Air Wars: The Global Combat Between Airbus and Boeing

By Scott Hamilton

Sept. 7, 2021, (c) Leeham News: My book, Air Wars: The Global Combat Between Airbus and Boeing, is now available on Amazon.

Three years in the making—delayed by the need to include the Boeing 737 MAX crisis and the impacts of Coronavirus—Air Wars is a combination of a biography of John Leahy and the 1982 book, The Sporty Game. The Sporty Game was considered the definitive book about the competition between Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and the young Airbus.
Leahy worked for Airbus for 33 years, 23 of them as the chief commercial officer for the company. Throughout executive turmoil at Airbus, and at Boeing, Leahy was the one constant salesman. Boeing officials were slow to recognize the threat Airbus and Leahy presented. The wake-up call, according to a top Boeing salesman at the time, was the 1992 order from United Airlines for Airbus A319s and A320s. United considered the airplanes superior to the 737-300/400. The order prompted Boeing to develop the 737 NG. From there, the global combat became a “bare-knuckle brawl,” as journalist Dan Catchpole put it this week.

Executives and salesmen from Airbus and Boeing were interviewed for Air Wars. So were industry leaders. My own archival resources and reporting were used as well.

The result is a book that describes the successes and failures of Airbus, Leahy, and Boeing. It describes how Bombardier came out of nowhere to become a threat initially dismissed by Boeing—but recognized by Airbus. Air Wars describes the sales campaign that launched the A380 and killed the proposed 747-500/600—but led Boeing to the 787.

Air Wars begins with the crucial sales campaign with American Airlines that led to the decision by Boeing to launch the re-engined 737 program—which later was branded as the 737 MAX. The book also dispels the myth that Boeing was hasty in designing the re-engined 737.

Many untold stories are in Air Wars, including sales campaigns, product strategy decisions and personal anecdotes about Leahy—including how McDonnell Douglas tried to recruit Leahy from Airbus in the early 1990s.

A synopsis of the book is below.

Author’s Note

Read how Scott Hamilton came to tell the story of Air Wars, John Leahy, the strategies of Airbus and Boeing, and the Global Combat between them.


From Allan McArtor, former president of Airbus Americas, airline executive, and administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.


The set-up of the global competition between Airbus and Boeing.

  1. The Multi-Billion Dollar Gamble

Airbus wanted to re-engine the A320 family. Boeing leaned toward developing a new airplane to replace the 737. This chapter tells how Airbus gambled that the A320neo would force Boeing into re-engining the 737 instead. It was a gamble that John Leahy had to persuade the Airbus CEO and Board of Directors to take. For Boeing, the re-engined 737 was branded the MAX.

  1. Flying Cargo

This chapter introduces the early year of John Leahy.

  1. Piper

After college, Leahy applied to American Airlines for a finance job. Rejected, he applied to general aviation manufacturers. Piper hired him, where he made his mark in financing and marketing.

  1. Early Years at Airbus

In the process of transferring with Piper to Europe, a headhunter instead convinced Leahy joining Airbus was the better choice. Leahy’s first assignment was to close a major deal with Pan American World Airways. Sales campaigns with Northwest Airlines and others followed, some successfully, some not.

  1. High Risk, High Reward

By the 1980s, Boeing dominated the jet age since its dawn in the 1950s. Conservative and convinced Airbus was another European jobs program, Boeing was unwilling to take big risks. As the upstart, Airbus was more than willing to take high risks for high rewards.

  1. Facing Off

By the 1990s, Airbus produced the A300/A310 and A320 families. McDonnell Douglas was down to the MD-80, the final years of the DC-10, and the new MD-11. Boeing had a successful family of airplanes with the 707 through the 767. Now, Airbus launched the medium-range A330 and the long-range A340. Boeing countered with the 777-200 in another face-off.

  1. The Death of McDonnell Douglas

By the mid-1990s, McDonnell Douglas Corp. slipped to No. 3 behind Boeing and Airbus. In a move that could have changed dynamics, MDC tried to recruit John Leahy to become the chief salesman for Douglas Aircraft Co. Imagine how things might have changed had Leahy joined MDC and later moved to Boeing with the 1997 merger between Boeing and MDC.

  1. The Wake-Up Call

Despite Airbus’s growth Boeing didn’t take Airbus or Leahy seriously until United Airlines rejected the 737-400 in favor of the A320 and A319 in a 1992 sales campaign, breaking Boeing’s monopoly at UAL. It was a stunning wake-up call for the Seattle company.

  1. Launching the A380

Learn how Airbus defeated Boeing for the launch order of either the A380 or the 747-500/600.

  1. Moonshot

Boeing lost launching the 747-500/600 but it had something better in mind, a concept called the 7E7, which became the 787.

  1. Troubles in Toulouse

Despite ostensibly being one company, Airbus in reality was several companies. An industrial snafu on the A380 blew up the uneasy alliance and led to executive office turmoil.

  1. Try, Try Again

Lulled by Boeing’s failure to launch the 747-500/600 and fanciful Sonic Cruiser, neither Airbus—nor Leahy—took the 787 seriously. But a response was needed, and Airbus created the A350. Except the first, second, and third versions met with yawns from the market. Even the final version, the XWB, missed the mark.

  1. Falling Apart

Development of the 787 was a moonshot in international industrial design and snap-together production. It all began falling apart even before the rollout of the first airplane on July 8, 2007 (7-8-07). Things went downhill from there.

  1. Labor Wars

Increasing outsourcing enraged Boeing’s IAM 751 labor union. It struck for 57 days beginning in September 2008. CEO James McNearny had enough. He was determined to weaken the union, even if he couldn’t break it entirely. Thus began a series of battles that ended five years later.

  1. Upstart and Disruptor

While Airbus and Boeing were duking it out, tiny Bombardier, a regional jet manufacturer, made the bold gamble to develop a mainline jet that attacked the lower end of the Airbus-Boeing single-aisle sector. At the time, no one could foresee the consequences.

  1. Creating neo

As with Boeing, Airbus debated internally whether to pursue a new airplane design to replace the A320, or to re-engine it. If re-engined, with what? An open rotor? A conventional engine? Despite popular belief, Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbofan was the mover, learn how CFM and the LEAP engine signed on first.

  1. Launching MAX

It was well known at the time Boeing had two options when it came to a new single-aisle airplane: a new design, which was favored, or re-engining the 737. The latter was put on the shelf in the expectation that Boeing would choose the former. When Airbus was ready to win a huge order from American Airlines (Chapter 1), Boeing responded within 48 hours with what became the MAX. In light of later allegations following two MAX accidents that Boeing rushed the design, the reality is different.

  1. Grounding

Two near-disasters involving fires on the 787 led the Federal Aviation Administration to ground the airplane for three months while a fix was developed.

  1. X-Factor

The Airbus A350-1000, in a slightly modified design, would render the Boeing 777-300ER obsolete. Boeing had to develop a response. Rather than creating another new airplane at a time when the 787 program was still finding its legs, Boeing chose to proceed with a derivative of the 777, the 777X.

  1. Smashing a Bug with a Sledgehammer

Having dismissed the threat posed by the Bombardier C Series, Boeing woke up in 2016 following a near-miss at United Airlines and an unrelated victory for Bombardier with Delta Air Lines. Boeing filed a trade complaint with the US Department of Commerce, charging Bombardier with price dumping. In the hyperbolic filing, Boeing claimed that if left unchecked, Bombardier would destroy Boeing and the entire US aerospace industry. The irony: if left alone, Bombardier may have gone into bankruptcy. Because of the trade complaint, Bombardier sold the C Series program to Airbus, strengthening its single-aisle product line.

  1. The Boeing-Embraer JV

While the trade complaint was underway, Boeing and Embraer agreed to create a joint venture, in which Boeing would own 80% and control through the management and the Board of Directors. The JV would help develop Boeing’s New Midmarket Airplane and a new family of single-aisle jets.

  1. Last Gasp

With the A380 a sales failure, Airbus was nevertheless loath to give up on the airplane without one last try. Boeing, meantime, recognized at long last its queen of the skies, the 747, had become an old spinster. Boeing debated as far back as 2008 whether to kill the program then, recognizing in 2004 that the 777-300ER was the beginning of the end for the airplane.

  1. The Alphabet Airplane

Boeing began debating internally in 2012 what its next new airplane should be. The names were variously the Middle of the Market airplane (MOM), New Light Twin (NLT), New Small Airplane or New Single Aisle Airplane (NSA), or the New Midmarket Airplane (NMA). But officials couldn’t make up their minds.

