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AngMoh
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 3:29 am

zeke wrote:
The letter from the FAA to Boeing outlining the anticipated certification timeframe, on the last page the FAA states “the Model 777-9 amended type certification (ATC) date is realistically going to be mid to late 2023 (>2 years from now).”

https://twitter.com/davidshepardson/sta ... 14720?s=21


This is bad.

Multiple references to "significant" issues, especially when referring to the supplier. A whacking that while software cause of Dec incident has been addressed, the root cause has not been addressed and process improvements associated with that have have not been implemented or are even planned to be implemented - for me this is a showstopper. Various references to changing schedule with no good visibility (nor trust) in reasons for changes in schedule and no confidence by FAA that current schedule is realistic. A laundry list of planned design changes. One planned change not agreed by EASA. And to top it all off, a warning that the additional FAA effort on the 777-9 will cause delays to other programs which might have higher priority.

What a mess.
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Gremlinzzzz
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 6:50 am

Noshow wrote:
To me these issues look more like a strategy thing. The entire way they go must be corrected. They burn through their heritage programs but continuing this route they won't earn much even with best selling programs. This must convince even the stock crowd. The company is still great and could be turned around to perform as in the old days.
Changing culture is never easy, and you cannot expect that the people that landed you there are best placed to get you out of the hole.

FluidFlow wrote:
astuteman wrote:
FluidFlow wrote:
I think it is a bit harsh to criticize management for the setbacks of the 777X. What they definitely lack is transparency but the issue (from what I understand) is that the goal posts were shifted due to the MAX fiasco. The 777X was in development before the MAX crashes, all the processes and designs were made and the ship was sailing. Then the destination was changed but turning a tanker takes time. So Boeing got caught with their pants down because now they have to redesign stuff and even worse, actually produce evidence that what they did was conform. That means going back to the beginning and do the paperwork properly. That is a painful job that takes time and especially if personnel changed it means that some work might have to be redone.

We can see from the criticism of the FAA that a lot of stuff is missing or was not properly done because the initial plan of Boeing never included that stuff because it was not needed (because the FAA just took Boeings word) but now the FAA actually demands the paperwork.


With the greatest of respect, I strongly disagree.

The reason I picked out the two points I did are that they are no-one else's fault but Boeing management..

1. Not following their own procedures
2. Inadequate peer review of the safety analysis.

I'm pretty sure the goalposts have moved as a result of the MAX, but these 2 are unforgiveable - in any business, but especially after the MAX fiasco

Just read them, and tell me again why its harsh to criticise Boeing's management..
There is no excuse.

Rgds



Interesting that you pick these two. Both are engineering level processes that were not done or done properly. Now lets see what this means:

Nr. 1: The procedures were actually there, so management and QS implemented them but they were not followed by the lower level instances. What we can conclude: Either upper management did not enforce the rules because they never did and it was never a problem or upper management did not know the procedures were not followed because the engineers never did that and QS missed that. Now both seem to stem from an "easy" approach to quality control encouraged by a system that is geared towards lax controls and reduction of red tape.

Nr 2: It is not managements job to peer review this reports (as they do not have the qualification). This seems to stem from cost and time cutting, assuming that it was done properly and does not need the peer review. What is the reason for that? Either the FAA never demanded them peer reviews before as they just believed Boeing did it right (again not overseeing the process) or it was actually not done but should have been and someone in quality and process control missed it. Probably because so much stuff was not needed and Boeing was allowed to rubber stamp so many things in the process.

My conclusion is that it is not a executive problem but actually a middle management problem stemming from the low oversight that was granted for so long. What should happen is actually that the execs either cull the middle management/highest engineering level and replace it with fresh faces or resign, and the new execs have to cull the middle management/highest engineering levels and replace it with new ones.

The problem seems to be rooted deep in the way engineering and quality control work but not on the highest level (they just yes manned all the practices). It is like having a rotten department inherited from years of low oversight. To get things right the top has to weed out the bad and plant new stuff.

On top of that it is also necessary to empower the external oversight (FAA) to make sure the holes are found and the execs know where to cut off the bad limbs.

The board will cull the execs if they can not deliver financial return. But just replacing them and leaving the bad engineering will not heal the culture nor company, it will need actual change in how aircraft are designed and especially internally reviewed.
A lecturer once told me that the only reason top managers are paid as much as they are is to be accountable. How could they ever be accountable if the do not hold those of lower rank accountable?

The 787 was way over budget and late.
The 747-8 was mismanaged initially, over budget and late.
The 737MAX was early, but poorly decision making led to a record grounding that ensures they never make money selling these planes.
The 777X has a small order book, charge already taken but it looks like nothing has been learnt from the 737MAX fiasco.
 
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Pythagoras
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 7:12 am

zeke wrote:
The letter from the FAA to Boeing outlining the anticipated certification timeframe, on the last page the FAA states “the Model 777-9 amended type certification (ATC) date is realistically going to be mid to late 2023 (>2 years from now).”

https://twitter.com/davidshepardson/sta ... 14720?s=21


The circumstances seem similar to the A400M FADEC software issues that delayed that program.

EPI admits A400M goof
Written by defenceWeb -
8th May 2009

EPI President Nick Durham told an industry briefing in Seville, Spain, this week that they had slipped up with the certification of the Fully Digital Engine Control (FADEC) software for the aircraft`s massive TP400-D6 turboprop engines.
Durham told an interested audience that the A400M will be used for military and humanitarian missions, meaning it must possess both military and civil airworthiness certification.
Airframe manufacturer Airbus is responsible for managing the certification of the airframe but the engine manufacturer – EPI – must do the same on the propulsion system.
He explained the engine must pass through a series of “gates” before the authorities will allow the aircraft to perform its first flight under Experimental Aircraft classification.
Furthermore, the European Airworthiness Safety Authority (EASA) – and all other civil certification bodies – require proof of the integrity of any design they are being asked to certificate.
This includes being able to demonstrate traceability and accessibility in the writing of the FADEC software codes.
EPI failed to build the required body of traceable and accessible evidence for the FADEC software.
According to Durham, at the time, EPI didn`t realise that not doing so would sink any attempt at EASA certification.
The result is that the EPI has had to rewrite all of the software codes and create the required traceable evidence – a step that has required it to triple its workforce to meet EASA requirements and catch up lost time.


https://www.defenceweb.co.za/aerospace/aerospace-aerospace/epi-admits-a400m-goof/

A two year delay would be consistent with findings that flight critical software was non-certifiable and needed to be re-written. A hypotheses would be the approach was to re-use 787 software and subsequent re-assessment by Boeing and the FAA found that assumption to be non-certifiable. We will see.
 
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Chipmunk1973
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 8:28 am

I have been dissecting some of your recent commentary about the certification process(es) with regard to the 777X. I find that you’ve contradicted yourself and appear to apologetic on Boeing’s behalf.

This is not a personal attack against you, that is not my intention. I am just trying to make sense of all of it.

Pythagoras wrote:
I need to correct an incorrect impression on this thread. For new and major derivative airplane programs (and I worked on five airplane programs), Boeing and the FAA negotiate the means-of-compliance to the regulations and whether finding compliance to a regulation is delegated to the applicant's designated representative or is retained by the FAA. If the finding of compliance is retained by the FAA, the certification documents must be provided to the FAA for review and acceptance. Generally, if the applicant has certificated something similar in the past, the FAA will delegate finding of compliance to the applicants' designated representative.

So unless you have the certification plan in front of you for the CCS, you really don't know how much of this has been delegated and how much has been retained


Pythagoras wrote:
… The FAA has linked completion of the CCS Development Assurance to flight test. Further, it appears that this is a fairly recent requirement from the FAA in that the letter that is referenced was written April 7, 2021.

Taking this one step further, what the FAA is asking of Boeing is to essentially provide the data required to certify the CCS before TIA, which could be construed as moving the goal post. Knowing how certification is parsed out among the technical disciplines, one could see how the E-UM at Boeing and the specific regulators at the FAA for this discipline would have put together a certification plan and schedule independent of the requirements from flight test.


Pythagoras wrote:
A two year delay would be consistent with findings that flight critical software was non-certifiable and needed to be re-written. A hypotheses would be the approach was to re-use 787 software and subsequent re-assessment by Boeing and the FAA found that assumption to be non-certifiable. We will see.


1. In quote 1, you’ve stated that Boeing and the FAA would have come to an agreement with regards to the certification process. That I have no issue with, perfectly logical for all parties concerned. Now in quote 2, you’ve suggested, without any reference or source, that the FAA has changed its modus operandi with regard to certification.

I think that if was the case, the letter would have provided an indication of this to re-agreement to the terms of certification. eg. “With regards to to terms of the amended agreement of certification…”. There is no indication, suggestion, or evidence, of this.

