- - Sunday, November 22, 2020

“FAA clears Boeing 737 Max after flight-control system fixed” (Web, Nov. 18) provides an excellent overview of Boeing’s problem with the 737 Max, but missing from the article are the lack of qualifications of the pilots involved in the two fatal crashes and the high probability (not possibility) that if the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System failures had occurred in the United States the aircraft would not have crashed.

A MCAS malfunction, as reported, is related to incorrect inputs being given to the horizontal stabilizer, a classic indication of horizontal stabilizer trim runaway or failure. Horizontal stabilizer trim runaway or failure requires the pilots to simply disable the electronic trim inputs and manually trim the horizontal stabilizer. This did not happen in either Boeing crash.

Having manually trimmed the horizontal stabilizer on 737 series aircraft a number of times, I can attest from a pilot’s standpoint it is something that can be easily done once the electronic inputs are terminated. However, you would not want to fly the aircraft on a routine basis for a long period of time as it is a manual process (physically turning the large horizontal stabilizer trim wheel located on the pedestal in the cockpit) that can best be described as a pain. It is unfortunate Boeing allowed the drive for cost savings to tarnish the company’s reputation.

COL. RICHARD L. HERRINGTON

U.S. Marine Corps (retired)



Fairfax, Va.

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