  1. Grounding

By the first quarter of 2019, Boeing was flying high. The stock price was at record levels. Profits were in the multi-billions of dollars. Shareholders were reaping dividends and from stock buybacks. Even the October 2018 crash of a five-month-old 737 MAX was no more than a blip. Then, a second new MAX crashed. Regulators around the world grounded the airplane for what was thought would be no more than a few months at most.

  1. Scandals

Over the years, Airbus and Boeing were beset by scandals. The effects would last for years to come.

  1. Coronavirus

In March 2020 a mysterious new virus that originated in China became a global pandemic. The commercial aviation industry was decimated, affecting Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, and the entire supply chain. These effects still are being felt.

  1. Retirement

Leading up to January 2018, several key leaders at Boeing had retired. That month, after 33 years, John Leahy also retired. At the end of his career, he and his sales teams sold more than $15 trillion worth of aircraft. His long tenure in sales was unmatched by anyone.

161 Comments on “Air Wars: The Global Combat Between Airbus and Boeing

  1. I expected there would be a chapter on Boeing’s lawsuits against Airbus, but there does not appear to be one dedicated to that specific topic.

    • @Normand: The WTO is sprinkled throughout because the thing took so damn long…

      • The whole WTO episode was a huge waste of money and energy. Designed by lawyers to enrich lawyers.

        • No…designed by Boeing board members, who wanted to try to win in the court room what they could not win in the marketplace.

          • Trevor and Bryce are both wrong re WTO. My Sept 7 post explained the’ history’ of WTO/GATT in very truncated form.
            Actually, Boeing Bored had a hands off policy re WTO issues other than low level complaints until around 2001-2. Around mid 2001, Phil Condit hired Rudy deLeon ( look him up ) to work the ‘ Airbus ‘ issue- this was just prior to 911. So after 911 in Feb 2002 an interesting meeting having to do with the 767 tanker ‘ lease ‘ program suggested as a way to keep 767 line open was held. This was before the Sears Dryun mess became public. Excerpts from the meeting follow.
            ” Mr. DeLeon started with his resume which included the important fact that he had only been with the Boeing Company for the past six months or so. He continued with the fact that he was here today to discuss three issues: 1) Air Force 767 tanker program; 2) FSC tax, and 3) the plusses and minuses of a trade filing at this point in time.
            Mr. DeLeon has a team of 12 looking at the Airbus issue which was commissioned by Phil Condit.
            Tankers – the KC135’s are approximately 40 years old. The Air Force wanted leases to make it easier to get a new fleet of tankers. This is due to the budget constraints over the next several years. Leasing the tankers allows the money to come from another pocket where money is available. The Air Force wanted 767s because Boeing built almost all the tankers the Air Force ever had. They were also getting lots of support from Congress. Washington Post ran an Airbus story the day before Christmas saying they could build the tankers and for 40% less money. Boeing needs to prevail in this issue for the good of Congress, the public, and the Air Force with a contract. Airbus has retained some DC law firms to help them make this a competitive bidding process. Airbus is making this a subsidy issue by saying this is nothing more than a handout to Boeing. The Air Force has to decide tankers configuration before the design phase may begin.” and ” The present schedule is for a 2004 rollout and 2005 delivery of the first airplane. 25% of the KC135’s are in the depot at any one time so the Air Force is flying wings off reminder to support the War on Terrorism. This is a limiting factor for other flights (fighters, bombers, transports, etc.).
            FSC – impacts us all because it is a tax deal. Our people can get VAT tax back on European goods bought in Europe and brought back with them. VAT taxes were grandfathered into the WTO agreements. FSC taxes were not grandfathered into the WTO agreements for some reason. Our government needs to fix the FSC tax problem in the WTO agreements if possible. . .
            A trade case opens up a third front to attack Boeing . . . Airbus would say Boeing wants a trade case because we can’t compete in the market place. … The meeting went on for about 90 minutes. Mr. DeLeon was unable to answer questions that dealt with either job security or the off loading of jobs. Both issues had come up during the debate in the media on 767 tankers. ..

            So 20 years later, the 767 Tanker program is Still a mess ..

          • Bryce,
            Would that be like Airbus passing bribes in the backroom, winning orders they could not win in the marketplace?

          • U.S. investigates defense contractor allegedly paying bribes to a member of Qatar’s royal family. Worry not, prosecutor would likely dole out “special” treatment following BA’s precedent.

    • Normand … perhaps a cliff notes history review of GATT and WTO transformations as they apply today re Boeing may help.

      GATT was started after WW2 in 1947 to define and implement various International Trade agreements. And continued at GATT until about 1995.

      In 1995 for all practical purposes and reporting, GATT became known and described as WTO. And there were significant changes. Various issues/agreements relating to Boeing and ‘ Airbus’ were documented in GATT92 and sort of remained the same thru 2000- 2001. While some mijnor issues between Boeing and Airbus were worked, the first real effort to deal with financial games was identified around 2000- and it was about 4 to 5 years later before the effluent hit the turbine in the form of specific ‘ litigation’ re GATT/WTO rules. SPEEA was about to file a related CVD/WTO allowed petition on financial games in Sept 2001 the same week as 911.
      And the rest is history. Some of that was covered By Scott a year or two later

      • @Lars: The Airbus bribery is within the one chapter that also discusses Boeing scandals.

    • @jbeeko: The text is identical. It’s all about reading it on a notebook vs a hard copy.

    • The concept of “war” doesn’t necessarily entail destruction — e.g cold war, trade war, war of words.

      • Bryce:

        The ‘cold war’ was about intended destruction by the USSR, an expansionist tyranny with a long record of initiation of force.

        Other uses are improper and hackneyed, in my reasoned judgement. Such did not make successful airliners n the past and will not in the future. They are a hallmark of shallow thinkers.

        You might read Doc Searls’ article ‘Make Money not War’ which I refer to in may Monopoly article.

    • I’d deem Boeing’s behavior “war” not “competition”.

      Boeing doesn’t really compete on products in the last 1..2 decades 🙂
      And just like the US as a nation it is mostly an underhanded, undeclared stealth war.

        • You are confusing what I seem to confuse.

          US cultural dogma is full spectrum warfare in every domain.
          The concept of “a Sport” or just to product propeerties limited competition does not exist.

          The current situation is the fallout from decades of following this dogmatic strategy. .. egged on by regular IP gifts from abroad ( war spoils, snooping ) enabling that kind of “competition” without much self made substance.

          • Its is the proper response to posts that show large distance to facts and logic. 🙂

          • @Keith

            How about Nixon’s “War on Cancer” and “War on Drugs”??

      • The US can still make some extremely good high end products in not only aviation but automation. The B787 was a product that utterly disrupted Airbus with its superior performance while the B777-200/3000 out sold the A380 5:1. . Unfortunately self certification seems to have lead to quality issues in the B787, the MAX and the B787-9. Western countries face demographic issues (eg Germany ) and some of the same problems. I note the German KUKA company the best robot company in the world and used by both Boeing and Airbus ito try to automate riveting s now owned by Chinese interests and the German CEO replaced by a Chinese national. The decay seen in the USA is spreading in Europe.

        • KUKA and similar self pierce riveting systems are useful for non structural fastening stuff like interior panels, cup holders, and lightweight decorator panels.

          Please do not confuse such use with the still common large aircraft industry structural riveting machines.

          Electro-impact and very few other companies make aircraft quality structural riveters using either squeeze, squeeze vibrate- or electromagnetic riveting process combination drill-rivet machines. Few Robots if any can properly install a solid squeezed aluminum, steel, or titanium rivet larger tban about 3/16. Large C frame ( Gemcor riveters still in business ? ) riveters or smaller lighter frame electromagnetic riveters can handle up to 3/8 or so rivets including one shot hand held riveters.

          • I think the idea of these robot riveters was to use two robots. One to insert the rivet on one side and then hold the bucking dolly and the other robot on the other side to hammer the rivet. Forgive me if I’m I’m using the wrong term but what Boeing was trying to do is not blind rivets or explosively formed rivets that can be inserted and exploded from one side only. This produces a stronger lighter flush rivets and which is why robots were used. The process turned out to be difficult.

      • Uwe said “And just like the US as a nation it is mostly an underhanded, undeclared stealth war.”
        A trashy comment putting her/himself in the category of ‘usual suspects’ whose underlying beliefs are Marxist in my experience.

  2. Scott, I want to buy the hardcopy book but I don’t buy things from Amazon. Are there any alternatives? (I searched but I can’t find any.)

    • It is to become available on Barnes & Noble, but I don’t know how quickly.

      • I’m waiting for it in the Apple ebook store (I don’t Amazon). Hopefully you’ll let us know when it is more widely available.

        • Just out of curiosity:
          Are “non-Amazon buyers” boycotting Amazon for some reason? Or just couldn’t be bothered creating an Amazon account? Or is there some other explanation?