2. If Boeing, as the programme integrator and manager, has determined itself to be the manager of the development of the CCS, they have the responsibility of producing what the FAA requires, not GE. An excuse of “but this is what we’ve been given”, is not an acceptable submission to the FAA. It only suggests that they’re not doing their assigned role and using a third party as a scapegoat.

3. My understanding of the 777X CCS, based on reading what’s available on the web, is that it has its roots from the 787 CCS but incorporates several more functions and/or systems. Therefore testing using 787 data is not pertinent as you’re not conducting tests on all elements. As an example:

A car manufacturer produces model A which is a 2WD (Two Wheel Drive) vehicle that like any modern car, has an ESC (Electronic Stability Control). The same manufacturer then releases another vehicle, model B, that is 4WD and 4WS (Four Wheel Steered). Do you think that using the software from model A would be definitive in terms of testing?

The simple fact that Boeing has not been able to provide relevant data, as required, to the FAA, suggests that they have not been managing the project as they could/should have been. To request an interim test certificate to demonstrate capability in areas they can is indicative of a juggling act, in my understanding and perception.

If the amount of hardware they load on board of a test aircraft cannot capture the data that the FAA has requested is a concern. It either meets requirements, or it doesn’t.
Cheers,
C1973


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Noshow
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 11:25 am

The circumstances seem similar to the A400M FADEC software issues that delayed that program


Not sure about this but Airbus abandoned that second FBW mode intended for softened formation flight movements very close to a tanker when taking fuel inflight.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 3:23 pm

Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Changing culture is never easy, and you cannot expect that the people that landed you there are best placed to get you out of the hole.

"Culture" is such a nebulous thing.

Reading the letter, IMO Boeing's 777-9 team is just way behind the curve. Boeing has been repeatedly asking permission to do some test flying with FAA on board (TIA). FAA is saying you have only completed one of three phases of DAR aka QA for CCS that you agreed to complete before TIA, and you haven't even shown you've fixed the "findings" from the first phase. Oh, and you haven't given us a Premiminary Safety Analysis and you haven't given us the data we need for the activities for which we (FAA) have retained compliance authority on, and all the dates for new software loads keep slipping. "Lack of required maturity" is an euphemism for "this software sucks!".

Yet if you are suggesting the old "culture" was to just pencil whip everything, kick the tires, light the fires and go flying, well, I don't think that ever was going to happen on this program. We are talking about an entirely different set of computers that act differently than the ones on the 77W, along with new actuators and sensors too. This was never going to be as small an activity as 737 MCAS, which, really, was just a few lines of code buried inside the 737's existing flight control computer.

FAA isn't saying Boeing has to do what A400M did and re-write all the software because it was not certifiable, FAA is saying Boeing's CCS just isn't mature enough to support TIA. They called out one way in which Boeing was not following its own processes, but still they are not saying you need to toss all the software and write it all over again.

Why Boeing is so far behind the curve (i.e. asking for TIA when their systems are not mature enough to support that) is a mystery to me. Again, the contracts were signed ~2014 and EIS was supposed to be ~2019. Here we are in 2021 and we're now reading that EIS in 2023 is no longer likely. So, did Boeing and GE Avionics just under-staff the program? Or did MCAS pull key people off 779? Or did they start ramping up the program too late? Or did the scope of the work change?

What "cultural" elements would be at play? Not staffing teams large enough to gather enough data and do enough analysis under the presumption that they could "pencil whip" the results? Can we prove this is the case, versus simply misjudged the amount of work to do?

I guess we'll never know. We still don't know what happened with MCAS, even after Congressional hearings and DoJ's probes.
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Stitch
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 3:27 pm

Revelation wrote:
So, did Boeing and GE Avionics just under-staff the program? Or did MCAS pull key people off 779? Or did they start ramping up the program too late? Or did the scope of the work change?


My guess is all of the above.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 3:58 pm

Stitch wrote:
Revelation wrote:
So, did Boeing and GE Avionics just under-staff the program? Or did MCAS pull key people off 779? Or did they start ramping up the program too late? Or did the scope of the work change?

My guess is all of the above.

Right, but all of these are guesses.

In hindsight, it's amazing how much communication Airbus was doing after the A380 wiring snafu blew up the program.

Check out http://web.archive.org/web/200612311331 ... 485740.pdf

Or on the program in general: https://www.icas.org/ICAS_ARCHIVE/ICAS2 ... RS/806.PDF

Granted it was a clean sheet so highly visible and extremely important to the future of the company, but still, the point was they felt it was better to get their point of view out there instead of letting people speculate just like we're doing here.
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Gremlinzzzz
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 4:09 pm

Revelation wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Changing culture is never easy, and you cannot expect that the people that landed you there are best placed to get you out of the hole.

"Culture" is such a nebulous thing.

Reading the letter, IMO Boeing's 777-9 team is just way behind the curve. Boeing has been repeatedly asking permission to do some test flying with FAA on board (TIA). FAA is saying you have only completed one of three phases of DAR aka QA for CCS that you agreed to complete before TIA, and you haven't even shown you've fixed the "findings" from the first phase. Oh, and you haven't given us a Premiminary Safety Analysis and you haven't given us the data we need for the activities for which we (FAA) have retained compliance authority on, and all the dates for new software loads keep slipping. "Lack of required maturity" is an euphemism for "this software sucks!".

Yet if you are suggesting the old "culture" was to just pencil whip everything, kick the tires, light the fires and go flying, well, I don't think that ever was going to happen on this program. We are talking about an entirely different set of computers that act differently than the ones on the 77W, along with new actuators and sensors too. This was never going to be as small an activity as 737 MCAS, which, really, was just a few lines of code buried inside the 737's existing flight control computer.

FAA isn't saying Boeing has to do what A400M did and re-write all the software because it was not certifiable, FAA is saying Boeing's CCS just isn't mature enough to support TIA. They called out one way in which Boeing was not following its own processes, but still they are not saying you need to toss all the software and write it all over again.

Why Boeing is so far behind the curve (i.e. asking for TIA when their systems are not mature enough to support that) is a mystery to me. Again, the contracts were signed ~2014 and EIS was supposed to be ~2019. Here we are in 2021 and we're now reading that EIS in 2023 is no longer likely. So, did Boeing and GE Avionics just under-staff the program? Or did MCAS pull key people off 779? Or did they start ramping up the program too late? Or did the scope of the work change?

What "cultural" elements would be at play? Not staffing teams large enough to gather enough data and do enough analysis under the presumption that they could "pencil whip" the results? Can we prove this is the case, versus simply misjudged the amount of work to do?

I guess we'll never know. We still don't know what happened with MCAS, even after Congressional hearings and DoJ's probes.
They are being told to come back when they have done their homework, when they have met their own standards, when they have what is being requested.

Whatever it is, it looks like Boeing was working under the assumption that what they had always done is what they were going to continue to do and that the FAA was always going to accommodate them. Why else would they be talking to the FAA for nine months knowing that they had not met the conditions asked?
Anyone that is leading this company should have simply started with the basics when it comes to their programs i.e. what are we supposed to do and why are we not doing that? What are we going to do to ensure that we are meeting our standards, the expectations of the customers and ensuring that we adapt to the changing regulatory environment, a problem we have created?

Simple things, simple questions. They become extremely difficult to answer when you have poor culture and/or misplaced priorities. Getting programs off the ground is hard, but it should not be this hard. There is not a single Boeing program other than legacy projects that is not under some sort of tumult.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 4:39 pm

Gremlinzzzz wrote:
They are being told to come back when they have done their homework, when they have met their own standards, when they have what is being requested.

Whatever it is, it looks like Boeing was working under the assumption that what they had always done is what they were going to continue to do and that the FAA was always going to accommodate them. Why else would they be talking to the FAA for nine months knowing that they had not met the conditions asked?

Anyone that is leading this company should have simply started with the basics when it comes to their programs i.e. what are we supposed to do and why are we not doing that? What are we going to do to ensure that we are meeting our standards, the expectations of the customers and ensuring that we adapt to the changing regulatory environment, a problem we have created?

Simple things, simple questions. They become extremely difficult to answer when you have poor culture and/or misplaced priorities. Getting programs off the ground is hard, but it should not be this hard. There is not a single Boeing program other than legacy projects that is not under some sort of tumult.

Fair enough. I don't disagree with what you are saying, but will say that what you see as culture I see as strategy. I agree with earlier posts that say in essence the FARs say what has to be done but not how it is to be done, and working with the regulator is always going to be iterative as you find out more about how your proposed solutions are or are not deemed acceptable. This is especially true in the post-MCAS world where FAA has retained more activities for itself. Yet I do feel Boeing is a lot further behind where I guessed they would be based on when the contracts were signed and the original EIS dates were set.
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 4:57 pm

Revelation wrote:
Fair enough. I don't disagree with what you are saying, but will say that what you see as culture I see as strategy.


You may be talking past each other here. A large part of company culture is simply where the boots on the floor have internalized the company strategy and implements said strategy without active management from the higher ups. If the company changes strategy later, it might have to fight against the "culture" which is simply the internalized old strategy.
 
