Another 737 MAX down.


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Boeing just sold up to 200 MAX jets to IAG. I can't imagine the discounts for a sale like this, especially given the need to rehabilitate the aircraft's reputation, but if MD was able to get people to fly on the DC-10 and MD-11, and Boeing got everyone to forget the 787 battery issues, there is zero doubt in my mind that people will flying on the MAX again, and forget it was ever grounded.

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VS; Yes, I call it internet social media hyperventilation. It is inappropriate to hearken to millions of shrill, largely anonymous voices who conflate opinion with facts, in the face of what is a

This is what I've been trying to say. This statement is right out of the Max and NG flight crew training manuals "Excessive air loads on the stabilizer may require effort by both pilots to correc

Hopefully the FAA & TC, (and that should include the NTSB and the TSB), know something if this is a consideration? A ban, if any, should be based upon data from the Ethiopian accident, period

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This MCAS issue with the Max is easily overcome with the 2 guys (or gals) in the Flight Deck given the proper skills, experience and training.  The Max will fly again.  The battery issues in the 787 were much more concerning to me, and everyone got over that.

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Southwest Pilots Union

PARIS — The pilots union for Southwest Airlines says it will ask Boeing for compensation to cover legal costs and lost income for pilots due to the 737 Max grounding.

The grounding in mid-March following two fatal crashes of the jet has run up legal fees for the Southwest Allied Pilots Association, which has had to comply with records requests as part of the Justice Department’s investigation. Pilots have also lost wages over the last three months since the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulatory agencies said the Max cannot fly.

 

The pilots’ union says it will be “seeking compensation and reimbursement from Boeing for every dollar legally available to be challenged, when the Max issues are resolved.” The union hasn’t said exactly how much the grounding of the Max has cost pilots. A person familiar with the matter estimates Southwest pilots lose $8.5 million per month not flying the Max.

 

Southwest was the launch airline for the 737 Max and has 34 of them in its fleet, the most of any airline in the world. The airline recently pushed back the date when it plans to resume Max flights to Sept. 2. While that date was set by the airline’s management, the airline’s pilots union says “there is no accurate estimate of when the Max will return to service.”

At the Paris Air Show this week, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg told CNBC he will not give a target date for the return of the Max, largely because it is unclear how long it will take regulatory agencies to recertify the plane. “We’ll get it back in the air when it’s safe. That is the most important thing here,” said Muilenburg.

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Interesting article but also of interest is that Sullenberger who made the right choices and got lucky is evidently now an aviation guru  , a position that Captain Robert Pearson who flew the Gimli Glider could also fill but of course he did not get the same level of press coverage and being a Canadian was more laid back re his persona after the landing.  ?

Pilots seek FAA scrutiny after 737 Max crashes

  • 19 June, 2019
  • SOURCE: Flight Dashboard
  • BY: Tom Risen
  • Washington DC

Commercial airline pilots told members of Congress on 19 June that the US Federal Aviation Administration should require more frequent flight simulator training for pilots and ensure adequate aircraft information is provided during training in the wake of two fatal Boeing 737 Max crashes.

Four of five witnesses during the hearing of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure had in some way been party to an aircraft accident investigation, including Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. Also in attendance during the hearing were friends and relatives of some of the 346 people who died in two crashes of the Max aircraft.

"These crashes are demonstrable evidence that our current system of aircraft design and certification has failed us," says Sullenberger, the pilot who in 2009 averted a crash in New York during US Airways Flight 1549 that became known as "the Miracle on the Hudson".

"We can no longer define safety solely as the absence of accidents," he says. "We need to look at all the near misses."

Investigations of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 and Lion Air flight 610 remain ongoing but initial evidence indicates automated flight control software created by Boeing to prevent the Max from stalling automatically trimmed the aircraft into nosedives. The software was designed for the Max to make it to fly like the earlier-generation 737NG.

Sullenberger and Dan Carey, who represented the union of pilots at American Airlines, said during their testimonies that Boeing did not provide pilots with any information about this manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) prior to the Lion Air Crash in October. Acting FAA chief Dan Elwell has also said pilots were not given adequate information about the flight control software.

