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Boeing pilot involved in Max testing is indicted in Texas

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Boeing pilot involved in Max testing is indicted in Texas

Old 24th Oct 2021, 14:28
  #81 (permalink)  
 
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I think this must be some difference between US and UK law, or at least practice. Over here, if one of your employees does something that causes an accident, that's what your insurance and your legal costs cover. Called Employer Liability Insurance. If it impacts members of the public, that's Public Liability Insurance. There are others, like Professional Indemnity or Motor Vehicle Insurance, and anyone doing serious business with you will ask to see all the certificates. To avoid arguments over which of these is responsible, most companies place all these with the same insurer.

Weaseling out by insurers just doesn't significantly happen (I understand it does so more in the USA). If you smash into someone with the company vehicle, you, and thus the insurer, are liable. They can't evade it by saying you have been prosecuted for careless driving and thus outside the terms of the insurance. Most claims beyond being struck by lightning are brought about by doing something against some law somewhere.
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Old 24th Oct 2021, 17:51
  #82 (permalink)  
 
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I would suggest that from a practical matter the Boeing corporate culture was set by the C suite. It prioritized and incentivized fast and cheap over safe and good at every step. Again as a practical matter saying that Mr. Forkner was a rogue actor solely responsible for the MAX tragedy is laughable. However Mr Forkner's liability from a legal stand point is a whole different matter and one on which several other posters are much more qualified to comment on than myself. It would be very unfortunate if Mr Forkner was the fall guy and the senior management who were the true enablers of the broken Boeing system that produced the MAX, got off.

As an aside any lingering hope that Boeing learned the lessons from MAX and were making substantive change disappeared for me, at least, when they hid an uncommanded pitch down event on a 777X test flight. This only came to light after a FAA review of flight test raw data 7 months later. This review would not have been done except for the enhanced FAA scrutiny resulting from the lack of Boeing transparency on the MAX. The fact that anybody at Boeing though it was a good idea to hide an uncommented pitch down event after the MAX fiasco speaks volumes about the current corporate culture at Boeing......

Finally the lesson for everybody is take care what you say on any e-mail you send, it could come back to haunt you.......
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Old 24th Oct 2021, 19:03
  #83 (permalink)  
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take care what you say on any e-mail you send, it could come back to haunt you.......
That is the nub of it. Corporate culture is not the same as what the Directors put on the website. By the time they get their feet under the boardroom table - they know not to put things in writing.
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Old 25th Oct 2021, 20:01
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I think this might have less to do with insurance and more to do with vicarious liability, acknowledging that UK/US law differs in this respect. Hopefully one of the lawyers will set us straight. In essence (and in the UK!) and employer is liable for the actions of an employee in the course of his/her employment, unless (UK) they have been 'on a frolic of their own, ie their actions are so unexpected and extreme that no employer could reasonably have anticipated or otherwise controlled events. So if this was a process in a UK court, Boeing would have to show that it had no way of knowing or expecting that Forkner would do what he did, or it would be liable for his actions rather than him. Given all that has been written or disclosed so far, and the admissions made in earlier cases, that would be an interesting proposition to put before a court.
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Old 25th Oct 2021, 20:22
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Thank you for this pointer, it seems there is a (notable) UK/US difference of law. As this is a US situation, we (in the UK) can let this point end

Vicarious liability in English law - Wikipedia
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Old 29th Nov 2021, 19:35
  #86 (permalink)  
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The Story Of The Boeing 737 MAX https://www.npr.org/2021/11/29/10597...boeing-737-max

