Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

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Raymond Hall
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:12 pm

Boeing announces it expects FAA certification to be moved ahead to mid-December...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NICW1XXmkos
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:06 pm

From today's Wall Street Journal:

Boeing’s Next Jet Faces More Scrutiny From Foreign Regulators, Amid 737 MAX Crisis

In unusual move, regulators in Europe, Middle East plan independent certification reviews of Boeing’s next new aircraft

European and Middle Eastern regulators will conduct independent certification reviews of Boeing Co. BA -0.94% ’s next new aircraft, according to people familiar with the matter, breaking from longstanding practice to apply what they say are lessons learned from the 737 MAX crisis.

The unusual moves punctuate eroding international confidence in the plane maker and the Federal Aviation Administration in the wake of the 737 MAX grounding in March. They are also the latest measure of how significantly the MAX’s woes have shaken up long-established principles of international cooperation in approving new jetliner designs. Historically, certification of U.S.-built planes received less foreign scrutiny than is now envisioned by European and Emirati regulators.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said in a statement it is performing a “concurrent validation” of the FAA’s certification of Boeing’s 777X, a new variant of the company’s popular wide-body jet.

The plane is expected to be the first new airliner design from either Boeing or rival Airbus SE to come to market since the MAX crisis began. Two recent crashes of that jet exposed problems with its flight-control systems and FAA certification procedures. Regulators around the world grounded the entire fleet, creating turmoil for airlines and passengers world-wide.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-737- ... _lead_pos1
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:55 pm

From today's Globe & Mail:

Boeing 777X fuselage split during September stress test

The fuselage of Boeing Co.’s coming 777X aircraft was split by a high-pressure rupture just as it approached its target stress level during a test in early September, Boeing said on Wednesday.

The world’s largest plane maker suspended load testing of the new wide-body in September when media reports said a cargo door failed a ground stress test. There have also been issues with General Electric Co.’s new GE9X turbine engine that will power the jet.

The Seattle Times, which first reported new details on the testing issue, said photos it had obtained of the test on the 777X showed that the extent of the damage was greater than previously disclosed and earlier reports were wrong about crucial details.
During the final load testing of a 777X test airplane, engineers ran a test that involved flexing the aircraft’s wings beyond what is expected during normal commercial service, Boeing said.

“A testing issue occurred during the final minutes of the test, at approximately 99 per cent of the final test loads, and involved a depressurization of the aft fuselage,” Boeing said.


https://www.theglobeandmail.com/busines ... ress-test/
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:55 am

Former FAA Official predicts further certification delay due to Human Performance Testing requirements and required public comment time frame for same:

Boeing’s 737 Max won’t be recertified for at least three months: Aviation expert

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2019/11/27/b ... xpert.html
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by yycflyguy » Fri Nov 29, 2019 9:30 am

Raymond Hall wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:55 pm
From today's Globe & Mail:

Boeing 777X fuselage split during September stress test

The fuselage of Boeing Co.’s coming 777X aircraft was split by a high-pressure rupture just as it approached its target stress level during a test in early September, Boeing said on Wednesday.

The world’s largest plane maker suspended load testing of the new wide-body in September when media reports said a cargo door failed a ground stress test. There have also been issues with General Electric Co.’s new GE9X turbine engine that will power the jet.

The Seattle Times, which first reported new details on the testing issue, said photos it had obtained of the test on the 777X showed that the extent of the damage was greater than previously disclosed and earlier reports were wrong about crucial details.
During the final load testing of a 777X test airplane, engineers ran a test that involved flexing the aircraft’s wings beyond what is expected during normal commercial service, Boeing said.

“A testing issue occurred during the final minutes of the test, at approximately 99 per cent of the final test loads, and involved a depressurization of the aft fuselage,” Boeing said.


https://www.theglobeandmail.com/busines ... ress-test/
This isn't relevant. The testing is doing exactly what it is supposed to do - in the testing phase.
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:32 pm

From last evening’s Washington Post:

Boeing knew of problems with wing parts, but told FAA planes were safe, agency alleges

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed a rare $3.9 million civil penalty against Boeing on Friday, alleging the company “knowingly submitted aircraft” to the agency for safety certification even after learning that crucial wing components “could not be used due to a failed strength test.”

