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Latest Boeing News

Old 18th Apr 2024, 08:05
  #81 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by tdracer
The 777X wing is composite, as are several other major structural elements (this going back to the original 777) such as the cabin floor and some of the tail. The fuselage itself is still aluminum but has been redesigned to be 'slimer' structurally so making the inside of the cabin wider (something like six inches IIRC).
Cabin floor, I remembered but wasn't sure.
So what was Sam S pointing to on the 777? Only on the -x or also on the classic? (I mean 777 classic must have been the pinnacle of safety and reliability in the Boeing fleet, so I'd be surprised)

For the sake of Boeing (and millions of the traveling public) I hope you're right.
Fair enough.
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Old 18th Apr 2024, 08:11
  #82 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3
It almost never fails to amaze me how a hearing before a legislative committe can be mistaken for, or viewed as, the equivalent of full fact discovery in civil litigation in federal district court.
Thank you artee for the translatesummary 😉

I noticed as well, the public hearing is more of a confirmation of impressions, and to put pressure to act in a certain way. But if it results in an investigation with taking a look at all facts, that's ok.
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Old 18th Apr 2024, 10:57
  #83 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3
But then, over at Senate Commerce, Senator Cantwell and Senator Cruz were in charge of a hearing (see above) with less p.r. drama, just the Expert Texpert Choking Smokers Panel stuff. (name the Beatles song, 50 points)
I Am The Walrus.
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Old 18th Apr 2024, 12:01
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Originally Posted by waito
I'm not fully convinced of Sam S. worries regarding 787 fuselage tolerances.
Found another opinion in an NYT article
Mr. Salehpour said the shortcuts that he believed Boeing was taking resulted in excessive force being applied to narrow unwanted gaps in the assembly connecting pieces of the Dreamliner’s fuselage. He said that force led to deformation in the composite material, which he said could increase the effects of fatigue and lead to premature failure of the composite.

John Cox, a former airline pilot who runs a safety consulting firm, said that while composites were more tolerant of excess force than metals, it was harder to see that composites had been stressed to the point that they would fail. “They just snap,” he said.

“The catastrophic in-flight breakup, yes, that’s a theoretical possibility,” Mr. Cox said. “That’s why you’d want to have the testing done to preclude that.”

Boeing’s tests are an appropriate step, Mr. Cox said, because “if the degradation goes far enough, that could potentially lead to a catastrophic failure.”
FAA Investigates Claims by Boeing Whistle-Blower About Flaws in 787 Dreamliner - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
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Old 18th Apr 2024, 19:29
  #85 (permalink)  
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Boeing managment, from high to low, should be kicked out and put on trial.
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Old 19th Apr 2024, 02:57
  #86 (permalink)  
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[ no attempted Beatles humor this time ]

The Senate Commerce Committee hearing with three members of the Expert Panel included some very interesting and pertient information. It also includes some uninspired and simplistic (perhaps also essentially pointless) questioning by certain Members of the Committee - but the statements and answers to questions by the three witnesses struck this SLF/attorney as worth the time it took up. The truly expert witnesses are identified with their affiliations in a previous post. Here's the link from C-SPAN:

The Expert Panel report recommended certain actions be required of Boeing in (iirc) six months. FAA Administrator Whitaker chopped that timing down to 90 days, from the date of the final report (February 26). So despite some tedium and less-than-enlightening Senatorial questions, the content of this hearing provides context - imo important context - for the forthcoming 90-day deliverable(s) to FAA. Plus, Senate Commerce leaders have made it clear that the legislation enacted in the aftermath of the MAX accidents will not be the end of the legislative process - further reform or restructuring is under review (even if the incomplete FAA 5-year reauthorization clogs the lawmaking pipeline for now).

Particularly forceful were the comments by Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, who chairs the Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation. On the odd chance that there may be a few forum folks not enthralled by C-SPAN production values, Sen. Duckworth's turn with the witnesses is relatively early in the 2-hour program.