          • Amazon is a huge concentration of power, used to
            bad ends against both its workforce and its suppliers.

            I will be buying Scott H’s very interesting book, but not from them.

          • I purchase regular stuff on Amazon. I do not purchase ebooks on Amazon because you have to use their ebook reader hardware (kindle) or their app on other devices (iOS, android etc).

            If I was renting the book then I wouldn’t care, but since I am buying I want that book still available to me in 10 or 20 years. Amazon is not where I put long term electronic media purchases. (There are several reasons for me, but not worth enumerating here.)

          • Also, roger criticizes Amazons electronic format books arrangement.

            It is indeed a bother, worse if across country borders, with jerk customer nonservice person.

            Amazon will follow the path that a retailer with large mail order operation did – Sears. (Amacrick being modern mechanization of the catalogue business of Sears and some other retailers in mid-20th century and earlier.)

        • I don’t think Apple is much better. Instead of engaging in digital book burning (I think 500 last I heard) apple never let them on in the first place.

          Amazon clearly has the best technology by far. The immersive reading feature which synchronises professionally read audiobooks to the text is impressive.

          I’d like to see Scott do an Audio book version. It’s quite a skill to do an audio book well.

          I do try and buy outside of Amazon.

      • Great. Please advise when avail at B&N. I too will not support Amazon and Bezos.

    • How about buying the book directly from you by sending a check and postage? Or will you be at a Barnes and Noble in Minnesota for a book signing in the somewhat near future?

      • @Sam: Hah, won’t be at B&N in Minnesota…. I’ll email you about where to send a check….

        • Of course not – Scott is starting his world book signing tour in the best place to party and meet members of the opposite sex. Next up is the lecture circuit, television appearances, motivational speeches at corporate retreats – maybe even a cameo in a movie. I hear that Marvel Studios is looking for that recognizable face to replace the recently departed Stan Lee.

          Fame does have it’s advantages, you know.

  3. 1. “Airbus gambled that the A320neo would force Boeing into re-engining the 737 instead.”

    Seems Airbus knew the 737 better than Boeing.

    17. “Boeing had two options when it came to a new single-aisle airplane: a new design, which was favored, or re-engining the 737.”

    With what is known now, Boeing would have failed with a new single-aisle too. Maybe not so fast, but self-certs will do that by time.

    17. “In light of later allegations following two MAX accidents that Boeing rushed the design, the reality is different.”

    There are other examples that Boeing is in a hurry.
    Didn’t the FAA mentioned that Boeing rushed the 777X. That was under Muilenburg. It might have changed now, but not all, the roots are still there, since Boeing wants to speed up 787 production and minimise QC with algorithm inspections.

    23. “The Alphabet Airplane.
    But officials couldn’t make up their minds.”

    Nice name.
    Designed by clowns, supervised by monkeys happened already with the 787 firm configuration. Till Boeing can’t get rid of the clowns and monkeys and change the culture, it will likely only be an alphabet and not a plane. ATM they still want to fire more QC staff.

    • AFAICS Boeing did not even have a viable plan at hand.
      What they did was the Microsoft gambit:
      Announce some fancy feature “thing” right next year that
      worked as a hold back on sales for the competition.

      Always delayed and never a fully satisfactory product.
      Rife with bugs and ignoring established standards.

      What broke this is IMHO the fact that the deciders around airchraft purchase are a lot less susceptible ( usually, counter: 787 ) to bullshit bingo attacks.

    • With hindsight Boeing had two options
      1 Launch the B737 MAX sooner thereby leaving Airbus to respond. Boeing clearly had preliminary design studies so they were NOT caught completely by surprise.
      2 Launch the NMA sooner before Airbus launches NEO. At the time Boeing is preoccupied with the B787 but it could have been done.

      The MAX 7/8/9 had to be done anyway. If the NMA was launched the MAX 10 probably wasn’t needed.

      If Boeing just hadn’t of done MCAS half properly responding to 2 sensors in agreement only but still not documenting the system properly all would have been well. It still might have killed people (say with a double bird strike on both sensors) but 10x less likely and 5-10 years into the MAX’s service instead of 1.

      • “2 Launch the NMA sooner before Airbus launches NEO”

        Boeing did not have a sufficiently advanced concept ready.
        Boeing did not have an idea about how to produce something new
        Boeing did not have an acceptable outlook on upcoming cost.

        And an EIS for this “NonSuch” plane was far out to the right.
        ( and maybe the horse will learn to sing.)

        To close: Boeing had no options beyond the _reactive_ MAX reengine PLUS a wide range of other changes.
        NMA was a bluff with no premeditated fallback.

        • I suspect you are right regarding the NMA but the B737-MAX could have been launched earlier. I don’t even know what the NMA was? Perhaps Boeing didn’t either. Was it a B757, A B767 or a B737 replacement.

          The hull loss MCAS failures of the MAX are a serious quality control and certifstion issue rather than an issue with the design of the aircraft because MCAS could have been implemented safely.

          I find it is a bitt rubbishy and aircraft, a fancy glass cockpit to dress up the aging and inadequate 60 year old systems underneath. Executed properly it should have kept Boeing earning money for at least 10 more years.

    • It’s a nice smooth read. I do a chapter a night till my wife demands I put the iPad down sometimes I argue and I read 2.

      Hopefully Scott will do an second edition when all the MAX MCAS legal preceding’s are over.

  4. The reason for the A320neo can be somewhat coupled to the US Airways Flight 1549 that Scully landed in the Hudson river. The number of narrow chord fan blade CFM56-5 powered A320’s increased as well as the population of Geese, so mathematically it would happen again like Ural Airlines Flight 178. The V2500 engine option has wide chord fan blades and can easier handle bird impacts. So having the CFMI LEAP-1C in development the choice was pretty easy to offer the -1A version on the A320neo to switch from the CFM56-5B. PWA thru IAE also got a chance to offer a new engine and chose a big fan PW1100G.

    • You are IMU turning things upside down.

      Airbus interest in GTF tech goes back to 2008 ( actually much further ) when they ran PW1000G tests on an A340-600.

      They wanted that engine _but_ via the IAE coop not P&W alone. ( burned by the abortive SuperFan and the A318 engine being mired.)

      The LEAP engine for the A320 is more or less an afterthought
      created because CFM could not accept dropping the A320 family as an installation target.

      • Ah yes, the end fate of the A340-600 was circa 2008. Not surprised it emerged as a test bed airplane for the GTF since no commercially minded airline wanted it. I am sure some enterprising firm is busy converting it into a water bomber as we speak.

        • Massive lack of grey matter.

          The deciding property of an airframes suitability to test engines is “4 engines”. your prototype on the wings acts up and you still have 3 remaining.
          So it is 747 of various ilk for the engine manufacturers,
          A340 and A380 for Airbus in house tests.

        • @Gabriel – There is an interesting chapter in the book on the whole A340 debacle.

          It sounds like the Germans at EADS and Lufthansa Airlines thought it was a good strategy but no one else. Even Leahy had issues with it but had to put a brave face on it.

          @Scott – Kudos on the book. I bought it yesterday and am about 1/2 way through. It is a real page turner.

          • @OldGooney: Thanks for the kind words. Please put a review up on Amazon…

        • “I am sure some enterprising firm is busy converting it into a water bomber as we speak.”

          Well, there was a 747 fire suppression tanker, but politically too costly to contract for and no longevity in USFS contracts so AFAIK it did not operate last summer.

          USFS did have three of 10Tanker on contract last summer (DC10s), OR may have a multi-year contract for one, CalFire, LA Country and other agencies contract for big helos and some fixed-wing tankers..

          AFAIK the DC10s and 747s do not go to Australia for their summer, Coulson Aviation’s 737s and C130s do, they dump about 4000USG. The Martin Mars dumps 7200USG, occasionally fights fires in the US.

          The big tankers can knock back a fire so prevent it from spreading as quickly, and lay down a fire break quickly using sequential opening of drop doors.

      • When I saw the PW1000G test on the A340-600, I was sure the GTF would come to the A320. Airbus would never have tested the GTF unless a) the data looked very good and b) they had serious interest in what the GTF could do but concerns considering P&W’s recent track record.
        To me the flight testing was always about confirming the data and getting a certain level of trust that the GTF would not break the A320 and if both would be confirmed during the test flights the GTF would be a go.

        I am still surprised that people did not take that test more seriously.

        • NdB, manufacturers study and test things to gain understanding of the technology.

          Mostly in back rooms, but flying an engine gets public.

          (One value of a real life test is to verify accuracy and honesty of offerer’s claims. In evaluating competing airliners at Pacific Western, we had to muse about who was being more optimistic in their claims.

