Competitive pressures may have contributed to 737 Max problems

As more information comes to light about known problems with the Boeing 737 Max, people in New York are understandably questioning the manufacturer and the Federal Aviation Administration’s ethics.

Residents in New York know that the United States is a capitalist society. Every person needs to earn money to afford to live and every company needs to be profitable to stay in business. Those realities, however, should never come before the importance of respecting and protecting the safety and lives of others.

It sadly appears that Boeing, a leading global airplane manufacturer, may well have put profits ahead of people. That decision may well be a contributing factor to two fatal crashes that left 346 people dead.

Market competition drives 737 Max development

The problems with the 737 Max extend back nearly 10 years, after its major competitor introduced a new plane that represented a major innovation in commercial aircrafts. As reported by The Verge, Boeing responded by rapidly searching for ways to remain competitive and avoid getting left behind. Their answer was the 737 Max, a model that leveraged an existing 46-year-old craft rather than designing an all-new airplane.

To get the new plane to market quickly, Boeing introduced something it apparently never intended to be the final product. This includes not only the actual aircraft but also the software-based maneuvering characteristics augmentation system. The MCAS was involved in both recent fatal crashes.

Two elements involved in alert system

CNN explains that Boeing originally planned the necessary alert system to be included as a standard feature on all 737 Max airplanes. In the end, however, it was only deployed when companies paid for the additional feature. The manufacturer asserts that a pilot should be able to safely fly a plane even without this feature.

The system included one alert that would tell a pilot if a sensor was malfunctioning. A second alert would tell a pilot if multiple sensors were sending conflicting signals. There is some question as to how much the lack of these alerts contributed to the two fatal crashes. But, at a minimum, the pilots would have had more information about a potential problem.

Display and reporting of problems fail to ground planes

The first of the two fatal accidents involving the 737 Max occurred in October 2018. The day before that incident, the plane involved displayed the exact problems that contributed to the following day's crash. In the first incident, however, an off-duty pilot was on board and helped determine a solution. The problem was reported yet the plane was allowed to take off the next day.

Many questions remain and help is essential

The issues with the 737 Max may continue to unfold for some time but the situation identifies the importance for people in New York to seek help after any such incident. Multiple entities may be involved and working with an experienced lawyer is recommended.