“If something requires us to cease production, we will do that:” FAA

By the Leeham News Team

March 13, 2024, © Leeham News: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering whether to suspend the Production Certificate of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) if it’s not satisfied changes to its safety culture are sufficient, LNA has learned.

FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker. Credit: FAA

It’s the “nuclear option” LNA has written about on previous occasions following the Jan. 5 in-flight accident/explosive decompression of a Boeing 737-9 MAX operated by Alaska Airlines. Already under heightened scrutiny by the FAA, Boeing took yet another in a series of safety blows when a special panel of experts appointed by the FAA to independently review Boeing’s safety culture issued a scathing report on Feb. 26.

The FAA levied fines—and suspended some of them—for previous safety violations 36 times, according to a tracking website. And despite pledges and actions taken to improve safety following the 2018-2019 MAX crisis, Boeing still has fallen short.

Now, with an intensive FAA audit of the 737 production line, the FAA yet again found lapses. The FAA on Feb. 29 gave Boeing 90 days to come up with an actionable plan and shape up. It did not say what would happen if Boeing either fails to produce an acceptable plan or fails to implement it satisfactorily.

And, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair complained Boeing is withholding information in the investigation into the Alaska Airlines MAX 9 accident.

The ultimate option is to suspend the Production Certificate that authorizes Boeing to build commercially-based airliners. Such a move would have huge political and economic implications, however.

Related Stories

Latest from the FAA

“The FAA’s six-week audit of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems, prompted by the January 5 incident involving a new, Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft, found multiple instances where the companies allegedly failed to comply with manufacturing quality control requirements. The FAA identified non-compliance issues in Boeing’s manufacturing process control, parts handling and storage, and product control,” the FAA stated on March 4.

“To hold Boeing accountable for its production quality issues, the FAA has halted production expansion of the Boeing 737 MAX, is exploring the use of a third party to conduct independent reviews of quality systems, and will continue its increased onsite presence at Boeing’s facility in Renton, Washington, and Spirit AeroSystems’ facility in Wichita, Kansas,” the FAA continued.

“By virtue of our quality stand-downs, the FAA audit findings and the recent expert review panel report, we have a clear picture of what needs to be done. Transparency prevailed in all of these discussions,” Boeing said in response to the FAA’s statement. “Boeing will develop the comprehensive action plan with measurable criteria that demonstrates the profound change that Administrator Whitaker and the FAA demand. Our Boeing leadership team is totally committed to meeting this challenge.”

Any plan to upgrade the Safety Management System (SMS) will take months to implement. It’s also likely that any program Boeing outlines to the FAA will include changes that will also take months or more to implement.

But changing a safety culture that’s been declining for years can’t be changed overnight. And Boeing’s track record of agreeing to improvements in the past and implementing them is filled with FAA findings of failure and fines.

So, what’s the ultimate hammer the FAA has? It’s suspending the PC 700 certificate, and this is under consideration, LNA is told.

Production Certificate

Boeing holds what’s known as a Production Certificate, named PC 700. This allows Boeing Commercial Airplanes to produce commercial airlines and military aircraft that are based on airliners. The latter include the P-8A Poseidon, which is based on the 737-800 Next Generation model that precedes the troubled MAX. It also includes the KC-46A refueling tanker, based on the twin-aisle 767-200ER passenger jet. The 767 passenger model is no longer in production. The 767-300ERF cargo airplane remains in production until 2027 when its engines no longer meet federal standards for noise and emissions.

PC 700 also covers the legacy 777, the new 777X, the 737 MAX, and the 787. The legacy 777 is now produced only as a freighter at a rate of about two per month. The 777-9, the first of three members of the 777X family, is being produced at about one-half airplane a month. The MAX is authorized for a production rate of 38/mo but in reality, is sometimes as low as about 20/mo. Boeing said the 787 rate hit 5/mo by year-end last year.

A PC 700 authorization was also required for the big storage sites from March 2019 through today after the global regulators grounded the MAX fleet for 21 months. Boeing built about 450 MAXes from March through December 2019 when production was suspended. Officials, and others, thought the grounding would be a matter of months in justifying continued production. Production resumed at a low rate the following year. Aircraft were stored in Moses Lake (WA), San Antonio (CA), and Victorville (CA). PC 700 authorization was needed for each facility.

After fixes to the MAXes were approved by the FAA—an arduous process—Boeing installed and integrated fixes at these “shadow factories,” another reason for the PC 700 authorization. For a variety of reasons, Boeing still has about 140 MAXes in inventory.

787 Suspension

In October 2020, Boeing suspended delivery of the 787 due to production issues at the Charleston (SC) factory. About 110 787s were produced during a 20-month suspension. After another arduous process to gain FAA approval for the fixes, Boeing is doing rework on these inventoried airplanes at Charleston and its former 787 production line in Everett (WA). There are still 787s in inventory, as rework takes longer than it did to build the aircraft.

Nuclear Option

If the FAA isn’t satisfied with Boeing’s corrective actions, what more can it do?

The FAA on Feb. 29 gave Boeing 90 days to develop an actionable plan in response to the Feb. 26 Expert Panel study. The FAA has capped production at the rate of 38/mo for now. The FAA still retains ticketing authority for the 737 and 787. The FAA has extra people on the floor at Renton and perhaps elsewhere. Since 2000, the FAA has levied about $163m in fines to Boeing for various safety and settlement violations, in some cases for failure to honor settlement agreements reached previously. This amounts to an average of $744,000 per year from 2000 through 2023. It’s peanuts for Boeing, the cost of doing business.

The FAA declined to comment beyond a previously issued statement by the FAA administrator, Mike Whitaker. “Making foundational change will require a sustained effort from Boeing’s leadership, and we are going to hold them accountable every step of the way, with mutually understood milestones and expectations.” The spokesman declined to answer a follow-up question. But there was no denial or confirmation.

However, in a press conference on March 11, the FAA Administrator was asked about the prospect of suspending Boeing’s production.

FAA will suspend production if necessary

“If we see something that requires us to cease production or pull something down, we will do that,” Whitaker said. “But we’re continuing that oversight and we’re working with Boeing and demanding that they come up with a very detailed plan within the next 90 days to fix the quality issues that are out there. And while that work is going on, we will continue to increase our oversight to ensure the planes that are getting their airworthiness certificates are safe airplanes. We are certifying the airplanes as they come off. And right now, with our oversight, we’re certifying them as safe.”

In a terse exchange last week between Boeing and the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, the NTSB chief accused Boeing of withholding information required for the investigation of the Jan. 5 Alaska Airlines accident. Boeing denied the Congressional testimony of the NTSB chair, whose spokesman doubled down on the accusation. The Seattle Times reported that Boeing implied that documentation of work involving the door plug on the Alaska airplane doesn’t exist.

Ramifications of suspending PC 700

If the FAA imposed a full suspension of PC 700, all 7-Series airliners would be affected. So would the commercially-based P-8 and KC-46A. Deliveries of the inventoried aircraft likely would be suspended.

The FAA could choose to segregate the PC 700 more narrowly. The 777 line, for example, doesn’t seem to have had the same level of quality control issues as the 737 or 787 lines. The 767/KC-46A line has had QC issues, but also not at the same level or severity as Boeing’s two bread-and-butter airplanes. The P-8 is based on the MAX predecessor, the 737NG. LNA hasn’t heard of any significant QC issues with this line. Keeping military deliveries intact and minor QC issues might exempt PC 700 suspension of these two lines.

Boeing-made spare parts would also be affected under a suspension of PC 700. According to a Boeing document reviewed by LNA and available on the Internet, “Parts ordered by Boeing are to be produced pursuant to our PC 700 production certificate.”

A suspension could be for a short time or as long as the FAA deems appropriate.

The 767 tanker and freighter and the P8, while not running like clockwork, do not appear to have issues of significance worthy of program shutdown which would occur if Boeing’s production certificate was suspended. The same can be said for the 777 program.  Production of the 787 is more problematic, but based on what’s publicly known, suspending this PC 700 does not appear warranted.

However the FAA views the safety factors that would lead to a suspension, the political and economic implications are huge.

Campaign issue in election year

It’s an election year. There is bipartisan Congressional criticism of Boeing, including from Congressional members from Washington State where the 737, 767, KC-46A, P-8A, and 777 are built. Despite the bipartisan nature, if the FAA suspended the PC 700 authority, the damage to Boeing and the affected supply chains would undoubtedly be subject to criticisms of President Joe Biden by Republicans.

The economic impact in Washington State, which is reliably “blue,” Kansas, where Spirit AeroSystems is located, would be significant. Kansas is a “red” state. Key suppliers are scattered throughout the US in red, blue, and swing states. There is little doubt a suspension would become a campaign issue of Republicans vs Democrats.

Suspending the production certificate of any 7 Series line would have export economic impact, especially if the 737 PC 700 is suspended. The 737 is by far Boeing’s most prolific export. Boeing is a key player in the balance of trade with other nations.

