News flash

Since go-arounds cost time and money, landings are so much better. So much better that a LCC (Low Cost Carrier) Norwegian 737 ignored go-around instructions from Helsinki tower – twice – and landed anyway on Friday afternoon the 18th of January. The reason for the tower to order the crew to go around was a Turkish 737 not completely vacated, but calls went unheeded. An investigation is started into the occurrence. There was no real danger to any of the aircraft.

Other news; the voice recorder of the ill-fated LCC Lion Air 737 thet crashed shortly after take-off has been found. The recorded data seems to be of good quality and transcription should be completed in a few days, but it may take months before the data is analysed together with the data from the flight recorder previously found, in order to give full account of what led up to the accident.

Some have claimed that Boeing suddenly had a safety issue, when they in fact had introduced a safety feature, giving automatic nose-down inputs in case of an impending stall. Boeing has claimed – and until full clarity is available – rightly so, that existing procedures for a stabilizer run-away should suffice, should the system get erroneous inputs, provided the pilots had sufficient training. There is so far no real reason to think the complete analysis will contradict this, especially since the crew on the previous flight managed to cope with a situation supposedly identical. Training is expensive and is one of the cost savers directly affecting flight safety. Time will show if some extra training could have saved the day. On many other fatal accidents we know it most probably would have.

(The feature Boeing added to the MAX version of the 737, because of stronger, heavier engines and a slightly different longitudinal balance, was a signal to the stabilizer to bring the nose down when a too high nose-up attitude might cause a stall. A faulty angle-of-attack indicator might give the same signal to the stabilizer during normal flight, causing a runaway stabilizer that is handled by a non-normal procedure including a power cut-off by switches easily available. The stabilizer can the be adjusted manually.)

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