Investigative reporter Peter Robison chronicles the tragic story of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in his new book, 'Flying Blind.' He says Boeing failed to warn pilots that new software in the plane could cause its nose to repeatedly pitch down, a malfunction that led to two deadly crashes in the space of five months. Robison says the 737 MAX disaster is at its heart the story of a corporate culture that prized profits and shareholder value over quality and safety — and of federal regulators more committed to serving the airline industry than protecting the public.
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Old 30th Nov 2021, 14:39
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Killaroo, how right you are. The rise to the top of these organisations is generally fuelled by a sociopathic desire for attention and ambition. In the airline world this results in a motley group of greedy incompetents that in general were not actually very good at the piloting stuff who rise to the top. Without sounding too geriatric this was not really the case up to the late 90s when in fairness a few managers were capable at the day job, were genuine role models but now replaced by mainly money grabbing narcissists. The unacceptable face of capitalism I suppose. The Max story is horrendous and complicated. Boeing should hang their heads in shame. I was a humble airline pilot that first flew the 737 - 200 in 1979; it was essentially a C172 with jet engines, simple to fly and operate. Even I could see that the 737 series was at the end of the road with the NG and I was astonished when they cobbled together the Max. A tragic story.
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Old 30th Nov 2021, 17:30
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Boeing should have done a Honda and moved the engines to the top of the wing for later versions
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Old 11th Dec 2021, 07:12
  #89 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by RatherBeFlying
Boeing should have done a Honda and moved the engines to the top of the wing for later versions


So, the major client for the plane is demanding no sim training requirement for differences, lest a contractual penalty befall the OEM...
ACT 1, SCENE 1: Pilot walks out for his stroll around the toy, gets to where he expects to see a blender.... pilot's head swivels left and right, and slowly pans upwards, [jaw drops]
Suggest replace Tom Cruise in scene with Rowan Atkinson.


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Old 11th Dec 2021, 07:36
  #90 (permalink)  
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The functional structure of the ODA used by Boing is going to get some air time in court I would wager, to ascertain how the repurposing of a system came about and was permitted to get to the point it did of latent risk. The indictment would suggest that the grand jury at least considers that the pilot had an obligation to report to the FAA his discovery in the sim of an issue, however, I would suspect that the mail servers will have considerable communications with those involved in the system from the indicted party. If the pilot kept that information. to himself, then it is curious that he was indicted.... If some info was passed to random bystanders that results with sufficient evidence for a grand jury to contemplate wire fraud (emails etc... ) then it seems extraordinary that the same info was not provided to those on the relevant teams of the design approval team signing off the PSCP steps and statements of compliance.

I would think the trial will result in some major expansion of parties needing legal representation.

If that is not the case, then an insanity defence would appear reasonable, as it appears rationality has decided to leave the region north of Mexico and south of Canada in recent years.

The OEMs management has an extensive history of issues with ethics, and none of the Max story appears to suggest that this once-proud icon of engineering excellence has any intention of acting ethically. The pilot's actions were not in a vacuum, they were within the culture that pervades the OEM and which has resisted calls for it's change. The pilot did not design the system, change the system or fail to determine the consequences of that undisclosed change, He recognized the issue in a simulator, and then acted as he did, within the culture of the system that is the responsibility of the corporate management. The board has known for 1/4 century that the culture they created was rotten and that consequences that impacted engineering performance and product quality resulted from their inaction.

The US federal court will act it's way to find a culprit, and the corporation will be unscathed, as this is the way things are in a free market, unfettered by responsibility or ethics to the decision-makers.

SWA eventually will need to come to terms with their 1-type policy; which has already had variations through their takeovers of other fleets. The 737 growth capacity is limited and the fuselage went past being an optimal configuration last century. Time to do a greenfield design and one without corporate involvement in engineering decisions.

P.S.: SAFETY:
Walk around Renton or Everett, and you find hard hats, ear defenders, eyewash stations, fire extinguishers, and the usual plethora of posters extolling the virtues of OH&S compliance. There are no posters indicating that the actions of the corporate leaders impact the process safety of the company and the safety of their product. There is an utter disconnect between the financially driven component of our western models of industry and the desire to comply with a product standard, and the management gets a free pass, the schmuck at the end of the line making monthly mortgage payments gets to take the hit for the cynical corporate management. Boeing is tarred with the same brush as BP is, as are most of our major institutions. Deepwater, Texas City, B737 Max, B737 ring frames, B767 tanker contract version 1. etc.





