When Boeing sold the aircraft it offered back-up systems for the new MCAS - but only as an optional extra and at a price. A critical and new flight system with little or no information about it in the pilots' manual had absolutely no back-up on the basic planes sold to airlines - unless the airlines paid extra for it, rather as we would a hi falutin' stereo system in a new car. A vital back-up as an optional extra? An aircraft put into the air with absolutely no back-up or double back up of a critical system? That is almost unheard of.
https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/288 ... -as-extrasWhen initially rolled out, the MCAS only relied on data from a single AOA sensor . . . Boeing sells two MCAS upgrades that weren’t installed on either the Lion Air jet or the Ethiopian Airlines craft, according to the New York Times. The first is the ability to compare data from more than one AOA sensor via a display that would have shown readings from both at the same time. The second was a ‘disagree light’ that would have activated when contradictory data was being received from both sensors. Either might have alerted the pilots that something was wrong with the MCAS system specifically.
Boeing now states it will make the disagree light standard on all 737 Max 8 aircraft, in addition to the planned software updates it will roll out next month.
Putting an aircraft on to the market with no back-up on a vital system and then not one but two of these aircraft plunge to the ground is tantamount to murder in my non-legal book. If both those systems were important to making the plane fly normally and Boeing realised they were vital, why offer them only as an optional extra? Not doing so is tantamount to murder in my book.
As the above article makes clear, Boeing makes about an additional 5% of the total cost of an aircraft by selling optional extras.
Secondly, several pilots had reported to the US confidential website in advance of the Lion Air crash that they had experienced similar problems with the MCAS and automatic nose down effects for no reason. Then Lion Air crashes and it emerges that the single Angle of Attack sensor feeding the MCAS system more than likely was the cause. Did Boeing alert airlines of problems? I believe so. Was the pilot flight manual significantly altered? I believe no. Did Boeing consider mandating the use of the two Angle of Attack indicators rather than just one? No. Did Boeing offer to provide the back-up system to operators as a safety issue at no cost? I believe no. Did the Ethiopian pilots have all the recent knowledge about Being updates. I believe yes.Boeing is known to charge extra for an additional fire extinguisher system in the hold. Japanese regulators require such systems; the FAA does not, despite evidence that a single extinguisher may not be enough to put out fires.
As that article concludes -
It isn’t unusual to see vehicle manufacturers add safety features as extras, either, but the fact that Boeing has lost two brand-new aircraft — and the radically different safety standards used in the airline industry as opposed to the automotive market — are going to shine a harsh light on the company’s practices in this area.