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 5:03 pm

Boeing probably has the 778 pretty well developed, but it will be easier and a lot cheaper to wait until the 779 has its EIS. Then all the changes are made except for the actual shrink, also any better performance can be used to fine tune the 778 and 77xF designs
 
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ssteve
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 5:32 pm

Revelation wrote:
Why Boeing is so far behind the curve (i.e. asking for TIA when their systems are not mature enough to support that) is a mystery to me. Again, the contracts were signed ~2014 and EIS was supposed to be ~2019. Here we are in 2021 and we're now reading that EIS in 2023 is no longer likely. So, did Boeing and GE Avionics just under-staff the program? Or did MCAS pull key people off 779? Or did they start ramping up the program too late? Or did the scope of the work change?


Covid happened, too. I mean, remote work is okay when everything is copacetic, but it's harder to triage disasters. Also, slower to realize them.

However this also reads like the regulator wants everything on the flowchart done linearly, when in prior cases there was some parallelism. That's killer, if so. I mean, when your development plan says you're going to do flight test with beta software, and the regulator says no, that torches the plans.
 
Gremlinzzzz
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 6:54 pm

Revelation wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
They are being told to come back when they have done their homework, when they have met their own standards, when they have what is being requested.

Whatever it is, it looks like Boeing was working under the assumption that what they had always done is what they were going to continue to do and that the FAA was always going to accommodate them. Why else would they be talking to the FAA for nine months knowing that they had not met the conditions asked?

Anyone that is leading this company should have simply started with the basics when it comes to their programs i.e. what are we supposed to do and why are we not doing that? What are we going to do to ensure that we are meeting our standards, the expectations of the customers and ensuring that we adapt to the changing regulatory environment, a problem we have created?

Simple things, simple questions. They become extremely difficult to answer when you have poor culture and/or misplaced priorities. Getting programs off the ground is hard, but it should not be this hard. There is not a single Boeing program other than legacy projects that is not under some sort of tumult.

Fair enough. I don't disagree with what you are saying, but will say that what you see as culture I see as strategy. I agree with earlier posts that say in essence the FARs say what has to be done but not how it is to be done, and working with the regulator is always going to be iterative as you find out more about how your proposed solutions are or are not deemed acceptable. This is especially true in the post-MCAS world where FAA has retained more activities for itself. Yet I do feel Boeing is a lot further behind where I guessed they would be based on when the contracts were signed and the original EIS dates were set.
There was a problem with the power plant which caused the initial delay, and this was really out of Boeing's hands.

When it comes to everything else, it looks like they had set up to self certify a lot and they have not adjusted nearly as fast enough as they ought to have. This was to be expected especially when you saw the likes of Ali Bahrami clueless at congressional hearings as to why they did not catch issues with the MAX. This is the only conclusion I can come to given how detailed that FAA mail was, and the need for them to meet each and every requirement.

Some of it is just hard to fathom. The first six points in that letter all point to what is poor culture. We are going to give you stuff that is not ready, stuff that does not meet even our own standards, and that is not all, they are similarly not in good communication from the look of things with a supplier with data being used in wrong manner. That is the very definition of a cultural issue and the FAA does not need to repeat itself for 9 months.

This was not the FAA disagreeing that work is iterative, it was the FAA stating that they do not have much to work with despite Boeing wanting to continue with certification and they have given an 11 point issue why they see certification taking longer. They are essentially telling Boeing to clean their act up before they can proceed.
 
Noshow
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 7:00 pm

Granted it was a clean sheet so highly visible and extremely important to the future of the company, but still, the point was they felt it was better to get their point of view out there instead of letting people speculate just like we're doing here.


This is exactly my point for some time. Boeing should talk about what Is changed and how they do it instead of being just quiet for so long. Everybody makes mistakes or encounters surprises on a flight test program that is not a shame and exactly why it is done. And then things get improved and finally work hopefully.
 
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Stitch
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 7:40 pm

We should also consider that Boeing is a publicly-owned company where Airbus in the A380 days was effectively government-owned. What I mean by this is that the governments held control over the Board of Directors (via proportional direct appointment) whereas Boeing's BoD is controlled by the largest hedge funds that hold a significant portion of the outstanding stock.

Airbus management could afford to be open and frank because their jobs were not at risk. Boeing's management, on the other hand, can be replaced and reshuffled by the major investors (and arguably this has already happened with both Muilenburg being given the boot and the positions of Board Chairman and CEO being split into independent roles), so one might not be surprised why they would prefer to not publicly flaunt their failures.
 
Noshow
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 8:20 pm

This financial market focussed strategy might be up for debate.
 
Strato2
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 9:02 pm

Stitch wrote:
We should also consider that Boeing is a publicly-owned company where Airbus in the A380 days was effectively government-owned. What I mean by this is that the governments held control over the Board of Directors (via proportional direct appointment) whereas Boeing's BoD is controlled by the largest hedge funds that hold a significant portion of the outstanding stock.


As a public company Boeing should be following SEC rules and disclose information that is relevant to investors. Although I remember Boeing saying at the 787 rollout that it would fly in few months.

Airbus management could afford to be open and frank because their jobs were not at risk.


Noel Forgeard and Gustav Humbert disagree.
 
Noshow
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 9:08 pm

Humbert preferred openness over his personal job security enabling the clean up to begin. He broke the A380 cable crisis news being the just arrived new CEO.
 
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Pythagoras
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 9:15 pm

Chipmunk1973 wrote:
I have been dissecting some of your recent commentary about the certification process(es) with regard to the 777X. I find that you’ve contradicted yourself and appear to apologetic on Boeing’s behalf.

This is not a personal attack against you, that is not my intention. I am just trying to make sense of all of it.

Pythagoras wrote:
I need to correct an incorrect impression on this thread. For new and major derivative airplane programs (and I worked on five airplane programs), Boeing and the FAA negotiate the means-of-compliance to the regulations and whether finding compliance to a regulation is delegated to the applicant's designated representative or is retained by the FAA. If the finding of compliance is retained by the FAA, the certification documents must be provided to the FAA for review and acceptance. Generally, if the applicant has certificated something similar in the past, the FAA will delegate finding of compliance to the applicants' designated representative.

So unless you have the certification plan in front of you for the CCS, you really don't know how much of this has been delegated and how much has been retained


Pythagoras wrote:
… The FAA has linked completion of the CCS Development Assurance to flight test. Further, it appears that this is a fairly recent requirement from the FAA in that the letter that is referenced was written April 7, 2021.

Taking this one step further, what the FAA is asking of Boeing is to essentially provide the data required to certify the CCS before TIA, which could be construed as moving the goal post. Knowing how certification is parsed out among the technical disciplines, one could see how the E-UM at Boeing and the specific regulators at the FAA for this discipline would have put together a certification plan and schedule independent of the requirements from flight test.


Pythagoras wrote:
A two year delay would be consistent with findings that flight critical software was non-certifiable and needed to be re-written. A hypotheses would be the approach was to re-use 787 software and subsequent re-assessment by Boeing and the FAA found that assumption to be non-certifiable. We will see.


1. In quote 1, you’ve stated that Boeing and the FAA would have come to an agreement with regards to the certification process. That I have no issue with, perfectly logical for all parties concerned. Now in quote 2, you’ve suggested, without any reference or source, that the FAA has changed its modus operandi with regard to certification.

I think that if was the case, the letter would have provided an indication of this to re-agreement to the terms of certification. eg. “With regards to to terms of the amended agreement of certification…”. There is no indication, suggestion, or evidence, of this.

2. If Boeing, as the programme integrator and manager, has determined itself to be the manager of the development of the CCS, they have the responsibility of producing what the FAA requires, not GE. An excuse of “but this is what we’ve been given”, is not an acceptable submission to the FAA. It only suggests that they’re not doing their assigned role and using a third party as a scapegoat.

3. My understanding of the 777X CCS, based on reading what’s available on the web, is that it has its roots from the 787 CCS but incorporates several more functions and/or systems. Therefore testing using 787 data is not pertinent as you’re not conducting tests on all elements. As an example:

A car manufacturer produces model A which is a 2WD (Two Wheel Drive) vehicle that like any modern car, has an ESC (Electronic Stability Control). The same manufacturer then releases another vehicle, model B, that is 4WD and 4WS (Four Wheel Steered). Do you think that using the software from model A would be definitive in terms of testing?

The simple fact that Boeing has not been able to provide relevant data, as required, to the FAA, suggests that they have not been managing the project as they could/should have been. To request an interim test certificate to demonstrate capability in areas they can is indicative of a juggling act, in my understanding and perception.

If the amount of hardware they load on board of a test aircraft cannot capture the data that the FAA has requested is a concern. It either meets requirements, or it doesn’t.


Let's address your point about the apparent inconsistencies.

