‘Boeing stretched limits while designing new versions’
The grounding of the entire global fleet of Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes has raised a question mark on the aircraft platform.
Former pilots say that Boeing had been stretching limits to come out with new versions of the 737, which was first manufactured in 1967.
Captain (Retd.) Girish Kaushik, who had served in Jet Airways and Air India among other airlines, says:
“Boeing 737-200, then 300, 400, 500, 700, 800, 900 and MAX 8, they seem to be doing a quick fix. They had mounted larger engines far stretching the wings to prevent them from touching the ground. This, I believe caused aerodynamic instability.”
“To handle this issue, they used a software to automatically correct the glitch, but the software modifications were not included in the manuals. So, it was not possible for pilots to know how to handle the plane in case of an emergency,” he adds. “Should there be modification to 737 MAX, in all likelihood, it should have an additional flight control device included to naturally counter the pitch up, as opposed to any erratic computer-controlled device that works in absolute silence,” says Mark Martin, CEO, Martin Consulting, an air safety audit firm.
“Ït is a bad aerodynamic flaw as a consequence of a forced fitting of an oversized engine on a platform without considering major structural flight control surface changes,” he adds.
Analysts say Boeing should have immediately grounded the MAX fleet rather than waiting for four days and doing it under pressure.
In 2013, Air India had to ground its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet to rectify technical glitches which Boeing undertook and provided compensation to the national carrier.
In 1990, Indian Airlines had to ground its Airbus A320 fleet for nearly a year soon after a plane crash in Bangalore.