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U.S. House probe of 737 MAX finds ‘disturbing pattern’ of Boeing failures and ‘grossly insufficient’ FAA oversight

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An intensive investigation by a U.S. House Committee into the causes of the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes reveals new details documenting what a final report calls “a disturbing pattern of technical miscalculations and troubling management misjudgments made by Boeing,” along with “grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA.” (www.seattletimes.com) المزيد...

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gzelna
Greg Zelna 7
How does all this happen and why were there no issues with domestically trained and operated flights?
pnschi
pnschi 1
There were 8,600 737 MAX flights per week before the crashes, operated by 50 carriers around the world. Do you know what fraction of those were in the US?
tyketto
Brad Littlejohn -2
SWA8701 was a domestically operated flight, with domestically trained pilots.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 6
Brad, did you eat a lot of paint chips when you were a kid?
wkessinger
Bill Kessinger 4
I am not aware of SWA having a crash of a 737MAX! Please explain.
tyketto
Brad Littlejohn 1
He didn't say anything about there being a crash. he stated why there were "NO ISSUES" with domestically trained and operated flights. SWA8701 was a domestic flight, with domestically trained pilots.

It had a problem.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 2
In other words, you knew it was irrelevant but posted anyway. Why.
DougHaviland
Doug Haviland 3
SWA8701 was an engine related issue. Returned to Orlando and landed safely.
tyketto
Brad Littlejohn 1
I know it was an engine related issue. He never stated that it was a crash or that it had to be a crash. He stated that there wasn't any issues on a domestic flight. SWA8701 was a domestic flight that had an issue.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 3
He also didn't say anything about aircraft type or whether it was commercial, general, or military flights he was talking about. You assume too much.
Nichollskarl
Karl Nicholls 21
Compliance will never equal 100% safe. Surely, this has been proven by every design flaw crash that has happened to date. No regulatory pathway will ever identify every potential design flaw. Real-life has a terrible tendency to identify them for you. The real culprit in this sad story is the lack of integrity in the human beings that were a part of the process. Until those people are held accountable for their individual actions then we will continue to see events such as these, no matter the regulatory framework employed.
FlaminSquirrel
FlaminSquirrel 14
"No regulatory pathway will ever identify every potential design flaw."

True, but the huge improvements in flight safety have only been made by trying to achieve that goal.
Quirkyfrog
Robert Cowling 19
It was politicians, with their hands out, that asked corporations to regulate themselves.

Self-regulation is rampant in our food system. Pork producers 'certify' their own meat. Beef producers do too. Chicken is being shipped to China to be 'processed', and shipped back here and sold without a label showing where it's been. It's all 'legal' as long as the industries pay up!

Boeing thinks regulation is hindering their profit. THAT'S WHAT REGULATION IS SUPPOSED TO DO!!! If you make, or release crap products, regulators will (should) stop you. Period.

Our government IS failing us, but it's not for the reasons that Fox News and the White House want you to believe. Government is failing because of who is in government, and who they are beholden to.
tbpera
Tom Pera 15
seems those in government who oversaw the testing and all were pre-Trump....2014-2015? let's keep politics out
dopplaganger
Thomas Raveney 4
I don't recall seeing any reference to Trump in his comment. I gotta agree with Robert here, and I suppose you know politics has been screwing things up before Trump got into office, so I can't say his comment had anything to do with the current administration.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 5
No, but hinted at it with his last sentence.
tbpera
Tom Pera 2
sad...but BOTH parties totally corrupt and ruining our nation...
strickerje
strickerje 1
"Our government IS failing us, but it's not for the reasons that Fox News and the White House want you to believe.”

To whom else does "White House" refer?
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 0
You apparently missed where I stated this: "The sad fact is, both parties are to blame. It was Obama's FAA that allowed Boeing to proceed and it was Clinton's FTC and DOJ that allowed for the merger to go ahead."
strickerje
strickerje 1
My reply was to Thomas Raveney saying that Robert Cowling's comment did not have any reference to Trump.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 2
As I stated, he hinted at it and what you quoted is the hint.
pnschi
pnschi 1
This is exactly what politics is about: mitigating the consequences that the lack of integrity common in our species inflicts on the rest of us.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 3
Ok, let's pretend for a minute somebody going to jail today would actually deter the next graduating class of mba's (it won't).

