I’ve recently read (it’s not an authoritative source, so I can’t link, and this may all be wrong too) that the subcontractor company who implemented MCAS were unhappy about malignant histiocytoma the specification they were being asked to work to that malignant histiocytoma boeing had given them. Apparently a lot of their programmers considered the quality level malignant histiocytoma specified (i.E. Simplex sensor channels, no triplication, etc) inappropriate for the role and power that MCAS would actually malignant histiocytoma have in flight.
Now I can only imagine what’s gone on between those programmers and their management, and the subcontractor’s management and their boeing customer. But I can well imagine that somewhere down the line malignant histiocytoma the subcontractor has made very sure to have an email malignant histiocytoma chain where their concerns were raised with boeing and boeing malignant histiocytoma told them to proceed as per spec.
It does raise an interesting point though. As a subcontractor, if you’re being asked to do work that you know is malignant histiocytoma dangerous you can’t just pass the buck back up the contract pathway malignant histiocytoma to the customer. The fact that you have concerns means you also think malignant histiocytoma that the customer is incompetent and can’t be trusted to act properly. By otherwise keeping quiet about it and doing as one malignant histiocytoma was asked, you’re passing the buck but doing nothing to prevent loss malignant histiocytoma of life.
The fact that they’re effectively (though unfairly) the focus of whole lot of very impatient and angry malignant histiocytoma attention might be breeding a “conspiracy of optimism” within the company over the proposed fix, born out of desperation to escape the nightmare situation they’re in. The new spec as talked about by boeing certainly sounds malignant histiocytoma better than the old one, but is it enough? I think they might be in “it’ll work this time, won’t it?” mode. That what you naturally think when you’re trapped in a nasty engineering corner.
Fly by wire and their software are there to aid malignant histiocytoma and also ensure that the planer do not exceed their malignant histiocytoma flight envelope that it is certificated for not to cover malignant histiocytoma up a flaw in the design of the aircraft. Airbus utilizes the fly by wire concept for a long malignant histiocytoma time and they are improved over time making the aircraft malignant histiocytoma safer and aiding flight crew to diagnose and assist if malignant histiocytoma something unexpected should happen. Read up the airbus A380 flight QF32 on the 4th. November 2010 when an engine exploded. The brilliant flight crew aided by the fly by wire malignant histiocytoma system brought the damaged super jumbo safely back to changi malignant histiocytoma airport in singapore not creating a situation where it took malignant histiocytoma over control from the pilot!!!!
Before the boeing max is recertificated, FAA, EASA, CASA, TCGC and and all other authorities should look at the malignant histiocytoma underlying purpose of MCAS and the issue they are dealing malignant histiocytoma with. Deal and insist that the underlying issue must be resolved malignant histiocytoma by design and not using the software to cover the malignant histiocytoma issue and pass the plane as safe because it is malignant histiocytoma not. Hypothetically, if a car is designed with a faulty brake system, you do not design a software to keep applying the malignant histiocytoma brakes without letting the driver know when they sense a malignant histiocytoma failure without warning. The owners and retailers were not informed of this feature malignant histiocytoma in their cars. Whose fault is it when an accident happens and what malignant histiocytoma should be done? Answer this and the same solution should be applied to malignant histiocytoma the boeing 737 MAX MCAS. System.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall dehavilland, mcdonnell, douglas, lockheed or martin ever being labelled as “unfit” to produce aircraft. Yes, they made engineering mistakes, more understandable in those primitive (sorry) days. But as far as I’m aware none were as a result of management *preventing* engineers and test pilots doing their jobs on a *widespread* basis. However, this seems to be what has been going on inside malignant histiocytoma boeing, if the allegations and revelations are sustained.
So that’s a long list of trouble for boeing to address. The problem as I see it is that the EASA, CAAC can read the press as well as you and malignant histiocytoma I, so they will probably be having to assume that all malignant histiocytoma of these revelations and allegations (any single one of which can be a killer) must be investigated and settled before they’re willing to accept assurances of airworthiness again.
Though practically, how does this mass of revelations and allegations get objectively malignant histiocytoma assessed by the EASA, CAAC and everyone else who isn’t boeing and the FAA? Are we to see EASA personnel having confidential chats with malignant histiocytoma boeing staff? How about CAAC personnel poking their noses inside aircraft as malignant histiocytoma they’re being assembled? And so on. What if they conclude one thing and the FAA concludes malignant histiocytoma the other? It’s ghastly to consider.