Of course, economic vs safety issues would be a hard argument for Republicans to make. But in election campaigns, realities don’t often matter.

The 737 line is another matter

Segregating the 737 line in the event of a PC 700 suspension would seem to make the most sense and greatest impact.

Analysis of Boeing’s operations shows that Boeing has lost the handle on 737 production. There is a not unreasonable desire to stop that production while Boeing gets its act together. Boeing has many certification questions where quality has called into question their privilege of delivery of aircraft. The MAX is at the forefront of these issues.

There is a data tracking process for all Boeing commercial aircraft called the Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS). This is a line-by-line description of each and every version/model of an airplane ever certified by Boeing.

TCDS includes general information about the design such as dimensions, wing loading, limiting airspeeds and required placards and markings, control surface travel, engine installations, and, where applicable, approved engine/propeller combinations.

In practice, the ‘datasheet’ is more likely to be a lengthy document or an electric file.  This means that the MAX 8 and MAX  9 live on discreet TCDS lines and that the FAA may limit the production of specific TCDS lines by reference.  This would allow the FAA a surgical method of restricting the delivery of problematic aircraft while allowing product from lines running “acceptably” to continue to provide operational cash to Boeing which would be strangled by a restriction of revenue.

If you combine the production limitations available through the TCDS references along with the timelines called out for Boeing to get programs in place to fix quality problems, you create an environment where the focus of Boeing can be restricted to what is broken, the 737 program.

After the FAA agrees the new programs work, it can roll out the program cooperation by selectively using each TCDS line to schedule the changeover throughout the corporation by using the discreetly defined TCDS references to segment the corporation into a number of work groups that can be changed sequentially.

Cultural change and the TCDS

Boeing needs to make a cultural change. It’s hard and can’t be done all at once.  The TCDS allows Boeing to identify a path forward where you can rack and stack the corporate elements worst-to-best and work them sequentially.  The FAA would probably accept this. The FAA retains TCDS line control of the production, and Boeing would appreciate the time a sequential approach to meet the FAA’s timeline mandates.

Recent Boeing statements

Boeing issued two statements since Saturday in response to news about the FAA’s six-week audit (reported in the New York Times on Saturday) and the FAA’s press conference.

These statements are reprinted in their entirety.

Message from Stan Deal in response to the DOT/FAA press conference


Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Credit: Boeing.

As we conduct quality stand downs across our company, your improvement ideas have been invaluable. We have used your feedback, and those from our regulator and customers, to take immediate actions to strengthen our safety and quality. These actions are central to a comprehensive plan we will soon deliver to the FAA.

In this update, I want to address two recent independent assessments of our operations, discuss our actions to date, and call out two things we must all do.

FAA production audit
FAA inspectors went deep into our Renton factories in January and February to audit our production and quality control. They examined 737 work instructions, monitored mechanics, inspected for defects, and more. The vast majority of our audit non-compliances involved not following our approved processes and procedures.
In addition to the steps we have taken to enhance quality, such as adding layers of inspections, our team has taken prompt action to ensure understanding and compliance with our requirements, including:

  • Working with each employee noted with a non-compliance during the audit to ensure they fully understand the work instructions and procedures
  • Implementing weekly compliance checks for every 737 work cell, as of March 1
  • Dedicating time in each shift for mechanics to complete compliance and FOD sweeps
  • Auditing all toolboxes and removing any box that isn’t fully compliant
  • Planning additional audits this month of the 737 program to ensure full compliance

Expert panel review
A panel of industry experts spent much of 2023 reviewing Boeing’s Safety Management System (SMS) as part of a mandate from the U.S. Congress. The panel recently issued a 50-page report of their findings.

  • The experts found our SMS reflects global standards, but our procedures are too complicated, we change them too much, and we can do more to connect metrics to the safety outcomes we want.

Our teams are working to simplify and streamline our processes and address the panel’s recommendations. Meanwhile, here are two things each of us must do to strengthen safety and quality at Boeing.

  1. Precisely follow every step of our manufacturing procedures and processes. These have been designed to ensure conformance to specifications and compliance to regulatory requirements. We can and should update procedures and processes, but until then, we must adhere to the existing ones.
  2. Always be on the lookout for a potential safety hazard or quality escape. If you spot an issue, you are fully empowered to report it through your manager or the Speak Up portal, so we address it right away rather than travel the risk to the next person or position.

Progress so far
Our teams are making progress in several critical areas, including:

  • Reducing traveled work in our factories, including minimizing the need for rework of parts coming from our suppliers. Through our collaboration with Spirit AeroSystems, we have implemented additional inspection points at their facility in Wichita. As such, starting March 1, teams there have been ensuring first-pass quality before any fuselages are shipped to Renton.
  • This week, we will deploy our Safety Management System to conduct new reviews of traveled work within our four walls. We will assess our status in the factory and, if needed, put mitigation plans in place. We will not hesitate in stopping a production line or keeping an airplane in position.

We have more to do and you play an important role. The quality stand downs have been a great platform to surface ideas and we have more of those planned this month. Meanwhile, please continue to raise concerns, anonymously or otherwise, via Speak Up. Thank you for strengthening our commitment to compliance and ensuring safety and quality in all that we do.


Statement in response to NY Times article

“Based on the FAA audit, our quality stand downs and the recent expert panel report, we continue to implement immediate changes and develop a comprehensive action plan to strengthen safety and quality, and build the confidence of our customers and their passengers. We are squarely focused on taking significant, demonstrated action with transparency at every turn.”



178 Comments on ““If something requires us to cease production, we will do that:” FAA

  1. Boeing needs a SERIOUS house cleaning. I’ve been incessantly stating over the years Boeing Management and the BOD need to be removed and replaced with competent people. Looks like the old McDonnell Douglas management travesty is in full force.

    Legal authorities need to be involved to see if anyone from Boeing management (and even employees) are criminally liable.

    Finally, I wonder if there is a way to “claw back” money from previous management (though I doubt it).

    The same holds true for Spirit (of which I’m a shareholder) and other suppliers as well.

    This is NOT acceptable by Boeing or any other aviation/aerospace company.

    • “Boeing needs a SERIOUS house cleaning. ”

      Go for the “cancer” equivalence.

      Invasive removal of cancer may kill the patient nonetheless.

      marginally OT re the title:
      FAA cannot “cease” production. ( they don’t produce anything.)
      What they can do is “stop” or even “terminate” production at Boeing.
      Withdrawing the production cert would be a “terminate” step?
      ( with stop allowing resume while terminate would require a from new certification )

      • I never said it has to be done all at one time so your “cancer” analogy might not hold.

        Don’t know what FAA has or hasn’t the authority to do however they are influential and the last thing Boeing needs would be a recommendation from the FAA to halt production.

      • Since Airbus and Boeing share the same suppliers the Boeing troubles potentially weaken the Airbus supply chain as well. If Boeing has to buy Spirit to save it, maybe Airbus needs to buy Boeing to keep it from crashing the whole aviation supply chain?

  2. The notion that the captured FAA is going to to revoke
    Boing’s production certificate is laughable. Oh, maybe
    for a day or so, as PR Theatre..

    The corporatist tail now wags the nominal governmental, regulatory Dog. This has been so for some time, though the “let’s pretend” ethos has been strong.

    A falsifiable prediction: nothing much will change in the near term. We’re still in the ‘Theatre’ stage, where the Few can reliably protect themselves from what the Many experience every day. That won’t last forever, though.

    • It’s worth considering the international consequences. If the FAA itself revokes Boeing’s production certificate, then so (in effect) does CAA, EASA, CAAC, and all the others (in that they won’t grant Boeing a production certificate of their own, behind the FAA’s back).

      However, if the FAA then reinstates it two days later, the FAA will have to supply a reason why not just to the US public but to the CAA, EASA, CAAC. Whilst the FAA and their Congressional masters might be able to play commercial-political games within the USA, that won’t wash abroad. Either Boeing are fit to produce, or they’ve not. If they’ve been judged unfit, an overseas regulator is going to have a hard time believing that all is now well 2 days later.

      So the scenario you’ve outlined has the potential to kill Boeing as a commercially viable concern, even if the US sees no further problems.

      This is what the US Congress and Boeing seems to have forgotten. The credibility of the FAA abroad is vital to Boeing’s ability to sell abroad. If overseas regulators decide “this is nothing but a political **** show”, then they’re hardly likely to tell their own governments / public that it’s OK to accept and fly new Boeing’s over their territory. They have the sovereign right to act as they see fit, no matter what the FAA / Congress thinks.

      And there’s many other things that outside observers are worried about.

      The political involvement in the NTSB’s investigation of door-plug gate is also troubling (congressional members seemingly bent on turning the lack of “who did it?” info from Boeing into a witchhunt for the individuals). That is not a proper part of a healthy safety culture. The NTSB to their credit is rightly pointing this out, but the very fact that they’re having to point this out is problematic. Congress or its members can and might overrule the NTSB, possibly just for the electoral kicks.

