Spaceflight will never tolerate carelessness, incapacity, and neglect. Somewhere, somehow, we screwed up. It could have been in design, build, or test. Whatever it was, we should have caught it. We were too gung ho about the schedule and we locked out all of the problems we saw each day in our work.
Interestingly, this shows that "schedule fever" can occur even within not-for-profit entities such as NASA.
NASA was under enormous political and social pressure. The space race was very real, and losing was not considered an option. However, while the events of Apollo 1 were tragic, the deaths of the three astronauts (who understood the risks of their career choice) pales in comparison to JT610 and ET302. And, while this may be rather a moral judgement, NASA’s failure, under immense political and social pressure, is significantly more forgivable than Boeing’s failure under profit-motivated pressure. I wouldn’t describe Boeing’s situation as “go fever.” Even calling it “schedule fever” is rather sugar-coating things. The situation at Boeing sounds a lot more like plain old greed.
For me the MAX issue stems from 2 corporate drives.
Firstly - the significant ramp up we've seen in recent years to play "hard-ball" in every way possible (the "greed" aspect)..
Ramping up the WTO activities (I know, not just Boeing, but they will have been lobbying hard)
Massive push to up 787 output and drive down cost, deliberately aiming to cut the A330NEO off at the knees
The Dumping case against the C-series
The intense (unparalleled in Lightsaber's
experience) pressure on suppliers
It has felt like Boeing management has been racheting up the pressure in every way possible in order to
Record record profits
Execute record share buy-backs
Secure record executive bonuses
The second aspect is that into this environment, the A320NEO specifically caught Boeing completely off-side.
Look at the AA order for the MAX.
"Yeah we've ordered 230 planes. don't know what they are yet but Boeing are working that out"
It's clear that in order to make the MAX hurried response fit in to the racheting up of pressure, exceptional things were going to have to happen.
But the MAX had to fit into the corporate "greed" profile, come what may.
It is surprising what pressures a corporate culture like that can set up amongst line management and workforce.
BOD's have to be really careful how they message out corporate imperatives.
People ultimately behave the way they are measured.