Saturday, January 11, 2020

Boeing's 737 Max - an airplane 'designed by clowns'

Here’s a real gem from the NY Times Friday night (email) briefing - with a couple of comments. My subtitle: Boeing led by well-paid monkeys.

Dennis Muilenberg, who ran Boeing during two deadly crashes, will leave the company with $62.2 million in stock and pension awards.

Another way of looking at it is that Muilenberg got paid $179,768.79 for each of the 346 lives lost when Boeing let the 737 Max keep flying.

Mr. Muilenburg will not receive any additional severance or separation payments in connection with his departure, and Boeing said he had forfeited stock units worth some $14.6 million.

Well - ain’t that a kick in the head.

Boeing’s new chief, David Calhoun, will receive a $7 million bonus if he is able to get the 737 Max safely flying again.

The company’s announcement comes a day after hundreds of pages of internal documents showed how Boeing employees mocked the Federal Aviation Administration and bragged about getting it to approve the 737 Max with little new training for pilots.

Here’s more from the Times report on who knew what about the doomed 737 Max.

The company expressed regret at the embarrassing communications it sent to investigators on Thursday, which included a comment that “this airplane is designed by clowns, who are in turn supervised by monkeys.”

The employees appear to discuss instances in which the company concealed such problems from the F.A.A. during the regulator’s certification of the simulators, which were used in the development of the Max, as well as in training for pilots who had not previously flown a 737.

“Would you put your family on a Max simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t,” one employee said to a colleague in another exchange from 2018, before the first crash. “No,” the colleague responded.

I trust you see my reasoning when I say that Boeing is in a Catch–22. To attract air travelers it needs to establish a safety record. But the only way it can do that, credibly at least, is to have those travelers already flying the 737 Max without any more accidents. Given the problems and culture at Boeing, how are they going to break out of that catch?

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