The Boeing 737 Max is the successful successor of the Boeing 737, at least until 2019. The Boeing 737 Max has 15 more seats than the 737 version and it consumes less fuel too.
Boeing produces one 737 Max each week and the popularity only seemed to increase. Why was this popular plane grounded then, some people that do not read the news may ask. The reason the plane was grounded and lost much of it’s popularity is that in the end of 2018 a crash happened. A Boeing 737 Max airplane in Indonesia crashed.
Later in the beginning of 2019 another Boeing 737 Max too, crashed. In the second disaster the plane took off from Addis Baba, Ethiopia heading towards Nairobi, Kenya. One accident of a model could happen and is sometimes the fault of the pilot, but two is often an indicator that there is something wrong with the plane. So in order to ensure the safety of passengers, governments and companies grounded their Boeing 737 Maxes. In total more than 300 Boeing 737 Maxes were grounded. Some countries like the United States were later to ground the planes than The Netherlands for example. Because the grounded planes were not good for the economy, there were investigations—a lot of them in fact. While the investigators were investigating, companies made a lot of losses. Boeing too, was no exception because many customers cancelled their orders of Boeing. There have been a lot of theories why the plane crashed, but none of them are the actual reason. The actual reason is that because the plane is economical, the engines are bigger and they stick out—much more than the engines of the Boeing 737.
Because the engine sticks out under it’s wings, without a system that is called maneuvering characteristics augmentation system or MCAS for short, the plane will stall easily. During a stall the airplane is moving nearly vertical and the wings of the airplane lose so much carrying capacity that the plane will be unable to hold itself in the air and as a result, the plane will fall to the ground just like a bird without wings falls from the sky.
The function of MCAS is to push the plane’s nose down without needing the help of the pilot. Due to some issues that are not clear—yet, the sensor that sends information to the MCAS receiver, sends wrong information and then the plane is pushed down even when the plane is flying perfectly straight. The pilots could not do anything to save the planes with over 500 passengers, as they did not know of the MCAS system. They did not get any training for how to control the MCAS system too. Extra training and a button to light up when the MCAS is causing the plane to dive were optional. Because this option was optional, low budget airline companies did not buy it. The reasons that they did not buy it is kind of obvious: to fly as economical as possible and because they thought that the option was a bit like purchasing leather plane seats. If they knew that their planes would be exposed to that much risk, they would have certainly purchased that option.
The definition of optional is that it is not needed, that it is not necessary. Considering that the Boeing 737 Max airplane crashed were not coincidence and were caused by lacking exactly this extra option, the extra option was not that ‘extra’ after all.
Although Boeing is examining the airplanes, because of the uncertainty that there is around the world, less and less countries and airlines are using them. American Airlines, the airline company with the largest fleet size, revenue and the number of passengers carried has grounded the 737 Max line, at least until September 2019. In my point of view, I think the boundary between extra and necessary was kind of mixed up by Boeing because of avarice. It is kind of ironical because Boeing wanted to get more profit by making the safety precautions optional and now Boeing is losing billions of dollars, now that many airlines cancel their orders and sue Boeing for doing that. Perhaps the marketing staff from Boeing learned their lesson after this incident.