Who did you have in mind?
gatorbuc99
gatorbuc99 2
Boeing executives
BluSTi
James Willich 4
At the end of the day, the FAA signed off. Boeing shares the blame with the FAA.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 0
Selected at random? Thanks for the slightly less lazy response than Tom's. I really appreciate it because I thought he was talking about receptionists and unpaid interns. No, not really.

ebrites
scott ebrite 10
So, now we find the House is full of aeronautical engineers.
mariofer
mariofer 12
There are plenty of people very well versed on the matter that indicated there were flaws with the plane systems. You don't need an aeronautical engineer to realize FAA was not doing its job I think. Looks like someone somewhere said "Take off your engineering hat and put on you management hat." (The words of Jerald Mason senior vice president of Morton Thiokol's Utah plant the day before the Challenger Explosion) How short our memory is.
gzelna
Greg Zelna 0
Why were the issues- at least those we are aware of, only with foreign carriers and crews ?
mariofer
mariofer 7
Plenty of US pilots voiced their concerns with the 737 MAX automated systems and many complained of being left in the dark about the actions the automated system would behave in the event of a malfunction. On another note, how does someone designs (Boeing) and certify (FAA) a flight control platform that entrusts the automated decision making to just one sensor, a type of sensor that was known to be prone to issues as 216 incidents reported to the FAA indicates. This hardly has anything to do with foreign carriers or crews. Maybe we just got lucky.
Highflyer1950
Highflyer1950 7
I don’t think luck has anything to do with this particular issue. It used to be in order to get a type rating you had to not only demonstrate that you could fly but also you understood the systems? It seems fast tracking some pilots to the cockpit has resulted in a failure in one if not both of these requirements. You can almost see the frightened, big eyed wonderment in trying to control an aircraft that wants to push itself down and a stick shaker firing at the same time while increasing towards VNE at full power.........two little switches to off! An A-320 crew not understanding control Laws while attempting to circumnavigate TRW’s decides to do a full nav/flight computer reset and loses control because you only do this on the ground. And last to B-737-500 crew who loses the remaining autopilot after take-off and are unable to hand fly a perfectly serviceable airplane in IFR conditions within airmen certificate parameters and miss the approach twice, and then have to divert to a military field? it’s getting scary out there! and yes, Boeing should have done better.
mariofer
mariofer 4
You are absolutely right. We are seeing more and more instances where a perfectly good aircraft ends up in a really bad or even deadly situation because of plain lack of basic airman skills. I remember reading an article by Les Abend years ago where he said crews where being trained to be automatic systems managers and that the erosion of rudder and stick skills was a real concern.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 1
Plenty of US pilots said the airplane was perfectly safe. Hey this is fun.

Maybe we just got lucky, or maybe you're wrong. How confident are you, really?
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 0
There are plenty of people very well versed on the matter that indicated there were no flaws with the plane systems. so what about that.
jeliop
John Eliopoulos -2
But your BS is not short, to the contrary, rather long-winded.
pnschi
pnschi 2
So, your point is no one can ever carry out an investigation unless they have the specific expertise that was involved? "Well, Detective O'Malley, you're a fine cop, but since you haven't actually robbed a bank I'm taking you off the case."
HarrisonV
Harry Venison 0
Meanwhile the Senate is populated with a bunch of traitors.
tbpera
Tom Pera 0
from BOTH parties
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON -2
Polymathic mensa members need only apply.
Jayharris96
Jay Harris 5
To all you brilliant well informed disciples of CNN and the New York Times who find a way to make every issue political and blame Trump for all the ills of the world, including commercial aircraft crashes, I need your help. I’m currently having all my joy rides curtailed due to all the smoke from California fires. Can you help me craft a way to blame Trump? Doesn’t need to be based on facts. Seriously guys, can we leave politics out of the discussion.
KineticRider
Randy Marco -7
Government = Politics.

Repugnant's = Deregulation.

Deregulation = Max issues.

