No Answers Yet in 737 MAX Crash/ Let’s Shut Down Amtrak

Fox Business reports about the Ethiopian Airlines crash of March 10, 2019 that killed 157 people:

Faulty sensors on a Boeing 737 Max jet that resulted in an Ethiopian Airlines crash earlier this year are reportedly thought to have been triggered by a bird strike.

The theory suspected by U.S. aviation officials is that a bird strike caused erroneous input to set off the plane’s autopilot system, Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), a source familiar with the situation told CNBC.

Boeing last month revealed that faulty sensors on the aircraft were behind the fatal crash in March that reportedly killed everyone on board.

An initial report determined the aircraft had a faulty “angle of attack” sensor, which tracks lift to prevent stalling, Boeing said in a statement at the time. The plane’s pilots were unsuccessful in their attempts to readjust the angle.

OK, so Boeing has been mercilessly blamed since the day that this accident happened and without any investigation whatsoever. But now there is a suggestion that a bird strike may have led to the crash.

So who said that the crash was all Boeing’s fault?

Answer: The business-hating, socialistic global media have done so. They have ripped Boeing to shreds in order to attack a successful American capitalist company.

Nikitas3.com has said from the start that we must wait for a full investigation. How about this from Reuters:

The captain of a doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight did not get a chance to practice on his airline’s new simulator for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 before he died in a crash with 157 others, a pilot colleague said.

Captain Yared Getachew, 29, was due for refresher training at the end of March, his colleague told Reuters, two months after Ethiopian Airlines had received one of the first such simulators being distributed.

So there you go – 29 years old is very young to pilot a complex passenger aircraft like the MAX. Younger pilots usually are assigned to cargo planes to get experience.

Is this a case of affirmative action where Boeing is being blamed so as not to blame the pilot who is a black African from Kenya?

Could be. No simulator training? Why not? That could be the whole problem right there. Few in the media have mentioned this since they are busy blaming Boeing. Reuters continued:

The March 10 disaster, following another MAX 8 crash in Indonesia in October, has set off one of the biggest inquiries in aviation history, focused on the safety of a new automated system and whether crews understood it properly.

In both cases, the pilots lost control soon after take-off and fought a losing battle to stop their jets plunging down.

The MAX, which came into service two years ago, has a new automated system called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System). It is meant to prevent loss of lift which can cause an aerodynamic stall sending the plane downwards in an uncontrolled way.

Are Africans and Indonesians as well trained and as competent as Americans or Europeans to fly these complex aircraft? To correct for an emergency situation? Look at this from Marketwatch.com:

(Boeing executive Mike) Sinnett, vice president of product strategy, expressed confidence that well-trained pilots following established procedures could safely respond to a potential repeat of such equipment trouble, according to a recording of the meeting, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile AP News reports:

A witness to the Ethiopian Airlines crash says smoke was coming from the rear of the plane before it hit the ground, killing 157 people on board.

There has been no mention of this smoke in most of the international Fake News media. Was this plane attacked by terrorists? Where did the smoke come from if it was real?

Friends, the media are so intent on smearing Boeing that they are ignoring vital facts. We must wait for the full investigation to come out.

It’s Time to Shut Down Amtrak

There is a myth floating around the world that passenger trains are saviors of the world, that if we all rode passenger trains that peace and love would break out everywhere. This myth predominates among liberals.

This myth originated in the 1960s when Americans started visiting Europe in large numbers through the convenience of high-speed air travel across the Atlantic.

And since we were being taught that Europe is superior to America – even after we saved Europe from destruction in World War II – and since Europe was still spending itself silly maintaining its expensive 19th century passenger train system Americans went to ride it on tickets like the famous EurailPass.

Americans returned to the US with glowing reviews of European trains and to negative reviews of our car-dominated culture which environmentalists have convinced us is the worst thing in the world. Yet cars are the ultimate in transportation convenience. In their hearts everyone in the world wants a car.

In fact passenger trains waste energy, are heavy and noisy and are very expensive to operate. Virtually all passenger trains around the world are subsidized by their nations’ taxpayers.

Europe’s passenger train system is nowhere near as valuable as the myth says. Europeans love their cars and their airlines almost as much as Americans do. Euros also use economical intercity buses at very high rates, for which the tickets are much less costly than trains.

But environmentalists and Democrats in the US keep pushing for expensive, taxpayer-funded, high-speed passenger trains while we already have something vastly better – we have our cars; we have a free-market intercity bus system that has served us for 100 years without subsidy; and we have our super-fantastic airline system.

Amtrak moved just 31.7 million passengers in 2018 and consumes $1.5 billion in annual federal taxpayer subsidies. Nikitas3.com then calculates that 25% of Amtrak tickets are sold to train lovers who just want to go for a train ride, which is hardly a reason to maintain a national passenger train system.

Meanwhile US airlines move 750 million passengers per year at 10 to 15 times the speed of Amtrak while making a profit.

At the same time an estimated 62 million passengers ride intercity buses (Greyhound, Bolt Bus, Trailways, etc.) annually with virtually no subsidy whatsoever. Buses pay for the roads that they use through fuel taxes, just like cars do. The average bus weighs 8 tons. The average Amtrak passenger car weighs 70 tons. So which is ‘greener’? The answer is obvious.

Airlines make profits while passenger trains don’t for two reasons:

First, airplanes are lightweight and use much less fuel per mile than trains. A whole Boeing 737 aircraft weighs less than one Amtrak passenger car but carries 3 to 4 times as many passengers.

