Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

What ELSE has Boeing Screwed Up?

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

What ELSE has Boeing Screwed Up?

Old 19th Mar 2019, 14:50
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 7,467
What ELSE has Boeing Screwed Up?

When I worked. for the Engineering division of an Airline in the late 70’s and early 80’s I regularly interacted with Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. I attended twice yearly ATA conferences with the manufacturers and my airline peers as well as had day to day contact with both companies.

The difference in attitudes between the companies was impossible to miss. Boeing was almost humble about its products and would listen thoughtfully and attentively to customer complaints and suggestions. Douglas, on the other hand, used to explain that “we built the DC3” and that their engineering was more sophisticated than Boeing and anyway, what did I know? - I was just a user.

This Douglas attitude seems to have been widespread and despite their allegedly superior engineering, they did not prosper. Boeing bought them.

I lost track of both manufacturers. I was out of the industry but I remember reading that Douglas management did a “reverse takeover” of Boeing management and, among other things, had shifted company headquarters from Seattle to St. Louis - Douglasses old HQ. I wondered at the time what happened to the old, humble, responsive and downright honest to God Boeing culture.

So we had the B787 program - aggressive, edgy technology that didn’t sound much like the old Boeing I had known.

And now this disaster. The Seattle Times has laid out what is allegedly a totally dishonest management failure of the 737 Max that, to me, sounds very Douglas DC 10-ish and not like the Boeing of old at all

I therefore have to ask; what else has the current Boeing management screwed up? My faith in their products is shaken to the core.

https://www.seattletimes.com/busines...ion-air-crash/
Sunfish is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2019, 15:56
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: WA STATE
Age: 74
Posts: 1
The last Boeing types with that customer first attitude were Bill Allen, T wilson, F Shrontz,Phil Condit, and

Al Mullally

CONSO is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2019, 16:01
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: 60 north
Age: 55
Posts: 2
Sunfish

Hmm
Maybe the headline should be:
" What else did FAA let Boeing Screw Up"
As it is quite clear now that FAA is not in control , whatsoever! According this article?

With regards to the B737-800 and up , it is essentially one step to fare, which makes the MAX two steps to fare.

Regards
Cpt B
738
BluSdUp is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2019, 16:13
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,121
Your description of Douglas/Boeing history is not accurate.

Douglas had its HQ in Long Beach, CA. McDonnell (in St Louis) acquired Douglas. Then in 1997, Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas merged. Initially, HQ was in Seattle, but after Phil Condit left the CEO position, Harry Stonecipher (previously of McD-D). he engineered the move of HQ to Chicago.

IMO, Boeing's decline started when Bob Woodard was VP and President of the Commercial Airplanes Group. He decided to compete with Airbus for market share, using price as incentive. It resulted in a HUGE financial loss for Boeing in 1997 that took years to recover. It also resulted in the big layoffs of 1998, of which I was one victim.

Since the move to Chicago, I believe HQ has become detached from company operations, and beancounters have taken over from the old engineers that previously rose through the ranks. The resulting focus on quarterly profits likely fed some of the corner-cutting...
Intruder is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2019, 16:26
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Washington.
Age: 69
Posts: 486
The “brain drain” of the 90’s had tremendous and long lasting impact on Boeing. The greatest asset Boeing, of old, had was its amazing collection of brilliant and experienced engineers. They were let go as if they were a dime a-dozen. Talk about the goose that laid the golden egg.
GlobalNav is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2019, 21:22
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ban Chiang,Thailand
Age: 62
Posts: 147
Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
When I worked. for the Engineering division of an Airline in the late 70’s and early 80’s I regularly interacted with Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. I attended twice yearly ATA conferences with the manufacturers and my airline peers as well as had day to day contact with both companies.

The difference in attitudes between the companies was impossible to miss. Boeing was almost humble about its products and would listen thoughtfully and attentively to customer complaints and suggestions. Douglas, on the other hand, used to explain that “we built the DC3” and that their engineering was more sophisticated than Boeing and anyway, what did I know? - I was just a user.

This Douglas attitude seems to have been widespread and despite their allegedly superior engineering, they did not prosper. Boeing bought them.