The FAA alleged in a statement and enforcement letter to Boeing on Friday that the company installed parts on some of its 737s that were “weakened” and “more prone to fatigue and failure.” The so-called “slat tracks” are critical, serving to guide the slats that slide out from the front of wings and add stability and lift during takeoff and landing.
The agency said the weakened components could allow the slats “to depart and potentially strike the aircraft, resulting in injury to aircraft occupants and/or preventing continued safe flight and landing.”

The FAA alleges that Boeing certified to the agency that at least 85 of its Next Generation 737s were airworthy, despite having been informed by one of its suppliers that there were problems with the wing parts. The company made earlier safety pledges on dozens more of the aircraft, the FAA said.

In a statement, Boeing said the “nonconforming batch of slat track assemblies” were put on both Next Generation 737s as well as 737 Max jets. The Max has been grounded since March, after a flawed flight control feature contributed to two crashes in five months, killing 346 people in Ethiopia and off the coast of Indonesia.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/tr ... tory.html
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by digits_ » Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:53 pm

This keeps getting uglier and uglier...
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As an AvCanada discussion grows longer:
-the probability of 'entitlement' being mentioned, approaches 1
-one will be accused of using bad airmanship

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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:09 am

From this morning's Business Insider:

Boeing is promising 3 fixes

Boeing is promising three key fixes to a system blamed for the fatal crashes of its 737 Max jet, according to a leaked presentation made public by CBS News.

Boeing said it has addressed these problems with updated software, CBS News reported. Here are the changes they plan to make, according to the news network:

1. MCAS will now rely on readings from two AOA sensors as opposed to just one in the original system. The new software will only activate if both sensors agree that the plane's nose is too high. Boeing had announced this update earlier this year.

2. Pilots will be able to deactivate the system.

3. When they do so, MCAS will not automatically reactivate. The original system had automatically reactivated multiple times.

Boeing also told attendees that it had flown 1,850 flight hours with the software updates, and spent more than 100,000 employee hours in engineering and test-developing the new issues, CBS News reported.

https://www.businessinsider.com/boeing- ... es-2019-12
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:48 pm

From today’s New York Times … U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee Hearings to continue:

Boeing 737 Max Was Plagued With Production Problems, Whistle-Blower Says

Four months before the first deadly crash of Boeing’s 737 Max, a senior manager approached an executive at the company with concerns that the plane was riddled with production problems and potentially unsafe. That manager, Ed Pierson, plans to tell his story to Congress on Wednesday.

Employees at the Renton, Wash., factory where the Max is produced were overworked, exhausted and making mistakes, Mr. Pierson said in an interview. A cascade of damaged parts, missing tools and incomplete instructions was preventing planes from being built on time. Executives were pressuring workers to complete planes despite staff shortages and a chaotic factory floor.

“Frankly right now all my internal warning bells are going off,” Mr. Pierson said in an email to the head of the 737 program in June 2018 that was reviewed by The New York Times. “And for the first time in my life, I’m sorry to say that I’m hesitant about putting my family on a Boeing airplane.”

Mr. Pierson, who is scheduled to testify at a House Transportation Committee hearing on the two 737 Max crashes, called on Boeing to shut down the Max production line last year. But the company kept producing planes and did not make major changes in response to his complaints. During the time when Mr. Pierson said the Renton facility was in disarray, it built the two planes that crashed and killed a total of 346 people.

….

He worries that once the Max is flying again, Boeing — scrambling to make up for the costly delays — will not have changed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/09/busi ... e=Homepage
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:35 pm

From today's Washington Post:

FAA to create new safety branch following Boeing 737 Max crashes

The Federal Aviation Administration is moving to create a new safety branch to address “gaps” in its oversight following recent deadly crashes and a controversial agency reorganization, according to an internal agency email obtained by The Washington Post.

The email sent Monday to employees in the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service, or AIR, does not mention the Max directly, and is written in bureaucratic language that eschews finger-pointing and emphasizes the complexities of aviation safety.

Safety is managed “in a successful fashion” across the board, “but a need remains to ensure our strategic safety planning, direction, and program implementation are better integrated,” according to the email, which was written by Mel Johnson, the acting director of the certification service’s organizational performance division.

To help accomplish that, the agency will create an “Aircraft Certification Safety Program Management Branch,” according to Johnson.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/tr ... story.html
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by '97 Tercel » Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:00 am

Aircraft Certification Safety Program Management Branch
...say that 3 times fast

"The name scored high with our test groups!"