      There’s also been numerous warning signs that all was not well inside Boeing long before the door plug blew out, and the fact that it took a near disaster to provoke this renewed regulatory inquisitiveness doesn’t help. It encourages a view that FAA intervention in aviation safety matters is still reactive, not proactive.

      It doesn’t matter why that is; politics, resource constraints, legal jurisdiction, etc. To an outside observer, all that matters is that the US regulatory machine only ever seems to get properly sharp toothed when a disaster or near disaster happens in America to Americans. Disasters that happen outside the USA (such as the MAX crashes) does not provoke an adequate company and regulatory response inside the USA. Part of the rest of the world accepting US certification is the supposed assurance that issues will be seriously addressed, regardless of where in the world they occur.

  3. “Looks like the old McDonnell Douglas management travesty is in full force.”

    I’ve seen this notion paraphrased elsewhere – in print as well as the WWW. But other then the immediate, post-merger management team (Stonecipher, et. al.), did Boeing’s production methods begin to reflect those in practice at MDD prior to the merger?

    Having posed that question, I am aware of an old quote attributed to Stonecipher: “When people say I changed the culture of Boeing, that was the intent, so that it’s run like a business rather than a great engineering firm…” I suppose the quote is somewhat telling. But it also seems to me that any outsider CEO would challenge existing conventions to some degree.

    Just trying to get a sense of how large an axe was swung in altering the culture at Boeing.

    Otherwise, I tend to agree with Vincent. Considering the number of potentially affected stakeholders, likely more a case of “safety theater” at this point, though a targeted PC 700 suspension has allure for a myriad of reasons.

    • It’s evidently a pretty large axe. Boeing were great, and then they weren’t.

      However, there were some signs of things to come even pre merger.

      Airbus launched the A320 in the very late 80s, early 90s, and Boeing (still pre merger) reacted to it incorrectly. Boeing’s response was, “upgrade 737”. That was a mistake – not an obvious one – but that was the one golden opportunity to head off the A320. It wasn’t necessarily apparent at that time that the A320 was going to munch so much of Boeing’s lunch, but business strategy is all about appraising one’s product line up constantly and setting it against possible market directions.

      Was there a risk even then that Airbus would survive and thrive? Yes – they had a modern product with plenty of room to grow, and Boeing didn’t. Did Boeing corporately acknowledge that risk? No. They did the 737 NG, which whilst it was good was always clearly going to be difficult to extend any further, and was definitely kicking the problem down the road.

      Merging with MD certainly cemented such thinking.

      The pre-merger impact on production methods was at the time nil; the 777 Classic and 737NG were well built aircraft regardless of their market suitability or (in the case of the NG) design antiquity, and the 747-400 was very good too, 757 and 767 were good also. But, I fear some of the seeds of “trouble at the top” had already been sown, and by choosing not to take Airbus seriously they were enhancing the risk that the corporate conditions for high quality production would get eroded.

  4. Also significant in this area is the potential direct/indirect pressure foreign authorities (I.e. EASA, Chinese, etc…) may bring to bear upon FAA, the credibility of which has come under discussion in the foreign press.
    This too has a significant political dimension, although not driven by US domestic considerations and therefore divorced from election year maneuvering.
    IF EVER the FAA lifts the production certificate for ANY Boeing line foreign authorities will fall all over each other to enforce restrictions – or even bans – on the operations of ALL aircraft of that type in their skies. It will be Katy bar the door as their own – domestic – political considerations will then prevail.
    We could be looking then at the death knell for Boeing’s commercial aircraft production in its current form, and chapter 11 proceedings with likely splitting up of the company with military programs hived off to a couple of US operators (LM and all the usual suspects) and commercial ops taken over by a NEWCO starting afresh. Airline customers would be left high and dry – and firmly on the ground!

    • The FAA suspending production authority of new aircraft does not affect the airworthiness approval for aircraft that already flying unless they discover a safety issue likely to be present in those aircraft. This would result in an Airworthiness Directive, which requires the safety issue to be corrected within a specified time, or the aircraft must be grounded. This is an existing and very standard process already in place. Dozens of Airworthiness Directives for both Boeing and Airbus aircraft are issued every year.

      • How would that work for aircraft already built but built under a production system that allowed random deviations from established safe practices? All those planes, seemingly demonstrated safe by flight hours and take off/landing cycles could have random buried defects resulting from defective process controls at assembly.

  5. > Airline customers would be left high and dry – and firmly on the ground! <

    Very, *very* unlikely- at least in the short or medium term.

  6. We keep getting that statement about “Strengthening” safety.

    Not sure how you can increase something you don’t have.

    As I recall from my math classes, 0 x 0 will always be Zero.

    Two negative numbers x each other is alwyas a negative number.

    The E-7 needs to be added to the possibles list. Its not just a P-8 variant, its a complete unto itself Variant.

    • As far a my math goes two negative numbers x each other is always positive

      • Boeing’s conundrum.

        loss time number ~= more loss


        negative margin (losses )
        negative output ( buying back MAX frames 🙂

        should lift Boeing back into the profits zone.
        eye watering potential …

      • RSV:

        I knew I was getting something wrong!

        A good part of why I was a technician. Ohms law calcs I just plugged in the numbers!

        Love the HP calculators with RPN. My last at work one was an HP35S.

        • TW:

          I still have a working HP-16C Computer Scientist back from my programming days in the ’80.

          Great calculator.

    • Actually, two negative numbers multiplied by each other equal a positive number…

  7. The seeds of this situation were sown the moment a decision was made to warm over a 50 year old aircraft. While expedient at the time, the process to certify the Max included design shortfalls and shortcuts that would have been avoided if the aircraft were designed properly from scratch.
    Couple that with the decision to hold the supply chain at a point of strategic weakness (payment terms) and now you have suppliers that simply have no choice but to deliver sub-part components or risk solvency. And relying on the lowest cost labor…well you get what you pay for.

    • I would argue the seeds were sewn when they decided to slowly Liquidate Boeing, post MD take over.

      I will disagree on you get what you pay for though its also true.

      If you give a bad employee a lot of money, they are still a bad employee.

      You can get good employees for low pay, its just they won’t hang around when they can move to a better paying job.

      That in turn means you wind up with at the very least poor employees and often bad attitudes.

      What always should be hold at the top of the heap is that the best employee is no better than their management.

      • I will partially agree with you. My point was that when good mechanics can make better money working at a Lexus dealership and they are not working 2nd shift, you have a problem.

    • The possibility of continuing with a 50 year old design AND AT THE SAME TIME developing an all new design just didn’t have much appeal to the bean counters. Apparently the possibility of having the 50 year old design grounded with no replacement even in the pipeline never occurred to them.

  8. 1) This is incredibly sad
    2) It is notoriously difficult to think strategically when you are standing knee deep in a swamp full of alligators.
    3 This is a moment for leadership, vision, and direction [see item #1].

    Someone should video/record the next Boeing Board meeting.

    • Actually- the bored meetings are recorded- but a video of same that could/would be released would be no more than a staged photo op.To meet the “climate impact” hoax , many shareholders meetings have turned to video-zoom games which provide a much better censorship and control of ‘ opposite’ views. The coming BA Annual meeting will no doubt be more controlled than the recent state of Union address . No doubt we will miss the entrance of the Bored from a side door and walking to the front row sort of like the 12 disciples of old times. and keeping their backs to the attending shareholders, and not really available to press or unwashed. Those that must speak to their proposal will have a designated ‘assistant’ who will provide water, escort to bathroom, and also keep same from easy access to press before or after meeting while on premises. Yep, benthere dunthat both in Seattle of old and in Chicago.

    • Stan S:

      That should be flipped around, they created the Swamp. The rest goes from there.

  9. Note that frontline pbs did a program on 737Max and MCAS last night ( tuesday 12 March ) with partial update to alaska plug door issue.

    And IF I recall correctly- Ali B in his early days worked for McDouglas..

    Small world

    • Somehow the old story about putting ‘ safeguards ” on vats and machinery resulted in more hazards comes to mind

      The ntsb prelim report (DCA24MA063) described about 5 ‘ damaged rivets’ that needed to be replaced/fixed on the fuselage/frame section around the ” plug “door.
      IMHO- a fine example of ‘ cure ” being worse than ” problem ”

      While those five damaged rivets are the sign of poor workmanship maybe due to restraints while installing. they are IMHO not flight critical, fatigue critical, and unlikely to be a structural problem during the life of the airframe.. probably replaced with hi loks and oversized holes or maybe even oversized- re squeezed rivets.

