Don Hudson

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  1. Hi Marshall - yes, it's the angle:
  2. Software Fix Will Address Most Recent MAX Issue Aug 1, 2019 Sean Broderick | Aviation Week & Space Technology Comments 17 The latest Boeing 737 MAX flight control computer system anomaly that the FAA has ordered fixed is addressable through software changes and presents less risk on older 737s, Aviation Week has confirmed. The failure scenario involved forcing a flight control computer (FCC) processor command to the horizontal stabilizer nose-down after detecting specific flight profile conditions, a source with knowledge of the issue says. It also bypassed the control column inputs, meaning pulling back on the column, or yoke, does not interrupt the stabilizer movement. Finally, the fault was to happen while the autopilot was engaged during cruise. The anomaly has never occurred during flight operations, but the FAA wanted to see what would happen if different combinations of faulty data fooled the FCC. Boeing is tackling the latest 737 flight control issue Software will eliminate risk on the MAX Column movement stops the issue on older 737s FAA pilots tested the scenario in mid-June—one of about 30 scenarios trialed during the session—in Boeing’s 737 engineering simulator, or e-cab. They were able to recover using the runaway stabilizer emergency procedure, the source said. There was no hardware failure, and the aircraft’s systems reacted exactly as they are designed to do. But at least one pilot determined that the time needed to identify the failure as a runaway stabilizer was too long, and the FAA ordered Boeing to address the issue. Boeing’s solution, the source says, is a software modification that monitors the FCC’s output. If the combination of erroneous data is detected, the second FCC and autopilot take over, eliminating the chance of stabilizer runaway. Details of the issue, many of which have not been previously reported, underscore the FAA’s heightened focus on eliminating risk as it scrutinizes the MAX’s design and evaluates when the aircraft will be safe to fly again. The FAA grounded the MAX on March 13, three days after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (ET302), the second fatal MAX crash in five months. Other agencies, seeing similarities between the two accident flight profiles, began grounding the aircraft within a day of ET302, and the entire 380-aircraft fleet remains parked. New simulator scenarios are likely to be part of the revised Boeing 737 training requirements. Credit: Boeing Investigators soon made a definitive link between ET302’s accident sequence and the October 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610 (JT610). In both cases, errant angle-of-attack (AOA) data being fed to the MAX’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law triggered nose-down stabilizer inputs as the aircraft were climbing shortly after takeoff. Both flight crews struggled to counter the system, which continued to operate, responding to the errant data. Both accident sequences ended in final dives that killed all onboard the aircraft. The MCAS is an extension of the 737 Next Generation (NG) speed-trim system (STS), which adjusts the stabilizer to ensure pitch is maintained as speed increases. The MCAS activates when the aircraft’s speed approaches threshold AOA, or stick-shaker, stall-warning activation, for the aircraft’s configuration and flight profile. It was added to the MAX to enhance pitch stability with slats and flaps retracted at very light weights and full aft center of gravity. The MCAS ensures the MAX, which features larger-diameter engines that generate more lift than those on its NG predecessor, handles like the NG, helping the two models earn a common type rating and minimizing differences training. Details from both ongoing accident probes, plus internal analysis, led Boeing and the FAA to determine that the MCAS needed changes. Boeing completed its software modifications in May and is awaiting word from the FAA on new training requirements that must be developed for MAX pilots. The JT610 and ET302 accident sequences prompted the FAA to re-examine its approval of the MAX, including system safety evaluations. Prior to Boeing’s changes, the MCAS relied on a single source of AOA data. In each accident, issues with the AOA sensors meant the data stream was communicating an impossibly high AOA value to the FCC. Instead of ignoring the anomalous data—another change incorporated into the new MCAS logic—the system responded with nose-down stabilizer actions when they were not needed. Boeing and the FAA assumed such a failure would be both remotely possible and, if it did occur, quickly recognized by pilots as runaway stabilizer. Both MAX accident sequences show they were wrong. New software must be installed on 380 in-service MAXs, plus about 200 more that are in storage awaiting delivery. Credit: Planet As part of its MAX reevaluation, the FAA examined other anomalies considered remote and flagged the latest issue. Like the MCAS failure scenario, it would only be triggered by faulty data and require pilots to quickly identify runaway stabilizer. “We identified a very remote failure case. Knowing what we know [following the accidents], we really needed to go back and see, if this occurs, can flight crews recover?” Ali Bahrami, FAA associate administrator for aviation safety, told U.S. lawmakers during a July 31 hearing. “Our test pilots [decided] that the level of proficiency that is required to recover from this event was exceptional. That’s why the software changes are being incorporated.” The scenario is not linked to the MCAS system. While it can occur on the NG, modifications to that fleet are not as pressing and may not be required at all. Pilots on the NG can counter any uncommanded stabilizer input by moving the yoke. On the MAX, Boeing bypasses this function—often called the column cut-out switch—when the MCAS is active, because it concluded that countering the MCAS by pulling back on the yoke could negate the system’s purpose. Because the column cut-out switch function is on the MAX, Boeing incorporated it into the latest round of worst-case failure scenarios trialed by the FAA’s pilots. Boeing says it expects to deliver its package of MAX updates—including the completed MCAS changes, additional software modification and related training packages—to the FAA “in the September time frame.” The agency is expected to take several weeks to review the package before deciding whether to lift its grounding. It also will address all return-to-service recommendations made by its Technical Advisory Board, a group of FAA and outside engineers tasked with reviewing the MCAS update, related system safety assessment, and training. “To be clear, the FAA will lift the 737 MAX grounding order only when it is safe to do so,” FAA Administrator Dan Elwell wrote in a July 30 letter to Congress. “While the FAA hopes to achieve nearly simultaneous approval from the major civil aviation authorities around the world, ultimately the U.S. and each country that grounded the 737 MAX will make its own determination based on its local requirements and processes.” Elwell added that the FAA is “offering assistance to any and all countries to support their return-to-service decisions” and is “working with our colleagues from the European Union, Canada, and Brazil [the three other entities with agencies that oversee major aircraft manufacturing programs] to address their concerns.” With the MCAS work done, Boeing’s main outstanding issues are the FCC software update to address the latest anomaly, certification flights to verify the package works as designed, and—perhaps most importantly—new training. The FAA continues to acknowledge that pilots transitioning from the NG to the MAX were not given enough information on differences between the two aircraft. The MCAS system, designed to operate in the background, was not included in the original manuals or differences training. This has changed. Some emergency procedures are also being revised, and new scenarios will likely be added to 737 recurrent simulator training, based in part on preliminary information gleaned from the two MAX accident probes. “We recognized that some actions the [JT610 and ET302] flight crews took were inconsistent with what we assumed would be the correct reaction,” Bahrami says.
