HOTR: Boeing could further cut 787 production rate—JP Morgan

By the Leeham News Staff

Jan. 20, 2021, © Leeham News: There is risk of another production rate cut for the 787, JP Morgan wrote in a Jan. 12 note.

Boeing already is reducing the rate to 5/mo this year. There are an estimated 60 787s in inventory due to production and quality control issues discovered last year that halted deliveries in November-December.

Boeing 787 family. Source: Boeing.

Given the current step-down in production rates to five and if Boeing continued to produce 787s at the lower rate, another 70-80 planes could be produced this year.

Assuming deliveries resume once the production-QC issues are fixed, how many airlines want the airplanes? The COVID pandemic is out of control. International travel restrictions resumed in some countries. There’s no telling when international travel will return, or how long it will take before even a semblance of normalcy is seen.

JP Morgan wrote:

787 rate still at risk. Boeing’s Q4 delivery release highlighted the potential for further widebody cuts, and it’s not hard to see why…. Meanwhile, international travel remains flat on its back and should be the last market segment to recover. It’s difficult to see delivering ~120 787s in this market in 2021, which would leave Boeing to decide between further cuts or holding inventory for longer. For now, we assume ~70 787 deliveries in 2021, slightly above production, with most of the unwind occurring in 2022-23 with production at 5/mo and deliveries of ~7/mo. We estimate $6bn-$7bn of 787 inventory build in 2020…. [A]ll this assumes a relatively smooth return to delivering 787s during 2021.

Boeing EVP and CFO Greg Smith noted in a Jan. 12 press release, “As we continue navigating through the pandemic, we’re working closely with our global customers and monitoring the slow international traffic recovery to align supply with market demand across our widebody programs.”

Was this a hint of another rate adjustment? Only time will tell.

Embraer says it has MOU for turboprop

Embraer has a memorandum of understanding for its prospective new turboprop.

Illustrative concept of the Embraer E3 turboprop. Source: Embraer.

Goldman Sachs reported in a Jan. 12 research brief that, “Embraer is in the process of evaluating the business case for development of a new turboprop program. They expect a firm decision this year and could see a product delivered to market in five years. They already have the first MOU.”

The investment bank did not identify the identity or the region of the signatory. Embraer did not response to a question asking for details.

Embraer studied the “E3” since at least 2015. At this time, officials said the development cost was about the same as the E2 E-Jet. But the market potential was much smaller, just 2,100 over 20 years. Then, ATR and Bombardier split the market. (For purposes of this discussion, China and Russia are excluded.) Now, Bombardier exited the market. De Havilland Canada purchased the BBD Q400 program, but its backlog in January was just 19 aircraft.

214 Comments on “HOTR: Boeing could further cut 787 production rate—JP Morgan

  1. Other sources have stated that inspections and repairs to current 787s in stock will, should, take up until the end of the year to clear

    Are reports that repaired 787s have been delivered to airlines?

    BA has of course been less than communicative about timing and costs

    Given international travel nightmare, part two, in failure to co ordinate any testing strategy, and almost daily new discoveries of new mutant forms of the bug, some said to be poised to achieve (‘we do not know yet we are working on the data’) vaccine escape, there is no reason to suppose that international airtavel will restore to any extent this year, rather the opposite

    EK were said to be operating 5 flights a day London Dubai but are now to be obliged to desist as per famous UK mutant spreading in Dubai – it is said no testing régimes were applied

    Ditto rich Israeli tourist surge

    EK had to cease Aus service

    • Further CoViD-related complications for the airline industry:
      The “gold standard” PCR + IgM test strategy being used by the Chinese is great at keeping their borders safe, but can unfortunately produce false positives in travelers who have been recently vaccinated.

      This could be one reason for the relatively slow rollout of vaccines in China, i.e. that vaccination is interfering with the reliability of the test strategy. Evidently, the Chinese place greater faith in testing than in vaccination — that says a lot.

      • @Bryce

        The Repeated failure of various vaccine initiatives to gain any form of credence realworld application or administrative plausibility is reflected in the chaotic circumstances of their distribution haphazard application and uncertain effectiveness

        This has prevented the airtavel industry from focusing on any proposal likely to assist security and pax uptake

        Vague nostrums about the vaccination solution have allowed everyone to be lazy

        The emergence of mutants and the imminent prospect of vaccine escape is to the advantage of obliging governments and health ‘experts’, and airlines, to reflect rather more seriously about how to organise testing for airtravel

        The Chinese test test test ing may be the only relatively secure path

        • Unfortunate when you view the world as one aspect, you miss reality.

          Its a system. Vaccine has a huge part, testing has a major if not huge part and needs to continue.

          Add in the sky is falling (vaccine escape) – it might and it might not.

          Ignored is that the basic vaccine is now tested (several approaches) and it can be adjusted just like flu shot if need be.

          The end of the worlders have so far failed in their prophecy.

          The problem with prophecy is the sticky forecast part.

          • @ TW
            Every time a vaccine has to be adjusted to address a vaccine escape, then those who have been vaccinated with a previous vaccine version should ideally be re-vaccinated with the new vaccine version. The result is an endless series of overlapping vaccination iterations.
            p.s. The new Brazilian variant also appears to be a vaccine escape…so we now appear to have (at least) two.

        • The Guardian

          Researchers warn of another Covid spike if people mix after vaccine
          The vaccine offers the best protection 12 to 14 days after …

          Vaccinated people mistakenly believe they are “good to go” and socialise with other people despite a continuing threat of the coronavirus, the head of the government’s behavioural unit has said.

          Prof David Halpern, the chair of the Behavioural Insights Team, said on Tuesday that surveys showed that those who had received a jab were preparing to meet family and friends, which could result in another spike of the virus.

          “We definitely do worry that people feel that, the second they have got that vaccination, they are good to go,” he told MPs on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee.

          The vaccine offers the best protection 12 to 14 days after the second jab, and doctors are still unsure whether it will stop the recipient from passing on the virus.

          Halpern said research had shown that people were eager to meet friends and family and some were preparing to do so soon after receiving their vaccine.

          “People feel, as soon as they have got that vaccination: ‘Fantastic, I’m going to be able to go out’. You hear people on vox pops doing this.”

          Sage is urging ministers to begin a public awareness campaign to stress the need to follow restrictions after receiving the jab.

          Ministers have been warned by scientific advisers that the benefits of the vaccine programme could be “offset” by people becoming lax about Covid restrictions once they have had the vaccine, particularly in the early months of rollout.

        • Guardian: Single Covid vaccine dose in Israel ‘less effective than we thought’

          “In remarks reported by Army Radio, Nachman Ash said a single dose appeared “less effective than we had thought”, and also lower than Pfizer had suggested.

          By contrast, those who had received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine had a six- to 12-fold increase in antibodies, according to data released by Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer on Monday.”

          The UK “experimental” one-shot might not work as first thought!

          • “The UK “experimental” one-shot might not work as first thought!”

            certification, prove of performance is based on the “system” a timed dual jab application.

            Deviating from this imho nixes the approval.

          • Pfizer has not suggested anything.

            The Data suggest effective and you have to both parse it and get more data.

            My data says between 55% and 80% first shot.

            Follow up data shows long term immune response stays in memory in the T cells system.

            Its a system not one measurement.

            Testing was done for 2 shots and not focused on one. That data will come slower.

            There are only so many test subjects and people are backing out to get what shot there is now as well.

            If you expect perfection you are going to be sadly disappointed.

            That is not how science nor data works. If the program was focused on two shots then you can only see echos of one shot until you have tested for it and that is damned hard.

            Nor has Pfizer or Mederna been on board with one shot.

            It may be a judgment call by the authorities trying to deal with this and there is not a right or wrong but a horrible mess made worse by malfeasance of the previous total lack of management (US, I won’t speak for other countries).

    • On the subject of vaccine escape, latest (bad!) news regarding the SA variant:

      “Here we show that spike mutations in the 501Y.V2 lineage confer neutralization escape from multiple classes of SARS-CoV-2 directed monoclonal antibodies. Furthermore, we observe significantly increased
      neutralization resistance of 501Y.V2 to plasma from individuals previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, with implications for both rates of re-infection, and vaccine effectiveness”

      • I am just going to put this quote in from a medical expert.

        How about the variations on the coronavirus that are out there right now? This has a bearing on some very real-time data from Ravi Gupta’s lab at Cambridge. There’s a manuscript that’s on the way to MedrXiv, but this pre-preprint stuff can be found on Twitter here and here. They’re looking at antibodies from the blood of people who were vaccinated three weeks ago, and seeing how these perform against the B.1.1.7 variant. In short, they still have neutralizing activity, but it’s generally lower (at least, in ten of the fifteen patients studied). Now, this doesn’t mean that the vaccine is ineffective in those people – the antibodies still do their job. But it does mean that as mutations continue to pile up, that escape of such a new variant of the coronavirus is not impossible.

        “But. . .note that Gupta’s lab is (necessarily!) looking at the antibody profile of people who have been recently vaccinated. The paper I’m discussing today raises the strong possibility of continued B-cell and antibody evolution over a period of months, leading to a different set of antibodies that appears to be able to better deal with some of these mutations. It will be very interesting indeed to combine these two studies – clonal B cell changes and antibody evolution with activity against variants like B.1.1.7 – to see if this is indeed the case. It should be, but we’ll want to check!”

        Like an army with a battle won, you don’t let your guard down. But you also do not quake in fear.

        • @ TW
          B.1.1.7 is the UK variant…it doesn’t present a problem as regards vaccine escape.
          The link I posted relates to the 501.Y.V2 variant (SA Variant)…which certainly does pose a problem as regards vaccine escape.

          Looking the other way does not make problems disappear.

          • Scott/Bryce:

            No attempt to compare to the Q thing other than a comparison where if one aspect does not come true, morph to the next aspect.

            Nothing wrong with looking at possible issues but to say the sky is falling when there is no data for it is not the least bit helpful.

            So, yes, we know we have to look for changes, we have to test for effective, we don’t have to say its the end of times without data.

            I think commentators here for the most part are better than that.

            So yes I got my first shot and no I am not growing horns. As noted, I am putting my data to the best use I think it tells us to go right now.

            Could that change? Yes. I don’t see it, nothing suggests it.

          • @ TW
            Would you find out what the term “vaccine escape” means before making weird analogies?
            Nobody is suggesting that anyone is going to grow horns, and nobody has said that it’s the “end of days”. The link relates to vaccine effect (or, rather, lack thereof) against a specific virus variant which has a particularly worrisome mutation on its protein spike. Dr. Fauci expressed concerns about this very point in a televised address yesterday. Bjorn Fehrm inadvertently raised the same general issue in an article that he wrote here last summer. It’s not Q…it’s just scientific data relating to unpleasant (but not unexpected) behavior of coronaviruses, which happens to be very inconvenient from the viewpoint of normalizing society and aviation. We got off relatively lightly with the UK variant, but we’ve been given a hard slap in the face by the SA and Brazilian variants. Might as well get used to it — it will be a regular occurrence.

          • Bryce: Its not the core info, its the tone.

            Calmly say we may have a fire and its one thing.

            You are constantly looking for a negative for the Vaccine. Why I do not know. Partly at least its a sub set of , I survived so why worry?

            That is more valid than I have had no issues with the Vaccine. Its a data bit but only one out of millions , tens of millions needed. Even the fact that maybe 10 people I know got the same vaccine and doing fine? Nope, that is not remotely enough. Nice for us, but the safety and effectivacy has to be done on thousand, millions and hundreds of millions.

            I saw the stuff on the news last night and it was the same thing, all wind up speculation and not, ok, something we need to watch and keep an eye out for.

            We need to keep an eye on the heavens for meteors but we don’t have to tear our cloths off and run screamed running in the streets the world is at an end each time one is sighted.

          • I am going to take a risk and stir the Moderator Beats (Scott). But its relevant in data. Nothing we talk about is not Covd linked now.

            “What’s that antibody evolution look like, then? The good news is that the ones from the six-month check showed both increased potency and an increased range of responses AGAINST various protein mutations. That includes many of the ones that are in the news these days, things like R346S, Q493R, and E484K. (As an aside, did anyone ever imagine that amino acid variant notation would creep into major news stories? Strange days). But while the one-month antibody samples were unable to recognize these and bind to them, the six-month ones were.”

