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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 21st Mar 2022, 20:50
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Originally Posted by beachbumflyer View Post
What's a DER?
Designated Engineering Representative
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 01:04
  #142 (permalink)  
 
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Boeing’s SOP has been cheap and fast instead of safe and good for a long time. This culture was incentivized by the C Suite who were only interested in short term stock market gains to maximize their bonuses. Forkner is the poster child for why drunk texting at midnight about your job is a really really bad idea but to pin the MAX fiasco on him is a travesty of justice.
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 03:04
  #143 (permalink)  
 
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Forkner's actions have brought all ARs into disrepute.
I'm unsure if Mr. Forkner was acting in a DER/AR capacity when flying, but in nay case, he sure knew the significance of what he was doing, reporting, and signing for - even if it was just returning the plane for the next pilot to fly.

But, it is certain, that even for a few non flight design requirements, a DER/AR signed for them, when they we not complied with. In my opinion, Mr. Forkner did not do his duty as a pilot/person in respect of all the other people he knew would fly, and fly in that aircraft, he should have spoken up. The fact that he managed to fly it, does not mean that the plane meets the standard of "must not require unusual pilot skill and attention". If in doubt, stop and discuss, don't sign it out and on to the next.

yes, DERs/ARs have been brought into disrepute within Boeing's corporate structure!
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 03:22
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Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
I've touched on this before in other threads, but the FAA has experienced it's own "brain drain" problem. I was a DER/AR for over 25 years before I retired. Must of the FAA people I dealt with were in the same age group as me - and now many if not most of them have also retired. Further, for a long time, many of the people at the Seattle FAA office were ex-Boeing (often disgruntled ex-Boeing but that's another story). They had real world experience working with aircraft systems, and it showed. The last few years before I retired, the new youngsters coming it simply had no real world experience - fresh faced kids right out of college with minimal mentor support from those with decades of experience. They were into box-checking without really comprehending what the meaning of those boxes was. Submit such and such document, check the box. They lacked the deeper understanding what checking those boxes meant - and hence lacked the judgement to determine if something was really safe regardless of if they could check their box.
I found it extremely frustrating trying to deal with them - submittals would get rejected for ridiculous reasons (seriously - I had a submittal rejected because my 8110 form listed one of the effected models as the 747-SP, when the TCDS says 747SP), and I frequently had to explain very basic aspects of the submittals that anyone familiar with commercial aircraft should know (again, seriously - I had to explain "EGT").
Thank you. Precisely!! I think his own emails are key evidence of his behavior. I am led to believe he acted in a way to satisfy what he understood to be the Boeing Commercial objectives, rather than reveal a safety issue he thought he discovered and was initially advising others (within the company) of.

A DER I know and respect, like most the ones I've known, realizes that his word, his integrity, is as essential to his role as his technical competence/expertise. Compromise your word and you will never get it back.

There is no excuse for his alleged behavior, but there are reasons for it and the upper echelons of Boeing commercial should be brought to criminal and financial accountability, as well.
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 02:19
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Not guilty.
https://apnews.com/article/business-...4d7dde99022089



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Old 24th Mar 2022, 04:50
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Thank goodness. A jury of twelve normal people willing to apply common sense and fairness.
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 14:06
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I assume he will now sue Boeing in civil court for damages to his reputation, defamation of character, pain and suffering, costs ect. ect.
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 17:11
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While the potential future litigation pot is being stirred . . . a civil suit brought against Boeing might be very enticing for enterprising legal counsel, and based on a factor that might not be superficially obvious.

Many observers have noted in varying degrees of depth, detail and indignation the decline of Boeing and its departure from the engineering powerhouse of times past. Much of that background information leads directly to the "operative facts" concerning Boeing's failures in designing and bringing to the marketplace the 737 MAX version of the venerable old workhorse - in other words significant portions of that lengthy background saga easily appear relevant to the direct facts about the MAX debacle. And there are several sets of information already gathered and accumulated by pretty reliable processes - a great deal of information was produced by the FAA in the Forkner criminal matter; the House Committee investigation; the FAA/DOT Inspector General process; the shareholder derivative suit in Delaware . . . and this SLF/atty is not privy to what extent discovery may have reached into new and otherwise not disclosed information in the tort suits on behalf of crash victims.