"This is a global aviation crisis of trust and will require global solutions to restore and bolster aviation’s global safety culture and reputation," Carey says.

Requiring that pilots train in flight simulators more often could reduce the likelihood of accidents and increase the chance of fixing aircraft defects, he says.

Boeing

Congress investigates safety process

Committee chair Peter DeFazio says Boeing and the FAA have begun to deliver documents in response to the committee's investigation about potential mistakes leading up to the crashes including during the certification process. DeFazio reiterated the committee's findings from earlier in June that Boeing had known in 2017 about the angle-of-attack (AOA) disagree alert that was defective on 737 Max aircraft, similar to the faulty AOA sensors that contributed to the two fatal crashes.

"I was even more troubled to learn that Boeing had not planned to fix this issue until 2020 and kept delivering new 737 Max to its customers with this defect present," DeFazio says.

When the committee chairman asked Sullenberger for more detail about the MCAS, the pilot responded: "I would like to know and hear from Boeing why MCAS was necessary."

"Was it to meet a certification standard or was to achieve a common type certificate that would not require additional training for pilots," Sullenberger asks.

Boeing is coordinating with the FAA to implement a software fix to prevent the MCAS from automatically trimming the nose downward in the event of faulty data from aircraft sensors.

As aircraft software becomes more complex on aircraft including the Max, Sullenberger said "it makes resilience harder without proper knowledge".

"We must experience it firsthand in a simulator before we experience it during flight," he says.

Boeing invited two American Airlines pilots to test a 737 Max flight simulator that depicted the aircraft with the latest version of the software update on 5 June, Carey says, but the invitation was rescinded before that date. That simulator at Boeing's facility in Miami is the only Max simulator in the USA, so Carey says that lack of access makes it difficult for pilots to weigh in on the effectiveness of the software fix.

"It's curious to me that while Boeing is working on this fix they don't want the people flying it to actually see it," Carey says.

In response to questions about why Boeing rescinded the invitation of these pilots, a spokesman for the company says in an email: "Boeing continues to work with global regulators and our airline customers as they determine training requirements."

"We are working closely with our industry partners to learn from these tragedies, answer their questions, and take steps to re-earn people’s trust and ensure accidents like these never happen again," adds the spokesman.

The day before the hearing the airframer allowed Max simulator access to another witness at the hearing, former FAA administrator Randy Babbitt who headed the agency during the Obama administration and who is also a former commercial airline pilot.

"It is imperative that pilots have a full and complete understating of the automation of the equipment they operate," Babbitt says.

Among the concerns lawmakers have voiced about the FAA is its organisation designation authorisation (ODA) that grants companies and their staff authority to perform oversight of some aspects of certification. Sullenberger has criticised this program and worries the FAA has played favourites with Boeing.

"It’s important that oversight include accountability, or it means nothing," Sullenberger says. Ensuring that the FAA has consistent funding and staffing resources along with independence from political climates are a foundation for effective safety regulation, he says.

In addition to "fully funding" the FAA to remain competitive against the private sector in hiring safety personnel, the committee should "take a close look at the ODA and the process for certification", says Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants union.

To completely avoid outsourcing certification work to companies, Elwell has said the FAA would need 10,000 additional workers and $1.8 billion in new funding to assume all responsibilities for aircraft certification. Aviation subcommittee chair Rick Larsen says "no one is discussing that".

"We are discussing going back to pre-2005, to a system where the FAA was more involved", rather than funding it to avoid all outsourcing of the certification process, Larsen says.

Boeing was not present during the hearing. Airlines that have grounded their 737 Max fleets have ensured passengers remain flying on aircraft that remain in service through steps including postponing re-painting livery, upgrading wi-fi and other "non-essential" procedures on those aircraft, says Sharon Pinkerton, senior vice-president of regulatory policy for the Airlines for America trade group.

“We are confident that working with those independent experts, involving our pilots unions, they will come to the right decision about what kind of training is needed and we will provide that training,” Pinkerton says.