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Old 20th Apr 2024, 00:10
  #87 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by warbirdfinder
There are a few facts left out.
On the preceding Lion Air flight, the crew experienced the MCAS, however they followed Boeing checklist procedure, turned off the stab trim switches and returned for a safe landing.

The crew on the next flight Lion Air flight did not follow the checklist for an uncontrollable stab trim, left the stab trim switches in normal and crashed.

Ethiopian Airlines stated the crew had been trained on the MCAS after the Lion Air crash. However, the crew did not follow proper procedures to place the stab trim switches in cutout. Manual trim was unusable because they left the power levers at TO power and exceeded VNE. The high speed caused high aerodynamic loads on the stabilizer, making manual trim impossible.
This has already been argued to death.

MCAS had far too much authority and not nearly enough input validation.

The fact that the third pilot in the jump seat on the prior Lion Air flight could help successfully manage what the two person crew on the accident flight could not doesn’t invalidate any of that.

BA fixed it.

They didn’t fix it because it didn’t need fixing.

They didn’t have to adjust the design of the airframe when they reduced MCAS authority and that should tell us all we need to know.

If only the control system needed changing, then only the control system was broken to begin with.

I will leave you with Sully Sullenberger’s testimony on MCAS.

"was fatally flawed and should never have been approved."

Last edited by Bbtengineer; 20th Apr 2024 at 01:44.
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Old 20th Apr 2024, 05:29
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Originally Posted by Bbtengineer
If only the control system needed changing, then only the control system was broken to begin with.
Just because it can be fixed in software, does not mean that a software fix to an aerodynamic issue is the right solution to begin with.
When 100+ Maxes has been produced, then fixing the control system becomes the only feasible solution.
Originally Posted by Bbtengineer
MCAS had far too much authority and not nearly enough input validation.
Correct. Before I criticize all the B737’s from the classic (Speed trim), I will mention that the B737 safety statistics is on par with A320. So despite flaws in the architecture, it’s pretty darn safe.
When you give a computer the control of the trim, then you are heading into fly by wire territory. In a FBW system you need more than input validation, you also need to validate the computation (COM/MON), and the function of the actuators (Stuck/runaway).
A well designed FBW system does the fault isolation, and eliminates the need for (some) memory items (And the risk of pilots performing them incorrectly). A badly designed FBW system kills people.
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Old 20th Apr 2024, 07:15
  #89 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3
The Senate Commerce Committee hearing with three members of the Expert Panel included some very interesting and pertient information.
Thank you for the link. I need to find time watching this.
We as public can't get better insight than this one for the time being.

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Old 20th Apr 2024, 07:34
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Boeing is one drastic example for the power shift from engineering to accounting (or read: shareholder interests)

I see it in my company. Customer satisfaction is important. That is a given. NO NEED to talk about it. Product quality? We are the best anyway, no doubt about it. NO NEED to talk about.

Meanwhile, 60% of the agenda, discussions, infos are covering cost saving, accounting party tricks, cost distribution, cash flow strategy, stock buyback policy, re-sourcing to cheaper suppliers, lean management, reduce workforce,..., and the ever revolutionary ideas on boosting efficiency.

20% is adjusting self admin rules to align with accounting changes, and 20% of communication covers the product.

Too often a relevant product info only tickles down, as in "four weeks from now we will change the product characteristics, please prepare." Appears as almost accidental. And one week before the change is due.

Usually this is forwarded with a cascade of lean "FYI" comments from management, signalling "dunno if it is important, nothing I can add, you make up your mind."
That's from top to bottom in management. If we outline that product work is degraded, we see shoulders shrugged.

No, I'm not in accounting or administration department.

That's how "safety is our top concern" will be forgotten in the daily business!