It is more than plausible to conclude that as yet, no court action has assembled through the impactful processes of discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure the full set, or even a mostly full set, of information about what Boeing did wrong and how those wrongful acts occurred. A defamation suit against Boeing might provide such a vehicle, and consider: many observers have argued (myself included) that Mr. Forkner was indeed in the wrong-place wrong-time situation of vulnerability for scapegoating. Exhibit A, the Deferred Prosecution Agreement by which Boeing skated away, "pretty much," with the former tech pilot twisting in the wind.

This is not a prediction of success or of viability or lack of viability of any particular legal claim - the point is, with all the derision cast upon Boeing for all its misdeeds which led up to the 737 MAX debacle, and all the decisions (acts as well as omissions) that constituted the debacle itself - and its aftermath (like the time period between the two crashes) - one would think that assembling all the relevant information that already has been gathered in other forums, and then . . . . oh I don't know, I'm showing you what the court reporter has marked as Plaintiff's Exhibit 4 thousand 3 hundred 12 for identification, have you seen this document before?
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 17:16
  #149 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by beachbumflyer View Post
What's a DER?
A demigod, frequently rarer than a unicorn, often like NY thick-cut steaks, known to be grumpy with inventors, can have a sense of humor if paid on time. Many times have a go-to position of adding more steel.

DERs can actually decipher the matrix of authorities that are put out by the FAA to drive mere mortals nuts.

There used to be icing DERs, but then they were all sucked into a black hole that lurked about making life miserable for program managers.

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Old 24th Mar 2022, 17:35
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Jury kicking out the case in two hours is a serious rebuke to the DOJ.
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 17:44
  #151 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Deepinsider View Post
Thank goodness. A jury of twelve normal people willing to apply common sense and fairness.
The wisdom of a crowd.
Willow Run raises a lot of good points, and this is not going to look good on the resume of the corporate dear leaders of the manufacturer, but I still await someone to start the litigation on the inherently oddly flawed manual trim situation of the B737 which doesn't appear to meet the requirements of Part 25 and seems to be at odds of the intent of the requirements. being able to control the aircraft at all foreseeable times seems to be a good idea.

A failure of the primary trim control is a foreseeable condition and leads to the manual trim wheels still gracing the geriatric pedestal of the B737. Yet, where the initial out of trim condition requires the use of manual trim, there are conditions where it will not be possible without unloading the elevators which is only viable if there is enough air below you.

ET-302 was set in motion by MCAS, but that was all, it ended up on the ground in a heap from the fact that reportedly following the manufacturer's procedure post Lion Airs event couldn't be recovered, and the most likely reason for that is the manual trim was overpowered by the need for nose-up elevator.

That leaves the question as to how safe is an aircraft that can be recovered only if you don't mind letting go of the elevator deflection while in an extreme flight attitude with the world rising up rapidly. The certification isn't supposed to have a caveat, "except if you are having a bad day..." pretty sure that Subpart B, ^25.143 doesn't say that, in fact, 25.143(b) seems to suggest that

"It must be possible to make a smooth transition from one flight condition to any other flight condition without exceptional piloting skill, alertness, or strength, and without danger of exceeding the airplane limit-load factor under any probable operating conditions..."

That doesn't gell with having to do a rollercoaster at 400kts and 3000'AGL because the stabilizer manual trim actuating torque exceeds the pilot's strength where the elevators are being used for trivial matters such as keeping your nose from burying in the turf.

Separately the trim requirements a bit later hint that trim is important... but also seem to be myopic, and letting a design that may be inherently nasty to be certified. The AOM that was put out to disclose the MCAS system actually existing, and what the manufacturer suggests was a good response also indicated in wording fit for a lawyer as far as being obtuse, knowing that 80% or more of the operators of the plane have English (UK or US variant) as a second language, but still it intimated that the manual trim system sucked, as ET-302 found out.

Lots of these designs floating about, and who is asking the question of how much the inherent weakness of the manual trim contributed to the loss of Ethiopian. That is a question for a sharp lawyer and is also the way in to get some dignity for those impacted by the disgraceful behavior of the feds with giving Boeing a slap over the wrists and a cookie and some fresh milk. So much for the honor, integrity, and independence of the US DOJ.

In my humble opinion. But before discounting this view, read the AOM that was put out to ET, and all other operators by the manufacturer, note the bit about trim and note that the wreckage reported the stab trims in cutout.

Join the dots, respect those that died needlessly, and fix the manual trim system.


