Senate report reveals FAA retaliation, hostile culture

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By Scott Hamilton

Introduction

Dec. 21, 2020, © Leeham News: The US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Friday issued a damning report taking Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration to task.

A 20-month investigation began in the wake of the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes in October 2018 and March 2019.

The report concluded Boeing inappropriately coached the FAA pilots during recertification simulator training to test fixes to the now-infamous MCAS system.

Details were widely reported last week.

More troubling is the larger picture painted by the Committee of an FAA for years ignoring several US airlines’ safety violations and attempts by FAA inspectors to enforce safety regulations.

Whistleblowers were subject to retaliation, Committee investigators found. The FAA and its parent agency, the Department of Transportation, refused to make FAA employees available for interviews and stonewalled when documents were requested.

The bigger picture of an agency that protects airlines more than the public raises questions of a culture that favors cozy relationships with airlines. Media reports focused on the Boeing-FAA relationship and not the larger issues.

Summary

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Boeing, SPEEA and Union Reamalgamation

Editor’s Note: This is another in a series of articles examining the future of Boeing, its unions and Washington state. There first article appeared here. The second appeared here.

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By the Leeham News Team

Introduction

Dec. 14, 2020, © Leeham News: In a past element of this series, LNA looked at a potential path forward for IAM 751 Machinists District members to become a profit center as opposed to a pure cost to Boeing.

The Prime Directive is for Boeing to make money.

Boeing must be profitable. This is its mission for shareholders, employees, the supply chain, new development, for Washington and other states and for the US economy.

Boeing must then by definition divorce itself from unnecessary costs. Boeing defines SPEEA as an unnecessary cost. SPEEA is in the same position as the IAM in that it must change this reality. The path forward would be a huge lift, it involves some un-union-like thinking in a couple of areas.

Summary:
  • Trust, need and profitability.
  • Reinventing technicians.
  • A strong case for SPEEA.

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Restoring operations of the 737 MAX

By Bjorn Fehrm

December 1, 2020, ©. Leeham News: Boeing and its customer airlines have 837 MAX airliners that shall get back in the air. After the FAA and ANAC, Brazil’s regulator, have stated the conditions, the work can begin. EASA and Transport Canada will follow with eventual modifications on what needs to be done.

There can be no slip-ups when the 737 MAX flies again. Boeing and the airlines know this; hence there is no room for hurried work or compromises. It will take two years to get the job done, according to Boeing.

Boeing 737 MAX planes stored at Boeing Field. Source: Wikipedia/SounderBruce

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FAA administrator flies MAX in next step to recertification

By Scott Hamilton

Sept. 30, 2020, © Leeham News: Boeing is one step closer to recertifying the 737 MAX.

Steve Dickson

Steve Dickson, the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, fulfilled a pledge this morning to pilot the MAX as one of the final steps in the recertification process.

The MAX was grounded in March 2019 following the second fatal accident of the airplane in five months.

Dickson said he would not recertify the airplane until he piloted it and was satisfied Boeing redesigned the now-infamous MCAS software that triggered events leading to the two crashes.

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MAX, 777X certification questions abound at Singapore Airshow

By Judson Rollins

February 13, 2020, © Leeham News: Despite depressed turnout at this year’s Singapore Airshow, there was still plenty of conversation around the return to service for Boeing’s beleaguered 737 MAX – and potential impacts on the certification of the 777X.

Summary
  • Ungrounding will take ~30 days from certification flight; operators also have work to do
  • Every MAX produced to date will require its own validation flight
  • FAA will gradually hand back some oversight to Boeing
  • 777X, other future certifications will be different; regulators still figuring out how

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Exclusive: Boeing, internally, sees production halt at least 60 days

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 7, 2020, © Leeham News: Boeing internally sees production suspension of the 737 MAX of at least 60 days, LNA has learned.

The last inventory MAX fuselages entered final assembly this week and will roll out of the factory shortly.

Then, production is suspended. Boeing publicly has not said how long the suspension will last and it’s unclear how much information has been passed down the supply chain. Without knowing when the FAA will recertify the MAX, Boeing can’t truly gauge when production will resume.

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