This week Boeing must deliver on safety–again

By the Leeham News Team


May 28, 2024, © Leeham News: Boeing’s FAA-mandated plan to improve its safety culture is due this week.

Following the Jan. 5 accident involving Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 and a year-long safety study commissioned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Boeing was given 90 days to come up with a new plan to improve safety procedures.

Boeing’s been down this path before. Following the 2018/19 crashes of two 737-8 MAXes in which 346 people died, Boeing implemented several safety studies and procedures. Flight 1282 demonstrated a shocking lack of results from the earlier efforts.

The FAA on Feb. 29 gave Boeing 90 days to make a realistic plan for addressing the path forward to an acceptable level of quality. This is an exceptionally tall ask given all that has gone wrong in the recent past. It’s unclear if the FAA will release Boeing’s proposal publicly. But LNA’s reporting team, which includes retired Boeing employees whose duties included safety and production, thinks that whatever plan is put forth to the FAA will all boil down to one point, execution. That’s Boeing’s problem today: Failure to execute its production plan as documented in its operation command media.

Failure has been an option

The Execution Failure shortlist looks like this:

  • Boeing’s Organization Designation Authority (ODA) is limited;
  • 737 production has been capped at 38 aircraft due to quality problems;
  • 787 fuselage splice gap rework continues;
  • Numerous whistleblowers have stepped up with stories of retaliation and retribution;
  • Alaska Airlines sustained a 737 in flight plug door departure;
  • Lufthansa has delayed a 777 delivery over multiple quality escapes;
  • 737 spoiler wire chafing has caused flight control problems;
  • 777 fuel tank inerting grounding faults; and
  • 787 titanium floor beam fittings are suspect on more than 400 aircraft.

In all fairness, one has to remember that transport aircraft are one of the most complicated products in the world to produce. They are incredibly tightly regulated when you look at all the boxes you must check to gain certification.

The FAA is completely correct in asking Boeing for a plan to reverse course and return to building a quality product again. But it seems to be a nebulous request. This appears to be a time when the FAA is being whipsawed between Congressional action, internal limitations, and a regulated entity that repeats the mantra, that this isn’t an immediate safety of flight concern.

So where do you start?

Quality Management Systems

Let’s look at the command media. ASQ/ANSI/ISO 9001:2015: Quality Management Systems. The Quality Management System, which is often referred to as a QMS, is a collection of policies, processes, documented procedures, and records. This collection of documentation defines the set of internal rules that will govern how a manufacturing system deals with defining and monitoring a Quality System. This is the Parent Spec; AS9100 is the upgraded Aerospace Industry version of the QMS Spec. The following description is from the Modus Engineering group.


AS9100 takes all of the requirements of ISO 9001 and adds to them to make them more applicable to the unique requirements of the aerospace and defense industries. While not as widely applicable across industries as ISO 9001, AS9100 is the gold standard of quality manufacturing certifications in the aerospace industry.

Apart from AS9100’s focus on the aerospace industry, the requirements and focus areas of AS9100 and ISO 9001 are largely similar. However, there are a few key differences to pay attention to.

Risk Reduction

Because quality management systems can become a literal life and death concern in aerospace manufacturing, one of the most important components of AS9100 is reducing the ability of manufacturers to introduce risk as they produce parts for the aerospace and defense industries.

The basic risk identification procedures called for in ISO 9001 remain the same, but AS9100 adds to them. For example, AS9100 calls for the responsibilities associated with risk management during manufacturing to be assigned to a specific employee or department.

Information Verification and Counterfeit Parts

Another primary addition of AS9100 is required inspection and testing to account for risk factors inherent to the aerospace industry, such as counterfeit parts. While ISO 9001 calls for test reports and similar quality information from external providers of components, AS9100 requires manufacturers to actually verify that information through their own testing, inspection and audits.

Quality of Production Equipment

Where ISO 9001 remains more general about the storage and inspection of equipment used to manufacture various parts, AS9100 gets extremely specific. Under AS9100, everything used in the production process, from automated machinery on the production floor to the software that controls these devices, has to have defined storage protocols, as well as a hard schedule for maintenance and inspection.

Source: Modus Engineering group.

Production System 9001 has a few key differences from AS9100

From this internationally recognized standard, Boeing captured all the elements needed to certify its Boeing Production System with the FAA with respect to how quality would be defined, measured and monitored. This is a solid starting point in that nobody has implicated any failings in Boeing’s actual QMS. Boeing has written a great set of processes and procedures, and if they were followed, life would improve quickly.

People Parts and Processes

People, Parts, and Processes all need to be in place to deliver a quality aircraft. The processes are there, proven, and exceptionally robust. Parts are somewhat problematic in that the supply chain woes affecting the industry causing late deliveries of components don’t look to have an answer soon. Boeing’s supply issues seem to involve more reported quality problems than Embraer or Airbus. Spirit’s problems are so severe that Boeing may be better off buying back their old Wichita facilities.

Partnering for Poverty

Boeing had a program in place called Partnering for Success. Our understanding of it was that ultimately, Boeing was reclaiming supplier margins by applying a learning curve rationale to decreasing payments over time. The justification was that the more a vendor performed a task, the better they got at it and the less it cost them.

Boeing’s arguably arrogant point was that if it cost a vendor less to build their parts, they were entitled to pay less. This is seen by some as the reason Boeing’s vendors seem to have more reported quality issues than Airbus in that you may be getting what you pay for.

Boeing may have created financial incentives for vendors to widen their goalposts and accept non-conforming parts as good to reduce their losses. Recently, reporting has indicated that Boeing may be softening this position as it seems to recognize the unintended consequences of financially squeezing suppliers.

The changes needed

People are the issue inside Boeing and where change needs to occur. There are a few reasons.

First is the loss of skills as the older experienced folks left all levels of the company. This skill vacuum contributed to many of the issues we note today. Loss of institutional knowledge accelerated the offload of Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering work packages. Critically, the loss of Ukrainian Engineering personnel due to the war with Russia as well as the inability to continue to source Boeing Moscow for offload work has dramatically restricted Boeing’s ability to get their work done on schedule.

The impact of these losses creeps through the entire Engineering workforce.