Last edited by Pilot DAR; 11th Dec 2021 at 15:16. Reason: typo
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Old 11th Dec 2021, 15:36
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then it seems extraordinary that the same info was not provided to those on the relevant teams of the design approval team signing off the PSCP steps and statements of compliance.
This is important. A person (FAA delegate or ODA member) signed the 8130-9 form, which in part says:

I have complied with Section 21.33(a).
Which says in part:

Sec. 21.33

Inspection and tests.

(a) Each applicant must allow the Administrator to make any inspections and, in the case of aircraft, any flight tests necessary to determine compliance with the applicable requirements, of the Federal Aviation Regulations.
(b) Each applicant must make all inspections and tests necessary to determine--
(1) Compliance with the applicable airworthiness requirements;
..........
Which include in small part (my bold):

Sec. 25.1309

[Equipment, systems, and installations.]

(a) The equipment, systems, and installations whose functioning is required by this subchapter, must be designed to ensure that they perform their intended functions under any foreseeable operating condition.
(b) The airplane systems and associated components, considered separately and in relation to other systems, must be designed so that--
(1) The occurrence of any failure condition which would prevent the continued safe flight and landing of the airplane is extremely improbable, and
[(2) The occurrence of any other failure condition which would reduce the capability of the airplane or the ability of the crew to cope with adverse operating conditions is improbable.
(c) Warning information must be provided to alert the crew to unsafe system operating conditions, and to enable them to take appropriate corrective action. Systems, controls, and associated monitoring and warning means must be designed to minimize crew errors which could create additional hazards.
............
The Boeing test pilot is one of a number of people who would have to have known that (c) above was iffy, or non compliant, yet the Statement of Conformity was still signed for the FAA. And, that form even has a block into which deviations may be reported, so if in doubt, report.

This is not the pilot's responsibility alone, hopefully the investigation will expand to consider the entire ODA role as it relates to this design approval, and who else acting as a delegate for the FAA found design compliance, where it was not demonstrated.
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Old 11th Dec 2021, 16:43
  #92 (permalink)  
 
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fdr
Expecting the criminal defense attorney for the former chief technical pilot to plan, initiate and complete a factual investigation which would go beyond and go deeper than the investigations already conducted probably is unrealistic. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the House of Representatives conducted investigations a lot more focused and effective than what one typically sees from the Congress. Other lawsuits also have yielded (presumably) a lot of factual material - prime example, the shareholder derivative lawsuit in Delaware. To think that this defendant in federal district court in a criminal case would have resources to dig deeper and into other subparts of the overall subject matters might be playing a devil's bargain or game.

To my knowledge there isn't any format in United States law and government for a process like an inquest in which the sole, exclusive, solitary goal is to unearth all the relevant and material facts, or as close to all such facts as humanly possible. Even the House T&I Committee staff work - which I've commended in earlier posts on this thread and others - is constrained by the "every two years cycle" of the Congress, perhaps to a significant extent. And -- while there obviously have been several "administrative" inquiry panels, notably the JATR, if at this late date there are factual gaps about precisely how and where this defendant was a cog in the machine, then those gaps represent and constitute a deeper problem.

Perhaps Boeing's role as a major defense supplier has deterred more aggressive and effective inquiries, or emboldened Boeing to get ahead of the game where it could - or both. And I've read stuff, not that I would be able to cite it here, articles that draw links between participants and members in a network of contacts built around people keeping Boeing's legal skirts clean. (Melvin Belli, the famed 1960s-era "King of Torts", once remarked that he wanted to hire only those young lawyers who wanted to get into the courtroom to vindicate rights of people who had been wronged, rather than mercenary types whose goals in law practice were nothing more than keeping some corporation's "legal skirts clean." Belli was interviewed in The Playboy Interview in circa 1967 and the quote is from there.) Whether the legal eagles for Boeing have been more like vultures, I don't know and would not speculate - but it has been suggested in the press.