      BTW re my experience re rivets- I first developed and tested an magnetic riveting process which resulted eventually (long story ) in the company now known as electro-impact in everett- mulketio. NO I do not have an interest in same or a relevant patent due to company rules- etc. Yes the founder of Electro Impact knows the story and I have been thru his complete facility. That process showed via test (1967-68 ) a significant improvement in fatigue for riveted structure and also was first used on early 747 inboard wing structure.

      • The slug process (for wing) was developed and originally patented by Gemcor Just a fyi, Electroimpact didn’t start in business until the late 1980s

        • Uhh- 1967-68 while on SST program we had a problem in figuring out how to drive/squeeze titanium ( cp or 6AL-4v ) rivets. requiring much higher squeeze forces than aluminum. Gave gemcor a study contract to develop a improved c frame riveter. Myself and 2 others went to Buffalo near xmas to evaluate.
          Meanwhile – using a NASA developed mag hammer with 5k volt power supply ( use to ding out ‘dents’ in SAT 5 tanks- was tasked to make it into a riveter. Built a desktop version, which was then used to design a lightweight C frame two sided riveter to drive A-286 rivets. Meanwhile commerical faced witth problem of large ( 3/8 ) rivets on inboard side of 747 wings went for a dual hand held version- using a modified 5K volt power supply. such was used for several years.but BA wanted a lower volt system and gave research contract to UW- which eventually about 8 years later- morphed into Electro impact .

          about 1972 lightweigh c frame version was patented by my former supervior and manager while working for commercial BA. had it been patented as part of SST program – NASA-govt would have all rights, etc
          MY c frame and desktop versiion drawings show up in patent approved in 1972- dec 5 – number 3,704,506 except desktop version shows use as shearing a rivet which was NOT what I did. I do have a 1968 ‘mylar’ typer photo
          showing myself and c frame and Boeing version of 5Kvolt power supply- dated 10-16-1968 while posing with a large ” dogbone ‘ titanium panel made for a fatigue test- which was very successful.

          ElectroImpact did not start until 1980;s is true- but the background as to why and when is a long story not pertinent here. I also have a photo with PeterZ with myself and a few other seniors with facctory logo in background taken by his employee mid 2017 :))))

          Hand held unit as used on 77 and some renton planes was patented in 70’s by Hank schut ( sp ) after we went to everett mass in dec 1968 re contract to/ develop certain coil issues

          Trust this will be sufficient to document the real history

          • Dug up some details- it was NOT hank schut who patented but hubert schmitt

            Yutani was my supervisor- and Orr was my manager..on SST but in mid 1968 xferred to commercial in Auburn.

            I got layoff when 2707 folded – came back in 1974

            but thats another story

            U.S. Patent, 3704506, Orr et al, issued 12/72
            U.S. Patent, 3559269, Schmitt, issued 2/71

            Inventors: La Vern G. Orr, Auburn; Nobuo
            Yutani, Seattle, both of Wash.
            Assignee: The Boeing Company, Seattle,
            Filed: Aug. 1, 1968

            Hubert A. Schmitt, Auburn, Wash., and Jagdish S. Sekhon,
            Torrance, Calif., assignors to The Boeing Company,
            Seattle, Wash.
            Filed Nov. 15, 1968, Ser. No. 776,014

          • Bubba

            Do you recall any engineer names at Gemcor for SST program besides Sr Yes you recount of the hand held zapper is correct

            cheers Dave Pritchard

          • Should have said A286 slugs- old age creeping up. By using slugs and impact from both sides, stiffness of panel was nulled out.and proper adjustment of clamp pressure and reaction mass- drove 1/4 slugs on small panel with glass of red water on top of panel with barely a ripple. Movie is somewhere in BA archives.

          • ” Do you recall any engineer names at Gemcor for SST program besides Sr Yes you recount of the hand held zapper is correct”

            Names perhaps – Skip Gunderson? Tom Speller re gemcor-
            Boeing included ( for real ) from facilities-finance James Bond ( called him triple aught nothing )

            BTW also I developed a slug die configuration resembleing a rounded truncated semi-pirymid configuration I believe later used for large ( 3/8 ) slugs . Way too many years ago for names. DR basaj ? contractd structural engineer for large throat c frame since then current would not fit inboard section of 747 wing- thus use of ‘100 lb ‘ hand held EMR came into play

          • Bubba
            Since you mentioned SST riveting and 747 slug die configuration…do you recall a name from Gemcor engineering of Brad Roberts

          • re ” Since you mentioned SST riveting and 747 slug die configuration…do you recall a name from Gemcor engineering of Brad Roberts”

            Nope- but 55-56 years is a long long time ago so at best my negative s/b ‘ indeterminate “- Did have a few dealings with gemcor when I was at grand prarie–Vought in 1971-72 and modified a small multi-linkage arrangement for a small gemcor used to rivet bulkhead frames- which later was cleaned up and provided as an option.

  10. “By virtue of our quality stand-downs, the FAA audit findings and the recent expert review panel report, we have a clear picture of what needs to be done…” Are they trying to say that they didn’t understand that before?!

  11. Boeing 737 MAX chafing issue

    Few more bits on this: affected fleet is all 737 MAXs built before mid 2022, ~860 a/c, per service bulletin.

    “Boeing determined the issue was caused by ‘non-conforming installation of spoiler wire bundles that occurred during production,'” the draft rule says.

  12. Utterly disappointing to see where this company is today. When you read the shallow and embarrassing statement from Mr. Neal even more. To say „strengthen quality“…after many years of stalling and shrugging of the precipituous fall of a quality culture should be enough to clean house… from the top. I hope Boeing has the strength to do it

  13. That that happened more than twice is further proof of ‘safety ‘escapes’ by whatever name or documentation. Past time to do more than lipservice at the factory- assembly station management and leads involved and at lest two steps higher.

  14. Boeing has gone the wrong way for decades now, and everyone has looked away.

    Look at the Max, the grounding came from China and Easa, and FAA was in the backseat, instead of driving.

    Everyone knows since years about the development problems, the quality management problems and the production problems at Boeing.
    Neither Boeing itself nor FAA have taken proper measures, not after the B787 battery fires – which showed a fundamental issue with self risk assessment in-house and rating. Nor after the production problems with the B787 nor after the B737 Max issues and the MCAS.
    Boeing was just never punished, just compare it with Dieselgate and BP blackwater horizon.
    Boeing paid a small fine and was let go, fundamental change was not forced.
    No Boeing manager was arrested, while VW manager did sit in jail.

    There`s a huge issue with the FAA and political patriotism.
    That`s why i have no feelings for United. They did order “buy american” Max and B787 in huge numbers, now they have to deal with it.
    The issues at Boeing were well know for years.

    • MCAS deferred prosecution agreement is the test of whether they are serious.
      United is adamant that they will only buy A321 if they get a good deal,why would Airbus give them a good deal?Also they are going to just convert their order to MAX 9,they are making a bit of an assumption there too

    • Well its an interesting comparison, who on the Maconda blowout spent time in jail?

      So, huge fine, BP is still there, and they would repeat it. The regs were tightened which is the only thing stopping them.

      One VW manager in jail. And how many knew what was going on? Fully aided and participated……………….. what all of a few weeks? How many who have committed murder over there are let out of jail because of their health or its just to harsh?

      Bopahl (sp?) anyone. Nigerian oil pipeline breaks polluting a whole region. Shell as I recall.

      No one at GM went to jail and a small fine on the Key switch tragedy (for the victims)

      Fines do not deter. The possibility of bad press going on and on and profits can’t be had because its all slowed down will deter.

      As I have said before, this incident has legs and it will go to the top.

      But, unless the top is effective in changing the culture the drag down of produion will not be stopped until an attitude change is in affect.

      Of course that assumes a sane administration and that is not a given.

      • Bhopal, if I don’t miss my guess, was the death knell for Union Carbide. It does seem its remains were acquired by Dow chemical though.

    • “Everyone knows since years about the development problems…”

      Whatever became of the battery problems? Was the battery redesigned? Switched to a different manufacturer? Magically fixed themselves? Don’t hear much about them batteries these days.

      Yes, the FAA was the last to ground the MAX (actually the POTUS did) but it wasn’t because MCAS was known to be unsafe. The reason given was “an abundance of caution” so they could investigate and determine whether there was an issue with the design that caused the crashes. But there was never any report of the findings of such an investigation or any indication that such an investigation was even conducted. Nothing from China or EASA or Canada indicating what was wrong. Yet, after 20 months… fixed! Now THAT’s odd.

      The NTSB criticized the official investigation report from Ethiopia for not including pilot training and performance, but there was not a peep from them on those issues during Congressional hearings. On the contrary, the NTSB chair gave false technical testimony at those hearings regarding the design purpose and operation of the 737’s column cutout switches and falsely indicated that changes to their operation contributed to the crashes. China was so on top of things that it took them more than a year to unground the MAX after everyone else did, with no explanation given. And the best that EASA could do was pile on a deactivation of the safety-critical stall warning that all three crews had roundly ignored during the events. Yes, such technical competence—where would aviation safety be without it!