Second, there seems to be a lack of focus on doing the right thing. Rate became king and Boeing by its admission focused on delivery first. This was a top-down failure starting in upper management and winding its way down to the shop floor.

Notably, each year there is an ethics commitment exercise where senior Boeing leadership “teach” rank and file to do the right thing first, without fear of repercussions while managing the company to focus on delivery rates above all. Boeing’s leadership gave their employees two distinctly different messages. The public relations face of Boeing said to always do the right thing while managers were tasked with moving the birds through the factory.

Past complaints

Look at the ODA issue as an example of this phenomenon. Boeing’s ODAs have complained bitterly that their management pressured them to approve FAA designee work when it was against the better judgment of the ODA members. This is a people problem caused by management chasing deliveries while ODA members chase compliance with requirements. This isn’t easily solved until there is an actual shift in priorities in the management of the enterprise.

The Jan. 5 Alaska Airlines plug door loss is another example of chasing deliveries over following the process. The plug door removal/opening fiasco involving finger-pointing between Spirit and Boeing resulting in the loss of the plug door in flight highlights just how broken the system is today. It was more important to blame somebody for the defect than it was to do a good job putting the airplane together. The cause is a mixed message:  do a good job, but don’t get in the way of delivering the airplane.

The Message

Years ago, the overarching rule for quality in everything that was done was simple: Perform to the requirements or cause the requirements to be officially changed. That should be today’s message. It isn’t. There seems to be an inability for something this simple to be embraced again. Until Boeing puts this into place as the prime directive, any plan offered to the FAA will fail, no matter what the plan looks like.

Last week, Boeing issued this message about its safety progress since flight 1282:

 In late February, we paused training for our new Manufacturing and Quality hires for about six weeks to assess how we could better prepare teammates. We then made substantial improvements to our training program based on feedback from employees, and the FAA, as well as a review of industry best practices.

 Here are some of the changes we’ve made for employees across Commercial Airplanes:

Expanded workforce training and proficiency

    • New hires in Manufacturing and Quality continue to start in our Foundational Training Centers. Now, each new employee receives 10 to 14 weeks of foundational skills training before moving to the production floor, which is one to two weeks more on average per teammate. We provide more time and support for those who need it.
    • New hires are then paired with a workplace coach or peer trainer on the factory floor for structured on-the-job training and won’t work on their own until they demonstrate established proficiency measures.
    • Teammates already on the production floor prior to these improvements are required to take proficiency assessments.

Investments in training

    • We’re transitioning to a digital record-keeping platform for new employees. This paperless system helps trainees track and formally document their progress while allowing leaders to verify who’s ready for a particular job and who needs more attention and training.

In our Renton Foundational Training Center, we installed a section of 737 fuselage for employees to practice various skills including wiring installation and identifying potential defects.

Given the safety improvement plans adopted after the 2018-19 MAX crisis, Boeing has yet to explain why those failed and the current effort is necessary.




108 Comments on “This week Boeing must deliver on safety–again

  1. “It’s unclear if the FAA will release Boeing’s proposal publicly”

    If the document does get published, I’m sure that it will provide excellent fodder for a marathon game of “Bullsh#t Bingo”, featuring completely meaningless phrases such as:
    “At B, we are fully committed to…”
    “We have multiple systems in place to guarantee…”
    “Our quality teams have full authorization to…”

    And, of course, the mandatory feature in today’s world:
    “We are using AI to improve our…”

    Leeham team: do we know if Congress is proactively going to be looking at the reply to the FAA?

    • IMO congress is complicit in this case.

      They kicked off aircraft certification reforms and reengineering in 2012 in order the speed up and simplify aircraft certification in order to strenghten the competitive position of the US aerospace industry.

      And made sure delegation and cooperation were enforced to FAA in the years after by holding back budget re-authorizations and audits.

      Boeing had a $trong lobby in congress.

      • No question but the FAA has always been inept and conflicted.

        • @TransWorld
          I recognize the frustration in your criticism of the FAA. However,

          … under the DER system, the FAA was competent, engaged at the engineer-to-engineer level, and often provided DERs the leverage they needed to resist undue pressure.

          • We all voted to get Government off the back of business… “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.”

        • Stan:

          The assessment of the FAA goes back a long ways.

          As an organization they are conflicted. They are both an enforcement entity but they also are the per the quote below.

          “Encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology”

          I can bring up two aspects of encorement. Olah Air where the inspecotr had the Wester Pacic to monitor as well as Hawaii. It was an impossible job and Oloha had an inspection plan in place that should have not required close supervision. Oloha violated it (Boeing had seen the envormen and cycle issue and had inpsectionin place to ensure it did not happen).

          The other was South West where the inspector got cozy with the company and was not doing his job. All sorts of violatins were allowed to happen with no restraint.

          Most people know about the DC-10 failures, you can add in the 737 Rudder Failure. The FAA took the mfg word that all was fine.

          What many do not know is that the NTSB is totally independent and generally have maintained integrity. But they can only Advise, not mandate.

          The FAA gets to run the numbers and decide if its economically justified or a pass takes place. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen NTSB recommendation that were unrealistic, many were spot on and took years to get into the books (ie the burning interiors of aircrat needing to be non toxic) .

          Its long been recommended that the FAA be broken up, Air Management (traffic control) is one area that should stand alone.

          Regulation enforcement is another.

          Others have ideas on how to mesh the NTSB with the analysis that, yea that is nice, but its a one off and do you spend a 100 million for no gain?

          I suspect for the most part the FAA personal just want to do their jobs, but you have the politico end and the corrupt.

          Further area has been the almost total independence of the FAA regional operations. I don’t know how that works but (at least in the past) its not been one integrated operation but all the regions run their show the way they felt like.

          That gets into Boeing capture and the Kansas region not in line with the Seattle region (I have not looked up the boundaries)

          The current falling into the inspector issues is on top of the other issues.

          But when the FAA says they are focused on the MAX program and then we find out that is paper audit? That is purely lying.

          As I noted further down, you can lie on paper. It comes down to both Boeing and the FAA to have a structure in place but also you don’t make it an incentive to lie about safety, you make it a metric that failures in safety has consequences. A clean fuselage pass should get a bonus, not how many quality failures you can ship off to Renton.