I lost track of both manufacturers. I was out of the industry but I remember reading that Douglas management did a “reverse takeover” of Boeing management and, among other things, had shifted company headquarters from Seattle to St. Louis - Douglasses old HQ. I wondered at the time what happened to the old, humble, responsive and downright honest to God Boeing culture.

So we had the B787 program - aggressive, edgy technology that didn’t sound much like the old Boeing I had known.

And now this disaster. The Seattle Times has laid out what is allegedly a totally dishonest management failure of the 737 Max that, to me, sounds very Douglas DC 10-ish and not like the Boeing of old at all

I therefore have to ask; what else has the current Boeing management screwed up? My faith in their products is shaken to the core.

https://www.seattletimes.com/busines...ion-air-crash/
The KC-46A?
Thaihawk is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2019, 22:47
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 64
Posts: 2,418
Originally Posted by Intruder View Post
Your description of Douglas/Boeing history is not accurate.

Douglas had its HQ in Long Beach, CA. McDonnell (in St Louis) acquired Douglas. Then in 1997, Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas merged. Initially, HQ was in Seattle, but after Phil Condit left the CEO position, Harry Stonecipher (previously of McD-D). he engineered the move of HQ to Chicago.

IMO, Boeing's decline started when Bob Woodard was VP and President of the Commercial Airplanes Group. He decided to compete with Airbus for market share, using price as incentive. It resulted in a HUGE financial loss for Boeing in 1997 that took years to recover. It also resulted in the big layoffs of 1998, of which I was one victim.

Since the move to Chicago, I believe HQ has become detached from company operations, and beancounters have taken over from the old engineers that previously rose through the ranks. The resulting focus on quarterly profits likely fed some of the corner-cutting...
Actually your history is off as well. Phil Condit moved the headquarters to Chicago long before he stepped down as CEO (the joke among those of us who knew Condit - and of his womanizing - was that he'd run out of women in Seattle and needed new hunting grounds). Condit was the worst thing that ever happened to Boeing - basically he was a shining example of the Peter Principle in action (you get promoted to your level of incompetence). Condit's buying spree of other companies lost billions (there was one satellite company that Condit bought for over $1 Billion, and within a year they had to write it's value down to about $500 million). All this finally culminated with the MacDac merger - the adoption of MacDac management practices of outsourcing everything lead directly to the fiasco of the 787.

BTW, it wasn't the prices that lead to those huge loses in Commercial in '98, it was the rapid increase in production rate -much faster than what the various vendors could support. That lead to massive parts shortages, aircraft rolling out missing major components, expensive rework when the late arrive parts finally showed up, and finally a complete shutdown of new production for (IIRC) six weeks while they tried to get everything caught back up.

If they had promoted Alan Mulally to CEO instead of Condit, Boeing would be a far different (and better) company today.
tdracer is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2019, 23:07
  #8 (permalink)  
568
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Castletown
Posts: 96
tdracer;

I thought Harry Stonecipher was the main culprit of the move to the windy city?
568 is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2019, 23:10
  #9 (permalink)  
568
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Castletown
Posts: 96
Perhaps the 747-8?
568 is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2019, 23:12
  #10 (permalink)  
568
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Castletown
Posts: 96
I thought Harry Stonecipher was also a culprit in the move.
Rumor has it that he was asked why Boeing moved to the windy City...Answer, "because he didn't like Seattle"!
568 is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2019, 23:27
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: kc, mo
Posts: 11
Ultimately wasn't it about tax breaks that Seattle didn't offer and Chicago did?
bhunt95 is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2019, 23:51
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Accruing MilliSiverts
Posts: 512
Interesting post.

There was also the 737 rudder hard-over issue of a few years ago that was extremely concerning and seemed not to get the attention from the FAA that has now been bought on by these two Max crashes.

The whole Sonic Cruiser/787 episode also seemed like quite a corporate mess. The Sonic Cruiser was a bizarre idea in that there was a marginal speed increase for a whole bunch of effort and extra fuel burn. It morphed into the 787 which was a shambles of a production process. It was probably a good idea to decentralise a bit and have external parties make components but that needed superior management oversight which clearly didn’t happen.

