Boeing 737 MAX 8 - Trying To Do New With Old... - The Makeshift Solution - The Engine Simply Doesn't Fit
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March 2019 - by By Marco Evers for spiegel.de
When Boeing began developing the Max 8 in 2011, one thing was clear: The engine would be powered by a very fuel-efficient engine known as Leap, made by the company CFM. Boeing's rival, Airbus, had also equipped its well-selling A320neo with the same propulsion hardware.
One of the reasons the Leap engine is so economical is because its air intake has an enormous diameter: 198 centimeters (6.5 feet). While the long-legged Airbus A320neo has plenty of room for such a massive engine, the landing gear on Boeing's Max 8 is short, limiting ground clearance under the wings. The engine simply doesn't fit.
Pressed to come up with a solution, Boeing's star engineers came up with the idea of shortening the engine mount structure, which fastens the heavy engines to the underside of the wings. This did the trick, but it came at the cost of seriously altering the aircraft's flight mechanics. As a result, the Max 8 tended to dangerously raise its nose. Under certain circumstances -- rare and extreme, to be sure, yet possible nonetheless -- there was a greater chance of the plane stalling and even crashing.
Boeing engineers, in turn, came up with another makeshift solution. They developed a software that would work in the background...