          • The 737 rudder issue is all FAA’s fault, but not the manufacturer?? 😱

    • It’s also interesting to ponder whether the FAA will share the plan with other regulators around the world.

      The FAA, in delivering this public ultimatium to the company, has essentially signalled to other regulators that there is a major problem in the company that the FAA is not in control of; it’s not just a one-off thing.

      Clamming up on what the company proposes to do about it would hardly be likely to reassure the EASA, CAA, CAAC, and everyone else. I’d love to know what’s actually going on between the FAA and other regulators, but it does feel rather like the world is watching, concerned.

      And of course, any hint of cow pooh would only make the situation for international regulators more alarming still. Boeing absolutely needs to tread carefully. That order book is largely overseas sales, and the FAA cannot make overseas regulators accept the products built by the company.

      • I think the various agencies are talking a lot more now, as well as questioning each other, but its a great point.

        But there are holes in EASA as well, the Norwegian 787 loosing an engine out of Rome is a case in point. It has two potentially lethal engines on it and the one that blew was the better one hours /cycle wise of the two.

        One of the Indian carriers tried a one good and one iffy/issue engine and the regulators there told them no, two good engines or no flight.

        The RR 787 engines were all computer model predictions that proved over and over again to be flat wrong.

        So yea, that safety of flight where an aircraft MFG delivers a perfectly working aircraft and then the AHJ allows them to fly them with no so perfect system working, engines etc.

  2. All these new procedures for safety and quality are being put in place for current and future production which is great to know about. What is being done to bring the fleets delivered prior to these standards to the level of quality of the future production? Are current aircraft flying being inspected for the flaws that were found to make them safer?

    • Jerry:

      As the flaws in the system are found, there is a determination made if its a safety of flight (its going to break) or its a violation of the mfg standards but the standards are so high that you have a significant safety blanket.

      I know its hard to wrap you mind around but the standards are generaly far higher than just close, ie a safety factor.

      I ran into that when I was a house framer (worker not the boss). The house design had a flaw in that the Glue Lam was not correct strength for the load (I don’t remember how they caught that, we just put it in).

      To fix it would have meant tearing the house back down we had built (about 40% complete). They hired a structural engineer to look at it and the basic was the glue lam had a 30% safety factor. He signed off on it as the design was below that . Year latter my brother was working on a house that was found to have a glue lam violation that could not be signed off. I recompensed an engineer I knew, he came up with a system that would beef up the glue lam and make it complaint.

      So, they deem it you have to fix it now (aircraft grounded) you can fix it in 500 hours, you can fix in in 5,000 hours, you can fix it when it goes in for a major Check (D Check).

      A lot of analysis goes into that. I won’t swear its perfect, but I can’t think of one that they assessed and then failed.

      The ones that make me nervous are the ones that deal with the RR Trent 1000 like issues. They had a harmonic problem they did not understand, but kept coming up with models that says, its fine until you hit 2000 cycles.

      It was not, they would have a failure and it was, oh, well make that 1500 cycles, this time we swear to it.

      It the difference between an engineering analysis of a known vs RR had not a clue and were guessing. In the end they figured out it was a harmonic and then you could do both remedial and better time assessment.

      That is a case where they should not allow an aircraft to fly with engines under an unproven model, not just one iffy engine, both should be fully good as best is known.

  3. This parallel’s the Big Pharma / FDA issue in Government / Regulator relations. Big Pharma is interested in Profits over safety also. If a drug is safe and effective, vs a poison that kills people. Either way Big Pharma is paid the same. There is no economic incentive to build a safe plane. Boeing just wants the FAA sign-off and if the plane works or falls out of the sky, the managers still get paid the same. Boeing may have to pay some penalties, but, that’s just a cost of doing business. The CEO still gets his millions. Until the management is incentivized towards building a safe plane and measured by building a safe plane, the system won’t change. The management of Boeing is incentivized by the price of stock options. And if the stock drops, they will rewrite the management contract. Nothing is put in the contract about planes falling out of the sky on their watch. So, why should Boeing management care if planes are built safely or not? It’s no skin off their back. Criminal liability is the only incentive at the present time, and that seems to be a high bar to prove. Think about Criminal Liability in the 737-MAX MCAS fiasco. In the world of the 1950’s, CEO’s had personal integrity. There is no measure of that any more in the corporate suite of America or in Government. The corruption runs deep. Management will act according to how they are measured, and they are only measured by dollars and cents currently.

    • Very insightful comparing this situation to Big Pharma.
      In the absence of moral fiber, and of adequate punishment for transgressions, there are many who will feel no impediment toward engaging in shameless greed.

    • The Corporate structure is there to ensure that individuals take no blame in criminality.

      So, the uppers have no reason to care. They kill people, Corporate pays a fine and the music keeps going.

        • You skipped a step:
          First, the government has to *want* to prove that the upper mucky mucks did break the law.
          Not at all sure that that’s the case: in certain echelons, the world is a tangled web of special interests.

          • +1

            .. or that there is not a seamless web connecting the Corps with the “government”. There’s an apposite name for that; starts with ‘F’.

        • Richard:

          You ignore the reality of what the Courts require for rich individuals and Corporations.

          You can get a confession and they will throw it out on the grounds that you did not record it on the right tape type (exaggerated but true)

          Name me one Corporate person who went to jail when whatever that Corporation was building killed people and it was proven they knew about it?

    • This comment is so true. They need to hold the higher ups all the way down to the managers on the floor, production and quality accountable by law to have to serve time in jail if they do not build a safe product.


      1) This really can’t be all about management. Yes they set the culture, performance metrics etc., but they don’t actually design things or manufacture them or assemble them. There is clear (ir)responsibility throughout.

      2) Introducing the accountability you talk about by focusing at the top only would, IMO, reduce the chance of success as the top levels would face real personal risk for a situation that would necessarily experience lag in changes. Getting penalised for the failures of those they replaced and being a disincentive for those suitably qualified from taking on the roles.

      • Doe the 737 moving assembly line combined with financial pressures and the staff they have now cause more defects that the Everett 767 line? Can the Boeing system handle the 737 FAL system or does it need a “The Toyota way” system?