  3. Not losing the lesson, - good for them, (and not gloating...this IS aviation). Given that the automobile industry is catching "automation flu" and "AIB", (the AI bandwagon), one wonders how thorough their testing is compared to aviation.
  4. hi moeman; Boeing is between a big rock and a very hard place. May as well return to the -800 and give up the fuel savings which was the MAX's largest selling point. Technically, the wing design & structure & pylon structure as well as ancilliary systems (controls/indicators) and documentation plus a new certification would likely present severe impediments to any such change. The problem now is, under microscopic scrutiny, the close examination of the B737 is showing that things that were accepted as 'done to standard' by Boeing and the FAA previously, are now found wanting. Problems are being discovered which were initially passed by Boeing which itself was appointed by the FAA to act as its own "safety auditor". A couple of examples: we haven't seen anything further on whether the trim wheel can be operated manually at high speed - that could possibly affect the certification of the single type, (all B737s). I've also read that the FAA is now examining the MAX's raised engine position with a view to disc-failure damaging the opposite engine while possibly taking out the rudder control cables if the disc-shraphnel passed through the lower fuselage. Such design is reminiscient of the DC10 center-engine disc-failure taking out all four hydraulic systems in the United 232 Sioux City crash, so the concern is real, (if unexamined, that is until now). A more complete story from the NYTimes is on the other thread.
  5. The Roots of Boeing’s 737 Max Crisis: A Regulator Relaxes Its Oversight After the first fatal crash of the 737 Max, in October 2018, federal regulators realized they didn’t fully understand the software system that sent the plane into a nosedive.CreditCreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times By Natalie Kitroeff, David Gelles and Jack Nicas July 27, 2019 SEATTLE — In the days after the first crash of Boeing’s 737 Max, engineers at the Federal Aviation Administration came to a troubling realization: They didn’t fully understand the automated system that helped send the plane into a nose-dive, killing everyone on board. Engineers at the agency scoured their files for information about the system designed to help avoid stalls. They didn’t find much. Regulators had never independently assessed the risks of the dangerous software known as MCAS when they approved the plane in 2017. More than a dozen current and former employees at the F.A.A. and Boeing who spoke with The New York Times described a broken regulatory process that effectively neutered the oversight authority of the agency. The regulator had been passing off routine tasks to manufacturers for years, with the goal of freeing up specialists to focus on the most important safety concerns. But on the Max, the regulator handed nearly complete control to Boeing, leaving some key agency officials in the dark about important systems like MCAS, according to the current and former employees. While the agency’s flawed oversight of the Boeing 737 Max has attracted much scrutiny since the first crash in October and a second one in March, a Times investigation revealed previously unreported details about weaknesses in the regulatory process that compromised the safety of the plane. The company performed its own assessments of the system, which were not stress-tested by the regulator. Turnover at the agency left two relatively inexperienced engineers overseeing Boeing’s early work on the system. The F.A.A. eventually handed over responsibility for approval of MCAS to the manufacturer. After that, Boeing didn’t have to share the details of the system with the two agency engineers. They weren’t aware of its intricacies, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Late in the development of the Max, Boeing decided to expand the use of MCAS, to ensure the plane flew smoothly. The new, riskier version relied on a single sensor and could push down the nose of the plane by a much larger amount. Boeing did not submit a formal review of MCAS after the overhaul. It wasn’t required by F.A.A. rules. An engineering test pilot at the regulator knew about the changes, according to an agency official. But his job was to evaluate the way the plane flew, not to determine the safety of the system. The agency ultimately certified the jet as safe, required little training for pilots and allowed the plane to keep flying until a second deadly Max crash, less than five months after the first. The plane remains grounded as regulators await a fix from Boeing. If the ban persists much longer, Boeing said this past week that it could be forced to halt production. The F.A.A. and Boeing have defended the plane’s certification, saying they followed proper procedures and adhered to the highest standards. “The agency’s certification processes are well-established and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs,” the regulator said in a statement Friday. “The 737 Max certification program involved 110,000 hours of work on the part of F.A.A. personnel, including flying or supporting 297 test flights.” Boeing said “the F.A.A.’s rigor and regulatory leadership has driven ever-increasing levels of safety over the decades,” adding that “the 737 Max met the F.A.A.’s stringent standards and requirements as it was certified through the F.A.A.’s processes.” While Ali Bahrami was the Federal Aviation Administration’s top official in Seattle, some engineers believed that he had installed managers who would be deferential to Boeing.CreditJonathan Ernst/Bloomberg Federal prosecutors and lawmakers are now investigating whether the regulatory process is fundamentally flawed. As planes become more technologically advanced, the rules, even when they are followed, may not be enough to ensure safety. The new software played a role in both disasters, involving Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines, which together killed 346 people. “Did MCAS get the attention it needed? That’s one of the things we’re looking at,” said Chris Hart, the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, who is now leading a multiagency task force investigating how the Max was approved. “As it evolved from a less robust system to a more powerful system, were the certifiers aware of the changes?” Boeing needed the approval process on the Max to go swiftly. Months behind its rival Airbus, the company was racing to finish the plane, a more fuel-efficient version of its best-selling 737. The regulator’s hands-off approach was pivotal. At crucial moments in the Max’s development, the agency operated in the background, mainly monitoring Boeing’s progress and checking paperwork. The