All modern planes except the 737 MAX have a normal fly-by-wire with adjustable levels of computer assistance. Why was a plane made with actual ropes running down the fuselage connecting components in this day and age?
Because Boeing never modernized the 50 year old 737. Because airlines didn't want to retrain their flight crew.
Even banks had to modernize their COBOL code to handle operations outside of business hours and instant transfers.
That airplane should be taken out of service IMO.
Another quote from the chief engineer: "You can put fly-by-wire on the airplane, but is it going to buy you anything in terms of dispatch reliability? We have a very reliable flight control system on this airplane today. It doesn’t have problems.
Our friends in Toulouse like to talk about, they have a central maintenance computer. And I say, well that’s great, but you don’t need it if the plane never breaks down. It’s just a lead weight.".
Regardless whether it's steel ropes, hydraulics, or fly-by-wire, I think what matters is that:
A) the pilot understands how the automation behaves and interacts with the plane, and
B) different layers of automation can be disabled separately, and
C) each piece of automation is fault-tolerant
If you add more automation but don't want to retrain the pilots, you can't have (A).
If you're redesigning a plane in a hurry, you tend to fail allvthese conditions.
And adding bigger engines to a plane, and using software workaround to avoid a necessary redesign of the plane, and then pretending that it's still the same plane, is IMO asking for a disaster.
So I'd say, keep original 737 if it works for you, but 737 MAX is a clusterfuck that should be grounded.
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