The Aviation Thread [Contains Lots of Awesome Pictures]

Now they ground the Osprey fleet?! I know it's had some problems in development and early adoption, lots of now iconic aircraft did, like the CH-47 - but this has been a bit much.
Want to have a desktop size model of a turbofan engine? You can get that here.


What a crappy start to the year.
That's a really crappy start.

The earth quake was bad, but having a plane of relief workers struck with 5/6 crew members killed in the crash is really bad. The only good thing was that all of the passengers and crew made it out unharmed from the JAL-plane. Also, this is the first hull loss of an Airbus A350.
Yeah just saw this on the news, horrible to lose the crew and plane that was dealing with the first disaster. I do wonder who made the mistake here, was it pilot error or an ATC mistake?

I actually came here to post this though:

Skip to 7:42 to get past the waffle. As it happens, this is very close to me and basically around the corner from where a friend lives.
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Great use for $2,100,000,000
Boeing keeps trying to stretch, widen, soup up, and otherwise modify the 737 into being an entirely different aircraft than it was ever supposed to be. They just need to go back to the drawing board and build a new aircraft for this market segment; the newer 737 variants are going to end up bankrupting the company with settlements and lawsuits.

If I was the CEO of an airline, I'd be looking at Airbus right now for my next aircraft order. Boeing isn't what it used to be, the new leadership is all about cost cutting over quality; planes have been grounded for metal shavings and even tools being left inside completed aircraft. All those sharp metal shavings and chips will cause problems when combined with repeated vibration and expansion of pressurization; they will slowly wear away insulation, hydraulic lines, and even mechanical joints. Boeing even found FOD inside the fuel tanks of 737 MAX aircraft.

There are problems with almost everything they make these days...

Remember, the 787 was catastrophically late to the market, and was also grounded for a while due to problems with its batteries. They also had to halt deliveries of planes made in Charleston, South Carolina for a while due to production issues. Then there is the KC-46 Pegasus with all of its production issues, much of it being sloppy workmanship from Boeing's side. I can imagine the Air Force being pretty pissed at Congress for stopping them from ordering the A330 MRTT which was actually selected because it was the better product, but they couldn't have it because 'murrrica...

Then there is the 777X, which is what, 4 or 5 years late now? And that is not a groundbreaking new design, they have just stretched the existing 777, giving it new wings with fancy folding tips (nothing new for Boeing who have made folding wing aircrafts for the US Navy since WW2) and humongous GE-NX engines, basically an enhanced 777-300ER.

But yes, the 737 Max-clusterfuck is easily the worst of them. Who would have thought that one of its strengths would end up being one of its biggest weaknesses. The low undercarriage meant it was easy to service with smaller regional airports. 15 years ago the plan (with Boeing engineers) was to replace it with a clean-sheet design, but that would take 7 or 8 years to bring to market, so it was abandoned in favor of facelifting the 737 again. They should have started with that clean sheet design the moment they launched the 737 NG back in the 90s. Things got bad after Boeing managements' panic when they were told that American Airlines considered switching to Airbus if they didn't get their act together quick. The demands were matching fuel burn per seat compared to the (then) proposed Airbus 320neo, and that the Max had to "handle" like a 737 NG with no additional pilot training necessary. Their shareholders were also expecting big profits so they had to do it cheap.

In the meantime Airbus fitted new engines to and stretched both the A320 and A330, both planes entered service as scheduled. No delays, no groundings...
I don't think they should allow the 737 Max 9 to fly again until the cause of the accident is fully understood. These loose bolts could be just shoddy craftsmanship, in that case, it's safe to retighten them and allow the planes to fly. But if it's lose due to other reasons (maybe the bolts can't handle repeated pressurization or the wrong type of threadlocker is used) then retighten them only kicks the problem down the line.
One funky X plane!