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  #161  
Old 02.06.2019, 15:22
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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From today's (June 1) NY Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/01/b...max-crash.html

Title: "Boeing Built Deadly Assumptions Into 737 Max, Blind to a Late Design Change"
Interesting is that the history of the MCAS development is slowly emerging and now also names are beginning to come out such as Mark Forkner, the Max’s chief technical pilot, who can be shown to have made a request to remove mention of MCAS from the pilots' manual. Maybe this is an indication that a few scapegoats out of Boeing's middle ranks will be sought in an attempt to absolve Boeing management and the FAA from any blame in this affair.


Looking at what happens next is also interesting, Let us assume that the Max does get back into the air, then what would be the effect on public confidence of any subsequent crash ? Of course, it is not inevitable but there will be large numbers of these aircraft in use and statistically even in the best case, there is such a risk. In a "three strikes and you are out" scenario, Boeing has already and recklessly squandered at least the second strike by failing to react correctly to the Lionair crash which allowed the same circumstances to go on to cause the Ethiopian air crash.
In the event of another crash, Boeing would naturally, especially if it has not learned anything, be expected to follow a standard playbook: in order of precedence (a) blame the pilots (b) blame faulty maintenance (c) blame external factors: lightning strikes, birds etc. (d) blame suppliers (e) deny any connection to any previous crash (f) discover the blackbox to be either "unreadable" or "fully exonerating" as required etc. etc.
However, that may not be enough and public skepticism and heightened suspicion may then make Boeing's reputation, such as it is, irredeemable and maybe further temper the public lust for flying.
A sword of Damocles would appear to be ready and in position.
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  #162  
Old 11.06.2019, 12:31
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

Here is the problem well explained...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2tuKiiznsY
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  #163  
Old 11.06.2019, 19:30
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

Boeing has stopped giving any public estimates about when approval to resume 737Max operations might come.

Source

More people killed in those two major accidents than in all Western Europe terrorist attacks since 2014.
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  #164  
Old 27.06.2019, 10:00
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

Rumours that testing of new 737Max software has found a potential flaw that will require further work

Never ending story!
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  #165  
Old 27.06.2019, 10:08
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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Rumours that testing of new 737Max software has found a potential flaw that will require further work

Never ending story!
No rumour.

"US regulators have uncovered a possible new flaw in Boeing's troubled 737 Max aircraft that is likely to push back test flights.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it had identified the "potential risk" during simulator tests, but did not reveal details.

Boeing's top-selling aircraft was grounded in March after two crashes.

The company is upgrading the aircraft's anti-stall software, which is the focus of crash investigators.

In a tweet, the FAA said: "On the most recent issue, the FAA's process is designed to discover and highlight potential risks. The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate."

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48752932
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  #166  
Old 27.06.2019, 10:14
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

Could be a few lines of code, could be a redesign of the entire program.
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  #167  
Old 27.06.2019, 10:56
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

From here, https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/0...rol_bug_found/ it sound like a simple "Blue Screen" type problem. I guess the fix will be to include a paragraph in the flight control manual telling the pilots to flush the cache and reboot, or something similar. At some point, though, it would also be interesting to know why such a problem was not caught earlier before the what is effectively "black box" testing phase in the flight simulator.
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  #168  
Old 27.06.2019, 20:05
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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...I guess the fix will be to include a paragraph in the flight control manual telling the pilots to flush the cache and reboot, or something similar...
And how long does the reboot take while the plane is sending you on a nosedive into the ground?
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  #169  
Old 27.06.2019, 20:17
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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And how long does the reboot take while the plane is sending you on a nosedive into the ground?
Well, if they are running Windows probably a few minutes. But if it’s OS X Catalina it would be immediate.

Last edited by bowlie; 27.06.2019 at 21:17.
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  #170  
Old 27.06.2019, 20:50
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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Sell, if they are running Windows probably a few minutes. But if it’s OS X Catalina it would be immediate.
And VM/360?

Tom
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  #171  
Old 28.06.2019, 11:31
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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And how long does the reboot take while the plane is sending you on a nosedive into the ground?
Good point. But also one which has not troubled the FAA and Boeing too much up until now. That is the issue of how practical the "official" recovery procedures are in the case of a "run-away trim" situation, such as one induced by MCAS, for saving the aircraft. It turns out that the standard procedure, reinforced by Boeing and the FAA after the Lionair crash, requires pilots with near super-human strength and super-human reaction times, to flick switches and manipulate 2 manually operate crank wheels to fight against the system's innate urge to force the plane into a Kamikaze dive. These procedures were issued, incidentally, without any possibility to test their validity, because the simulators did not exist which were capable of modeling this scenario.


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And VM/360?