      • Woody:

        Yes it can. As an employee you are fully constrained by what management allows. You can push the edges a bit if you are that type, but you can’t make a system work because you have Zero authority.

        That is why company culture comes from the top. They set the standards and have systems in place to ensure that those are adhered to.

        It does not matter as an employee how well you do your job, if Joe Smoe next to you is not and they do not enforce the standards, that violation is going to roll on down the line.

        Worse if you say anything, you get punished one way or another.

        So yes, its starts at the top and if you can’t handle the heat as a CEO you should not take the job.

  4. on the other side of the pond

    China Hopes For Comac C919 EASA Certification In 2025

    “Chinese officials hope that in 2025 the country’s Comac C919 narrowbody airliner will attain EASA certification, which would enable the aircraft to be flown in most international markets. “

    • This is very interesting.
      I can imagine that EASA will try to be constructive, and will at least have a desire to try to work something out here — even if it means ultimate disappointment for the Chinese.
      Attitude is eveything…and we all know what the (politically-motivated) attitude at the FAA will be.

      I wonder how the Brazilian regulator will treat the C919? I can imagine that the attitude will be constructive.

      • So lets say…2027 EASA cert for C919. What would the process be when the Chinese engine goes on the C919 say in 2030? How would EASA handle that?

        • I’d be very surprised if EASA didn’t handle any and all certification requests from China in a fair and business-like manner.
          If it’s certifiable according to EASA standards, then I expect that EASA will certify it.
          Europe and China have been trading with one another for more than two milennia…it’s not in the interest of either party to allow normal trade relations to suffer from churlish protectionism.
          There’s a reason why China made this approach to EASA rather than the FAA 👀

          I’m really interested to see at what timepoint China will equip the C919 with CJ-1000 or/and PD-14 engines.

          • Agreed. EASA also likely see some handwriting on the wall, markets-wise (and otherwise).

      • It’s this kind of thing that, if it comes to pass, is a grave threat to Boeing’s continued existence. There is huge demand for aircraft – especially 737 / A320 sized aircraft – and Boeing could lose out big time if Comac get a big break. SouthWest could easily be buying C919s, because it’s easily possibly that Boeing won’t be building 737MAXs. FAA certified or not, there could be zero choice in the matter for those airlines that have bet their houses on Boeing’s ability to deliver orders.

        Frankly, I’m amazed that the US gov hasn’t already intervened in Boeing, or in that market, one way or other. Plan A – that Boeing sorts themselves out – is clearly in deep trouble and may abort this week (the FAA shuts them down, or other world regulators finally get fed up with the BS and shuts them out with the same net result). For any Plan B – a Boeing-free future – to be palatable to the federal government probably means enticing Airbus to become more American (expand their operations in Mobile in a big way). But it’s far too late to kick off a Plan B that doesn’t leave a huge short / near term supply issue for airliners (Airbus can’t just magic up production rate to, say, 120 / month). The alternative is to let Comac fill that gap for them, which is likely the last thing the federal government wants.

        • “Attitude is eveything…and we all know what the (politically-motivated) attitude at the FAA will be.”

          Its worth noting that the FAA in past days of cooperation, worked with China to certify the ARJ. They could not get a handle on it.

          So they agreed with China that they would start fresh with the C919. Everything the FAA tried to get support documentation, they could not. China kept building it and they had no international recognized certification structure in place (US, Canada, EASA and Brazil being prominent).

          After beating their heads against the Comec machine, the FAA gave up. And again, that was well before the current issues.

          So now China is going to EASA to try to get it certified and they are going to have the same issue, they don’t have the documentation, none of the changes were documented per the standards.

          And why should EASA shoot the Democracies in the foot with someone who wants to bury them?

          • >And why should EASA shoot the Democracies in the foot with someone who wants to bury them?

            Because it’s not their job to play politics. If they don’t like what they’re seeing, fine, the C919 doesn’t come to Europe. But if what they see is OK, it’s someone else’s job to decide what the politics is.

            Though in part, none of that matters. If Boeing won’t deliver or the FAA stops them, the demand is still there. Airbus can’t expand easily. The C919 would literally be the only other choice, and some countries may prefer to allow the C919 in rather than fly nothing.

          • You got to wonder why EASA is not reading the FAA reports on the issues they ran into?

            So, we saw that play out with Mitsubishi did we not?

            And they were trying. Had to start over it was so messed up, then the MRJ got cancelled and never to be.

            So EASA has to “play” fair when the country that would happily bury you does not?

            I don’t get it. Throw all the impediments in the way that they do, oh, but that is not cricket is it.

            If China wanted certification they had full cooperation by the FAA who bent over backwards to do so.

            Now its, who can we scam into trying it next………..

            Weird way to handle it. No the FAA and EASA do not agree all the time, but its not antagonistic. Some is the culture, some is bureaucracy but they are not adversaries.

            Interesting though the Russian Certification has been cancelled. And they had recognized EASA/FAA Certification.

            I mean we had a treaty and everything.

          • There’s also an agreement between EASA and CAAC. 😂

        • @ Matthew
          You raise very pertinent points, but I just can’t see the US bowing to any foreign airframer at the expense of Boeing.

          The US is increasingly resorting to a policy of trade insularism and protectionism. Much more likely for the US to sanction Airbus, Embraer and COMAC in the (vain) hope that that will somehow resurrect Boeing. Mind you, such a zombie Boeing would then be a purely domestic supplier.

          • Abalone:

            I am going out on a limb and comment on that last statement as you made it.

            So, the US who was the poster child for offshoring its industry is being insular?

            Well there was Covid. Massive shortages. Why, yea, off shore supply.

            Then there is the Red Sea. Frankly that affect you more than US, our routes are more direct so going around Africa only adds a bit of time. And you might want to think about the fact that the most modern navies in the World can’t maintain a safe corridor.

            And then the Dali rams an American Bridge, 6 of our insular citizens killed (Emigrants from South America by heritage).

            Why? Well, if you look at the NTSB report, Circuit breakers were tripping before they left port, failure to have both sides of an Electrical Bus isolated and powered up by the independent Gens if you did that.

            Kind of makes you wonder if a nation has a right to be insular so its not held hostage by hostile nations.

