Odds and Ends: To fly the 787 or not-conflicting reports; 787 schedule cancellations

To fly or not to fly: Yesterday there were several reports that the FAA was ready to allow Boeing begin test flights of the 787, only to be followed within hours that the FAA denied the reports.

The contradictions underscore the uncertainty surrounding the 787 grounding. Today the Wall Street Journal has this report further outlining the challenges of the investigation: the authorities don’t have the experts they need. The New York Times has this report detailing the FAA’s current position.

One expert we consulted doesn’t believe the FAA will approve test flights before April. A key paragraph from the New York Times article is this:

Boeing is conducting laboratory tests on its proposed fixes for the lithium-ion batteries on its new 787 jets, and federal regulators said Tuesday that they would need to see the results before deciding whether to allow flight tests.

This suggests to us that the April timeline may be reasonable as suggested by the consultant we checked with. Note, too, that the NTSB preliminary findings have yet to be issued and we don’t see the FAA making any decisions before this report is issued, expected sometime in the first half of March.

Meantime….

787 Schedule Cancellations: Some airlines have announced their cancellation schedules for the Boeing 787, while we had to go into Orbitz, Expedia or the airline websites to determine the schedules of the other operators with 787s. Here’s what we found:

Canceled through:
ANA 31-May
Air India 31-Mar
Ethiopian 30-Apr
JAL 31-Mar
Lan 29-Jun
LOT

30-Sep

Qatar 30-Apr
United 5-Jun

68 Comments on “Odds and Ends: To fly the 787 or not-conflicting reports; 787 schedule cancellations

  1. Sounds like Boeing got slapped down after trying to create perceptions of progress in the pace of sorting their mess. I personally placed a bet that it will take them 8-10 months from the first of Feb to get the 787 in service again. I hope I am wrong of course.

    • Interesting that going to the political forces above the FAA first, presenting their scheme there, seems to have not worked out as planned.

      • Well, in this industry, when your plan still holds question marks over safety questions, you are not going to move forward.

        One can sense the desperation of Boeing in that managing perception of safety seems to have taken second place to placing the perception that this mess will be resolved quickly.

  2. Yesterday there were several reports that the FAA was ready to allow Boeing begin test flights of the 787, only to be followed within hours that the FAA denied the reports.

    The contradictions underscore the uncertainty

    Not really, it just underscores the effort the PR guys went to to disseminate propaganda.

    And failed, unsurprisingly.

    • They succeeded with the propaganda, but it failed to influence the FAA, I mean.

      Not a surprise and I think it just makes them look bad.

      • We seem to have seen an orchestrated multipath push.

        One holdback is that politicos won’t knowingly go on suicidal missions.
        Leaning on the FAA to pass this cloaking device as a final ( or even preliminary only ) solution is a lingering kiss of death to everyone involved. Nobody will go there (yet?).
        Depends on what else might be drawn into this black hole in the future. Things may change if Boeing’s survival appears to
        be at stake. But we have been assured that this will never be the case.

  3. Strange to point out NTSB is missing experts.
    I’m quite sure the best one from Yausa and Boeing are also working on it and haven’t found much more. Who could make it by the way, when battery and their monitoring logs have burn altogether?

    PR motd : “NTSB wont make it. Let’s get to the next step NOW”.

    • I would expect Boeing to have a faint idea why their batteries are dying.
      ( the 2 instances of up in flames and/or smoke imho are just the tip of the iceberg.)
      But
      my guess would be that this is a principal issue with how that part of the electrical system is designed. “strangeness” in the ground return network? some revolutionary property ?

      Hundreds of engineers and hordes of borrowed experts.

      With the help of enough eyes any bug is shallow. ( Linus Torwalds ).
      Though it may be so large and looming that nobody would bear to see it.

  4. Uwe :Interesting that going to the political forces above the FAA first, presenting their scheme there, seems to have not worked out as planned.