      • Latest news is that the current mRNA vaccines are effective against both UK and SA variants of COVID. Research of two teams from Rockefeller University and Pfizer, found similar results. Although there was reduction in effectiveness of some isolated antibodies, the variety of antibodies induced by the vaccines is sufficient to neutralize the virus.

        The researchers have said that tweaking the vaccines should be done as a precaution, and will allow the vaccine to track the virus more closely if there is further evolution. But the current vaccine is still effective.

        Interestingly, the Rockefeller study has found that the same mechanism that combats the variants, is also responsible for the longevity of protection. The antibodies evolve over time, just like the virus. So although the antibody count diminishes after recovery, those that continue to be produced become more effective. This, in combination with the memory T-cell response, is sufficient to provide lasting protection.

        That result is consistent with the extremely small numbers of reinfections noted thus far, around the world. Those cases are likely related to continued immune deficiencies within those individuals.

        • Rob:

          How can you be data driven on Vaccine and so oblivious to the same type of data on Boeing Miss-Managment ?

          Kind of like dark matter, huh!

          • He has also misread/misinterpreted the data in this particular case.
            The links listed make it clear that no data was gleaned on the E484 mutation — and that happens to be the nasty one that’s causing the concern in SA.
            Does that help answer your question?

          • No Bryce, that’s false. The Rockefeller study looked at the SA variant. Here is a list of mutations investigated:

            E484K, N501Y, K417N, Y453F, S477R, D614G, R683G, S477R, A475V.

            There will be more data published this week from Pfizer and other sources on the SA variant. So we should have a better idea then. But I would anticipate based on the Rockefeller results, there will not be significant vaccine escape, and whatever does occur, can be addressed by tweaking the mRNA vaccines.

    • “”Are reports that repaired 787s have been delivered to airlines?””

      There were 8 or 9 grounded and Smith only said that not all were repaired. Those airlines know for sure.
      Boeing knows the problem for nearly one year and they delivered 0 in May, 3 in June, 2 in July, 4 in August, 7 in September and 4 in October, but they might not have checked all 4 issues and not all fuselage sections.
      The shim issue is easy, just don’t use bigger shims, but it will make the gap wider, otherwise bigger shims were not used in the first place. The carbon barrel is very stiff and can’t be moved. A gap will increase the tension at other places over the limit. If there is a gap and rough surface they could glue it together but couldn’t open it anymore and they would need a new cert.
      This fuselage design is the same as the firm configuration from 2005, based on wishful thinking.

      • Bloomberg reports “inspection”/repair would be carried out at Everett once production ends.

        “With its inventory bulging with undelivered Dreamliners and costs mounting from “rework being done on the last 70 787s built, we would not be surprised by a forward loss on the 787,” analyst Myles Walton of UBS wrote in a Dec. 7 report, referring to a potential accounting charge.”

        • How is supplier compensation arranged?
          nn days after delivery/invoicing or
          do suppliers perchance only get money _after_ delivery of the frame to customers? ( with Boeing creative bookkeeping I would not be surprised if that were the case. )

  2. The advantage of an E3 sitting high above the ground and using the Embraer fuselage would be, it connects to regular gates at bigger airports and the luggage process would be identical most regionals/NB’s.

    It would strengthen Embraers traditional grip on the 100 seats segment. I wonder if there is a new engine in the 3000-5000 shp segment though. If so, ATR would probably put it an ATR72 and/or ATR-72 stretch too.

    I have now idea how bad the production issues are on the 787. But the demonstrated downplaying, half truths and unfounded optimism from this OE make me feel a bit uneasy.

    • Regular E1/E2 fuselage is out of the question. Its a double bubble with underfloor baggage hold. Thats will make it unnecessarily extra weight as the competition all uses single bubble. Wont be too much of a change to use the same diameter upper fuselage but a new lower lobe to make it circular. After all thats what Boeing did with its 707- 727-737-757 series, the lower lobe was changed for the 727-737 versions while the others used a different profile.

      Embraer might take on its risk sharing partners to finance the E3 TP, after most of their planes are built outside Brasil. Korea does most of the wings , so that could be a goer

      • The question is, is there any profit in this?

        If not, don’t go there.

        Look at the production number and tell me there is room for 3 or even 2!

        • Profit only really matters in the US and Canada. In Brazil and the EU as long as you provide good jobs, some innovation and national pride governments are more than happy to keep funding forever. Another example of the little to no profit model is the smaller Japanese automakers. Mitsubishi has been in the US for 50 years and has never made money here, and they still wont leave. Glad I am not and investor in low/no profit companies like Mitsubishi, Airbus and Embraer.

      • Umm – out in the frontier, more lower belly space is good, because supplies get to place of need quickly. The F-28 was limited for Transair, but useful for day-commuting runs into northern MB.
        Winnipeg for that reason, Transair also flew 737s including to the Yukon.

        Even where there are roads, air is faster – sitting at station stops in the interior BC, I’ve even seen automotive fenders in the belly load. Time is valuable.

        How big the frontier market is, I don’t know.

        (OTOH, for grins, I’ll tell of how Pacific Western Airlines got around the small cargo capacity of the twin Convair, the CV640. If you ever saw a semi-trailer truck rig on I-5 between SEA and YVR, emblazoned with ‘Pacific Western Airfreight’, that was indeed freight. To a bonded warehouse at YVR. (PW hired a local delivery company to run trucks.)

        There was much air freight potential on that route. (I don’t remember what AC flew on that route when they flew it back then, perhaps the Viscount. Later they flew a short Dash8 with cargo in the rear of the fuselage.

        And in ‘war stories’, there was the Saturday that a semi pulled up in front of PW’s hanger at YVR with a load of seats. Supervisor asked driver for customs paperwork.
        Oops, seems a customs agent at the border assumed the truck was ‘in bond’ headed for the warehouse. (I’m sure it got worked out reasonably, perhaps had to pay a custom’s agent overtime to handle it, so the driver and truck could keep rolling if he wanted to. (A weekend in Vancouver might be nice though, for a guy from Bantam CT. ;-))

  3. How can EMB finance a turboprop at this moment?
    I thought they wanted to merge with Boeing because they were financially so weak after the E2 did not sell as expected.
    And why a turboprop? I remember back when ATR suggested a stretch, 50% owner Airbus (then called EADS) voted against, citing that (a stretched) turboprop is the aircraft family with the lowest revenue potential to recuperate investments and they were already happy that ATR is no longer loss-making.
    And finally, of course I wonder how EMB can do this development at such a low cost. I would not be surprised if this project cost double in the end.
    My conclusion: either this is all staged to sell EMB to Airbus or Boeing or they will really go bankrupt within 2 years and get the turboprop financed by the Brazilian tax payer.

    • Keep the taller fuselage of the turbofan airplanes, replace turbofans with turbo props. (Hey, YS11J paper airplane. 🙂 A few airlines in Canada-US flew the YS11 turboprop, including Transair Winnipeg.

      Get financing from Japan, which has long had ties with Brazil, an acquaintance flew 747s from LA to South America for JAL. I suspect Japanese financed development of soybean growing in Brazil after idiots in the US government restricted exports – Orientals do like tofu. (IIRC to prop prices up, but when Brazilian production came on stream prices plummeted. Predictable but politicians don’t read history, don’t think, but do pander to dishonest voters.)

  4. There are widebody customers who cannot take delivery due lack of funds or they cannon do a sale/leaseback, like Norwegian for Boeing and Air AsiaX for Airbus, so either keep them in your books or repaint and sell/lease them to well funded leasing companies that have their own problems of Aircraft returns and no payments while the interest are piling up that risk a ch.11 at many Airlines to wipe debt out.

    • Are the issues just with the Carolina 787s, or do they extend to the ones made in Washington state? TIA

      • Looks like this is not dependent on FAL site but on where the segments were manufactured.
        and IMU it is not really a manufacturing defect but about a design tolerances mismatch ( my guess surface roughness/inegalities was defined against a perfect surface.
        Match two imperfect surfaces and your tolerance goes out of bounds.)

        Will this be fixed by “sawing through the virgin” magic ;-?

    • $100m a pop.
      wouldn’t scrapping the hulls be cheaper?
      ( $100m is in the domain of manufacturing cost, isn’t it?)

      • 1t of glue for every 787, so 1000t for all the 787 in service.
        Boeing might search for a glue factory.

      • Boeing doesn’t seem to be bothered by practical considerations like this.
        It just seems to like producing planes and then parking them, without looking at tedious things such as cost structure.

    • This is misinterpreted. What Harned talked about was loss of cash flow while the airplanes are down. Once delivered, this cash flow resumes. This isn’t the cost of repairs.

    • “will sap $7.5 billion from Boeing’s free cash flow for 2020 and 2021, Bernstein’s Douglas Harned said Monday as he cut the planemaker to the equivalent of “sell.” ”

      The free cash flow [edited] that brought Boeing where they are today.

      • American Bookkeeping seems to be the same kind of “alternate facts” stuff that permeats politics there.

        • Well, yes and no. You can look at it a couple of ways;

          Let’s say you make a product that is great. You have fantastic margins and demand is strong. But for whatever reasons, the people you sell to cannot pay you. You are strangled for cash. Doesn’t matter how good or profitable the widget is, if you can’t pay to keep the lights on, you can’t stay in business.

          The other side of the coin is the situation BA is in – all 3 product lines are NOT going to make a profit. Using fancy accounting, they kick the cost can down the road – all the while accumulating cashola to keep the bills paid. Eventually however, the chickens come home to roost; they are unable to meet their debt obligations and unable to raise more cash, so they reorganise (Cptr 11) and stick it to the debtors. Shareholders get wiped out and those with premium position debt (i.e. convertible bonds) become the new shareholders.


          Boeing raises enough capital to invest and launch a new aircraft, which sells well and offers good margins to offset the 737Max/787/777X losses.

          In 2018 they made $12 billion on sales of over $100 billion. Commercial was $8 billion of that. If defence/services can provide $4 billion a year in profit for a few years, it could help carry the company forward until BCA gets it’s act together.

          But they do have $60 billion in debt…

          • Both the 787 and 737 will make a profit in 2022 and are projected to for many years after that even with conservative assumptions. If you are talking about full program accounting don’t waste our time. Virtually all of the money was spent long ago to develop all Boeing aircraft (even the 777X) and all that matters now is cash flow. Which should be very comfortably positive in 2022.

  5. I remind everyone that this post is not about COVID. Stay on topic.


    • @ Scott
      I just posted 2 comments before seeing this message from you: sorry about that…it wasn’t intentional.
      I suspect that this thread started because of the following text in your article:

      “The COVID pandemic is out of control. International travel restrictions resumed in some countries. “

    • @Bryce

      Thanks for this China link – it must be true that each and every model plane is to be analysed, Boeing as Airbus

      China specialists say that China studies with great care the US model of production, of corporate behaviour and operations precisely in order to not to fall into the same in efficiences poor engineering and operational failures

      Boeing does have some use, after all : as a textbook example of how not to

        • Not everybody gets foreign IP on a platter ( war spoils from Gerrmany, or as “compensation” from the BE)

          Later aided by a global deep snooping effort covering all information path.
          I still think it is rather rich that the nation being longtime deepest into spying/snooping is attacking others for less.

          • @Uwe

            Quite right : the US got the tech plus the way to work the tech, administrative organisation, and in the famous case of rocketman, the personnel, for free, or if you prefer -to the victor the spoils

            The Chinese figured out how to organise, set up and finance large scale industrial projects, plus they have the constant reminder how not to do it what mistakes must not be made

            Whether they’ll buy the tech or re invent it for themselves will play out fairly soon, either way BA will be or is already the loser

          • @Gerrard

            I thing to note:
            I see a difference between “gifted inventions” and “invented on your own”.
            IP in US understanding is a tangible good. You can buy it, sell it, lose it, destroy it. it is limited. the creator seems “out of process”.
            For real inventors it is a fount that continues to give.

          • Lets see, you start WWII and IP is being violated, Oh the Humanity!

