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2019-03-20 16:34 by Karl Denninger
in Flash , 88 references
[Comments enabled]  

Well well well.....

The FBI has joined the criminal investigation into the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX, lending its considerable resources to an inquiry already being conducted by U.S. Department of Transportation agents, according to people familiar with the matter.

The federal grand jury investigation, based in Washington, D.C., is looking into the certification process that approved the safety of the new Boeing plane, two of which have crashed since October.


There are over 300 dead people as a consequence of this bull****.

Whether the motive as simply evasion of pilot certification requirements that would have come had the type certificate not been inclusive of the previous models or whether there's something more going on such as shaving safety margins that would have otherwise been exposed through re-evaluation of all of the flight dynamic calculations with MCAS' "altered" authority fully accounted for is a matter of degree, not the meat of the issue.

Then again maybe they'll have Hitlery come in and wipe their servers with a cloth -- saturated in bleachbit, of course.

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2019-03-20 12:56 by Karl Denninger
in International , 67 references
[Comments enabled]  

It's kinda simple here.

You vote for something.  A big something.

Those who you elected to do that something then refuse to do it.

Now you choose.

You either enforce your vote or you have no vote.

It's binary folks.

Enforcement could get messy.  People with power who are using it against your vote that granted them power often refuse to concede their power unless they're made to, and after a relatively short period of time they conclude you lack a pair and won't make them do what you sent them to office to do.

You can wave signs, march, whatever, but what if you get a middle finger in response, exactly as has happened here with Brexit?

Now your options are more-stark.

The soapbox didn't work and in fact in Britain they're arresting people for using it (e.g. "misgendering" someone)

The ballot box didn't work either; you sent people to Parliament to do a job, and they've repeatedly refused for their own puerile and pecuniary purposes.

There is no jury box applicable to this, since you can't get them to charge anyone for violating their oath of office under any sort of criminal or civil statute, and thus there's no available trial (much as, I remind you, exists here with the medical monopolists among others.)

There is only one box remaining and, as this is a British matter it is up to the people of Britain -- not I -- as to whether they prefer tyranny or a representative government.

PS: How far are we, in America, away from that same stark choice?  IMHO not very far at all.

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But it's not them.......

The hell it's not.

I'd embed this, but they forbid it.  So go read it, and watch.

It'll take an hour.

Which you won't spend.

And you certainly won't hammer the living ****ing hell out of all the companies that have screwed everyone in this nation blind, all "progressive" and "diversity" niceness, backed by the politicians.  Indeed you cheer both on with every one of those "smiley faces" and "subscription services" you buy and pay for.



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2019-03-20 10:39 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 110 references
[Comments enabled]  

Boeing is now running what I consider to be a steaming pile of smiley -- that "none of this is really about safety."  Like all good progressive companies (that'd be all of them where diversity trumps merit these days and yes, Boeing has explicitly said this -- look at their own page) telling half the truth comes with that claptrap.

Specifically, it would be idiotic in the extreme to deliberately ignore safety and nobody is really suggesting that or has.  However, putting corporate shenanigans for "diversity" and "shareholder value" first, ahead of everything else (especially the latter) is another thing entirely.

So let's ask the question: Why would Boeing not update the MCAS trim authority spec from 0.6 degrees to the 2.5 degrees it actually needed when that was discovered during flight testing?

Well, the obvious reason was that it would force a re-evaluation of the risks of a failure in that system and that might force additional changes, all of which cost money.  For example, it might have required a different certification (more cost for the airlines -- that is, the customers -- in pilot training), it might have required additional sensors and redundancy (more cost for Boeing.)  The latter is a certainly; it would have prohibited, for example, charging some unknown (but likely ungodly large) amount of money to have a warning light turn on if the two sensors disagree.  (It has already been developed that the aircraft knew the two sensors disagreed and willingly suppressed that information as the "option" wasn't paid for because otherwise how could that fact be in the data?)  In other words we already know factually that Boeing put money in front of safety and that intentional suppression of critical safety-related information from the pilots, standing alone, ought to be enough for criminal charges.

But what if there's another problem that updating that spec would cause -- a really, really awful one from a standpoint of "shareholder value"?

What if honest reporting and re-runs of the calculations it forced it would have set off a chain of events that would make the aircraft unmarketable, or at least compromised the marketability .vs. their competitors (e.g. Airbus)?