    Ernest Arvai at AirInsight has got an interesting observation.

    http://airinsight.com/2013/02/26/will-boeings-super-box-solution-quickly-return-the-787-to-the-skies/#comments

    With the Japanese unable to replicate the battery failures in standalone tests, it is unlikely that Japanese regulators would accept the Boeing solution, that focuses on the battery, but not the electrical system, as that would result in what would be viewed as an unjustified loss of face in focusing on the contractor in Japan rather than finding the true cause of the problem. What if the FAA were to approve the fix, only to have the Japanese continue to restrict the aircraft from service?

    The political and economic ramifications would be significant. Despite the FAA taking the lead for an aircraft certified in the US, this will be a coordinated international effort, and a decision with international ramifications. Should a major disagreement exist, the international system of reciprocity in aircraft certification that has worked well for many years could be threatened. While Boeing can easily lobby Washington, it may also need to be lobbying Tokyo and Brussels as well.

    • I made that point yesterday. 🙂 In any case, what it it’s not (shock horror) about loss of face but a real concern about safety if the short-circuit, err, cut is taken? I don’t see EASA and the Japanese or indeed the Chinese regulators approve the reverse Rube Goldberg solution as it is presented now. I don’t see any regulator approving it as a permanent solution.

      • Althuogh they did nothing useful , even Rubes machines worked as designed despite the help of Smokey Stover !!

        Smokey Stover is an American comic strip written and drawn by cartoonist Bill Holman, from 1935 until he retired in 1973. Distributed through the Chicago Tribune, it features the wacky misadventures of the titular fireman, and had the longest run of any comic strip in the “screwball comics” genre.

      • Yes, it may look like Boeing is gravely misreading the situation, which might lead to an outcome of unforeseen consequences for the 787 program itself.

  5. Looks like even the pump and dumpers on the BA yahoo message board were the first to spread the wrong words by using the WSJ headlines such that it sounded like a done deal re return to test flight status.

    And I’m sure BA PR is totally blameless … as in we’ve got this great sale . .

    • It went up a bit today but it’s been meh overall for the week. EADS shot up even more today, actually. I *knew* I should have invested in them when they were 25 euro – now they’re at 37… finally beating the levels just before A380 production scandal crash of 2006). This is a new historical record, in fact.

    • Mr. Raetzloff you are showing your lack of knowledge of the stock market. Boeings stock performance is a result of there financial performance over an extended period of time not some PR release.

      • ROFLMAO
        Radio Jerevan answers:

        In principle yes.
        but
        contrary to theoretical postulations this is fiction floated for suckers.
        Stock markets are driven by herd perception and only peripherally on hard standalone facts.
        Guess why there are so many “explainers” around in that venue.

        • Uwe :
          ROFLMAO
          Radio Jerevan answers:
          In principle yes.
          but
          contrary to theoretical postulations this is fiction floated for suckers.
          Stock markets are driven by herd perception and only peripherally on hard standalone facts.
          Guess why there are so many “explainers” around in that venue.

          Yes.

          The stock market is unscientific social manipulation of huge gambling dens. “Fashion” rules, not logic. I deeply regret the way the world has allowed these dog-and-pony shows to have so much influence on our lives and honestly wish there was some way to contain or even eradicate them.

  6. Why not? In some California desert close enough to some military airport, what’s the harm?Their plane, their risk. Give them some chutes just in case.

    Re the general testing to me they need at a minimum

    a) to design a test that reproducible replicates the two fires/incidents observed so far, and

    b) test any new contemplated containment scheme with it.

    They the government agencies, no Boeing. The fact that Boeing self certified that nothing like that would happen in tens of million of miles leaves them with no credibility at this point whatsoever.