 

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1 hour ago, Marshall said:

Interesting article but also of interest is that Sullenberger who made the right choices and got lucky is evidently now an aviation guru  , a position that Captain Robert Pearson who flew the Gimli Glider could also fill but of course he did not get the same level of press coverage and being a Canadian was more laid back re his persona after the landing.  ?

You dare to smite the reputation of the great Sully, Malcolm?

for shame! ?

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I think that the notion of a "hero" is a characterisation which both men avoid - Sully has observed that he and his crew "did their job".

Sully has used his fame for two things - to draw attention to aviation matters which really do require the attention of a distracted government and public, (read his presentation to the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation) in April 2015), and to supplement his ~$45k/year pension when US Airways terminated their pilots' pension plan in March 2003, (through a process that is illegal in Canada but commonly used to "restructure" a business in the U.S.).

We see him again using his name & fame to advance aviation safety and not pulling punches with regard to Boeing and their MAX.

Sully, (and Pearson) are true heroes in the mythological sense - they have "been to places" which very few go to and have returned "alive and victorious" to "tell the story which becomes cultural legend", (Joseph Campbell, The Hero's Journey, The Power of Myth). I think Sully believes that, (perhaps at one time, maybe not now...?), that any airline pilot could have/would have, within a narrow band of individual performance, done the same thing with the same outcome.

 

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 All the discussion regarding mandating MAX simulator training seems to be focused on the recognition and isolation of MCAS in the event that it is inadvertently triggered. There seems to be no consideration of why MCAS was designed in the first place. It was designed to artificially mimic the more stable flight characteristics of previous generation 737's at high AOA and therefore save customers the costly and time consuming process of simulator training. Any anomaly that results in the loss of electric trim and/or MCAS either through direct failure or a checklist following a system failure will result in an airplane being hand flown and manually trimmed with different flight characteristics at high AOA than previous models - the very reason for MCAS being designed in the first place. Simulator training should be a requirement not only for the exposure to and training to deal with an MCAS/runaway stab incident but also for the different flight characteristics and feel at high AOA that MCAS was designed to solve. Not requiring simulator training for this is akin to not requiring single engine simulator training because the airplane has two engines.

https://www.boeing.com/commercial/737max/737-max-software-updates.page

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Airbus roiled by secret Boeing order for 737 MAX jets that stole the Paris Air Show

June 20, 2019 at 7:08 am Updated June 20, 2019 at 11:27 pm

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 jetliner being built for Turkish Airlines takes off on a test flight in Renton. Boeing announced its first order for 737 MAX jets... (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file) More

By

Benjamin Katz

and

Christopher Jasper

Bloomberg

Airbus vowed to put up a fight to reverse a $24 billion deal landed by rival Boeing for 737 MAX planes that proved to be the sales coup of this year’s Paris Air Show.

Speaking at a final news conference from Le Bourget airfield outside the French capital on Thursday, Airbus sales chief Christian Scherer said the European planemaker never received a request for proposals — a document that formally launches bidding for most major aircraft contracts — from IAG SA, the owner of British Airways.

The secret negotiations between Boeing and IAG led to the biggest surprise of the weeklong show: a letter of intent from the carrier to purchase 200 of the MAX aircraft, a model that is grounded after two fatal crashes. IAG is an Airbus-only narrowbody customer and has said it plans to use the planes for its discount and leisure divisions, including Vueling and Level.

“We are taking the position that we would like to bid for this business,” Scherer told reporters. “IAG is a very good customer. Every one of these airlines are A320 operators. Our intent is to bid.”

The shock announcement came midway through the exhibition and helped Boeing clear some of the gloom surrounding the 737 MAX by instilling a measure of confidence in its future.

The Boeing agreement was outlined as a letter of intent, meaning that negotiations over the details will need to be confirmed in the coming months. Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury said he’d like to find a way in before the deal develops into a final contract.

“We’d be very happy to compete when it comes to a tender for this large number of planes,” he said. “We are quite sure we will have an opportunity to apply. And make sure that in the end the best solution prevails for IAG, which is an important customer.”