When the FAA and Boeing negotiate certification deliverables and schedule it is based upon the functionality of a specific system or component as it relates to the airplane regulations that apply to that particular system or component. The certification deliverables can be test reports, analyses, qualifications, or the like. The rules for TIA generally is that all the precursor tests and analysis has been completed in support of certification, and that the flight test phase is solely to gather data which substantiates the analysis that was conducted. Let me emphasize that these deliverables are negotiated parsed out to individual disciplines to complete. These deliverables are established based upon the certification basis, e.g. the existing regulations in place, when the application was delivered to the FAA. I would also add the a prerequisite for TIA is that the basic handling characteristics of the airplane have been proven--flutter clearance, stability and control, etc--which provides assurances to the FAA that it is safe to place the regulators on-board the aircraft.

The CCS system is still in development at this point. It is my current thinking that this is because the 737 Max caused both Boeing and the regulators to re-consider the certification basis and means-of-compliance and to impose new design requirements mid-way or even after the development as a result of the 737 Max lessons learned. Boeing has communicated this to the FAA and the FAA is aware of the schedule that Boeing has committed to. The schedule, which may be more than CCS, extends well into Flight Test as is alluded to in the memo. The original schedule and certification agreements have been thrown out long ago and just no longer matter. Within the new recovery schedule, there are schedule milestones and deliverables for Boeing that the FAA has committed to support. In the April 2021 memo, the FAA states that they acknowledge the schedule but impose the requirement that the Design Assurance Reviews for CCS must be completed before beginning TIA.

With regards to the CCS in the context of this letter and why it was written, Flight Test Engineering pulling data from the buss during flight test to support certification deliverables may not have been part of the prior TIA discussion between Boeing and the FAA regulators at the outset because the use of the system in this manner has no bearing on the applicable regulations which apply to the airplane in-service. This question relates entirely to the conduct of the flight test. What the FAA is asking for is for Boeing to prove that it has high data integrity in the flight test data before commencing, which from a practical point of view can't be done as the DAR is how one proves that data has integrity.
 
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 9:20 pm

Stitch wrote:
Airbus management could afford to be open and frank because their jobs were not at risk.

Strato2 wrote:
Noel Forgeard and Gustav Humbert disagree.


I will spot you Gustav Humbert as he resigned over his responsibility over delays in the A380 program, but Noël Forgeard resigned because of alleged insider trading that took advantage of foreknowledge of those delays and I therefore view that as resignation over a perceived criminal act (similar to how Boeing fired Michael Sears over the KC-767 corruption scandal and his criminal prosecution therewith).
 
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 9:32 pm

Revelation wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Changing culture is never easy, and you cannot expect that the people that landed you there are best placed to get you out of the hole.

"Culture" is such a nebulous thing.
...

FAA isn't saying Boeing has to do what A400M did and re-write all the software because it was not certifiable, FAA is saying Boeing's CCS just isn't mature enough to support TIA. They called out one way in which Boeing was not following its own processes, but still they are not saying you need to toss all the software and write it all over again.

Why Boeing is so far behind the curve (i.e. asking for TIA when their systems are not mature enough to support that) is a mystery to me. Again, the contracts were signed ~2014 and EIS was supposed to be ~2019. Here we are in 2021 and we're now reading that EIS in 2023 is no longer likely. So, did Boeing and GE Avionics just under-staff the program? Or did MCAS pull key people off 779? Or did they start ramping up the program too late? Or did the scope of the work change?

...


The decision about whether the software was certifiable or not was made more than a year ago. It wasn't. And likely it was Boeing and GE who made the finding and communicated that back to the FAA. Boeing and the FAA have been negotiating for over 9 months on how to proceed with flight test and certification once the software was re-written.

One just has to think this through to understand the scenario. Any prior analysis or fault tree that has as its terminating step the statement that says "The Pilot Recognizes the Fault and Takes Corrective Action in 4 Seconds" is going to be suspect after 737 Max. If the safety analysis is assuming pilot action and we now know that the pilot action should not be counted on, well that is going to require a re-write in the code.

And if in the re-assessment one determines that what you had certified as Level B software on the 787 now needs to be Level A software, well you are back to square one from a software development schedule because one can't certify software after the fact, as was seen in the A400M. That is multi-year slide in schedule.
 
Rekoff
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Thu Jul 01, 2021 11:56 pm

Pythagoras wrote:

The decision about whether the software was certifiable or not was made more than a year ago. It wasn't. And likely it was Boeing and GE who made the finding and communicated that back to the FAA. Boeing and the FAA have been negotiating for over 9 months on how to proceed with flight test and certification once the software was re-written.

One just has to think this through to understand the scenario. Any prior analysis or fault tree that has as its terminating step the statement that says "The Pilot Recognizes the Fault and Takes Corrective Action in 4 Seconds" is going to be suspect after 737 Max. If the safety analysis is assuming pilot action and we now know that the pilot action should not be counted on, well that is going to require a re-write in the code.

And if in the re-assessment one determines that what you had certified as Level B software on the 787 now needs to be Level A software, well you are back to square one from a software development schedule because one can't certify software after the fact, as was seen in the A400M. That is multi-year slide in schedule.


The 4 second rule was never realistic for the 737MAX as it is non-EICAS and comes with an actual emergency manual, the Quick Reference Handbook. I bet it's pretty darn quick but not 4 seconds quick. But how can it possibly be a bottleneck on an EICAS-compliant, fully FBW, fully digital, 2020s era cockpit?

I recall an interview with Faury I believe from 2019 shortly after his appointment as CEO (couldnt find it so please correct me if i misremember) where he stated he believed Airbus had a 10yr lead in digital flight systems over Boeing. A pretty bold statement, but if the latest gen Boeing flight systems arent up to musterd and cant outperform a QRH (I'm being coy), I can understand his asessment.

Even when it will be, presumably around 2023-2024, I doubt the 777X will have a more advanced flight system compared to the A350. The FAA basically called it a copy-paste 787 system with undocumented modifications.
 
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 12:44 am

This whole fiasco shows similarities with Volkswagen Dieselgate. There is a documentary online which shows the history and has very much a regulator perspective.

At the start of Dieselgate, the US regulator did not suspect VW was cheating. They did what they always do which is work with industry to resolve issues. They were fully convinced VW had a technical problem which needed to be resolved and provided additional resources to VW to support this. It took them 6 months to figure out that this was no technical issue, VW had been cheating and all the time while they were trying to help VW, they were fed false data, bogus stories and lame excuses. Once they fully realised this was intentional, the goal changed from trying to support VW as much as could, to trying to punish them as much as they could. In the long run, that probably saved VW and among the German car manufacturers they are now the one best positioned for transition to EV because structural change resulted from the punishment.

I suspect we have the same here: Boeing told the FAA just too many questionable stories and the FAA had enough. I have received the kind of letter before which Boeing received from the FAA and now collaborate with a regulator and have been supporting authoring this kind of letters and I have never seen one this bad. There are many different points in the letter and where I worked even 1 of these points was enough to transition to full crisis mode, form tiger teams and have daily reporting/conference calls with the head office on progress made. This is not the FAA changing their approach. This is the FAA being sick of wasting their time on promises made, schedules communicated and stories told which do not come true.
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 3:25 am

Jetport wrote:
WN732 wrote:
Sounds like Boeing stock is going to go on sale. I think this is a good move on the part of the FAA. The 777X is a much larger change to the 777 family than the 737MAX was to the NG. It should be treated as a new model entirely.


Try again :shakehead: . Boeing down 3.39% on June 28th and the Consortium (EADS) down 2.24%. Not much of a reaction. Once again hysterical predictions of imminent doom on Anet for Boeing are met with a yawn by the smart money.


So you don't think that a significant flight testing incident which the FAA doesn't think that Boeing has adequately addressed six+ months later will have an effect on the certification timeline and therefore Boeing's future FCF and profits?

ssteve wrote:
Covid happened, too. I mean, remote work is okay when everything is copacetic, but it's harder to triage disasters. Also, slower to realize them.


Good point.
First to fly the 787-9
 
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 3:48 am

zkojq wrote:
Jetport wrote:
WN732 wrote:
Sounds like Boeing stock is going to go on sale. I think this is a good move on the part of the FAA. The 777X is a much larger change to the 777 family than the 737MAX was to the NG. It should be treated as a new model entirely.


Try again :shakehead: . Boeing down 3.39% on June 28th and the Consortium (EADS) down 2.24%. Not much of a reaction. Once again hysterical predictions of imminent doom on Anet for Boeing are met with a yawn by the smart money.


So you don't think that a significant flight testing incident which the FAA doesn't think that Boeing has adequately addressed six+ months later will have an effect on the certification timeline and therefore Boeing's future FCF and profits?



It doesn't matter what I think or you think, the market over the long term almost always gets it right. Usually stock prices on the US exchanges reflect the expected performance of a company 6 to 18 months in the future. If the 777X cost 10's of millions more to develop and takes 6 months more until EIS than currently planned it is not a big deal for Boeing's long term prospects.
 
