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Boeing 737 again in the news

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Boeing 737 again in the news

Old 20th Sep 2021, 19:25
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beardy

Directors of publically traded companies do not make operational decisions, especially at a company as large as Boeing. For the most part, the Directors are unaware of most operational decisions. The role of the Director is to act independently with the best interests of the shareholders in mind to guide the Executives in making strategic decisions.. They determine if the CEO and other officers are the best options for the company. They also, through the Audit committee, provide additional checks and balances in the finances of the company. I suppose if operational issues like where to place a factory has strategic impact the board might weigh in, but otherwise, no....

These lawsuits against Boards are hard to win because Delaware law protects Directors pretty strongly. Unless this is willful malfeasance by the Board that can be proved, the law suit will probably not go anywhere. It has to be this way, otherwise no one would serve on the Board of a publically traded company.
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Old 20th Sep 2021, 23:37
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MCAS Design Vetting

Forkner is in serious trouble for his outrageous lying to the FAA, but I still am troubled by the lack of sensor fault visibility that resulted in such a flawed design of MCAS. Maybe not the person who drew the block diagrams but those who would be responsible for the fault tolerance review and simulator testing with various failures for a system that would drive the most important control surface on an aircraft. Possibly they were newbies that had no past experience so the onus would fall on higher ups that knew the technology but had been promoted to management. Somebody has to be left who knows how to build an airplane!
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 00:14
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It all traces back to one bad call - the failure of MCAS was deemed to be no worse than "Major" - basically that if the stab trim started doing something unexpected or that the crew didn't understand, they'd simply disable it (which used an existing procedure). "Major" failures don't require redundancy in design. In 20-20 hindsight, that was a fatally bad call, but at the time it must have seemed reasonable. All the problems with the MCAS trace to that - had it been identified as "Hazardous" they never would have implemented it the way they did.
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 01:46
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Yes, I’ve heard that comment before about determining that it was simply a “major failure” and you simply used cut off switches after determining that in four seconds or less. However, since they didn’t call it out specifically other than a “ runaway” stab trim, it didn’t seem to the pilot like a runaway. Just a burp of stab trim every few seconds. Or if they had trained pilots with an AOA sensor failure, maybe. But as it was….
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 02:39
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Some internal company communications, which logically ought to have taken place, have not yet been revealed, with regard to either the substance of the communications or documents reflecting or recording the substance (or both). This, despite the evidently large volume of documents and records tendered by the company to the plaintiffs in the Delaware suit, the federal agencies investigating the accidents and the causes, the Congressional committees and others.

Specifically referring to the evidently uphill battle faced by the defense for the company's former chief technical pilot (and others, potentially), it is undisputed that the MCAS system previously was used in the KC-46 tanker aircraft. The WSJ article of Sept. 29, 2019 - almost a year into the saga - was among the first to publicly discuss the background of MCAS. As well as the fact that its workings in the tanker were different, as compared to how it was ultimately used in the 737 MAX, in material and significant ways. "[E]ngineers who created MCAS more than a decade ago for the military refueling plane designed the system to rely on inputs from multiple sensors and with limited power to move the tankerís nose", according to that article.

Possibly one could believe it all happened in some different way but logic (and legal experience, if noting this weren't offensive to some forum members) indicates that there would have been communications about the workings of MCAS in the KC-46 in the context of how it was being considered for the 737 MAX, and especially how modifying its function could have unwanted or unacceptable effects. It does not appear reasonable to believe that someone with significant responsibilities in the MAX program simply lifted MCAS and did not have consultations or discussions with engineers or others who had at least a decade of experience with its workings. And that these communications, at least some of them, wound up in emails, memos, and so forth.

If these exist and have already found their way into the several very tall stacks of documents and records already disclosed to investigations or produced to adverse parties in discovery, then I'm sorry I've missed it. Regardless, if these exist, defense counsel will have headaches trying to portray any criminal defendants as just sounding like smart-alecks in messages but otherwise acting in good faith.

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Old 21st Sep 2021, 03:30
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Originally Posted by whitav8r
. Somebody has to be left who knows how to build an airplane!
Given all the continuing issues with the 787 and 777X, I would suggest that the jury is still out on that…….