            Wow, now that is a bizarre world view.

    • One pipe dream in early development of the 787 was that it would enter service in time for the Olympic games in Communist China. (8 being a lucky number in China, IIRC.)

  6. How do you go about repairing these bad joins? Sounds like it’s very difficult and expensive

    • Depends on the issue with the join. If the join has gaps due to tolerances, but otherwise the integrity of the join across the surfaces is good, the gaps can be shimmed and filled.

      If the integrity of the join across the surfaces is the issue, for example due to surface roughness, then you break the join and rejoin correctly with the original methods. That requires disassembly of aircraft components around the join.

      If the issue is overstress or misalignment during assembly, as in the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, those can be removed from the aircraft, dissembled and reassembled with the correct methods, then reinstalled.

      This has been done on the 8 aircraft that were grounded, so the path is clear, just takes time for the number of aircraft that are affected. As far as cost, we know that the repair on the burned Ethiopian 787 was cost effective, and that required a new aft section to be custom-built, then cut to produce a patch for the damaged section, which was then integrated with the existing fuselage.

      • “As far as cost, we know that the repair on the burned Ethiopian 787 was cost effective”

        ? Let’s not create truths we know nothing about but suit us. This really depends on insurances, liabilities, PR. Maybe writing off a new 787 because of another battery fire was just unacceptable. Repair cost was just a part of the total trade off.

        The 7.5B is about “free cash flow” in the coming years, it doesn’t have anything to do with 787 repair costs. Free cash flow was used to buy back stock and spread the perception the company was doing well overall, boosting shares & executive bonuses. In my opinion draining the company of reserves over the years.

      • The ET repair was superficially “cost effective” in that it was cheaper for the insurer than a write off.
        Rather new plane. the bar is high 🙂

        Next we don’t know about about what Boeing calculated.
        Pressure was high to prove repairability.

        Summ it up and you don’t know anything relevant about the ET repair.

        • No, actually the statements at the time were that using the patch method was more cost effective than replacing the entire section. Which is turn was more cost effective than a write-off. So multiple solutions available and the best was to repair and return the aircraft to service. As is also true now.

    • @ Grubbie
      The Herald link posted by Gerrard White above says:

      “The inspections require opening up the airplane by disassembling the interior, floor, ceiling, etc.”

      Stripping the interior to get at the inside of the fuselage skin does not sound like a walk in the park!

        • Because Boeing seems to just love producing planes and then holding on to them for months/years until they’re actually delivered 😉 It’s that way with the 777X also (production continuing, despite no certification), and it was/is that way with the MAX.
          Moreover, stopping production would (further) sour relations with suppliers. And it might prompt negative vibes from Wall Street.

        • wagging the dog.

          stopping would be like engulfing the tail with the dog :-))

          they’ll probably borrow money to buy back more shares before that happens ( production stop.)

        • It’s the “American” way I heard.

          USAF’s JSF:
          Lockheed produced and delivered hundreds before design is “finalised”. Lockheed would go back and upgrade the jets years later. That’s how the smart guys are able to fleeced customers twice from selling one jet. Win, WIN!!

          “Today, 20 years after the F-35 program launched and with 500 airplanes delivered, an outside observer would be forgiven for thinking the F-35 was already in full production. But that’s not exactly true: the aircraft is actually in low-rate initial production (LRIP).

          Under a system known as concurrency, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. military agreed to order smaller batches of jets while still finalizing the design. Once the F-35 is considered “done,” the company will—ideally—go back and upgrade all of the older jets to the new standard. The idea was to get planes into the hands of pilots as early as possible.

          Ford’s F-150 pickup:

          “In addition to thousands of early production 2021 Ford F-150 pickups being stockpiled in parking lots around Detroit Metro Airport for a quality review, a steady stream of the new vehicles is being delivered to a site near the Flat Rock Assembly Plant for installation of seat belts and to fix other issues, the Free Press has learned.”

          • Concurrent production is a proven disaster and they did it anyway on F-35, Ford Class carriers and the so called Littoral Combat Ships (though their capability is about equal to a single shot rifle)

            We may be doomed.

            I think Loyd Austin is the wrong person to lead the DOD. No background in dealing with that procurement mess. That is the Sec Defense biggest job.

          • You guys do not have a grounding in production.

            If you stop it cold, then there is a pile up train wreck in the supply system.

            Its a judgment call as to what is worse.

            Best of course is not to let that happen. Pathetic that Boeing MO is to let it happen over and over and over again.

            As noted, we do it right because we do it twice (or 3 x or 4 x)

  7. As noted above and as previously reported by Dhierin Bechai it appears that there is now a forward loss on this program, and that sales, as with the Max white tails and perhaps more, can only be made at a loss

    Even so, as far as I understand, such calculations do not include any calculations as to the cost of repairs, nor any estimate of compensation due to airlines

    As late as Q3 2020 BA were bullish, in public, about 787 sales and prospects – the turnaround is abrupt, and it is hard to believe they had no idea there were such problems at hand (although….)

    This is an exact reproduction of the Muilenberg Max mantra, suggests BA has learned nothing and will never learn nothing

    Even old party faithfuls such as Bernstein have cut to sell

    As usual it is not the theft, it is the cover up

    • Indeed.
      Here’s more on the Bernstein downgrade:

      “It appears non-conformities related to the fuselage are more extensive than originally thought. Delivery delays continue to stretch out.”

      “Boeing has acknowledged that almost *900 aircraft* are affected by the defects but says there is no immediate safety of flight issue.”

      “In December, The Seattle Times reported Boeing had found the manufacturing defect extended beyond the aft section of the fuselage to the forward section of the plane.”

      • “Boeing has acknowledged that almost *900 aircraft* are affected by the defects but says there is no immediate safety of flight issue.”

        992 produced overall.
        do they talk about 900 in use PLUS the undelivered frames?

        That then is the full production run of the Dreamliner till today.
        What forced Boeing to officially acknowledge a long standing problem? (if you don’t look you can’t find anything? )

        • @ Uwe
          “What forced Boeing to officially acknowledge a long standing problem?”
          It might have something to do with Boeing’s duty of candor and good faith in SEC filings, and/or it could be as a result of pressure from the FAA to come clean…who knows?
          One way or another, it’s an absolute disaster.

          • Gerald:

            While we disagree on a great deal, Boeing not learning anything is spot on.

            I am not sure they could not make it worse if they were trying to.

            The Gang That Could Not Shoot Straight (US comedy) which is all sadly too true.

          • @TW

            I’m glad to agree – BA are doing it on purpose, it’s called pump and dump, this is the way a select few make more money out of the company’s death than out of it’s good health

            Let’s not forget all those who died or who lost their jobs

          • Gerald:

            Not something I ever forget or can forget. My dad died as a result of a drive system that was assembled wrong.

            I have been out of work and on the edge of totally down and homeless more than once. Reduced to salvaging parts off abandoned cars and selling them through a free advertising channel we had at the time.

      • Whoops!
        “In December. The Seattle Times reported Boeing had found the manufacturing defect extended beyond the aft section of the fuselage to the forward section of the plane.

        The newspaper speculated that there was a problem with robotic equipment used to spin the composite fuselages …”

        900 aircraft affected? Better late than never??

    • I would like to know what is really the problem. All we hear is minimum deviations, fractions of mm’s, feeding the perception it’s a minor issue.

      But Boeing recent experiences learn that while the specifics mentioned might be correct, it’s more what is not mentioned, communicated that you have to worry about. Small, overseeable issues used as decoys, distracting.

      • Reminds me back in 2019, there was report that “a door” was blown off the 777X during ground test.

        According to news report:
        In a written statement to KOMO Newsradio, a Boeing spokesman said “…during ultimate load testing on the 777X static test airplane, an event occurred that forced the test team to halt testing. Safety is the highest priority at Boeing. The test team followed all safety protocols and there were no reported injuries. The team is currently working to understand what happened and ensure the area is safe for work to continue. The ultimate load test is the latest in a series of tests that Boeing has been conducting on this full-scale test airplane over the past several months.”

        It took over two months for fact to come out, the fuselage actually split during the test and the test plane was a complete write-off.

        Drip, drip, drip ….

      • Each square inch of the carbon skin is carrying load. At the joint the load needs to be carried to the other barrel, otherwise the fuselage could not keep the round shape. If the gap in the joint is too big the load can’t be carried and other parts of the skin have to carry more load. In design calculations a maximum load per square inch was chosen and the results are better if the gap in the joint is small.
        So now the 787 in service face higher loads per square inch than calculated. Next Boeing might check the windows since the 787 has the biggest windows.

    • The KC46 (to which the extra DoD order pertains) is beset with FOD problems.
      So this is another order that won’t necessarily translate into an actual profit.

    • This would kill one current subsidy path for Boeing Civil ( excessively expensive mil contracts.)

      • This was just the expected continuation of the original KC-46 contract. as I pointed out in the LNA piece on Calhoun. Now it has been expanded to cover some overseas orders.

        The KC-46 now has wings deployed at bases around the US, and has been deployed in temporary rotations overseas. More than 40 in service currently, not including training aircraft provided by Boeing.

        No FOD problems currently. With this order, Japan and Israel now have tankers in the production cue.

      • The contract is for delivery of new aircraft. The fleet has an expected life of at least 50 years, with continuous upgrades and support during that time. It will be a very profitable program in the long run.

        The AF procurement general testified before Congress that the KC-46 contract was overly restrictive, and they would not let such a contract again. It left them too dependent on Boeing’s willingness to absorb development cost overruns. It sets up an adversarial relationship where cooperation is needed.

        So they are learning and adjusting their future contract terms. They want to take advantage of fixed cost, but also want to be able to change parameters after the contract is let. That is the main advantage to them of cost-plus. So they will do a hybrid of fixed cost and cost-plus in future.

        The KC-Y competition will be the test case for that approach. No matter who wins, they will benefit from the change in terms.

  8. KLM update (9 787-10s still or order; replacement for 49 737 NGs being mulled)

    KLM stopped all longhaul flights yesterday, and some shorthaul also. Reason is the new Dutch government requirement that all air passengers *and crew* entering NL (even if only transiting) must undergo a CoViD rapid test just prior to boarding (*in addition* to having a negative PCR test result no more than 72 hours old). KLM fears that crew members may test positive, forcing them to stay abroad and saddling KLM with staffing issues, possible flight cancellations and extra costs.
    In addition, there is now a total ban on all flights from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and the whole of South America.
    Needless to say, KLM is already talking about more state aid. Once again, there’s chatter about bankruptcy/nationalization.

    As regards replacements for its existing 737NG fleet (49 frames), AF is pressuring KLM to order from Airbus. KL has been traditionally Boeing-heavy. More cracks in the marriage.

  9. Analyst Dhierin Bechai, today

    « The trend in per unit decreases over the past quarters would suggest that Boeing could reduce its deferred balance on the Boeing 787 program by as much as $505 million, though uncertainty about the program’s profit generation have never been higher, and as we pointed out in a previous report, Boeing has been inching closer and closer to a reach-forward loss. If that indeed is something that’s in the play for Q4 2020 results then instead of posting deferred production reductions Boeing will be recognizing a charge in the amount of the costs exceeding the revenues, though production could still be profitable.

    Boeing’s task of zeroing the deferred production balance which normally should happen around 2023 is flying into trouble, just like most of Boeing’s current commercial airplanes programs. So, what Boeing announces with regard to the burn off is extremely important for the financial trajectory of the Boeing 787, and while I have generally been more positive than many analysts on the Boeing 787 deferred production balance burn off and also have been able to make more accurate estimates, at this point I can only admit that I’m somewhat pessimistic on the financial prospects of the program. Cash will continue to come in, but it will likely be at reduced rates and at reduced profit potential. For what it’s worth, if you want to look for a positive that positive would be that it took a geopolitical tension and an unprecedented downfall in demand for air travel to bring the Dreamliner to its knees, though currently the program is mostly plagued by what seems to be manufacturing issues.

    For now, Boeing could still be reducing the deferred production balance, but if there will be significant additional cost growth on the program, a reach-forward loss cannot be avoided. »

    • So far all Boeing programs are reach forward losses.

