Don Hudson

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  1. FAA hits Boeing with $3.9 million fine for slat track issue 07 December, 2019 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Jon Hemmerdinger Boston The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed fining Boeing $3.9 million for installing slat components that failed quality inspections on 133 737 jets. The issue, which came to light in June with an FAA airworthiness directive, involves "slat tracks", which are located on the leading edge of 737 wings and guide the movement of slats, says an FAA media release. The issue affected 737NGs and 737 Max. The FAA says Boeing failed to properly oversee suppliers and installed slat tracks that "were weakened by a condition known as hydrogen embrittlement that occurred during the cadmium-titanium plating", the FAA says. "The FAA further alleges that Boeing knowingly submitted aircraft for final FAA airworthiness certification after determining that the parts could not be used due to a failed strength test," it says. FAA documents say supplier Kencoa Aerospace, based in Georgia, provided the slat tracks, and that another company called Southwest United Industries performed the cadmium-titanium plating. Kencoa sent the tracks to Spirit AeroSystems, which eventually shipped the components to Boeing. Southwest United, a division of Washington-based PCC Aerostructures, notified Kencoa in July 2018 that a batch of tracks had failed a quality test, and Kencoa passed that information to Spirit in early August of that year. Spirit then informed Boeing of the problem in September 2018, says the FAA. Before being notified of the issue, Boeing certificated 48 aircraft that may have had affected slats. The company then certificated another 85 potentially affected aircraft after being informed, says the FAA. Boeing has 30 days to respond to the FAA's proposed penalty. The company says it has already inspected and performed required work on all affected 737NGs and that it will address affected 737 Max before those aircraft return to service. "Safety and quality are Boeing’s top priorities, and Boeing has made a number of significant changes to our organisation and processes in recent months that will reinforce and enhance this commitment," Boeing says. Those changes include the creation of a new product safety division and new lines of reporting for engineers. "We are committed to continuing to strengthen our processes to ensure that quality issues in our production system are promptly identified, elevated and resolved," Boeing says. Spirit says it "worked closely with its Boeing customer, regulators and the supplier who procured this part to address the issue. While not a Spirit-made part, we take the safety and quality of everything we provide very seriously". Neither Southwest United nor Kencoa could be reached immediately by FlightGlobal for comment.
  2. Hi seeker; Agree - contrary to "pie-in-the-sky", all indications point to electric, autonomous flight at some point. In my view, December 11th is as much a "Kitty Hawk" moment as the first one, a mere 115 years, 11 months, 24 days ago...
  3. https://linkprotect.cudasvc.com/url?a=https%3a%2f%2fmak-iac.org%2fen%2frassledovaniya%2fboeing-737-800-a6-fdn-19-03-2016%2f&c=E,1,ysiX9taooSB2jCDjMbfpDp71pDfgLs5CBTwEcgG8q4KGAlqPCa_i6df-khmd-hzlfoBn7KH2czbzYtlvq9XNI9U5yOGBdZ19Sq5Q79KliwrblxBYPFYyOA,,&typo=1 The investigation concluded that: The IAC also included a number of contributing factors such as the presence of windshear, crew preparation for the second go-around, and the PIC's loss of situational awareness (spatial disorientation) which led to the final pushover. The report contains a total of 26 recommendations including 6 to the FATA (Russian regulator), 8 to the operator, 3 to the FAA and the HUD manufacturer, 2 to certification authorities, 6 to Boeing, and 1 to ICAO. Boeing is reviewing the details of the final report and will work with the FAA and global regulators to consider the safety recommendations; we have no recommended operator action at this time. Robert J McIntosh Director, Product Safety & Air Safety Investigation Boeing Commercial Airplanes
  4. Hi Rich; Hehe...Same question as, "What's a pixel weigh?" But if course it's the heavy support system that makes, "it weighs nothing", possible. As Einstein understood, there's no free lunch in nature! The reducing-weight-through-burning-fuel problem is partly mitigated by the superior efficiency of electric engines over internal-combustion engines. Perspective: take a look at the clever but highly-inefficient Newcomen engine of ~300 years ago! The challenges are always power-to-weight. Kerosene out-performs current lithium-ion solutions by approximately a 50:1 ratio. Development of Li-ion power/volume/weight ratios is proceeding at about a 3x/year level. Long-range, high-capacity airliners, like autonomous flight, are a long way away yet.
  5. On fuel requirements, good question, J.O. Interestingly, the whole "fuel to carry fuel" and reduced power needs as fuel is burnt would no longer apply because the landing weight of electric aircraft would be the same as the takeoff weight.
