over engineered

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Johan Borg Veteran Member • Posts: 3,226
Re: over engineered

Drplusplus wrote:

The Ghost of Caravaggio wrote:

Drplusplus wrote:

The Ghost of Caravaggio wrote:

OpticsEngineer wrote:

...If I were to use the word, could I point to some examples of things "over engineered"


Very few pilots would complain about flying in an over-engineered aircraft.

The 737 MAX MCAS seems to me an example of over-engineering in an attempt to minimize training costs, and there have been some complaints about it.

I'm confused. The 737 MAX MCAS system was under engineered. MCAS's sole purpose was to use more efficient engines that significantly changed the handling characteristic compared to existing 737s and avoid pilot training in the form of FAA re-certification. Clearly it was not fully tested nor was it properly implemented (the manual and training were incomplete). Instead of making the aircraft safer, it made it more dangerous. How is this over engineering?

Adding a new safety-related system that makes something more dangerous instead of making it safer is a classic type of (what I would call) over engineering--it would have been safer to leave it alone, and the additional engineering work was a net negative contribution. It is still a point of debate whether MCAS was necessary, because the difference in handling characteristics is not that large, and might have been addressed via an FAA waiver rather than a whole new system. EASA concluded that the MAX was stable even without MCAS.

Airbus use triple redundant angle of attack sensors (so a single failure doesn't affect safety). Boeing apparently felt that was overengineering, so put two in the MAX. Only a single was used by the MCAS (so it can't even detect a failure).

I have to agree with The Ghost above, overengineering would have either prevented the need for the MCAS to start with or at least prevented the accidents.

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