      It takes some real skill to do that.

      At this point you need to list the few that are not messed up and even things like the highly successful AH-64 is having issues that it should not.

      Boeing management could hose up a rock.

      • Best to check what a financial term carry forward loss actually means

        “Carry forward
        “In accounting, a way for a company to reduce its tax liability by applying losses to future tax years in which the company makes a profit. That is, carryforward allows companies to apply losses to profits that have not yet occurred and thereby reduce the taxes they pay on those profits. Carryforward is limited to seven years. For example, suppose a company loses $500,000 in year one, then nets $1,000,000 in year five. The company may carry forward the losses and only be liable for taxes on $500,000 of its profit in year five.” -Financial Dictionary
        It just seems to be a book keeping transaction for tax reasons, not the dire situation some think

        • @DoU

          I think that the form of accounting as used by Boeing is somewhat different from the description you give

          It is called Program Accounting : This is specific to industrial projects, such as the 787, and is not, for example, limited in time

          Here is a description from an expert, Dhierin Bechai

          “Program accounting

          Boeing uses program accounting for its commercial aircraft programs instead of unit cost accounting. To understand what the deferred costs are, it’s important to know how program accounting works. On programs where initial production costs are high, such as aircraft programs, it does make sense to amortize costs over a wider number of productions than just on the few initial productions. In other words, costs are spread out over an accounting block, and are not only the costs that are spread out but also the revenues. For the Boeing 787 program, the accounting block currently stands at 1,500 units as Boeing reduced the accounting quantity in the previous quarter.

          Boeing says that the units in the accounting block are units of which it can credibly estimate costs and revenues, but should not be considered an indication for a breakeven point. Unless the company has set an average program margin of 0% – which it has not – a zero deferred balance indeed is no indication of a breakeven point and should not be considered as such. Currently, however, the margins are close to breakeven.

          Analysts pay close attention to the deferred balance and so should investors. The reason is that it’s likely Boeing needs to recognize a charge if it has not zeroed out the deferred costs by the 1,500th delivery (the number of units in the accounting quantity) or announce a (demand driven) block extension.

          Simultaneously, one should be aware of the fact that if Boeing zeroes out its deferred balance by the 1,500th delivery, it actually will have realized the profits that it estimated for the accounting block and the profits it has been reporting for the program valid after all. Even if Boeing does not zero out the balance by the last delivery and has to recognize a charge, it can still have booked a profit if the recognized charge is lower than the realized program profit.

          The assumption for costs and revenues means that Boeing assumes an average profit figure for each of the aircraft it currently delivers. If the actual profit figure is lower than the assumed profit, the deferred balance rises. If the profit is higher than the assumed profit, the deferred balance declines. So, the deferred balance tells you how profitable or unprofitable the program has been to date vs. the assumed program profits.”

          The situation with the 787 is indeed dire, Mr Bechai gives the deferred loss ‘overhang’ as over $17B : his reports are always extremely cautious and moderate

          Boeing’s miscalculations and mis assumptions about sales, prices and margins are in fact deadly

          This is not the first time BA have run into trouble with regards to manipulating this accounting system

          • The issue with program accounting is that it is (one level more of) fudged accounting.
            What program accounting really presents is not “accounting” but a long time analysis/projection presentation.

          • @Uwe

            I’m not sure I know enough to argue the point, besides I agree with you

            It is said to be useful in large scale industrial projects, yet apparently BA is the only large company in the US to use this method

            This resulted is multiple Boeing scandals before the current brewing scandal, in 2002 and 2016 : third time lucky !, well if one excludes SEC investigation into Max accounting 2019, lost amidst the vast number of Max problems, and if one also excludes the class action suit…..and so on endlessly

            Obama let BA off the hook in 2016

            « Even at Boeing there have been discussions about eliminating program accounting, a company spokesman told The New York Times in 1998. Boeing has stuck with it, even after it paid $92.5 million in 2002 to settle a securities fraud suit related to its accounting of costs. Boeing denied wrongdoing in the case. »

            « Boeing is one of the few companies that uses a technique called program accounting. Rather than booking the huge costs of building the advanced 787 or other aircraft as it pays the bills, Boeing—with the blessing of its auditors and regulators and in line with accounting rules—defers those costs, spreading them out over the number of planes it expects to sell years into the future. That allows the company to include anticipated future profits in its current earnings. The idea is to give investors a read on the health of the company’s long-term investments. »


          • @Gerrard

            IMU only US GAAP allows this type of accounting.

            IFRS not ( US was involved in that framework and worked towards/supported banning it. In a rather typical fashion they did not change over/integrate IFRS. Seems to be one of these “table leveling ops” that the US system is so fond of.)

          • @Uwe: It’s no different from Wall Street banks opaque “level three” asset valuation before the GFC (or Enron’s accounting). Assets booked at valuation based on bank’s internal financial modeling, it WORKS like MAGIC!!!

        • Duke:

          Its no different than a Pyramid scheme no matter how much spin is put on it.

          What It IS About is NOT What It is About.

  10. Off-topic, but newsworthy:
    ST: “Boeing jet’s throttle becomes focus in Indonesia Sriwijaya Air crash probe”

    “The auto-throttle was producing more thrust in one of the Boeing 737-500’s two engines than the other shortly before the plane carrying 62 people crashed into the Java Sea, said the person, who is not authorised to discuss the matter publicly. The device had been having problems on previous flights, the person said.”

    • Just to clarify, right now this information is speculation. It’s been questioned by experts, as a cause of the crash, since asymmetric thrust is a common training scenario, and is easily handled by pilots. But it could be a contributing factor.

      It’s thought to be driven by similar speculation that the aircraft had suffered auto-throttle problems since being restored to service. Neither claim has been confirmed by the KNKT, although they have the complete flight data and maintenance records. Other rumors concern whether the aircraft had received a mandatory auto-throttle upgrade in 2001.

      Some experts have pointed out that knowledge of an auto-throttle problem would be quickly conveyed worldwide, as a potential safety issue, since many of these aircraft are still in service. That has not happened as of yet. Nor has there been more than a general inspection of the fleet ordered by KNKT.

      The truth is that we don’t know, and the continued focus on finding the CVR, in the presence of the full flight and maintenance data, implies that will be essential in understanding what actually happened.

      Boeing is involved in the investigation, as is GE and the NTSB. So there is both expertise & data available to the investigators. We just have wait and see what is determined.

      • One world think United would have done all maintenance and upgrades to the plane when they owned it. The article also mentioned training concerns. But the economy was slow then.

    • Yes, Rob, we know it’s speculation.
      Speculation is a completely normal, daily activity for experts in all sorts of fields: it’s how they come up with possible explanations for events.
      Every time a US plane goes down, NTSB staff engage in speculation until such time as they narrow down options.
      Except for you, nobody here is allergic to speculation.

      • NTSB waits to establish truth before making public comments, so they do not speculate publicly. Or if they do, they make it clear, it’s because they lack the facts to do otherwise. NTSB would not speculate on this, nor condone speculation.

        Your implication here was clear, as it is for all your statements. I was just pointing out the usual lack of factual basis.

        • Your intellectual convolutions are tiring.
          Again: this here is not a debate club competition but a discussion where participants expect synergistic productivity.

          This here is a public forum discussing select topics.
          Discussion is speculation driven. Otherwise it would be a one way news channel 🙂
          public visibility make speculation here public. So What.

          • @Uwe

            Exactly, it’s either WS or the Wall of Truth, eitherway it’s the same old

          • @Uwe


            To elevate a selection of facts, all facts noticed as such are but a perception, to the status of the Holy Grail is to impose idealism in order to foster control, impose authority, and censor debate

            An accident investigator’s report is not the truth, nor does it establish ‘the truth’; it is a finding presented, it can be hoped and desired, with a certain authority derived from a credible presentation of the diligent and objective study of the available facts

            The report, in turn, may be discussed and dissected, amalgamated with other reports or evidence, and form the basis for opinion and action

            A report is not a dead end which prohibits discussion, thought and speculation, quite the contrary

        • Reading skills, Rob!
          The information in the link is not an official statement by the Indonesian authorities…it’s a leak from a person “not authorised to discuss the matter publicly”. It’s based on data gleaned from the FDR, and it’s showing us the route that the investigation is taking in the investigators’ minds. The Reuters link below has more detail.

          • Bryce, please see my response below for the actual KNKT statement, which differs from your presented speculation.

            Uwe, speculation may be justified when facts are not available. In this case, a factual basis was available. Speculation in the presence of facts is not truth, it’s misrepresentation.

            People who are trying to establish truth, welcome facts and factual discussion. People who aren’t, resent them, and attack those who present them.

            Here we have a small group from overseas, who are bent on pushing their agenda against the US and Boeing, and object to any interference. But reality interferes, unfortunately, whether we like it or not. We’ve seen many examples of that here, and will see more as time goes on.

          • @Bryce

            Even to read is to think and to form thought, rather than to lap up a dulled obedience to content order –otherwise it is Follow my Leader

            To discuss as here is necessary

      • Reuters:
        Indonesia’s air accident investigator is probing whether a problem with the autothrottle system, that controls engine power automatically, contributed to the Sriwijaya Air crash on January 9 that killed all 62 people on-board.

        Drip, drip, drip ….

        Leaks also come from NTSB, airframers, to name a few.

        Intelligence is also a form of informed speculation, no one would wait for official confirmation from adversaries.

        Nothing is official, in the eyes of Corp. spinners without their input.

        • From Bloomberg: another case of BA’s lack of consideration of human factors in their engineering/safety design framework

          -> Issues involving the autothrottle on the 737 have led to incidents in the past and a similar malfunction on another aircraft model was a cause of a fatal crash in 1995 in Romania.

          -> Boeing had years earlier issued instructions for how pilots should correct the problem — known as a procedure — but multiple incidents continued to occur in which crews failed to recognize what was happening soon enough and FAA said more specific repairs were needed.

          “This procedure does not take into account human factors that may result in the flightcrew failing to recognize an abnormality that develops over an extended period of time, resulting in an excessive bank angle for the airplane,” the FAA said in the 2001 notice to pilots.

          • Thanks Pedro,

            must have been a memory item.
            I mean a memory item for the FAA but was then forgotten.
            Could this happen on a MAX too?
            Pax should know by now that the FAA is useless and avoid Boeing.
            Will the Biden team touch this? Of course they should, but I doubt they will.
            China might be the first again to ground the 737 Classic and if need be the NG too. That would definitely send a message.

        • I remind people it is still early in the investigation. One has to be good at assessing solidity of information, knowing the airplane and aviation helps.

          Operators of the particular models and equipment will be keen to hear areas of suspicion or at least facts to decide how concerned to be.

          Back in my day Boeing was good at phrasing brief reports so that we could read between the lines and/or assess context.

          A simplistic example is that if a crash occurred on approach in poor weather in a remote area we wouldn’t get concerned.

          OTOH, when a 737 lost all electrical power – ALL – over Europe one night we were concerned, having had a CV640 lose everything one dark night.

          Fortunately the cause of that 737 incident was quickly established, so Boeing recommended pilots check certain equipment before first flight of day.

          (737 cause was system monitoring too sensitive so that when one generator went offline the other couldn’t handle the remaining load so voltage sagged due to one bad diode in it, then automatic battery cutin didn’t, and APUs were not easy starters when cold soaked. Checking battery cutin was easy.

          Cause of CV640 power loss was a loose screw shorting out something in overhead panel. Crew took a heading on the whiskey compass that would take them back to the coast biased away from the mountains, hoping Whidbey Island NAS would scramble an fighter and guide them somewhere safe. Fortunately before long prop vibration worked the screw loose from the shorting position.
          After that we spent on an emergency power system with small AC inverter and separate wiring to the batteries in wing root.

    • More on the Indonesian 737-500 autothrottle issue, this time from Reuters:

      “There was a report of malfunction on the autothrottle a couple of days before to the technician in the maintenance log, but we do not know what kind of problem,”

      “Citing sources close to the investigation, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Thursday reported the FDR data showed the autothrottle system was not operating properly on one of the plane’s engines as it climbed on departure from Jakarta.
      Instead of shutting off the system, the FDR indicated the pilots tried to get the stuck throttle to function, the WSJ said. That could create significant differences in power between engines, making the jet harder to control.”