nation’s largest aerospace manufacturer, Boeing was treated as a client, with F.A.A. officials making decisions based on the company’s deadlines and budget. It has long been a cozy relationship. Top agency officials have shuffled between the government and the industry. During the Max certification, senior leaders at the F.A.A. sometimes overruled their own staff members’ recommendations after Boeing pushed back. For safety reasons, many agency engineers wanted Boeing to redesign a pair of cables, part of a major system unrelated to MCAS. The company resisted, and F.A.A. managers took Boeing’s side, according to internal agency documents. After the crash of the Lion Air plane last October, F.A.A. engineers were shocked to discover they didn’t have a complete analysis of MCAS. The safety review in their files didn’t mention that the system could aggressively push down the nose of the plane and trigger repeatedly, making it difficult to regain control of the aircraft, as it did on the doomed Lion Air flight. Despite their hazy understanding of the system, F.A.A. officials decided against grounding the 737 Max. Instead, they published a notice reminding pilots of existing emergency procedures. The notice didn’t describe how MCAS worked. At the last minute, an F.A.A. manager told agency engineers to remove the only mention of the system, according to internal agency documents and two people with knowledge of the matter. Instead, airlines learned about it from Boeing. ‘He really wanted abdication.’ The F.A.A. department that oversaw the Max development had such a singular focus that it was named after the company: The Boeing Aviation Safety Oversight Office. Many F.A.A. veterans came to see the department, created in 2009, as a symbol of the agency’s close relationship with the manufacturer. The top official in Seattle at the time, Ali Bahrami, had a tough time persuading employees to join, according to three current and former employees. Some engineers believed that Mr. Bahrami had installed managers in the office who would defer to Boeing. “He didn’t put enough checks and balances in the system,” Mike McRae, a former F.A.A. engineer, said of Mr. Bahrami. “He really wanted abdication. He didn’t want delegation.” Before the certification of the Max began, Mr. Bahrami called a group of F.A.A. engineers into his office, the current and former employees said, and asked some of them to join the group. Many didn’t want to change jobs, according to a complaint filed by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the union representing F.A.A. engineers. “I got dragged kicking and screaming,” said Richard Reed, a former systems engineer at the F.A.A. Mr. Reed said he had just left surgery when agency officials called to ask whether he would work in the office. “I always claimed that I was on drugs when I said ‘yes.’” The F.A.A. said in a statement that Mr. Bahrami “dedicated his career to the advancement of aviation safety in both the private and public sectors.” F.A.A. offices in Des Moines, Wash. The way the agency dealt with Boeing left engineers at the agency demoralized, two employees said.CreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times For decades, the F.A.A. relied on engineers inside Boeing to help certify aircraft. But after intense lobbying to Congress by industry, the agency adopted rules in 2005 that would give manufacturers like Boeing even more control. Previously, the agency selected the company engineers to work on its behalf; under the new regulations, Boeing could choose them, though the F.A.A. has veto power. Many of the agency’s top leaders embraced the approach. It would allow the F.A.A. to certify planes more efficiently and stretch its limited resources. The regulator had also been finding it harder to compete for talented engineers, their government salaries unable to keep up with the going rates in the industry. For Boeing, the changes meant shedding a layer of bureaucracy. “The process was working well,” said Tom Heineman, a retired Boeing engineer who worked on the Max. “The F.A.A. was delegating more of the work and the review and the oversight to the manufacturers than it used to.” But some F.A.A. engineers were concerned that they were no longer able to effectively monitor what was happening inside Boeing. In a PowerPoint presentation to agency managers in 2016, union representatives raised concerns about a “brain drain” and the “inability to hire and retain qualified personnel.” By 2018, the F.A.A. was letting the company certify 96 percent of its own work, according to an agency official. Nicole Potter, an F.A.A. propulsion and fuel systems engineer who worked on the Max, said supervisors repeatedly asked her to give up the right to approve safety documents. She often had to fight to keep the work. “Leadership was targeting a high level of delegation,” Ms. Potter said. When F.A.A. employees didn’t have time to approve a critical document, she said, “managers could delegate it back to Boeing.” It was a process Mr. Bahrami championed to lawmakers. After spending more than two decades at the F.A.A., he left the agency in 2013 and took a job at the Aerospace Industries Association, a trade group that represents Boeing and other manufacturers. “We urge the F.A.A. to allow maximum use of delegation,” Mr. Bahrami told Congress in his new lobbying role, arguing it would help American manufacturers compete. In 2017, Mr. Bahrami returned to the F.A.A. as the head of safety. An internal battle at the F.A.A. With Boeing taking more control, F.A.A. engineers found they had little power, even when they did raise concerns. Early on, engineers at the F.A.A. discovered a problem with one of the most important new features of the Max: its engines. The Max, the latest version of the 50-year-old 737, featured more fuel-efficient engines, with a larger fan and a high-pressure turbine. But the bigger, more complex engines could do more damage if they broke apart midair. The F.A.A. engineers were particularly concerned about pieces hitting the cables that control the rudder, according to five people with knowledge of the matter and internal agency documents. A cable severed during takeoff would make it difficult for pilots to regain control, potentially bringing down the jet. The F.A.A. engineers suggested a couple solutions, three of the people said. The company could add a second set of cables or install a computerized system for controlling the rudder. Boeing did not want to make a change, according to internal F.A.A. documents reviewed by The Times. A redesign could have caused delays. Company engineers argued that it was unlikely that an engine would break apart and shrapnel would hit the rudder cable. Most of the F.A.A. engineers working on the issue insisted the change was necessary for safety reasons, according to internal agency