I'm not bashing the manufacturer, they were once the pinnacle of conservative while innovative design, and something is missing in their DNA now, seems to have occurred around 1995 or so... curious. I wish for a return to excellence in design (with occasional whoopsies... JAL103 APB repair oops) that made driving their designs a pleasure.

Last edited by fdr; 24th Mar 2022 at 17:55.
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Old 25th Mar 2022, 10:28
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I suspect that the jury just saw the defendant as the fall-guy - no senior management, no directors in the dock or even charged. They could hardly have got further down the totem pole to find someone if they'd tried
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Old 27th Mar 2022, 03:03
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FDR,
Any blame accorded to the Ethiopian pilot who left the throttles, ooops I mean Thrust Levers at max power the whole time? Isn’t that the reason why the manual trim system was ineffective due to the excessive speed and high loads on it?
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Old 27th Mar 2022, 05:29
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Good recap of trial by D. Gates in Seattle Times. Some of what transpired was very focused on MCAS and MAX issues as such - but reportedly defense counsel dealt with one key prosecution assertion by attacking credibility and lack of other evidence supporting the assertion which should have existed if said assertion were true ..... enough for reasonable doubt, quite!

Maybe time will reveal whether the government's case fell down because it was about giving the public a hanging to gawk at, and not one seeking to hold to account an actual key player in the MAX debacle. And to what extent active motion practice by defense counsel served to educate the judge and also to reduce - reduce starkly perhaps - the prosecution's room to maneuver.


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Old 27th Mar 2022, 10:25
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Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3 View Post
Good recap of trial by D. Gates in Seattle Times. Some of what transpired was very focused on MCAS and MAX issues as such - but reportedly defense counsel dealt with one key prosecution assertion by attacking credibility and lack of other evidence supporting the assertion which should have existed if said assertion were true ..... enough for reasonable doubt, quite!

Maybe time will reveal whether the government's case fell down because it was about giving the public a hanging to gawk at, and not one seeking to hold to account an actual key player in the MAX debacle. And to what extent active motion practice by defense counsel served to educate the judge and also to reduce - reduce starkly perhaps - the prosecution's room to maneuver.
In your opinion, are we now going to see prosecution of other individuals further up the management tree?
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Old 27th Mar 2022, 11:06
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Good recap of trial by D. Gates in Seattle Times.
An excellent article:

https://www.seattletimes.com/busines...x-prosecution/
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Old 27th Mar 2022, 12:18
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Originally Posted by Sallyann1234 View Post
In your opinion, are we now going to see prosecution of other individuals further up the management tree?
Unlikely, but with a few caveats.

First, a number of news articles have directly quoted a top-drawer aviation attorney currently a partner at one of the top international law firms (arguably the absolute top firm in the field). His view was further prosecutions derived from airplane crashes are unlikely, perhaps quite unlikely, absent evidence of real intentional, overt misconduct. Especially as Mr. Biglaw has represented clients in such matters as well as throughout the civil aviation legal portfolio, I'm referring to his (reported) opinion, before anything original of my own.

Then secondly, after trying to grasp the points raised in some posts recently about how and why the MAX isn't actually in compliance with the correct understanding of requirements .... with regard to trim difficulties and aerodynamic loading of some control surfaces (and as SLF/atty, I hope that's not a totally inaccurate overview) .... well, there's no legal means to challenge the recert or renewal of certification that I'm aware of, anyway. Not that it would do any good now, unless a "second round" of changes to MAX would be initiated. (....wake me up when we get there...)

So is there a lawsuit to be written, researched, planned and filed, against The Decline and Failure(s) of Boeing and those of the more senior people? I'm thinking that such a "day in court" must be entrusted to occur, if it is to occur at all, to a higher court than what our legal system provides and operates.

But that being said, what if Mr. Forkner, now shorn of smart-alecky texting habits, wishes to seek out restoration of his good name? A suit against Boeing, (A) would present all manner of discovery openings and legal maneuvering, and (B) might even unearth, uncover and otherwise expose the sort of intentional misconduct referred to by that big-time senior legal counsel noted earlier. Or something close to that level of direct evidence. (No doubt about it, I gotta git me a new bit, done chomped right on thru this here one....)
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Old 27th Mar 2022, 13:16
  #158 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Chiefttp View Post
FDR,
Any blame accorded to the Ethiopian pilot who left the throttles, ooops I mean Thrust Levers at max power the whole time? Isnít that the reason why the manual trim system was ineffective due to the excessive speed and high loads on it?
CTP, a good point.