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 6:17 am

Stitch wrote:
Airbus management could afford to be open and frank because their jobs were not at risk. Boeing's management, on the other hand, can be replaced and reshuffled by the major investors (and arguably this has already happened with both Muilenburg being given the boot and the positions of Board Chairman and CEO being split into independent roles), so one might not be surprised why they would prefer to not publicly flaunt their failures.


Ah, the "Airbus is a government funded job creation scheme" thing eh?

I very strongly disagree with your characterisation both of Airbus generally, and more specifically that this is why Airbus is more likely to be open and frank.
It's rubbish, to be honest. Boeing's issue with honesty is a cultural thing.

There are very many firms out there, including my own, that do not have a level of government influence, that will be open and frank about issues, because they know that trust is hard bought, and easily sold, and is a vital component of business in the complex high value markets.

Again, like my own business, Airbus was very open about the bribery fiasco, and fell on its sword to start clearing its name. And a large group of business leaders and senior management have lost their jobs over that.

The notion that Boeing always hide issues away from the spotlight just in case their leadership might lose their jobs is extremely concerning, and frankly a bit sick.
Do you think that other US contractors would be like that?
Because I don't think so.
It seems that Boeing became so wrapped up in driving its financial numbers that the board has backed itself into a corner that it doesn't know how to behave to get out of it.
That's a Boeing problem, not a government influence problem.

Maybe being "government run" is not such a bad idea after all, if that's what it takes to deliver honesty in a Management Committee. :whistleblower:
Only it doesn't, and that's not why Airbus have been honest

Rgds
 
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 6:21 am

AngMoh wrote:
There are many different points in the letter and where I worked even 1 of these points was enough to transition to full crisis mode, form tiger teams and have daily reporting/conference calls with the head office on progress made.


:highfive:
Absolutely agree. And that's what would be happening in my business too.
Yet there are some on here that don't think that Boeing management have got any skin in this..... :faint:
Barmy.....

Rgds
 
Chemist
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 7:55 am

I spent a few decades working in a different regulated industry where there are many parallels. We typically had an internal QA group whose job was to ensure that processes were in place, written processes. QA would sign off on key activities and be an internal check to progress and quality. QA would audit raw material suppliers. QA would assist with validation of key processes (software writing and testing programs would be the Boeing parallel here). QA would run mock audits that pretended to be the government regulators, and corrective/preventative actions would be identified and tracked. The REAL government regulators might show up at the door unannounced at any time, to spend a few weeks camping out at our facilities to inspect processes, paperwork, documentation, and to ensure that we were continuing to maintain quality, follow regulations, and ensure that paper trails of accountability and documentation existed. The saying was "if it's not written down, it didn't happen". Over the years, most documentation transitioned from real paper to electronic records and electronic signatures, but the idea remains the same.

The sort of thing that is happening with Boeing, that is cited in the FAA letter, is extremely serious. It says that Boeing is cutting corners, not following its own procedures. We all know based upon the MAX that Boeing can't be trusted. In my industry, Federal Courts could issue "consent decrees" where the company would have to commit to government supervision for a period of time when failures became too egregious. I don't understand why we haven't already reached that point at Boeing. Boeing needs to get their asses handed to them. To have this sort of thing going on, even after the MAX, is almost incomprehensible.
 
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 9:31 am

Some of recent flights had a profile that would indicate the flight test went beyond handling quality and Stability & Control.

Can anyone please tell us if the flight test campaign is now in a different phase? Thank you.
 
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 2:16 pm

AngMoh wrote:
This is not the FAA changing their approach. This is the FAA being sick of wasting their time on promises made, schedules communicated and stories told which do not come true.

IMO we don't have enough evidence to decide between "FAA moved the goal posts due to MCAS" vs "Boeing and GE understaffed the project or misjudged the amount of work to be done" or "technical snafus derailed the program" or some weighted sum of these kinds of things. Yet I agree with the point of view that the FAA's letter shows many serious issues with the program in general and with respect to it being delivered in a timely fashion in particular.

If the problem is the certification basis changed so much that we're having to toss out all the software and rewrite it from scratch, I think that is something that shareholders would have to be told since it's a material impact to the program and thus the bottom line. Therefore I doubt it is something like that, I think it's more the accumulation of many smaller issues.

I think Boeing is behind the communications curve, though. We now have a leaked FAA letter with much more detail about what is troubling the 777X program and putting its release date into question, yet all Boeing has said is we're reworking some actuators and we're working with the FAA yada yada. I guess the next quarterly call might be interesting.
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 3:04 pm

astuteman wrote:
Ah, the "Airbus is a government funded job creation scheme" thing eh?


You know my posting history well enough to know it was not that, but on reflection, it was a statement that I should not have put forward and thank you for calling me out on it. *shame*

And unfortunately, "hiding the fault / passing the buck" seems very much to be SoP at major US corporations using past history as a guide. I worked at one (a major banking / financial institution) just prior to the 2008 GFC where this was going on. Ended up sinking the company and it had to be bought out by a competitor for a song (they were already in merger talks, but once the acquiring company smelled the blood in the water, they waited till the government came in and forced the merger to maintain solvency).
 
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Pythagoras
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 5:40 pm

Rekoff wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:

The decision about whether the software was certifiable or not was made more than a year ago. It wasn't. And likely it was Boeing and GE who made the finding and communicated that back to the FAA. Boeing and the FAA have been negotiating for over 9 months on how to proceed with flight test and certification once the software was re-written.

One just has to think this through to understand the scenario. Any prior analysis or fault tree that has as its terminating step the statement that says "The Pilot Recognizes the Fault and Takes Corrective Action in 4 Seconds" is going to be suspect after 737 Max. If the safety analysis is assuming pilot action and we now know that the pilot action should not be counted on, well that is going to require a re-write in the code.

And if in the re-assessment one determines that what you had certified as Level B software on the 787 now needs to be Level A software, well you are back to square one from a software development schedule because one can't certify software after the fact, as was seen in the A400M. That is multi-year slide in schedule.


The 4 second rule was never realistic for the 737MAX as it is non-EICAS and comes with an actual emergency manual, the Quick Reference Handbook. I bet it's pretty darn quick but not 4 seconds quick. But how can it possibly be a bottleneck on an EICAS-compliant, fully FBW, fully digital, 2020s era cockpit?

I recall an interview with Faury I believe from 2019 shortly after his appointment as CEO (couldnt find it so please correct me if i misremember) where he stated he believed Airbus had a 10yr lead in digital flight systems over Boeing. A pretty bold statement, but if the latest gen Boeing flight systems arent up to musterd and cant outperform a QRH (I'm being coy), I can understand his asessment.

Even when it will be, presumably around 2023-2024, I doubt the 777X will have a more advanced flight system compared to the A350. The FAA basically called it a copy-paste 787 system with undocumented modifications.


Here is some history for you on the 4 second rule. There are some failure modes resulting in upsets, for example, a control surface hard over failures where the 4 second rule was historically used.

For Boeing airplanes beginning with the 727, the control surfaces were hydraulically actuated but mechanically controlled via control cables. A failure mode for this type of system was an actuator hardover which will drive the control surface to its hard stop limits and places the airplane into an upset condition. The 4 second rule is used to establish whether a pilot can recognize the upset and recover the airplane into straight and level flight.

On a Fly-By-Wire system, the mechanical linkages are gone. However, one might still use the 4 second rule as a means to classify a failure mode in the system as a Hazardous condition, requiring Level B software. However, if one does not assume pilot corrective action, then this would elevate the failure mode to a Catastrophic condition requiring Level A software.

When Calhoun is talking about changes to the actuators, what is likely occurring is that the circuit boards are being re-designed to increase the reliability and decrease the risk of failure to obtain a lower failure rate consistent with a higher safety criticality. In the big picture, this is not a particularly difficult engineering task. It just takes time to implement--design, procurement, fabrication, qualification tests, updating documentation, rework of actuators, revising parts lists, submitting work orders, functional tests.
 
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 7:01 pm

Stitch wrote:
We should also consider that Boeing is a publicly-owned company where Airbus in the A380 days was effectively government-owned. What I mean by this is that the governments held control over the Board of Directors (via proportional direct appointment) whereas Boeing's BoD is controlled by the largest hedge funds that hold a significant portion of the outstanding stock.

Airbus management could afford to be open and frank because their jobs were not at risk. Boeing's management, on the other hand, can be replaced and reshuffled by the major investors (and arguably this has already happened with both Muilenburg being given the boot and the positions of Board Chairman and CEO being split into independent roles), so one might not be surprised why they would prefer to not publicly flaunt their failures.