emails and documents. But their supervisors balked. In a July 2015 meeting, Jeff Duven, who replaced Mr. Bahrami as the head of the F.A.A.’s Seattle operation, sided with Boeing, said two current employees at the agency. Boeing Max planes in Renton, Wash. The company downplayed the risks of the software, MCAS, to federal officials.CreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times F.A.A. managers conceded that the Max “does not meet” agency guidelines “for protecting flight controls,” according to an agency document. But in another document, they added that they had to consider whether any requested changes would interfere with Boeing’s timeline. The managers wrote that it would be “impractical at this late point in the program,” for the company to resolve the issue. Mr. Duven at the F.A.A. also said the decision was based on the safety record of the plane. Engineers at the agency were demoralized, the two agency employees said. One engineer submitted an anonymous complaint to an internal F.A.A. safety board, which was reviewed by The Times. “During meetings regarding this issue the cost to Boeing to upgrade the design was discussed,” the engineer wrote. “The comment was made that there may be better places for Boeing to spend their safety dollars.” An F.A.A. panel investigated the complaint. It found managers siding with Boeing had created “an environment of mistrust that hampers the ability of the agency to work effectively,” the panel said in a 2017 report, which was reviewed by The Times. The panel cautioned against allowing Boeing to handle this kind of approval, saying “the company has a vested interest in minimizing costs and schedule impact.” By then, the panel’s findings were moot. Managers at the agency had already given Boeing the right to approve the cables, and they were installed on the Max. Playing down risks In the middle of the Max’s development, two of the most seasoned engineers in the F.A.A.’s Boeing office left. The engineers, who had a combined 50 years of experience, had joined the office at its creation, taking on responsibility for flight control systems, including MCAS. But they both grew frustrated with the work, which they saw as mostly paper pushing, according to two people with knowledge of the staff changes. In their place, the F.A.A. appointed an engineer who had little experience in flight controls, and a new hire who had gotten his master’s degree three years earlier. People who worked with the two engineers said they seemed ill-equipped to identify any problems in a complex system like MCAS. And Boeing played down the importance of MCAS from the outset. An early review by the company didn’t consider the system risky, and it didn’t prompt additional scrutiny from the F.A.A. engineers, according to two agency officials. The review described a system that would activate only in rare situations, when a plane was making a sharp turn at high speeds. The F.A.A. engineers who had been overseeing MCAS never received another safety assessment. As Boeing raced to finish the Max in 2016, agency managers gave the company the power to approve a batch of safety assessments — some of the most important documents in any certification. They believed the issues were low risk. One of the managers, Julie Alger, delegated the review of MCAS. Previously, the F.A.A. had the final say over the system. The F.A.A. said that decision reflected the consensus of the team. Boeing was in the middle of overhauling MCAS. To help pilots control the plane and avoid a stall, the company allowed MCAS to trigger at low speeds, rather than just at high speeds. The overhauled version would move the stabilizer by as much as 2.5 degrees each time it triggered, significantly pushing down the nose of the plane. The earlier version moved the stabilizer by 0.6 degrees. When company engineers analyzed the change, they figured that the system had not become any riskier, according to two people familiar with Boeing’s discussions on the matter. They assumed that pilots would respond to a malfunction in three seconds, quickly bringing the nose of the plane back up. In their view, any problems would be less dangerous at low speeds. So the company never submitted an updated safety assessment of those changes to the agency. In several briefings in 2016, an F.A.A. test pilot learned the details of the system from Boeing. But the two F.A.A. engineers didn’t understand that MCAS could move the tail as much as 2.5 degrees, according to two people familiar with their thinking. Under the impression the system was insignificant, officials didn’t require Boeing to tell pilots about MCAS. When the company asked to remove mention of MCAS from the pilot’s manual, the agency agreed. The F.A.A. also did not mention the software in 30 pages of detailed descriptions noting differences between the Max and the previous iteration of the 737. Days after the Lion Air crash, the agency invited Boeing executives to the F.A.A.’s Seattle headquarters, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The officials sat incredulous as Boeing executives explained details about the system that they didn’t know. In the middle of the conversation, an F.A.A. employee, one of the people said, interrupted to ask a question on the minds of several agency engineers: Why hadn’t Boeing updated the safety analysis of a system that had become so dangerous? The reporters on this article can be reached at, and Natalie Kitroeff and Jack Nicas reported from Seattle, and David Gelles from New York. James Glanz, Mike Baker and Kitty Bennett contributed reporting. A version of this article appears in print on July 27, 2019, Section A, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: Relaxed F.A.A. Oversight At Root of Boeing’s Crisis. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
  6. Boeing reports its worst ever financial losses as 737 Max crisis continues Add to list The fuselage of a Boeing 737 Max aircraft is seen parked at the Boeing facility in Renton, Wash., on July 1. (Lindsey Wasson/Reuters) By Aaron Gregg July 24 at 2:59 PM Software problems that played a role in two deadly plane crashes involving Boeing’s new 737 Max commercial jetliners are proving to be financially calamitous for the Chicago-based aerospace giant, which reported its largest-ever quarterly loss Wednesday. Boeing lost $3.38 billion for the quarter on $15.7 billion revenue, sending its stock down close to 3 percent by early afternoon. Executives said the company may have to temporarily shut down its 737 Max production, an extraordinary step that would send ripple effects throughout the global aerospace industry. The company already slowed the production rate. Boeing faces a crisis with no end in sight, as its once-promising 737 Max commercial jetliner has been grounded for well over four months. “This is a defining moment