I know it's hard for people like you but try to comprehend six simple words.
strickerje
strickerje 1
Hard to take anyone who resorts to childish name-calling seriously...
tbpera
Tom Pera 0
dems and repubs = corruption
DGR54Rathborne
DGR Rathborne 3
This article reveals such shocking , lets say indifference , to safety it leaves me wondering . But what i would like to know , is just how Airlines that have grounded Max aircraft will be able to retro-fit them with the required upgrades and at what cost . I think it's fair to say that the 2 test aircraft , that Boeing has been using to re-certify the Max are the most pampered and finessed aircraft ever . How many Airlines can do that and how long will it take , if they even try too ?
DougHaviland
Doug Haviland 3
Apparently the Government has failed at it’s own duties of overseeing itself. Shocking!
paultrubits
paul trubits 3
The Government made a business decision that they did not have the money or manpower to regulate businesses that are too complex for them to properly manage. Instead they chose the path of "Self regulation". It is not just the FAA. USDA and the FDA and many other industries get the Government stamp of approval without much Government oversight. You get what you pay for. The Government trusted Boeing. If you want less Government intervention in business you have to rely on businesses to not cut corners and stretch the envelope.
DougHaviland
Doug Haviland 0
In the case of the Government you do defiantly get something, it’s absolutely NOT WHAT YOU PAY FOR.
paultrubits
paul trubits 4
Auto correct is great! Defiantly instead of definitely. Most Government regulators are decent,honest,hard working people who are overwhelmed with the shear volume of tasks at hand. As the saying goes: Don't hate the players; hate the game.
Quirkyfrog
Robert Cowling 2
So all of Boeing's contributions paid off. They just couldn't stop themselves from putting their necks in their own noose. They got complacent, they got stupid and lazy. Meaningful regulation keeps corporations honest, and could have avoided the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. And if you look at the regulatory agencies under this administration, find one that isn't headed and effectively gagged by their regulated industry lobbyists and management of them. Having industries dictating regulations is, and should be criminal!

But it helps get the GOP campaign contributions. Industries PAY for easy regulations, and the ability to regulate themselves. Thanks to GOP sequestration, regulatory agency budgets were slashed, making the idea of industry self-regulation a seriously considered option. Like how many parents would trust their idiot teenage children with not having a huge party when they leave for a week, leaving them home. YIKES!!!

Remember that by 'reducing the size of government to be able to drown it in a bath tub', that means that corporations will be the government. It was never meant to be that bad. If you aren't concerned, or even hopping mad, you aren't paying attention.
dav555
dav555 12
You are such a hyper-partisan poster. Do you not realize that corruption, i.e. politicians and bureaucrats looking the other way for campaign contributions and other forms of graft, goes on in *every* govt. and is not limited to any particular political party. But I don't believe that this Boeing disgrace has anything to do with corrupt politicians or administrations. Cutting the FAA budget by 1% cannot by itself reduce their effectiveness and negate their ability to do their job. What happened here is due to the age old problems with humanity like selfishness, greed, and incompetence, and it has nothing to do with what political party you belong to. Yes, I agree we need better oversight from the govt., but the ultimate quality control comes from the consumer. Boeing's sales of the 737 Max plummeted and the company has lost a huge amount of money over this. I really hope that a lot of the a**holes involved in this fiasco lose their jobs. Moreover, the FAA must be made more effective and free from influence by the companies whose products and operations they are charged with inspecting.
Highflyer1950
Highflyer1950 10
You and Robert make good arguments but I would offer that Boeing, after building the 737 for so many years and having sold it into just about every market there is became complacent “all” while continuing to upgrade, modify just about every component on the plane. This while attempting to maintain the original type certificate which may have worked but they didn't plan on or provide meaningful information/training to the, “let’s say” newer, lower experience, flight crews that get pumped out of flight academy’s like hamburgers at MacDonald’s? Remember, the “FLUF” was designed to be the easiest aircraft to fly and maintain in order to sell it to every country in the world, but back then you needed 5,000 hours just to get hired not 450 and many were Captained by ex-pats until the locals could safely take over. Just my 2 cents.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 5
Dergulation and mergers and aquisitions happened under administrations of both parties, as well as trade agreements and treaties. Corrupt politicians also exist in both parties. If they actually cared about the people of the US, they would not be pushing for agreements that send jobs offshore.