          Airbus A310 chief pilot was gung ho abut airfield performance until we mentioned 5000 feet at 2500 feet ASL. But we had a tip that Airbus had a history of doing basic testing to get into operation then refining which might well get more book performance.

          As the A310, B757, and B767 had not yet flown we were doing educated guessing as to level of confidence in manufacturers predictions.

          But better than the days in which performance manuals for the B707 and L188 were based on fresh engines, KLM revised the manuals to reflect some in-service deterioration.

          • Guarantees can be useful but tend to be conservative.

            Except in the case of Convair’s jetliner fiasco – never made its transcon US guarantees despite tweaking like the ‘speed pods’ which were supposed to reduce drag (and IIRC increased fuel capacity).

          • I am not sure what you are trying to say.

            I know manufacturers study stuff, but how many times in the last 40 years has an aircraft manufacturer actually put a new engine on their own aircraft without it aklready been confirmed for a new platform? The only one I can think of is the GE36 UDF and Pratt & Whitney/Allison 578-DX on an MD-80 and an unducted fan was seriously considered for the upcoming MD-90 as well as Boeing 7J7. These test flights showed it was a no-go.

            You don’t study an engine by bolting it on an aircraft “just to try”. You only do that when it is to make a go/no-go decision. It is way too expensive to “study and test things “.

            Most other testbeds, like the A340 laminar flow testbed, are almost always part of a government grant sponsored research consortium.

            Again: I am still surprised that people did not take that test more seriously. You seem to be one of them.

  5. Before the United deal in 1992 Boeing lost a deal in 1988 for 34 aircraft when AirCanada opted for AirBus A320’s rather than 737NG’s. That after Boing spend money buying De Havilland hoping that that would sweeten the pot.

    That should have been the wake-up call.

      • Whoops, yes quite right. The quote from simplyflying was

        ″We’re very disappointed in Air Canada’s selection of Airbus…The new generation (Boeing) 737-400 would have provided Air Canada with airplanes featuring both proven technology and considerable Canadian content, airplanes which we felt would have best met the airline’s fleet replacement needs.″

        But by “Next Generation” they did not mean NG.

        • “Classic” vs “Jurassic” 🙂
          But Boeing would need another ten years
          for a sufficiently competitive product vs the A320 ( 737NG ).

          And again they tried the litigation path in lieu of providing
          a better product.

        • Interesting statement by Boeing “Proven technology” being such as the single rudder with single PCU that lead to several hard over rudder incidents, at least 2 total losses and likely several more. Effected both B737-100/200 and the CFM-56 powered aircraft. I’m glad Boeing got some competition. For the record A320 also has a single rudder but there are two actuators, both with bypass valves. One is active and the other is bypassed (in dampening mode). If an error occurs the faulty actuator is put into dampening mode and the other actuator takes over. It seems both the rudder PCU and MCAS were a case of experiments in cutting safety and then using shear volume of production to have the losses fade into statistical background.

          Boeing showed itself to be ruthless to any nation, company by fair means and foul in use of lobbyists, string pulling, legal attacks and so anything the competition does is kind of necessary to survive and even fair, unfortunately. Maybe that made Franz Josef Straus the ideal Airbus Chairman. The integration of Bombardier (really De Haviland Canada) into Airbus (and hopefully EADS) means Canada finally has a company under the protection of someone big enough to survive .

          • @William

            I replied to your similar comments in a previous thread

            I appreciate your drawing attention to the composite structure of Airbus, and your references to the role paid by Strauss in particular

            This is to underline the vast differences between US industrial Social economic practice and EU, especially, but everywhere else in fact, as currently in Asia

            The US ruling class dismissal of the necessity of infrastructure, even down to MIC, DoD, and aircraft OEMs, is startling at first, at second revealed to be, merely, corrupt

            Boeing is the poster baby for this – a folk story to illustrate the decline and fall – Skyfall !

          • @william ”The integration of Bombardier (really De Haviland Canada) into Airbus (and hopefully EADS)”
            What are you talking about ?????
            You seem to be mixing everything up (like a lot of people) De Havilland Canada (Toronto) build the Q400 only and not the CSeries (A220) (built in St-Laurent (cockpit /aft fuse) and Mirabel (FAL) QC); when De Havilland was part of Bombardier, they were also working on the Global buisness jets. They were never involved in the CSeries at all. De Havilland (and the empoyes working on the Q400) was sold to Viking (Longview Aviation Capital) who bought only the Q400. The production has now been stop (Q400) with little chance of starting again. The Global private jet and the workers remain Bombardier and Bombardier is in the process of building a new plan at Person Airport where the production will be transfered (from Downview airport) Bombardier was never sold to Airbus (nor was De Havilland ), it remain an independant company now focus on buisness jets. Airbus only bought the CSeries(A220) Get your facts strait please before putting a comment. Some peoples might believe what you wrote.

          • William, you are again confused.

            deHavilland Canada operation was sold by Bombardier to LongView Aviation Capital, owners of Viking Air. Longview/Viking now own rights to all of the products of deHavilland Canada which goes way back before the Beaver.

            Longview/Viking also own the Canadair CL415 water bomber line, which fights fires in WA state among other places.

            AFAIK Bombardier has oddly kept the Canadair/Learjet business jet line.

            Mitsubishi now owns the rights to Bombardier’s Regional Jet line, which gives it a support network that would be useful if it ever produces its own design that is paused for now. The BRJ is out of production. An odd split as the BRJ grew out of the Canadair Challenger business jet line that Bombardier still owns. But Bombardier was going broke.

          • @ Keith, The problem with the B737, DC9, Fokker Jet and less so DC3/DC4 they were based on is their primitive architecture of instruments and systems. Essentially they have two sets of instruments, for left side and right side cockpit, with separate power supplies from each engine. When one failed or displayed incorrect information the crew were supposed to figure out in time which one was correct and use that. This ‘mentality’ lead directly to a flawed MCAS system in the B737-8 MAX crashes where only one alpha sensor was used and only 2 available. The Fokker 100 and DC9 both were also ‘simplified’ in a similar way. Both lacked slats to save money which meant some total losses due to wing icing. Slats protect against wing icing very well. A DC9 ended up flying upside down and crashing because tail plane trim relied on a single Jack screw that dethreaded.

            In the 1967 B737-100 Boeing seems to have reasoned that loosing 120 passengers lives in a B737-100 was less important than loosing 180 on a B707-320 so a split rudder and hydraulic system wasn’t justified on costs. I put it to you that was the reasoning. Hence the single PCU yaw damper that lead to several hard over rudder losses.

            Unfortunately this mentality persisted in commercial aviation too long.

            The way to do this properly is to have 3 sets of instruments and sent all three to each side of the cockpit where a 2oo3 two out of three rule is used to deconflict things. Having two sets of actuators with one in duty and the other bypassed on standby is the other way to make aircraft sensibly safe. Hydraulic flow fuses and little things like non return valves on slat actuators.

            After the A320 (possibly A310) no new aircraft didn’t use these principles.

            The principles should have been applied a lot earlier. We have the French Engineer Test Pilot with the Alsatian name Bernard Ziegler to thank for bringing these to commercial aviation.

            History shows that the B737-700/800/900 NG were very safe aircraft. All the bugs were ironed out but as a cost in some lives. Unfortunately it wasn’t a good basis for building the MAX. The MCAS needed different principles. (now thankfully applied)

  6. Congratulations Scott! Great job in convincing the big gun Leahy to open up and share the story from the inside. Best wishes for the same. Cheers!

      • How about somebody cajoling a book out of Condit, Stonecipher, McNerny, or Muhlenberg?
        I’m sure there would be a wide audience for some inside stories of what it’s like being at the tip top of the monkey-supervising pyramid of clowns.

        • @JB

          Leahy can be known as speaking his mind, fluently, even while in situ

          Although I have not been able to read the book it’s likely he was extremely interesting and informative in conversation with Mr Hamilton (otherwise…)

          Those you mention almost certainly not, in fact the opposite

          The last BA one, as the present, stumble along in a kind of half remembered business school patois when they are not telescreen reading out PR nonsense

          • Agreed.
            In truth, I would not expect anything literary or even literate from this gang. Nevertheless, it might be entertaining to see one of them attempt to defend his legacy, and explain to us how his decisions were not an unbroken string of short-sightedness and stupidity, despite all evidence to the contrary.

            It would be like Nixon trying to defend his presidency…..of course,, easier to impeach a sitting President than a CEO of Boeing cause the President answers to an independent Senate, whereas the CEO answers to a “senate” of his buddies, ie the board.

          • Having a dinner conversation with ultra high IQ people and a bottle of wine is is usually extremely amusing. The jokes usually come thick and fast.