    • Assuming (because that’s what they say) nothing they tried so far works (in the sense of replication) stick one of them in a sufficiently powerful high energy particle accelerator (flux, energy), irradiate one of the cells with a sufficiently large dose to precipitate something, then cycle the battery a few times using the existing electronics and see if it will runaway. Not sure that was the original cause, but this has some chance of working i.e. precipitating an internal runaway predecessor condition non invasively. Thus a chance to test the new “fire box” scheme. If it works credits where credits due.

      • …stick one of them in a sufficiently powerful high energy particle accelerator ..

        IOW the Boeing PR department

  7. It seems even Yuasa isn’t on board with the SuperBox:

    “Yuasa […] believes the proposed package is inadequate to mitigate all potential 787 battery hazards, the officials said.”

    “Yuasa’s […] laboratory tests strongly suggest that an external power surge—or another problem originating outside the battery—kicked off the sequence of events on the 787s that experienced burning batteries. Yuasa told the FAA that temperatures and current fluctuations recorded on those planes weren’t consistent with short-circuits originating inside its batteries.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323293704578330480004073900.html#articleTabs=article

    Yuasa is pushing for the installation of a voltage regulator which, according to the article, was described by some FAA officials as largely a face-saving maneuver. Ouch, such unnecessary comments won’t go over very well in Japan. Not to mention I find it incredibly foolish to ignore the recommendations of the battery manufacturer.

    • “.. was described by some FAA officials as largely a face-saving maneuver.”

      Very much USA: negatives are invariably external influences.

      Head of Steam at the japanese “partners” seems to be rising fast in the last couple of days.

      Japan has bankrolled the Dreamliner to a significant part ( “most subsidised airliner ever” ), their aerospace and airline industry is significantly hamstrung by way of bad project execution on Boeings side and now those longnoses have the impunity add insult to injury.
      Loyalty has its limits.

      Airbus needs more suppliers.
      Airbus has planes to sell.

      Going by what information has surfaced Yuasa seems to be right on with their judgement.

  8. There is no reason (other than a politcally driven one on the part of the FAA) not to allow Boeing to conduct test flights or to allow airlines to reposition 787’s. Such flights would certainly be less risky than certification test flying and would likely yield valuable data about what may or may not be going on with the electrical system.

    Especially if the problem lies not with the battery but with the electrical system itself the best way to find that problem is to start flying airplanes. But I think the entire grounding/systems validation on the part of the FAA is less about safety and really about the FAA appearing to “do something” and “take charge” in the face of all the media attention.

    And of course add te NTSB to that list who hasn’t missed a chance to take pot shots at the FAA from their Ivory Tower World.

    • I’m not sure, but maybe it’s more a question of legality and paperwork. If a grounding is decreed, then presumably it’s not a simple matter to allow certain flights unless the grounding itself is lifted again. That is what a grounding means, after all!

      I doubt some guy in an office in the FAA can just say “yeah, okay, that’s reasonable… go ahead”.

  9. LOT have grounded it until October and boeing told them -insisted- they took out 6 month leases on their 767’s. I suspect the european authorities are being more honest to LOT.

    LOT also stated october was optimistic.

  10. I hope no more cancellations on the agenda for the 787 (there must be about ~200, but they are left out the order overviews everywhere, e.g. QF is untraceable).

  11. 121 Pilot :
    There is no reason (other than a politcally driven one on the part of the FAA) not to allow Boeing to conduct test flights or to allow airlines to reposition 787′s. Such flights would certainly be less risky than certification test flying and would likely yield valuable data about what may or may not be going on with the electrical system.

    I agree with you on that point. But I don’t think it is motivated by political considerations. The problem for the FAA, and the reason why the ban is so drastic, is that two extremely serious incidents happened only one week apart, which is extremely preoccupying from a statistical perspective. Therefore the risk remains quite high even for a single ferry flight, not to mention if you have to authorize fifty of them.

    121 Pilot :
    And of course add te NTSB to that list who hasn’t missed a chance to take pot shots at the FAA from their Ivory Tower World.