  15. Boeing’s overdue for a change in management. If 300 victims and 2 groundings aren’t enough to convince the major shareholders to let go of Calhoun’s short-sighted stock inflation, the FAA has to crank up the signal strength.

    A certificate suspension won’t be the end of Boeing. It will put a cost on disregard for safety, enough to make the stock dip and make it profitable to improve quality. After a few months to get their house in order, the company will emerge stronger for it.

    It’s one thing to raid a company by cutting the safety margins, until someone loses an eye. It’s quite another to keep cutting them after a chain of accidents, continuing a controlled flight into the ground.

    • and IF the employees wsere actually from SPIRITor outside contractors hired to fix Spirit fubars ??

  16. “The federal agency investigating the Jan. 5 midair blowout on an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX on Wednesday laid out the timeline of its requests for information from Boeing and emphasized the company’s continued lack of responsiveness.

    “To date, we still do not know who performed the work to open, reinstall, and close the door plug on the accident aircraft,” Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, wrote in a letter to Sen. Maria Cantwell.

    NTSB investigators previously found that a workers at Boeing’s Renton assembly plant failed to properly secure the door plug, the fuselage piece that blew out of the Alaska Airlines flight out of Portland, Ore.

    Cantwell, D-Wash., is chair of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. The letter from Homendy, who criticized Boeing’s cooperation with the investigation during a hearing before the committee last week, extends the public wrangling between the investigating agency and Boeing.

    Homendy wrote that the afternoon after last week’s hearing she called Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and asked him directly for the names of the people who opened and then incorrectly reclosed the door plug.

    “He stated he was unable to provide that information,” Homendy wrote.

    Homendy backed up what Boeing said publicly on Friday: that in February it did provide some names of people who might have information about the work on the door plug. And yet, she asserted, that didn’t include the names of those who actually did the work.

    She emphasized that NTSB investigators do not want to identify the individuals “for punitive purposes,” but only to get information from them “about Boeing’s quality-assurance processes and safety culture.”

    Homendy went on say that the now very public dispute over providing those names may cause the workers involved to withhold cooperation.

    “I have become increasingly concerned that the focus on the names of individual front-line workers will negatively impact our investigation and discourage such Boeing employees from providing NTSB with information,” Homendy wrote.

    Her concern may be well founded, especially because the Department of Justice has opened a grand jury investigation into whether there was anything criminal in the way the door plug work was performed.

    A person who asked not to be identified to avoid becoming a target of the investigation, who was not directly involved but is familiar with the situation, said in an interview Wednesday the Renton workers who performed the work are “running scared,” fearing subpoenas.”

    • It is beyond obvious that there should be a record of who removed the interior trim, pulled out the cotter pins, loosened the 4 nuts, and removed the 4 bolts. But failing that, which Boeing apparently has, there are a limited number of employees qualified to perform such work at Boeing Renton. Consider interviews with everyone on that list.

        • Really? Does “The Union” think their survival as employees will be enhanced if they obstruct the investigation? Think they can “lobby” the NTSB and the (toothless) FAA to just go away because “We don’t know who actually removed the bolts and really had no idea who might re-install them”?
          This is a (multi?) billion dollar (excuse me) shit show. There is little point in trying to obstruct the investigation.
          When it goes criminal they will be subpoenaed.
          When the MAX is grounded they will be laid off. Best to get to the bottom (actually the Top of it) as soon as possible.

          Conspiracy theory much?

          • Pretty sure those on the shop floor have a good idea who or what group worked on that plane. One would think the Union would be out in front of this to clear their reputation. Unions protect their own.

            Inconvenient truths do not make conspiracy theories.

            Guess the NTSB is into conspiracy theories too, for some weird reason they want to know who worked on that plane too.

        • ‘Or a union not wanting you to know that info.’

          So your (conspiracy) theory is that the union:

          1) Over wrote the video footage
          2) Got into the CMES/SAT system and removed any trace of who worked on it
          3) Sent the manager away on leave
          4) Ordered the work be done without documenting it

          Not for nothing, but as I recall, it was mgmt who was hauled onto the carpet for pressuring employees to work faster and get aircraft out the door quicker.

          Logically, union employees (in general) would want to take their time and extend the work as long as possible, ensuring job security.

          But here you are postulating that it’s the Union who is at fault.

          (I guess you want to try to run out the “It’s the Union who spent $43 billion on buybacks” theory next? How about the “It’s the Union who developed and implemented MCAS, hiding it from the airlines and FAA?”)


          I’ve got a theory for you:

          Union members (and non-unionized as well) are afraid of the reprisals from mgmt if they come out and speak the truth.

          • How do I contact the NTSB?
            ​​​​​​​To report an incident/accident or if you are a public safety agency, please call 1-844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290 to speak to a watch officer at the NTSB Response Operations Center (ROC) in Washington, DC (24/7).

            Send your theories, conspiracy stories or hurt feelings to the address or phone number above.

          • @williams

            Says the guy who leads with a conspiracy theory

          • https://skift.com/2024/03/11/boeing-union-chief-warns-members-are-angry-as-new-contract-talks-begin/

            Boeing Union Chief Warns Members ‘Are Angry’ As New Contract Talks Begin

            Boeing’s nightmare start to the year is about to get even more challenging.

            A decade-long deal between the company and its largest labor union is due for renewal in September. Talks with the Seattle-area machinists group started late last week to find a new agreement.

            A six-month lead time to conclude the deal might sound generous, but with the union demanding pay raises of over 40%, the process is unlikely to be quick or easy.

            The timing of the renewal could hardly be worse for Boeing. Alongside well-documented internal problems, the company is also battling wider macroeconomic headwinds. Labor shortages, inflation, and post-pandemic supply chain issues are all hitting hard.

            “People are angry, and we’re going to have that be part of the leverage we bring to the negotiations,” said Jon Holden, president of District 751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

            Expect to hear Holden’s name a lot more in the coming weeks. His organization and its members play a pivotal role in the smooth operation of Seattle-area production facilities for Boeing.

            How Confident is the Union?
            The talks were originally due to begin in February. However, they were delayed at Boeing’s request after the Alaska Airlines 737 Max incident on January 5.

            Speaking to the media after its first formal meeting with Boeing, Holden said he believed the union is in “a very powerful position.”

            “Right now we feel we have leverage that is better than any time in our history. We’re going to use that and our members want to use that,” he said.

            Holden said he has been encouraged by large wage increases in other sectors, including U.S. truck drivers and auto workers.

            Is Boeing Facing A Strike?
            “There is a path to an agreement – I believe we can [agree] if we bargain in good faith on both sides. We are going to push this company farther than they thought they would go, and we’re going to get a successful agreement. We hope to do that without a work stoppage, that is our goal,” said Holden.

            While the union chief insists he wants to avoid strike action, history tells us that Boeing should take any threat seriously.

            This year’s talks are the first time the entire agreement is being re-negotiated since 2008. Back then, deadlock saw union members down tools for eight weeks.

            The disruption cost Boeing hundreds of millions of dollars in delays and associated penalties. Earlier contractual breakdowns with IAM District 751 have also resulted in all-out strike action.

            Is the 737 Max a Factor?
            Holden confirmed that increased scrutiny around Boeing products – and in particular the 737 Max – will influence the talks.

            “This time we will be making proposals that we have never made in the past around the safety and quality of the airplane. I guess in decades past, maybe [union] leaders didn’t feel the need.”

            The union chief said the ratio of quality assurance personnel to mechanics would also be a key focus for the meetings. “We’ll be looking at any changes to quality assurance manuals, the quality management systems, we want to bargain those changes.”

            Holden leads an organization that represents more than 30,000 workers around Puget Sound in Washington State – a critical patch within Boeing’s global operation.

            While tough talk from a union leader is nothing new, the scale of Boeing’s current problems gives the discussions a heightened intensity.

            Holden said the union is seeking to “protect [Boeing] from itself,” adding: “We feel we’re the last line of defense for some of the changes they [Boeing] make. We have the ability to stand up and say this is wrong.”

            Asked about recent comments from an ex-Boeing employee about a lack of confidence in the company’s aircraft, Holden said: “We build safe airplanes. Have there been some issues? Yes. We have to address those, we take those seriously. We just have to maintain the health of the manufacturing environment, the quality assurance environment, to make sure we continue to do that.”

            What Else is the Union Demanding?
            Alongside better pay and conditions for union members, Holden said he also wants a different sort of long-term commitment from Boeing. The IAM 751 president is pressing the company to build its next generation of aircraft in Washington.

            The state was a key production site for the 787 Dreamliner until 2021 when Boeing consolidated manufacturing in South Carolina. This has left the 737 Max as the main source of work for the Seattle area factories.

            “We have to fill our factories with work, we have to ensure we have work for our current members and those that follow behind us. We’ll be focusing on the next airplane programs – we need jobs for 50 years, not just four years,” said Holden.

