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Old 20th Jun 2024, 02:48
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Overall the whistle blower testimony was mostly not surprising.

Listening to Ed Pierson, he said without any uncertainty that both the MAX crashes were initiated by factory defects in the electrical systems and didn't start with MCAS. This ties to his testimony of personally seeing defects of the type that he alleges caused the crashes.

This is replayed around the 43 minute mark of the video at https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/subcomm...hand-accounts/

Pierson later claimed the Lion Air sensor that was replaced had "visible burn marks and arcing," That sensor was perfectly functional when it left the factory; the manufacturing defect was an excess of epoxy that led to a fatigue failure making intermittent contact from use that was detected as an intermittently failed AoA sensor.

They needed an electron microscope to see the damage from arcing.


He seems sincere in his beliefs but the above image is already magnified and it doesn't qualify for me as something "visible." The excess epoxy could not have been detected at the 737 factory floor or any normal acceptance test and the fracture required many AoA sensor heating/cooling cycles to form. The "arcing" is a natural consequence of the stored magnetic field collapsing and creating a high voltage when the current to the inductor was interrupted by the fatigue fracture, a consequence of the fatigue failure, not the cause.

His statement that he has personally passed records to the FBI concerning the Alaska Air door removal is interesting. Not even a bit of a hint as to why, after the event, there would still be something to hide. I look forward to seeing that record.

Joe Jacobson testified that he feels that the FAA is captive to Boeing; the FAA is captive to the Executive branch, but also the Legislative Branch for its funding. It doesn't seem like Boeing is the one with the influence except that the FAA is victim of two branches of the Federal government.

Sen. Blumenthal returned to the claim of electrical failure as the initiator; Pierson kept his position and Joe Jacobson denied a bird strike removed the vane. The data from the FDR on ET-302 shows the AoA sensor operated continuously, that the reported position matched the loss of weight of the vane and thee effect of G forces on the plane applied to the now unbalanced assembly, and the simultaneous loss of vane heater continuity.

While not a direct part of this investigation, no one mentioned previous bird strike incidents at the airport or the concerns expressed about them. See https://www.ajol.info/index.php/sine...ew/18167/17147 and Significant bird strike events , 25 July 1990; Ethiopian Airlines 707-300; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, total hull loss, 4 crew on cargo flight OK.

Denial of the bird strike seems odd given the recorded evidence.

According to the record, Boeing did deny a bird strike. For the Lion Air crash.

I am still pulling for Calhoun and his replacement to have a desk on the factory floor for each facility and spend at least a continuous month at each before moving to the next. I really really want Dominic Gates to have a desk right alongside.
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Old 20th Jun 2024, 09:11
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Originally Posted by MechEngr
Overall the whistle blower testimony was mostly not surprising.
I do not work in the aviation industry, but I have some experience of quality management in critical national infrastructure manufacturing.

Boeing's culture is going to rebound on them in the same way that the Post Office Horizon scandal is unravelling in the UK. Senior management may have a genuine desire for transparency, but lower down a lot of people will instinctively defend their version of the company's interests, as well as their own personal position, and the information the senior management gets has been filtered through that distorting lens. This results in dishonesty and suppression of evidence at all levels. When it all finally unwinds, the testimony of well-intentioned but naive or misguided "whistle-blowers" is inherently credible to outsiders, because they are the only people who appear to be acting in good faith, while the management and staff of the company involved look like liars. Even if what the whistleblowers are actually saying is wrong, the company management and experts have lost the opportunity to be believed.

In the case of the Horizon scandal, buggy software was defended both by its developers and its customers, and the customer then used legal powers to pursue end-users for what were actually the consequences of bugs. But whistle-blowers have also mades all sorts of allegations which may or may not be true, but which are believed simply because the whistleblowers appear honest (even if they are wrong) while the company itself appears corrupt (even if on this particular topic it is being truthful). No-one is listening to people who attempt to present the facts, because they have been show to be liars once, so why are they not lying now?