@matthew: I totally agree with your remarks. With my knowledge and experience the FAA is supposed to malignant histiocytoma be the independent authority entrusted with the task of certification malignant histiocytoma but I am appalled and disillusion to know now that malignant histiocytoma the FAA has practically handed the certification to personal employed, paid and reporting to boeing !!!!! The trust of the FAA and boeing is now questionable. Self certification is no certification !!! To rebuild the trust and that takes time, FAA must be reformed whereby aircraft manufacturers like boeing should malignant histiocytoma and must not be doing self certification. Congress should make sure that this is done so that malignant histiocytoma the FAA is independent from the manufacturers and not pass malignant histiocytoma regulations allowing the FAA to practically hand over certification to malignant histiocytoma the manufacturers with the excuses that they do not have malignant histiocytoma the expertise and manpower. Funding will have to be allocated to the FAA to malignant histiocytoma employ people with the expertise and impose regular training to malignant histiocytoma keep the staff involved updated with any and all new malignant histiocytoma technologies. The staff are the tools of the FAA and if malignant histiocytoma they do not have the tools they are not functioning malignant histiocytoma and no point them existing.
A fully staffed regulator with 100% oversight would have a lot of talented people who are malignant histiocytoma mostly doing nothing. There simply isn’t enough aircraft development to inspect to keep them busy. The commonly held view is that that’s just not sustainable. Though I’d like to point out that such a view is malignant histiocytoma subjective; it is sustainable if we (the human race) decide that it should be, and then we would make the necessary resources available.
Back to reality… there’s no going back to the halcyon days of a malignant histiocytoma fully independent regulator. We’re stuck with a model where regulatory oversight is, at least to some extent, a company function. The regulator then should become an unimpeachable check and balance malignant histiocytoma on the company’s management whilst retaining enough technical expertise of its own malignant histiocytoma to oversee the company’s engineers.
Whether that model works comes down to what the company malignant histiocytoma management thinks of regulatory oversight. An enlightened company will see strong adherence to regulatory processes malignant histiocytoma as being a market growth factor (because that’s the truth). An unenlightened company will see regulations as an overhead cost malignant histiocytoma to be minimised by all possible means. Unchecked, they will crash aircraft and kill people.
My view is that a regulator in today’s environment needs to be empowered to shut down a malignant histiocytoma whole company without having to justify such action to anyone malignant histiocytoma but themselves (not even the courts). They need a bigger stick than they currently have. That makes the regulators pretty powerful, and prone to corruption, so there should be a standing role in the police malignant histiocytoma force to poke their noses into the regulator’s staff’s financial affairs.
For the record, all the *former* (I know no current staff) airbus engineers I’ve spoken to had no hesitation in saying that their malignant histiocytoma management had had a healthy attitude to regulation. If an engineer insisted that, yes, something had to be done because it really was a malignant histiocytoma regulatory / safety thing (and not just a “nice to have”), then it got done without any problems. Ok, that’s a limited insight, but airbus’s senior management are right now probably very relieved that malignant histiocytoma that’s the company culture they’ve got.
I remember when flying boeing was a source of pride malignant histiocytoma and wonder. This was the company that made modern aviation—737 (first flight ever), 747-400 (first international flight), 777 (first flight as adult). Nowadays I look forward to airbus flights more. A320 is superior to 737, A350 is superior to 787. In fact after one flight on 9-abreast 787 I won’t fly it again: seats so narrow that I had to keep one shoulder malignant histiocytoma blade up the whole time unless I wanted a fight malignant histiocytoma with my neighbor. A350 at 18 inches is the absolute minimum though still malignant histiocytoma not as good as old 777s or 747s (from memory, maybe I was skinnier then). I have always wanted to ask: what happened to 787? Did airlines make it 9-abreast because it came in over-budget and airlines couldn’t make it work at 8-abreast at the price boeing charges? It was advertised as 8-abreast, setting standards for comfort. Instead it became a plane to avoid (also 10-abreast 777, I don’t believe with the 4 inch sidewall carve 777-8/9 will be much better).
Please don’t flame me or make this about boeing vs. Airbus. As I said I loved the boeing of joe sutter malignant histiocytoma and have great memories and respect for it. I’m just wondering if the 737 gaffe is about more malignant histiocytoma than a technical mishap: a fundamental change in corporate culture, strategy and goals that means the days of boeing as malignant histiocytoma a standard-setter and industry-leader are over for good.