Joe Sutter correctly commented that with simple slide-rules, his team of engineers created a breakthrough and brilliant aircraft in the 747 in a very short timeframe. 40 years later, 787 engineers with the aid of super-computers couldn’t make yet another subsonic aluminum tube without extensive and expensive delays. Not their fault but evidence of poor management. After the battery fires that afflicted that aircraft (if my info is correct), the 787 still flies around with thick and heavy protective battery boxes far heavier than if they’d used traditional batteries in the first place. Ground Engineers tell me that to this day they have troubles with the 787 electrical system, particularly in hot weather when the system is under stress.

Time will tell, but the lack of aircrew-available information about the MCAS system and the fact that it had no redundancy (if these points are correct) is seemingly an appalling oversight.

There may be more to this than meets the eye but from an outsider’s standpoint, this all smacks of very poor upper level management and oversight. Great company and hopefully this latest event is a wake up call to both managers and the FAA overseers.
Al E. Vator is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2019, 00:18
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Prague
Posts: 31
When you said that is does not sound like old Boeing at all... maybe it is true. But maybe they did not want to. Sure they really messed up but maybe they got pushed there.

If you look at airlines these days and SOP they really like things like Airbus. No manual flying, do not even try to turn off A/P, flying without FD is sci-fi. Things like MPL and people who barely flew something in real life are getting in cockpits. All things like that push aircraft makers into making planes which suits companies. And Boeing has its "good old" B737 which is popular just because you can buy a new one and keep your pilots with same type rating. So they can jump from NG to MAX and back. Just the fear that abandoning B737 would put them behind and not guarantee them customers for new aircraft. Because once you can not offer just better B737 but new aircraft then Airbus comes into game.

This could be a part of this mess.
Rarife is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2019, 00:49
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1,310
Here is a video, that explains a bit about the 787 fiasco.
Based on the article in Seattle Times, there could be a lot more to come from this.

2 crashes in 5 months, and the FAA seems to also have a major part of the blame. I wonder if Boeing's customers will stay loyal much longer. There will be companies coming for Boeing for compensation, equally possible criminal investigation, which as I understand is already in process.


2unlimited is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2019, 00:56
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,484
Soft corruption and regulatory capture.

The normalisation of deviance is the process, eloquently examined by Diane Vaughan.

The result after incremental deviance and acceptance of same is what is being played out now.
Rated De is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2019, 01:42
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: On the Beach
Posts: 3,229
Originally Posted by Rated De View Post
Soft corruption and regulatory capture.

The normalisation of deviance is the process, eloquently examined by Diane Vaughan.

The result after incremental deviance and acceptance of same is what is being played out now.
Would like to hear her take on all of this. Her credentials are beyond reproach.
aterpster is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2019, 03:45
  #17 (permalink)  
568
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Castletown
Posts: 96
Really good video.
Just one important omission...the "roll out 787" actually had cardboard doors!

Further....Boeing blamed IAM for the 787 delay, when in fact it was management that really had to shoulder the blame.
568 is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2019, 04:57
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: KBOS USA
Posts: 42
Let's all not forget the Ducommun 737NG fuselage Bear Strap fiasco,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaWdEtANi-0
And the obvious lack of over site from the FAA, a recurrent theme..........
Golden Rivit is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2019, 06:39
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 2,861
GR, your video is rather prescient, took nine years to get there though. As mentioned above, it seems normalisation of deviance reigned. Having worked for a US multi national it doesn't surprise me, as a salaried employee we were subject to a yearly appraisal which dictated your salary increase. After raising questions re non compliance of regulatory instructions was told by management to "Do what your told", earned 0% increase that year. I assume Boeing salaried employees would be in the same boat. Makes you wonder how sub standard parts make it into an airframe given the number of inspector stamps, think the most egregious example is the F-15 fuselage longerons which had too much metal machined off resulting in the nose complete with cockpit breaking away while conducting ACM. P-3 suffered too with leading edge ribs having too much metal removed.
megan is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2019, 09:36
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 2,407
Was / is the MAX one step to far. Have we just had a wake up call that the wizards can design but the human's cannot handle it. This to me is similar to Comet and we have out reached our selves and need to back track and design out the flaw. Having said that I would prefer to fly than drive the stats tell us it is still safe
Kiltrash is online now  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.