Hence that line manager who made 40 phone calls to a shop floor worker just cost Boeing billions. Because the act of doing that makes Boeing look like a company that supports bad behaviour, and now they won't be able to get an audience even if they are being honest.
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Old 22nd Jun 2024, 16:19
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Boeing off the hook?

From the Guardian:

”The US justice department is expected to allow the planemaker Boeing to escape criminal prosecution for violating the terms of a 2021 settlement related to the fatal 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019, the New York Times reported on Friday.The department plans to offer Boeing a deferred prosecution agreement, which requires the company to install a federal monitor to oversee safety improvements, the Times reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

The US government is expected to extend its settlement offer to the planemaker before the end of the month, the report said. Boeing was not immediately available for comment, and a spokesperson for the justice department declined to comment.”


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Old 24th Jun 2024, 07:58
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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c0666zr4010o
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Old 24th Jun 2024, 14:06
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Originally Posted by SRMman
From the Guardian:

”The US justice department is expected to allow the planemaker Boeing to escape criminal prosecution for violating the terms of a 2021 settlement related to the fatal 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019, the New York Times reported on Friday.
Or maybe not. From Reuters, a few hours ago:

Exclusive: US prosecutors recommend Justice Dept. criminally charge Boeing

WASHINGTON, June 23 (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors are recommending to senior Justice Department officials that criminal charges be brought against Boeing after finding the planemaker violated a settlement related to two fatal crashes, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.


Last edited by OldnGrounded; 24th Jun 2024 at 14:08. Reason: Trying to fix split quote
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Old 24th Jun 2024, 23:31
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Meanwhile, high above the Earth ...

As humiliating and awkward as the situation with MAX is, it began with a sound (if extremely uninspiring) premise and reasonable outlook of success.

On the other hand, it's hard to find anything good to say about Commercial Crew, especially in light of the speed, lower cost, and seeming ease with which SpaceX performed, using newly designed and newly man-rated equipment.

Boeing can expect to make money on MAX again, at least a marginal profit per airframe, but my understanding is that every part bought and man hour spent on Starliner is costing Boeing money it won't recoup on a project that is already over a $B in the hole.

https://payloadspace.com/starliner-d...021F3657790B2Q




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Old 25th Jun 2024, 12:42
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Originally Posted by OldnGrounded
Or maybe not. From Reuters, a few hours ago:
I think the US DoJ should prosecute Boeing because the company clearly violated the DPA.

On top of that incidents keep happening:

FAA investigating after Southwest plane flies 525ft above Oklahoma town

https://www.theguardian.com/business/article/2024/jun/21/southwest-plane-low-altitude-faa

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Old 25th Jun 2024, 13:32
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Originally Posted by Random ATCO
I think the US DoJ should prosecute Boeing because the company clearly violated the DPA.

On top of that incidents keep happening:

FAA investigating after Southwest plane flies 525ft above Oklahoma town

https://www.theguardian.com/business/article/2024/jun/21/southwest-plane-low-altitude-faa
I don't think anyone doubts that Boeing has been in violation of the deferred prosecution agreement. DOJ has already formally found that it has.

I also don't think the Southwest incident at OKC had anything to do with the aircraft manufacturer. It's not impossible, of course, but it seems really unlikely.
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Old 25th Jun 2024, 14:43
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Originally Posted by OldnGrounded
I don't think anyone doubts that Boeing has been in violation of the deferred prosecution agreement. DOJ has already formally found that it has.

I also don't think the Southwest incident at OKC had anything to do with the aircraft manufacturer. It's not impossible, of course, but it seems really unlikely.
I believe the situation is that the Justice Department has taken the position in the federal district court in which the criminal matter previously filed against Boeing - and the DPA - are pending, that Boeing violated the DPA. The Company has filed its opposition to the DOJ's position.
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Old 25th Jun 2024, 15:29
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Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3
I believe the situation is that the Justice Department has taken the position in the federal district court in which the criminal matter previously filed against Boeing - and the DPA - are pending, that Boeing violated the DPA. The Company has filed its opposition to the DOJ's position.
Yes, I believe that's correct. The DOJ letter was filed on May14.

