Before I start this post, I’d like to say something in bold:

If you decide not to fly on a Boeing 737 Max 8 after the recent crashes, this post is in no way meant to criticize you.  It’s your decision and far be it from me to tell you how to live your life

a plane flying in the sky

737-MAX 8, courtesy of Boeing

A quick reminder about the news media

(edited) Please be careful who you believe out there in the media.  Some news outlets benefit from pageviews while others are credentialed by major news organizations.  In times like this it can be hard to figure out who to trust, just be careful.

At time of publishing, here’s what we know for sure about the cause of the ET302 crash





Wait why did you leave that last part blank?

To date, no determination has been made as to the cause of the ET302 crash.  Anything you’ve read otherwise is speculation, some more well-informed than others.

There are quite a few assumptions being made out there about what might have caused this crash.  It’s understandable, we’re humans and we crave knowing why in times like this.  No doubt, the promulgation of air crash investigation shows are turning people into armchair air crash investigators (similar to how prosecutors complained about juries wanting super high-tech tests before voting guilty after shows like CSI became popular).  I don’t fault people for this, we like for things to make sense for us.  It seems very logical for us to look at the MCAS system on the 737 Max 8, say that’s to blame, swear off flying them, and call it a day.

Here’s what I’ve yet to see from the news media

I haven’t seen a headline saying THOUSANDS OF BOEING 737 MAX 8 FLIGHTS TAKE OFF, LAND SAFELY.  That’s understandable, that’s not really news, after all.  We expect planes to take off and land safely.  And the Boeing 737 Max 8 has, thousands of times for numerous airlines.  In my opinion it’s tough to look at the two times it didn’t land safely and say the thousands of times it did land safely don’t matter.

Wait but what about pilots and flight attendants saying they won’t fly on one?

I know a few pilots who fly the Max 8 routinely.  One of them said yesterday, from the cockpit of a 737 Max 8, that he had absolutely no qualms about flying the jet that day.  I’m not trying to discount those who say they won’t fly the jet, or the flight attendants who are re-working their schedules to avoid it, but there are probably just as many who don’t have a problem with it.  Yes yes, you may know many more pilots/crew than I do and they may all say they’re not flying the jet, and that’s fine.  I don’t need to be right here, that’s not the purpose of this article.

So what do you think happened on the flight?

I don’t know.  I’m not an aircraft engineer.  I’m not a flight investigator.  Be careful from whom you source your information in times like this.  I do know that, in time, we will know the exact cause of the crash of ET302.  That I do not know the cause right now does not mean the 737 Max 8 is unsafe, it just means I do not yet know the cause.

How can you be so sure that it’s safe?

How can I be sure that any aircraft I’ve ever boarded is safe?  Ultimately I can’t.  I have control issues so this is hard for me to accept, but there’s little I can do to prevent a plane that I’m on from crashing.  I have to place my faith in the pilots, the flight crew, the mechanics, the manufacturers, and the FAA, who oversees flights in the USA, to ensure that my flight is safe.  The airline industry is incredibly good at being safe.  If the FAA had verifiable evidence that there was a flaw in the 737 Max 8 I can guarantee you they would’ve already grounded it (like they did with the 787-8 Dreamliner when it first started flying).

So should I change my flight away from a 737 Max 8 if I can?

If it makes you feel any better, go for it.  If an airline says they can’t do it for free I can understand their point too.  The FAA and the airlines have a lot at stake here and they want to know if they have faulty jets just as much as you do.

Ok, enough, what are you actually saying we should do instead of worry about the 737 Max 8?

…nothing.  Wait for the cause from the NTSB and Boeing.  Worrying about the Max 8 will only make you a more nervous flyer and stress you out.  If you want to change your flights, go for it, but do not accuse an airline of of risking your life if they don’t accommodate you.  Let’s all calm down and let the professional crash investigators investigate.  The airline industry remains the absolute most safe method of transport in the history of the world, that same airline industry is confident, at the moment, that the 737 Max 8 is as safe.

Listen, I don’t blame anyone for thinking it’s suspicious that two brand new jet types went down in relatively short order.  Correlation, though, is not causation.  Just because they could be linked doesn’t mean they are linked.

What happens if you’re wrong, that it turns out to be unsafe and grounded like five minutes after this post goes live?

Then I’ll be thankful that the industry regulators and scrutineers were able to figure it out before any other planes went down.  Again, I’m not saying anyone is wrong for thinking that, nor are they wrong for acting on those doubts, I’m just strongly encouraging people to switch to decaf about it.  Don’t read about it or look for the latest updates, they’ll all say the same thing over and over with scary graphics and pictures of the debris field.

I’m not trying to be right or say that anyone else is wrong.  I’m just saying that, at this time, we need more information.

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