          • @William

            Well, maybe —

            -but getting them to go on the record and while sober is something else, then they revert to corporate type, they have no other option

            The criticism often handed out for contemporary corporate is that the single selection trait required and enforced is that of being able to execute that which they are told to do, full stop

            Look at Muilenberg behaving like a rabbit in the headlights when having to talk on the record about BA

          • But Airbus has bashers in it, such as the hypocritical ‘frankenplane’ snear.

            I wouldn’t belief half of what its sales people say.

            (In the late 70s Boeing sales people were class, Douglas’ slippery – guess which company is still in business?

            While Lockheed seemed timid despite having a very good replacement for 707s. (Lockheed was making sure it did not bribe, having been whacked hard for doing so in Japan.)

            BTW, the Boeing bashing riffraf in this forum who theorize about McD-D taking over Boeing should answer the questions: “Where did Phil Condit come from?” and “How did Stoncecipher became boss of Boeing?”.

        • “How about somebody cajoling a book out of Condit, Stonecipher, McNerny, or Muhlenberg?”

          Well, if you like spin – doubt you’d get the full story out of most of them (probably would out of McNerny who tried to improve Boeing’s culture but was slow to figure out that the 787 progam was in deep trouble).

          • keith said earlier ” BTW, the Boeing bashing riffraf in this forum who theorize about McD-D taking over Boeing should answer the questions: “Where did Phil Condit come from?” and “How did Stoncecipher became boss of Boeing?”.

            Suggest you try wiki for bios of Both
            Phil started in boeing on the SST ( 2707) program mid 60’s
            As to McD And Stonecipher – ditto re wiki bio

            Phil liked the Jack Welch GE management way and said so in a shareholder meeting ( In Huntsville – may 2001 ) As I recall

            Stony spent some time at Sunstrand in the late 80s- Harry made many trips to local office in Redmond – etc

            AS to the effects of GE-Welch- unless you ever worked for Boeing, you are unlikely to understand the difference Between bill allen, t wilson, frank shrontz, and Harry S and his followers in Boeing management and board. I got out before the Stonecipher-GE MDC virus -infected Boeing and morphed to current day. Try reading a book called Turbulence and Boeing for a clue.

  7. Congratualtions on the new book, will get a copy!

    Already in the late nineties Airbus was working with Pratt on a Geared Turbo Fan A320NG, the PW8000. Reliability & financial issues prevented the launch.

    A series of improvements was implemented on the A320E and after Airbus self tested the latest GTF on a A346 in 2008 it was ready to launch, which it did in late 2010.

    It remains a question how Boeing missed the writing at the wall and started developing something that could take 80 inch fans. Probably answered in Scott’s new book?

  8. “Today, airline executives are more apt to have a marketing background than an engineering one. Tells about safety measures in this time of increasing congestion in the skies.” An (…) crashed in (…), after takeoff, killing 271 people. Describes subsequent grounding of the (…), and the investigation into the crash. Tells about the F.A.A.’s inspection procedures, using industry engineers to certify equipment.”

    Amazing … 1982! Scott, I sincerely hope you did not just copy those chapters and auto-replace plane names.

    • Beware that regulators delegating some certification work is not new, has been practiced for several decades.

      The method brings intimate product knowledge into the certification process – that is good.

      There is a question of supervision by FAA and pressure within the design organization, which exists whether individual DERs or a company department is used. (Hello Sundstrand Data Control, for example.)

      But the 737MAX disaster had sleeping engineering executives, failure of internal process (safety analysis not revised as design morphed), FAA problems including inexperienced engineers and too few people, and perhaps other factors.

      But ignorant pontificators like to claim… (is ‘ignorant pontificators’ an oxymoron phrase?)

      • keith- I’m sure you know that for over a decade, The DER system was changed to ODA which allowed management to have more control over the ‘ FAA representatives ‘.
        And the rest is history

        • Uh, ‘Bubba2’, I know that both systems co-exist.

          Regulators may prefer ODA type of system for larger companies.

          There are many DERs today, I know one who is still active – worked the Mitsubishi airliner program, several were working the 787 program.

          • Well the driving issue re DER-ODA system was the SPEEA strike in 2000. Boeing had assumed that ‘ we dont need no stinkin injun-ears ‘ to produce planes. IAM could not join in the strike for a variety of reasons. So Boeing was correct, of course, few engineers do hands on re assembly, checkout, test, etc. But then came the issue of signoff and delivery requirements. The bean counters forgot the middle letter of DER meant ‘Engineering’. Boeing then tried to import outside of Commercial DERs to check and signoff as required. Turned out to be insufficient. A few other underhanded games an a bit of intimidation, etc were tried. Having to settle really grated on certain management- and the result a few years later was to give ‘ management’ a few more ‘ tools’ to avoid such a problem in the future- thus the ODA system was ‘ born ‘- As you are/were a DER,I’m sure you know the nitty gritty

  9. Scott,

    Congratulations for publishing the new book. I’m, going to get an Amazon account and download a copy on Kindle: I’m looking forward to reading it.


  10. For those not tried of taking Michael O’Leary seriously, there are literally hundreds of quotes trying to drum up interest from young gullible aircraft salesman and city types. Here’s one from a year ago.
    “until they need an order from Ryanair group, frankly we are wasting our time talking to Airbus”

    • “For those not tried of taking Michael O’Leary seriously,”

      Whoever you are talking about, you twig my mind to caution about believing blatherers like the Airbus sales person, and a few airline CEOs and heads of lessors.

      It’s called PR.

  11. Congratulations, I downloaded the kindle edition.
    Looking forward to read your take on that.

    Like it or not Leahy has been associated to Airbus success and he is now legendary.

  12. Bought on Kindle – happily reading – reached Chapter 3. Excellent writing and most informative

  13. Hey – how come this isn’t behind the pay wall?

    (It’s raining today, not much going on and I’m feeling a little silly. I’ll show myself out, now…)

  14. Yet another company offering 777P2F conversions:

    “Mammoth Freighters launch 777P2F conversion programmes”

    “Mammoth was founded in December 2020 by two aviation industry executives, Bill Wagner and Bill Tarpley, both serving as the company’s Co-CEOs. The Company is backed by private investment funds managed by Fortress Investment Group LLC and its affiliates (Fortress). The company has launched its Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) development programme with the plan to achieve FAA approval in the second half of 2023.”

    • Where will work be done? Perhaps FL.

      Elsewhere, a place in Oklahoma is touted to be an air cargo hub.

      Pitched sphere of service includes OK, most of TX which is growing, LA, and KS.

      I don’t know status of sub-hubs oif any of major package express carriers, they first set up their hubs in the Ohio River area with its Tennessee tributary – largest portion of US population was in the east. Operational mode was to fly packages to the hub then back out around the country. (Memphis, Nashville, and Wilmington – Fedex, UPS, and ABX.)

      Warehousing and service depots were built near those hubs.

      But as volume grows, it may be more efficient for local sorting hubs to segregate and load direct flights – which small freighters would facilitate. SEAPDX and those cities to California for example, which would allow later pickup and earlier delivery.

      (Amusing story: in looking at where packages were going to and from Airborne Express discovered cases of people shipping to other floors in the same building! Lazy/sloppy/inattentive?)

  15. “Wizz Air in talks over large Airbus jet order -Reuters”
    Also: EasyJet rejects takeover bid by Wizz Air, and instead seeks to raise $1.7B from shareholders (causing 9% drop in share price today)

    “PARIS, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Hungary’s Wizz Air is in negotiations with European planemaker Airbus over the purchase of at least 100 more narrowbody jets, industry sources said on Thursday.

    Talks began several months ago and surfaced as Wizz Air emerged as a suitor for rival easyJet and as Europe’s largest budget carrier, Ryanair , remained deadlocked with Boeing over a major jet purchase.

    Analysts say all three major European budget airlines are forecast to expand as the COVID-19 crisis further erodes the finances of national legacy carriers.

    Talks between Wizz Air and Airbus continued over the summer but the two sides are not yet ready to announce a deal, the sources said. Fleet purchase talks typically take months.

    Any deal would involve at least 100 aircraft, one of the sources said.

    Wizz Air, which has already ordered a total of 388 Airbus jets, declined to comment.

    A spokesman for Airbus said it always talks to customers about their needs but never comments on such discussions.

    Britain’s easyJet said earlier it had rejected a takeover approach, opting instead to raise $1.7 billion from shareholders and go it alone in an industry battling to recover from the pandemic.

    EasyJet declined to name its suitor, but a source familiar with the matter told Reuters it was Wizz Air . Both airlines declined to comment.”