European leader quite rightly decided in the 1960s that they were 'losing' but should be a major player in the aviation sector. This was for a variety of reasons, all more or less valid: develop expertise, jobs, balance of payments, prestige. Build good desirable planes at a price attractive to airlines. From the very beginning Airbus wasn't designed just to make money for stockholders. Boeing in the 20th century did not exist just to make money. To use sexist terms. It was a rich big boy's enterprise: make planes, even make great planes, earn prestige in the community, earn the political loyalty of the community by providing jobs. And also make money. These are both valid capitalistic models. Both are and have been open to some abuse, but served the economy well.
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Revelation
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 7:02 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
Here is some history for you on the 4 second rule. There are some failure modes resulting in upsets, for example, a control surface hard over failures where the 4 second rule was historically used.

For Boeing airplanes beginning with the 727, the control surfaces were hydraulically actuated but mechanically controlled via control cables. A failure mode for this type of system was an actuator hardover which will drive the control surface to its hard stop limits and places the airplane into an upset condition. The 4 second rule is used to establish whether a pilot can recognize the upset and recover the airplane into straight and level flight.

On a Fly-By-Wire system, the mechanical linkages are gone. However, one might still use the 4 second rule as a means to classify a failure mode in the system as a Hazardous condition, requiring Level B software. However, if one does not assume pilot corrective action, then this would elevate the failure mode to a Catastrophic condition requiring Level A software.

When Calhoun is talking about changes to the actuators, what is likely occurring is that the circuit boards are being re-designed to increase the reliability and decrease the risk of failure to obtain a lower failure rate consistent with a higher safety criticality. In the big picture, this is not a particularly difficult engineering task. It just takes time to implement--design, procurement, fabrication, qualification tests, updating documentation, rework of actuators, revising parts lists, submitting work orders, functional tests.

Thank you for the history lesson and your other posts too. Despite some of my push back I find your input valuable.

I wish we had better answers for this rule. I read in Seattle Times it is not a part of any of the FARs, it's just a de-facto way of classifying failure modes. Personally I thought that situation would be improved (either make it a part of the FARs or stop using it) but that doesn't seemed to have happened.

Boeing's CEO admitted it was misapplied with regard to MCAS, but we never got a reading on *why* it was misapplied nor why Boeing's processes did not detect that it was misapplied or once it was applied why the impact of repeated activation was never examined nor corrected.

Boeing's CEO could be saying more about 777x especially now that this letter has leaked and has placed his company in a bad light, but I guess the lesson learned from MCAS is to pull the head and legs back into the shell, wait till the storm blows over, pay regulators and survivor's families, and hope you don't screw up so bad next time.
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Rekoff
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Fri Jul 02, 2021 9:15 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
Rekoff wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:

The decision about whether the software was certifiable or not was made more than a year ago. It wasn't. And likely it was Boeing and GE who made the finding and communicated that back to the FAA. Boeing and the FAA have been negotiating for over 9 months on how to proceed with flight test and certification once the software was re-written.

One just has to think this through to understand the scenario. Any prior analysis or fault tree that has as its terminating step the statement that says "The Pilot Recognizes the Fault and Takes Corrective Action in 4 Seconds" is going to be suspect after 737 Max. If the safety analysis is assuming pilot action and we now know that the pilot action should not be counted on, well that is going to require a re-write in the code.

And if in the re-assessment one determines that what you had certified as Level B software on the 787 now needs to be Level A software, well you are back to square one from a software development schedule because one can't certify software after the fact, as was seen in the A400M. That is multi-year slide in schedule.


The 4 second rule was never realistic for the 737MAX as it is non-EICAS and comes with an actual emergency manual, the Quick Reference Handbook. I bet it's pretty darn quick but not 4 seconds quick. But how can it possibly be a bottleneck on an EICAS-compliant, fully FBW, fully digital, 2020s era cockpit?

I recall an interview with Faury I believe from 2019 shortly after his appointment as CEO (couldnt find it so please correct me if i misremember) where he stated he believed Airbus had a 10yr lead in digital flight systems over Boeing. A pretty bold statement, but if the latest gen Boeing flight systems arent up to musterd and cant outperform a QRH (I'm being coy), I can understand his asessment.

Even when it will be, presumably around 2023-2024, I doubt the 777X will have a more advanced flight system compared to the A350. The FAA basically called it a copy-paste 787 system with undocumented modifications.


Here is some history for you on the 4 second rule. There are some failure modes resulting in upsets, for example, a control surface hard over failures where the 4 second rule was historically used.

For Boeing airplanes beginning with the 727, the control surfaces were hydraulically actuated but mechanically controlled via control cables. A failure mode for this type of system was an actuator hardover which will drive the control surface to its hard stop limits and places the airplane into an upset condition. The 4 second rule is used to establish whether a pilot can recognize the upset and recover the airplane into straight and level flight.

On a Fly-By-Wire system, the mechanical linkages are gone. However, one might still use the 4 second rule as a means to classify a failure mode in the system as a Hazardous condition, requiring Level B software. However, if one does not assume pilot corrective action, then this would elevate the failure mode to a Catastrophic condition requiring Level A software. I also didnt read anything in the FAA letter that points to issues around this response time assumption. So I'd like to know why you make that connection.

When Calhoun is talking about changes to the actuators, what is likely occurring is that the circuit boards are being re-designed to increase the reliability and decrease the risk of failure to obtain a lower failure rate consistent with a higher safety criticality. In the big picture, this is not a particularly difficult engineering task. It just takes time to implement--design, procurement, fabrication, qualification tests, updating documentation, rework of actuators, revising parts lists, submitting work orders, functional tests.


Your knowledge on mechanical vs FBW control systems seems more than fine, but it feels like your missing the forrest for the trees. I fail to see the relation to EICAS, which isnt about the controls themselves, but how information about those controls is served to the pilot so he can quicky assess the situation and handle appropriately. It is about the interface design, not the way the airplane is physically controlled. There are non-FBW planes that make use of EICAS like the 757 and 767.

So again, I fail to see how the MAX' 4 second response assumptions would impact the flight control system design assumptions on the 787/777X, unless there are serious issues with the way the software informs the pilot about flight control issues.

I didnt recall anything in that FAA letter that points to issues regarding response time, so I'd like to know why you make that specific connection with the MAX?
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Sat Jul 03, 2021 8:28 am

With MCAS, the FAA was pointing out that Boeing had not completed the programming, etc certification package for FAA review a number of times. Finally, after an extended delay Boeing finally got it submitted. Things went smoother from that point, we didn't hear about any preliminary reviews etc that did occur. This FAA letter may be the same, basically reminding them that the ball is in Boeing's court. Also, a reminder about the test flights, that certain things must be approved prior to FAA personnel are in the plane and that this should be a test flight program on what is expected to be the final program.

There will still be changes and revisions during the test flights but hopefully not a cluster f***, this approach takes more time, except in the half a** approach everything gets to be done three times not once.
 
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Pythagoras
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Sat Jul 03, 2021 7:18 pm

Rekoff wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:
Rekoff wrote:

The 4 second rule was never realistic for the 737MAX as it is non-EICAS and comes with an actual emergency manual, the Quick Reference Handbook. I bet it's pretty darn quick but not 4 seconds quick. But how can it possibly be a bottleneck on an EICAS-compliant, fully FBW, fully digital, 2020s era cockpit?

I recall an interview with Faury I believe from 2019 shortly after his appointment as CEO (couldnt find it so please correct me if i misremember) where he stated he believed Airbus had a 10yr lead in digital flight systems over Boeing. A pretty bold statement, but if the latest gen Boeing flight systems arent up to musterd and cant outperform a QRH (I'm being coy), I can understand his asessment.

Even when it will be, presumably around 2023-2024, I doubt the 777X will have a more advanced flight system compared to the A350. The FAA basically called it a copy-paste 787 system with undocumented modifications.


Here is some history for you on the 4 second rule. There are some failure modes resulting in upsets, for example, a control surface hard over failures where the 4 second rule was historically used.

For Boeing airplanes beginning with the 727, the control surfaces were hydraulically actuated but mechanically controlled via control cables. A failure mode for this type of system was an actuator hardover which will drive the control surface to its hard stop limits and places the airplane into an upset condition. The 4 second rule is used to establish whether a pilot can recognize the upset and recover the airplane into straight and level flight.

On a Fly-By-Wire system, the mechanical linkages are gone. However, one might still use the 4 second rule as a means to classify a failure mode in the system as a Hazardous condition, requiring Level B software. However, if one does not assume pilot corrective action, then this would elevate the failure mode to a Catastrophic condition requiring Level A software. I also didnt read anything in the FAA letter that points to issues around this response time assumption. So I'd like to know why you make that connection.

When Calhoun is talking about changes to the actuators, what is likely occurring is that the circuit boards are being re-designed to increase the reliability and decrease the risk of failure to obtain a lower failure rate consistent with a higher safety criticality. In the big picture, this is not a particularly difficult engineering task. It just takes time to implement--design, procurement, fabrication, qualification tests, updating documentation, rework of actuators, revising parts lists, submitting work orders, functional tests.