The FAA has created a new branch - everybody is safe now. Case closed.
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:57 am

The U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee is conducting hearings today re the 737 Max, and preliminary indications (CNN) are that the FAA has stated that the grounding of the Max will be extended well into 2020. Key witnesses today include a former whistleblower who did everything he could to raise concerns about the impact of the forced increased production rate on the safety of the aircraft.

Here is a more extensive report on that issue from yesterday's Washington Post:

Former Boeing manager warned company about problems with 737 Max production

A former senior manager at Boeing said he repeatedly warned company executives about production issues at the factory where the 737 Max jets were being built, but his recommendations to shut down production were rebuffed.

Edward Pierson, who was a senior manager at Boeing’s Renton, Wash., factory, said a push to increase production of the 737 Max from 47 a month to 52, created a “factory in chaos.”
Employees were working seven days. Overtime had more than doubled and in some cases, Pierson said, employees were doing jobs for which they had no training.

“The factory did not have enough skilled employees, specifically mechanics, electricians and technicians to keep up with the backlog of work,” Pierson said in remarks prepared for a hearing Wednesday before the House Transportation Committee. “I witnessed numerous instances where manufacturing employees failed to communicate effectively between shifts, often leaving crews to wonder what work was properly completed.”

Pierson, a former Navy squad commander and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who joined Boeing in 2008, went to work for the team building the 737 Max jets in April 2015. He was a senior manager with the company’s test and evaluation team, which was responsible for flight testing newly manufactured planes. He said he began seeing problems in 2017 and by June 2018 had grown, “. . . gravely concerned that Boeing was prioritizing production speed over quality and safety.”



Pierson said he took his concerns to the general manager of the 737 Max program. In an email, he wrote that he was concerned the push to meet delivery schedules could result in safety hazards being “inadvertently” embedded in Boeing airplanes.

“Frankly right now all my internal warning bells are going off,” he said in the email. “And for the first time in my life, I’m sorry to say that I’m hesitant about putting my family on a Boeing airplane.”

Pierson told Campbell the company should shut down production of the jetliner until the production problems could be resolved, but that did not happen.
Pierson retired from the company in August 2018.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/tr ... story.html
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:02 pm

Today, from Reuters:

FAA probes Boeing 737 MAX production, says it won’t approve jets’ return this year
DAVID SHEPARDSON AND ERIC M. JOHNSON
WASHINGTON/SEATTLE
REUTERS
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 11, 2019

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday it was investigating production issues involving Boeing Co’s 737 Max and confirmed the agency will not approve the grounded commercial jet for flight before year end.

At a hearing before U.S. lawmakers, FAA chief Steve Dickson cited a series of steps that still must be completed before 737 Max approval.
A significant delay in 737 Max approval could force Boeing to cut or even halt production of the aircraft, the plane maker has said, with repercussions across its global supply chain and for scores of airline customers.

The head of the International Air Transport Association, Alexandre de Juniac, warned on Wednesday that airlines were nearing the end of their ability to manage the 737 Max shutdown smoothly.

Federal officials told Reuters this week that FAA approval was not likely until January at the earliest, though some U.S. officials think it may not be until at least February.

Airlines have said they need 30 days or more to prepare their jets and crew once the FAA gives clearance for flight.

The 737 Max production probes come after an ex-manager warned that schedule pressure and worker fatigue were raising safety risks.

The manager, Ed Pierson, drew a link between faulty Angle of Attack sensors in two recent 737 Max crashes that killed 346 people and what he called a “chaotic and alarming state” inside Boeing’s factory that undermined quality and safety.



“It is alarming that these sensors failed on multiple flights mere months after the airplanes were manufactured in a factory experiencing frequent wiring problems and functional test issues,” Pierson said at the hearing.

“I witnessed a factory in chaos,” he said.

… The article continues. See the following link to the Globe & Mail for further…

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/busines ... -the-year/

Updated in the afternoon:

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said on Wednesday he would not clear the plane to fly before 2020 and disclosed the agency has an ongoing investigation into 737 production issues in Renton, Washington. He added there are nearly a dozen milestones that must be completed before the MAX returns to service. Approval is not likely until at least February and could be delayed until March, U.S. officials told Reuters.

...

Separately, American Airlines Group Inc said on Thursday it was extending cancellations of 737 MAX flights through April 6. American, the largest U.S. airline, had previously cancelled about 140 flights a day through March 4 and now expects to resume 737 MAX passenger flights on April 7.
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:27 am

From this morning's Globe & Mail:

Boeing suppliers brace for potential suspension of 737 Max production

Boeing Co suppliers, customers and financiers braced on Monday for a possible freeze in Boeing 737 production for the first time in more than 20 years as the grounding of the best-selling Max looks set to last well into 2020.

