flights over water because a pressurization warning light had gone off during three recent flights, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Sunday. Jennifer Homendy, the board’s chairwoman, said it was too soon to say whether the issue had played a role in the Friday incident, which led to the grounding of 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes in the United States. “It is certainly a concern and it’s one that we want to dig into,” Ms. Homendy said at a news conference in Portland, Ore.

    She said Alaska Airlines maintenance workers had been instructed to determine why the warning light had repeatedly gone off, but the work was not done before the flight on Friday. Instead, Ms. Homendy said, workers reset the system and the plane was put back into service, though the airline restricted it from being used on flights to destinations like Hawaii. She said the safety board was trying to get more information about what had happened during the three flights when the light went off, all of which had taken place since Dec. 7.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/08/b...smid=url-share
    rw saunders
    hey, how lucky can one man get.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by rwsaunders View Post
    The Alaska Airlines plane that lost a piece of its fuselage in midair on Friday was not being used in long flights over water because a pressurization warning light had gone off during three recent flights, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Sunday. Jennifer Homendy, the board’s chairwoman, said it was too soon to say whether the issue had played a role in the Friday incident, which led to the grounding of 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes in the United States. “It is certainly a concern and it’s one that we want to dig into,” Ms. Homendy said at a news conference in Portland, Ore.

    She said Alaska Airlines maintenance workers had been instructed to determine why the warning light had repeatedly gone off, but the work was not done before the flight on Friday. Instead, Ms. Homendy said, workers reset the system and the plane was put back into service, though the airline restricted it from being used on flights to destinations like Hawaii. She said the safety board was trying to get more information about what had happened during the three flights when the light went off, all of which had taken place since Dec. 7.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/08/b...smid=url-share
    Yep. Following the pattern. Big surprise/no one knew, indicators showed a problem, indicators for several days, indicators on several planes, no one told execs, execs knew, etc. etc. Next we'll find out the seats around the failure area were empty "for service".
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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Yep. Following the pattern. Big surprise/no one knew, indicators showed a problem, indicators for several days, indicators on several planes, no one told execs, execs knew, etc. etc. Next we'll find out the seats around the failure area were empty "for service".
    That thought occurred to me too. An empty window seat these days is pretty rare in my experience.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Yep. Following the pattern. Big surprise/no one knew, indicators showed a problem, indicators for several days, indicators on several planes, no one told execs, execs knew, etc. etc. Next we'll find out the seats around the failure area were empty "for service".
    Was the seat immediately adjacent to the "plug" empty on this particular flight? I somehow had the impression that the boy who literally lost his shirt at the window seat immediately adjacent to the "plug".

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    I doubt there is a conspiracy here. Not all airplanes of the same variant will be set aside for overwater flights. Alaska does a lot of flying to Hawaii from each of their bases but they likely don’t need all their 737-MAX9s for the work. The added costs of keeping an airplane ETOPS certified aren’t trivial so likely this airplane was an airframe for service in the CONUS, Canada and Mexico, assuming they even fly to Canada and Mexico, which I honestly don’t know.

    As to the malfunction, the door has been found.

    If there were repetitive write-ups for the same malfunction one would think that physically checking all the doors would be on the radar of the maintenance staff. But I’m not a mechanic so I’m not sure. I imagine they were spending time looking at the electronics of the pressurization system, though like my other comments here, we just don’t know yet.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Nvmd, my own question is answered while reading an article on the retrieval of a (working) iPhone that purportedly fell from the flight.

    No one was sitting directly in the window seat next to the torn-off door. However, a teenage boy and his mother were in the middle and aisle seats, and a passenger who spoke with NBC described how the son’s shirt was completely blown off his body.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Not a conspiracy. Just corporate behavior by a corporation.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    There is a difference in doing a product that is designed by running the numbers and saying we need to be at a price point so engineering takes a back seat...I give you the AMC Gremlin that had that weird rear end that was slanted which was to cut 200 bucks off the production cost as opposed to doing what is right for back seat passengers in a crash. Or to be proper, engineering the product first and then running the numbers.

    Since this is a cycling forum (and tying together the crash in Japan and the Alaska incident because it shows how detail and bigger thinking prevents problems while lack thereof creates them)...I just got a new crankset from Sugino. Even the shipping box that the product box was in was thought out...to the point where they made sure the metal staples across the flaps were at cross positions so that there was no way the box would open no matter how badly the carrier handled it. Whereas the crankset it is replacing is Shimano which is manufactured "okay" but seem to be having issues in staying ok. Oh, and the QA on the alignment of rings to spider is not so hot.

    It is about attention to detail and thinking "bigger". The auto mechanic who just replaces the broken part or the mechanic who says "why did this break" and spends the time to figure out how it happened so that he can prevent it from happening again.

    I could go on and on with examples where it made a difference (Leon Hess knowing when I referenced a given gas station in a town on Long Island NY that "oh you mean the one with 12 pumps" at a moment when his company owned hundreds of gas stations is my favorite. Probably the only gas station chain you could actually sit on the toilets because of that detail attention).

    So, not necessarily a corporate thing but more and more a corporate thing which is bad for consumers/ society/ the environment (all the crap gets thrown out rather than used for people lifetimes)/ etc.