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Old 21st Sep 2021, 07:27
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 09:19
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A crime first turned to tragedy, now to farce
The $2.5 billion deferred prosecution agreement was heavily criticized because it effectively absolves Boeing management and instead places the entire blame on Forkner and his vice Gustavsson. The deal was negotiated and signed by a Justice Department lawyer named Erin Nealy Cox, a Trump appointee who left her job the day after, two days after Trump groupies stormed the US capitol..
Ms. Cox then joined Kirkland & Ellis, Boeing's lead law firm. She was publicly welcomed there as a partner by Mark Filip, who signed the agreement for Boeing.
The 2.5 billion was looking like a lot only at first glance. The agreement between the Justice Department and Boeing contains an incredible, completely unprecedented whitewashing phrase for the Boeing management:

"the misconduct was neither pervasive across the organization, nor undertaken by a large number of employees, nor facilitated by senior management"

Since DOJ had little time to conduct its own investigation, this is likely based exclusively on Boeing's own statements.
Together with the laughable, unusually low symbolic penalty of $246 million (< 10%, the lion's share of the 2.5 billion concerns compensation payments mainly to airlines and some to victim families negotiated long before), this is a real bargain for Boeing and a slap in the face for the victims' relatives.
Above all, Boeing has thus avoided any admission of guilt as a company, which could have jeopardized future business with the Department of Defense.
Financial times
Seattle times
The next logical act in this farce is now the prosecution of the cheap scapegoat Forkner, who was so stupid to document his behavior in emails and/or who had the bad luck that his vodka-juicy emails were perfectly suited for release by Boeing's IT Department to construct a small, subordinate scapegoat.

All that's left to do now is cross fingers for Forkner's defense and wish them well....
Although, tragically, as Boeing's chief pilot, he had talked Lion Air out of training its pilots on MAX simulators. That was "a difficult and unnecessary training burden for your airline." He boasted that would have saved Boeing "a sick amount of $$$$." Sure he did that without the knowledge and not on behalf of the management.
Boeing gave him the "Service Excellence Award" in September 2016 for persuading the FAA to keep MCAS out of the pilot instructions....
The "new" boss Calhoun claims to this day "off the record" that the accidents would have been prevented by well-trained US pilots.

To quote Max Liebermann, the famous German painter: "I can't eat as much as I would like to vomit".

Last edited by spornrad; 21st Sep 2021 at 09:55.
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Old 22nd Sep 2021, 03:30
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Where is the Chief Engineer overseeing the program in all this, yes, I know he's pulled the pin. He ought to have been on top of all the MCAS issues, and supposedly giving his imprimatur to the product developed. Was he not in the habit of having a round table with all concerned departments? Doubt anything like this would have happened on Joe Sutter's watch.
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Old 22nd Sep 2021, 06:04
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Transcript of interview of Michael Teal, vice president/chief project engineer of the MAX program, under the auspices of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U. S. House of Representatives. May 11, 2020,

148 pp. https://transportation.house.gov/imo...20(9.9.20).pdf

Some apropos quotes.

(Mathew Weisman, Counsel, (House) Investigations and Oversight staff) Q: ....during the MAX certification process, which was from roughly 2012 to March of 2017, what was your title and what were your responsibilities related to the MAX program?

A: I was the vice president/chief project engineer of the MAX program, responsible for the requirements, the configuration, the design, the testing, the certification and overseeing of any issues in the build process, mainly the engineering work.

Q: And during that time, roughly how many people reported directly to you?

A: As the chief project engineer at The Boeing Company, no employees actually report to me. So, at one time, I think I had an OA that was working for me, an administrator, but no engineers directly report to me. They all are functionally aligned to the engineering leaders of the company.

Q: So can you explain to us how that management structure worked? Like, how would you oversee the work that was being done if no one reported directly to you?

A: So the structure of the program, we had a chief -- so I was the chief project engineer. And then, for example, all of the systems engineers worked for the systems integrated product team leader; all the structural engineers worked for the structural IPT leader; had a propulsion IPT leader; integration team leader; as well as an interiors team leader.

So all the engineers reported up through those five skills. They reported up through a director of engineering and reported to the program manager. And then I reported to the program manager as well.