Two suppliers told Reuters that Boeing was likely to halt assembly of the jet, though some suppliers could be asked to keep producing to minimize disruption.

Boeing’s board was due to meet for a second day in Chicago on Monday to assess output decisions, with an announcement expected later in the day.

A person briefed on the matter said on Sunday Boeing was considering whether to cut or halt production of its grounded 737 Max after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said last week it would not approve the plane’s return to service before 2020.



Analysts say a suspension of Max production would likely result in significant additional charges for Boeing as well as its main suppliers, who have been shielded from a financial hit as they have continued to sell parts for the jet at a rate of up to 52 units per month, even as the planemaker has cut its own production to 42 per month.

Disruptions to production could also result in layoffs or furloughs of some of the 12,000 workers at Boeing’s 737 factory south of Seattle.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/busines ... oduction/
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Tue Dec 17, 2019 10:30 am

Boeing MAX Virus Spreads Through the Economy—from today’s Wall Street Journal:

GE’s 737 MAX Problem Just Got Bigger

Boeing’s production halt could push the conglomerate’s quarterly cash-flow losses into the billions

GE makes all of the Boeing MAX’s engines through a joint venture with France’s Safran

GE will likely take a significant hit to its cash flow from Boeing’s decision to halt production of the 737 MAX jetliner, which has already dented the conglomerate’s finances.
GE makes all of the MAX’s engines through a joint venture with France’s Safran SA . When Boeing in April cut monthly production of the plane to 42 from 52, it reduced GE’s quarterly cash flow by $400 million. The suspension of production Boeing announced Monday, if prolonged, could reduce cash flow by much more as analysts warn that GE won’t receive payments made as the planes are being built.

Aviation is GE’s largest business by revenue and its health is vital to the conglomerate’s turnaround. ,,, Melius Research recently projected the commercial engines business would bring in almost $26 billion in revenue next year, or 28% of GE’s total revenue.

The extended grounding has already strained GE finances, cutting cash flow by as much as $1.4 billion this year as factories produce fewer engines and GE can’t get fully paid for them. The LEAP engine is a major growth driver for the company’s aviation unit, which accounted for $4.8 billion of GE’s roughly $7 billion in industrial profits in the first nine months of 2019. GE has more than 17,000 orders for the engine.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/ges-737-ma ... _lead_pos2
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by pilotbzh » Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:41 pm

Airbus will be happy, the engine supply for the Neo won't be as limited as it was...
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by BTD » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:34 pm

They are different engines. The max uses the leap 1B. The Neo uses the leap 1A. Different fan diameter among other things.
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by losercruiser » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:39 pm

BTD wrote:
Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:34 pm
They are different engines. The max uses the leap 1B. The Neo uses the leap 1A. Different fan diameter among other things.
Yes maybe so, still should free up some shop space if they also slow the building of the 1B.
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:11 am

From CNN this morning...

Boeing hit with another lawsuit over troubled 737 Max

London (CNN Business)An Irish company that sells and leases aircraft has filed a lawsuit seeking to cancel an order for 22 of Boeing's 737 Max jets and collect at least $185 million in damages.

The company, Timaero, alleged in documents filed Tuesday in a US district court that Boeing (BA) had acted fraudulently in selling the troubled aircraft.

"Boeing deliberately and knowingly failed to disclose ... the safety issues associated with the design of the 737 Max," the company said.

The suit follows a similar one brought in August by Russian aircraft leasing company, Avia, which wants to cancel an order of 35 planes.
It is a fresh blow to Boeing, which earlier this week said it would temporarily halt production of the 737 Max in January.

Boeing has already set aside $5 billion to compensate airlines for the groundings. But one analyst thinks the crisis could ultimately cost the company around $14 billion.



Boeing has refused to refund advance payments for the aircraft, the company said. Boeing said in response that it would not comment on "pending litigation." Timaero said in the suit that it's seeking at least $185 million in damages.


https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/18/business ... ndex.html
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Fri Dec 20, 2019 4:04 pm

CTV News, noon today:

United pulls 737 Max until June, adding to Boeing woes

NEW YORK -- United Airlines says the Boeing 737 Max has been pulled from its flight schedule until June, the latest in a string of troubling news plaguing the airplane manufacturer.