In many ways, the U.S. planemaker couldn’t have found a better buyer than IAG to endorse the MAX,  whose future has been clouded as regulators demand fixes to make the plane safer. IAG has proved to be a savvy aircraft buyer and is led by a former 737 pilot, CEO Willie Walsh.

Benjamin Katz

Christopher Jasper

 

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On ‎6‎/‎23‎/‎2019 at 10:29 AM, vanishing point said:

737’s parked at Renton Field:

https://youtu.be/46InmJexzYg

 

I wonder how long they can continue to park the Aircraft. I see from the following video they are now using part of the employee parking lot.

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/boeing-planes-737-max-jet-car-park-storage-aircraft-a8973726.html#spark_wn=1

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/boeing-planes-737-max-jet-car-park-storage-aircraft-a8973726.html

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You have to wonder what this is all about:

FAA says Boeing needs to mitigate a ‘potential risk’ in 737 Max before grounding order can be lifted

Published 20 min agoUpdated 10 min ago
 
 
 
 
 
Key Points
  • The issue was discovered during a simulator test last week, Reuters reported.
  • Shares of the aerospace company dropped more than 1% following the news, but closed the day up.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday that is has found an issue with the Boeing 737 Max that the manufacturer must address before it lifts the national grounding order.

“The FAA is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service. The FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when we deem it is safe to do so,” the agency said in a statement. “The FAA’s process is designed to discover and highlight potential risks. The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate.”

The issue was discovered during a simulator test last week, Reuters reported. The 737 Max has been grounded since March after two deadly crashes involving the plane. Regulators around the world have pointed to a software issue as a potential cause of the accidents.

Shares of the aerospace company dropped more than 1% following the news, but closed the day up.

“The safety of our airplanes is Boeing’s highest priority. We are working closely with the FAA to safely return the Max to service,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

Two people briefed on the matter told Reuters that an FAA test pilot during a simulator test last week was running scenarios seeking to intentionally activate the MCAS stall-prevention system. During one activation it took an extended period to recover the stabilizer trim system that is used to control the aircraft, the people said.

It was not clear if the situation can be addressed with a software update or if it is a microprocessor issue, but Boeing has told the FAA it believes the issue can be addressed with a software upgrade.

A hardware fix could add new delays to the plane’s return to service.

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https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/26/politics/boeing-737-max-flaw/index.html

(CNN)A new flaw has been discovered in the computer system for the Boeing 737 Max that could push the plane downward, according to two sources familiar with the testing, an issue that is expected to further delay the aircraft's return to service.

A series of simulator flights to test new software developed by Boeing revealed the flaw, according to one of the sources.
The latest versions of Boeing's popular jet were grounded in March after two crashes -- Lion Air flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 -- that killed 346 people.
While the crashes remain under investigation, preliminary reports showed that a new stabilization system pushed both planes into steep nosedives from which the pilots could not recover. The issue is known in aviation vernacular as runaway stabilizer trim.
Boeing announced it could break the chain of events that led to both crashes by developing a software fix that would limit the potency of that stabilization system.
In simulator tests, government pilots discovered that a microprocessor failure could push the nose of the plane toward the ground. It is not known whether the microprocessor played a role in either crash.
When testing the potential failure of the microprocessor in the simulators, "it was difficult for the test pilots to recover in a matter of seconds," one of the sources said. "And if you can't recover in a matter of seconds, that's an unreasonable risk."
Boeing engineers are now trying to address the issue, which has led to another delay in recertifying the 737 Max.
"The safety of our airplanes is Boeing's highest priority. We are working closely with the FAA to safely return the MAX to service," Boeing said in a statement.
The sources say Boeing engineers are trying to determine if the microprocessor issue can be fixed by reprogramming software or if replacing the physical microprocessors on each 737 Max aircraft may be required.
An FAA spokesperson would not confirm the specific issue, but told CNN that "the FAA's process is designed to discover and highlight potential risks. The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing is required to mitigate."