    You have a strange opinion of the NTSB. If aviation is so safe today it is because of recommendations that were made by the NTSB. And many of the accidents that did happen could have been avoided if the FAA had followed ALL the recommendations issued by the NTSB.

    Please note that the term “Ivory Tower” is normally used to designate “a world or atmosphere where intellectuals engage in pursuits that are disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life.” That’s not how I perceive the NTSB. Actually, I don’t know of anyone who has such a low opinion of an INDEPENDENT institution who’s sole purpose is to save lives and prevent accidents.

  12. From Bloomberg Businessweek:

    “Huerta, in the most detailed comments to date on Boeing’s presentation Feb. 22, told reporters that it “looks to be a very comprehensive proposal” featuring multiple alterations designed to address every possible cause of battery incidents that grounded the jet.”

    “Boeing will keep using GS Yuasa Corp.’s batteries on the 787 as the planemaker has no dispute with the Kyoto, Japan-based company, Ray Conner, Boeing’s head of commercial airplanes, told reporters in Tokyo today.”

    “It’s not an interim solution, this is a permanent solution,” Conner said.”

    “The FAA’s technical staff is evaluating Boeing’s proposal and will send Huerta a report “probably sometime next week,” he said. If the agency approves the company’s plan, tests will have to prove the solutions will work, Huerta said.”

    “Once we approve a plan, then we have to go through the process of actually implementing the plan, which would involve a great deal of testing, a great deal of further analysis and re- engineering before those planes will be flying again,” he said during testimony at a U.S. House hearing.”

    “GS Yuasa told FAA officials the changes should go beyond Boeing’s proposal, to include protections that ensure proper power levels go to the batteries.”

    “Boeing is offering its fixes before safety investigators determine what caused the battery incidents.”

    “There is precedent for fixing a safety issue without knowing what caused an accident or incident, he said. The agency has ordered dozens of fixes to wiring and fuel tanks following the July 17, 1996, explosion that downed Trans World Airlines Flight 800, killing 230 people.”

    To view the above excerpts in their original context please check the following link:

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-02-27/boeing-787-fix-has-layers-to-prevent-fires-faa-says

    • They was not a center fuel tank explosion on TWA it look’s to me the first part to fall off the craft was the front right hand wheel well door sta 260/280 spilting open followed by the cargo door opening at the aft midspan latch as smashing into the upper deck as there is red paint just above the cargo door see the the report by Barry smith@corrozon.com. very intresting reading?

      • someone brought it up at Plane Talking already.
        the Lockerby wreckage shew the same markings so he says it must have been a bomb.
        Now pray tell me the difference between a fuel air explosion in a box and a bomb? If you raise the pressure in the center wingbox suddenly aka “explosion” what parts will give first?
        My guess would be the front and rear wall of the cwb
        blowing into the freight compartment and the wheel wells ?

  13. Reuters:

    “Boeing and the Japanese firm that makes lithium-ion batteries for the 787 Dreamliner disagree about what should be included in a package of measures aimed at getting the airliner back in the air, the Wall Street Journal reported.”

    “GS Yuasa believes the battery fix should include a voltage regulator that could stop electricity from entering the battery, the Journal said, citing government and industry officials.”

    “GS Yuasa told the FAA that its laboratory tests indicated a power surge outside the battery, or other external problem, started the failures on the two batteries, according to the newspaper.”

    I am not sure which WSJ’s article is referred to here, but the following link will give you access to the Reuters article from which the above excerpts come from:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/28/us-boeing-787-report-idUSBRE91Q1CU20130228

    • Ignoring the elephant in the room ( stomping the batteries ) comes to mind.
      I’d believe Yuasa before I would take Boeings word.

      If this strong drive towards rushing in a “wrong method on wrong object” solution persists,
      ignoring all reasonable critique I would guess that Boeing knows what is wrong
      but it would not be solvable / extremely difficult by reworking the currently existing frames.

      So keep people under pressure, on their toes, distracted. Not a new method.