    • Wizz air is largely owned by Indigo Partners (A private equity group specialising in transport investments) who in the USA own most of Frontier Airlines and several Central and South American LCC type airlines. Bill Franke, who is one of Indigo Groups founders is mentioned in Scott’s book. Leehy helped him restructure an airline and that ultimately lead to a good customer developing for Airbus. Wizz already operates out of the UK and has branches in the Middle East. If it took over Easy Jet it would be a force to be reckoned with. Wizz is operating at least one A330-200F.

  16. @Scott Congratulations!

    Will be available a Spanish version in the near future?

  17. In the margins of this post and the book BA v AB which promises a comprehensive guide to the past generation-

    Work is begun on the grand rivalries of the next : AB/BA v COMAC

    The tussle for Sich has entered a new phase – or – How the AB model of intra country co operation has proved successful, the China-Russia-Ukraine ? – AB ? upgrade may prove even more successful,109690103-art

    • As I posted last week, production of prototypes of the joint Sino-Russian CR929 widebody has now commenced in China:

      And Chinese certification / first deliveries of the C919 are expected before the end of this year:

      There’s no fundamental reason why a China-Russia aviation partnership can’t continue fruitfully, and there’s also no reason why it can’t be joined by other countries — though Ukraine isn’t likely to get chummy with Russia any time soon. Brazil might get in on the action, though, and Iran and Pakistan also have high-tech capability.

      • @Bryce

        I’m sure it’s too big a turnaround to be imminent but the Ukraine may well be advised to hedge their bets after the US abandoned them on Nordstream2, I think this means an upfront loss of 1.5B a year in a bankrupt economy

        The Russians will not stand down – and the US looks very….Kabut

        and to acknowledge the power of ever increasing China investment, and the mirage of much much more

        Ceci dit – There’s a lot of China investment in Brazil…..

    • Gerrard:

      Different situation, rivalries in western Europe are mild compared to some places, because at the end of the day they are democracies with common interests.

      Communist China and Russia are power enemies to some degree, have some cooperation but Russia only sold one aircraft turbine engine model to CC on the basis they’d be unable to open it to the core to copy it. (Meaning they’d have to return engines to Russia for repair/overhaul.)

      Ukraine is a variable situation, key aircraft of the USSR were designed in the Ukraine, but today it is almost an enemy of Russia because Russia tries to take it over.

  18. A nit Scott:
    “McDonnell Douglas was down to the MD-80, the final years of the DC-10, and the new MD-11.”

    The MD-11 is a warmed over DC-10, a derivative like Airbus and Boing do sometimes.

    The MD-80 morphed into MD-90 family, the final MD-95 version renamed by Boeing as 717 – I read that operators really liked that airplane, Delta operated quite a few (it is not dumb).

    • All purchased by Delta or American before the exclusive deal. That was your context.

  19. TheMD-11 was a comfortable plane for the passengers and had some improvements- but suffered from range guarantees even after the inclusion of the inboard trailing edge ‘wedge’ effort to correct/ As a result on long flights, Douglas had to pay for a few empty seats necessary to meet range such as from Europe to U.S polar routes.

    And after the mdc takeover of Boeing, the Douglas whizbang aero types infected Boeing commercial. So when the 737NG new wing had similar issues, they pushed Boeing to try it. Flopped- and thus was born the BBJ version with the neat looking aeropartners ‘ winglets ‘ which then morphed into the option on many 737 on order and the rest is history

  20. “Despite Airbus’s growth Boeing didn’t take Airbus or Leahy seriously until United Airlines rejected the 737-400 in favor of the A320 and A319 in a 1992 sales campaign, breaking Boeing’s monopoly at UAL. ”

    So how did that happen?

    Apparently sales efforts – likely including good communication, good product made efficiently, and attractive financial terms. Sometimes dissatisfaction with existing supplier is a huge factor.

    So Airbus succeeded in selling aircraft to UAL – there was no ‘monopoly’ in proper use of the word.

    And note that Airbus selling to a US airline was not a new phenomenon – it had sold A300s.

    “It was a stunning wake-up call for the Seattle company.”
    Indeed, many people need a wakeup call about how the world works, including pontificators.

    • United was not a participant in the exclusive sales agreements and, anyway, that deal was in 1992. The exclusive deals began in 1996.

  21. I also point out that money does not grow on trees – discounts to make a sale have to be made up somehow.

    Ancilliary services are often one desired way, but OEMs have a varied history of running hot and cold on those because they distract from Job 1 and their bureaucracies are not efficient.

    Cash is not the only way to discount, manuals, pilot training, initial spares batch, …..

    Boeing had an era in which sales people were limited in authority to discount, a new sales boss changed that. But somehow somewhere the money has to be made up. My article on monopolies points that out.

  22. I like the Jim Albaugh line in the book about how Boeing could have come out ahead if they just paid Leahy $10 million to sit in the corner.

    Boeing could have come out ahead IMHO if they would just paid Albaugh $10 million to sit in the corner.

    When he left the company suddenly with little fan fare, I wonder if his pay out exceeded $10 million.

  23. Agreed!
    The ODA system is another example of how the GE mafia has subordinated all other considerations, including safety, to immediate short term profit.
    Old Boeing understood the need for a strong, independent regulator to give the public confidence in the safety of flying. It would probably not wanted the ODA as it creates a conflict of interest, or at least, the appearance of a conflict of interest.
    But the post merger management obviously sees the FAA as just another speed bump on the freeway to accelerated profit and stock buy backs.
    PS: Does someone here not know that Condit was Boeing? Of course he was. He was the original “Moe”, who along with Stonecipher (Curly), and McNerny (Larry), put Boeing commercial on its current death spiral toward complete irrelevance.

    • John, you are being silly and inaccurate.

      Condit organized the merger of Boeing with McDonnell-Douglas, and appointed Stonecipher.

      Condit resigned after the USAF procurement officer scandal, symbolically to make a point to employees.

      Stonecipher resigned after being caught cheating on his wife, with a Boeing employee.

      OTOH, McNerny was conservative and well behaved, he tried to straighten out ethics in Boeing. For example:
      – he began a presentation with two numbers, that he then revealed as the prisoner numbers of the two people convicted in the procurement scandal, to make a point.
      – he told engineering managers that how they treated people would be a key factor in evaluation of them

      His big failure was missing the state of the 787 development mess, I recall that once aware he got it more on track.

      • Uhh keith- re your comments re Jim McNearny ( ex GE type BTW )

        His ” well behavior” is questionable at best – resulting in Unions filing age discrimination

        And of course his famous ” Welchian ” view of employees

        Bloomberg News: Jim, you have a birthday coming up next month. … Will you be at your desk, and has the Board approved you staying on past age 65?

        Jim McNerney, CEO: Yes, the heart will still be beating. The employees will still be cowering (laughing). I’ll be working hard; there’s no end in sight. We’re continuing to build the succession plan … But there’s no discussion of it yet. So you’ll still be asking questions of me.

        The result was that the noise of CYA covers slamming exceeded OSHA standards for workplace environment.

        His tenure at 3M AND Boeing was not exactly stellar- as the transition from post it notes was incomplete.

        But he did retire from Boeing with bucu bucks

  24. As to the effects of Jack Welch, GE, and McDouglas effects on Boeing and Aviation and FAA. In the early 2000s, the DER system sort of morphed into what is now known as ODA, which gave company management a bigger hammer to keep DER types in line- reason was supposedly efficiency and cost savings, yada yada yada

    And If I recall correctly- A McD senior engineer wound up as an Senior level Administrator involved in the ODA process during the time of 737 Max certification process

    But I could be wrong.

    • You often are wrong ‘Bubba2’.

      (Thanks for the ‘straight line’ I can launch off.)

      Douglas had many good engineers, many good features in the DC-10 but some poor. The DC8 and DC9 were good airplanes in general, many sold, flew for decades.

      Engineers do not necessarily make good administrators, but regardless you should name the ODA boss you criticize.

      • ” Engineers do not necessarily make good administrators, but regardless you should name the ODA boss you criticize.”

        ” Bahrami repeatedly defended the FAA’s practice of delegating much safety analysis to Boeing. However, Bahrami was not working at FAA when the agency certified the Max, and a former colleague said he has been treated unfairly.”

        Sure – from FAA files
        2012 Program Management EV-02 $179,700 $10,752 Renton, Washington
        2011 Program Management EV-02 $179,700 $15,141 Renton, Washington
        2010 Program Management EV-02 $179,700 $14,916 Renton, Washington
        2009 Program Management EV-02 $177,000 $0 Renton, Washington
        2008 Program Management EV-02 $172,200 $0 Renton, Washington
        2007 Program Management EV-02 $167,268 $0 Renton, Washington
        2006 Program Management EV-02 $158,352 $0 Renton, Washington
        2005 Program Management EV-02 $153,253 $0 Renton, Washington
        2004 Program Management EV-02 $147,706 $0 Renton, Washington

        June 2021
        The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that Ali Bahrami, its top safety official, will retire at the end of June.