Pilot training also undergoing update

In preparation for the airplane's return to service, Boeing and the FAA are also working out details of additional training for 737 MAX pilots, which could include additional simulator time, the sources said.
Boeing and the FAA are working with the European, Brazilian and Canadian civil aviation authorities.
Boeing has proposed computer-based training which could be completed quickly and on an iPad. Pilots unions, as well as "Miracle on the Hudson" hero Chelsey Sullenberger, have said such training cannot be adequately experienced on an iPad.
The FAA is still actively considering whether more time consuming and expensive simulator training will be required, according to both sources.
Gregory Martin, an FAA spokesman, said Wednesday the regulator "is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service."
"The FAA will lift the aircraft's prohibition order when we deem it is safe to do so," the spokesman said. "We continue to evaluate Boeing's software modification and we are still developing necessary training requirements."
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A bit more detail from AW&ST...

FAA Flags New Computer Issue In 737 MAX Testing

Jun 26, 2019

Sean Broderick  Aviation Daily 

737-max-flightdeck960x608.jpg

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

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From another News Source: Note the possible July 8 test flight

US regulator cites new flaw on grounded Boeing 737 MAX

Fixing the problem will further delay the plane's return to the skies after two deadly crashes, sources say.

7 hours ago
  •  
 
Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are now subjected to intense scrutiny and testing designed to catch flaws [File: AFP]
Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are now subjected to intense scrutiny and testing designed to catch flaws [File: AFP]

 

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has identified a new risk that Boeing must address on its beleaguered 737 MAX aircraft before the grounded jet can return to service.

The risk was discovered during a simulator test last week and it is not yet clear if the issue can be addressed with a software upgrade, or will require a more complex hardware fix, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

"Boeing agrees with the FAA's decision and request and is working on the required software to address the FAA's request," Boeing said in a statement.

The FAA did not elaborate on the latest setback for Boeing, which has been working to get its best-selling aeroplane back in the air following a worldwide grounding in March in the wake of two deadly crashes within five months.

The new issue means Boeing will not conduct a certification test flight until July 8 in a best-case scenario, the sources said, but one source cautioned it could face further delays beyond that.

 

The FAA will spend at least two to three weeks reviewing the results before deciding whether to return the plane to service, they said.

Last month, FAA representatives told members of the aviation industry that approval of the 737 MAX jets could happen as early as late June.

The world's largest plane-maker has been working on the upgrade for a stall-prevention system since a Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October, when pilots were believed to have lost a tug of war with software that repeatedly pushed the nose down.

A second deadly crash in March in Ethiopia also involved the system. The two accidents killed 346 people.

"On the most recent issue, the FAA's process is designed to discover and highlight potential risks. The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate," the FAA said in the statement.

"The FAA will lift the aircraft's prohibition order when we deem it is safe to do so."

Boeing's aircraft are being subjected to intense scrutiny and testing designed to catch flaws even after a years-long certification process.

It was not clear if the situation that resulted in an uncommanded dive can be addressed with a software update, or if it is a microprocessor issue that will require a hardware replacement.

A hardware fix could add new delays to the plane's return to service.

SOURCE: News agencies

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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
 
Steve Miletich
By
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 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.

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56 minutes ago, Marshall said:

Looks like the Boeing Pandora box has opened.

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.

leon-grunberg-sarah-moore-oct-14.jpgThirty-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.

boeing767-everett-wa-2007-productionlineHowever, 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.

boeing-767-cockpit-cc-by-individuo.jpg

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 pugetsound.edu/pressphotos.

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).

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Now the European regulators are bringing up issues with the 737 Max's autopilot as well.  I don't think they will be flying for quite a while to come.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-05/europe-sets-out-demands-for-boeing-before-max-can-fly-again

Boeing 737 Max's Autopilot Has Problem, European Regulators Find

Europe’s aviation regulator has outlined five major requirements it wants Boeing Co. to address before it will allow the planemaker’s 737 Max to return to service, according to a person familiar with the matter. One of them, about the jet’s autopilot function, hasn’t surfaced previously as an area of concer

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has sent its list to both the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, the person said, asking not to be identified because the details aren’t yet public. The FAA hasn’t publicly discussed details about what changes it’s demanding on the Max, so it’s difficult to know whether the EASA demands differ dramatically -- and whether they would significantly boost the cost and time to get the Max back in the air.