            How Much Influence Does the Union Have?
            Figures published in Boeing’s latest 10-K regulatory filing show the company has around 57,000 union members. IAM represents 21% of its total employees.

            Asked by reporters if, given Boeing’s recent troubles, he still believes in the company, the union chief was bullish in his assessment: “We believe in ourselves, and there is no Boeing Company without us. We have what it takes to build this company to the level it was, and that’s what our focus will be going forward.”

            Following the start of the negotiations, Boeing said in a statement: “We look forward to reviewing the union’s proposal and continuing our discussions in good faith. We’re confident there’s a path to a deal that addresses the needs of our employees while allowing us to compete in a very competitive global market.”

            With the current agreement running until midnight on September 12, a red-hot summer of heated discussions is forecast by many.

      • Apparently the NTSB Chair is not the only person who can’t comprehend that “there SHOULD be a record” doesn’t mean that there IS a record. The mindset that the investigation is to find out who cut corners—didn’t follow all the documented work instructions and fraudulently signed them as completed—is stunning. Her childish interpretation of the absence of that documentation as Boeing suppressing it to be uncooperative predicts that nothing useful will come out of the NTSB’s investigation. It may even jeopardize aviation safety, as it has before. Just goes to show how prejudice can lock the mind into a set of expectations that won’t be relinquished, rational thinking be damned. Such obstinate prejudice calls into question the validity of any investigations the NTSB may conduct.

        It was obvious from the “whistleblower’s” narrative here on LNA that 1) as planned, the plug is installed by Spirit in Wichita, so 2) there is no planned need for a “door plug open/close team” in Renton, 3) a roving team of fixer-uppers who re-do shoddy work from Spirit uninstalled the four bolts to get access to the weatherstripping and 4) they did so without any paperwork because 5) someone who analyzed the situation to figure out how to remedy it decided that formal paperwork was not needed, having fallen into the logical trap that many who commented here also did, including the whistleblower.

        A door, when installed, has an operational status of opened or closed. Opening or closing a passenger door or emergency exit after it is installed does not invalidate its installation. A plug, on the other hand, looks like a door and before it’s installation is completed may seem to be operable into an opened or closed state like a door. BUT A PLUG IS NOT A DOOR. ITS STATUS IS EITHER INSTALLED OR UNINSTALLED. WHEN INSTALLED, IT HAS NO OPERATIONAL STATUS OF OPENED/CLOSED.

        When confronted with a new problem, it is human nature to recall experience with equivalent or similar in order to stereotype a solution. So thinking “plug ≈ door” is not anathema, it happens subconsciously. However, it is also human nature, especially when exuberant, fatigued, stressed or rushed, to then fail to recognize that the solution was stereotyped and to adjust it for the real differences from the example. In this case, the door’s logic was misapplied as: “opening a plug does not invalidate its installation,” which led to the faulty conclusion that “opening and closing” a plug are trivial actions and the decision to use an informal system to track the progress of the solution. The result was the uninstallation and reinstallation of the plug with the common sense and intuition used when opening and closing a door rather than the formal, properly planned and detailed work instructions needed to uninstall and reinstall a plug. The mistake caused consequences that would have been deadly if not for the intervention of Lady Luck or a plethora of guardian angels. It is a mistake that an inexperienced analyst—perhaps lacking adequate training and certainly lacking adequate supervision—can make. It’s not inconceivable, except maybe to people who can’t think or prefer to speculate on sinister motives as the more exciting possibility.

        No doubt, some will scoff at this analysis as being pedantic over semantics, but “As you think so will you do” is basic human nature.
        Giving short shrift to the requirement to pay attention to the nature of humans, especially their shortcomings, when human life is at stake is the root cause of this mess. Satisfying the requirement sounds simple, but it is easily stymied by prejudice and cynicism.

        • FWIW I agree with Pete P- whether one wants to call it semantics issues or ‘logical’ oversight influenced by faster cheaper mantra or improper ‘ tracking/paperwork issues- the result is now obvious. That being said, the ‘reluctance’ by Boeing to track-identify- the perp(s) could be due to legal issues or just plain ” dont blame me ” or more simply the fubar paperwork-tracking system. That the manager is on ‘ sick leave’ does not help.

        • Thanks for responding. I still have no answer to my earlier question about Paint and Livery: Are door plugs (and emergency exit doors for that matter) routinely un-sealed (to get around the opened vs removed description of work) in order to paint/apply airline livery on the 737MAX line in Renton? This is sort of an “Always-Sometimes-Never” question. My opinion is that if any aircraft has a door or plug so much as disturbed at paint and livery that ALL aircraft need an inspection of door and specifically plug retention hardware AFTER paint and livery. No inspection before that is worth squat.
          Admittedly my opinions come from not knowing whether installation of interior trim ALWAYS comes after Paint and Livery AND THE FINAL BOLTING OF A DOOR PLUG.
          At least a part of my intention is to suggest that anything (operation or hardware) that even looks like securing the plug actually isn’t. Not until the final opportunity for it to be moved for any reason is passed in the build sequence.
          Consider a single clevis pin with a huge red flag attached to retain door plugs between Spirit and Renton. Remove the clevis pin and flag at Paint and Livery to be replaced with the four bolts, nuts and cotter pins at final sealing. Avoid any belief the plug is finished/sealed before then. But this is based on my ASSUMPTION that all or most plugs are unsealed at Paint and Livery…

        • ‘Apparently the NTSB Chair is not the only person who can’t comprehend that “there SHOULD be a record” doesn’t mean that there IS a record. ‘

          So by that logic we shouldn’t ask:

          “Why isn’t there a record, if there SHOULD be a record?”

          and furthermore, given the recent track record:

          “If there isn’t a record, and there should be a record, is the record not there intentionally?”

          or we just give Boeing a pass and move on?


          ‘Such obstinate prejudice calls into question the validity of any investigations the NTSB may conduct.’

          Wow – I wasn’t aware that the NTSB was under investigation here. Seems to me that attacking those investigating events, looking for facts – are to be discredited as loudly as possible and using whatever might stick to the wall.

          Now where am I seeing this also being used….

          ….oh yah, some guy trying to claim everyone is out to get him and he did absolutely nothing wrong.

          Poor fella….such a victim.

        • Should not have said stewardess- but one of the “them” cabin crew ?
          And no doubt an accident- but perhaps anothjeer look at the switch and cover design which allowed such an accident may be in order- instead of being buried in the typical 500 page manual like one gets with a new car.

          How did we ever survive with clutch brake and shift lever after using physical key and starter pedal or button or with built in steering wheel lock before computers. ? or lack of bit— betty voice transition from jet fighters to autos?

          • Fifty years a ago the owners manual for a new car showed how to adjust the valve timing and clearances of the valves in the car’s engine. Today a new car’s owners manual tells you not to drink the contents of the battery.

  17. Only partly off topic re management and ‘ quality ” in Charleston from guy who was suicided . . .
    ” At Boeing’s Everett, Washington, facility, each quality assurance inspector was assigned to examine the work of 15 mechanics; in Charleston, that number was 50, and the mechanics themselves more often than not were guys who had been “flipping burgers” a month ago, as Swampy put it in multiple interviews. So every day, the workers he supervised inspected planes that had been assembled by complete amateurs, while the bosses to whom he reported insisted the fry cooks were perfectly qualified to self-inspect their own workmanship. “Every day was a battle to get Boeing management to do the right thing,” Swampy’s brother Rodney Barnett recalled in an email.”

    Was/Is Spirit any different ?

    • Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

      “United Airlines Close to Gaining Airbus Jets After Boeing Max 10 Delays

      United Airlines Holdings Inc. is close to securing three dozen or more Airbus A321neo jets from aircraft lessors as it looks to replace Boeing Co. 737 Max 10 orders that are at least five years behind schedule, according to people familiar with the matter.

      The carrier is in final negotiations for the planes due to be delivered between *2025 and 2027*, said the people, asking not to be identified as the discussions are confidential. […]

  18. https://www.forbes.com/sites/marisagarcia/2024/03/13/boeing-security-footage-on-737-9-overwritten-ntsb-chair-reveals/?sh=662338eb20d5

    Boeing Security Footage On 737-9 ‘Overwritten’ NTSB Chair Reveals

    Jennifer Homendy, Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, informed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that BoeingBA +0.7% security camera footage that might have shed light on the repair work performed on the Alaska AirlinesALK +0.2% flight 1282 door plug was overwritten.

    The NTSB announced it will hold a two day investigative hearing to examine “how and why a door plug departed from a Boeing 737-9 MAX passenger jet during flight,” scheduled for August 6-7.

    The Senate Committee had asked Homendy to report whether Boeing provided the NTSB Investigation with documents related to the repair work on the edge frame forward of the door plug during which the door plug was opened and reinstalled. This is when the NTSB’s preliminary accident report suggests the missing bolts on the doorplug were removed and not re-installed, later causing the blowout.