Boeing's problem with the 737 Max was that they tried to fix something that was not broken and broke it instead. There is nothing wrong with upgrading an aircraft, the 737NG is a good example of a really good upgrade, but they failed with the Max.

The Boeing merger with McDonnell Douglas happened in 1997. The CEO that took over took the reins at that time. Who was in office then? Which party had people in all those regulatory places? While there needs to be some regulation, not all businesses need regulation. Aviation is one that needs some federal regulation I agree, but not John Q. Public's House of Bacon on Main Street (other than health regulations for obvious reasons).
LeftlySC
Stephen Leftly 1
Actually the House of Bacon on Main street DOES need regulation for more than health reasons . For example : to avoid customers getting caught in a fire trap with no fire exits etc.. They also need regulations that they are not serving under age patrons with liqour, drugs etc. The list is really quite long......

Most regulations, unlike what most "free market" people would have you believe, are necessary and have come out of hard learned lessons in the past. Are all regulations well written clearly the answer is no, however some of that is due to the difficulty of writing regulations that withstand legal challenge.

I clearly remember in the 1960s car companies complaining about unnecessary government regulations about seat belts crash worthiness etc.... Now while we still have far too many traffic deaths the rate per mile driven has dropped very significantly, even as roads have gotten more crowded. The rate per million vehicle miles driven has dropped from 5/MMD in 1960 down to 1.3/MMD today (2018 data)
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
Sure, there are local regulations in regards to safety and who can and cannot be served what, but there is no need for federal regulation of such. Now the food that they buy is a different story as now we are dealing with a whole different ballgame. Federal goverment regulations are supposed to keep the food from making people sick or worse.

Car manufacturers need some government regulations as well, due to the transportation of the electorate, just like aircraft and other modes of transportation.

Some things need regulation, other things do not.
LeftlySC
Stephen Leftly 1
We need federal regulation for industry's sake. It is incredibly expensive to have worry about and conform to different regs in different states. The differences add little value and a lot of cost. They are in effect an internal trade tax.

Especially egregious are "professional" qualifications. To me it makes little sense that each state has its own licensing board for all sorts of jobs and people have to get certified / registered in each state where they want to operate or work. These rules mostly seem more of a way to either generate state revenue or to protect local fiefdoms rather than to protect consumers and do little to promote efficiency. It is even crazier that some of these "qualifications" are down at the county/ city level!

A lot of these intra-state differences started way back when it took days of travel to get even a message from A to B and very little trade crossed state lines. Today the world is completely different but a lot of the old thinking still is in place.

But this is all rather off topic.

Boeing management screwed up: they built a plan with a critical safety system (MCAS) which relied on single vulnerable sensor, they lied to the FAA about the nature of MCAS, lied to their customers about MCAS, and lobbied government for, and got, less FAA oversight.

Yes there are pilots flying that do not have enough hours but what has been Boeing's position on that......oh yes even knowing there are pilots flying without enough hours they were more than happy to suggest no real additional training was needed for the MAX.

As the old saying goes: disasters are caused by a concatenation of low probability events. In both of the crashes we see: a bad design plus a poorly run airline plus an inexperienced flight crew. Probably if you took any one of those ingredients out to the mix the crashes would not have happened.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
Boeing failed at not following the old axiom of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." I stated that elsewhere. This of course is due to management. Regulation can't fix stupid. I don't disagree that aviation needs regulation. I just disagree that everything needs to be regulated.

Boeing is hopefully learning a valuable lesson with the Max. Hopefully airlines have learned a lesson as well.

As far as professional certifications, I have them and are recognized world wide. Many of the regulations you wish did not exist on a local level are typical across the US, at least in the construction world, with a slew of alphabet orginizations that are recognized around the world as well such as the IBC (International Building Code) that all buildings are built to. Still, there is a big difference in the need to meet siesmic standards and aircraft design.

Not everything needs to be scrutinized by the feds.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
This should have been in reply to Robert and not Dav. I had previously started a post and lost it when inadvertantly going back to the article above.