for Boeing, and we’re committed to coming through this challenging time better and stronger as a company,” Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said in a call with investors. [Boeing 737 crash families make emotional plea to lawmakers: Hold Boeing accountable] The company is working to fix a host of technical problems related to the plane’s flight control systems, and executives have estimated the planes will be deemed flight worthy early in the fourth quarter of 2019, noting regulators control the timing. But regulators have provided no firm timeline for when they will allow the planes to fly again, and Boeing executives emphasized the timeline could slip further depending on regulators’ decisions. Airlines are assuming the crisis will continue late into the fall, canceling hundreds of flights every day. The 737 Max is the newest version of Boeing’s best-selling commercial jet. It was pitched as an even more reliable version of a long-trusted plane, complete with engine updates that made the plane more fuel efficient. However, the company added a new flight control system called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS. That system was designed to make the plane behave as similarly as possible to past models, with minimal new training for pilots. It was later discovered that the system can override pilots’ manual controls in certain rare but dangerous situations, pushing the plane into a nosedive. These problems played a role in the October 2018 crash of a 737 Max 8 that killed 189 people in Indonesia, according to investigation reports and Boeing executives. Then, in early March, another Max 8 crashed under similar circumstances, killing 157 people. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered that the planes be grounded soon after the second crash. It initially mandated a set of fixes “no later than April,” but the timeline slipped as Boeing and the FAA discovered more problems with the plane’s flight control software. [Long before the Max disasters. Boeing had a history of failing to fix safety problems] In the meantime, the financial impacts are mounting for Boeing and its airline customers. Executives said Wednesday they could not estimate how much the crisis would affect the company’s earnings for the year. Last week the company reported a $5.6 billion charge needed to compensate 737 Max customers. It faces lawsuits from family members of the 346 people who died in Indonesia and Ethiopia aboard the doomed flights, as well as continued scrutiny from Congress. Teal Group aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said Boeing is doing “a decent job” managing the financial fallout of the Max crisis given the tremendous uncertainties at play. “It’s unclear how much guidance they can offer given how much is out of their control,” Aboulafia said. “[Boeing’s] track record has been that they will say one thing, and then news is broken elsewhere ... from an airline or the FAA." Issues with the 737 Max overshadowed what was an otherwise successful quarter for Boeing’s other business units. The company’s defense, space and security division saw a 159 percent percent jump in quarterly earnings over the previous year, and the company’s new global services unit continued to grow.
  7. Hi boestar; Diane Vaughan examined NASA for something she called "amoral calculation" - the calculated willingness to intentionally cut corners knowing that risk increased. In fact, under economic & performance pressures, every organization does it; the key is resiliency when something breaks, like a 10A fuse and not a 50,000A fuse. Because sources of the change are not known and history is simply accepted, (assuming that "someone else" has done the risk work), what follows is a gradual process of the "normalization of deviance", a term introduced by Vaughan, now familiar to most flight safety people studying organizational failure, and not just in the aviation industry. However, Vaughan gradually concluded that, while it certainly existed, such process of intentional wrongdoing was not a primary contributing factor in Challenger. What she found was that most people were highly intentioned and highly motivated, considering that what they were doing was exactly the right thing. This is a far more subtle, latent expression of the normalization of deviance. Risk is normalized; single points of failure are normalized and successful outcomes and operations reify actions, design and the approach taken. The latent risk in the MAX existed from first production airplane on, for thousands of unremarkable operations for about two years. The airplane was "just another 737", the very definition of "success". Now the layers upon layers of decisions and actions by Boeing and the FAA are being peeled away like an onion and examined under both media and legal microscopes. The history of the B787 and even Douglas' DC10, (a terrible airplane in my view, rushed to compete with the L1011), are under examination. They have established a self-replicating "meme", gathering a life of its own, beyond the control of anyone now. The risks to the airplane and possibly even the company are gradually emerging into awareness. The lessons are obvious in hindsight but they are not new. What we think should have been done decades ago, does not explain their behaviour and any explanations will be in terms of the present culture which, as we know, cannot fix the problem. Like any ideological approach to process vs. thinking about things then acting rationally upon actual data, ideology demands that adherents blindly conform. Dissent and questioning is discouraged. The outcomes are always the same. That's why, in the 90's, the aviation industry created CRM: Cockpit (or Crew) Resource Management to stop otherwise-preventable accidents whether in the moment, or over months or years.
  8. I think that the record perhaps says otherwise as these investigations are showing. Shortly after the 1997 McDonnell-Douglas buyout/merger there were observations made regarding the cultural shift imposed by the McD management. So it was "known" early by those working for (the old) Boeing as discussed in Emerging from Turbulence, (2010 & 2015). Until the MAX accidents, the B787, including the aircrafts' grounding, were the strongest indications of the issues that are showing up as organzational / cultural problems quite clearly now. There is history behind the MAX accidents as is now plainly seen in the numerous investigations including a criminal investigation all of which are far from over. I think it is reasonable to believe that they would appear to be hindsight only to those who weren't watching both the company and the FAA along the way.
  9. Apollo 11 LEM approaching the Command Module Apollo 16 Command Module from the LEM Trivia question - How many Apollo missions landed on the moon?
