Now I have to first admit I am no expert in aviation merely a big fan on the topic. But when we follow the latest news on the crash investigations surrounding the Boeing 737 MAX Ethiopian Airline plane and before it the Indonesian airline we discover that both airlines lacked what is termed as “optional safety features”. So the question now becomes how can safety features be optional? However we learn more about the incidents as highlighted in the following clip to uncover an even more alarming fact which is this, if I understand it correctly; The original airframe of the Boeing 737 remained pretty much the same as the previous model but now they added a more advanced/fuel efficient engine which impacted the weight of the aircraft and made it less aerodynamic. To fix this “flaw” what they’ve done is added a software patch to counter this effect which can occur in certain scenarios. So the second question is whether it makes sense to address structural issues using software? I myself come from a software development background but to me this approach makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and if anyone out there has better knowledge/different opinion please share to correct me and I’ll post your response here. The reality I see is that competition and cost control are driving down safety standards and EU legislation has to fundamentally counter this approach whether in the airline or any other industry for that matter. Automation also – while very useful in many scenarios – needs to be controlled in the way it functions in order to avoid complacency of the operator; so many scenarios have to be tested to ensure sound design of these systems and that they could be easily updated NOT as an optional feature but as an operational requirement.
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