        Bahrami has led the FAA’s aviation safety office since 2017 and previously was a manager for FAA in the Seattle area, overseeing approval of Boeing planes.

      • But for example from FAA site

        Ali Bahrami

        2019 Program Management EV-01 $192,300 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
        2018 Program Management EV-01 $187,000 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
        2017 Program Management EV-01 $187,000 $0 Washington, District of Columbia

      • ” Engineers do not necessarily make good administrators, but regardless you should name the ODA boss you criticize.”

        Ali bahrami- check his FAA record

        And prior to that he was for a while at Mickey Douglas

        Ali Bahrami
        Title: Program Manager
        Agency: Federal Aviation Administration

        Year Occupation Paygrade Base Salary Bonus Location
        2019 Program Management EV-01 $192,300 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
        2018 Program Management EV-01 $187,000 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
        2017 Program Management EV-01 $187,000 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
        2012 Program Management EV-02 $179,700 $10,752 Renton, Washington
        2011 Program Management EV-02 $179,700 $15,141 Renton, Washington
        2010 Program Management EV-02 $179,700 $14,916 Renton, Washington
        2009 Program Management EV-02 $177,000 $0 Renton, Washington
        2008 Program Management EV-02 $172,200 $0 Renton, Washington
        2007 Program Management EV-02 $167,268 $0 Renton, Washington
        2006 Program Management EV-02 $158,352 $0 Renton, Washington
        2005 Program Management EV-02 $153,253 $0 Renton, Washington

        And if I recall correctly- it was around 2004-5 that the ODÅ game at BA started

  25. Leahy selling aircraft worth $15 trillion seems odd. Assuming that the average aircraft price was $200M (which is very optimistic, supposing that the top-selling A32X cost $100M at most), he would have sold 75,000 airplanes. 10,000 A320 have been built so far.

    • Uhh- Keith ?? ” (Mixed values, Bill Boeing was racist.) ”

      Suggest you use other than wiki before you make such an assertion.
      Here is why
      Wash state constitution 1889
      Article 11 Section 33
      Ownership of lands by Aliens Prohibited

      Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which prohibited further Chinese immigration nationally
      And as a result – property exculsions were commonplace in not only Wash state but Oregon and California. And then there is Canada.

      But if Bill Boeing was a racist- then can you explain why the FIRST Engineer hired by Bill was Chinese ?

      During his lifetime, Wong designed more than two dozen aircraft.[6] In 2004, Boeing unveiled a plaque and exhibit at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, honoring Wong’s work as its first engineer.[7

      Wong Tsu
      Wong graduated from MIT with a degree in aeronautical engineering in 1916. He then learned to fly at the Curtiss Flying Boat School in Buffalo, New York. In May 1916, the fledgling Boeing Airplane Company hired Wong as their first trained aeronautical engineer.[1][2] He helped design the company’s first successful product, the Boeing Model C,[3][4] more than 50 of which the U.S. Navy purchased.[3] In light of the financial windfall brought from the Navy purchases, “from Bill Boeing onward, the company’s chief executives through the decades were careful to note that without Wong Tsu’s efforts, especially with the Model C, the company might not have survived the early years to become the dominant world aircraft manufacturer.”[4]

      As I recall, racial restrictions are still on most property deeds in the state , but it was the 1970s before the state passed a law declaring them invalid and not enforceable. For a variety of legal reasons well beyond my wheelhouse, such restrictions cannot be removed.

      Have a nice day

      • Bubba2:

        My reading is that Bill Boeing organized a housing development that excluded at non whites. WA laws allowing such do not erase the fact of Boeing’s act. Many people did not do what he did.

        Good if he did not discriminate in hiring, but note Wikipedia’s claim that non-white servants were allowed to live in the development.

        As for persons of Chinese and Japanese genetic background particularly, many were in the west of North America well before Bill Boeing started Boeing, and long before he and family organized the development on the north side of Seattle. For example many immigrated to be laborers building the Great Northern railway in Stevens Pass WA, to this day East Asian-origined plants live there that they planted to provided familiar food.

        • Amazzing your insight to Bill Boeing based on a short note in wiki- Thats like blaming every canadian for their historical racist treatment of natives.
          Suggest that your version of Bill Boeings attitudes are not really topical or of significance re this Blog- thread. You are entitled to your opinion of course as Am I- but please bloviate it in another forum.

        • Bunch of Italians also worked to build the GN through Stevens Pass, but of course they were almost white ;-).

          On a sideroad loop in Stevens Pass is an old bread oven used by Italian labourers. Their descendants still like thick bread. 🙂

  26. Two more examples of sloppiness and worse in writing:

    Simple Flying’s article on Air Canada’s choice of the A320 instead of the B737 claims that Boeing was Air Canada’s supplier at the time. But Air Canada flew L1011s until 1996 (eventually replaced by the more efficient B767) and DC-9s until 2002, both past the time of the choice of A320. So the article is misleading at best.

    The word ‘hack’ is widely used, including in the phrase ‘life hack’ which apparently means making a change in your life to fix it. The word is infamous for unauthorized thus illegal messing with computer programs – it is like ‘break and enter’. Tech geeks may use it for modifying hardware. IMJ it is shallow and misleading.

    (The title of the book Scott Hamilton is now promoting not only includes the term ‘war’ but ‘combat’ – both properly used only for violence.)

    People who want to rationally communicate something would do better using plain language instead of mis-using words which confuses people as it morphs conceptual understanding.

    And getting facts right would help the Simple Flying blog, but at least they didn’t explicitly say ‘exclusive’ or ‘monopoly.

    Otherwise, for grins I’ll point to a marketing name in a fundamentally different context – Exploit Valley Airlines. Named after a river in Newfoundland that was an important transportation route for several millennia.

    • And if anyone from Simple Flying blog is reading they should take heed that they hide from pointing to their errors thus cannot even think about correcting them.

  27. keith s said

    ” Sign.

    ‘Bubba2’ babbles by repeating snips of what I said first.

    What is his game?”

    Althuough I made anouther post with a fuller explanation

    I’ll simply say Clarification as to which sippet by whom I am responding

    Most think it is just polite.

  28. And for grins, in the large dusty file of paper airplanes, is the Kawasaki PXL.

    A four-engine version of the Original 737, for maritime patrol. Probably sensors on wingtips, larger nose radome for better radar, some illustrations show tail MAD detector and what probably is HF probe antenna on top of fin, different engine mounting. Sounds like a costly development. Japan instead purchased the Lockheed P-3C four-engine turboprop, built under license in Japan.
    Of course the P3C is being replaced by the 737-based P-8, after Lockheed botched improvement of the P-3 under P-7 name. The P-8 carries pods/weapons under outboard wings.

  29. “You don’t study an engine by bolting it on an aircraft “just to try”. You only do that when it is to make a go/no-go decision. It is way too expensive to “study and test things “.

    Uh, that is what was done to test unducted fans and such?

    You overlook the value of evaluation testing in the big picture of making decisions with huge financial implications.

    Of course an airframe manufacturer might test a new engine selected for a new airplane model, on another airplane. Sounds like Boeing should have done that with the original JT8D-9 for the 747, might have discovered the bending/ovalizing problem.

    (That article gives a glimpse of the precision in a turbine engine – a twentieth of an inch distortion caused the problem.)

    The Dash 80 may have been used to test later large engines, P&WC operates a 747SP replacing their 720 to test all P&W engines, GE a 747, Rolls has used 747s, etc. Someone tested a large engine on a B52:

    • re dash 80

      Having launched the Boeing Company into the commercial jet age, the Dash 80 soldiered on as a highly successful experimental aircraft. Until its retirement in 1972, the Dash 80 tested numerous advanced systems, many of which were incorporated into later generations of jet transports. At one point, the Dash 80 carried three different engine types in its four nacelles. Serving as a test bed for the new 727, the Dash 80 was briefly equipped with a fifth engine mounted on the rear fuselage. Engineers also modified the wing in planform and contour to study the effects of different airfoil shapes. Numerous flap configurations were also fitted including a highly sophisticated system of “blown” flaps which redirected engine exhaust over the flaps to increase lift at low speeds. Fin height and horizontal stabilizer width was later increased and at one point, a special multiple wheel low pressure landing gear was fitted to test the feasibility of operating future heavy military transports from unprepared landing fields.

      future heavy was what became C-5
      also used to ‘ test ‘ flying boom
      And for the young ones

      Look up the sales pitch by tex johnson doing a slow roll over lake washington during seafair

      never mentioned in local papers at the time- even with thousands of viewers

  30. Keith,
    Please tell me exactly what wrote which is inaccurate?
    You mention that Condit “organized” the merger. (So what? When did I say he did not??? This is common knowledge!!!)
    Answer me this simple question yes or no, has the net effect of the merger on Boeing commercial been positive or negative.
    If positive, how do you justify the $20 billion lost on the disastrous 787 development program and the 346 lives and additional $20 billion squandered on the Max.
    And what about the market share tanking from 60% at the time of the merger to no more than 40% now???
    What is your answer, Keith? Well, according to a University of Heidelberg study…..???

