The inside story of MCAS: How Boeing’s 737 MAX system gained power and lost safeguards
When the data came back, according to an engineer involved in the testing, it was clear there was an issue to address...
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June 22, 2019 - by Dominic Gates and Mike Baker for seattletimes.com
Early in the development of the 737 MAX, engineers gathered at Boeing's transonic wind tunnel in Seattle to test the jet's aerodynamics using a scale model with a wingspan comparable to that of an eagle.
The testing in 2012, with air flow approaching the speed of sound, allowed engineers to analyze how the airplane's aerodynamics would handle a range of extreme maneuvers. When the data came back, according to an engineer involved in the testing, it was clear there was an issue to address.
Engineers observed a tendency for the plane's nose to pitch upward during a specific extreme maneuver.
After other efforts to fix the problem failed, the solution they arrived at was a piece of software — the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) — that would move a powerful control surface at the tail to push the airplane's nose down...