  10. Emerging From Turbulence Boeing and the American Workplace Today September 15, 2015 Boeing’s 100th anniversary this year is marked by a new book; Workers, whose lives changed with a fierce pursuit of profit, speak out TACOMA, Wash. – “If you don’t perform, you don’t stay on the team.” With these words in 1998, Boeing’s then-new president, Harry Stonecipher, sent a chill through the global airplane manufacturer’s thousands of employees. What followed in the years after were radical changes that put Boeing on a new road with enormous consequences—good and bad—some of which are still unfolding today. As the company, founded in 1916 by William Edward Boeing, turns 100 years old this year, a new book, Emerging From Turbulence: Boeing and Stories of the American Workplace Today (Rowman & Littlefield; October 2015) takes a piercing look at those last two decades. We hear many grand stories from America’s corporate bosses about the necessity and benefits of a relentless pursuit of profits in the global marketplace. In Emerging From Turbulence readers are introduced to the missing piece in those stories: the experiences of the employees who toil in the trenches every day. Thirty-six workers voice their own views of Boeing and its future in a book that authors Leon Grunberg and Sarah Moore created from two decades of study of Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Washington state. Their research at the airplane manufacturing headquarters included company-wide surveys and recent in-depth interviews with 85 employees. Grunberg, professor emeritus of sociology, and Moore, professor of psychology, at University of Puget Sound, gained national recognition in 2010 for their book Turbulence: Boeing and the State of American Workers and Managers, co-written with Edward Greenberg and Pat Sikora, of University of Colorado, Boulder. This new book takes another tact: giving voice to Boeing’s workers—present, former, and retired—and using accumulated data to assess what lies ahead. The resulting work identifies a noticeable shift in the workplace culture of large corporations and gives warning of a disturbing undercurrent in the “grand hurrahs” shouted for America’s global corporate success.
  11. Bobcaygeon; The notion that the takeover of Boeing by McDonnell-Douglas has long and significant traction and not just among Boeing's engineers, retired, active and hired-after-merger. "Emerging from Turbulence", written in 2015, discusses the effects of the merger by interviews with employees done over a twenty year period, (a previous book with two additional authors was published in 2010). The book reads as any book might where it concerns mergers and employees, and the themes will be familiar to most here. The book is done with great care, intending to examine the effects of corporatization on employees over time. The theme is not "flight safety" and "organizational accidenets". Unlike the sociological study done by Diane Vaughan, (The Challenger Launch Decision) which does discuss organizational factors and failures which led to the loss of Challenger (and Columbia), the authors draw no conclusions at all regarding the safety and performance of Boeing aircraft or organizational factors concerning accidents involving Boeing aircraft. The book is a cohort study, recording employee comments over time. I think the book is important as a proper study of organizational change and behaviour within the changing American poltical economy. In a concluding chapter, "Implications of the New Social Contract", the authors write: "We assembled this collection of individual stories in the belief that employees desrve a hearing as we seek to understand the transformation of American workplaces. They are, after all, the ones who bear the consequences, both beneficial and harmful, of the many technological, organizational, and cultural changes that are under way. As we have seen, their experiences and responses to the changes are complex and highly personal. To some extent, the particular details and idiosyncratic nature of their responses are the inevitalbe result of using individual stories to illuminate the experiences of employees through these years of change. If, however, we examine the broader sweep of these stories by combining them into one narrative arc, we can detect an underlying trend in the way the three different cohorts responded to Boeing's transformation. We detect a gradual but unmistakable turn away from the company across time and across generations, evidence perhaps of the larger "unwinding" observed by George Parker. . . . . Most [employees] were aware of the problems introduced by the new business philosophy but didn't see them as sufficiently damaging to undermine their loyalty to and pride in the company. They still believed that the social contract or exchange between Boeing and them was, on the whole, equitable and balanced. For other veteran Boeing employees, the problems couldn't easily be wespt aside but rather permanently altered how they viewed the company. They believed, with much justification, that Boeing's leaders had badly mishandled the development of the 787 in their efforts to cut costs and minimize risk. Excessive outsourcing and lack of oversight and control of the supply chain on the 787, they felt, were bound to produce serious problems. These employees also regretted what they perceived as Boeing's lack of respect for tribal and tacit knowledge accumulated by the workforce, as well as what they perceived as the companyt's cavalier attitude toward the preservation and transmission of the knowedge to the new genration of workers. They rued the absence of aerospace experience among top executives and their single-minded pursuit of the bottom line and short-term returns." Any quoting from a book is always slightly unfair to the thesis and to those reading the quote because it isn't the whole thing. Early in the employee comments was the strong complaint that the McDonnell-Douglas culture destroyed the Boeing culture of "testing, re-testing and perfecting", (my words) and that "good enough" was good enough. One cannot draw a straight line between such cultural changes and, for example, the "normalization of deviance" to which Vaughan both creates and constantly refers to in her book on culture at NASA. But the themes are there nevertheless, an environment in which oversight was observed as less than optimal. Elsewhere, (government documents found at "" which hosts FOIA results), complaints that both FAA and Boeing engineers' challenges to design and process were discouraged or ignored by those in charge, are a matter of record, (links provided on the AEF earlier, on the main MAX thread). I post this here because I think the matter cannot be merely set aside and "blame" is neither an answer nor a solution. In the same way that other organizational issues must be examined, (Fukushima, Deepwater Horizon, DC-10 cargo door, Colgan Q400, Challenger/Columbia) if they are to be recognized and fixed.
  12. I think it's been worn down...some metal curling up at the trailing edge of both rims and no displacement or slight mound of the tar material.