Your knowledge on mechanical vs FBW control systems seems more than fine, but it feels like your missing the forrest for the trees. I fail to see the relation to EICAS, which isnt about the controls themselves, but how information about those controls is served to the pilot so he can quicky assess the situation and handle appropriately. It is about the interface design, not the way the airplane is physically controlled. There are non-FBW planes that make use of EICAS like the 757 and 767.

So again, I fail to see how the MAX' 4 second response assumptions would impact the flight control system design assumptions on the 787/777X, unless there are serious issues with the way the software informs the pilot about flight control issues.

I didnt recall anything in that FAA letter that points to issues regarding response time, so I'd like to know why you make that specific connection with the MAX?


I will attempt to explain this in a different way. There are published failure rates for components of circuit boards. Part of the safety analysis is to go through the design and assign a failure rate to the component as a function of flight hours. In addition, the effect of the particular failure needs to be determined as well. So if through the analysis, the fault tree may identify that there is a high likelihood of failure in the circuit board which results in an uncommanded activation of a control surface, which in turn requires the pilot to recognize that the airplane has entered a roll or dive and take appropriate corrective action. This is where the 4 second rule would apply. Pilot action is necessary immediately without the assistance of diagnostics, like what is provided on EICAS.

Prior to 737 Max, it may have been acceptable to claim that this an acceptable level of safety. After 737 Max though, it is likely that there was a re-evaluation of whether the pilot should be relied upon in what may be a very complicated and dynamic situation. I would remind you that the JTAR assessment indicated that the regulators had not provided sufficient guidance on how to address human factors.

Boeing is obligated to incorporate any in-service lessons learned into its design once they are uncovered. A safety issue needs to be addressed in the design once it has been identified, regardless of prior agreements and point in schedule.
 
Rekoff
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Sat Jul 03, 2021 9:45 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
Rekoff wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:

Here is some history for you on the 4 second rule. There are some failure modes resulting in upsets, for example, a control surface hard over failures where the 4 second rule was historically used.

For Boeing airplanes beginning with the 727, the control surfaces were hydraulically actuated but mechanically controlled via control cables. A failure mode for this type of system was an actuator hardover which will drive the control surface to its hard stop limits and places the airplane into an upset condition. The 4 second rule is used to establish whether a pilot can recognize the upset and recover the airplane into straight and level flight.

On a Fly-By-Wire system, the mechanical linkages are gone. However, one might still use the 4 second rule as a means to classify a failure mode in the system as a Hazardous condition, requiring Level B software. However, if one does not assume pilot corrective action, then this would elevate the failure mode to a Catastrophic condition requiring Level A software. I also didnt read anything in the FAA letter that points to issues around this response time assumption. So I'd like to know why you make that connection.

When Calhoun is talking about changes to the actuators, what is likely occurring is that the circuit boards are being re-designed to increase the reliability and decrease the risk of failure to obtain a lower failure rate consistent with a higher safety criticality. In the big picture, this is not a particularly difficult engineering task. It just takes time to implement--design, procurement, fabrication, qualification tests, updating documentation, rework of actuators, revising parts lists, submitting work orders, functional tests.


Your knowledge on mechanical vs FBW control systems seems more than fine, but it feels like your missing the forrest for the trees. I fail to see the relation to EICAS, which isnt about the controls themselves, but how information about those controls is served to the pilot so he can quicky assess the situation and handle appropriately. It is about the interface design, not the way the airplane is physically controlled. There are non-FBW planes that make use of EICAS like the 757 and 767.

So again, I fail to see how the MAX' 4 second response assumptions would impact the flight control system design assumptions on the 787/777X, unless there are serious issues with the way the software informs the pilot about flight control issues.

I didnt recall anything in that FAA letter that points to issues regarding response time, so I'd like to know why you make that specific connection with the MAX?


I will attempt to explain this in a different way. There are published failure rates for components of circuit boards. Part of the safety analysis is to go through the design and assign a failure rate to the component as a function of flight hours. In addition, the effect of the particular failure needs to be determined as well. So if through the analysis, the fault tree may identify that there is a high likelihood of failure in the circuit board which results in an uncommanded activation of a control surface, which in turn requires the pilot to recognize that the airplane has entered a roll or dive and take appropriate corrective action. This is where the 4 second rule would apply. Pilot action is necessary immediately without the assistance of diagnostics, like what is provided on EICAS.

Prior to 737 Max, it may have been acceptable to claim that this an acceptable level of safety. After 737 Max though, it is likely that there was a re-evaluation of whether the pilot should be relied upon in what may be a very complicated and dynamic situation. I would remind you that the JTAR assessment indicated that the regulators had not provided sufficient guidance on how to address human factors.

Boeing is obligated to incorporate any in-service lessons learned into its design once they are uncovered. A safety issue needs to be addressed in the design once it has been identified, regardless of prior agreements and point in schedule.


I find it rather hard to believe that in the case of uncommanded actions diagnostics cannot be relied upon, that seems to defeat the purpose of those diagnostics. I also do not see why the 4s rule would not apply in situations were the diagnostics do assist the pilot. But I'll take your word for it if no one on the forum disputes your assertions. Would like to hear a pilot chime in though.

But you still havent explained how this would play a part in the 777X delays when the FAA letter addresses a lot of process and quality issues, but none relating to reliability of hardware, that according to you is critical to deal with "new insights" in pilot response times.
 
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zeke
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Mon Jul 05, 2021 5:37 pm

A nice summary on the current situation with Maximum Aviation https://youtu.be/opQzOtnLSc8

He goes through the articles by Dominic Gates, also an anonymous FAA insider that thinks Boeing as an organisation has stepped away from being the engineering company they used to be, talks of failure to address all the issues uncovered in the root cause analysis of the pitch event in December, concerns with slips in software upgrades, new software and hardware for pitch control, certification delays expected to extend to 2023/2024.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
Opus99
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Tue Jul 06, 2021 10:03 am

Does this just not confirm what Boeing said about 2023 EIS. This just tells us why it’s taking so long really
 
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zeke
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Tue Jul 06, 2021 10:10 am

Opus99 wrote:
Does this just not confirm what Boeing said about 2023 EIS. This just tells us why it’s taking so long really


The interesting part of that I found was the delays to the software releases. Almost like the hardware is mature and the software is stumbling getting tested and certified.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
Opus99
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Tue Jul 06, 2021 10:36 am

zeke wrote:
Opus99 wrote:
Does this just not confirm what Boeing said about 2023 EIS. This just tells us why it’s taking so long really


The interesting part of that I found was the delays to the software releases. Almost like the hardware is mature and the software is stumbling getting tested and certified.

Boeing seems to have problem with software development and implementation. When we look at even starliner, MAX etc
 
astuteman
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Tue Jul 06, 2021 11:56 am

Stitch wrote:
astuteman wrote:
Ah, the "Airbus is a government funded job creation scheme" thing eh?


You know my posting history well enough to know it was not that, but on reflection, it was a statement that I should not have put forward and thank you for calling me out on it. *shame*

And unfortunately, "hiding the fault / passing the buck" seems very much to be SoP at major US corporations using past history as a guide. I worked at one (a major banking / financial institution) just prior to the 2008 GFC where this was going on. Ended up sinking the company and it had to be bought out by a competitor for a song (they were already in merger talks, but once the acquiring company smelled the blood in the water, they waited till the government came in and forced the merger to maintain solvency).


I know, Stitch, so apologies you calling you out in that manner.
I think what was really driving my reply was the idea that the differences in response between the companies was a result of government accountability, when I think it is far more likely, in my experience, to be about that "nebulous" thing called "culture".

My next question was going to be whether you would expect other companies in the USA to as opaque.

Your response implies that you might, which would spoil my intended argument that this is a Boeing specific thing.

Revelation used the phrase "falling on your sword" some time ago.
My experience has been up to now that companies that experience these seminal moments in their history, and want to completely put them firmly in the past, go to the utmost lengths to demonstrate the "correct" behaviour, to the extent of being over-the-top, in the drive to recover the trust that has been lost.
For me that is a recognition that rebuilding trust is orders of magnitude harder than losing it.


I kid you not, a decade after my organisation was fined 10's of millions from a bribery scandal, even today, buying a customer, or supplier, a single beer to go with dinner has to be pre-approved by line management, and failure to do so is considered gross misconduct (i.e. at risk of dismissal).
They aren't messing about - it is deadly serious.
And from a trust recovery point of view - works.
The organisations that work with us now know that it is a non-negotiable from the outset.

Safety is one of those business critical things in Aerospace that to my mind merit the same sort of obsessive behaviour to protect trust.

I would dearly like to have seen Boeing doing that "OTT chest-beating" thing, no matter how "corporate" it appears.

