8 steps to understanding why Boeing 737 MAX is a problem

The unusual position of the engine of Boeing 737 MAX makes the landing of the plane a complicated procedure; here’s how

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New Delhi: Following the plane crash in Ethiopia, many countries including India, members of the EU, the UK, China, etc have either stopped the operation of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft or have restricted it in their airspace.

The US regulator Federal Aviation Administration said that there is “no basis” for grounding these planes may not convince pilots, as they encounter the following series of issues while flying this model.

  1. The MAX aeroplanes have more powerful, and more efficient engines than the previous 737 models, but these new engines are also physically bigger
  2. Hence, the engine is mounted not in line with the wings but a bit ahead
  3. The new position of the engine in the plane changes the way the plane must be handled
  4. New software for automatic control system called the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) controls the engine
  5. It comes equipped with “anti-stall” protections; an aerodynamic stall refers to the aeroplane’s inability to land because of the elevated angle of the orientation of the plane with which it descends, which accumulates more wind beneath the wings than over it, keeping the plane from moving downward; the protection detects the problem when it happens and pushes the ‘nose’ of the plane down to increase the air pressure above the wings
  6. The problem is that this protection is not automatic; the pilot must make a split-second decision to activate it; if he/she fails, the plane starts falling due to gravity rather than landing gradually as planned
  7. However, a separate certification is not required for the MAX pilots, unlike in the case of a 787 or any model of Airbus
  8. India and many other countries that have bought these planes do not have training facilities for the same; Indian pilots are normally sent to Singapore to learn how a Boeing 737 MAX is supposed to be operated