    The NTSB also asked Boeing for a list of 25 door crew employees who might have knowledge of what happened during this repair. Boeing first issued a statement after Homendy’s testimony to the Senate Committee, saying it had provided the information the NTSB requested.

    However, in today’s letter to the Committee, Homendy states, “We still do not know who performed the work to open, reinstall, and close the door plug on the accident aircraft. Boeing has informed us that they are unable to find the records documenting this work. A verbal request was made by our investigators for security camera footage to help obtain this information; however, they were informed the footage was overwritten. The absence of those records will complicate the NTSB’s investigation moving forward.”

    • “unable to find the records documenting this work”

      Unable to find = the records do not exist??

    • Security footage is not intended as production control.

      Unless something gets called up in a week or so, its always overwritten. It takes large amounts of computer storage space.

      You can have production control with video footage but unless it is laid out, then no one keeps that material though there are storage designations for it if it has been singled out.

      As the build took place two months before it manifested, there is nothing nefarious about security footage being overwritten.

      Not producing names is nefarious.

      Lack of a document, well, the reason the failure occurred was it was not documented. Obviously there is a quality control failure there. Equally obvious there are a lot of quality control failures by Boeing, Spirit and the FAA.

      If the FAA thought they could audit paperwork as a measure of seeing what the quality control was, they are and were delusional.

      Boots on the shop floor is the only way.

      We have 3 different Swiss Cheese cakes involved and they all failed. All of them knew better.

    • My understanding is that the video footage was overwritten in accordance with a documented records retention policy. Funny though that Boeing has a policy that effectively destroyed evidence while having trouble keeping to policies that would result in the building of safer aircraft.

    • Bloomberg: Airbus Is Soaring at Boeing’s Expense

      Airbus’ research and development spending is 44% higher than Boeing’s.

  19. Tesla and Boeing Are the Worst Stocks in the S&P 500 This Year.
    They’re Paying for Decisions Made Years Ago.
    “Tesla and Boeing stocks are the worst in the S&P 500 this year, and while that may feel random it actually tells a story about investing, strategy, and psychology. […]

    Through Wednesday’s trading, Tesla stock was down about 31% this year, while Boeing shares declined about 30%, making the pair the worst performers in the entire S&P 500. The S&P 500, overall, was up about 8% year to date. […]

    Earnings estimates for Boeing and Tesla aren’t going up. For the EV maker, analysts have cut their 2024 and 2025 earnings estimates by 21% and 25%, respectively. Boeing’s 2024 earnings estimates are down about 26% since late December. The 2025 hit hasn’t been as severe though, falling about 9%.”
    https://www.barrons.com/articles/tesla- … t-38397ca7

    • You mean like the Cyber Truck? But you never know, they sold a lot of 58, 59 & 60 Chevies…

  20. https://www.livemint.com/news/airbus-workers-in-canada-reject-contract-offer-threaten-strike-11710700338361.html

    Airbus Workers in Canada Reject Contract Offer, Threaten Strike

    (Bloomberg) — Airbus SE employees in Canada rejected a contract offer Sunday, threatening to go on strike if the French manufacturer doesn’t show more willingness to meet their demands.

    A five-year contract for workers who build A220 jets expired at the beginning of December. Airbus’s offer, which included a 10.25% wage increase over three years, was described as “totally unacceptable” by the union, which is also asking for improvements in insurance coverage, more flexible working hours and a preservation of pension benefits.

    “Now is not the time to talk to us about setbacks, but about improving their conditions and catching up on pay,” Eric Rancourt of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said in a news release. “Members were insulted to see the proposed wage increases.”

    The union represents 1,300 out of 3,000 workers at the Mirabel manufacturing plant near Montreal. More than 82% of union members voted, with almost all saying no to the deal.

    Read More: Boeing’s Largest Union Demands 40% Pay Hike as Talks Begin

    The A220 program, which was developed in Canada, is 75% owned by Toulouse, France-based Airbus and 25% by the Quebec government’s financial arm, Investissement Quebec, through a limited partnership.

    The single-aisle airplane, formerly known as the Bombardier Inc. CSeries, was rescued by Airbus in 2017, but the company is still struggling to control costs and ramp up production. Airbus has said it expects to reach profitability in its A220 facilities at Mirabel and Mobile, Alabama, by 2026 with an average pace of 14 aircraft produced per month, up from six as of the end of 2022.

    “Airbus needs to focus on the commitment of its current workforce,” said Rancourt.

    “This initial offer had been made to the union following open discussions for a few months and taking into consideration the current context of the A220, which has not yet reached the break-even point,” Airbus spokesperson Amelie Forcier said in an emailed statement. “While we consider that it was a rational offer, in line with the current economical context of the A220 program, we acknowledge the results of the vote.”

    • The problem is they are looking at the Seattle’s IAM751 wanting 40% pay raise! If the Montreal IAM forces over 8% a year with a 3 to 5 year contract, Airbus will keep outsourcing more of the A220 Mirabel work and other work.
      “Airbus needs to focus on the commitment of its current workforce,” said Rancourt.”

      Well it comes down to a balance of keeping costs in line, people employed and making a profit.

      This 40% increase theme with UPS drivers and US airlines pilots have caused imbalance on what real expectations should be for pay increases Then you have people like B. Sanders wanting a 32 hour work week with the same wages I wonder if his staff only works 32 hours for the same pay?

  21. Boeing’s Flawed ‘Speak Up’ Policy And The Death Of A Whistleblower
    ‘John Barnett was a quality manager at Boeing in Everett, Washington, for 28 years before transferring to Boeing’s plant in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2010, the final assembly line for the 787 Dreamliner program. Barnett was critical of the leadership at the North Charleston plant.

    “They started pressuring us to not document defects, to work outside the procedures, to allow defective material to be installed without being corrected,” he told the Corporate Crime Reporter in 2019. “They started bypassing procedures and not maintaining configurement control of airplanes, not maintaining control of non conforming parts – they just wanted to get the planes pushed out the door and make the cash register ring.”


    • Geez… That’s why Boeing leadership built a plant there. The mentality is profit at the expense of procedure and quality. With no union safety people in the way it actually worked for about 24 months. It is looking more like regime change. I wonder if Vegas will take a bet that these hedge fund types will be gone by the end of Summer…

  22. […] There are several reasons why I am short the stock that I will go into, but as an experienced investor, I’ve seen a lot of good and bad things happen in the investing world. General Electric’sGE close call with bankruptcy is a story that people still talk about. GE used to be an untouchable giant in American business, a sign of steadiness and new ideas. But a series of bad decisions and changes in the market threw their finances into chaos. Major asset sales and reorganizations were just about enough to keep them going. Luckily, for investors, the recent spinoffs have shown great insight by Larry Culp, the current CEO of GE.

    When we look at Boeing’s current problems, this story serves as a stark warning of what not to do. The problems with the 737 MAX and the pandemic struck a heavy blow. It’s hard to miss the similarities between GE’s past and Boeing’s present. They show how important two things are for any business, and by extension, any investor: being able to change your strategy quickly and well and being able to handle risks well. Blackberry was another company that fell onto this track, albeit in a different industry, and incidentally never recovered.

    • The common thread between GE and BA is the jack welch virus. BA is well stocked with the welch belivers.

      • I would tend to think leadership at the company (presidents, VPs and managers) still are thinking along the lines of “how can we make it appear that we are now safety conscious so I will still get a huge bonus even though the company, the stock and engineering developments are languishing?”

        Ten to fifteen years ago the rage at aerospace companies was cost cutting. One of their favorite “buzz words” to cut down on quality and safety was “lean manufacturing.” I wonder if this lexicon first appeared at GE or 3M. But it became pervasive as the pandemic.

  23. The end is nigh?
    Bloomberg: Boeing is exploring the sale of at least two of its defense businesses

  24. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/airbus-ceo-says-boeings-problems-104934866.html

    Airbus CEO says Boeing’s problems are bad for whole industry

    PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus takes no pleasure in the technical problems plaguing U.S. rival Boeing as they damage the image of the entire aerospace industry, the CEO of the European planemaker said on Tuesday.

    “I am not happy with the problems of my competitor. They are not good for the industry a whole,” Guillaume Faury told the “Europe 2024” conference in Berlin, when asked about technical problems at Boeing.

    “We are in an industry where quality and safety is top priority,” he added.

    Boeing was rocked in January by a door plug blowout on one of its 737 MAX 9 jets during an Alaska Airlines flight.

    Earlier this month, Boeing also told airlines operating 787 Dreamliners to check flight deck switches after a sudden mid-air dive by a LATAM Airlines 787 plane left more than 50 people injured.

    French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told the same event in Berlin that Airbus was currently in better shape than Boeing.

    “I prefer Airbus’ situation to that of Boeing,” he said.