  6. FMEA process and Boeing - some history, (January 25, 2013), specifically regarding batteries. The article does not mention an early, serious battery issue with the ELT - AAIB Report. What Went Wrong with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner The production of the jet that was eventually dubbed the Dreamliner was plagued with manufacturing delays, cost overruns and sinking worker morale. By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ Published Jan 25, 2013 at 6:07 AM | Updated at 6:49 AM CST on Jan 25, 2013 AP An All Nippon Airways flight sits at Takamatsu airport in Takamatsu, western Japan after it made an emergency landing Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. The flight to Tokyo from Ube in western Japan landed at the airport after a cockpit message showed battery problems, in the latest trouble for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The 787 Dreamliner was born in a moment of desperation. It was 2003 and Boeing — the company that defined modern air travel — had just lost its title as the world's largest plane manufacturer to European rival Airbus. Its CEO had resigned in a defense-contract scandal. And its stock had plunged to the lowest price in a decade. Two years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, financially troubled airlines were reluctant to buy new planes. Boeing needed something revolutionary to win back customers. Salvation had a code name: Yellowstone. It was a plane that promised to be lighter and more technologically advanced than any other. Half of it would be built with new plastics instead of aluminum. The cabin would be more comfortable for passengers, and airlines could cut their fuel bills by 20 percent. But once production started, the gap between vision and reality quickly widened. The jet that was eventually dubbed the Dreamliner became plagued with manufacturing delays, cost overruns and sinking worker morale. In interviews with The Associated Press, a dozen former Boeing engineers, designers and managers recounted the pressure to meet tight deadlines. Adding to the chaos was the company's never-before-tried plan to build a plane from parts made around the globe. The former Boeing workers still stand behind the jetliner — and are proud to have worked on it. But many question whether the rush contributed to a series of problems that led the Federal Aviation Administration last week to take the extraordinary step of grounding the 787. Other countries did the same. Even before a single bolt was tightened, the Dreamliner was different. Because executives didn't want to risk all of the billions of dollars necessary to build a new commercial aircraft, they came up with a novel, but precarious, solution. A global network of suppliers would develop, and then build, most of the parts in locations as far away as Germany, Japan and Sweden. Boeing's own employees would manufacture just 35 percent of the plane before assembling the final aircraft at its plant outside Seattle. The decision haunts Boeing to this day. The FAA's order to stop flying the Dreamliner came after a battery fire aboard a 787 in Boston and another battery incident during a flight in Japan. It was the first time the FAA had grounded a whole fleet of planes since 1979, when it ordered the DC-10 out of the sky following a series of fatal crashes. Inspectors have focused on the plane's lithium-ion batteries and its complicated electrical system, which were developed by subcontractors in Japan, France, Arizona and North Carolina. Boeing declined to comment about the past but said its engineers are working around the clock to fix the recent problems. "Until those investigations conclude, we can't speculate on what the results may be," the company said in a statement. "We are confident the 787 is safe, and we stand behind its overall integrity." For decades, Boeing has been responsible for the biggest advances in aviation. The jet age started in 1958 with a Pan American flight between New York and Paris that took just eight and a half hours aboard the new Boeing 707. In 1970, Boeing ushered in the era of the jumbo jet with the 747. The giant plane, with its distinctive bulbous upper deck, made global air travel affordable. Suddenly a summer vacation in London wasn't just for the rich. By the start of the 21st century, change was much more incremental. Consolidation had left the world with two main commercial jet manufacturers: Boeing and Airbus. Boeing executives initially had not considered government-backed Airbus a serious competitor. But in 2003, the unthinkable happened. Boeing delivered just 281 new jets. Airbus produced 305, becoming for the first time the world's biggest plane manufacturer. American jobs — and pride — were at stake. And that wasn't all. Airbus was starting to develop its own new jet: the A380, the world's largest commercial plane, capable of carrying up to 853 passengers, or the equivalent of at least five Boeing 737s. "They were scaring everybody," said Bryan Dressler, who spent 12 years as a Boeing designer. "People here in Seattle have been through the booms and busts of Boeing so many times, even the slightest smack of a downturn makes people very edgy." Airbus believed that larger airplanes were needed to connect congested airports in the world's largest cities. Boeing executives weren't so sure. They believed airline passengers would pay a premium to avoid those same congested hubs with long nonstop flights between smaller cities. Now they just needed to develop a plane that would somehow make such trips economical. It had been 13 years since Boeing started development of a new plane, the 777. The company had recently scrapped two other major projects: a larger version of the 747 and the Sonic Cruiser, a plane that would fly close to the speed of sound. A development team with a knack for assigning new planes code names based on national parks had just the thing: Project Yellowstone. The plane — eventually rechristened the Dreamliner after a naming contest — was unlike anything else previously proposed. Half of its structure would be made of