Boeing Boing Gone


    Boeing Boing Boing

    The grounding of the 737 Max has taken the air out of Boeing’s sails. The 737 model has been a standard for the industry since its debut in 1966. Let’s take a look at that. Lots of things have come and gone since then. The 747, 757, 767, my Dodge Charger and six or seven wives! But Boeing kept patching and expanding the low to the ground medium sized jet all these years. Now this is amazing when you realize the 737 came out about the same time as the Veg-O-Matic. But after they stretched it out and computerized everything they progressed past a crucial point. They now tend to fly into the ground.

    Now I don’t want to get racial this early in the article, but over the years I’ve noticed that Africans tend to fly into the ground a LOT! Asians, on the other hand, tend to ditch in the ocean. But, Boeing tried to fix this problem by computerizing everything. They included a subroutine that adjusted the trim during a moment when the jet’s nose is pointed up, indicating a stall. If the nose pitched up to a certain degree, like during TAKEOFF, the computer would seize control of the aircraft, and drive the nose down. This all had something to do with the autopilot, and people going to the toilet.

    Supposedly all pilots learn how to correct a stall. A stall is where the attack of the wings is at such an angle that the air just whips around, helter skelter rather than flowing smoothly over and under the wings producing lift. What you do is push the yoke forward and increase the speed thereby getting the air back where it belongs. But, to do this you kinda gotta be way up there so as to have the room to maneuver. If you try this during, or shortly after takeoff you get the “boing boing” effect.

    We learned that the 737 comes with “options.” To save costs airlines will shave these options. You know, little things like oxygen masks perhaps. Or toilet paper. Well, if you’re like say, Delta that’s no big deal. They take the full Monte and just charge the hell out of fliers, but if you are some hamstrung airline in Pago Pago even seats become an option.

    So, here you have a “Model T” airplane with a couple pilots trained in a crop duster, trusting a computer that they don’t know how to turn off, taking off across the Himalayas or someplace. This is my surprised face. I have flown on 737s. A LOT! I’m from Austin and Southwest Airlines flies the friendly skies of Texas. But that having been said, if I’m at the airport, about to board my plane, and I see the word “Max” anywhere on it . . . I’m taking the BUS!

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