- 29 October 2018: A 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air crashes after leaving Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board
- 31 January 2019: Boeing reports an order of 5,011 Max planes from 79 customers
- 10 March 2019: A 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashes, killing all 157 people on board
- 14 March 2019: Boeing grounds entire 737 Max aircraft fleet
Boeing pushed back determinedly against the aviation regulator’s calls for a certain aspect of simulator training, which would have led to higher costs for its customers, making its aircraft less attractive. Documents also appear to show problems with the simulators being discussed.
In February 2018, a Boeing worker asked a colleague: “Would you put your family on a Max simulator-trained aircraft? I wouldn’t.” “No,” came the reply. One unnamed employee wrote in an exchange of instant messages in April 2017: “This airplane is designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys.”
“I want to stress the importance of holding firm that there will not be any type of simulator training required to transition from NG to Max,” Boeing’s 737 chief technical pilot at the time, Mark Forkner, said in a March 2017 email. Boeing will not allow that to happen. We’ll go face to face with any regulator who tries to make that a requirement.”
In other emails and instant messages, employees spoke of their frustration with the company’s culture, complaining about the drive to find the cheapest suppliers and “impossible schedules”.
“I don’t know how to fix these things… it’s systemic. It’s culture. It’s the fact we have a senior leadership team that understand very little about the business and yet are driving us to certain objectives,” said an employee in an email dated June 2018.
And in a May 2018 message, an unnamed Boeing employee said: “I still haven’t been forgiven by God for the covering up I did last year.”. Without citing what was covered up, the employee added: “Can’t do it one more time, the pearly gates will be closed.”
US House transportation committee chairman Peter DeFazio – who has been investigating the 737 Max – said the communications “show a co-ordinated effort dating back to the earliest days of the 737 Max programme to conceal critical information from regulators and the public”.
The comment from the FAA , which is the regulator, was, “The tone and content of some of the language contained in the documents is disappointing“. (Washington Post)
Disappointing! This system isn’t working. It is corrupt. There are too many Boeings around, getting away with unsafe and unlawful stuff because they have multiple lobbyists and plentiful cash to support pliant congressmen. Disappointing , indeed!