            Europe is seeing the consequences of buddying up to a Dictatorship. And you are welcome for the Natural Gas Shipments.

            The worlds most advanced chips are made in Taiwan. Want to give China a lock on those? You think they won’t use it against all of us?

            You might ponder the reality of the late 30s and where that lead. Peace in our Time? Well yea, tens of millions of deaths latter.

          • “You raise very pertinent points, but I just can’t see the US bowing to any foreign airframer at the expense of Boeing.”

            “You raise very pertinent points, but I just can’t see the China bowing to any foreign airframer at the expense of Comac.”

            just a fyi, the last China order to Boeing was 2017 In a previous of 1/1/24, 85 Boeing aircraft for China was in “storage” and 24 were delivered thru April 2024…leaves 61 built aircraft not delivered….some type of delay by China on the flight recorder.

          • @ David Prichard

            Your point is well taken.
            However, cornered cats do unpredictable things, and the “logic” behind nationalism/protectionism is often flawed.

            One star is setting, whereas the other is rising. However, if that setting star doesn’t suit the local narrative, then one can expect little logic in the ensuing response.

          • During the pandemic, there was a massive shortage of toilet paper! Shortage of oatmeal, flour for bread making, spaghetti, spaghetti sauces! Or lumber, wood pallets and boxes! There’s even a shortage of infant formula because of plant contamination in U.S.! But easy to imagine* it’s only the fault of “off-shoring”. 😅

  5. Hmmm – 55 + years ago, the 2nd manned launch of Saturn 5 ( Apollo 8 ) took man around the moon and back- about a year after the first ( all up ) launch of the apollo- saturn 5 system. No significant failures ever on Saturn systems. No iphones, no ipads, no real desktop computers and a limited communication “internet”system tieing tracking systems together via mainframe computers.

    And This month IF lucky, Boeing MIGHT be able to launch a manned replacement after nearly a decade, overbudget and late schedule program effort.

    Thats progress?

    • Or you can look at what the American Salvage industry has done in regards to Baltimore Bridge in clearing a channel in short time.

      NASA is a classic bureaucracy that is bloated and can’t manage anything now.

      Space X and Musk for all his faults shows you what can still be done.

      • And then we have the National resource Defense Council and one of its ‘gurus”

        And I quote
        “What is a heat pump water heater?
        Many Americans use electric resistance water heaters, a technology that first became widespread in the 1940S.

        “Electric resistance is very low tech,” said Joe Vukovich, a staff attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council who works on energy efficiency. “It’s just
        like passing a current through a wire: The wire gets hot, that heat is transferred.”

        While these water heaters can be nearly 100% efficient, meaning they put out about as much energy in the form of heat as they’re using in electricity, some heat pumps can reach 300% efficiency or higher, Vukovich and other experts said.

        According to the Energy Department, the new standards can be met by basic electric heat pump water heaters that will more than double the efficiency of many electric water heater models available on the market today.
        Compared to the old technology, “a heat pump water heater is like a quantum leap,” Vukovich said.

        Replacing common-sized traditional electric resistance storage water heaters – 40 or 50 gallon models – with electric heat pump models meeting the new standards would save many consumers about $170 a year. Over the life span of the appliance, that adds up to an average of about $1,800, according to the Energy Department.”

        WOW. the new Solendra !! kelvin is rolling in his grave .. a new standard requiring a 300 percent efficient water heater ??

        • It is common in northern Europe with heat pumps, Mitsubishi has a very good reputation for quality but there are many manufacturers with 3.7-4.5 more heat generated that electrical power input. Also using ground water from +200´deep holes for both heating and cooling thru heat pumps like Nibe are common. You then avoid natural gas poisoning from leaks and uncomplete combustion.

        • @ Bubba2

          Sorry, but your comment isn’t clear to me.
          Are you deriding heat pumps as gimmicks?
          Or are you decrying the fact that US consumers haven’t yet switched over to heat pumps?

          • abalone- my point is/was that 300 percent efficiency via heat pump- which in simple terms says/means the heat energy out is three times the energy IN is impossible- it woud mean a perpetual motiion machine which ‘ violates ‘ either/or at least one of the first two ‘ laws’ of Thermodynamics. look up ‘lord kelvin’ for starters.

            “The term “thermodynamics” was likely first coined by mathematical physicist William Thompson, also known as Lord Kelvin, in his paper On the Dynamical Theory of Heat (1854). ”

            The first law of thermodynamics states that, when energy passes into or out of a system (as work, heat, or matter), the system’s internal energy changes in accordance with the law of conservation of energy.

            The second law of thermodynamics states that in a natural thermodynamic process, the sum of the entropies of the interacting thermodynamic systems never decreases. A common corollary of the statement is that heat does not spontaneously pass from a colder body to a warmer body.

            The first and second laws prohibit two kinds of perpetual motion machines, respectively: the perpetual motion machine of the first kind which produces work with no energy input, and the perpetual motion machine of the second kind which spontaneously converts thermal energy into mechanical work.

            BTW- ” Thermo ” is not taught in law school :))))

          • @ Bubba2

            Your argumentation assumes that the heat pump is a closed system — which it is not.

            Rather, the heat pump can only operate when it is provided with a constant supply of base fluid (air or water) that is already at a starting temperature T1; this is generally outside air or ground water.
            The heat pump uses adiabatic processes to draw heat out of this base fluid, and transfer it to an exchanger fluid, whose temperature is thereby increased to a new temperature T2. In so doing, the pump expends energy EP = k(T2-T1) + I, where I is a loss term.
            The efficiency of the process is kT2/EP…which is now up to about 400% in the latest commercially available models.

            I have three of them in my house. If the outside air temp is 10 celcius, then I put in 1.5kW of electricity, and I get out 5 kW of heat, in each case…which thus represents an efficiency of 333%. If the outside air temp is 0 celcius, the efficiency of lower, but still around 250%.

            I find it shocking that use of these appliances is only now being encouraged in the US. I bought my first one 15 years ago…in a laundry dryer. It does the same job as a conventional (Ohmic) dryer, but uses 900W to do so instead of 3.2kW. In the meantime, I purchased 2 extra ones, to provide home heating.

          • Let’s stay on topic. Heat pumps are off topic.