Regulators worldwide grounded Boeing’s best-selling plane in March following two crashes in five months that killed a total of 346 people.

The issues being raised by EASA are consistent with the FAA’s own questions, said a person familiar with the U.S. agency’s work who wasn’t authorized to speak about the matter. In a statement, the FAA declined to confirm the specific matters being raised by EASA but said: “The FAA continues to work closely with other validating civil aviation authorities on our review of Boeing’s certification documentation for the 737 MAX. This process involves regular communications among all parties.”

 
 

Asked about the potential impact of EASA’s concerns, Boeing issued a statement saying company officials continue “to engage with regulators and are providing information as we work towards the safe return to service for the MAX.”

Autopilot Concerns

 

EASA’s checklist includes a number of issues that have been disclosed: the potential difficulty pilots have in turning the jet’s manual trim wheel, the unreliability of the Max’s angle of attack sensors, inadequate training procedures, and a software issue flagged just last week by the FAA pertaining to a lagging microprocessor. But the agency also listed a previously unreported concern: the autopilot failing to disengage in certain emergencies.

“Any of these could significantly affect the return to service, but we don’t know if they are actually going to become requirements or are they just items for discussion,’’ said John Cox, a former 737 pilot who is president of the aviation consulting company Safety Operating Systems.

Cox said that such questions between regulators are the norm during aircraft certification work and may not pose new risks for Boeing.

The one issue Cox said he hadn’t previously heard about involved the autopilot. Having to alter a system as complex as the 737’s autopilot could have major ramifications, he said. However, he said he isn’t aware of any underlying safety issues with the autopilot that would justify such an action.

The European regulator has found that the autopilot doesn’t always properly disengage, which could mean that pilots wouldn’t have the time to intervene before the plane begins to stall.

The EASA list excludes several other smaller issues that the agency hasn’t flagged as critical. The agency’s findings follow its broad, independent review of the 737 family’s entire flight control system that focused on the differences between the Max variant and the older “Next Generation” model, the person said. EASA opted to conduct its own assessment of the aircraft.

The review has become a critical focal point for the industry in gauging when the plane will be able to fly again, with regulators globally expected to lean on EASA’s findings. The FAA is facing multiple investigations over its handling of the original certification of the Max and the so-called Manuevering Characteristics Augmentation System that has been linked to both crashes.

Boeing Reprograms 737 System Linked to Crashes

A software update will prevent a single sensor from activating the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System. The data from both sensors will be considered.

 

 

It’s not clear how difficult it will be for Boeing to address the issues described above. People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last week that the latest software problem could take as long as three months to fix. The FAA has also previously denied that the trim wheel -- which is used to lift or lower a plane’s nose during an emergency -- would cause delays.

 
 

Potentially more complex will be addressing the AOA, or angle of attack, sensors on which MCAS relies. At the time of the Ethiopian crash in March, Boeing’s system was using just one of the two sensors installed on the plane. EASA director Patrick Ky said in an interview last month that retrofitting additional hardware was not off the table, a measure that could be costly and time consuming for the manufacturer.

EASA, in its recommendations, stopped short of telling Boeing how to address the issues, instead asking the company to propose solutions that will then be assessed, the person said. For example, if Boeing can prove the effectiveness of a new training procedure that doesn’t include the more burdensome requirement for simulator training, it could avoid that additional expense.

Coordinating Relaunch

Both the FAA and EASA along with Canada and Brazil, have meanwhile come together in tentative agreement that the return to service should be closely coordinated in an effort to help restore public trust in the global aviation safety system, people familiar with the matter have said, though they cautioned that EASA may still make additional requests and lag behind the FAA.

A spokesman for EASA wasn’t immediately able to comment. FAA acting Administrator Daniel Elwell has said that the grounded plane won’t be returned to service until the agency can be assured it is safe and pilots are adequately trained to handle any emergencies.