The developments follow Boeing's announcement Monday that it would halt Max production in January. It did not say when production would resume.



United said Friday that the airline expects to cancel thousands of flights in coming months as a result of the grounding. The company had previously planned to return the plane to its flight schedule in March. United currently has 14 Max-9 aircraft, but it was supposed to have 30 by this time.

United expects to cancel about 75 flights per day this month and 56 flights per day in January. The airline said it has been swapping aircraft and using spare planes to try to minimize disruptions.

Southwest Airlines, which was counting on the Max to update its fleet, has said it will add the plane back into its schedule in April. American Airlines did the same last week.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/united- ... -1.4738792
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Sun Dec 22, 2019 4:27 pm

From today's New York Times:

At Boeing, C.E.O.’s Stumbles Deepen a Crisis

Dennis Muilenburg’s handling of the 737 Max grounding after two fatal crashes has angered lawmakers, airlines, regulators and victims’ families.

In a tense, private meeting last week in Washington, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration reprimanded Boeing’s chief executive for putting pressure on the agency to move faster in approving the return of the company’s 737 Max jet.

This was the first face-to-face encounter between the F.A.A. chief, Stephen Dickson, and the executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg, and Mr. Dickson told him not to ask for any favors during the discussion. He said Boeing should focus on providing all the documents needed to fully describe the plane’s software changes according to two people briefed on the meeting.

It was a rare dressing-down for the leader of one of the world’s biggest companies, and a sign of the deteriorating relationship between Mr. Muilenburg and the regulator that will determine when Boeing’s most important plane will fly again.



After the crashes, but before the plane was grounded, Mr. Muilenburg called President Trump and expressed confidence in the safety of the Max. He has repeatedly made overly optimistic projections about how quickly the plane would return to service, pushing for speedy approval from regulators. The constantly shifting timeline has created chaos for airlines, which have had to cancel thousands of flights and sacrifice billions of dollars in sales.

In his few public appearances, Mr. Muilenburg’s attempts to offer a sincere apology for the accidents have been clumsy, prolonging Boeing’s reputational pain. His performance has left lawmakers irate. The families of crash victims, convinced the company does not care about their loss, have repeatedly confronted him with posters of the dead.

Boeing still faces serious hurdles. The company has not delivered a complete software package to the F.A.A. for approval. In recent simulator tests, pilots did not use the correct emergency procedures, raising new questions about whether regulators will require more extensive training for pilots to fly the plane or whether the procedures needed to be changed, according to two people briefed on the matter.



In August, regulators from Europe, Canada and Brazil flew to Seattle and joined F.A.A. officials for a meeting with Boeing. They were expecting to review reams of documentation describing the software update for the Max. Instead, the Boeing representatives offered a brief PowerPoint presentation, in line with what they had done in the past. The regulators left the meeting early.

[The article continues, with more detail of difficulties and an apparent lack of transparency on the part of Boeing, especially with not only the FAA but with foreign regulators…]

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/22/busi ... =Homepage
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:47 am

The ONLY surprise with this announcement is that it took so long to be made! From today's Washington Post:

Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg fired as board seeks ‘to restore confidence’ in wake of 737 Max crisis

Muilenburg will be replaced by Board Chairman David L. Calhoun Jan. 13

Aerospace giant Boeing announced Monday that it had fired chief executive Dennis A. Muilenburg, after the company’s reputation was tarnished by two fatal plane crashes and endured one of the most tumultuous periods of its more than 100-year history.

“The Board of Directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the Company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders,” the company said in a statement. “Under the Company’s new leadership, Boeing will operate with a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communication with the FAA, other global regulators and its customers.”

Muilenburg’s departure was effective immediately. The company’s chief financial officer, Greg Smith, will serve as interim chief executive during the transition period. Board Chairman David L. Calhoun will assume the role as CEO and president beginning Jan. 13.

Aviation industry analysts were unsurprised by Muilenberg’s dismissal. Boeing has suffered a “cascading series of mistakes,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at the Teal Group, a consulting firm. “It doesn’t get much worse, and it was made worse by very poor communication with outside world: regulators, customers, Congress, suppliers, the general public. It was almost like a master class in bad communication.”