        • Finito on heat pumps- I apologize for being too subtle re Efficiency statements which claim results greater than 100 percent are at the best disinformation and most likely indication the author doesn’t know the subject by confusing Coefficient of Performance >1 with Efficiency.
          It seems the Government DOE doesn’t know the difference either.

  6. Good point and similarly, with the jet age. In the 1960’s Boeing had the 707/720 in production along with the 727, 737 and launched the 747 all with no computer assistance as we know it today.

    • And 80 years ago – a DC -3 ( c-47 ) flew over normanday- and check on whats
      happening this month with the same plane !

      Still Flying High, WWII Plane That Led D-Day Operation Heads to Normandy
      Max Gurney, 102, of San Diego is a proud member of the small contingent of surviving veterans who will witness the historic event.

      several dc-3 variants are flying the o/ld air route from US to England to fly over Normandy again on ‘ D’ day commeration

      Quite a story one can find in epoch times

      Designed with slide rules and built with pride and quality then.

  7. If things aren’t bad enough already, I suspect we are rapidly approaching a need to do something about cabin safety in turbulent air. In the 1960’s the auto industry began a transformation that was forced on them. One of the areas of focus was all of the hard surfaces and bits of protruding metal inside a vehicle which become serious injury factors when people are bounced around inside. Those wonderful toggle switches on the Jaguar XKE became illegal along with almost every other cabin design element then in use in virtually every car and light truck being made at the time.

    OK, we have a language problem with global warming. Technical people just naturally tend to equate words like heat and warm with energy, and understand that it can be expressed in many ways, many of which would not be described as being warm or hot. But the public doesn’t think like that. Most people don’t equate “global warming” with the idea of more energy in the atmosphere and oceans, which can be expressed as many ways, including faster moving streams of air and storms, including blizzards. But that is exactly what global warming means. And one of the things that means is that clear air turbulence incidents are going to be on the rise. The recent Singapore and Qatar incidents are just the beginning.

    So, I’m thinking that almost every detail of aircraft cabin design now in use is obsolete. And, at some point the safety regulators are going to decided to do something about it. Of course, in the old days, Boeing would have taken the lead on such things and done it without prompting. But that was then.

    • Also seat belts became a requirement at all times in a vehicle.
      I wonder how many of the injured in the recent turbulence incidents were wearing seat belts at the time, and how many were hit by unrestrained objects flying around the cabin.

      • Seat Belt signs were on.

        It should be mandatory for seat belts to be used when not moving to restroom. Seat belt sign is only enforced on takeoff and landing.

        But then you have cabin crew and meal service and the drink carts and what do you do about that? Most injuries are unsecured cabin crew.

    • What would really be nice is a reliable CAT detector whose sensor package would fit into the available space in the nose cones of current commercial transport aircraft. I’m guessing that to stay out of the way of the radar dish the package envelope would be restricted to something like a cube 6″ on a side and weighing no more than about 10 pounds. Also, to give the cabin crew a reliable 5 minute warning time to get things secure, including themselves, it would need a range of just under 60 miles.

  8. ISO 9000:

    I had direct experience with that and while not a Roger Stone fan, the comment that it was a European Plot to bring the US to a halt was true.

    Now before my European friends get excited, you need to understand that ISO is not a quality program, it is a “the paperwork is complete” program.

    As we saw with Boeing and the Exit Blank eject, no paperwork, it does not exist (and reference now to the people doing the work at Charleston Self Inspecting their own work, argh).

    My company (now kaput due to their incompetence though it took a long time) and FedEx (which we were supposed to follow all their programs, went hog in on ISO 9000.

    Now why a facility mechanic (Boilers, pumps, fans, Air Conditioning, Generators, Switchgear, Fire Pumps) needs to know his Digital Meter is perfect? Yea, you know what you should have and you know if the meter has failed (not that one ever did unless dropped).

    Of course said meter would fail just as you sent it in so it was not like the year between checks left you exposed if you were stupid. There always was a place to check a wall socket for 120 volts or other equipment around.

    Well we supplied our own meters and I had others, but people generally did not, so it was, what are we supposed to do when the meters are out to get their ISO checks? Uhhhhhhhh.

    And by the way, do I sent all 3 of my meters in or ???????? Seeing as I have no meter if I do.

    Ok, hide your other meter when you have the ISO one, dang, we have to buy a meter and …….

    Then it was, do you really need those Magnahelics Calibrated? No, same thing, they work or they don’t and a quick test…….. Ok, hide those too.

    And of course my main gauge suitcase set, well they blew the gauges in that up and I had to replace them as the ISO people claimed they were innocent. Right, 6 gauges all wrecked? Tell me another one.

    But as was stated, on the MAX the FAA was doing paperwork audits, which tells you that cheating on the paperwork is a long art form.

    Yea, great system.

    • Umm, ISO 9001 was literally taken from a 1950s US Dept of Defense spec called MIL-Q-9858. It was the DoD that exported it to NATO (as “AQAP”) which then got picked up by the UK’s Ministry of Defense with US permission. It was never created by the Europeans, and was never made a mandatory part of doing business with Europe. They just republished our stuff.

      I report on the fraud and corruption in the ISO scheme, but your account of its history is woefully flawed and flat-earth level stuff.

      • Christopher:

        Hmmm, so it did not come from Europe and its a fantastic system.

        Got it.

        Well other than I saw it in action, I saw the failures and the moves to get around it because it did nothing other than impede operations. You gotta love it.

  9. I don’t understand this article, and I don’t think the authors understand the real game at play here. Boeing has NOT implemented AS9100, and has in fact refused to do so except for a handful of tiny shops in places like Singapore or for its distribution wing, BDS. The main manufacturing shops and supply chain departments do NOT adopt AS9100, and Boeing has refused to do so.

    Boeing requires everyone ELSE to comply with it, though. But even then, when suppliers like Spirit are the source of defects, the AS9100 auditors just cover up the problem and everyone remains certified.

    Worse, Boeing has taken over the committees responsible for the development of both ISO 9001 and AS9100. So add that insult to the injury: for years, Boeing has been creating and mandating standards it doesn’t use for itself.

    So the words “AS9100” should never be said in the same context as “Boeing” unless you’re talking about raw hypocrisy and broken bureaucracy.