The pilots are humans, and they got airborne and encountered an array of warnings, failures and handling difficulties, a number of those indicative of low speed. Some pilots will have the bandwidth to their cognitive capacity to check the many other cues to indicate the speed of the plane, but under stress that is not all pilots.

The plane did accelerate to a high speed, but the speed was not the factor with the stabiliser other than the higher the speed the rate of change of the MCAS trim which gave a high rate of trim change at all speeds would have exacerbated the out of trim case. The plane was however out of trim at the point that the crew finally hit the stab trims to cutoff between 05:40:45 and 05:40:55 (there was still an MCAS signal, and no subsequent AND trim command until much later). At that point the aircraft had all the bells and whistles going and all the mess on the PFD. Just before 005:43:10, the trim system was reactivated by the crew for a couple of short ANU inputs, and then immediately after, the final AND input occurred. After this AND input by MCAS, for a period the erroneous output of the LH AOA ceased, returned partially and then ceased again. At this point the aircraft had gone to a negative g dive, and that increased towards a recorded negative 2 g pitch rate, which is going to cause major issues in the cockpit.

The pilot has a decision to make in the confusion in the cockpit as to what is done with the thrust. The training programs that the authorities require to be trained and which is reinforced by the airlines FOQA programs teaches the crews to be afraid of stalls. Airlines don't normally provide opportunity for the crews to go fly aircraft that they can actually fly instead of manage, so a reticence in closing the taps is not surprising. There have been numerous events where the crews given a surprise leave the taps where they are. I recall one impressive deal I investigated that the crew got to 435KIAS in a B747-400, which was only just a new data point for the manufacturer, except that the autopilot was still engaged, and the blenders were on full noise. That was at 3000' heading towards mountains, and the subsequent pullup was most impressive.

Crew have a reasonable expectation that they should be able to have control of the aircraft, taps open or not. It is unfortunate that the speed wasn't kept at a lower speed, but that is quite in line with other events that have occurred, the crew were not outliers.

Should crew be able to cope with this sort of event? Would hope so, but it won't happen under the system of training, selection and qualification requirements that we have in place now or in the foreseeable future. Our training and also quality processes actively ensure that the crews remain underprepared for abnormals that are dynamic or complex.

The B744 noted above, had a fast jet captain as the driver and PF, a fast jet examiner in the back seat, and another one in the RHS. they still got startled by a pretty simple trigger event. The amazing thing is that no damage occurred to the aircraft, including with retracting the LE devices at 60 kts over their limit speed. Gotta love Joe Sutters conservative engineering.

I apologize if anyone thinks this commentary stems from a "High Horse" opinion, it is not intended to be, over my safety, accident and flight test career I have had the opportunity to explore into some interesting places and do things like take Part 25 aircraft out to Mdive, and to investigate what may seem like a staggering number of serious events and accidents, but which were mainly repeats of lessons lost. An exceptional crew can achieve remarkable solutions, many crew will do exactly what the checklist calls for in the simulator, and then the serious event analysis shows they don't do it in the real world, for reasons that remain fascinating. The crew prior to the lion air accident coped with the issue without difficulty, another crew on the next leg, with essentially the same training and standardisation did not. ET302 did follow the guidance material, and then at some point got to the place where they re established the stab trim, and it killed them. My point on the certification is that the manual trim should have been able to be applied to the aircraft for the 3 minutes in between, but there was negligible change in the trim, and some point thereafter the crew reversed the cut-out, and the system put them in a big-time dive. -2g at the sensor which by memory was located around the forward CG MAC is a much more intense experience in the cockpit.





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Old 27th Mar 2022, 17:33
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a staggering number of serious events and accidents, but which were mainly repeats of lessons lost. An exceptional crew can achieve remarkable solutions, many crew will do exactly what the checklist calls for in the simulator, and then the serious event analysis shows they don't do it in the real world, for reasons that remain fascinating.
This forum needs a "quote of the month" feature.
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Old 28th Mar 2022, 15:46
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rollercoaster at 400kts and 3000'AGL
How does the aircraft in the after take off phase go from Flap out at around 150-180knots to 400 knots, when there is a fully serviceable and usable electric trim system?
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