ANALYSIS OF ISSUES INVOLVING MCAS IN BOEING 737-MAX

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Objective:

            To analyze the problems in maneuvering characteristics augmentation system in Boeing 737-Max 8 and to find the possible solutions to eliminate the problem.

Incidents:

  1. Lion Air Flight 610 Incident (Oct 29,2018)

Lion Air Flight 610 air-routed from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang in Indonesia crashed 13

minutes after takeoff.

      There is a problem in the Flights Maneuvering Characteristic Augmentation System (MCAS). This unnatural system was introduced in 737 Max to eliminate stalling issue(nose up).

  • Ethiopian Airlines 302 Incident (Mar 10,2019)

      Ethiopian Airlines 302 charted Ethiopia to Kenya crashed 6 minutes after takeoff.

      In Ethiopian airline crash the Boeing 737 max aircraft reportedly experience the issue with their control system

       It is because of vertical nose down descends before the crash occur.

  • FAA Regulation (Mar 13,2019)

Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement that Boeing 737 Max 8 is not safe to fly.

MCAS in Boeing:

             To develop the 737 max engineers had to place much larger and more fuel-efficient engines on the plane under the wings of the aircraft.

             The engines were moved up and placed higher extending the nose landing gear. This reduced the fuel consumption but made the nose at the aircraft pointed upwards. It created danger of stalling by making the plane to reach the critical angle of attack. To solve this issue Boeing introduced MCAS.

  • MCAS is activated automatically when it recognizes a steep turning and increased angle of attack with flaps up and autopilot shut off.
  • It is designed to stabilize the aircraft until it reaches an appropriate angle of attack.
  • The same issue is suspected to have occurred when the Ethiopian airline flight went down.

Problems   occurred   in   Autopilots:

  • Some pilots have also filed complaints with the company saying that the nose of the 737 max suddenly went down after engaging autopilot.
  • After the lion air crash accident, Boeing had themselves warned pilots that the signals produced by the sensor which automatically deploys MCAS can be wrong sometimes.

Solution:

            Solution 1:

                        Since the major problem is due to the malfunctioning of angle of attack sensors such a failure could lead the MCAS to trigger nose down maneuver. Hence the easiest way to eliminate the problem is to cut off the trim system and work manually.This enables the pilot to gain the complete control over the aircraft.

            Solution 2:

                        Rejiggering the software of MCAS paves way for correction based on faulty sensor reading.

            Solution 3:

                        A proposed software update by Boeing can solve the problem without any loss in functionality of the automated control system.

Article done by ,

N.R.Gowtham,

Y.Joseph Jenistan,

E.Mohan Prasath.

B.E-Aeronautical Engineering

Nehru Institute of Engineering and Technology.

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