Question: A determination by DOJ about prosecution is pending. Is there some action the court is likely to take before that decision is made, or if DOJ decides not to prosecute? What might the court do, now, on its own motion, if anything?
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Old 25th Jun 2024, 17:37
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Originally Posted by OldnGrounded
Yes, I believe that's correct. The DOJ letter was filed on May14.

Question: A determination by DOJ about prosecution is pending. Is there some action the court is likely to take before that decision is made, or if DOJ decides not to prosecute? What might the court do, now, on its own motion, if anything?
The Idea I think is that the Court makes findings, hears motions and issues rulings. Once the defendant is charged, the Court will call (command) the defendant to answer?

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Old 25th Jun 2024, 17:48
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Originally Posted by OldnGrounded
Yes, I believe that's correct. The DOJ letter was filed on May14.

Question: A determination by DOJ about prosecution is pending. Is there some action the court is likely to take before that decision is made, or if DOJ decides not to prosecute? What might the court do, now, on its own motion, if anything?
The "procedural posture" of the case is, and I'm cringing slightly for maybe sounding pedantic, complicated. In addition to the Justice Department decision, with its extremely heavy implications, there is the additional layer of the position before the District Court of the families of the crash victims.

Under the Crime Victims Rights' Act, the families had a right under this federal statute to present their views on the DPA before it was agreed upon. But they were completely shut out of the process. Recall that the court made the preliminary ruling that the families are, indeed, victims of a crime. It needs to be noted that in the DPA Boeing admits that two of its employees defrauded the federal government with regard to aircraft parts.

(I think it's pretty widely acknowledged that one of those employees is Mark Forkner - the company technical pilot who was charged and put on trial. Personally I thought that if Boeing and/or the federal authorities were going to stoop to the level of a "show trial" it would have made sense, at least, not to select such an obvious scapegoat as Mr. Forkner. Thankfully, he was acquitted.)

The families appealed, and won a favorable decision from the federal appellate court. The appellate court decision about the need - in accord with the CVRA statute and the admission of criminal conduct by Boeing justifying their status as "crime victims" - for the district court to allow the families to give their views about the DPA involves some technical details about status and process of federal criminal charges, and the formal start of a prosecution in federal district court. (I happen not to have worked any hours, billable or pro bono, in federal criminal matters and so my understanding of what is likely to occur next in the district court could be wrong or just misleading or misinformed.)

That all said, the court probably should give the families some form of hearing before it makes any further rulings. Notwithstanding the procedural details about how their CVRA rights were supposed to be exercised, and also about how those rights should be exercised at present, their statutory rights were not granted previously. And now, the DPA itself is in question. It makes sense (imho) to fulfill the statutory obligation to receive their views about the DPA as it was formed, better late than not at all, before tackling further knotty issues. Especially about what happens next with the DPA.

As for what comes next . . . I think it's quite likely the DPA will be extended, at least, and another 3-year term would fit the situation. Even the 24.78 billion dollar claim by the families, for criminal penalties to be assessed against Boeing if it pleads guilty to a presumed prosecution or is found guilty, allows for some of those funds to be devoted to improved "safety culture matters" (my phrasing, just for convenience). The list of things to be monitored in Paul Cassell's multi-billion dollar letter appeared to overlap substantially various document and information demands issued by Congressional Committees- - a good sign, because (a) a monitor of some form or variety seems a foregone conclusion amd (b) there appears something like consensus about what the monitor will do in order to - and this is a leap of faith or logic - implement the safety culture recommendations of the Expert Panel (leaders of which testified before Senate Commerce several weeks ago).

I think DOJ will prefer the wrath of the families over the complications of a felony conviction of a pretty important defense contractor. Cite Ike's MIC farewell address all day long, but hard cases make bad law. Dennis M. won't be charged or prosecuted either. If solace is sought for this apparent lack of justice, and "just deserts", for those responsible for - again borrowing from Attorney Cassell - Boeing lying and people dying, it might be found in the fact that the mighty United States Federal Government put Mr. Forkner on trial, and denied the crash (crime) victims their statutory "day in court". One bite of the apple only, Vassily, one bite only.