It should also read that the CEO that took the reins at that time is the one responsible for the recent issues faced by Boeing even if he is still not such.
BluSTi
James Willich 2
Frank Shrontz, who orchestrated the merger with MD poisoned the well for Phil Condit. Phil's blame lies with letting Stonecipher (from MD) take over the Commercial Airplane Group and turn it into garbage.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 1
The 787 doesn't seem like garbage. 747-8 doesn't really, either. I suppose the new 777 could be, but we won't know about that one for a while yet.
BluSTi
James Willich 2
The culture was/is garbage.
LeftlySC
Stephen Leftly 1
Yep... as soon as Boeing moved the company headquarters from Seattle to Chicago it was predictable that the headquarters staff would become divorced from the engineers and that balance sheet issues would dominate. OK perhaps (but even that is doubtful) in a financial services company ...not so good in a company that builds aircraft.

This is the sad fate of almost all large companies (for another example take much of the US car industry...it used to dominate the world...now not so much). Senior management gets isolated in some ivory tower somewhere away from where things actually get built and over time they forget what is, and what is not, important.
tbpera
Tom Pera 3
Boeing must have paid off the Obama admin as it was in power during testing and sign off...
tbpera
Tom Pera 0
I think the testing and reviews were all done under Obama... 2014-2015?
hainich
hainich 9
The most significant regulation changes appear to have taken place in 2005 already, see https://www.smh.com.au/national/self-regulation-failed-with-banks-but-with-aircraft-in-can-kill-20191103-p536wk.html
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON -2
I don't see any alternatives proposed or changes suggested in that article, do you? Why does the designee program exist? Because Boeing doesn't care if planes crash as long as they are paid for... and the FAA doesn't care because.. whatever? Possible I suppose, but it doesn't seem very plausible. Or could it be that the industry has advanced so far so quickly that the FAA couldn't possibly keep up so they went with the least unattractive option?

So the author inspected airplanes in 1986. Was inspecting airplanes then like inspecting airplanes now? I doubt it, but I don't know. What I do know is it was his job to give me enough information to draw my own conclusions. Maybe he chose not to because it would skewer his own story. All we can do is guess.

Speaking of guessing... maybe the US House should form another committee to look at why they didn't form a committee at some point after the FAA delegated but before fatal the crashes occurred 15 whatever years later... so we don't have to guess. Maybe it's because the US House is just as responsible for the crashes as the FAA or Boeing ever were.
KineticRider
Randy Marco -5
Repugnant's are the party of Deregulation... PERIOD!!

You obviously hate Obama, get an education. Presidents don't oversee testing nor do they pass laws and as to deregulation it's the Repugnant creed you are truly ignorant!
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 6
It is obvious that you hate those on the right. The sad fact is, both parties are to blame. It was Obama's FAA that allowed Boeing to proceed and it was Clinton's FTC and DOJ that allowed for the merger to go ahead.
tbpera
Tom Pera 2
and I think Carter approved of deregulation the airlines??
Forensics1
Forensics1 1
What the guy in charge of HUMAN SAFETY at Boeing did was hire a Fox and put him in charge of guarding the hen house.
d0ugparker
Doug Parker 0
Corporate's prime directive being *make money,* ranks higher than *protect all employees whose integrity deems it necessary to blow the whistle on us.* The game continues.

Dilbert comics used to poke at unspoken elephants in corporate rooms, e.g., https://dilbert.com/strip/2018-08-14

House Committee reports will highlight 1) compliance, 2) safety, and 3) documentation. Shine the Dilbert light on corporate culture that lacks "value integrity, nurture integrity, and make money"—not just "make money."

If 4) in Committee reports isn't "integrity," "employee protection," and related, it'll never rank with "make money."
wiregold
wiregold -1
When Boeing moved headquarters to Capone's hometown, the graves were dug.
Boeing and the FAA killed more people than the Beirut blast killed.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 2
All the carriers around the world who regularly skimp and cut corners on equipment, maintenance, and training thank you for your support.
jeliop
John Eliopoulos -2
The House is run by a bunch of commies. Garbage article.
robproct
Robert Proctor -2
Who would want to buy or for that matter fly in a proven lemon. Remember what the Edsel did to Ford.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
Yet Ford still sells more pick-up than anyone else (much of that may be due to fleet sales, but still count).
robproct
Robert Proctor 1
Yes but it took many years for Ford recover. Whether the Max will still turn out to be a lemon remains to be seen but it now has an unenviable reputation.

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