Tom
I don't think even Boeing are still using Eniac era software technology.


Edit:
Apparently, the Boeing Max flight control computer, on which the MCAS software module runs, uses a couple of Intel 80286 chips, similar to those used in IBM PC's in the mid to late 1980s.

From: https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/0...uter.html#more
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Last edited by me.anon; 28.06.2019 at 14:34.
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  #172  
Old 30.06.2019, 19:13
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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A Boeing (BA) official confirmed to CNN Business that the company does not expect to submit a new software fix to the US Federal Aviation Administration for testing until September. "We believe this can be updated through a software fix," said the official.

But it is not certain that a software fix will be the final solution.
Never ending story.
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  #173  
Old 30.06.2019, 19:34
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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Apparently, the Boeing Max flight control computer, on which the MCAS software module runs, uses a couple of Intel 80286 chips, similar to those used in IBM PC's in the mid to late 1980s.

From: https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/0...uter.html#more
From your link " The flight control computers the 737 MAX and NG use were developed in the early to mid 1990s. There are no off-the-shelf solutions for higher performance."

You can run 16 bit programs on later model Intel chips but whether you finish up with significantly improved performance is a good question and, no doubt, the FAA approval process would be a nightmare.
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  #174  
Old 01.07.2019, 12:16
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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From your link " The flight control computers the 737 MAX and NG use were developed in the early to mid 1990s. There are no off-the-shelf solutions for higher performance."

You can run 16 bit programs on later model Intel chips but whether you finish up with significantly improved performance is a good question and, no doubt, the FAA approval process would be a nightmare.
I also can't believe that you can simply migrate code of that nature to a new series chip and benefit from higher performance. I guess the programming is at a very low level and there may even be timing dependencies on the system clock rate, so even a faster version of exactly the same chip may not be an option.

Apart from some speculation, I've not really seen much information about the Max flight control computer.
Things like its specification, what programming language(s) used, what OS (an old version of DOS, some custom real time OS or maybe nothing but a crude task scheduler ?), what development and test tools and what design rules would all be interesting to know.

The best so far appears to be this (also referenced by https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/0...uter.html#more ):
https://www.satcom.guru/2018/11/737-...n-command.html
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Old 01.07.2019, 12:53
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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Apart from some speculation, I've not really seen much information about the Max flight control computer.
I wonder actually how much the FAA or other regulators see of to the actual code on these systems and can/do an independent code audit or whether they just rely on black box testing techniques. Because I would think the reflex of the manufacturer is first to hide behind IP protection

Well, the question actually is, do the FAA actually do any independent testing themselves of the computing systems on aircraft, or just rely on whatever test reports the manufacturer provides?
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Old 01.07.2019, 13:04
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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Apart from some speculation, I've not really seen much information about the Max flight control computer.
Things like its specification, what programming language(s) used, what OS (an old version of DOS, some custom real time OS or maybe nothing but a crude task scheduler ?), what development and test tools and what design rules would all be interesting to know.
Real Time OS such as INTEGRITY, LynxOS, QNX, and VxWorks are used in many aerospace applications. It could be that one sub-system uses one technology and an other one a completely other one. You can use them with ADA as well as C/C++. In the past one processor had one function. With more powerful processors multiple processes run concurrently on the same CPU.

https://www.quora.com/What-operating...plane-run-on-1
https://www.ghs.com/news/20091102_Gr...formation.html
http://blogs.windriver.com/wind_rive...-can-help.html

For development tools IBM Rhapsody comes to my mind. A quick Google search using that term with Boeing gave me this, which lists some other tools that are used for development:
https://gpdisonline.com/wp-content/u...ndaMinutes.pdf
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Old 01.07.2019, 13:17
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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Well, the question actually is, do the FAA actually do any independent testing themselves of the computing systems on aircraft, or just rely on whatever test reports the manufacturer provides?
If the FAA works the same as the FDA than they can request to see the code, but would normally rely on design documentation and tests reports (some parts have to be tested by an independent third party). There is also no IP privilege when you deal with them you have to show everything they demand relating to the product to be approved/under audit.
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  #178  
Old 01.07.2019, 13:30
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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...Well, the question actually is, do the FAA actually do any independent testing themselves of the computing systems on aircraft, or just rely on whatever test reports the manufacturer provides?
I got the impression that the FAA is woefully understaffed, so they pretty much rely on the manufacturer. That's how we wound up in this mess. Boeing sold the update as a simple software fix that didn't require any new special training. Whoops.
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  #179  
Old 01.07.2019, 14:11
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 crashed near Addis Ababa

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maybe nothing but a crude task scheduler ?
Actually, for real-time systems I prefer a crude task scheduler, as I can better control what's happening.

Tom
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Old 02.07.2019, 02:54
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