One thing is for certain - the law clerks working for the federal district court judge will surely have stories to tell their children and grandchildren someday.

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Old 25th Jun 2024, 18:46
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One bite of the apple only, Vassily, one bite only.
Nice.
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Old 26th Jun 2024, 00:38
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Excellent and informative post. Thanks.

Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3
I think DOJ will prefer the wrath of the families over the complications of a felony conviction of a pretty important defense contractor.
I think you're probably right. When justice and reality collide . . .

Now, if Boeing could be compelled to spin off BCA . . .
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Old 26th Jun 2024, 15:41
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Not only Lo-Flyer problems, but Hi-Flyer problems also !!

https://news.sky.com/story/why-two-n...-down-13159073
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Old 27th Jun 2024, 06:37
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Boeing loses access to the NTSB's Alaska 1282 investigation docket

In a statement, the NTSB said:

"After the NTSB learned of the unauthorized release of information and requested additional information about the [June 25] press briefing, Boeing provided the agency with a transcript. The transcript revealed that Boeing provided non-public investigative information to the news media that NTSB had not verified or authorized for release. In addition, Boeing offered opinions and analysis on factors it suggested were causal to the accident."

NTSB sanctions Boeing for sharing Alaska 1282 information during media briefing
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Old 27th Jun 2024, 12:05
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NTSB sanctions Boeing for flouting probe rules

https://www.reuters.com/business/aer...ls-2024-06-27/
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Old 27th Jun 2024, 12:54
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Sheesh. They seem simply unable to straighten up and fly right.

From The Air Current story cited above by DaveReidUK:
Additionally, the NTSB said, “Given that Boeing is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice in relation to its Deferred Prosecution Agreement stemming from Boeing’s interactions with the FAA prior to the Boeing MAX fatalities, the NTSB will be coordinating with the DOJ Fraud Division to provide details about Boeing’s recent unauthorized investigative information releases in the 737 MAX 9 door plug investigation.”
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Old 27th Jun 2024, 12:58
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Why does Boeing seem to be wanting to commit commercial suicide?

They are under so much scrutiny the last thing they should be doing is leaking anything, or do they really believe that they are somehow untouchable and that rules of the game do not apply to them?

Sheer corporate arrogance.
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Old 27th Jun 2024, 13:19
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Possibly something less to this story than at first appears to be the case. The disclosures made by Boeing, especially in light of its long experience with NTSB investigation rules, seem difficult to believe anyone would be reckless enough to commit.

But having said that, there should be more certainty about whether the disclosures actually impeded or harmed the investigation by the Board -- presumably the transcript of the press briefing will be revealing. This is not to defend or excuse what was - as noted alreasdy - sloppy press relations difficult to believe would take place given the stakes of pending issues for the company. It is to say that not every violation of process rules turns out to have had any impact. There's holding on every play in the NFL - is it called on every play? - of course, "no." (Anyway sports commentators especially former players frequently say so.)

Also recall that in the immediate aftermath of the flying door plug incident, NTSB officials scored Boeing for failing to turn over documents. Sounded like unbelievably self-defeating company malfeasance. Turns out, Boeing was revealed to have done something also self-defeating in light of the incident - it didn't create at least some of the types of documents in question in the first place. Still an improper process act or omission by the company (and many posts on various threads have pointed out the glaring lack of process fidelity especially by an aerospace manufacturer) but not turning over documents to the government is different - as it turned out - to not having created the documents or records in the first place.

As for the pendency of the DOJ matter, the interactions with FAA about the design of MCAS and the related issues of holding down the need for training and references in the manuals .... seems like a quite different part of "safety culture" than what could turn out to be some careerist ladder-climber in the p.r. area wrrting their own guidelines for NTSB information disclosure. Serious, but serious in the same context? Perhaps.


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