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Boeing Omitted Safety-System Details, Minimized Training for Crashed Lion Air 737 Model

This is an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal.

An automated flight-control system on Boeing Co.’s 737 MAX aircraft, which investigators suspect played a central role in the fatal Oct. 29 jetliner crash in Indonesia, was largely omitted from the plane’s operations manual.

Additionally, it was the subject of debate inside Boeing, government and industry officials say.

Pilots of Lion Air Flight 610 battled systems on the Boeing 737 MAX for 11 minutes after the plane took off from Jakarta

They lost that fight and it crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 189 people on board. Boeing is devising a software fix and trying to reinstill confidence in the cockpit systems of the 737 MAX, which U.S. airlines have called safe.

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Lion Air Co-Founder Considers Canceling Giant Boeing Order After Indonesia Crash

This is an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal.

JAKARTA, Indonesia—Lion Air’s co-founder says the giant low-cost carrier may cancel orders for more than 200 planes as relations between the two companies sour over an air crash that killed 189 people in October.

“I’m seriously considering canceling it,” Rusdi Kirana, co-founder of Indonesia’s Lion Air Group, told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. He cited “disappointment” with a Boeing statement last week that he said appeared to cast blame on Lion Air for the Oct. 29 crash of Flight 610. The new Boeing 737 MAX jet plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff.

 

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FAA Enlarges its Checks on Engines After Southwest Accident

Since the fatal Southwest Airline accident the FAA is conducting a new review of jetliner engines. The enhanced hazard assessments revealed by acting Federal Aviation Administration chief Daniel Elwell, focus on potential threats from structural failures of front engine covers, called cowlings. Mid-air breakups of such ancillary parts typically haven’t been considered in safety analyses or mandatory certification standards for modern jet engines.

But, in the wake of the highly unusual engine failure that destroyed a cowling and killed a Southwest passenger in April, Mr. Elwell said the agency for the first time is looking into the extent of danger posed by precisely such rare events.

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The Future of Flying: Flights Could Be Getting Much Shorter

This is an excercpt from the series Far & Away, from National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal.

OF ALL THE JOYS of a bygone era of luxury air travel, Concorde was in a class by itself: supersonic flights that shrank the globe and made the hands of clocks tick backward. Now we’re closer than ever to a return to supersonic flights on commercial airlines, at prices far more affordable than Concorde ever was.

By the end of this year, a bluntly named aircraft manufacturing startup, Boom Technology, says it will fly a one-third size model of its supersonic airliner. The plane is called Baby Boom and it will test design and performance. The full-scale Boom airplane is scheduled to start three years of testing and certification in 2020. Many hurdles lay ahead, but the jet could be flying passengers in late 2023. Virgin Atlantic has ordered the first 10 of the $200 million jets. Other airlines have signed on, Boom Technology says, and a total of 76 orders are on the books so far.

Boom Technology says its Mach 2.2 plane will be able to get from New York to London in three hours, 15 minutes with round-trip tickets priced at about $5,000. Day-trips across oceans for business meetings would be possible. San Francisco to Tokyo would be five and a half hours instead of 11 hours today.

The plane will be roughly the length of a 737, only skinnier, and carry up to 55 passengers. Most rows will have a single seat on each side of the aisle with under-seat storage for carry-on bags. Seating will be about the same size as domestic first class today—38-inches for each row. While lie-flat business-class beds may be an option, there’s no need for them when you’re in the air as long as it currently takes to get from New York to Dallas.

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