Rgds
 
Indy
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Tue Jul 06, 2021 12:40 pm

Opus99 wrote:
zeke wrote:
Opus99 wrote:
Does this just not confirm what Boeing said about 2023 EIS. This just tells us why it’s taking so long really


The interesting part of that I found was the delays to the software releases. Almost like the hardware is mature and the software is stumbling getting tested and certified.

Boeing seems to have problem with software development and implementation. When we look at even starliner, MAX etc


Does Boeing have a problem with a bad project management team overseeing software development? Being in the software development world myself, I have seen project managers incapable of saying no to management. What you don't want is a "yes" man leading a team of software developers. A good PM needs to know how to manage expectations, timelines, and more importantly -- say no to management when necessary. There is a problem where management wants to keep making changes to a product but does not want to pay for additional resources to complete the job on time. At they same time they also expect to maintain the delivery schedule. So something has to get sacrificed and it is always testing and quality control. Also, the more developers you add to the team the more you sacrifice productivity. In reality you cannot fix the problem by throwing money at it. You have a choice to make... you don't get the additional features you want, or you have to push the delivery date back. I suspect that is something Boeing management is unwilling to do. And that right there is the how you get to where we are today. Senior management should know better. It just seems they have not learned their lesson from previous mistakes.
IND to RDU to OKC in 18 months. This is what my life has become.
 
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sassiciai
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Tue Jul 06, 2021 1:05 pm

Indy, I concur with your thoughts. I had a 40+ year career in software development, now I am happily retired and doing other things. I am reminded of a rather famous book, The Mythical Man Month, that should be mandatory reading for anyone remotely involved in software project management, especially everyone above the poor project manager in the management line! Here is what Wiki says about the book:

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering is a book on software engineering and project management by Fred Brooks first published in 1975, with subsequent editions in 1982 and 1995. Its central theme is that "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later." This idea is known as Brooks's law, and is presented along with the second-system effect and advocacy of prototyping.

Perhaps Airliners.net could buy a copy and send it to Boeing, in Chicago!
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Tue Jul 06, 2021 1:34 pm

astuteman wrote:
Stitch wrote:
astuteman wrote:
Ah, the "Airbus is a government funded job creation scheme" thing eh?


You know my posting history well enough to know it was not that, but on reflection, it was a statement that I should not have put forward and thank you for calling me out on it. *shame*

And unfortunately, "hiding the fault / passing the buck" seems very much to be SoP at major US corporations using past history as a guide. I worked at one (a major banking / financial institution) just prior to the 2008 GFC where this was going on. Ended up sinking the company and it had to be bought out by a competitor for a song (they were already in merger talks, but once the acquiring company smelled the blood in the water, they waited till the government came in and forced the merger to maintain solvency).


I know, Stitch, so apologies you calling you out in that manner.
I think what was really driving my reply was the idea that the differences in response between the companies was a result of government accountability, when I think it is far more likely, in my experience, to be about that "nebulous" thing called "culture".

My next question was going to be whether you would expect other companies in the USA to as opaque.

Your response implies that you might, which would spoil my intended argument that this is a Boeing specific thing.

Revelation used the phrase "falling on your sword" some time ago.
My experience has been up to now that companies that experience these seminal moments in their history, and want to completely put them firmly in the past, go to the utmost lengths to demonstrate the "correct" behaviour, to the extent of being over-the-top, in the drive to recover the trust that has been lost.
For me that is a recognition that rebuilding trust is orders of magnitude harder than losing it.


I kid you not, a decade after my organisation was fined 10's of millions from a bribery scandal, even today, buying a customer, or supplier, a single beer to go with dinner has to be pre-approved by line management, and failure to do so is considered gross misconduct (i.e. at risk of dismissal).
They aren't messing about - it is deadly serious.
And from a trust recovery point of view - works.
The organisations that work with us now know that it is a non-negotiable from the outset.

Safety is one of those business critical things in Aerospace that to my mind merit the same sort of obsessive behaviour to protect trust.

I would dearly like to have seen Boeing doing that "OTT chest-beating" thing, no matter how "corporate" it appears.

Rgds

Most of my career was spent at a relatively small manufacturer of automatic, high-precision grinding machines. I was constantly appalled by the instinctive reaction of the managers to lie to customers whenever a problem arose. Lives were not at risk; operating an automatic grinding machine is a far cry from flying a plane load of passengers but the instinct to lie rather than tell inconvenient and unpleasant truths seems to be present everywhere. At one point I was offered a management position; I turned it down, and this was one reason (but, to be fair, not the main one. The main one was the Peter principle. I was good at what I was doing and enjoyed it. I did not want to rise to my level of incompetence). It seems that once a culture of excellence in any organization is lost (which I believe Boeing had prior to the MDD takeover) it is very, very hard if not impossible to reestablish it. What I believe we are observing, first with the 787 mess, then the MAX fiasco, and now with the 779, is the effects of this loss of focus on excellence. It may have already been underway, but from what I have seen the introduction of MDD personnel at the top was the catastrophic event that pushed it over the cliff. From what you say it appears that your organization has managed to recover (mine didn’t, it went out of business. But this was only one of many reasons). What will it take for Boeing? By the way, at my company safety was taken seriously and never compromised. We had a designated safety engineer who had to be satisfied on anything even remotely concerned with safety. He was the most anal-retentive engineer there, but in retrospect was the perfect one for the job. I clashed with him several times, but we never had a lawsuit arise from any of our machines designed while he (or I, we arrived at roughly the same time) was there. We did have a lawsuit from a WWII era machine that was built under license by someone else; we had designed retrofit guards in the 60s for it (which nobody had bought), but since we had not built that machine and the company who did had gone out of business, we had no way of knowing it even existed and hence had not offered the guards. Someone had forced the wrong size wheel on it, it had broken when the wheel head was started, and a piece had hit a worker two aisles over in the head. Our lawyers refused to fight it and we settled.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
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Stitch
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Tue Jul 06, 2021 2:56 pm

Indy wrote:
Does Boeing have a problem with a bad project management team overseeing software development?


I have a strong feeling that Boeing has bad project management teams overseeing *all* development. And unfortunately, this is not a new thing.

While the 787 has so far been the most public example of this (if MAX has been the most tragic), the original 777 production was also mismanaged, as was the release of the new DCAC / MRM system that would be used to build them (as well as the other Boeing Commercial products).
 
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sassiciai
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Tue Jul 06, 2021 3:44 pm

Stitch wrote:
Indy wrote:
Does Boeing have a problem with a bad project management team overseeing software development?


I have a strong feeling that Boeing has bad project management teams overseeing *all* development. And unfortunately, this is not a new thing.

While the 787 has so far been the most public example of this (if MAX has been the most tragic), the original 777 production was also mismanaged, as was the release of the new DCAC / MRM system that would be used to build them (as well as the other Boeing Commercial products).

In an organisation like Boeing, I am sure that a Project Manager (PM) has several/many layers of line management above him/her. It is unlikely that the Terms of Reference agreed at the appointment of the PM (if Boeing uses TORs)_will allow the PM to "ignore" requests for changes to the specifications from superiors , who cite urgent/serious business needs in order to close out sales. Change/Configuration Management processes are there to ensure that any changes in the functional specs are treated in a manner that ensures nothing is jeopardized in the change being implemented, even if it has major impacts on timescale and/or cost

I can imagine that within the Boeing of the last 20 years, PMs are not rewarded for being tough in this area. Agreeing to the CEO's request for "ten more seats" or "1 ton more" or "600km more range" half way through the project are guaranteed to bring in the gremlins, and the "Mythical Man Month" syndrome at its best is the usual result!
 
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Revelation
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Re: Boeing 777X Testing/Production Thread - 2021

Tue Jul 06, 2021 4:20 pm

Stitch wrote:
I have a strong feeling that Boeing has bad project management teams overseeing *all* development. And unfortunately, this is not a new thing.

While the 787 has so far been the most public example of this (if MAX has been the most tragic), the original 777 production was also mismanaged, as was the release of the new DCAC / MRM system that would be used to build them (as well as the other Boeing Commercial products).

This reminds me of how Boeing treated WN's "requirement" for no sim time or $1M penalty per aircraft as gospel, whereas WN said it was just a left-over from the NG contract that made it into the MAX contract and was quite negotiable.

In turn the reason Boeing got penalized for fraud was because of the gyrations it took to get the no sim time requirement past the FAA which in then end cost Boeing millions of dollars in fines and in the end even more in damage to its reputation and its relationship with FAA. This seems to be creating knock on effects in the 777x program.

My cynical side will say this focus on sim time may have been worth it since it gave everyone something to focus on rather than how Boeing's engineering team botched the MCAS implementation and its processes did not detect the botched implementation.

In essence the no sim time training related issue acted as a convenient conduit of blame away from the true problem, the deep flaws on the engineering side.

Add to that a grandstanding Congress who cares more about the CEO's legal yet disgusting pay package than aviation safety and it's all one sordid mess.
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