Muilenburg had been under fire for his response to the fatal crashes of the 737 Max airplanes, which killed 346 people. Families of the victims and members of Congress accused the aviation stalwart of building “flying coffins,” prioritizing profit over safety, and misleading regulators and the public about the extent of the problems.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business ... x-crisis/
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by godsrcrazy » Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:26 am

wonder how much the Golden Parachute was. Quit or Fired i am sure there was a big severance package.
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by Raymond Hall » Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:53 pm

A very insightful analysis, from Bloomberg news. Excerpt here, but a read of the full story is beneficial:

Boeing’s Push to Make Training Profitable May Have Left 737 Max Pilots Unprepared

An emphasis on the bottom line disrupted decades of productive communication between pilots, engineers, and designers.


On an overcast Friday in January 2016, thousands of employees gathered outside the 737 jetliner factory in a Seattle suburb for the first flight of the Max, the newest version of Boeing Co.’s 50-year-old workhorse. Thousands more watched a live feed at their desks. Two of Boeing’s ace test pilots sat at the controls, one an ex-U.S. Air Force fighter jock, the other a Navy veteran who’d also flown experimental planes for NASA. As the pilots fired up the first engine, the hulking plane rolled forward several feet—they’d forgotten to set the parking brake.



More than an ironic footnote in the Max saga, the incident is a window into the prideful culture that led to two crashes and 346 deaths, a worldwide grounding of Boeing’s marquee jet, and unprecedented scrutiny of the storied planemaker’s processes. Aviation authorities have weighed in on how Boeing engineers failed to anticipate pilots’ reactions to a cacophony of alerts from misfiring flight control software, how managers pressured engineers to speed the completion of their designs, and how an acquiescent Federal Aviation Administration missed the deadly risk from software changes made late in testing.

But the most fundamental breakdown at Boeing may have been a lack of appreciation of how humans respond under stress—both in the machine it was designing and in its own organization. On aircraft like the Boeing 777, a cadre of pilots had worked closely with engineers to solve problems. By the time the Max entered development, Boeing was pushing hard to turn the unglamorous but all-important business of customer training into a profit center of its own. Many pilots were distracted by a dispute with Boeing over the hiring of outside contractors. They contended the quality of training was slipping.

In 2013, a year after a vote that more than doubled the number of unionized pilots, the company announced that it was moving its Seattle-area flight simulators to Miami. There and in cities such as Singapore and London, amid an historic wave of orders, it relied on hired help known as “purchased service pilots,” or PSPs. Boeing’s longtime trainers had another abbreviation for them: DBCs, or “dirtbag contractors.”

In practice, according to interviews with more than a dozen pilots and engineers who participated in the Max’s development, the turmoil left the aircraft’s cockpit designers with a lack of input from the instructors who regularly saw how the typical airline pilot responded to unusual situations. Even among the pilots, there were communications breakdowns, partly caused by disagreements over unionization. At times conversations were civil but terse.

Boeing’s fight with the pilots came at the same time as layoffs among the engineers and was part of a drive, these people say, to lessen the clout of Seattle-area unions. Company reassignments placed thousands of miles between designers honing flight-deck concepts in Seattle, trainers working with airline pilots in Miami, and a team in California that provides day-to-day support of airplanes in the field. “The driving factor was monetary,” says Mike Coker, Boeing’s former chief training pilot. “Those relationships between the various professional organizations that for decades resulted in a good product, an improved product—they weren’t taken into consideration as much as the bottom line.”



But there was a more worrisome consequence: The move disrupted the informal relationships among engineers and trainers in the Seattle area who could easily convene at one of the simulators to talk over designs. (Another type of simulator known as an E-cab did remain in Seattle, employees say, but it was harder to schedule because of the increased demand for it.) “When the simulators were downstairs, there was an extreme amount of crosstalk,” Coker says. “We could do a walk-through or a rehearsal of a proposed procedure and see where the flaws were—much harder when you have to go to Miami or tell somebody over the phone.”

It was from a hotel room in Miami that former Boeing pilot Mark Forkner—one of the manual-writing pilots—sent frustrated instant messages in November 2016 about a Max simulator that wasn’t working, according to a former colleague. When congressional investigators released those messages this October, they caused an outcry because they seemed to suggest Boeing knew of issues long before the Max was flying. What they may show instead is a lousy information loop at the company.

[Article continues...]

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... unprepared
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2R
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Re: Boeing Systemic Problems Continue

Post by 2R » Tue Dec 24, 2019 7:57 am

Some may have thought Mcdonnel Douglas too big to fail . Never underestimate the Power of the dark side :)
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