plastics reinforced with carbon fiber, a composite material that is both lighter and stronger than aluminum. In another first, the plane would rely on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to start its auxiliary power unit, which provides power on the ground or if the main engines quit. While other planes divert hot air from the engines through internal ducts to power some functions, the 787 uses electricity. Getting rid of those ducts is one thing that makes the plane lighter. There were also benefits for passengers. The plane's extra strength allowed for larger windows and a more comfortable cabin pressure. Because composites can't corrode like aluminum, the humidity in the cabin could be as much as 16 percent, double that of a typical aircraft. That meant fewer dry throats and stuffy noses. Before a single aircraft was built, the plane was an instant hit, becoming the fastest-selling new jet in history. Advance orders were placed for more than 800 planes. Boeing seemed to be on its way back. "Employees knew this was going to be a game changer, and they were stoked that the company was taking the risk to do something big," said Michael Cook, who spent 17 years as a computer developer at Boeing. But this was no longer the trailblazing, risk-taking Boeing of a generation earlier. The company had acquired rival McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Many McDonnell Douglas executives held leadership positions in the new company. The joke was that McDonnell Douglas used Boeing's money to buy Boeing. The 707 and 747 were blockbuster bets that nearly ruined the company before paying off. McDonnell Douglas executives didn't have the same appetite for gambling. So the only way the board of directors would sign off on the Dreamliner was to spread the risk among a global chain of suppliers. In December 2003, they agreed to take on half of the estimated $10 billion development cost. The plan backfired as production problems quickly surfaced. "I saw total chaos. Boeing bit off more than it could chew," said Larry Caracciolo, an engineer who spent three years managing 787 supplier quality. First, there were problems with the molding of the new plastics. Then parts made by different suppliers didn't fit properly. For instance, the nose-and-cockpit section was out of alignment with the rest of the plane, leaving a 0.3-inch gap. By giving up control of its supply chain, Boeing had lost the ability to oversee each step of production. Problems sometimes weren't discovered until the parts came together at its Everett, Wash., plant. Fixes weren't easy, and cultures among the suppliers often clashed. "It seemed like the Italians only worked three days a week. They were always on vacation. And the Japanese, they worked six days a week," said Jack Al-Kahwati, a former Boeing structural weight engineer. Even simple conversations between Boeing employees and those from the suppliers working in-house in Everett weren't so simple. Because of government regulations controlling the export of defense-related technology, any talks with international suppliers had to take place in designated conference rooms. Each country had its own, separate space for conversations. There were also deep fears, especially among veteran Boeing workers, that "we were giving up all of our trade secrets to the Japanese and that they would be our competition in 10 years," Al-Kahwati said. As the project fell further behind schedule, pressure mounted. It became increasingly clear that delivery deadlines wouldn't be met. Each success, no matter how small, was celebrated. The first delivery of a new part or the government certification of an engine would lead to a gathering in one of the engineering building atriums. Banners were hung and commemorative cards — like baseball cards — or coins were handed out. Those working on the plane brought home a constant stream of trinkets: hats, Frisbees, 787 M&Ms, travel mugs, plane-shaped chocolates, laser pointers and lapel pins. Many of the items can now be found for sale on eBay. "It kept you going because there was this underlying suspicion that we weren't going to hit these targets that they were setting," said Matt Henson, who spent five and a half years as an engineer on the project. The world got its first glimpse of the Dreamliner on July 8, 2007. The date was chosen not because of some production milestone but for public relations value. It was, after all, 7/8/7. Tom Brokaw served as the master of ceremonies at an event that drew 15,000 people. The crowd was in awe. It was "beyond experiencing a rock star on stage," said Dressler, a former Boeing designer. "This thing is so sexy, between the paint job and the lines and the fact that it's here now and you can touch it." But like so much of show business, the plane was just a prop. It lacked most flight controls. Parts of the fuselage were temporarily fastened together just for the event. Some savvy observers noted that bolt heads were sticking out from the aircraft's composite skin. Boeing CEO Jim McNerney told the crowd that the plane would fly within two months. Instead, the company soon announced the first of what would be many delays. It would be more than two years before the plane's first test flight. To overcome production problems, Boeing replaced executives and bought several of the suppliers to gain greater control. Work continued at breakneck pace. "We were competing against time. We were competing against the deadline of delivering the first airplane," said Roman Sherbak, who spent four years on the project. Then on a cold, overcast morning in December 2009, it all came together. A crowd gathered at Paine Field, the airport adjacent to Boeing's factory. The Dreamliner climbed deftly into the sky for a three-hour test flight. But there were still plenty of glitches, including an onboard fire during a November 2010 test flight. Smoke had entered the cabin from an electronics panel in the rear of the plane. The fleet was grounded for six weeks. This month's safety problems appear unrelated. Deliveries were pushed back yet again. Passengers wouldn't first step