Do new Boeing 737s have rudder problem?

I have not seen any rudder problem reported with Boeing 737-400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900; I have only read rudder problems about 737-300s and 200s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_737_rudder_issues

Is there any rudder issue with new Boeing 737s (400 and onwards)?

The rudder control unit that caused the rudder issues on the earlier 737s has been designed out. New 737s have a redesigned unit, and all of the older planes should have been refitted with the new unit by now.

This brings back memories. Back in the 1990s and early 2000s I used to fly a lot, and have always been a nervous flyer. Whenever I got on a 737 I would look to see what variant I was flying to see if there was a chance of the rudder suddenly flying in the opposite direction and send the plane hurtling to the ground. I haven’t thought about that in a few years.

When there is a significant safety retro fit to aircraft, especially in the case of one ordered by Aviation authorities, who actually pays for the work?

Seems to me the airlines should not be on the hook for some sort of design issue, but what if the issue is something that was only discovered after a crash and could not have been foreseen. Seems to me the manufacturers are then on the hook for something that they could not reasonably expected to know about.

The additional question, when there is an air accident investigation that requires significant research and possibly some seriously costly work, who pays for that?

Airplane warranty is a complicated field, and even after 17 years’ peripheral exposure, I don’t understand most of it. But here’s my stab: Airplanes are generally warranteed for about four years. I believe that in the case of an AD (Airworthiness Directive–an airplane modification mandated by the FAA), if the problem was due to a design deficiency, something any diligent engineer should have foreseen, the manufacturer is on the hook no matter how old the airplane is. If it was a manufacturing error, the manufacturer is on the hook until the airplane is four years old. If it was something unforeseeable, and the airplane didn’t have any manufacturing slipups, I believe the airline has to pay.
Accident investigations are conducted by the NTSB, which pays for its employees, and supported by the manufacturer, which pays for its employees. Rental of facilities for the investigation (hangar, for instance) I believe is done by the NTSB.

Thanks for that, I’ve been watching some of those ‘Air crash investigation’ shows, some of the investigations have taken well over a year to resolve and needed some extremely expensive facilities, and that’s not taking into account some very high powered staff.

And as far as I know, being that the NTSB is a govt agency, its primary funding is your tax dollars. Not saying that’s a bad thing, probably one of the more sensible things to spend tax payers money on…

And to clarify, the NTSB has a role in accident investigation where the accident happened in the US or involved a US built aircraft :- they would have no automatic role in an accident involving a French-built Airbus that happened in Japan, for example. (Although they will often be invited to send an observer, as they were for AF447).

I’m a little surprised that people are still buying 737s. It’s nearly a 50 year old design; there must be something far better in that segment by now.

The 737 is the most successful airliner in history. Just because the basic design is 50 years old doesn’t mean they’re still making them the same way. The materials, electronics, instruments, control surfaces and other features have been continually upgraded over the years. The 737-600, -700, and -800 have completely redesigned wings from the classic versions, and the upcoming 737-MAX will have a new engine design.

Yeah, but they must have been forced to make huge compromises to fit all this new stuff into/onto the existing airframe.

I don’t really see why. At the end of the day the fuselage is just a big metal tube.

Not really. Just going from 80+ mechanical dials to 4 multifunctional displays frees up a huge amount of space on the instrument panel.

Hm. Fair enough.

Not to mention removing hundreds of points of failure.

The 737 has been subjected to continuous improvement since Day One; tech-wise, it’s on a par with any other modern airliner (except perhaps the 787), and its dispatch reliability (that is, how many times you actually take off vs how many times you had to cancel the flight because of malfunctions) is the best of any modern airliner. (Two reasons: It’s a simple airplane, without much to go wrong; and two, because of its ubiquity there’s a lot of knowledge out there on how to maintain it and keep it flying happily.)