The "Nex Gen", which was the previous 737 series, has a length from 110' 4" to 138' 2" depending on the specific model (700-900) and was powered by a less-efficient engine that didn't have the nasty pitch-up problem.  But even in the basically identical-length versions -- the Next Gen 800 to the Max-8 -- the Max typically carries more people, that is, more load (up to 172 seats in the 2-class version which is 16 more than the 162 configuration of the 737-800.)

One of the basics of aircraft stability is where the CG (Center of Gravity) lies.  Pilots are required to perform weight and balance computations before flight.  There's a "decent guess" for people (they don't actually make you get on a scale, but it's sorta obvious, right?) and they do weigh the cargo.  Many aircraft carry a fair bit of commercial cargo in the hold beyond the passengers checked baggage and they make a decent amount of money doing it too; empty space on a plane that is already going somewhere makes no money and it doesn't cost much more in fuel to put more cargo in the aircraft (that is, a large percentage of the fuel consumed moves the airplane irrespective of how much "stuff" is inside and the crew on board get paid the same irrespective of whether the plane is full or empty.)  There's a "consumer version" of this "air cargo" service that carriers offer and it's very profitable for them too; Delta Dash is Delta's name for it in the States.  When you absolutely, positively, have to get something from Chicago to Atlanta in a few hours and don't give a damn about how expensive making that happen is.....

One really good way to get killed in an aircraft of any size is to put the CG outside of the safe zone; do that and under some flight conditions the airplane cannot be controlled, and one of the places that lack of control tends to show up first is when the plane is traveling at lower speeds -- you know, like when taking off and landing!

The elevator has only a certain amount of authority; being able to set the "center" point (that is, where the plane flies level) with the control yoke centered means you have full authority as a pilot in BOTH the up and down directions.  Exactly where that trim has to go to do that depends on many things and shifts during flight -- but one of the things that controls where that neutral point occurs happens to be where the CG is on the plane.

If the MCAS requires 0.5 degrees of downward trim out of 5 degrees from neutral if it is called upon to stabilize the aircraft, such as when power is added with a high AOA and low airspeed, then it requires about 12% of the stabilizer trim range in the downward direction.

Again, if the MCAS is actually required to safely fly the aircraft because under certain conditions (like adding power in a high AOA, low-speed flight state near the ground where you cannot trade altitude for airspeed) the aircraft will otherwise not be aerodynamically stable (e.g. will crash) then that trim range must be locked out from manual pilot selection so MCAS remains able to use it.

What we now know from the report in the paper, however, is that during testing the maximum authority was raised to 2.5 degrees out of 5.0 total travel from neutral, an increase of 400%.  It is quite safe to assume that increase wasn't arbitrary and flight testing disclosed that this much larger range was necessary for stability.

This means the pilot must be prohibited from using that 2.5 degrees himself; it has to be reserved.  Otherwise if the pilot has manually trimmed to (say) 4 degrees down and MCAS wants 2.5 more there's only 1 remaining; the computer hits the physical end of the jackscrew and that's the end of it.  If the 2.5 is really required at that point to prevent a stall when power is added -- the only option available if you have no altitude to trade with -- and the aircraft is near the ground the result is likely a crash and loss of the hull along with some or all of the people on board.

The base issue that MCAS was put on the plane to address is, as I and others have noted, to deal with the changes in flight characteristic that came from fitting the larger engines, which required they be moved forward and upward a bit.  Moving them upward, all things being equal, would move the centerline of thrust up (toward the CG vertically) which would reduce the amount of "nose lift" moment from applying thrust.  This was likely canceled, however, by their larger size (which moves the centerline down.)  But moving them forward adds moment compared to where the CG is on the aircraft fore/aft.  This Boeing should have been able to accurately model.  But it appears where they screwed the pooch is that the materially higher amount of bypass (that is, the amount of air the fan blows out the back of the engine to get thrust and the percentage of the total thrust of the engine that comes from that) causes much more nose lift moment than their models suggested, especially when the engines were operating at a high power level -- thus the designed 0.6% nose-down trim wasn't enough for MCAS and they raised it to 2.5% during flight testing.

This means, again, that for the system to do its job the pilot can't use that 2.5 degrees or the MCAS system will be unable to use it because there's not that much left.  It's unclear whether Boeing, when they changed the MCAS limit of authority, prohibited the pilot from manually invading that same space but what is clear is that you can't use the same thing twice and if they had re-run the analysis someone's finger would have gone up in the air and pointed this out, forcing everyone go back through and evaluate whether the 2.5 degrees was really necessary and, if it is, then the pilot can't have it at his or her discretion and thus the discretionary amount of trim available would have to be changed.