Boeing has been telling customers and others in the industry that it expects the plane will be returned to service by September. That timetable includes fixing the software implicated in the two crashes as well as the latest flaw identified with the microprocessor, said a person familiar with the company’s guidance.

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Hi,

Welcome to Big, a newsletter about the politics of monopoly. If you like it, you can sign up here. Today I’ll discuss how a merger in the 1990s ruined Boeing, and why the government will have to step in to save the company.

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Let’s start by admiring the company that was Boeing, so we can know what has been lost. As one journalist put it in 2000, “Boeing has always been less a business than an association of engineers devoted to building amazing flying machines.”

For the bulk of the 20th century, Boeing made miracles. Its engineers designed the B-52 in a weekend, bet the company on the 707, and built the 747 despite deep observer skepticism. The 737 started coming off the assembly line in 1967, and it was such a good design it was still the company’s top moneymaker thirty years later.

How did Boeing make miracles in civilian aircraft? In short, the the civilian engineers were in charge. And it fell apart because the company, due to a merger, killed its engineering-first culture.

What Happened?

In 1993, Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of Defense, Bill Perry, called defense contractor CEOs to a dinner, nicknamed “the last supper.” He told them to merge with each other so as, in the classic excuse used by monopolists, to find efficiencies in their businesses. The rationale was that post-Cold War era military spending reductions demanded a leaner defense base. In reality, Perry had been a long-time mergers and acquisitions investment banker working with industry ally Norm Augustine, the eventual CEO of Lockheed Martin.

Perry was so aggressive about encouraging mergers that he put together an accounting scheme to have the Pentagon itself pay merger costs, which resulted in a bevy of consolidation among contractors and subcontractors. In 1997, Boeing, with both a commercial and military division, ended up buying McDonnell Douglas, a major aerospace company and competitor. With this purchase, the airline market radically consolidated.

Unlike Boeing, McDonnell Douglas was run by financiers rather than engineers. And though Boeing was the buyer, McDonnell Douglas executives somehow took power in what analysts started calling a “reverse takeover.” The joke in Seattle was, "McDonnell Douglas bought Boeing with Boeing's money."

The merger sparked a war between the engineers and the bean-counters; as one analyst put it, "Some of the board of directors would rather have spent money on a walk-in humidor for shareholders than on a new plane." The white collar engineers responded to the aggressive cost-cutting and politically motivated design choices with the unthinkable, affiliating with the AFL-CIO and going on strike for the first time in the company’s 56-year history. "We weren't fighting against Boeing," said the union leader. "We were fighting to save Boeing."

The key corporate protection that had protected Boeing engineering culture was a wall inside the company between the civilian division and military divisions. This wall was designed to prevent the military procurement process from corrupting civilian aviation. As aerospace engineers Pierre Sprey and Chuck Spinney noted, military procurement and engineering created a corrupt design process, with unnecessary complexity, poor safety standards, “wishful thinking projections” on performance, and so forth. Military contractors subcontract based on political concerns, not engineering ones. If contractors need to influence a Senator from Montana, they will place production of a component in Montana, even if no one in the state can do the work.

Bad procurement is one reason (aside from more and more high-ranking military officials going into defense contracting work) why military products are often poor quality or deficient. For instance, the incredibly expensive joint strike fighter F-35 is a mess, and the Navy’s most expensive aircraft carrier, costing $13 billion, was recently delivered without critical elevators to lift bombs into fighter jets. Much of this dynamic exists because of a lack of competition in contracting for major systems, a practice enhanced by the consolidation Perry pushed in the early 1990s. Monopolies don’t have to produce good quality products, and often don’t.

At any rate, when McDonnell Douglas took over Boeing, the military procurement guys took over aerospace production and design. The company began a radical outsourcing campaign, done for political purposes. In defense production, subcontractors were chosen to influence specific Senators and Congressmen; in civilian production, Boeing started moving production to different countries in return for airline purchases from the national airlines.

Engineers immediately recognized this offshoring as a disaster in the making. In 2001, a senior Boeing engineer named L. Hart Smith published a paper criticizing the business strategy behind offshoring production, noting that vital engineering tasks were being done in ways that seemed less costly but would end up destroying the company. He was quickly proved right.