      • Statement from KNKT investigator Nurcayho Utomo:

        “There was a report of malfunction on the auto-throttle a couple of days before to the technician in the maintenance log, but we do not know what kind of problem,” Utomo told Reuters. “If we find the CVR (cockpit voice recorder) we can hear the discussion between the pilots, what they talked about and we will know what is the problem.”

        It remains unclear whether a problem with the auto-throttle system contributed to the crash, Utomo said, adding he could not recall any other issues raised in the maintenance log.

        So we come back to the focus on finding the CVR, as I indicated, to know what actually happened.

      • Back in 2019, the Lion Air Max crash had links back to America.

        Bloomberg: Faulty 737 Sensor in Lion Air Crash Linked to U.S. Repairer

        -> A faulty sensor on a Lion Air 737 Max that’s been linked to the jetliner’s deadly crash last October and a harrowing ride the previous day was repaired in a U.S. aircraft maintenance facility before the tragedy, according to investigative documents.

        Seattle Times: FAA shuts down Florida repair firm that supplied faulty Lion Air

        FG: FAA pulls licence of shop that repaired crashed 737 Max’s

        From Fortune:
        Boeing mocked Lion Air for requesting extra 737 Max pilot training year before crash

        Indonesia’s Lion Air considered putting its pilots through simulator training before flying the Boeing Co. 737 Max but abandoned the idea after the planemaker convinced them in 2017 it was unnecessary, according to people familiar with the matter and internal company communications. […]

        “Now friggin Lion Air might need a sim to fly the MAX, and maybe because of their own stupidity. I’m scrambling trying to figure out how to unscrew this now! idiots,” one Boeing employee wrote in June 2017 text messages obtained by the company and released by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

        Boeing employees had expressed alarm among themselves over the possibility that one of the company’s largest customers might require its pilots to undergo *costly simulator training* before flying the new 737 model, according to internal messages that have been released to the media. Those messages, included in the more than 100 pages of internal Boeing communications that the company provided to lawmakers and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and released widely on Thursday, had Lion Air’s name redacted.

        But the House committee provided excerpts of those messages to Bloomberg News that un-redacted the Indonesian carrier’s name.

        It begs to ask: What if …. what if ….

        • Cited Boeing employee was Mark Forkner, also the person responsible for fraud charges against Boeing, also recanted these words through his lawyer, also refused to cooperate with the DoJ investigation.

          The failed sensor was under warranty, Boeing would have overnighted a new sensor at no cost. Lion Air chose to use an older refurbished NG part from their inventory instead, then failed to test it on installation as is required, then falsified the records to show they had, then provided false evidence to the investigators after the accident.

          Pilot on previous flight also failed to document the trim problem in his flight log, or report it properly to maintenance. Maintenance cleared the error messages from the flight computer without determining the cause, as they had numerous times over the last 30 days. Accident aircraft was not airworthy when it took off.

          More than one link in the accident chain.

          Indeed, what if…. what if …

          • Many maintenance mistakes can be made, but Boeing never counted the maint mistakes which happened in the past when proving that a single sensor is safe, only something 21 cases in 20 years.

            FAA closed the Florida shop, they should have closed Boeing too.

          • Not maintenance mistakes, willful falsification and lying to investigators. But at least you are honest about one thing, your true agenda here, which is the demise of Boeing.

          • “.. your true agenda here, which is the demise of Boeing.”

            misattribution. more like:
            correction of a massively broken system( and not limited to B but also touching on USA.system stuff.

            This obviously clashes with your Boeing Uber Alles Dogma and resultant rhetoric activities.

          • I wonder why Forkner is so eager to remove any possibility of sim training for the MAX? Was he under pressure from managers? Why those managers pressured him?? Why Corp. Boeing withheld the emails for months from FAA investigators??

            It’s easy to throw the little guy off the bus. What I see is a culture of lies, misleads and deceits alive and well.

            Food for thought.

          • “”I wonder why Forkner is so eager to remove any possibility of sim training for the MAX?””


            Forkner only wrote to FAA that the 0.6 deg MCAS doesn’t need to be mentioned. He never wrote that about the 2.5 deg MCAS version.
            It’s the FAA’s job to check if documents are complete, but since the FAA blamed Boeing for not mentioning MCAS in the manual, Boeing never had a certification not to mention MCAS in the manual.

            I wouldn’t wonder if Forkner’s emails are a staged cover up since the DoJ picked up on it.
            Forkner didn’t really make a mistake. He didn’t certified his suggestion to the 0.6 deg MCAS version and the 0.6 deg MCAS was an old evolution of MCAS anyway. Boeing used a 4-times more agressive 2.5 deg MCAS.
            So if Forkner didn’t certified the part of the manual, how could he made a mistake. Besides that, as we know now, the MAX simulator used faked software, the basis of Forkner’s work.
            DoJ = kindergarten. I wonder at which time in the morning they start drinking alcoholics.

        • at the time simulator hours would have brought nothing to the equation: Simulators did not reflect MCAS behaviour.
          ( other changes probably neither.?)

      • Usual good quality control. Gang That Could Not Program Straight.

        Throttle part could catch some, not sure you hand would not be on it as well but a stupid happening.

        Having the flight computers quit equally distraction at best and bizarre as yes you have backup but the rapid shifts into failure wold not be routine.

        Looking at AF447, loss of Pitot should have been routine sure as hell was not handled that way.

      • Dickson might have copied a Boeing bulletin only, instead of asking for an independent audit of the update.
        Same as it ever was.
        Last time a MAX crashed after such lazy FAA performance.
        The new law is asking for experienced FAA staff. Dickson is completely opposite of that.

    • Does this mean we are halfway towards another grounding of recently updated aircraft?

    • @Pedro

      This is an interesting post – in order to provide positive balance it would be useful to parallel Airbus modus operandum, engineering, deliveries, margins, cash flow etc with Boeing’s

      It gets wearisome and boring to list the rolling increasing numbers of Boeing’s failures, misinformations, and problems without end, to deal with a form of corrupt corporate PR instead of with a genuine manufacturing enterprise

      The fact that Airbus has operated a different approach, and one that is successful, apparently, will give some depth to a discussion of how best to avoid BA

      For example: the CAI between EU and China must involve aviation, the Airbus factory in China is said to be booming with orders & deliveries, and some informed discussion of the detail would be useful

      Airbus have standardised a sale and leaseback model which appears successful – more detail on this also useful

      To display the distinction between a well run business and one which is, with all intent, with all malicious intent, run into the ground

    • @ Pedro
      Boeing cronies like to try to pin Boeing’s weak sales/deliveries on the current CoViD malaise. This is, of course, a smokescreen: Airbus managed to deliver 560 aircraft last year, despite CoViD. Boeing’s underperformance is mostly due to the fact that it has lost the ability to design and manufacture quality products; CoViD only plays a minor role.

      This article from 2019 has comments/quotes from Scott Hamilton, including the following:
      “Boeing Commercial Airplanes clearly has a systematic problem in designing , producing and delivery airplanes.”

      • @Bryce @Pedro

        In the same vein as your post, and Pedro’s, concerning Airbus, here’s a snippet from the Asia Times on the WS beginning in Beijing strategies for countering, one might say de listing, trade war and real war between the US and China

        Team Biden is promising to continue aggressive anti China policies, Yellen and Bilken, reproducing the same tired old language always used when girding loins

        Nonetheless WS can ooze around the edges of any warzone, and within the US rattle a few tinhats to remind everyone who pays their bills and their campaigns

        And point out that charity begins at home, the US is going to need all the money they can raise to save/re invest their own economy, none to spare to try and sink a larger more robust economy, which is as Airbus is unto Boeing, China needs US to avoid the monopoly trap

        • Yes, it nice to be far far away from China is it not?

          Living in Honk Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang (Uighurs for those who do not follow concentration camp news very closely)

          Oh, did I mention claiming an entire OCEAN? (well Sea)

          Japan found out what happens when you wake the sleeping tiger. Otherwise we like to doodle along in our oblivious world (not that others are not the same)

          Of course others sleep at night because we no longer doodle even if we are not spot on in being full up.

          Equally funny ow many times we have had to bail Europe out while they slept the sleep of the righteous.

          The problem of course is we are not altruistic, it spreads into our neighborhood and its better to take a fire extinguisher and get the blase when its small than have a 6 alarm fire and WWIII.

          Those who fail to remember their history are doomed to repeat it (and then inflict it on the rest of us)

          • @ TW
            Let’s re-cap:
            – Systematic oppression of large ethnic/religious group.
            – Ludicrous claims to large extra-territorial areas, based on old texts.
            – Actual annexations of extra-territorial regions, unpunished by international community.
            – Oppressive administration of a city that once enjoyed autonomy.

            You’re talking about Israel…right?
            Big buddy and ally of the US! Staunchly defended by automatic US vetos every time an unpalatable motion is tabled at the UN Security Council!

            The problem with giving/tolerating bad examples is that they create a precedent that others then follow.

          • “Let’s re-cap:
            – Systematic oppression of large ethnic/religious group.”


            quite a bit different than you think.

            But things are “modulated” when certain groups start to do the US bidding with support from same.
            ( Traitor Alley, the US gets pretty hysteric when Russian influence is just alleged though never proven. so why feel surprised in the reverse case. )

  11. Reuters: regarding (changes to) Airbus production rates:

    “Output of the single-aisle A320 jet family will increase from 40 a month to 43 in the third quarter and 45 in the last three months of 2021, Airbus said on Thursday, scaling back a previous July target rate of 47 “in response to the market environment.”

    “Production plans for widebody aircraft remain unchanged, Airbus said. The decision to maintain stable output of five A350s and two A330s per month “postpones a potential rate increase for the A350”, the company added – in a sign that it aims to avoid a production cut.”

    • @Bryce

      Details in La Tribune, Jan 14, speak of an increase to 61 in 2023, the highest rate ever achieved in commercial production

      It appears that Airbus are considerably optimistic for this sector

      To speculate – could this have any close connection to the CAI and the China market?

      “Selon nos informations, le dernier plan de production d’Airbus prévoit de passer d’une cadence de production de 40 appareils de la famille A320 à 47 à juillet 2021, puis à 51 en janvier 2022, 57 en juillet 2022, pour arriver à 61 en janvier 2023, soit deux avions par jour. Une telle cadence permettrait non seulement de dépasser le rythme d’avant-crise (60), mais aussi d’être la plus importante jamais atteinte dans l’histoire de l’aéronautique civile”

      • @ Gerrard
        Nice additional info…merci!
        To answer your speculative question: it’s interesting to posit that the rate hike might indeed be connected to the CAI — I can’t imagine that the Chinese will be ordering (m)any Boeings in the next few years…so, until their COMACs are up and running, they’ll need Airbuses.
        But, even apart from the CAI, Airbus has a sizable majority of the worldwide narrowbody orderbook, and it has no meaningful competitor to the A321, A321LR and A321XLR, so it’s natural that a higher production rate will be required. I would imagine that the post-CoViD airline landscape will be one in which there will be significant appetite for the A321XLR, since it gives an airline “long legs for low expenditure”. For instance, one could imagine that, if Norwegian wanted to re-experiment with longhaul, it would make much more financial sense for it to acquire A321XLRs than revisit the use of 787s. Similar arguments could be made for many other airlines.

        • @Bryce

          I’d like to be able to speculate some more about the reasons for this market shift, this pronounced market shift, in favour of Airbus over Boeing

          To do so successfully I’d need to possess a full house: greater knowledge of engineering, the industry and the market, with special emphasis on the financialisation of the economy, geo political and social trends, along with a profound understanding of how this and future pandemics will alter consumption, behaviour and perception

          And to be equipped with a advanced capacity for synthesis and analysis across a range of disciplines, not to mention a comprehensive understanding of german and french

          Something like a textbook WEF/HBS PhD – BA versus AB – as rewritten by Michael Hudson, or by someone from that clever China website you recently quoted, sciencedirect

          Has any such study been written already/recently ?