Last edited by waito; 20th Apr 2024 at 11:49.
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Old 20th Apr 2024, 08:17
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To me the issue seems to be that certain modern management approaches fail to see the value of many if not most "soft" factors: Customer satisfaction, trust, long term loyalty, employee satisfaction and motivation and such. If it can't be seen in SAP it gets ignored. You can measure and online monitor the time it takes to install every bolt and nut and how much torque got applied but the other soft elements are forgotten.
Plus Boeing had a heavy focus on legal terms and settings with "watertight" contracts, however when supplies still did not arrive on spec and time they were surprised and had to change their leaned down organisation and change processes in a hurry.
The third issue I see is that they reduced their staff, loosing experienced specialist know how in the process while sitting idle in terms of launching new programs for too long. This is why the next program will have to be expensive. New people need to learn their trade from scratch. Look at Airbus for comparison and how they fine tune the A320 over many years: Sharklets, engines, cabin, ACF door arrangements, tanks and center wing box, new flap settings. Step by step they are keeping their teams busy.
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Old 20th Apr 2024, 15:49
  #92 (permalink)  
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Less Hair Sums up the process that I saw begin in the mid 1980s, it emerged from the USA and spread to many English speaking countries - possible others too. I was working for an American company at the time, based in the UK with regular visits to HQ and saw what was coming down the track to us. In the UK, the big changes started with the recession of 90/92, after that the money men took over and the focus was away from the product and certainly from the staff.

One of the aspects of outsourcing that, I think, was not understood was this: The promise of outsourcing was that they would deal with all the problems and give you what you wanted. Some staff were transferred to the outsourced company and so their loyalty changed to all of their customers - not to you alone. Other staff, particularly seniors of course, often took the money and walked. More experience left the company. They thought they needed less managing of outsourcing. However, what I saw from the mid 90s onwards was that outsourcing needed to be MANAGED TIGHTLY. Because they now had many customers, it did not matter how important you were. You had screwed them down on price and so they had less to give you.

Boeing has simply hit the usual point of a mature company that was a fat cat and ripe for the picking. Airbus were the new kids on the block that were ignored but, as above, they steadily made their own road. Not least, they started with multiple productions sites and built it up. Boeing tried to do that with the 787 - which was ALSO a complicated new machine. To add to their problems, they were moving their production away - to save money and get subsidies. So they did (at least) three new things at once. That was not going to work out well.

The major problem for Boeing now is that, as this way of financial thinking has been around for 35+ years. This means that EVERYONE now in the system thinks that way. You cannot turn that around fast. It took some 20 years to get fully absorbed and will take at least 10 years to work through the system. That is, if Boeing make the right decisions now.

We have all heard the 'customer safety is our top priority' and variations from every sector of commerce. None of us believe that anymore. Just this week, I had to ring the bereavement department in a UK District Council. Automated phone answer and three levels of 'Press X' before I got to the department. They confirmed that I had to go through that sequence every time. Fantastic. When I worked in local government, we prided ourselves on answering the main phone number fast and dealing with the enormous range of enquiries with experienced and helpful humans.

There are other examples I (and all of us) can quote. When Coke-Cola decided to keep up with the kids and developed New Coke, they were fortunate that it was not at FL380 and they could bin the whole lot.
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Old 22nd Apr 2024, 16:00
  #93 (permalink)  
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MBA s and management 'Consultants' are at the heart of this fatal corruption in the corporate world. Of course not every aspect of an MBA course nor every consultancy is flawed but overall they imbue the wrong culture and wrong values in technology and safety critical companies.
Some years ago before they were fully established I ended up being booked on Easyjet for the first time, Knowling little about them i checked outt heir corporate page on the internet , CEo CFO VP sales VP marketing etc etc . And of course the usual 'Safety is our first priority.' slogan So, for a laugh i rang them and said I was new to them and could they assure me that I would as safe as flying on BA say.. Oh yes of course, safety is our first priority . Ok sounds good but i have another question, , whats that? -well if safety is your first priority how come no one on the board has that in their title or responsibilit list. End of...