The first disaster was Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, a test case in how to attempt to cut costs and end up driving up expenses. The company went over budget by something like $12-18 billion. As Sprey and Spinney put it, “You don't have to be wearing a deer-stalker hat to deduce that the rotten practices bred by DoD procurement have finally infected the executive suite of Boeing's commercial division.” Aside from the offshoring of key capacity, the 787 had significant engineering problems, including electrical systems that caused battery fires on the planes.

In 2005, Boeing hired its first ever CEO without an aviation engineering background, bringing in James McNerney, who got his training in brand management at Proctor & Gamble, then McKinsey, and then spent two decades at General Electric learning from Jack Welch how to erode industrial capacity in favor of shareholders. He brought these lessons to Boeing, and hurriedly launched a 737 version with new engines, the 737 Max, to compete with a more fuel-efficient Airbus model.

The key decision was, rather than fix the fundamental aerodynamic control problems caused by the new engine, to bandaid the existing 737 software, while pretending that flying the 737 Max was just like flying old ones. That way, airlines would be able to buy the plane and not have to retrain their pilots, as pilots must be re-certified any changed flight procedures but don’t have to be recertified for new models with unchanged flying qualities. Unfortunately, the aerodynamics of the 737 body didn’t fit with the Max’s bulkier engine, which was obvious during the first wind tunnel tests.

The testing in 2012, with air flow approaching the speed of sound, allowed engineers to analyze how the airplane’s aerodynamics would handle a range of extreme maneuvers. When the data came back, according to an engineer involved in the testing, it was clear there was an issue to address.

The old Boeing would have redesigned the plane’s control surfaces to fix the faulty aerodynamics, but the McDonnell Douglas influenced Boeing new one tried to patch the problem with software. And it was bad software, some of written by outsourced engineers in India paid $9/dollar an hour. The Federal Aviation Administration, having outsourced much of its own regulatory capacity to Boeing, didn’t know what was going on, and Boeing didn’t tell airlines and pilots about the new and crucial safety procedures.

This disregard for engineering integrity and safety had come from the Wall Street driven financialization of the 1990s, through General Electric’s McNerney, but also from military procurement culture. Current CEO Dennis Muilenburg, for instance, has presided over a series of problematic projects in the defense division, from the X-32, the losing entry in the F-35 joint strike fighter contract, to the long-troubled Airborne Laser system. Muilenburg has handled the 737 Max problem the way a defense official would, through public relations and political channels rather than the way a civilian engineer would, which would be through an aggressively honest review of engineering choices.

The net effect of the merger, and the follow-on managerial and financial choices, is that America significantly damaged its aerospace industry. Where there were two competitors - McDonnell Douglas and Boeing, now there is one. And that domestic monopoly can no longer develop good civilian aerospace products. Hundreds of people are dead, and tens of billions of dollars wasted.

Boeing now has a rocky situation ahead of it. Buyers in the international market have little trust in the current leadership of the company, and it will face significant liability from victim families and from airlines who bought the jet, as well as mass cancelations of orders. There is a criminal investigation into the company, as there should be. This like likely to have significant and severe financial consequences.

The right policy path would be Congressional hearings to explore what happened to this once fine company, followed by a break-up of the company into a civilian and military division, or if possible, find a way to create multiple competitors out of this fiasco. Muilenburg should be fired, his compensation clawed back, and the Department of Justice should clean house and indict every relevant executive who empowered what looks like fraud at the core of the 737 Max fiasco. Congress should expand the FAA inspectors so they can once again do their job. With a new leadership team in place, Boeing could fix the 737 Max and begin planning great aircraft again.

In other words, we should put safety conscience civilian engineers back in charge of both building planes and regulating them. Otherwise, planes fall out of the sky.

Thanks for reading, and if you enjoy this newsletter, please share it on social media, forward it to your friends, or just sign up here.

cheers,

Matt Stoller

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https://www.amazon.ca/Emerging-Turbulence-Stories-American-Workplace/dp/1442248548

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.

 

Edited by Don Hudson
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