aboard the plane until Oct. 26, 2011, three and a half years after Boeing first promised. That first, four-hour journey — from Tokyo to Hong Kong — was more of a party than a flight. Passengers posed for photos as they climbed stairs into the jet. Alcohol flowed freely. Boeing executives were on hand, showing off the plane's new features. Everybody, it seemed, needed to use the bathroom if only to check out the bidet and giant window inside. More airlines started to fly the plane. Each new route was met with celebration. Travelers shifted itineraries to catch a ride on the new plane. Boeing had hoped by the end of 2013 to double production of the Dreamliner to 10 planes a month. There are 799 unfilled orders for the plane, which carries a $206.8 million list price, although airlines often negotiate deep discounts. Then, this month, all the progress came to a jarring halt. First, a battery ignited on a Japan Airlines 787 shortly after it landed at Boston's Logan International Airport. Passengers had already left the plane, but it took firefighters 40 minutes to put out the blaze. Problems also popped up on other planes. There were fuel and oil leaks, a cracked cockpit window and a computer glitch that erroneously indicated a brake problem. Then a 787 flown by Japan's All Nippon Airways made an emergency landing after pilots learned of battery problems and detected a burning smell. Both Japanese airlines grounded their Dreamliner fleets. The FAA, which just days earlier insisted that the plane was safe, did the same for U.S. planes. Each new aircraft comes with problems. The A380 had its own glitches, including an in-flight engine explosion that damaged fuel and hydraulic lines and the landing flaps. But the unique nature of the 787 worries regulators. American and Japanese investigators have yet to determine the cause of the problems, and the longer the 787 stays grounded, the more money Boeing must pay airlines in penalties. "It's been a very expensive process, and it's not going to let up anytime soon," said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with the Teal Group. "At this point, the aircraft still looks very promising. I don't think anybody is talking about canceling orders but people are nervous about the schedule." As investigators try to figure out the cause of the plane's latest problems the world finds itself in a familiar position with the Dreamliner: waiting. Copyright Associated Press
  7. The basis for and the popular notion of "justice" and more recently, "the public interest" appear to me to be resident in historical tort law. Tort law, (British Common Law) supercedes private confidentiality agreements of all kinds including those agreements intended to protect "the greater good", which is the notion that I apply to flight safety programs and processes. Clearly there will be disagreements regarding such interpretation, and I am a flight safety person and not educated/trained as a lawyer. It seems to me that one cannot argue against the long history of British Common Law, upon which Canadian law, with the exception of Quebec, is based. But there is a broader question of judgement, which of course tort law can and does accomodate in argument; it has to be reasonably demonstrated and logically-argued and it can go either way as we have seen. Even the Nova Scotia ruling is careful to detail its considerations while taking cockpit voice recordings into the semi-public sphere. Keeping society "safe" is a recent notion and priority, brought about chiefly through litigation and the new notion of targeted accountability. None of this is disputable in my view. What is disputable is the claim of efficacy of the use of such data in enhancing "the public interest". The ruling claims "balance" but fails to demonstrate how such balance is materially achieved. The opposing case is easily demonstrated: release data into the public sphere, and such data-gathering, self-reporting and SMS programs will swiftly shut-down, citing the very principle that originally mandates such programs, "due diligence". The question here is, who benefits from this ruling and why?
  8. The definition of what consitutes "the public interest" needs to be examined and where necessary, challenged if this is what it permits. This isn't good enough for a risk-based business such as aviation that, unlike some endeavours which eschew reality, must deal in hard and present realities and, ultimately, in life-and-death processes, decision-making and accountabilities.
  9. The notion of "the public interest" is the sole legal justification for this and previous rulings by Canada's courts. The court's ruling is wrong. Such release of safety data does not serve "the public interest." There is no other good reason to release CVR data, and plenty of good reasons not to. For good and demonstrable reasons, flight safety programs such as confidential reporting systems, flight data monitoring systems, incident review systems and SMS are protected by confidentiality agreements. Such programs are staffed by experts who are trained and experienced in flight safety work. Left to their design and purpose, such safety systems are proven to work effectively, while time and again, the release of, and even the legal threat to release flight safety data is proven to "chill" such safety programs, potentially destroying earned, long-term trust in the integrity of such programs. Trust and integrity are the only currencies that flight safety programs possess. Once trust in such programs is destroyed, it is extremely difficult to regain. Any ruling that threatens such programs by the public release of the products of such flight safety programs for narrow, possibly-picayune justifications therefore acts against "the public interest". There is no evidence that such rulings enhance airline and aviation safety or "the public interest". This is because "the public interest" is already best-served by robust, effective and confidential flight safety programs. The "interesting case" would be a countersuit, arguing the above, brought by the TSB, ATAC and all Canadian pilot associations.