    I know, yelling at clouds again.
    « If I knew what I was doing, I’d be doing it right now »

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    United Airlines on Monday said preliminary inspections of grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 planes have turned up loose bolts and other issues with the part of the aircraft that failed on an Alaska Airlines flight over Portland last week, raising concerns of a systematic problem with jetliner. Gift link here.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by htwoopup View Post
    There is a difference in doing a product that is designed by running the numbers and saying we need to be at a price point so engineering takes a back seat...I give you the AMC Gremlin that had that weird rear end that was slanted which was to cut 200 bucks off the production cost as opposed to doing what is right for back seat passengers in a crash. Or to be proper, engineering the product first and then running the numbers.
    A thought from a grumpy, old engineer on "running the numbers...to be at a price point": there is nothing wrong with designing to cost. Engineers do it every day and it can be very challenging yet satisfying. Every product/project has elements of requirements, cost, and schedule. One requirement may be a manufacturing cost target. We balance these elements daily. It's only wrong if you put human safety at risk.

    Greg
    Old age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm every time…

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    The part that bothers me as a guy that was a mainframe tech for my career is the part where they reset the alarm three times in a month. Something's seriously wrong in the process if two teams missed that it had already happened or one team knew and thought the problem would go away on its own. Problems don't fix themselves and if the problem is just faulty sensors that's its own problem to be corrected.
    Tom Ambros

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by htwoopup View Post
    There is a difference in doing a product that is designed by running the numbers and saying we need to be at a price point so engineering takes a back seat...I give you the AMC Gremlin that had that weird rear end that was slanted which was to cut 200 bucks off the production cost as opposed to doing what is right for back seat passengers in a crash. Or to be proper, engineering the product first and then running the numbers.
    I had a Gremlin as a starving college student. You had to take the Radiator out to replace the fan belt. It was awesome American Engineering at its finest.

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Part of my Navy career was spent in submarine repair. One of the big jobs was anything inside the SUBSAFE boundaries, any hull penetration or opening larger than 1/4". For example, on LA class submarines, there was a 3" valve that frequently leaked past its shut seat. It wasn't a design issue, it was how the valve was used meant it had a life of about 2 years before replacing. The paperwork to do this job was about a half inch thick. Anything that keeps the ocean out, requires qualified craftsmen and quality inspectors who witness torque specs during reassembly. The packet of paperwork is independently reviewed by supervising inspector who must sign off before the ship can leave port and submerge. I'm assuming aircraft manufacturers have similar groups that verify assembly of pressure boundaries. If the test is a pressurization of the cabin, an improperly assembled door or valve can still pass, but it could fail later. I'm wondering if Boeing and others have people who verify assembly and torque because I've heard inspectors have found loose bolts.

    FWIW, my late step father was aeronautical engineer for fifty years. He had a cautionary tale about a test he witnessed that blew out the windows and essentially ruined a Gulfstream airframe.
    Retired Sailor, Marine dad, semi-professional cyclist, fly fisherman, and Indian School STEM teacher.
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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by htwoopup View Post
    There is a difference in doing a product that is designed by running the numbers and saying we need to be at a price point so engineering takes a back seat...I give you the AMC Gremlin that had that weird rear end that was slanted which was to cut 200 bucks off the production cost as opposed to doing what is right for back seat passengers in a crash. Or to be proper, engineering the product first and then running the numbers.

    Since this is a cycling forum (and tying together the crash in Japan and the Alaska incident because it shows how detail and bigger thinking prevents problems while lack thereof creates them)...I just got a new crankset from Sugino. Even the shipping box that the product box was in was thought out...to the point where they made sure the metal staples across the flaps were at cross positions so that there was no way the box would open no matter how badly the carrier handled it. Whereas the crankset it is replacing is Shimano which is manufactured "okay" but seem to be having issues in staying ok. Oh, and the QA on the alignment of rings to spider is not so hot.

    It is about attention to detail and thinking "bigger". The auto mechanic who just replaces the broken part or the mechanic who says "why did this break" and spends the time to figure out how it happened so that he can prevent it from happening again.

    I could go on and on with examples where it made a difference (Leon Hess knowing when I referenced a given gas station in a town on Long Island NY that "oh you mean the one with 12 pumps" at a moment when his company owned hundreds of gas stations is my favorite. Probably the only gas station chain you could actually sit on the toilets because of that detail attention).

    So, not necessarily a corporate thing but more and more a corporate thing which is bad for consumers/ society/ the environment (all the crap gets thrown out rather than used for people lifetimes)/ etc.

    I know, yelling at clouds again.
    The Ford Pinto, today synonymous with dangerous cars, could have been modified for a far safer rear end collision for a few dollars per car. There are studies on this. Had the beancounters been forced to sit in the car with their families when it was crash tested it's pretty easy to imagine the refined design might have turned out to be worthy of the several dollars.

    Here are a couple videos of interest. The first is an American Airlines pilots who creates video content on aviation safety issues. The second is destructive wing testing at Boeing.


    Last edited by Saab2000; 01-09-2024 at 11:04 AM.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: irrational fear of flying

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    The part that bothers me as a guy that was a mainframe tech for my career is the part where they reset the alarm three times in a month. Something's seriously wrong in the process if two teams missed that it had already happened or one team knew and thought the problem would go away on its own. Problems don't fix themselves and if the problem is just faulty sensors that's its own problem to be corrected.
    I agree. This felt similar to putting a piece of electrical tape over the check engine light on the dashboard.
    Dan Fuller, local bicycle enthusiast

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