    • Objection! ‘Bubba2’ – you fail logic.

      I criticized one individual, Bill Boeing, you extrapolate that to a country’s voters in total. (As they elected scummy politicians. Should be a logic test in voter registration, there is some qualification test for immigrants to get citizenship but one of The Squad in US Congress has not remembered it, instead follows Marxism. (Which praises contradictions.)

      As for ‘servant’, my point is that they are employees, hired by racists.

      Elsewhere you try to smear me – you are scummy.

      • HEY KEITH- I dont know who you quoted- it wasn’t me when you started with

        ‘ Objection! ‘Bubba2’ – you fail logic.” ” I criticized one individual, Bill Boeing, you extrapolate that to a country’s voters in total.”

        As I tried to point out in a previous post- wordpress has a semi- fubar comment system, making it difficult to reply to a given post IF one is not first

        As to Bill Boeing- and racism- check tdhe history of the west coast going back to the 1800.s and the state of washington in particular and what the various state legislatures wrote into law.

    • John

      Your ‘GE mafia’ and ‘Moe’ and Heidelberg is silliness or worse. I could say you should grow up, or just be pleased you expose yourself.

      As for Condit, I made a point that he was Boeing from the start of his engineering and management career – not one of the McD-D types who the ‘usual suspects’ herein like to bash. Many people blather in this forum like to fantasize instead of checking facts about who people are and were.

      And that Condit organized the merger of Boeing and McD-D. He put Stonecipher in a position of authority, in part to get some toughness in management as he considered himself too weak. (That’s his statement in interviews.)

      Condit organized moving Boeing’s headquarters to a city without a plant, to get top management out of day-to-day activities. (Which only works if communication is clear and sound values taught and enforced including by firing people.) At that time Boeing the larger had plants in St. Louis (figher aircraft), southern California (space and waning Douglas operation), probably in the southern US for the US’ space program, of course several in the Puget Sound area, and a few smaller operations such as Spokane, Oregon, and Canada.

      Yes, convicted criminal Michael M. Sears came out of McDonnell via Douglas.

      Then you veer off into hindsight on the merger, I am not bothering to go there especially not with you.

      As for the ODA system of delegation, it is in fact an FAA system. Other countries use an equivalent, like Canada.
      An advantage is better coordination – indeed, FAA have occasionally appointed a DER employee as ‘DER Coordinator’ for a company with several DERs but no ODA.

  31. John B – you are correct of course- but dont expect a rational answer from K. After the SPEEA strike in 2000, the shareholders meeting was held in Huntsville to avoid the locals in Seattle. AT that meeting Phil mentioned his admiration for the Jack Welch method of treating employees, etc

    And it was the merger- GE-MacDac refugees who screwed up the Tanker lease arrangements after 911 by all sorts of cost and delivery and rework games along with Dryun and friends.

    The 777 was the last real ” boeing ” airplane designed, partially fabricated( including subs ) and fully assembled in house, With ETOPS out of the box that was and still is a success.

    And Stonecipher was not the only top exec caught fishing off the company pier which aided in his choice to resign.

    • Oh ‘bubba2’ who could be wrong.

      “the shareholders meeting was held in Huntsville to avoid the locals in Seattle. ”

      Do you have evidence of your claim, whereas it is common practice for boards to hold meetings in cities where they have operations or customers. (Pacific Western held one in Regina for example.)

      Tip: Boeing has several operations in Huntsville Alabama, mostly space and defence. Has had for over half a century.

      • keithS said ” Oh ‘bubba2’ who could be wrong.

        “the shareholders meeting was held in Huntsville to avoid the locals in Seattle. ”

        Do you have evidence of your claim, whereas it is common practice for boards to hold meetings in cities where they have operations or customers. ? ”

        1) I wuz there in Huntsville
        2) It was after the SPEEA strike
        3 ) The WSJ is a reasonably responsible publication on business issues

        EXTRACT below

        Boeing Reaches for New Frontiers Through Global-Image Campaign
        By Jeff Cole and Kathryn KranholdStaff Reporters of The Wall Street Journal
        May 1, 2000 12:35 am ET

        . . .Monday, at its annual meeting in Huntsville, Ala., Boeing is looking to turn that around by unveiling a $50 million advertising campaign. With a toe-tapping tune and shots of rockets, jets, and satellites, Boeing tries to set the stage for its future with a new tagline: “Boeing Forever New Frontiers.”

        ” Surveys conducted and released by Boeing last year show notable drops in employees’ confidence that the company is making changes necessary to compete successfully, and that their jobs are secure. Chairman and Chief Executive Phil Condit has suggested the declines stem partly from continuing layoffs. Most recently, a bitter 40-day strike by 17,000 engineering-related workers further damped morale. That dispute over pay, benefits and the elusive issue of “respect” ended in March.

        have a nice day ,.!..

  32. William, the Original B737 had a comparator system, a row of amber lights above each pilot’s primary instruments, to alert of a discrepancy between left and right systems.

    And an Approach Progress Display system of two columns of lights for phases of the approach that went amber for armed then green for captured. Impressive to watch in Pacific Western’s flight testing of retrofitting B737 instrumentation into a B707.

    But pilots have to pay attention – the Captain of a FirstAir B737 into Resolute Bay Nunavut ignored the display when the autopilot flipped to heading hold mode, and ignored the F/O.


  33. Uwe
    September 12, 2021
    Its is the proper response to posts that show large distance to facts and logic. 🙂”

    Oh, right, the standard tactic of trying to turn things backwards, etc.

    Clever of you to expose your mentality, all the better to show credibility. :-o)

  34. Bubba2
    September 18, 2021
    “Well the driving issue re DER-ODA system was the SPEEA strike in 2000. Boeing had assumed that ‘ we dont need no stinkin injun-ears ‘ to produce planes. …. Having to settle really grated on certain management- and the result a few years later was to give ‘ management’ a few more ‘ tools’ to avoid such a problem in the future- thus the ODA system was ‘ born ….”

    You make the bizarre claim that having an ODA system of Engineers signing off on design changes and repairs would eliminate dependence on Engineers in a DER system, when in reality either way Boeing’s Engineers were on strike.

    You continue to Babble, and could be considered racist with your language.

    (SPEEA being another union, the one that hosted a video praising the despot who cost the lives of many people in Venezuela.)

    • This final rule establishes the Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program. The ODA program expands the scope of approved tasks available to organizational designees; increases the number of organizations eligible for organizational designee authorizations; and establishes a more comprehensive, systems-based approach to managing designated organizations. This final rule also sets phaseout dates for the current organizational designee programs, the participants in which will be transitioned into the ODA program. This program is needed as the framework for the FAA to standardize the operation and oversight of organizational designees. The effect of this program will be to increase the efficiency with which the FAA appoints and oversees designee organizations, and allow the FAA to concentrate its resources on the most safety-critical matters.

      This amendment becomes effective November 14, 2005

      Impact on Individual Designee Programs

      As noted in the NPRM, the FAA expects that a significant number of individual designees who work for larger organizations will become members of an ODA Unit and give up their individual designee status. The FAA may allow an ODA Unit staff member to remain a designee provided that there is a sufficient amount of designee work outside of his ODA activity to warrant continuation of the designee authority. The FAA applies this same philosophy to existing designees that are staff members for DAS, DOA, or SFAR 36 organizations. As commenters to the NPRM note, we do not expect that the ODA program will significantly reduce the number of consultant DERs, and the need for consultant DERs will remain dependent on their level of activity.

      And your problem is what ?

      The above effectively alllowed Boeing to bring in outside ” DER” types to continue deliveries in case of a strike by Boeing-SPEEA Engineers which included DER types. Not all engineers in Boeing join SPEEA and need not honor strike lines.

      AS to racist claim – typical fall back position when devoid of facts

      Have a nice day ,.!..

  35. Just finished reading my copy. A very good read, thank you very much for writing it! I bought my own copy after hints of what would make a suitable Christmas present went unheeded…

    It’s interesting speaking to Airbus people about Leahy – he is quite a legend within the company, all the way from top to bottom. And from some of the numbers in your book, e.g. $2trillion in business brought in, it’s easy to see why.

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