Sept. 25, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing today outlined the results of the investigation of a special Board of Directors committee formed in August that creates new processes and organizational structures aimed at preventing another 737 MAX crisis and improving safety within Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The Board-level Aerospace Safety Committee is the four-member committee announced by Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg following the second fatal accident of the MAX in March.
Admiral Edmund Giambastiani (Ret), a former nuclear submarine officer, chaired the committee. As a result of the committee’s work, the following recommendations have been made:
The Board committee of four is outlined in the Boeing press release below, which is reprinted in its entirety. The committee retained a group of outside experts to assist in its probe of BCA’s safety processes on the MAX.
Among these experts tapped by the committee were:
“We spent a huge amount of time from April for this five month review,” Giambastiani said.
Giambastiani said that the committee had full access to BCA. It also looked at the processes of the 777X, which is in ground testing in advance of the delayed flight test program. Engines provided by GE Aviation had flaws in them that prevented the flight testing from beginning. Boeing hopes to proceed to flight testing by year-end.
There was “nothing off the table” in the committee’s probe, Giambastiani said. “We were specifically not assigned the task of investigating the Lion Air and Ethiopian 737 MAX accidents…due to all the ongoing formal investigations.”
The committee was assigned the task of reviewing policies and processes “that were in place for the design and development of the airplanes to ensure safety, and further, our committee was assigned the task of recommending any changes or improvements…to those policies and procedures,” Giambastiani said. “Hardening and strengthening were a very important component of what we were doing.”
Giambastiani said BCA engineering reviews included airplane certification foundation; FAA organization; Boeing certification and Organization Delegation Authorization (ODA); jet airplane accident annual report; certification of the 777X and certification of the 737 MAX to see what differences there were between the two programs; pilot qualification training by the FAA and international regulators; and all the gated engineering processes.
The committee also looked at design requirements; flight sciences, system design, hazard categories, probabilistic failure analysis propulsion design, airplane level validation and verification; simulator sessions; pilot training strategy; and quite a bit more.
ODA is the FAA-designate within Boeing. Gated engineering are milestones of any 7-Series airplane development program.
We looked at strengthening engineering to reduce enterprise level risk,” Giambastiani said.
The Board committee concluded a number of processes can be improved, “hardened” and “strengthened,” Giambastiani said. These are outlined below in the press release.
“All of these recommendations have been acted upon, with a rolling implementation,” Giambastiani said.
But in response to a question from LNA, Giambastiani didn’t provide detail about how these are being implement nor over what period of time or how the certification process of the MAX 7, MAX 10 and 777X might be affected by these changes.
Giambastiani said that the Board committee found “categorically” that all the FAA standards, protocols, policies, processes and engineering functions were followed.
The committee found no competing interests that would have compromised the safety of the MAX, Giambastiani said.
The board formally approved the creation of the new Aerospace Safety Committee at its August 2019 meeting. The committee’s primary responsibility is to oversee and ensure the safe design, development, manufacture, production, operation, maintenance and delivery of the company’s aerospace products and services.
Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, Jr., (Ret.), former vice chairman, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a career nuclear-trained submarine officer, was appointed chairman of the Aerospace Safety Committee. The board also appointed to the committee current Boeing Board members Lynn Good, chairman, president and CEO, Duke Energy Corporation, and Lawrence Kellner, president, Emerald Creek Group and former chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines. These board members each have extensive experience leading companies and organizations in regulated industries and government entities where safety is paramount.
Separately, the board amended the company’s Governance Principles to include safety-related experience as one of the criteria it will consider in choosing future directors.
The board also announced today its recommendations from the five-month independent review of the company’s policies and processes for airplane design and development by the Committee on Airplane Policies and Processes, formed in April 2019 following the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 737 MAX accidents. Reaffirming Boeing’s commitment to the safety of the global aerospace ecosystem and to the safety of its products and services, the board recommends that the company:
It is recommended that the enterprise Organization Delegation Authority, the company’s engineering and technical experts who represent the Federal Aviation Administration in airplane certification activities, report to the Product and Services Safety organization and vice president for Product and Services Safety.
The board further recommends that the Accident Investigation Team as well as the teams responsible for military aircraft certification and mission assurance for space and launch systems report to the vice president for Product and Services Safety.