    (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Mark Potter)

  25. Reuters: Boeing mulls shedding Airbus work in potential Spirit Aero deal

    … [Airbus] could try to force Boeing to buy its way out of Spirit’s Airbus contracts […]

    Boeing would gain more control of its production by buying back Spirit, but could have to pay large sums to buy its way out of contracts. […]

    Without better prices, Spirit could lose more than $400 million annually while supplying Airbus with parts for its A220 and A350 aircraft in the coming years …

    • Maybe…Boeing just buy the Boeing production related assets and take on Boeing contracts….then Spirit Aero would be left with losing Airbus work and faults?

  26. An interesting video from Greg


    Boeing 727, Boeing Then vs. Boeing Now

    Good point starts at around 27 min.

    (I am going to use his stats)

    There are about 45,000 flights in the US every day. That represents about half of the world’s air market. Of those flights, about half of them are on regional airlines (76 seat or less).

    How many of those are Boeing aircraft?


  27. WSJ: Airline CEOs Seek Meeting With Boeing Directors to Address Production Problems

    • Major U.S. airline chiefs have requested a meeting with Boeing’s board to express concerns over an Alaska Airlines accident and production problems, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

      The airline CEOs want Boeing directors to spell out their plan for fixing quality problems at the aircraft maker that came under the watchful eye of U.S. regulators following a Jan. 5 panel blowout incident on a 737 MAX, the report said. […]

      WSJ article

      • WSJ:
        ” […] Analysts expect the company to deliver roughly 15 737s a month for the next few months, down from the more than 40-a-month being delivered at the end of 2023. Ryanair, a European carrier, and Southwest Airlines have had to cut flight-capacity citing lower-than-expected deliveries of Boeing jets. United Airlines is pausing pilot hiring for two months and hunting for new planes from rival Airbus to fill the gap. […]

        Travel-booking sites say consumers are paying attention to which aircraft they are flying after the recent publicity around Boeing jets. Kayak allows users searching for flights to exclude specific aircraft. Business-travel software company Navan recently responded to customer requests by providing details about aircraft models in flight-search results.”

      • “Boeing has agreed to send Chairman Larry Kellner and other board members to meet the leaders of its key U.S. customers as soon as next week, the report said.”

        “Michael O’Leary, CEO of European Boeing customer Ryanair, told Reuters on Wednesday he was meeting with senior company executives in Dublin to discuss prolonged delivery delays.”

  28. “The Tokyo-based airline is purchasing 21 Airbus 350-900 and 10 Boeing 787 widebody jets, it said in a statement Thursday. Significantly, JAL will buy 11 A321neos, breaking Boeing’s exclusive hold as the sole single-aisle jet supplier …

    We are seeking further business growth by introducing new fleets,” while providing a “safe” travel experience to the customers, incoming President Mitsuko Tottori said …


    Korean Air Lines Co. passed over embattled Boeing Co. — typically the carrier’s top aircraft supplier — to order 33 Airbus SE A350 wide-body jets in a $14 billion deal as it seeks to streamline its fleet ahead of a merger with Asiana Airlines Inc.

    The order will see the Seoul-based carrier buy 27 of Airbus’s largest twin-aisle jet, the A350-1000, and six smaller A350-900s, which it selected over Boeing’s yet-to-be-certified 777X. […]


  29. Pedro
    Do the airlines really have choice if they want aircraft delivered on time to make revenue growth plans? These deliveries go to 2030’s So how will Boeing ever get back that market?

    • Hi David,

      On this occasion, I went back to re-read reports/posts over a decade ago when JAL ordered 31 Airbus A350.
      WSJ reporter Jon Ostrower and others wrote:
      “The win for Airbus is the clearest example of the longer-term effect on Boeing’s relationship with stalwart customers after 3-1/2 years of delays to its flagship 787 Dreamliner program, for which JAL was the second customer. The tension came to a head during the grounding of the jet earlier this year, with JAL executives questioning the long-term exclusivity that had marked the airline’s relationship with the plane maker.”
      “It’s a landmark deal if Leahy pulls it off as Japan is one of the least-penetrated markets for Airbus, mostly due to politics than airline economics,” Shukor Yusof, a Singapore-based analyst at Standard & Poor’s said. “It’s a significant blow to Boeing and the 787 and reinforces our view that the A350 will be a gamechanger […]”
      I also would like to point out there are holes in BA/BCA’s lineup the sizes of the A350(-1000) and A321.

  30. Somebody correct me if this is wrong but I was under the impression that the remaining “quality inspectors” at Boeing Renton (737 Assembly) were on Boeing’s payroll but were credentialled by the FAA.
    This might be seen as a conflict of interests…

    • Look up the DER system of old- worked that way for several decades- then it was essentially scrapped

  31. FG: Boeing aims to get near 38-per-month 737 production rate this year: CFO

      • AW: Ryanair’s O’Leary Not Expecting On-Time MAX Deliveries Before 2027

        I’m not sure if BCA is able to catch up the backlog by then but hey hope springs eternal. 🙂

      • What’s behind BA/BCA’s curtain?
        An intersection thread:

        1) Musings on 787 production rates:
        – since October 2023 I read everywhere that 787 production rate is at 5 aircraft per month
        – today I received this chart from @cirium showing 787 first flights. These have been between 1 and 4 in the past months, stabilized at ~2.5/month

        2) Is there a discrepancy between Boeing reporting it’s producing 787s at rate 5/month since October 2023 and 787 monthly first flights being at or below 4/month?

        I look at the last 10Q and 10k reports filed at the SEC

        3) … 10Q indicates abnormally low production rates when below rate 5; in that situation they incur in “abnormal production costs that are required to be expensed as incurred”.

        Boeing didn’t expect costs related to abnormally low production rates to continue beyond Sept 2023

        4) … in the annual (10K) report filed at the SEC, it’s mentioned that Boeing “increased (787) production rate to 5 per month beginning in October 2023”.

        The abnormal costs related to production rates below 5 are referred to as something of the past.

        5) … if first flights were a good measure for the production rate and this was around 2.5 from October to February, how much abnormal costs should have been expensed during those months?

        6) … if first flights are not a good measure of the production rate, where would those airframes go?

        To inventory?
        – 73 787s were delivered in 2023
        – inventory is reported to have gone from ~90 (Dec 22) to ~75 (Sept 23) to ~50 (Dec 23)
        … am I missing something?


        • Boeing can say whatever they like about production rates, margins and cash flow….but at the end of the day, delivered aircraft, reported revenue/profit and the huge unearned revenue numbers are what count.

          When the 2023 financials came out, I posted about those 787 inventory/production numbers not adding up.

          It won’t matter – they’ll have a ready made excuse with the Alaska door blow-out to roll the 787 ‘abnormal production costs’ into.

          Expect the Deferred Production Expenses to be higher that the Unit Cost numbers…again.

    • Fits into a pattern: a Texas court ruled last year that the Ethopian MAX crash casualties were also crime victims.
      The 5th Circuit court of appeal subsequently re-affirmed that ruling, and essentially ordered the Texas court to overturn the DPA if the DOJ doesn’t do that of its own volition.

  32. At the Aviation Summit 2024, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary had this to say regarding recent deliveries of their 737 MAX aircraft:

    “[The airline has] 30 engineers in Seattle and Wichita doing inspections, and whenever we take delivery of a new aircraft, we do a 48-hour inspection in Dublin.”

    “We find little things like spanners under floors and handles missing on seats which we wouldn’t really expect to find on a $100m piece of kit.”


    • only Ryan never paid $100m per

      they got B-Quality stuff at 50++% rebates. 🙂

      • Airbus salesmen must be wetting themselves laughing with Dave camping on their doorstep.
        Just a few years ago he was talking about moving to an all Boeing fleet
        I wonder if he did ever get round to cancelling all those orders for A320s for Lauda?

        • O’Leary is actually going to expand the Lauda A320 fleet (see post above).

          Assuming, of course, that he hasn’t left it to late to get in line…

          • You find a couple of “starts” on that topic when searching.
            Up to now he never got traction with his pricing ideas.

    • I noticed the “small porthole” mid exit door (MED) on many of the 737s in Ryanair livery in the linked article. Apparently they specify what I refer to as “sardine can seating” but in so doing are assured of four pins connected to a sophisticated lever/linkage system to keep the MED in place.

      • plug type emergency exits, the plugs are removed to the inside for egress. no slides. escape onto the wing and then slide down the trailing edge onto the ground. ( another “nice” feature that higher landing gear would void. ). There is so much depending on the jurassic initial design and certification.

  33. Unprecedented Range: How Drastically Could The Airbus A321XLR Change Airline Route Maps?

    “In October 2003, American manufacturing giant Boeing decided to pull the plug on production of the Boeing 757, a long-range narrowbody aircraft that was no longer meeting the company’s sales targets. Since this fateful decision, which Boeing has regretted ever since, there has been a massive void in the commercial aviation market between the bottom of the widebody market and the top of the narrowbody market.”


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