          There is someone out there skilled enough

          PS You answer the question of why the 787 is surplus to requirement, if indeed anyone is still puzzled – not only does the plane not work is always in the shop it can not be sold at a profit, so will be yanked, and replaced

    • In the not too distant future, if forecast of a NB market split of 35:65 from pundits comes true, what would monthly production rates look like? 65 jets a month for Airbus snd 35 jets a month for Boeing?

      • There is no place for Boeing in aviation anymore.

        SJ182 will damn Boeing once again and uncover the killers.

        I welcome China to ground the trash.

  12. On the continuing malaise in the European airline industry:
    CNBC: “Airline stocks fall after EU leaders impose travel curbs within the bloc”

    “Lufthansa’s CEO Carsten Spohr said on Thursday that the company is currently losing 1 million euros ($1.2 million) every two hours.”

    Allergy Warning: link may contain items that could potentially be construed as speculation.

    • Not clear is who took back the A320 series leases or if Boeing took them over but that was worked out somehow.

      Boeing took A340s from Singapore at one time so equally odd things have occurred.

  13. And we get to see how the Chineese model works out for selling non certfiied aircraft!

    “China Aircraft Leasing Group
    has ordered 30 Comac ARJ21 regional jets
    for Indonesia’s TransNusa Air Services,
    the first airline outside of China to ac-
    quire the ARJ21.”

    The Poseidon Adventure continues, maybe.

    • @TW

      Yup the Chinese are building ships too, quantum powered, fully automatic, silent, and certified for Borgnine and company except…oops they do not sink

    • The 777X isn’t certified,and yet more than 300 of them have been “sold”.
      The same applies to the 737-MAX200.
      What’s the problem?

      • …300 of them have been “sold”.

        Already customers are dropping by the wayside.
        Emirates reduced from 150 to 115.
        LH converted/reduced its order down to ?12?

        certification date is moving to the right.
        what is going to happen faster : cert or loss of orders?

        IMU the 777X will have a rather peaky performance.
        i.e. the r/p band where it can compete is narrower than the competitor types.

    • So, COMAC is already starting to steal sales from western makes…interesting!
      Wake up call!

      • COMAC can’t be worse than Boeing.
        Boeing is like a booby trap, you can watch how you get killed.

        • That’s exactly the credo that will be applied by many buyers and potential buyers in a variety of countries.
          Of course, in this particular case, the COMACs are regional turboprops, but the sentiment that you’ve identified is still valid.
          Still, this is a lost order for ATR, Embraer, etc…probably because the pricing was very attractive.

  14. I continue to not understand pontificating that production of 787 will stop.

    Surely there is a need for twin aisle capacity much smaller than the 777 monster.

    But hey! pontificators blather on. :-o)

    (And Keith dreams on, of shorter twin aisle airplanes for airfield performance and range. He was part of a team planning to put the 767-200 into 5200 feet at 2300 or so feet elevation, in winter, but reduction in runway capacity for business airplanes due warping of ILS beam by that huge hunk of metal, and a drastic drop in traffic on the Calgary-Edmonton shuttle due gummint action against the petroleum industry, made it not worthwhile.

    • stop production near term. yes/no

      They already have 70+ frames sitting around waiting to be fixed.
      That is more hardware than they had sitting around in the early days “era of the lawndart” of the 787.
      .. And FAL parts input needs an “up front” solution for what needs to get a postfix now.

  15. @TW I wonder what do you mean “non certified aircraft”??
    Not certified by FAA? Why aircraft flying in Indonesia have to be certified by the U.S. regulator? Doesn’t Indonesia have its own aviation industry that design and build its aircraft. Can’t regulator in Indonesia determine which aircraft are safe to fly within its air space?

    • Exactly.
      And to turn the tables: the MAX is currently uncertified in China (and probably will be for a LONG time)…so does that mean that the MAX should not be allowed to fly in the USA?
      (the answer is “yes”, BTW, but for different reasons 😉 )

  16. A remarkable post above is somewhat lost in another discussion; it’s so important that I’m moving it down here, for full appreciation:

    “US aviation regulator issues safety bulletins over flaws in software updates for Boeing 747, 777, 787 airliners: Autothrottle cuts to idle and flight computers fail after latest updates, warns FAA”

    More quality software from Boeing.
    No wonder Tim Clark has expressed reservations about taking the 777X if it has “innovative” software.
    After all the recent bad press for Boeing quality control, and all the hot air from Calhoun about the improved “new Boeing”, the company still manages to make a mess of such an important, broad, safety-critical software update?

    “If it’s a Boeing, you really should consider not going!”.

    • @Bryce

      In order to escape the censorship patterns of CC, in order to continue to express yourself freely on complex issues, you might be advised to copy the means of study of a certain natural living organism, as per link

      The essence is the following

      « Semantic landscapes for these viruses predicted viral escape mutations that produce sequences that are syntactically and/or grammatically correct but effectively different in semantics and thus able to evade the immune system. »

      By which we can see that discussion and debate, even at this level, is necessary to provide the semantics to anticipate and foreclose on ‘escape’, which we can call expression

      That is to say by taking a very much wider view of our language we can examine analyse and overcome complex problems of meaning, and so understand what is relevant in an operational sense- what are relevant ‘facts’,’truth’, ‘engineering’, ‘regulatory control’ : and – why not? solutions to Boeing’s constant use of ‘innovative software’

    • Anecdotally, the A320 is a much nicer plane to fly on than a recent 737, in my experience. Nice-looking wing on the latter, though. 😉

  17. Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 pops up again. Different situation, but same auto throttle, confusing crew alerting system and single sensor input issues. With the pilot-within-seconds back-up system.

    Installed in the 737 Classic, 737NG and 737MAX to reduce cost, certification.

    The long string of incidents/accidents involving those systems were removed from safety track-records used to justify grandfathered certification. Because AD’s/mods were implemented (while blaming crews), those incidents / accidents could now be left out, doctoring reliable system performance. Of course FAA pressured by congress played along.

    • Regarding Turkish Flight 1951, from Wikipedia:

      “Boeing cover-up and NTSB participation
      A New York Times investigation by Chris Hamby published in January 2020 in the aftermath of the Boeing 737 MAX groundings claimed that the Dutch Safety Board “either excluded or played down criticisms of the manufacturer in its 2010 final report after pushback from a team of Americans that included Boeing and federal safety officials…who said that certain pilot errors had not been ‘properly emphasized'”. The Hamby article draws on a 2009 human factors analysis by Sidney Dekker, which was not published publicly by the Safety Board until after the New York Times investigation was published.
      In February 2020, it was reported that Boeing refused to cooperate with a new Dutch review on the crash investigation and that the National Transportation Safety Board had refused Dutch lawmakers’ request to participate.”

      The standard Boeing approach to accidents: blame the pilots.
      The local Representative Of Boeing was doing the same thing here the other day with regard to the MAX crashes.
      It will be only a matter of days/weeks before a similar approach is adopted with regard to the recent Indonesian 737-500 crash.
      Business as usual at the Old Boys Club.

      • That was Boeing MO on the 737 Rudder and the Lauda 767

        How dare you question us, we are perfect and you swamp dwellers have not a clue.

        Why anyone ever thought the FAA was any good I don’t know, its been their MO to ignore as well.

        I have known it for a long long time.

        • TW: The good thing is the corporate entities are getting
          brittler and brittler. I don’t know exactly how it will
          go down, but lack of resiliency is not a long-term virtue.

      • No wonder Corp. Boeing insists the only truth comes from official investigation reports!! The rest are just “speculation”!

        Sweep under the carpet and nothing to see here.

    • Thanks for the link above.

      NYT piece on the Turkish 1951 flight:

      “..A review by The New York Times of evidence from the 2009 accident, some of it previously confidential, reveals striking parallels with the recent crashes — and resistance by the team of Americans to a full airing of findings that later proved relevant to the Max.

      In the 2009 and Max accidents, for example, the failure of a single sensor caused systems to misfire, with catastrophic results, and Boeing had not provided pilots with information that could have helped them react to the malfunction. The earlier accident “represents such a sentinel event that was never taken seriously,” said Sidney Dekker, an aviation safety expert who was commissioned by the Dutch Safety Board to analyze the crash.

      Dr. Dekker’s study accused Boeing of trying to deflect attention from its own “design shortcomings” and other mistakes with “hardly credible” statements that admonished pilots to be more vigilant, according to a copy reviewed by The Times.

      The study was never made public. The Dutch board backed away from plans to publish it, according to Dr. Dekker and another person with knowledge of its handling..”

      • Cont’d the quote by Bill7 above re: Dutch investigation of Turkish Airlines B737

        -> “At the same time, the Dutch board deleted or amended findings in its own accident report about issues with the plane when the same American team weighed in. The board also inserted statements, some nearly verbatim and without attribution, written by the Americans, who said that certain pilot errors had not been “properly emphasized.”

        The muted criticism of Boeing after the 2009 accident fits within a broader pattern, brought to light since the Max tragedies, of the company benefiting from a light-touch approach by safety officials.

        References to Dr. Dekker’s findings in the final report were brief, not clearly written and not sufficiently highlighted, according to multiple aviation safety experts with experience in crash investigations who read both documents.

        One of them, David Woods, a professor at the Ohio State University who has served as a technical adviser to the Federal Aviation Administration, said the Turkish Airlines crash “should have woken everybody up.”

        Some of the parallels between that accident and the more recent ones are particularly noteworthy. Boeing’s design decisions on both the Max and the plane involved in the 2009 crash — the 737 NG, or Next Generation — allowed a powerful computer command to be triggered by a single faulty sensor, even though each plane was equipped with two sensors, as Bloomberg reported last year. In the two Max accidents, a sensor measuring the plane’s angle to the wind prompted a flight control computer to push its nose down after takeoff; on the Turkish Airlines flight, an altitude sensor caused a different computer to cut the plane’s speed just before landing.

        Boeing had determined before 2009 that if the sensor malfunctioned, the crew would quickly recognize the problem and prevent the plane from stalling — much the same assumption about pilot behavior made with the Max.

        And as with the more recent crashes, Boeing had not included information in the NG operations manual that could have helped the pilots respond when the sensor failed.

        Even a fix now proposed for the Max has similarities with the past: After the crash near Amsterdam, the F.A.A. required airlines to install a software update for the NG that compared data from the plane’s two sensors, rather than relying on just one. The software change Boeing has developed for the Max also compares data from two sensors.

        Critically, in the case of the NG, Boeing had already developed the software fix well before the Turkish Airlines crash, including it on new planes starting in 2006 and offering it as an optional update on hundreds of other aircraft. But for some older jets, including the one that crashed near Amsterdam, the update wouldn’t work, and Boeing did not develop a compatible version until after the accident.

        The Dutch investigators deemed it “remarkable” that Boeing left airlines without an option to obtain the safeguard for some older planes. But in reviewing the draft accident report, the Americans objected to the statement, according to the final version’s appendix, writing that a software modification had been unnecessary because “no unacceptable risk had been identified.” GE Aviation, which had bought the company that made the computers for the older jets, also suggested deleting or changing the sentence.

        The Dutch board removed the statement, but did criticize Boeing for not doing more to alert pilots about the sensor problem.

        Dr. Woods, who was Dr. Dekker’s Ph.D. adviser, said the decision to exclude or underplay the study’s principal findings enabled Boeing and its American regulators to carry out “the narrowest possible changes.”

        The problem with the single sensor, he said, should have dissuaded Boeing from using a similar design in the Max. Instead, “the issue got buried.”

        -> “Joe Sedor, the National Transportation Safety Board official who led the American team working on the Turkish Airlines investigation, said it was not unusual for investigating bodies to make changes to a report after receiving feedback, or for American safety officials to jointly submit their comments with Boeing.

        Mr. Sedor is now overseeing the N.T.S.B.’s work on the Max crashes. He acknowledged that reliance on a single sensor was a contributing factor in both cases but cautioned against focusing on it.”

        -> “Joe Sedor, the National Transportation Safety Board official who led the American team working on the Turkish Airlines investigation, said it was not unusual for investigating bodies to make changes to a report after receiving feedback, or for American safety officials to jointly submit their comments with Boeing.