What's the impact of constraining the trim range?

Among other things it likely flows through to the safe CG range, forcing a re-computation of the plane's load limits and load distribution.

Like, for instance, load in all those new seats and in the bays above and cargo space below, especially in the rear of the aircraft.

And that, ultimately, determines how much revenue the plane can generate.

Fixing that, if the results were not what Boeing expected, would be very expensive as it would involve changes to where heavy things are located in the plane and quite possibly significant changes to the flight surfaces (e.g. wings, stabilizer, etc.)

Not fixing it might well mean the aircraft cannot carry the amount of people and cargo that both Boeing and Boeing's customers expected and that could make the aircraft significantly less-competitive (in other words Boeing loses business to Airbus -- maybe a lot of business.)

Folks, I know there are some out there who are way smarter than I am.

So if I'm wrong on this tell my why I'm wrong in the comments, and why this isn't as good of an explanation as any as to why the MCAS specification for maximum control authority was never updated.

Oh by the way if this is the case you can't truly fix it in software; you can forcibly limit the pilots ability to use trim but doing that, which is necessary if that amount of MCAS authority is required for aircraft stability, will inevitably flow through to all sorts of other calculations, including almost-certainly weight and balance, and there's nothing you can do about that.  You can try to (further) ignore it but somehow I suspect that given the grounding and loss of two hulls plus more than 300 people that gig is up and I still maintain my position that manslaughter charges need to come out of this -- the only debate now is whether it's involuntary or voluntary in nature.

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2019-03-20 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 120 references
[Comments enabled]  

This is an interesting case on many levels.

California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, who has opened a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter alleging that the social media company negligently failed to remove defamatory and malicious tweets against him and his family, told Fox News on Monday that the lawsuit will be "the first of many."

Appearing on Fox News’ "Hannity," Nunes said he was going after Twitter first because they “are the main proliferator” of “fake” and “slanderous” news.

“The case we’re basically making is this was an orchestrated effort. So people were targeting me, there were anonymous accounts that were developed … and these accounts are not supposed to exist. Twitter says that they don’t have accounts that do this,” he said.

The first problem Nunes faces is the CDA, specifically Section 230.  It was passed by Congress to "clear up" potential issues related to what at the time was a case-law based immunity in most but not all cases for Internet-related service providers.

It's a crap law, passed by the lobbyists for the nascent Internet industry around the time of the .COM crash, and is yet another shining example of how business interests manage to go so far that even criminal conduct can be profited from with no more than a wink-wink-nod-nod from the felons-on-the-Potomac.

Section 230 provides extremely broad protection to a service provider who has some third party -- any third party -- post material on their site. This would appear to basically make Twitter immune, but it's not that clear.

What Nunes accuses Twitter of, and where he states he believes liability lies, isn't in the content itself.  It's in selectively allowing certain people who violate the Terms of Service to stay while booting others who may or may not violate the terms of service.  It's a novel argument and one that as far I can tell is a question of first impression: Can an provider as defined by Section 230 of the CDA publish Terms of Service and then deliberately or through negligence effectively allow a mob to form, take root and even take knowing comfort on said property while hiding behind the Section 230 shield -- and in fact go even further, refusing to turn over identification of the people who posted the material?

I think he's got a shot here.  It's not a slam-dunk by any means, but one of the key points here, which I suspect through discovery Nunes can prove -- is that these firms both collaborate in terms of political viewpoints and that their staff not only is ridiculously biased from a viewpoint perspective but is allowed to express that in corporate activity and, as a key point, they're lying about it in their claims that their rules are in fact content neutral and fact-based.

How many of these "social networks" would have any advertiser support if they were forced to openly proclaim that if you were conservative you were not welcome and subject to bias in decision-making and even account removal and censorship, while if you were liberal, gay, bi, transgender or a minority you could do literally anything you wanted, terms-of-service be damned, and it was all fine?

That would be an extraordinarily difficult board room discussion among advertisers were these so-called "social networks" forced to publicly proclaim the truth about their positions and that they selectively enforce their terms of service to advance same.

I'm sure Twitter will try to file a motion to dismiss on Section 230 grounds but if it fails, and discovery commences, that alone may force into the open and public exactly the point above -- and by doing so destroy the advertiser base these firms rely on to stay in business.

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