  13. The Comments section which follows the "B787" article above is worth a read as it sheds light on the question many are turning attention towards: the McDonnell-Douglas buy-out of Boeing in 1997 and the cultural shift that began to take place. After reading this, I I wondered if anyone had written about corporate culture at Boeing in the same way that Diane Vaughan, who wrote The Challenger Launch Decision, had, especially after the 1997 date. It turns out that there are two books on the topic. One was written in 2010 and the other in 2015. The first was co-authored by four authors and the second by two of those same authors so it may really be one book with updates. Books like this require a cautious reading but if they're like Vaughan's well-researched book updated in 2016, both will be worth reading. Emerging From Turbulence: Boeing and the American Workplace Today September 15, 2015 Boeing’s 100th anniversary this year is marked by a new book; Workers, whose lives changed with a fierce pursuit of profit, speak out TACOMA, Wash. – “If you don’t perform, you don’t stay on the team.” With these words in 1998, Boeing’s then-new president, Harry Stonecipher, sent a chill through the global airplane manufacturer’s thousands of employees. What followed in the years after were radical changes that put Boeing on a new road with enormous consequences—good and bad—some of which are still unfolding today. As the company, founded in 1916 by William Edward Boeing, turns 100 years old this year, a new book, Emerging From Turbulence: Boeing and Stories of the American Workplace Today (Rowman & Littlefield; October 2015) takes a piercing look at those last two decades. We hear many grand stories from America’s corporate bosses about the necessity and benefits of a relentless pursuit of profits in the global marketplace. In Emerging From Turbulence readers are introduced to the missing piece in those stories: the experiences of the employees who toil in the trenches every day. Thirty-six workers voice their own views of Boeing and its future in a book that authors Leon Grunberg and Sarah Moore created from two decades of study of Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Washington state. Their research at the airplane manufacturing headquarters included company-wide surveys and recent in-depth interviews with 85 employees. Grunberg, professor emeritus of sociology, and Moore, professor of psychology, at University of Puget Sound, gained national recognition in 2010 for their book Turbulence: Boeing and the State of American Workers and Managers, co-written with Edward Greenberg and Pat Sikora, of University of Colorado Boulder. This new book takes another tact: giving voice to Boeing’s workers—present, former, and retired—and using accumulated data to assess what lies ahead. The resulting work identifies a noticeable shift in the workplace culture of large corporations and gives warning of a disturbing undercurrent in the “grand hurrahs” shouted for America’s global corporate success. “The millions of ‘ordinary employees’ who work in corporate America rarely have starring roles in these unfolding dramas of change, but … a full understanding of the consequences of corporate change is not complete without their voices,” the authors write. In one respect, Grunberg and Moore say, companies can rightly claim that the focus on short-term shareholder value is working. Boeing’s stock price has risen sharply since the early 1990s; the company has record orders far into the future; and it has shown healthy profits and productivity increases. However, this came at a cost. The single-minded pursuit of shareholder value—through a giant merger, massive layoffs, new outsourcing of parts, the opening of an assembly line in South Carolina, and a clampdown on unions and employee benefits—preceded Boeing’s well-recorded disaster with the 787 Dreamliner, a revolutionary airplane that came in 3.5 years late and more than $25 billion in the hole. In parallel with these changes, a fascinating story of its own took place in the offices and on the shop floor. Thousands of workers, though often appreciative of the good salary and benefits Boeing provides, reacted with shock to the changes at the company they had once regarded as “family.” Meantime, newcomers, who were part of a hiring effort to replace thousands of baby boomer retirees, came in with radically different attitudes. The book’s chapters on the “retired” and the “still employed” describe some employees who are accepting of the changes, but others who are deeply disillusioned, such as the veteran technical employee who claimed: “Boeing no longer wants the best employees. They seem to be content to hire average people and pay them average salaries. I guess that is one way to make airplanes. Boeing used to be about exceptionalism—now it’s about averagism.” Even more revealing are the chapters on the “Newly Hired at Boeing”—workers who have been there less than five years, and who saw none of the turmoil. Many are younger and pleased to have jobs in a difficult time. The attitude of one 27-year-old mechanic is not unusual. “The company’s number one goal is profits. I know it sounds cold, but it’s true. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that,” he says. In their Boeing interviews and surveys, Grunberg and Moore found evidence supporting the claims of other scholars that Gen Y or millennial employees (born between 1982 and 2000) are less loyal and more difficult to retain than previous generations. Gen Yers also have been described as demanding of attention, job satisfaction, and good opportunities to advance. In one of the surveys, newly hired Gen Yersreported that they spend 66 percent of their day working to their full potential.This compared to 75 percent or more for the newly hired Gen Xers (born 1965 to 1982) and baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964). A similar pattern emerged in response to the statement “I only miss work when necessary,” with 71 percent of Gen Yers saying “agree or strongly agree,” compared to 80–86 percent for newly hired older generations. So, does it matter and, if so, for whom? Many human resource scholars argue that having a workforce that is not fully engaged can take a toll on innovation, quality, and productivity, the authors write. They say an apparent lack of respect for “tribal knowledge” among Boeing’s management and younger workers also could lead to lost skills and damage the long-term position of one of America’s leading technology companies. As for the workers, in particular blue-collar workers, their middle-class lifestyle may be under threat, the authors surmise. “It is hard to think of how such workers can continue to earn a decent living if companies like Boeing continue to squeeze their pay and benefits, introduce more labor-saving technological changes, and relocate work to cheaper locations,” the professors write. Today the workers may get by just fine, they conclude. But, if the new reality continues its bold strides, sidelining unions in the process, the men and women who made American companies great could find themselves out on a limb. And all on their own. Leon Grunberg is professor emeritus of sociology at University of Puget Sound. For more than 30 years he has studied large and mid-size organizations, focusing on employee behavior and attitudes. He examined the investment activities of European multinationals, the impact of management-employee relations on productivity and safety, the promise and reality of participatory workplaces in the U.S.A., and the effects of restructuring on the attitudes and well-being of employees. Together with Moore, Grunberg has published more than two dozen articles and made numerous presentations at professional conferences. Sarah Moore is professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at University of Puget Sound. Her research since 1993 has focused on the effects of work-related stressors, such as layoffs, re-engineering, and various job characteristics on employee health, work attitudes, and work performance. Moore has investigated work-home integration and conflict, the unique work stressors experienced by managerial women, and generational work differences and similarities. Since 1996 Moore and Grunberg have collaborated on a long-term study at Boeing Commercial, twice receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health. Press photos of the book jacket and authors can be downloaded from Photos on page: From the top: Leon Grunberg and Sarah Moore; a Boeing 767 on the production line, by David Axe (2007); cockpit of a Boeing 767, by Individuo (2007).