        Mr. Sedor is now overseeing the N.T.S.B.’s work on the Max crashes. He acknowledged that reliance on a single sensor was a contributing factor in both cases but cautioned against focusing on it.”

        -> “On the morning of Feb. 25, 2009, Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 approached Amsterdam, carrying 128 passengers from Istanbul. The first officer guided the plane toward Runway 18R, calling out changes to its speed and direction. He was new to the Boeing jet, so the crew included a third pilot in addition to the captain, who was a former Turkish Air Force officer with about 13 years of experience flying the aircraft.

        Because of instructions from air traffic control, the crew had to execute a maneuver that could be challenging: slowing while descending more rapidly than normal. They engaged a computer that controlled engine thrust, known as an autothrottle, to help regulate the drop in speed.

        As the plane dipped to 1,000 feet, the pilots had not yet completed their landing checklist. Strict adherence to airline procedure would have meant circling around for another try, but violations were commonplace at the busy runway, investigators later determined.

        About a minute later, with the plane at about 450 feet, the pilots’ control sticks began shaking, warning of an impending stall. The jet had slowed too much. Immediately, one of the pilots pushed the thrust lever forward to gain speed, but when he let go, the computer commanded it to idle.

        The captain intervened, disabling the autothrottle and setting the thrust levers to their maximum. Nine seconds had elapsed since the stall warning. By then, it was too late. The jet plunged into a field less than a mile from the airport.”

        -> “At the request of the American team led by the N.T.S.B., the Dutch added comments that further emphasized the pilots’ culpability. The final report, for example, included a new statement that scolded the captain, saying he could have used the situation to teach the first officer a “lesson” on following protocol.

        In their comments, reflected largely in an appendix, the Americans addressed criticism of Boeing in the draft report. A description of the company’s procedures for monitoring and correcting potential safety problems was “technically incorrect, incomplete and overly” simplistic, they wrote. In response, the board inserted a description of Boeing’s safety program written by the Americans and a statement that Boeing’s approach was more rigorous than F.A.A. requirements.

        The draft had also referred to studies that found it was common for complex automation to confuse pilots and suggested design and training improvements. The studies, the draft said, included research by “Boeing itself.”

        The Americans objected, saying the statements “misrepresent and oversimplify the research results.” In its final report, the board deleted the Boeing reference.

        -> “Five years before the Turkish Airlines crash, Boeing was aware that a sensor malfunction could idle the engines improperly, but the company decided it wasn’t a safety concern, the Dutch investigators wrote. After receiving reports about autothrottle misfires that did not lead to accidents, a Boeing review board determined that if a malfunction occurred, pilots would recognize it and intervene.

        In the meantime, Boeing developed a software update that allowed the autothrottle to compare the readings from the two altitude sensors. If they differed by more than 20 feet, the autothrottle wouldn’t be able to improperly idle the engines.

        The safeguard was available in 2006, but the change wouldn’t work on some 737 NG models, like the Turkish Airlines plane, that used an autothrottle computer made by a different company. After the 2009 crash, Boeing developed a version of the update compatible with those computers, and the F.A.A. required airlines to install it.”

        The Dekker study found that another decision by Boeing — to leave important information out of the operations manual — had also hampered the Turkish Airlines pilots.”

        -> “Erik van der Lely, a 737 NG pilot and instructor for a European airline who studied under Dr. Dekker, told The Times that he had not known about this design peculiarity until he read a copy of the study. “I’m pretty sure none or almost none of the 737 pilots knew that,” he said.

        When the draft report criticized Boeing for not giving pilots information that might have helped prevent the accident, the Americans disagreed, citing general directions from the training manual and writing, “Boeing did provide appropriate guidance to flight crews.” The plane was “easily recoverable” if the pilots had followed the proper procedures, they said.

        In its final report, the board retained its general conclusion but softened some language.

        Boeing later made a similar assessment on the 737 Max. The company did not inform pilots of a new automated system that contributed to both deadly crashes, hindering their ability to counteract its erroneous commands, investigators have determined.

        Over all, the final report by the Dutch Safety Board did mention some of Dr. Dekker’s conclusions, but the aviation safety experts who read his study said the systemic issues he raised received too little emphasis.

        For example, while the report noted the design quirk not included in the manual, it did so only briefly amid other technical documentation, and the significance of it was unclear. Dr. Dekker estimated that the board included the equivalent of about one page of information from his study in its report, which was 90 pages in addition to appendices.

        Today, faced with a public outcry over the Max crashes and demands for reforms, Boeing and the F.A.A. have agreed that more attention should be paid to the engineering discipline Dr. Dekker applied in his study.

        Both the N.T.S.B. and a panel of international experts found that Boeing and the F.A.A. had not sufficiently incorporated lessons from this human-factors research when developing and certifying the Max.

        But even though the research has been around for decades — an F.A.A. study recommended in 1996 that the industry and regulators embrace the approach more readily — accident investigations have tended to focus on pilot errors while minimizing or ignoring systemic factors, such as design and training problems, experts said.

        “It’s really easy to blame it on the dead pilots and say it has nothing to do with our improperly designed system,” said Shawn Pruchnicki, who teaches at Ohio State and has worked on accident investigations for the Air Line Pilots Association.

        Dr. Pruchnicki, who studied under Dr. Dekker, said he had participated in numerous investigations in which human-factors experts were largely ignored. “It just gets frustrating because we keep having the same types of accidents,” he said.

        Dr. Woods, the Ohio State professor who has advised the F.A.A., wrote an email to colleagues shortly after the first 737 Max crash, in October 2018, of Lion Air Flight 610, which killed 189 people just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia. The initial details, he wrote, indicated it was an automation-triggered disaster of the sort that he and others had studied for almost 30 years. He cited research from the 1990s and pointed to the Turkish Airlines crash.

        “That this situation has continued on for so long without major action is not how engineering is supposed to work,” he wrote.

        After the second Max crash — in March 2019, of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, killing all 157 people on board shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa — Dr. Woods said in an interview, “I was appalled.”

        “This is such of a failure of responsibility,” he said. “We’re not supposed to let this happen.”

        • A quite odd thing about that NYT piece is its repeated use
          of the term “the Americans”. Which Americans are they
          referring to: Boeing, the NTSB, or ??

          Oddly obfuscatory, IMO.

      • Follow-up report from NYT

        -> “Multiple aviation experts who had read Dr. Dekker’s study told The Times its findings had not been sufficiently incorporated into the final Dutch accident report. In addition, the Times learned, the Dutch removed or minimized criticisms of Boeing after pushback from a team of Americans that included the manufacturer and federal safety officials.

        Jan Paternotte, a member of the Dutch House of Representatives, praised the study’s release but called for a hearing of those involved, saying he believed he would secure the necessary support during a committee meeting on Wednesday. “Boeing has been capable of strong-arming outside parties if it serves the short-term interest of the company,” he said. “When safety is at stake, that is a problem.”

        -> “The Dutch board on Tuesday acknowledged that it had changed portions of its draft report after the Americans raised objections, but called that “standard procedure” and noted that the Americans’ comments were included in an appendix.”

        -> “The Dutch board’s final report, released in 2010, focused blame on numerous mistakes by the pilots, including their failure to notice a dangerous drop in speed and their incorrect response to an alert warning of an impending stall. The report contained statements — some nearly verbatim and without attribution — that were originally written by the American team and further emphasized crew errors.”

    • Dekker’s study is such a great read.

      I would never invite Boeing, FAA and NTSB to an investigation.

      Dickson and Ky should step down.

      For sure I will never fly any Boeing again.

      What will Biden do? It will show what he really is.

      • Money-shot in the third para, below:

        “..The 737 NG has two parallel sets of computers and sensors, one on the left side of the plane and one on the right. Most of the time, only one set is in control.

        On the Turkish Airlines flight, the system on the right was in control. The pilots recognized the inaccurate altitude readings and noted that they were coming from the sensor on the left. This would have led them to conclude that the bad data coming from the left didn’t matter because the autothrottle was getting the correct data from the right, Dr. Dekker found.

        What the pilots couldn’t have known was that the computer controlling the engine thrust always relied on the left sensor, even when the controls on the right were flying the plane. That critical information was nowhere to be found in the Boeing pilots’ manual, Dr. Dekker learned..”

        Boing, RE: this 737crash; the 737MAX crashes; and the 90s 737 faulty [Boing-designed] rudder-PCU crashes: “Stupid, incompetent pilots.. be more careful!!!”

        Notice a trend?

        • As is always the case, there was an accident event chain here, with multiple causes.

          Pilots conducted an unstable ILS approach from above the glideslope. Training requires a go-around if not stabilized by the decision altitude. Pilots did not call out the decision point and continued the unstable approach.

          The unstable approach required a VERTICAL SPEED mode auto-throttle drop to idle. Due to the fault in the radar altimeter, this drop instead occurred due to an auto-throttle mode change to RETARD FLARE. This mode change was annunciated on the flight displays but not called out by the pilots, hence unnoticed.

          In RETARD mode, the auto-throttle did not advance once glideslope was achieved by the autopilot, so airspeed continued to decay, as the aircraft was in landing configuration. The pilots did not notice this, despite having a third safety pilot present to monitor the instruments, and despite flashing frame and barber-pole warnings on the flight displays, and despite engine idle indications on EIS. There was no realization of low airspeed until stick-shaker.

          At stick shaker, the first officer PF partially advanced the throttles and lowered the nose, correct procedure. The captain immediately interrupted and assumed PF, but did not further advance the throttles for another 7 seconds. During that time, the throttles returned to idle due to RETARD mode. The captain upon finally advancing throttles, also pulled back on the column, which precipitated a stall.

          So the Boeing auto-throttle problem absolutely was a contributing factor in the accident, but not the only factor. The accident report concluded that the flight was recoverable at stick-shaker, but not after the stall which occurred 9 seconds later, due to insufficient altitude. TOGA was an option from the decision altitude through stick-shaker.

          • Rob: You’re explaining [yet again]; and if you hadn’t
            already noticed, ex-post-fatso explaining is always Losing.

            as others have accurately, pithily said: “drip, drip, drip..”

          • “”an auto-throttle mode change to RETARD FLARE. This mode change was annunciated on the flight displays””


            The fight display shows only RETARD but there are two retard modes.

            Dekker report:
            The B737 has two RETARD modes that combine autothrottle and autopilot functions: (a) Retard flare and (b) retard descent. Retard descent commands the thrust levers to the aft stop to allow the autopilot to follow a planned descent path. Retard descent mode is normally followed by the ARM mode, in which the A/T protects the flight envelope and maintains a selected speed. ARM mode also allows crews to manually set the thrust levers forward
            In contrast, the Retard flare mode is normally activated just prior to touchdown when an automatic landing is performed. The A/T does the retard part, the autopilot the flare part, so as to jointly make a smooth landing. In retard flare mode, the A/T no longer offers flight envelope protection, does not maintain any selected speed, and it will keep the thrust levers at the idle stop (or pull them back there if the crew would push them forward).
            The A/T window on the FMA offers no way for a flight crew to distinguish one RETARD mode from the other.
            While the A/T window would normally have shown “MCP SPD” upon selecting V/S mode, the RETARD mode made aircraft behavior insidiously consistent with crew expectations. They needed to go down and slow down so as to capture the glideslope (from above) and get the aircraft’s
            speed down to the speed for the next flap setting. The A/T announced that it did what the crew commanded it to do: it retarded, and aircraft behavior matched crew expectations: the aircraft went down, slowed down and then captured and started tracking the glideslope.
            As it only showed “RETARD” (and not “FLARE”), the FMA annunciation gave the appearance as if the A/T went into RETARD descent mode. However, the A/T went automatically into the unexpected RETARD flare mode—not because the crew had selected V/S, but because a number of conditions had now been fulfilled, and the A/T was acting according to its own logic: the aircraft was going below 2000 feet RA (in fact, it was at -7 feet RA, according to its only available (and corrupted) input to the A/T system), the flaps were more than 12,5 degrees out and the F/D mode was no longer in ALT HOLD.
            While the A/T had, in effect, decided it was time to land, FCC B was still commanding the F/D and Autopilot B to stay on glideslope. One part of the automation was doing one thing (landing), while the other part was doing something else (flying). The part that was landing (the A/T) had control over the airspeed, the part that was flying (Autopilot B) did not; it only tracked the descent path on the glideslope.

