But once again that "moment" assumes that commercial goals driving "unacceptable" engineering decisions and the subsequent crashes is the actual cause and effect. We can speculate all we want about what happened in development, but short of hard, directly linked evidence between the two events, which there none has been made public so far, this shouldn't be assumed. And even then it's a nebulous theory that could be theoretically applied to practically any crash. In hindsight we can always look and say, "if we had only spent more money here." And what is the difference between an "acceptable" and "unacceptable" engineering decision anyway? So you may be waiting for a message that doesn't even apply to this situation. What it sounds more like is the salve to the belief that no matter what, someone or something has to be blamed.
Yes, no doubt, a "smoking gun" needs to be produced, I've said this all along. I'm confident after reading the text message dump that it wasn't Forkner on his own who decided he needed to play Jedi mind tricks to get FAA and others to fast track MAX certification. Maybe other executives were more careful on what they committed to electronic form, maybe the investigators didn't ask the right questions or read the right content, maybe they did and they are sitting on the evidence, who knows.
When you read the message dump and its clear description of management motivations from Forkner and others, and add to it what ST's lead article on MCAS gives as the faults of Boeing's safety assessment of MCAS:
The safety analysis:
- Understated the power of the new flight control system, which was designed to swivel the horizontal tail to push the nose of the plane down to avert a stall. When the planes later entered service, MCAS was capable of moving the tail more than four times farther than was stated in the initial safety analysis document.
- Failed to account for how the system could reset itself each time a pilot responded, thereby missing the potential impact of the system repeatedly pushing the airplane’s nose downward.
- Assessed a failure of the system as one level below “catastrophic.” But even that “hazardous” danger level should have precluded activation of the system based on input from a single sensor — and yet that’s how it was designed.
Ref: https://www.seattletimes.com/business/b ... air-crash/
... it's hard to attribute all this to random incompetence rather than the "effect" of management insisting engineers take the low cost route at every juncture and abuse their positions as both Boeing employees and FAA inspectors to get that outcome.https://www.seattletimes.com/business/b ... ng-safety/
from Wednesday provides even more examples of the issues:
Seattle Times reports last year revealed that Boeing managers limited some certification testing performed by the company’s own engineers; that FAA safety engineers were pressured to give cursory approvals to Boeing analyses; and that changes to MCAS made late in the program’s development went largely under the FAA’s radar.
And the perverse effects:
Stumo also called for Boeing to drop a defense its lawyers are using in court, where they have argued that the company should be immune from liability for the crashes because the FAA certified the MAX.
In an interview from her home in England, Kuria said she was disgusted to learn of this legal argument during the hearing.
“I was completely stunned by the audacity of Boeing to ask for immunity,” she said. “I felt that it was a form of admission of wrongdoing. Because what do you need immunity for if you are innocent?”
When Sen. Ed Markey, D -Mass.,raised the issue with Dickson, the FAA chief agreed that “the responsibility to produce a safe product does belong with Boeing.”
In effect Boeing used Jedi mind tricks to get FAA to certify the plane, and now they're saying "don't blame us, FAA certified the plane!".
It'd be nice if we could put these hi-jinks to an end, but it seems we aren't going to be able to.
TFA suggests FAA has been less than cooperative with Congress:
He said that even after a personal plea to Dickson within the last week for answers to specific questions and access to specific internal documents, no progress was made.
“This record of delay and unresponsiveness clearly shows at best an unwillingness to cooperate with congressional oversight,” Wicker said. “Your team at the FAA has deliberately tried to keep us in the dark.”
“It’s hard not to characterize our relationship during this entire process as being adversarial on the part of the FAA,” he added. “The agency stonewalling of my investigation suggests discomfort for what might ultimately be revealed.”
At one point Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D – Conn., told Dickson: “I see no way you can continue in this job if you fail to be more responsive.”
It suggests FAA has some skeletons in its closet, and that Dickson has not been an agent of change.