Another example occurred just yesterday, i had to meet someone off a train from London to a major West country station. 2 hours late due to track problems, break downs, lack of drivers usual stuff. When i get to the station there are 8 ticket inspectors (revenue protection personnel) barring the only exit . Quite an intimidating gang actually . No reason why they shouldnt do a random check at that station but was it really wise to demand to see all over again peoples tickets when they were 2 hours late and the company is always whining about staff shortages.
Money before customers every time and it wont change until we get a Tenerife 2 because modern managers do not regard their customers as people , they are just revenue and staff are not valued they are just costs.
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Old 22nd Apr 2024, 17:52
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The problem is on both sides. The same MBA led behavioural incentives developed in tandem in the regulators. Senior staff with a deep understanding of the issues were replaced by compliant managers that allowed the corporate capture that ensured effective oversight would be neutered.

Demoralized middle level staff then started leaving and were replaced by new hires without the knowledge and experience to know what was important and what wasn’t and brought a tick box mentality to every task.

The sad fact is that the MAX fiasco was probably inevitable, and if it wasn’t the MCAS, some other cheese hole would have lined up.
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Old 22nd Apr 2024, 17:55
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To be fair MBAs and consultants are very important as well. And legal people as well. Many great engineering marvels never made a profit or never saw the market at all. Just look at soviet airliners. But within a certain balance a strong engineering weight is important. And a long term strategy with big investments permitted beyond fearing for the next quarterly figures. It would be perfect to motivate the top people not only by bonuses for having pleased the stock market but maybe more for technical innovation, safety, employee and customer satisfaction, number of new orders coming in etc.
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Old 23rd Apr 2024, 09:39
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I hope Airbus are watching closely when it comes to refreshing the 320!
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Old 25th Apr 2024, 17:30
  #97 (permalink)  
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Less Hair you are correct - it is the balance between good work and money that has been lost. Further, in the last 30/35 years, there has been a real return to the stock market as casino. The idea that you invest in a company for the long term is an unknown idea. Remarkable developments in computing and telecommunications means that companies can make money in the tinest slivers of fractions - but, when they all land up, they make a pile. They also remove money from companies that need it. I often see reports that a particular stock is down 'because they did not provide the results that Wall Street expected'. They may have made a good profit and be trading well - but let's dump them to get a fraction more elsewhere.

On another point, PPRuNers may be amused to read the advice for Boeing from Mr O'Leary, as detailed in Fortune magazine:

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary shared some words of wisdom on how the aircraft manufacturer should navigate the future of its management.

“The best CEOs and owners are the accountants, the people who do the boring, repetitive, day-to-day delivery, and that’s what you need,” CEO Michael O’Leary told Bloomberg on Wednesday. “They already design great aircraft—you’ve got to make them, but you’ve got to make them on-time and within budget, and that needs accountants.”

He added that so-called accountants have clarity on the vision of a company, while personnel like engineers can lose sight of an overall mission in favor of tweaking what’s not broken.

“It’s like, never put a pilot in charge of an airline,” he said. “They want to buy new shiny toys.”
Right there is the problem of balance. You need the Finance, the Engineering, the Pilots and more to collaborate. He may have made FR successful by being a sole voice - but his business is very different to Boeing. I suggest that his reiteration of the past 35 years of mgmt behaviour adds to the problems.

Fortune Magazine
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Old 26th Apr 2024, 16:33
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I've always thought it interesting that the much disliked Michael O'Leary at Ryanair has always kept a focus on safety and and engineering - very early in their growth he approved locating spare engines around the network when, as a real bean-counter you'd have thought he'd have cut spares and centralised.
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Old 26th Apr 2024, 16:53
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We can dislike MOL for his treatment of his staff ( and his Pax ) but on the Training and Safety front they are well above the average and certainly above some mainstream carriers ..including the one of my home country
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Old 26th Apr 2024, 17:35
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ATC Watcher, I agree. GNSS has its vulnerabilities. We need to keep sufficient alternative methods of navigation alive and active.
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