      • You are totally right UWE !

        Looks all these days we are in presence of a smoke screen around the root (s) cause (s) … !
        FAA/NTSB will appreciate !

        But it seems, most bloggers , most of the serious and notorious aviation reporters or analysts, did not fell in the tramp !
        The most hard cheerleaders and supporters of Boeing enter in very legitimate doubts , beginning with JO some weeks ago !

        So … wait & see !

  14. Pweg :
    LOT have grounded it until October and boeing told them -insisted- they took out 6 month leases on their 767′s.
    LOT also stated october was optimistic.

    Interesting Story, do you have a link to it? This is severe news if true.

  15. The Wall Street Journal:

    – “Regulators in the country have responded cautiously so far to the visit from Boeing commercial airplanes chief Raymond Conner.”

    – “It will be troublesome if the measures to prevent reoccurrences are not permanent,” said Shigeru Takano, director with the Air Transport Safety Unit in Japan’s Transport Ministry.”

    – “Mr. Conner’s whirlwind trip to Tokyo this week, which aims to appease regulators and reassure its two largest customers of the 787, is the first time a senior executive of his rank has come to Japan since the world-wide grounding of the jet six weeks ago.”

    – “Boeing hopes that the package of suggested fixes will be enough to get the 50 Dreamliners around the world back in the air, but Mr. Conner didn’t indicate a timetable for when the planes will resume service.”

    – “Officials at the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation, which must sign off on any fixes, are discussing whether to approve Boeing’s package of fixes before the cause is determined.”

    – “Mr. Takano said that the Civil Aviation Bureau would discuss Boeing’s proposals with the FAA as they deliberate its contents, but said it is unclear to what extent the two sides will work together in reaching their respective conclusions.”

    – “He said the CAB won’t leave it all up to the FAA and will make its own considerations, indicating that their cooperative efforts may not necessarily lead to a uniform decision, in what could further complicate Boeing’s efforts to get the 787 back in the air as soon as possible.”

    – “Mr. Takano also said it is difficult to comment on any firm date for when a decision on the proposals will be handed down, and whether it will be simultaneously reached with the FAA.”

    – “The fundamental thought—and the (transport) minister says this often—is that we are proceeding our work in cooperation with the FAA, but we just received the material today and will have to discuss with the FAA how we will work together in relation to the content (of the proposals).”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324662404578331310399657812.html

    • A crude test to be sure however — how does this make you feel —
      http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=355739&highlight=test+ammunit+box
      Experimental Ignition of a Large LiPo Pack in a Vented Ammo Box
      A 4S3P 6000 mah LiPo pack was placed in a .50 cal. ammo box vented with a 3” steel flex pipe, and charged @ 15amps, with a 29-volt limit. The pack was triple-wrapped in fibreglass cloth, about 12 layers, altogether.

      The purpose was to test whether the apparatus would contain a large LiPo pack ignition and direct the effluent outside through the pipe.

      Details of the apparatus (window closure, pipe installation, etc.) are moot. The ignition blew the ammo box lid open and a three-foot diameter fireball erupted.

      The “last gasp” of the fireball was captured in the first picture. The remains of the pack can be seen continuing to burn in the second, looking down into the open box.

      It was intended that a progression of tests would ensue, working up to a 5S4P 8000 mah pack. Those tests will be abandoned.

      I am now personally convinced there is no safe way to “contain” a large LiPo pack ignition with apparatus widely available at a reasonable price. If I were to fly such packs, I would charge them in an open area where they could simply burn without undue risk of collateral damage.

      Tj cooper has done considerable LiPo ignition testing and has expressed an interest in testing large packs in a sealed ammo can. I would advise against it, since even a generously vented can will not withstand the initial pressure buildup. In my test, that buildup occurred over a timespan I would estimate at about a half-second. There was no supplementary air introduced into the box during the pressure buildup.