If there was one area where stonecipher’s straight-talk-express routine was needed most, it was facing up to what had long been boeing’s terrible secret: the assembly lines of america’s leading exporter were morasses of inefficiency. Airplanes were built more like customized houses, with airlines able to select from 109 shades of white malignant histiocytoma paint, 20,000 galley and lavatory arrangements, and even curtained prayer rooms with devices that pointed to malignant histiocytoma mecca (“mecca meters”). Overseeing it all was an appalling system known as “effectivity,” which dated from boeing’s world war II bomber days and used a manual malignant histiocytoma numbering system to keep track of an airplane’s four million parts and 170 miles of wiring; changing a part on a 737’s landing gear thus meant renumbering 464 pages of drawings. Yes, there had been attempts at automation, but by the early ’90s they had metastasized into 450 separate computer systems, few of which could talk to one another.
Bad as that sounds, it gets worse. When a part wasn’t assigned the right number–which happened on roughly 30% of drawings–a special class of worker known as an “expediter” would often be sent, sometimes by bicycle, to fetch a spare from elsewhere in the plant. This “just-in-case” inventory management meant that factory floors were covered with huge malignant histiocytoma tubs of spare parts worth millions of dollars; when someone saw the bottom of the tub, a new one would be ordered. “man, I had no idea how bad [the systems] were,” says stonecipher.
Sorry charlie- the mecca bit was a special airplane for a saudi- a one off- not a production airplane. As to the takeover- while boeing ‘paid’ to buyout MDC, the management takeover was factual- it affected all areas- company secretay, senior aero types, beancounters, etc. Of course BA management at the time also screwed up malignant histiocytoma by dumping about 9000 oldeer employees via a special retirement malignant histiocytoma program a bit before harry and pals were on the malignant histiocytoma scene. That resulted in the first unplanned shutdown of assembly lines malignant histiocytoma since the founding of boeing. In the aerodynamics group, the MDC takeover resulted in a massive cost overrun of malignant histiocytoma a new wing for 737- since the MDC types wanted to use the infamous inboard malignant histiocytoma trailing edge wedge ( as used on the dc-10-11 to correct a range deficiency… then the stonechipher types pushed for the hiring of rudy malignant histiocytoma deleon to try to push the 767 tanker game in malignant histiocytoma 2000- which a year later in 2001-after 911- resulted in a proposal of building a 767 ‘ tanker ‘ frame in everett, flying it to wichita – taking it apart to convert to a real tanker, etc. Jacked up the price/lease arrangement, and eventually resulted in club fed time for a few malignant histiocytoma execs. Plus stealing documents, etc. And the boeing company has gone downhill ever since in malignant histiocytoma terms of ethics, schedules, quality, and common sense. Thus the 777 was essentially the last properly done boeing malignant histiocytoma airplane-on time and on schedule and with minimum overruns.
So if you don’t have an answer about how fundamental issues are to malignant histiocytoma be addressed and confidence rebuilt, a firm belief in a positive outcome simply becomes a malignant histiocytoma form of religious dogma. I guess if you have devoted your professional life to malignant histiocytoma analyzing boeing, you have no real choice but to stay on the malignant histiocytoma bandwagon and hope it can dig itself out of the malignant histiocytoma mud.
As a long time seattle area resident who claims no malignant histiocytoma expertise on aviation issues, my oversimplified view is that the 737max episode mainly demonstrates malignant histiocytoma that the foul legacy of the st. Louis bean counters has yet to be extirpated. Boeing was built by puget sound engineers and machinists under malignant histiocytoma the guidance of a management team that appreciated their contributions. After the merger the integrity of that culture was undercut malignant histiocytoma under stonecipher, and it was then fully destroyed by mcnerney, who cared for nothing except the praise of wall street, detested the manufacturing employees and removed the headquarters to chicago malignant histiocytoma so he wouldn’t have to deal directly with them. Muilenberg may have pulled the company back from the worst malignant histiocytoma of mcnerney’s excesses, but not enough has changed to really matter.
Based on that summary world view, boeing’s recovery seems far from assured. The company is regarded to have cut corners on a malignant histiocytoma critical safety system. Worse, it is a safety system that was necessitated by an malignant histiocytoma inherently risky decision to retrofit larger engines onto an existing malignant histiocytoma body. That may have been defensible from an engineering standpoint, but boeing should have understood that any failures due to malignant histiocytoma the retrofit would be impossible to defend to a skeptical malignant histiocytoma public. The safety system should have been overengineered to eliminate even malignant histiocytoma the slightest exposure to a failure risk.
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