  10. MAX Training Requirements Still To Be Determined, FAA’s Dickson Says Nov 20, 2019 Sean Broderick and Steve Trimble | Aviation Daily Stephen Brashear/Getty Images DUBAI—The FAA is leaving the door open for mandatory simulator sessions as a condition for pilots to return to flying The Boeing 737 MAX, the agency’s top official acknowledged. “It’s impossible to say at this time” if the revised minimum requirements will include simulator sessions as part of transition training, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said at the Dubai Air Show Nov. 20. “We’ll evaluate the [Boeing training] proposal and we’ll see how simulations come out.” Boeing is in the final stages of completing revisions to the MAX flight control computer software and related training prompted by two accidents in five months. The global fleet has been grounded since the second accident, the Mar. 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Validation of Boeing’s changes by pilots in both engineering and full-flight simulators are among the key next steps in Boeing’s effort to demonstrate the MAX is safe to fly again. Dickson said trials involving high-workload scenarios, where pilots must prioritize and manage multiple failures, could happen “within the next few days.” Other steps include completing reviews of all documentation detailing the changes and flying a certification flight. Revised training modules also must be validated. This will require public input on a revised draft of the 737 Flight Standardization Board (FSB) report that factors in line pilot input gathered during simulator sessions. The FSB is where the simulator requirements would appear, as part of mandated training for pilots transitioning from earlier generations of the 737 to the MAX. Earlier drafts of the revised FSB did not include mandatory simulator sessions, but subsequent work on the MAX flight control software has been done. The new training will include modules covering the MAX’s maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) flight control law. MCAS played a role in both MAX accident sequences, leading regulators to order changes to its logic. The changes are designed to ensure the system, which commands automatic nose-down stabilizer input, only operates when needed. In both accident sequences, faulty sensor data triggered the MCAS when it wasn’t needed, confusing both flight crews and eventually triggering uncontrollable dives. MCAS was not included in the original MAX flight manuals or training. Dickson emphasized that the FAA is not following any time line on the MAX return-to-service effort. “We’re going to make sure that we’re very methodical and very diligent,” he said.
  11. New York Times, October 31 2019 Before Deadly Crashes, Boeing Pushed for Law That Undercut Oversight The government has been handing over more responsibility to manufacturers for years. The new law makes it even harder for regulators to review Boeing’s work. Months after a second crash of the Boeing Max 737, the plane remains grounded and the company mired in crisis.Credit...Gary He/Reuters By Natalie Kitroeff and David Gelles · Published Oct. 27, 2019 Updated Oct. 31, 2019 With a few short paragraphs tucked into 463 pages of legislation last year, Boeing scored one of its biggest lobbying wins: a law that undercuts the government’s role in approving the design of new airplanes. For years, the government had been handing over more responsibility to manufacturers as a way to reduce bureaucracy. But those paragraphs cemented the industry’s power, allowing manufacturers to challenge regulators over safety disputes and making it difficult for the government to usurp companies’ authority. Although the law applies broadly to the industry, Boeing, the nation’s dominant aerospace manufacturer, is the biggest beneficiary. An examination by The New York Times, based on interviews with more than 50 regulators, industry executives, congressional staff members and lobbyists, as well as drafts of the bill and federal documents, found that Boeing and its allies helped craft the legislation to their liking, shaping the language of the law and overcoming criticism from regulators. In a stark warning as the bill was being written, the Federal Aviation Administration said that it would “not be in the best interest of safety.” A labor group representing agency inspectors raised concerns that the rules would turn the F.A.A. into a “rubber stamp” that would only be able to intervene after a plane crashed “and people are killed,” according to internal union documents reviewed by The Times. Weeks after the law was passed, a Boeing 737 Max jet crashed off the coast of Indonesia, killing everyone on board. A second Max crashed in Ethiopia less than five months later, and the plane was grounded. On both doomed flights, a new automated system on the Max, designed to help avoid stalls, triggered erroneously, sending them into fatal nose-dives. Mired in crisis, Boeing is still trying to fix the plane and get it flying again. In the aftermath, lawmakers have seized on flaws in a regulatory system that cedes control to industry — an issue that is likely to put Boeing on the defensive this week when the company’s chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg, testifies before Congress for the first time since the two crashes. The F.A.A. never fully analyzed the automated system known as MCAS, while Boeing played down its risks. Late in the plane’s development, Boeing made the system more aggressive, changes that were not submitted in a safety assessment to the agency. The Max was certified under the old rules. The new law, the F.A.A. Reauthorization Act of 2018, makes it even more difficult for the government to review manufacturers’ work. President Trump signed the F.A.A. Reauthorization Act of 2018 into law last October. Most of the attention on the legislation had been on a failed Republican effort to privatize the air traffic control system.Credit...Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosia In the past, agency officials could decide whether to delegate oversight to the company or to maintain control, depending on the importance of a system or concerns about safety. Now, the agency, at the outset of the development process, has to hand over responsibility for certifying almost every aspect of new planes. If F.A.A. officials decide a system may compromise safety, the new rules dictate that they will need to conduct an investigation or an inspection to make their case before taking back control. If the officials raise concerns, ask for changes or otherwise miss certification deadlines, any disputes are automatically elevated by law to managers at the agency and the company. The law also creates a committee of mostly aerospace executives to ensure that the regulator is meeting metrics set by the industry, and the law allows companies to make recommendations about the compensation of F.A.A. employees. “The reauthorization act mandated regulatory capture,” said Doug Anderson, a former attorney in the agency’s office of chief counsel who reviewed the legislation. “It set the F.A.A. up for being totally deferential to the industry.” A spokesman for Boeing, Gordon Johndroe, said that the certification process is “part of an effective F.A.A. oversight of safety that permits them to focus on the most important issues that are critical to the safety of flight.” He added that “this authority has been a proven way for decades for government regulators across many industries to prioritize resources and rely on technical experts to maintain quality, safety and integrity.” When the legislation was hashed out, the lobbying effort barely registered in the country’s vast political machine. Boeing’s push, and the use of industry language in the crucial paragraphs, was standard amid the deregulatory drive by many businesses. Most of the attention on the bill was focused on a failed Republican effort to privatize the air traffic control system. Since the two fatal accidents, the law has set off worries in Washington about whether the rules championed by Boeing make company deadlines a priority over passenger safety. The manufacturer helped author a report that congressional aides used as a reference while writing the law, borrowing language and ideas that had long been used by Boeing. Its executives pressed Michael Huerta, then the head of the F.A.A., for support, telling him that the regulator’s inefficiency was threatening Boeing’s ability to compete against its chief rival, Airbus of France. They also helped persuade Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington State, where Boeing has its manufacturing hub, to introduce language that requires the F.A.A. to relinquish control of many parts of the certification process. “The method by which the F.A.A. certifies aircraft is in need of repair — I don’t think anyone could argue otherwise at this point,” Representative Rick Larsen, a Democrat from Washington, who voted in favor of the legislation, said in an interview. “No matter what we did last year, we need to be pulling some of that back into the public sphere, and take some of it out of the hands of industry.” Language of the Law Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s chief executive, is testifying before Congress this week.Credit...Johannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images In closed-door meetings with congressional staff members, in testimony on Capitol Hill, in memos to lawmakers, the talking points were all the same. Starting in 2014, Boeing and its trade associations explained that streamlining certification would make American aerospace companies more competitive with overseas rivals, by allowing them to develop planes more efficiently. They argued that F.A.A. employees were interpreting the rules in seemingly arbitrary ways and slowing down the development process, according to seven people involved in the discussions and documents reviewed by The Times. In a 2015 memo sent to congressional staff members that was reviewed by The Times, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, which represents the business jet unit of Boeing, urged lawmakers to “fully implement” the so-called system of delegation. If disputes caused delays, the trade group called for “automatic escalation to appropriate F.A.A. and company management” so that issues didn’t languish. The Aerospace Industries Association, which was headed during part of the lobbying campaign by Mr. Muilenburg of Boeing, echoed those priorities. Richard Efford, a lobbyist for the group, said in an interview that he emphasized the need to “fully utilize” delegation. Boeing executives made the same pitch to Mr. Huerta at industry events and in meetings at the F.A.A., according to three people with knowledge of the matter. It became a routine discussion, they said. And they made their case publicly as well, at times citing the company’s safety record. In a 2015 hearing, Ray Conner, then the head of Boeing’s commercial airplane division, pushed like others for making “full use” of the system. He said it took too long to get approvals for interiors, like seats and bathrooms, that company engineers could assess. He argued that European regulators outsource far more. The language of their lobbying push was rooted in a 2012 report from an industry-dominated committee run by Christine Thompson, a Boeing executive, and Ali Bahrami, an F.A.A. official at the time who later became a lobbyist. Ali Bahrami, a Federal Aviation Administration official and former lobbyist, was co-chairman of a committee that in 2012 recommended streamlining certification.Credit...Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg In aerospace speak, it called for “full utilization of available delegation,” outsourcing as much oversight as possible. It outlined six recommendations that “will result in the reduction of certification delays” and “enhance the global competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry.” “There was a consensus that they had good recommendations, and that we ought to put them into writing,” said Matt Bormet, who formerly worked for Mr. Larsen. “I heard no complaints about the report.” Boeing and its allies found a receptive audience in the head of the House transportation committee, Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican staunchly in favor of deregulation, and his aide working on the legislation, Holly Woodruff Lyons. The F.A.A. Reauthorization Act of 2018 was broadly meant to provide agency funding for the coming years. Lawmakers also used it to introduce new rules for drones, airport noise and the certification process. As Ms. Lyons helped write the law, she was in regular touch with Boeing, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions. The critical paragraphs in the final bill borrowed heavily from industry language, instituting the “full utilization of F.A.A. delegation.” “The certification reforms in the F.A.A. bill were strongly desired and had bipartisan support,” Mr. Shuster said in an email, noting that delegation “has worked well and safely for over 50 years.” Then-Representative Bill Shuster, the Pennsylvania Republican who headed the transportation committee, in 2015. He recently said, “The certification reforms in the F.A.A. bill were strongly desired and had bipartisan support.”Credit...Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call The evolution of the bill had the imprint of industry. An early version that Ms. Lyons sent to lobbyists directed the F.A.A. to measure its own performance, according to a draft reviewed by The Times. In one circulated a month later, staff members had added a clause specifying that the agency would be judged in part by a committee dominated by aerospace executives, which would come up with metrics for the regulator. As the Senate prepared its own version in early 2016, Boeing was in close contact with the office of Ms. Cantwell. “Senator Cantwell is responsive to the needs of Washington State businesses,” said Nick Sutter, one of her former staff members. “Boeing people were in and out of the office all the time.” In conversations with a top aide for the senator, Matt McCarthy, Boeing lobbyists pushed for language that would compel the F.A.A. to rely more on manufacturers, according to two people directly involved in the discussions. Mr. McCarthy took a job as a lobbyist for Boeing in September. Regulators and companies agreed that the F.A.A.’s resources were best focused on new and high-risk systems, according to Peggy Gilligan, the agency’s head of safety back then, and several other officials. As the Senate prepared its own version of the bill in early 2016, Boeing was in close contact with the office of Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington State.Credit...Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times Ms. Cantwell submitted an amendment that directed the F.A.A. to automatically give companies the right to approve anything deemed “low and medium risk” on an airplane. It was language that particularly helped Boeing, with its wide range of planes. “Listening to your constituents is always the first step in legislating, but it’s certainly not the last,” said Ansley Lacitis, deputy chief of staff for Ms. Cantwell. “This concept of risk-based oversight was bipartisan, consensus-based and recommended by experts.” The amendment passed without any debate. At the hearing, then-Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat of Florida, cheered the changes. The law, he said, “will boost U.S. manufacturing and exports and — most importantly — create good jobs for Americans.” Quieting Criticis A 737 Max plane at the Boeing factory in Renton, Wash., earlier this year.Credit...Lindsey Wasson/Reuters F.A.A. officials tried to push back, raising concerns to congressional staff members and aerospace executives. But they were constrained in their efforts. As a federal agency, the F.A.A. is forbidden by law to use government resources to influence and lobby Congress. At most, officials could provide comments and feedback, so-called technical assistance in the legislative process. “It is true that we were supportive of delegation as a general philosophy,” said Mr. Huerta, the former F.A.A. chief. “It is not true that means the agency supported every proposal to expand delegation and impose limits on the agency’s ability to take back delegations.” Early on, Ms. Gilligan, the former F.A.A. official, said industry lobbyists suggested that the law should give companies input on performance evaluations of individual F.A.A. employees overseeing the certification of their planes. Two other agency officials confirmed her account. “It appeared they were looking to influence the individuals’ pay outcome in some way, and for the F.A.A. employees to know that potential pay impact,” Ms. Gilligan said. The final bill did not completely satisfy her concerns. The law created a panel with industry representatives to help assess “performance incentive policies” for F.A.A. employees, as long as they “do not conflict with the public interest.” Peggy Gilligan, then an F.A.A. official, testifying to Congress in 2014. She recently said industry lobbyists suggested that the reauthorization law give companies input on performance evaluations of individual F.A.A. employees.Credit...Win Mcnamee/Getty Images Mostly, top F.A.A. officials worried about the unintended consequences of giving more authority to manufacturers. Boeing employees have described pressures from their managers to meet deadlines while approving systems. Under the old rules, the F.A.A. could decide to take back oversight authority on a system if they were concerned about safety. The new law would require the agency to conduct an investigation or inspection to prove that there was a problem before stepping in, a potentially lengthy process. Industry groups told congressional staff members that manufacturers were sometimes subject to the whims of individual F.A.A. employees, who could block approvals and delay production schedules, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions. “It causes delays and a lot of frustration within the companies,” said Mr. Efford, the lobbyist. But regulators were concerned that the new law would keep them from effectively doing their job. In early 2015, Brian Morris, a safety official at the agency, prepared feedback for lawmakers, arguing that the legislation would prevent the regulator from acting until a dangerous system had already been introduced onto an aircraft. “With this language, Congress is asking us to wait till we find a hazard before removing delegation,” he wrote, according to an F.A.A. document reviewed by The Times. A current and a former F.A.A. official said that Mr. Morris was collecting feedback from multiple departments, so the comments reflected the opinions of other agency staff members. The document notes that the comments were “provided in response to a congressional request.” The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union, a small labor group that represents F.A.A. employees, had a similar warning. If the regulator could only intercede after documenting problems, it may not be able to stop manufacturers from installing risky systems. “That will, as a practical matter, mean after the accident has happened and people are killed,” the union said in comments prepared for Congress in early 2016, which were reviewed by The Times. Through a spokesman, Ms. Lyons, the congressional aide writing the law, said she did not receive comments from Mr. Morris or the union, but was aware of the F.A.A.’s worries. “The concerns were discussed and considered in a bipartisan manner,” said the House transportation committee spokesman, Justin Harclerode. “Members did not agree with this interpretation of the language, and were not convinced the language would negatively impact the FAA’s ability to safely oversee the aviation industry.” He added that the F.A.A., under the law, could set the parameters of the investigation or inspection. Lawmaker’s Remorse Demonstrators hold pictures of victims of the crash of the Boeing 737 Max in Ethiopia at a vigil last month outside the Department of Transportation in Washington.Credit...Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press At a ceremony in the Oval Office last October, President Trump signed the F.A.A. Reauthorization Act into law, while Representative Shuster, who shepherded the legislation, looked over his shoulder. The agency has already begun to make the required changes. In August, it announced the formation of the advisory committee charged with setting goals for the regulator. The committee includes two union representatives and 17 industry officials, among them Beth Pasztor, one of Boeing’s top executives. The F.A.A. recently selected managers for an internal office that will help enforce provisions of the law. As the rules take hold, some lawmakers who originally supported the legislation are backing away. Mr. Nelson, the former senator who co-sponsored the law, said he did not fully understand the ramifications. “This was never brought to my attention,” he said in an interview. “Had I known about it, I would have tried to put the kibosh on it.” Representative Peter DeFazio, the Oregon Democrat who is the chairman of the House transportation committee, celebrated the bill’s changes last year, saying it would maintain safety and “will help our manufacturers become much more competitive in the world market and introduce their products more quickly.” Mr. DeFazio, who is currently leading a congressional investigation into the crashes, said in an interview that he was reconsidering the law and might introduce legislation to restore some of the agency’s oversight authority. “If the F.A.A. basically deferred on a safety critical system and did not provide proper oversight, then either the individuals involved are going to be at risk, or the whole system itself isn’t working properly,” he said. A version of this article appears in print on Oct. 28, 2019, Section A, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: Before Crashes, Boeing Pushed To Undercut F.A.A. Oversight. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
  12. It's possible that MCAS was indeed a certification-as-same-type solution before the test flights, but after flight testing, Boeing quietly, (as in, didn't communicate the change to others), increased the MCAS response rate from 0.6deg ND per application to 2.5deg ND per application and didn't tell anyone who would need to have known, (like pilots). Though Boeing continues to state that MCAS was not designed as a "stall prevention" system, if that adjustment in HS trim speed turned MCAS into a stall-prevention system from merely a "feels-the-same-for-common-type purposes" system then Boeing has a significant problem and so does the FAA. I think this is why we are beginning to see these comments. From AC25-7D: 42.1.5.2.2 To ensure that inadvertent operation of the stall identification system does not jeopardize safe flight, and to maintain crew confidence in the system, it should be shown that:  No single failure will result in inadvertent operation of the stall identification system; and  The probability of inadvertent operation from all causes is improbable (not greater than 10-5 per flight hour). Also, the shift in thinking concerning MCAS may be coming from the JATR, Finding 3.7A: Joint Authorities Technical Review Boeing 737 MAX Flight Control System Executive Summary ____________________________________________________________________________ VI Recommendation R3 Based on the JATR team’s observations and findings related to the certification of the B737 MAX flight control system and related interfaces, JATR team members recommend that the FAA review the B737 MAX compliance to 14 CFR §§ 25.1329 (Flight Guidance System), 25.1581 (Airplane Flight Manual – General), and 25.201 (Stall Demonstration) and ensure the consistent application and interpretation of regulatory guidance material for the system safety assessment, handling qualities rating method, and conformity requirements for engineering simulators and devices. Should there be a non-compliance, the root cause should be identified and measures implemented to prevent recurrence. and, Recommendation R3.7: The FAA should review how compliance was shown for the stall identification system on the B737 MAX with respect to inadvertent operation due to single failures. o Finding F3.7-A: The JATR team considers that system features on the B737 MAX might constitute a stall identification system. This system is vulnerable to inadvertent actuation due to a single failure, which would not meet the accepted guidance contained within AC 25-7C, Chapter 8, Section 228. Edited to add: I disagree with the use of the word, "identification" in the paragraph above. MCAS is not "identifying" an impending stall, it is responding to AoA data that indicates an impending stall. "Identifying" a potential stall is the work of the stick shaker, and any addition to that system would necessarily have to be part of the FCOM as it is a major change in the flight control system, (much the same as a stick pusher). This is a longitudinal stability issue, one that has history.
  13. Where is this going now?... The notion that MCAS was intended as "stall prevention" in rare corners of operation is showing up and now being discussed. The implications are significant. Stall prevention systems are not permitted single-points-of-failure, https://www.satcom.guru/2019/10/flawed-assumptions-pave-path-to-disaster.html For ease of reference, here is the link to the JATR, https://www.faa.gov/news/media/attachments/Final_JATR_Submittal_to_FAA_Oct_2019.pdf
  14. His comments on the deHavilland Comet are equally interesting, and not flattering to the effort. But "rip-stop" design that Boeing incorporated emerged from the Comet's problems. The entire KNKT Report is well worth reading, for pilots and management personnel as well as designers, engineers, human-factors / flight safety personnel and even though the matter is far from over for the U. S. Regulator and Boeing, the general public if they wish to know what really happened and why. For example, take a look at the following sections of the report which detail the Xtra company's work as it relates to the AoA sensor. These sections examine precisely how the left AoA sensor output on the accident aircraft came to be tested as "normal" by Lion Air Mtce but was in fact 20deg out of calibration: 1.6.4 Angle of Attack (AOA) Sensors Historical Record 1.17.3 Xtra Aerospace LLC 2.6 Xtra Aerospace LLC