    Source: I’ve been reporting on Boeing’s failures in this area for over two decades.

    • Christopher. The article says this. From this internationally recognized standard, Boeing captured all the elements needed to certify its Boeing Production System with the FAA with respect to how quality would be defined, measured and monitored. This is a solid starting point in that nobody has implicated any failings in Boeing’s actual QMS.

      It said that Boeing copied what they wanted out of AS9100 when they wrote their own QMS doc as a portion of the Boeing Production System. I dont think the author(s) ever claimed that Boeing adopted AS9100. Perhaps it could be a bit clearer.

      • It does appear that as of early 2024, Boeing updated their WEBSITE to claim they have implemented AS9100, and wayback machine shows no prior such claims. Whetehr they actually did that remains to be seen and, of course, Boeing will not allow its main plants to be certified.

        I remain confused on this point: “this is a solid starting point in that nobody has implicated any failings in Boeing’s actual QMS.” In fact, there have been brutal take-downs and implications of failure by the Boeing QMS. Many of these came from FAA itself, dating back to the MCAS scandal when FAA claimed, in 2019, the Boeing QMS had failed. In the past few months alone, the FAA has publicly alleged failure on the part of the Boeing QMS. Then, outlets such as mine have been most assuredly implicating the failed QMS of Boeing as the reason for the 737 MAX and other disasters. In fact, I recall probes underway after the Dreamliner battery fire, many years prior.

        Now it gets worse: AS9100 won’t help them anyway. Spirit and key Boeing suppliers like Southwest all have AS9100 certification by a third party. They nevertheless were repeatedly cited for their role in the delivery of defective product and falsified test data. The AS9100 auditing bodies, however, ignore these facts and continue to issue AS9100 certs every year, because none dare de-certify a giant Boeing plant. There’s simply too much money.

        So even if Boeing (pretends to?) implement AS9100, since they helped build the scheme for everyone else and refuse to root out the corruption that allows bad companies to get certified, this isn’t the cure you think it is. This is just papering over engrained corporate defects in order to get FAA to back down. More planes are going to crash, and more people are going to die.

        • Christopher. The QMS is quite solid. Compliance with the QMS requirements is the issue. Every issud mentioned in the srticle has boiled down to a failure to execute the QMS as planned. This is a people problem, not a problem with the QMS as published. AS9100 wasnt proposed as the cure, but it is terribly interesting that no other aerospace tier 1 in America has the issues Boeing is suffering in anything like the systemic gaikure to execute shown by Boeing.

          • Bottom line there is no magic in ISO 9000 or any other system.

            You set standards that are relevant, you have a structure in place and you enforce it.

            Its no more complicated than that. I can be called Zap 9 or Z7 or anything else.

            Implementation failures are addressed, not covered up.

            Paper trails have been and will always forever be pencil whipped if allowed.

            We became masters at it or we wold have just checked into work in the morning and blew soap bubbles all day.

        • Christopher.
          The QMS is command media.
          The Boeings production System is what Boeing calls all the production instructios, cmes, capp, mtls and all the associated interlocking subsystems that drive product to completion. Boeing rewrote AS9100 into Boeingeze and packaged it inside the Boeing production system. Thats all fine, and it worked well until loss of institutional knowlege along with the last decade or so focus on the dollars and delivery placed quality in something other than the prime directive. As such, the QMS as published at Boeing works really well, if you follow the command media, which they arent…. It remains a people problem. Perhaps a fine point, but its the reality of the situation. If BA followed their command media as published the vast bulk of their problems would have not occured

  10. Here is my question about this issue: what happened with the investigations by the FAA and NTSB into the Alaska door plug blowout? I read many times that they have been unable to interview the supervisor of the responsible group because the individual is on “medical leave”. My response to that is, so what? If they were investigating a plane crash could the airline just put the pilot on medical leave and render him untouchable? I understand the door blowout had nothing to do with the pilot, I’m just using this as an example.
    How can it be that the supervisor in question cannot be interviewed by the NTSB merely due to medical leave. This seems quite convenient for Calhoun and friends.
    What if the DOJ decides to prosecute? Are they likewise unable to compel that supervisor to submit to an interview?
    Exaggerated rhetorical question: if an employee kills someone at work and then goes on medical leave, are the police unable to question the suspect?

    • ’tis curious.

      I expect events and non-events to become even
      more so, as we get closer to the “election”.

    • Sounds like it was a quick undocumented fix, no papertrail and the manager did not have a clue. Maybe Spirit just hang the door and somebody at Boeing was ordered to installed the panel without checking the bolts was in place. The key is “the fix” not doing the job per a jobacard with checks, quality and documenting torque etc. Did work fine in the 1960’s not now.

      • It works now as well as it always has.

        When you cut corners (do not generate a job and just tell someone to close the door) then that is what you get.

        It comes down to if someone wants to make a system fail, they can do it.

        What it should not ever be is part of the culture to do so and clearly it is and managers that do that get rewarded.

        • Inside Renton, to open (unlike remove* IIRC) the plug does not require the generation of a job! Bingo.

  11. Just for the record, and regarding the prospect of a Chinese-made airliner to be certified by EASA, the case has a precedent. The Airbus A318 was launched after a tri-nation airliner family project, AE316/317, involving China, the then Airbus Industrie and STA Aerospace -Singapore- was cancelled in the wake of the Asian crisis starting in 1998.

  12. So, we’re almost through May at this stage. Have there been any published orders for BCA this month? I’m not aware of any, but perhaps someone else has some info on this?
    Airbus got the record Saudi order for 105 narrowbodies this month.

    This is relevant because Boeing got only 7 orders in April (and 33 cancellations). In recent quarters, deposits from orders have been a major source of positive cashflow at Boeing…so, if that source is drying up, the cash situation will rapidly worsen.

  13. The headline alone speaks volumes:


    “But that issue is apparently no big deal. At a news conference on Friday, Boeing and NASA said they were going to proceed with the launch without fixing the leak, in a decision that is bound to raise eyebrows as the company is already mired in controversy over the safety of its aircraft”

    • Sunita Williams has flown on the Shuttle, a Soyuz rocket and now will take her chances on the Boeing Starliner. The commander Barry E. Wilmore has also flown on the same types.