How to assess possible solutions to a business enterprise's "culture" which has shown itself to be broken as badly as Boeing's has shown itself in this case, that is beyond the scope of this post and probably also beyond this forum.
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Old 11th Dec 2021, 19:02
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Some excellent posts here, especially the last one from fdr. Very well written imo.
The Boeing pilot needs a kick in the nuts for sure but we all know where the true responsibility lies.
I hope that the company can change for the better once everything is settled.
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Old 12th Dec 2021, 01:39
  #94 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3
fdr

Expecting the criminal defense attorney for the former chief technical pilot to plan, initiate and complete a factual investigation which would go beyond and go deeper than the investigations already conducted probably is unrealistic.
I admit that assuming that justice is a synonym of legal process is optimistic at best, naiive at worst. However, the accused party will plead a response to the charges, and will quite likely mitigate his culpability to be that of a minor cog, the Nuremberg defense. I would expect that he holds a wealth of information on who else and why. The choice of a fraud charge and by process, wire fraud is curious, it would appear to minimize the potential for the defendant to expand the pool or responsibility, except for the 3rd element of the charge, where I would expect revelations to be made. Simply, if this was me, I would be making a defence that the "US v.." was not expected to rely on the lonely information of the cog sitting at the defence table (english translation: "standing in the dock",UK can't afford seats, before and certainly after Brexit; at least the "bring in the guilty party" in the US FC will have a seat for a while... ) it was expected to rely on the information from all parties that had responsibility for the "feature". You can blame the lone gunman in the repository window, "he was a rogue, an exception..." but when the whole stinking mess comes out, then it looks more like the system shares responsibility for the consequences of the management's actions and failures to act.

Had the charge been an 18USC §1001 matter, then the accused may not have need for a defence that mitigates his alleged culpability.

If the tent pole is not pulled down on this circus, it will certainly happen again, just ask NASA.

Does anyone believe that the accused decided to write emails "and do the other things... and the others [things] too ...."#, matters he is accused of to get better parking at Renton? For self-interest? That is not itself a defence for the charge, but it will weigh on the mitigation and whether free board and lodging for 100 years ensue at one end of the spectrum, or whether the accused gets his parking validated.

# JFK, MLK were orators, today, we have... Trump, Johnson, Deven's Cow... but at least we have gained memes.


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Old 12th Dec 2021, 08:52
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Small point of order, defendants sit during an English trial.
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Old 12th Dec 2021, 13:11
  #96 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
Small point of order, defendants sit during an English trial.
General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett, VC, KCB, DSO of 12":1' fame would suggest otherwise.

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Old 15th Dec 2021, 15:22
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Reuters update 14th december 2021
https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idINL1N2SZ2FT

suggests the trial has been moved to february 2022 ... can anyone conform that?

.... quotes...

Lawyers for Mark Forkner said the FAA official with personal knowledge of the 737-MAX contacted the government and said Forkner "is a 'scapegoat' and should 'not be charged.'" The court filing on Monday did not disclose the official's name.

Boeing did not respond to a request for comment. The FAA did not immediately comment. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Northern Texas, where the case is being heard, declined to comment.

The filing also included parts of a PowerPoint from an unnamed FAA employee that defense lawyers said contain new disclosures about a key system known as MCAS that should have been disclosed by Boeing’s engineering team.



Last edited by A0283; 15th Dec 2021 at 16:12.
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 15:46
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Boeing top management hopes, that their 2.5 billion dollar "Get out of jail free" card will still be valid. They bear the ultimate organisational responsibility no matter what.
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 17:34
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More from Reuters
Lawyers asked a U.S. judge to allow current or former FAA officials permission to talk with Forkner's defense team ahead of a trial set to begin in February. A redacted filing appears to show Forkner's team wants to talk to two current officials and a former FAA employee...
His lawyers said they have not been allowed to speak to the PowerPoint author.
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 19:04
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There was an article in the Seattle Times a few weeks ago stating that Congress wanted the FAA to go after at least two Boeing ARs who (allegedly) intentionally deceived the FAA.

https://www.seattletimes.com/busines...max-employees/

This isn't going to stop with Forkner...
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