      This test was possible due to the generosity of Charlie Wang, who donated the four packs. The remaining three are at his disposal.

  16. So what happened there? Did someone in Boeing’s legal team wake up and say ‘hey guys, never mind the FAA, what about the Japanese? Maybe could someone go and throw themselves at their mercy?’) Boeing’s management team is clearly out to lunch. It is amazing to see a case of Groupthink play out that publicly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink

    Any sane observer from the outside is being dissed and the unacceptable becomes the ultimate solution. This will be a case study in organisational behaviour and corporate psychology courses and on MBA schedules for decades to come (of how NOT to go about things). You couldn’t make it up if you were on drugs.

    Ps. On the trip to Japan, I think it’s a mistake that they sent Conner, and not McNerney. They missed a chance to impress the Japanese about how serious they are by sending the No.2 who will in any case be made to fall on his sword in the very near future. I am sure the Japanese didn’t miss it though. I’m also sure that Yuasa checked their statement on the Boeing proposed solution (Boproso) with the Japanese regulator before issuing it.

    • …Ps. On the trip to Japan, I think it’s a mistake that they sent Conner, and not McNerney. They missed a chance to impress the Japanese about how serious they are by sending the No.2 who will in any case be made to fall on his sword in the very near future…

      exactly right !!

      Many years ago, when A JAL (?) 747 rear pressure bulkhead failed and the 747 crashed, T.Wilson, then CEO made a trip to Japan and really really personally apologized and made sure that TBC would do whatever appropriate in their culture re making amends, etc.

      The Corporate legal types ( perkins -coie ?) had a cow – since any admission of liability by the top dog would have in their view serious financial implications – screw the perceptions and the culture.

      Obviously in the current view – its all about cost, cost, savings, savings, and bonuses.

      its more important to sell the final fix ASAP than to be concerned about mere cultural difference, and to keep the CEO insulated from any possible repercussions- NOTHING PERSONAL FOLKS, ITS JUST BUSINESS !!.

      • I remember very well the rear pressure bulkhead incident, but I didn’t know about T. Wilson’s trip to Japan. But that story belongs to another Boeing that no longer exists today.

        The destructive precess was initiated in the mid nineties, and if things continue like this it might be completed in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary in 2016.

  17. Andreas :
    They missed a chance to impress the Japanese about how serious they are by sending the No.2 who will in any case be made to fall on his sword in the very near future. I am sure the Japanese didn’t miss it though.

    Great observation. I agree with you and I believe this is a serious mistake. It has to do with a subtle cultural trait that Boeing’s PR department may have failed to appreciate.

    But hey, it’s always the same question: Where is McNerney?

  18. It’s not very fair-play with Boeing shareholders to rub it in but the EADS stock climbs very sharply (+32% in 2 months)…

    • It’s an important point actually. Boeing Boosters (BoBoos) keep going on about how Boeing’s stock is stable, so there is no impact from the 787 clusterfcuk.

      Of course what they fail to see is what the S&P in the interim. Well since 1 January the Industrials index went up by 7.91%. Based on this Boeing should be about USD81/share. It’s not a huge underperformance, but I think many analysts are simply refusing to believe that things could get really bad.

      By the way, how many delayed deliveries from 16 Jan to 31 May?

      • The stableness is imho proof of the “managed” property here.
        All fake. Howevery it works in detail one can be sure it is derived from spin, astroturfing and the remaining items from the toolbox for accomplished fraud.

  19. After all, I now have a pretty good idea what ‘gamechanger’ and ‘disruptive innovation’ are all about. Thank you, Jim

  20. “Yesterday there were several reports that the FAA was ready to allow Boeing begin test flights of the 787, only to be followed within hours that the FAA denied the reports.”

    so who put these words into the FAA’s mouth?
    a variety of astroturfing, carefully crafted but false rumours.