      I wonder how confident those two feel about hopping on that craft?

      NASA has an unwritten rule with it’s astronauts; You do everything you can to make the mission a success and we will do everything we can to keep you safe.

      (mind you, they have joked – in public even, about flying on a spacecraft being built by the lowest bidder)

      Is this “Go fever” all over again?

    • Why am I not surprised. Reading further, they’ve got their “Tiger Team” (yes, they really said that) workin’ on the MAX’s anti-ice issue, so we can rest assured it’ll be fixed posthaste-just like Boing “leadership” said, quite awhile back. /s
      What an outfit.

      “two good programs, possibly three.”

      • Poor Southwest!
        At least United woke up and snatched up some A321neos to replace the delayed MAX10s that it had ordered.
        Southwest, on the other hand, seems destined to be forced to convert more and more of its MAX7 orders into MAX8s (a model that is essentially too big for its needs).

        McB really rewards its most loyal customers 🙈

          • Food for thought:
            When a McFix is finally concocted for the nacelle icing problem (if ever), it will need to be retrofitted to in-service 8s and 9s. Seeing as those models don’t have EICAS, such retrofits will probably involve significant work (extra wiring, switches, lights,…) — with attendant compensation to airlines for the necessary hangar time.

            I sense more McExceptions coming…

    • Boeing making progress on 737 MAX engine issue delaying certification of some models

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Boeing said on Wednesday it was making progress on developing a permanent solution to address an issue with the 737 MAX engine anti-ice system that has delayed certification of the smallest model, the MAX 7 and the largest, the MAX 10.

      A source told Reuters that Boeing plans to conduct flight testing on the anti-ice fix later this year and said certification of the MAX 7 could slip to mid-2025.

      Boeing Chief Financial Officer Brian West said in January the anti-ice fix could be addressed “within a year.” Boeing has 35 MAX 7 and MAX 10 planes in inventory.


      Mid to late 2025 for the Max 7.

      Max 10 won’t get certified at the same time, will it? Early 2026, most likely.

      Is there any way that the 777X moves ahead of the Max 7 cert in the pecking order?

      If not, Lufthansa is spot on with ‘nothing before 2026’ comment.

  14. AW: EASA Head Sees Airbus A321XLR Certification Before Summer

    • Nice. That other outfit- the one that calls the 321XLR a “niche aircraft” – seems to be slipping into [oblivious, blithe] irrelevance. Maybe Ms. Pope will turn it all around, though. /s

      weird- or something (my money’s on “something”).

      • The XLR is essentially the 757 replacement.

        I wonder if BA would characterize the 757 as a ‘niche’ aircraft?

        • I hear ya.. Airbus is gonna sell *a ton* of those (mostly-amortized, like the 330neo) things.


  15. “..I sense more McExceptions coming..”

    yep. “let’s see how deeply we can paint ourselves into a corner, then make up for it with moar and better PR!”
    What an outfit.

  16. Well this is an eye watering example of why Boeing has not fallen into the gutter completely per stock prices.

    When you see buzz words like “too big to fail” in a financial assessment, ungh. Oh, we are not grounded, our future is dim but gee golly whiz.

    Do you make money jacking up a stock and selling it as soon as you see a penny return?


  17. More buying opportunities!

    “The company has avoided a full grounding of its planes …
    “Boeing’s Q1 performance was relatively decent, and the full recovery of the air travel market and defense contracts provide growth opportunities.

    FOMO. If it fails, it only fails upward.
    The writer doesn’t have to be right, the web site earns $$ from 👀 .

    • ‘Elites’ fail upward; Proles get crushed. Thought for the day. 😉

      Time to re-read 1984, and Brave New World.

  18. Can someone please explain why the 737 MAX 7 and MAX 10 will not be certified for years while the 737 MAX 8, 8200 and MAX 9 are being produced and delivered? They are basically the same aircraft model with different fuselage lengths. What does the FAA hope to uncover in the coming years that it does not already know?
    The same can be asked about the 777-9.

    • The high-profile Alaska incident has removed DC’s will to grant pre-cert exemptions.
      Consequently, the nacelle de-icing debacle now has to be solved *before* new models are certified.
      If the MAX had EICAS, this would be a relatively simple exercise. But it doesn’t, so the “fix” is much more involved.
      Add in the fact that McB has suffered a huge drain in engineering talent and you get (sliding) multi-year delays.

      • ‘Consequently, the nacelle de-icing debacle now has to be solved *before* new models are certified.’

        Jerry raises an interesting point;

        Would the FAA ever reverse itself, having found out about the nacelle issue and then demand that the issue be solved FOR ALL 737Max models, including the Max 8 & 9 – before another one can be delivered?

        Maybe BA should count itself lucky that they still can deliver the Max 8 & 9 with the engine nacelle issue? Maybe the FAA has already quietly mentioned this to BA, when Boeing undoubtedly complained to the FAA that it was the same engine for all models?

        “You want to use that argument to say we should allow the engine to fly as is on the Max 7 & 10 because it’s already certified to fly on the 8 & 9? How about we pull those certs and say it can’t fly on any Max until the issue is resolved?”

        • And extending your argument: what cards might the EASA, CAAC and other regulators pull on this issue?

          Particularly the CAAC, which appears to be quite “ballsy” toward McB.

    • As regards the 777-9: that plane doesn’t even have a TIA…much less a reliable certification timeline…much less a credible EIS.

      Why? Well, read for yourself this detailed ST article from 3 years ago….featuring scathing comments from the FAA. We’re now *three years* further, without evident progress.

      Now that self-cert is off the table, it appears that McB just doesn’t know how to get a plane certified. It’s not used to actually having to do tangible stuff in order to sastisfy a regulator.

    • Even though BA is trying to cert the 777X as a derivative, it is essentially a new aircraft jumping through the hoops of a new aircraft certification. Folding wingtips and those huge engines have changed an awful lot of things over the previous iteration.

      There are more engineering inclined individuals in here, who can better explain that side of things.

      Boeing isn’t getting a pass and the benefit of the doubt, anymore.

  19. Singapore Airlines will suspend meal services when the seat belt sign is lit as part of new measures adopted following a fatal turbulence incident

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