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The recent Ethiopian Airlines crash has once again put the Boeing MAX 8 aircraft in the spotlight. Just five months ago, another MAX 8 being operated by Lion Air crashed, taking the total toll to 346. Aviation is statistically the safest mode of transport, and two crashes within such a short period are alarming. Following the crash, more than 40 countries have grounded the aircraft until further investigations are carried out and changes are made. India's DGCA has also grounded the aircraft and currently Spicejet and Jet Airways operate the plane. With more than 400 aircrafts on order from Indian carriers, the MAX 8 plays a pivotal role in boosting India's aviation market. © Utkarsh Thakkar / @vimanspotter Boeing's MAX series is the successor of 737 Next Generation family (737-700/800/900), and the company is relying on it to churn out profits. Even Boeing has been making aircraft for decades, and its expertise is often unmatched. So, the only question that arises is, how can a modern airliner be this unsafe? The MAX series was Boeing's response to Airbus's A320 NEO family. NEO stands for New Engine Option and while the fuselage remains unchanged, the engines are completely revamped to offer better-operating efficiency. Regional airlines worldwide require planes that are cheaper to operate, especially when aviation fuel is extremely dynamic globally. To compete with the NEO, Boeing started the MAX series and offered up to 14 percent more efficient engines along with increased cabin comfort. But, this came with a small challenge. © Boeing The Ethiopian crash investigation will take months to conclude, but initial data suggest striking similarity between the two crashes. The preliminary report on Lion Air crash is out, and we'll be relying on it to understand MAX 8's major flaw. The MAX 8 is powered by CFM's Leap 1B engines and they are significantly bigger than the previous CFM 56 engines (used in the 737 NG). Adding to this, the 737 was designed decades back and has an exceedingly low ground clearance when compared to the A320. To perfectly fit the new heavier and bigger engines, Boeing had to make minor changes in the design ranging from lengthening the landing gear to moving the engine slightly forward. © Aviation International News It was found that the bigger engine meant the plane handled certain situations differently and there was also a slight shift in the centre of gravity. The relocation and new engine design created an upward movement, nudging the plane's nose upwards. If the nose is lifted sharply, the plane will continue gaining altitude and could also stall mid-air. A stall is when an aeroplane cannot generate enough lift to continue flying. To compensate this upward movement, Boeing added a new system called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) that prevented the plane from raising its noise to extreme levels. The system would automatically adjust the horizontal stabilizer and bring down the nose. To make these adjustments, MCAS relies on data from the Angle of Attack sensors. © Wikimedia (AoA sensor for reference) These sensors are located on the nose of the aircraft and calculate the angle at which the plane is climbing or descending in comparison to the oncoming air. In the case of Lion Air, faulty sensors triggered the MCAS and automatically the system tried to bring the nose down. According to the flight data recorder, automated MCAS repeatedly pushed the plane's nose down following take-off. The most surprising part of the MCAS though is Boeing hasn't mentioned the addition of this system during pilot training or manuals. This meant the pilot were unaware that a programmed system is trying to bring down the nose. Even if the pilots tried to takeover manual controls, MCAS cannot be simply stopped by moving the yoke. They need to manually trim the aircraft to gain control, but how will they know this procedure when the existence of MCAS is unknown to them? © Reuters The Lion Air pilot had more than 5,000 hours of experience and the Ethiopian pilot had more than 8,000 hours. Preliminary reports do not point towards any kind of crew error. Reports say pilots have in the past complained about a similar nose-down anomaly in FAA's database (US regulator) as well. Following the Lion Air crash, Boeing issued a bulletin to airlines operating the 737 MAX 8 advising pilots how to override the MCAS system. This week, the plane maker also announced it's working on a long-term plan to rejig the system and update shall be applied in the coming months. © Reuters We'll have to wait for the Ethiopian crash report to clear the air whether it was the same MCAS issue that caused the incident, or are there any other flaws in the airliner. Boeing has described the MAX series as its fastest-selling family of planes, with more than 5,000 orders placed to date from about 100 customers. The last time an aircraft suffered successive fatal incidents was the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 in the 70s. With inputs from preliminary report of Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee and FlightRadar24
ADMIN posted a blog entry in FDF Online NewsSome people wait for movies or series to release, people like me wait for food to be delivered, some have been waiting for 'achhe din', and then there are iPhone lovers whose sole purpose in life is to wait for the next iPhone model to drop in the market. There has always been some kind of infectious air around iPhones that draws people towards it. Seriously, who doesn't dream of taking out an iPhone to click selfies or just casually check the time? Despite getting a tough competition from companies that are offering more features at a considerably lower price, Apple continues to rule the market and every buyer's heart irrespective of its cost. Pexels Talking about its price, affordability has always been a matter of concern and funny memes. In India, the basic model of iPhone X is priced between Rs 89,000 and Rs 1,02,000 and unless you earn so and so lakhs per month, you will have to work for a couple of months to purchase one. But, thanks to a Swiss financial company named UBS and their interesting research, we now know that we need to move to Zurich or New York soon because it takes less than a week to own an iPhone there. UBS This research was to find out the cost of living and average salaries of people, and that's how we came to know how many days one has to work to own an iPhone, across the world. Here's the complete list - Zurich (4.7 working days), New York (6.7 Working Days), Auckland (8.6), Hong Kong (9.4), Munich (10.1) London (11.3), Helsinki (11.8), Tel Aviv (12.7), Dubai (13.4), Panama City (18.7), Johannesburg (36.4 Working Days), Moscow (37.3 Working Days), Beijing (39.3), Lima (48.2), Nairobi (72.2), Lagos (133.3). While Zurich tops the list with 4.7 working days, India is nowhere to be seen. So folks, let's go back to laughing at the "iPhone = cost of a kidney" jokes while calculating how many decades it will take us to own one. Source: Times Now
ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogUS Defense Secretary James Mattis. Photo: ReutersUS Defense Secretary James Mattis on Friday spoke in support of waivers for sanctions being imposed against nations buying military gear from Russia.The move comes amid concerns that imposing...
ADMIN posted a blog entry in FDF Online NewsWe often complain about not having enough speed on 4G smartphones, however, have you ever wondered if we never had access to it at all? Cuba, a hardened communist community never allowed access to mobile internet, and has finally started to roll it out to its citizens. © Pexels It's a huge step for the little Caribbean island country that has a population of 11.5 million people. The national telecom firm, ETECSA plans to roll out access to the service by the end of 2018. At least half of the country's population will get access to mobile internet before the end of the year. Before the eventual rollout, it is prudent to point out that most of Cuba's citizens relied on a local service called “El Paquete Semanal” (the Weekly Package) to receive world news. Citizens would also resort to YouTube videos, smartphone apps and pirated movies through data traffickers that would cost money every week. © Youtube Cuba has always restricted access to the internet services and Reuters reports that until 2013, one could only get online by visiting select hotels. The connectivity would always be slow and cost $2 an hour. As of now, there are nearly 400 government run Wi-Fi hotspots available for citizens as well as cybercafes. In the past, Cubans have been able to gain access to the internet for their homes, however, even they are being asked to wait. © Pexels But not everything is rosy, as Cuba only has 3G mobile internet available as of now, which means that Cubans will not have access to the high-speed mobile internet like we get here in India. Data packages also cost a lot in Cuba as embassies reportedly pay $45 a month for 4G of data. That is an extremely high tariff considering the average state monthly wage is $30. When compared to India, some of the lowest tariff rates in the world are offered for 4G internet plans, where companies like Jio have been able to disrupt the market. It is expected that as mobile internet is made readily available for Cuba's citizens, prices are expected to drop soon. Source: Reuters