            There is much more in the Dekker report.
            Boeing’s manual is incomplete. Same as with the MAX crashes.
            As we already know, there was never in independent software audit made.

          • Explaining is only a problem for those who don’t want to consider facts that don’t support their agenda. In that case the facts are the problem, and have to be discredited, or the person that presents them.

            The facts above came from the accident report. And the authoring safety board said publicly that it was not unduly influenced by anyone.

            Again we can refer to the wise words:

            “Underlying causes of any accident are complex and many differing narratives develop, some with agendas of their own. Causal chains behind any accident must be considered in total. A focus upon one aspect of an accident in isolation will inevitably lead to a missed or wrong conclusion.”

          • Leon, I already said this in abbreviated form. The auto-throttle entered RETARD mode due to the fault in the radar altimeter. Both side pilot displays annunciated this clearly. It was not obvious in the behavior of the aircraft, because intercepting the glideslope from above also required idled engines.

            However once the glideslope was intercepted, none of the three pilots monitored airspeed, or the engines, or the throttle lever positions, or noticed the several warnings on their displays, until stick shaker. This is all in the accident report.

          • Yes, Rob, we’ve heard it all before: all we have to do is take one of your earlier posts, change the date, and voilà!
            It’s just like a LEGO starter kit: a small collection of pieces that can be arranged in a finite number of different ways — the patterns may look a little different each time, but it’s always the same underlying bricks from the same box.

          • Bryce, you are free to present facts that dispute mine, or the accident report ,which is the basis of what I wrote. Or make any form of reasoned or rational argument. Attacking me personally is a useless exercise, it doesn’t change the facts or the truth of what happened and is documented in the report.

    • That’s more an anti-Trump™ piece than being about the MAX
      (no, I didn’t vote for him: Jill Stein got my vote in ’16, and I didn’t
      vote in the recent, so-obvious farce). My notion is that Mr. Trump was just a part of the long-lasting show..

      The so-to-say “Democrats” now control the Presidency, the House, and the Senate- is that not correct? Curious to see
      what they [Mmm] do with their power..

      • I realized that I wasn’t clear enough in the above comment:
        my contention was and is that there is no difference of
        significance between the two halves of the Duopoly.

        In fact, if my mcVote made a difference (it doesn’t; not in the least) I’d now vote Republican, for the first time in my life.

        We live in a new Dark Age, and votes et c mean nothing..

      • A bit less shouting, a bit more listening and a bit more factual based opposition to the dem’s would be a huge enhancement.

    • @TW

      Yes a very good article, thanks for this – it makes quite clear how and why BA got off very lightly from the DoJ so called investigation and miniature fine, pumped up under false pretences to $2.5B

      « The government probably appreciated that the public would not take this well, which may have been the impetus behind the $2.5 billion settlement. Nearly two-thirds of it (about $1.8 billion) is money that Boeing will pay to airlines for costs that they incurred as a result of the grounding of the planes, but the company had set that money aside for them long ago, so really, the government is taking credit for something that was already going to happen. Another $500 million is for a victim-compensation fund. Boeing agreed that the fund would not “preclude” victims’ families from bringing legal claims — some have already settled, while many have outstanding cases — but judges and juries also follow the news, and it is hard to see them ignoring the fund, as Boeing surely knows. In fact, less than one-tenth of it ($243.6 million) is an actual fine.

      In theory, there is a complicated set of federal guidelines for setting fines, but suffice to say that the Justice Department’s calculation, which is contained in the agreement, adopted virtually the most lenient interpretation of those guidelines possible. The $234.6 million fine, according to the department, represents “Boeing’s cost-savings” from the two employees’ misconduct. Essentially, the government just required the company to give up its ill-gotten gains. A precise analogue is hard to come by, but a useful comparison is the government’s 2012 settlement with BP following the Gulf Coast oil spill — a deal that required the company to pay the federal government $4 billion in criminal fines and penalties (followed later by a roughly $15 billion payment to settle civil claims).That means that Boeing’s payment of $243.6 million is essentially the only real “new” money that Boeing will pay. »

      Explaining how the DoJ works in effect with the company : and to protect management

      And the exceptional language used to exculpate

      “In addition to crediting the company for remedial measures following the crashes, the agreement states that “the misconduct was neither pervasive across the organization, nor undertaken by a large number of employees, nor facilitated by senior mismanagement.” I cannot recall an affirmative exculpation like this in any other corporate criminal settlement — nor could Brandon Garrett, a law professor at Duke University and one of the country’s foremost experts in the area, who told me that he could “not recall ever seeing language of this sort.”

      When as all here except one know, BA senior management was and is guilty as hell

      The article points out quite how nefarious this is with regard to the victim lawsuits

      Nonetheless the rate at which Boeing aircraft are crashing out of the skies will put an end to this cover up and the possibility that BA will be maintained in business by corrupt Federal authorities, DoJ and FAA

      • @ Gerrard
        Small correction:
        Only some of them “are crashing out of the skies”. Of the new models, many/most are just sitting on the ground as:
        – Unloved MAX whitetails, sitting in parking lots.
        – Any and all MAXs outside the handful of countries where re-cert has occurred. These are sitting in various deserts and backwater airports.
        – Steadily accumulating numbers of un-flightworthy 787s, undergoing extensive and time-consumimg revision in Everett.
        – Manufactured but uncertified 777Xs, corroding on the ground while waiting for handovers that will probably never occur.

        Still, the constant accidents and airworthiness directives do indeed serve to constantly catch the attention of the public, and of Wall Street.

        • @Bryce

          For every corrupt DoJ report a Boeing plane falls out of the sky

          The rest of their planes, as you say, are stuck on the ground anyway

          Obama was always over friendly, but what can he do to save BA?

      • The DoJ exculpatory statement was included to differentiate between the presentation of MCAS by Boeing to the FAA, which did disclose the flight test changes, from the presentation of training materials to FSB and airlines, which did not disclose them. It was the latter that constituted a crime in the form of fraud.

        Also it’s routine in cases of deferred prosecution, to give behavioral evidence to justify pursuing the agreement rather than prosecution. The same language exists in the agreement for the Airbus corruption & bribery scandal.

        Also as discussed here, BP was analogous to the airline rather than Boeing, in that they held authority for the operation at the time of the accident. The court in the Phase 1 trial, performed a finding of fact that separated criminal and civil liabilities, before either proceeded, since so many parties were involved.

        Most of the criminal liability was for the pollution resulting from the spill, which was $18B on top of the $4.5B DoJ settlement. A further $28B was paid out in civil claims.

        • @Rob

          « The DoJ exculpatory statement was included to differentiate between the presentation of MCAS by Boeing to the FAA, which did disclose the flight test changes, from the presentation of training materials to FSB and airlines, which did not disclose them. It was the latter that constituted a crime in the form of fraud »

          This is a difference without distinction – management were/are liable in both cases, whether they had scapegoats available or not

          And makes no difference to public perception of DoJ as engaged in a cover up on behalf of Boeing, just as public opinion held the FAA responsible for their corrupt procedures in certifying the Max in the first place –

          US Cover ups are of course routine, US political élites and administrations are quite used to operating them, but this does not render them very proficient, nor the companies who benefit any less liable to cheat or short cut on engineering and manufacture, in fact…

          Boeing planes continue to fall out of the skies, difficult to cover up : most/all markets will cease to buy Boeing planes, difficult to cover up : the only fool buyers left will be US fool buyers, wishing they had seen through their cover ups

          ‘Actions speak louder than words’

          • @Gerrard: Paragraphs 4 and 5 are over the top. Paragraph 5 is nonsense.


          • @Scott

            The DoJ investigation and report was a cover up, absolving the company management, and imposing a miniature fine only

            As if a timely reminded came another Boeing crash, for which it may be anticipated BA will attempt to deny responsibility

            The US has not imposed any reform nor even sought to sanction BA with significant intent or result

            The market will respond – meanwhile frustration will express itself in language which will not please but which is less objectionable than the actions of DoJ and BA

          • Gerrard, these are conspiracy theories.

            If you have evidence that the DoJ investigation was a cover-up, or that Boeing is responsible for the SJ182 crash, you need to bring that forward. It would be welcomed by all.

            Because right now, the consensus is that the DoJ acted in accordance with US law, and the cause of the SJ182 crash is still undetermined.

            But if you have knowledge to the contrary, on either issue, by all means, please notify the authorities.

  18. So Mr. Forkner “recanted”, did he? Not under extreme duress or anything, I’m sure..

    • Already discussed here in detail, and refuted. But repetition is required to keep the false narrative going.

  19. It’s all very well to be dwelling on the various Boeing shortcomings associated with the Turkish crash, but what about the huge shortcoming that started this thread — namely that, in a single recent software update, Boeing created a recklessly dangerous flaw across almost its entire widebody product lineup (747, 777 and 787)?
    Was the software update outsourced to some backalley sweatshop IT firm in Mumbai? Did anybody bother to check it before “approval”?
    It certainly looks like no lessons have been learned from the MCAS fiasco.

    • In the cited Register article, pilots who were asked for feedback downplayed these issues, and said they were not cause for alarm or even a major concern. Important to give the entire context of the article. Again, wise words.

      • Did Boeing provide an independent software audit for the software updates needed by regulations?

  20. IMO it’s about authorities / politics not having the guts / knowledge to state a system was good enough 30, 50 years ago, but not anymore. That’s why Boeing & friends are just adding bigger cockpit displays & engines on the 737, 747, 767, Chinook, F18, F15, Apache, designs dating back 40-60 years.

    Government protection, flag waving and “free” cash flow partying made Boeing lazy, untouchable.

    Government should demand Wall Street is engineered out of Boeing. They have the right channeling so much money to them and now having to save the drained company.

  21. In other news

    After a year nothing much has changed – except to eliminate any notions of social distancing – lots of words, but no action

    Key quote

    “Researchers pushing for smarter approaches to getting on airplanes are hoping for more change. Big changes in aviation tend to only happen when people die or get hurt, says Michael Schultz, who studies air transportation at Technische Universität Dresden. The airlines “try to learn what’s going wrong, and then they try to improve,” he says.”

    But have not people died already?

  22. More nasty PR for the MAX:

    BBC: “Boeing 737 Max cleared to fly again ‘too early’ ”

    “…in a new report, Ed Pierson claims that further investigation of electrical issues and production quality problems at the 737 factory is badly needed.”

    “Ed Pierson’s report is very disturbing, about manufacturing issues in the Boeing factories that go well beyond just the Max, and also affect… the previous version of the 737,” says Capt Sullenberger.”

    “He believes changes are needed to warning systems aboard the plane, which were carried over from a previous version of the 737 and are “not up to modern standards”.”

  23. In a fresh sign of the increasing malaise in the travel industry:
    Reuters: “UK warns against booking holidays, hotel quarantine announcement due”

    “The British public should not book any overseas summer vacation yet, the minister responsible for the country’s COVID vaccination programme said on Tuesday, ahead of an expected announcement on tougher border measures.
    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is looking at the option of introducing quarantine hotels for those arriving in Britain to prevent the risk of “vaccine-busting” new coronavirus variants entering the country.”

    This is the quarantining model used in China, Australia and NZ — where it acts as a strong deterrent to anything other than strictly essential travel.
    It won’t be a surprise if the EU follows suit.

  24. Reuters: “Travel troubles force Rolls-Royce to cut 2021 flight forecasts”

    “Britain’s Rolls-Royce lowered forecasts for how much its engines will fly this year as tighter coronavirus travel restrictions inflict fresh pain on airlines, saying this would mean a cash outflow of some 2 billion pounds ($2.7 billion).”

    “Countries around the world have tightened border controls over concerns that new COVID-19 variants are more transmissible, and that vaccines may not work against one from South Africa.
    That has caused a further air traffic drop just as airlines and engine makers were hoping for a recovery, forcing Rolls to issue a trading update just six weeks after its last warning.”

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