Q: And who was the program manager to whom you reported?

A: In the beginning of the program, it was a gentleman named (redacted). I believe it was in 2013 - I can't exactly know the exact date - he left the program and was replaced by Keith Leverkuhn.

Q: Okay. And roughly how many people are involved in the MAX program?

A: From an engineering - of the Boeing engineers involved, around 1,500 engineers, approximately. But then throughout the supply chain, you know, CFM, the engine company, I had, you know, probably a thousand engineers. And then suppliers around the world had hundreds and hundreds of engineers. I don't have an exact number for you.

(GOP minority counsel Corey Cooke) Q: Okay. So during development of the 737 MAX, was it your understanding that MCAS was capable of activating repeatedly?

A: I had no knowledge that MCAS had a repeat function in it during the development.

Q: Why would you not have known that?

A: That is a technical detail that would be the technical leaders well below my level would have gone into that level of detail. So we have organizations down in the stability and control and flight controls working with the pilots. They would go into the details of the requirements for any particular function. My exposure to it would've been simply the team coming forward and saying we need a new function called MCAS, Maneuver Characteristic Augmentation System, on the airplane to pass certification requirements. That's the detail I would have gotten into.

Q: Would they have provided you with a description that would have described how and when it would operate, and would that description potentially have included that it would activate repeatedly in some circumstances?

A: I would not get into that level of detail.
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Old 22nd Sep 2021, 06:49
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Joe Sutter would have wept pif is my take on that.
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Old 22nd Sep 2021, 09:07
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A: As the chief project engineer at The Boeing Company, no employees actually report to me. So, at one time, I think I had an OA that was working for me, an administrator, but no engineers directly report to me. They all are functionally aligned to the engineering leaders of the company.

According to his description, his position was entirely redundant. How can a Chief Project Engineer have no control over the Project staff?

I get that the guy wants to weasel out of any responsibility, but what was really going on there?
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Old 23rd Sep 2021, 08:05
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It really begs the question as to just what did this guy do other than receive a pretty large salary?
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Old 23rd Sep 2021, 09:10
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His only job is to exist and look nice, so it seems that Boeing is taking overall product engineering seriously. But off course not really, because that would be to expensive.
And, off course, he is the scapegoat if it does goes wrong.
Bureaucracy and jobs at work.
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Old 23rd Sep 2021, 12:55
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So, a Boeing Chief Project Engineer does not need to have an understanding of the systems of the aeroplane he is responsible for? Astonishing..
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Old 23rd Sep 2021, 13:43
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One of my colleagues used to say that the first appointment in every project was the future scapegoat.
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Old 23rd Sep 2021, 14:58
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In the public service status is measured by how many people work for you, in industry it is the size of your budget,.

My question is what level of control did Mr Teal have over the MAX engineering budget ? My guess is the level of control was substantial, and not in a good way.

Boeing seems to have a lot of senior management with authority but no accountability…..
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 03:51
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Settlement of shareholder lawsuit reportedly reached (WSJ)

Wall Street Journal reporting that an agreement has been reached for settlement of the shareholder derivative suit. Main elements of the reported settlement include a monetary settlement of $225 million, to be paid by the insurers of the directors and former directors, and paid to the company. The suit was based on the central allegation that the Boeing Board of Directors failed in their fiduciary duty of overseeing safety matters, particular insofar as the 737 MAX aircraft is concerned.

Also reportedly part of the reported agreement is a requirement for Boeing to hire an ombudsman to handle certain internal matters - not further specified in the news report. Not least, the agreement also would require the company to appoint a director to its board with "experience in aviation safety."

No doubt the temptation will be strong for PPRuNers to get their nominations for this Board appointment in early (and often) . . . .
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 10:34
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Isn't that more than has been paid out to the accident victims ?
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 12:50
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Boeing set aside $550 million for the victims on the flights - the catch is that victims' families have to take action (file a lawsuit/claim) to collect. That process is only getting started.

Boeing is also expected to pay $1.7 billion to airline "victims" - i.e. to cover airlines' losses due to grounding, additional training, etc. etc.

The Board malfeasance insurance payout covers 90% of Boeing's criminal fine ($250 million).
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