  14. DOJ probe expands beyond Boeing 737 MAX, includes 787 Dreamliner June 28, 2019 at 2:37 pm Updated June 28, 2019 at 6:27 pm By Steve Miletich Seattle Times staff reporter Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed records from Boeing relating to the production of the 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina, where there have been allegations of shoddy work, according to two sources familiar with the investigation. The subpoena was issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the sources said. DOJ is also conducting a criminal investigation into the certification and design of the 737 MAX after two deadly crashes of that jetliner. The 787 subpoena significantly widens the scope of the DOJ’s scrutiny of safety issues at Boeing. The two sources who revealed the subpoena spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the inquiries. A third source said a handful of subpoenas were issued in early June to individual employees at Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner production plant in North Charleston, South Carolina. DOJ spokesman Peter Carr, in Washington, D.C., declined to comment Friday. A Boeing spokesman said, “We don’t comment on legal matters.” It wasn’t clear if the subpoena served on the company was issued by the same prosecutors overseeing the 737 MAX investigation. But the third source, also speaking on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of the inquiries, said the subpoenas to employees at the South Carolina plant came from the “same group” of prosecutors involved in the 737 MAX investigation, including DOJ trial attorneys Cory Jacobs and Carol Sipperly in the Fraud Section. Boeing divides its Dreamliner production between the South Carolina assembly plant, which rolled out its first plane in 2012, and the sprawling Everett facility where it has built jets for decades. The 737 MAX is built in Renton. Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., have been looking into the development of the 737 MAX, including a new flight-safety control system known as MCAS, after one crash on Oct. 29 off Indonesia and another in Ethiopia on March 10. Those disasters killed 346 people and led to worldwide grounding of the plane. The inside story of MCAS: How Boeing’s 737 MAX system gained power and lost safeguards | Times Watchdog The grand-jury investigation into the MAX has been cloaked in secrecy, but some of the Justice Department’s activities have become known as prosecutors issued subpoenas for documents. The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General and the FBI are working with the DOJ. A Seattle Times story in March detailed how Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) managers pushed its engineers to delegate more of the certification process for the 737 MAX to Boeing itself. The Times story also detailed flaws in an original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA. Allegations relating to the 787 Dreamliner have centered on shoddy work and cutting corners at the company’s South Carolina plant.
  15. A bit more detail from AW&ST... FAA Flags New Computer Issue In 737 MAX Testing Jun 26, 2019 Sean Broderick | Aviation Daily Collins Aerospace WASHINGTON—FAA test pilots have flagged a new issue in the Boeing 737MAX flight control system that must be addressed as part of changes being made to get the aircraft back into service, Aviation Week has learned. The issue came to light within the last week during tests in Boeing’s MAX engineering flight simulator, or e-cab, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed. The pilots were simulating a runaway stabilizer scenario and running through the requisite emergency-response checklist. A key early step is to use control column-mounted electric-trim switches to command horizontal stabilizer movement to counter the runaway. A subsequent step, if needed, is to toggle cutout switches that disable the trim motors. According to the source, the FAA pilots found response to the electric-trim inputs took too long. “They had a difficult time quickly resolving the situation,” the source explained. The issue has been traced to how quickly a specific flight control computer chip is processing data, the source said. What is not clear: whether the chip itself needs to be changed, or if a software update will address the issue. A second industry source said that a software fix is possible—and certainly would be preferable for Boeing, which suggested in a statement that a software modification will be sufficient. Changing chips could further delay the MAX’s return to service, as it would likely require new chip architecture as well as changing chips on nearly more than 500 MAXs in airline fleets or ready to be delivered. “The FAA is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 MAX to passenger service,” the agency said in a statement. “The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate.” Boeing said the issue is “an additional requirement” that the FAA “has asked the company to address through the software changes that the company has been developing” for the MAX. “Boeing agrees with the FAA’s decision and request and is working on the required software to address the FAA’s request. Addressing this condition will reduce pilot workload by accounting for a potential source of uncommanded stabilizer motion,” it added. The MAX has been grounded since mid-March following two fatal accidents in five months. Boeing has been working on changes to the MAX’s flight control system, specifically the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) flight control law. MCAS commands automatic horizontal stabilizer inputs in certain flight scenarios, and it activated erroneously in both accident sequences. Its failure can result in a runaway stabilizer scenario, which pilots are supposed to mitigate by following the “stabilizer runaway” checklist. Trimming the aircraft using the control-column switches is a key first step meant to stabilize the aircraft and enable the pilots to safely de-power horizontal stabilizer trim motors using cutout switches mounted on the aircraft’s center console. In both accident sequences—the October 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610 and Mar. 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302—the crews used the column-mounted switches to counter MCAS. Neither followed the runaway stabilizer checklist step-by-step, and were overcome by MCAS’s repeated inputs that forced the aircraft’s nose down due to erroneous angle-of-attack data being fed to the flight control computer. Both accident sequences ended with uncontrollable dives. The newly discovered issue came up during a very specific failure scenario, and it is not clear whether it has any link to either MAX accident sequence, the first source emphasized