Second, airlines do not need to maintain tens of thousands of miles of track like trains do; the construction and upkeep of railroad tracks is very expensive.

Meanwhile Amtrak just keeps failing and should be shut down. Here is Fox News reporting about an accident south of Seattle, Washington in December 2017:

A resounding multi-agency failure led to the deadly 2017 Amtrak train derailment, investigators revealed Tuesday as part of a sprawling autopsy of the accident that spread blame far and wide: with those operating the train, those training the operators and those in charge of making sure the entire operation was safe.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Amtrak Cascades train 501 was going more than twice the speed limit around a dangerous curve on December 18, 2017 when it derailed on an overpass over Interstate 5 in Dupont, Wash. and the engine and four cars plummeted onto the highway, striking eight vehicles.

Three people on board the train were killed, while 57 passengers and crewmembers were injured along with 8 people on the highway below, according to the NTSB.

“Could this accident have been prevented? The answer is a resounding yes,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said in an announcement of the findings.

Federal investigators said the crash happened after the engineer lost track of where he was on the route and was going 78 mph when he hit the 30-mph curve. But instead of blaming the engineer, the NTSB cast a wide net that included the various agencies that constructed and operated the line.

Look at those numbers – 78 MPH on a 30 MPH curve!? This is classic government incompetence and was yet another Amtrak fiasco on the train’s maiden run.

It is reminiscent of the May 2015 Amtrak crash at Philadelphia where the train derailed going 106 MPH on a 50 MPH curve. Eight people died but the engineer survived.

The Seattle train is operated under the auspices of Amtrak but is heavily funded by the states of Oregon and Washington.

This line covers 440 miles going from Vancouver, Canada straight south to Seattle through Portland, Oregon and ends in Eugene, Oregon. It carries a paltry average of 2,300 passengers per day which is the number of passengers you could fit on four subway trains in New York City during rush hour and traveling just a few miles. Every single passenger who rides these trains is subsidized by Oregon and Washington taxpayers.

And since 99% of the people in these states will never ride these trains, they are a bad deal for most of the people.

These subsidies undercut the private intercity bus system serving the region. This is unfair to the bus lines and has led to buses shutting down or cutting back operations in various places all across the US.

It gets worse. This Amtrak system runs on tracks owned by the freight railroads that connect the Pacific Northwest to the rest of America – Union Pacific and BNSF. The Amtrak system runs 8 trains a day in each direction and thus it significantly slows down the freight system that is crucial to the region.

When the freight trains run slower it pushes up the cost of transportation and the cost of the goods moved since more train crews are needed to go the same distance. These delays also tie up valuable locomotives in slow-moving freight trains and burn excess fuel stopping and starting and waiting for passenger trains to go. So consumers in the Northwest are paying a “hidden cost” for the Amtrak system through higher prices for everything that moves in the region by rail, and in air pollution. Fox News continued:

Investigators took aim at the transit agency Sound Transit for not sufficiently mitigating the danger of the sharp bend, Amtrak for not better training the engineer, the Washington State Department of Transportation for not ensuring the route was safe before green-lighting a passenger train and the Federal Railroad Administration for using rail cars beneath regulatory standards.

“I’m just amazed at the amount of failure that goes along here,” NSTB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said at the hearing, according to the Seattle Times. “We have five or six or seven different organizations that all say safety is their primary responsibility, and yet nobody seems to be responsible. And it just flows all the way throughout the entire operation here, from the very top management down to the lower levels.”

The crash happened on the first day the train was operating on a new bypass route between Seattle and Portland that was created by refurbishing freight tracks along the major interstate. The $180.7 million project was aimed at speeding up service by bypassing an old route that had a number of curves, single-track tunnels and freight traffic.

Imagine that – $180.7 million to upgrade 10 miles of tracks or $18 million per mile(!!!) while the construction of brand-new tracks is estimated at $1 million to $3 million per mile. That means that there has been massive corruption and cost overruns in the government-funded project, which is typical.

That $180.7 million does not even include the tens of millions of dollars that it costs taxpayers to run these trains every year. Shocking.

Meanwhile another boondoggle is the “high-speed passenger train” that the state of California wanted to build to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco. We conservatives called it a fiasco right from the start. Its projected cost ballooned from an estimated $33 billion to $68 billion. Nikitas3.com believes that it would have cost more than $100 billion by the time all the delays, corruption and cost overruns were factored in.

California canceled the project after only a small part of it was built and now president Trump rightfully wants to withhold $1 billion that the federal government promised to California to fund the project. But Fox News reported:

California on Tuesday sued the Trump administration for pulling nearly $1 billion in federal funding from the state’s high-speed rail project – a multiyear, over-budget proposal that President Trump repeatedly has mocked and Republicans have vowed to shut down.

The Federal Railroad Administration announced last week it would not give the Golden State money awarded by Congress nearly a decade ago because not enough progress had been made on the project.

The state has to complete construction on a part of the track in the Central Valley agricultural heartland by 2022 to keep the money but the Trump administration has argued there’s no way California will be able to meet the deadline.

… The state is also seeking a temporary restraining order to ask a judge to prevent the Trump administration from repurposing the money, the governor’s office said.

This is typical socialism – a wasteful government project wants taxpayer money that it hasn’t got yet for a railroad that it will never build.

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