  21. Uwe, Your hatred of anything Boeing and U.S.A. is bothering on delusional. The aviation sector of the USA is twice as big as Europe. Airbus US content is 40-60 percent depending on power plant.

  22. And then I woke up Or did hell freeze over ??? . . . from a Seattle Times columnist
    eattle Times February 28, 2013

    Boeing’s apology tour
    Posted by Jon Talton

    Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Ray Conner traveled to Japan and reportedly apologized to airlines for continuing problems with the 787 Dreamliner. “I want to first apologize for the fact that we’ve had two incidents with our two very precious customers, ANA and JAL,” Conner said. This is a charming and salutary Japanese custom that we should adopt.

    I’m waiting for the Jim McNerney apology tour in America. It might go something like this: “To Boeing’s shareholders, customers, vendors and, especially, employees, I’m deeply sorry that we — and I regret to say this includes my predecessor, St. Alan Mulally — attempted to build the world’s most advanced airliner on the cheap, with an untested and reckless outsourcing program that led to repeated delays, finally grounding, and putting the very future of the company at risk. I deeply regret the weak corporate governance that allowed this, and as a result I will give up the title of chairman to an independent director. I will ask all the directors to resign and appoint only those who pass a medical exam that shows they have a spine. I will give up all of my compensation for the past five years and if the 787 isn’t flying flawlessly this year, I will resign as chief executive…

    “To our employees in the Puget Sound, I owe a special apology. I’m sorry we moved the headquarters to Chicago. The hot dogs are superior, but otherwise the company’s top executives are too far removed from the critical commercial airplane business and from Asia. I’m sorry we made a hash of the outsourcing that you now have to fix. I’m sorry we tried to deflect accountability that rightly rests with management decisions by blaming our unionized workers and set up an assembly in South Carolina to punish and intimidate them…” (bows deeply here toward machinists, engineers and technical workers, whispering reverently, “No nerds, no birds” several times.)

    “The perfectly legal but morally reprehensible tax dodging? Sorry. We’ll pay our share to the country that has given us everything. I’m also sorry about McDonnell Douglas. I wasn’t around to keep them from using Boeing’s money to take over Boeing, but I could have stopped the McDonnell bean-counter culture from swamping Boeing historic and successful dominance by engineering excellence. Finally, I want to apologize to Jack Welch, whose backside I smooched lo those many years and still didn’t get the top job at GE. Jack, I’m sorry I listened to a word you ever said. Your methods may be good for looting the wealth of corporations and sending it to people who are already rich, but they’re no way to run a great American company. One more thing: I’m sorry to have been hiding in the bunker, following the advice of lawyers and flacks to ‘keep a low profile.’ As events have shown, this is a counterproductive, even stupid, approach. I’m getting paid to be Boeing’s leader and I intend to lead out front, with transparency and accountability starting right now.”

    It will never happen. If it did, it would shake corporate America to its bones. Who would play McNerney in the movie? George Clooney? Or Bryan Cranston?

  23. Don,
    I enjoy most of your postings, but I am afraid I view your last post as somewhat lacking of your normal quality.
    Getting back I hope on track, the latest utterings of Yuasa are IMO significant.
    If I am correct, this is the first statement by one of the involved sub-contractors.
    The inference by Yuasa appears to suggest that an outside voltage surge caused the failure, which by inference suggests a problem with the aircraft electrical system.
    Others have inferred as much, but now the battery manufacturer is essentially suggesting “it ain’t our fault”?

    • I suppose I’m one of those inferrers…

      I don’t know if it’s part of Uwe’s astroturfing, but I noticed an immediate rush all over the forums and media to blame the batteries themselves… which seemed very odd when the plethora of other electrical issues pointed to battery abuse as a highly plausible cause.

      It seems to have taken two months for this to be picked up on at last… and only after Yuasa themselves suggest it. The Japanese authorities actually said something similar a few weeks ago but somehow they got ignored.

    • Perhaps a bit off topic- perhaps not.

      A very good friend of mine is in the news today – name Chevedden.
      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-01/boeing-holders-vote-on-ceo-chairman-split-amid-787-woes.html

      Boeing Holders Vote on CEO-Chairman Split Amid 787 Woes
      By Tim Catts – Mar 1, 2013 8:25 AM PT

      Boeing Co. (BA), struggling to fix the grounded 787 Dreamliner, must let investors vote on splitting the roles of chief executive officer and chairman to strengthen oversight, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

      The change would let Jim McNerney, who holds the titles now, concentrate on challenges such as production delays that stalled the 787’s debut, according to the proposal. Boeing sought to block a vote, messages to the SEC show.

      “This proposal is important to focus our CEO on Boeing,” Ray Chevedden, the shareholder who submitted the plan, wrote in an Oct. 18 letter to the Chicago-based company. “When our CEO serves as our board chairman, this arrangement can hinder our board’s ability to monitor our CEO’s performance.” . . . goes on

      I have presented shareholder proposals for John/Ray at various local companies such as Microsoft, Paccar, Boeing, Alaska Air, etc ( and a few of my own ) and vice versa.

      So knowing where to look for public documents re SEC , it was a few minutes to find

      http://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/cf-noaction/14a-8/2013/raycheveddenboeing012913-14a8.pdf

      And I think many may find the communications worthwhile reading- but especially this bit

      on page 10 ( part of boeings arguments against where they quote Chevedden

      “This proposal is important to focus our CEO on Boeing due to the s ize and complexity of our company and the challenges that our company fac es -for example the 3-year delay ed Boeing 78 7. In 201 2 our CEO was potentially distracted by his responsibilities on the boards of Procter & Gamble and IBM, both rated “D ” in governance by GMI!The Corporate Library, an independent investment research firm. Mr. McNerney was further overextended by his responsibilities on a total ofthree board committees at IBM and P&G. . ..

      …No other company in the S&P 500 had more active CEOs than P&G. ” This is probably not the kind of board you want for a company that ‘s about to face a crisis, ” said Jay Lorsch, a management professor at Harvard Business School in Boston. ” When you have directors who are busy with their own companies [like Mr . McNerney], that limits time they have for P&G and that ca n be problematic. ”
      Mr. McNerney should follow the example of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings who left the Microsoft board in October 2012. “I’ve decided to reduce the number of boards I serve on, so that I can focus on Netflix, ” said Hastings. ”

      Now people should realize that this statement(s) from the proposal had to be submitted by late November under SEC rules. Well before the Great battery Fiasco.

      But chevedden did then send to the SEC ( and Boeing under the rules ) on Jan 16th

      Ladies and Gentlemen:
      This is in regard to the December 19, 2012 company request concerning this rule 14a-8 proposal.
      With the crisis news on Boeing today the company should withdraw its no action request.
      This is to request that the Securities and Exchange Commission allow this resolution to stand and be voted upon in the 2013 proxy.

      Of course even if the proposal passes with majority votes- it is precatory – and has extended time limits to take place. BUT like all proposals, it CAN force thru public/shareholder pressure things to happen.

      It will be a week or two before the Offical Proxy is published- Plan ahead !!! ;-PPP

  24. Don, great post. Would be a superb last page column in any of many business, or aerospace, mags.

  25. I would say that it is pretty unheard of that one of the manufacturers basically saying that the fix will…well not fix the problem. I would be pretty amis for the FAA to approve the fix when the manufacturer is saying it doesn’t fix it.
    The whole point raised by a poster earlier about Boeing putting all it’s eggs in one basket with this fix is looking more and more dangerous.
    JAL have already commented on a single supplier being ‘abnormal’, essentially saying that Boeing have screwed the pooch (clearly watching ‘the right stuff’ last night!), and lost a sole source customer (odds on a JAL A380 order?), how many others?
    Never mind the delayed deliveries through may….how about til 30th Sept!?

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