Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 10
 
User avatar
Revelation
Topic Author
Posts: 27048
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Updated: Boeing's Fatal Flaw, former Chief Technical Pilot indicted

Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:35 am

Surprised no one has raised this as a topic, so I'll give it a go.

Frontline, a very distingushed series on US public TV, partnered with the NY Times on a documentary about the MCAS tragedy.

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXMO0bhPhCw

I had a very long bullet list of points typed in as I watched the show. Should have been smarter and typed them in as a doc instead of right into the browser, Sure enough, it crashed, and those things are all lost now.

So, I'll go with a off-the-cuff rendition.

Overall, high marks. Good levels of truthfulness, but a few important places where they raise points without taking them one more step to gain higher degrees of truthfulness, IMO. I would say for someone who has watched the story closely from the start there were no items I found to be new, but have to say seeing them related on the big screen instead of via the written word was impactful, as was seeing the whole story told in one sitting. I don't think any major point was missed, but IMO as I just said some were treated too lightly and in too disjointed a fashion so some points that should have been made more forcefully were not.

In particular, they did point out how Boeing made sure to position MCAS as not being a new function to avoid FAA scrutiny but left it at that, instead of not digging deeper on who made such decisions, why they didn't go unquestioned, or asking why Congress or DoJ didn't dig deeper. Was it a part of the general theme that Boeing was under deep schedule and budget pressure so things were being forced to go down the easy path? They leave the implication in place but offer no proof. Also while they mentioned the pilot reaction issue in a lot of different places, they never mentioned the four second rule, and how one person applied that rule without anyone reviewing or challenging the rule, or that the rule itself doesn't exist anywhere in the FARs, yet it led to Boeing avoiding the catastrophic classification for MCAS that indeed would have brought more scrutiny to it.

It seemed to be overly heavy on the NYT reporting, with no mention of anyone else's reporting, although Leeham's Scott Hamilton was present to give some background info and IMO represented himself quite well. It was WSJ who reported the whole 4 second rule thing, and I suspect this is why it didn't end up in this documentary.

They also made a lot about Boeing's test pilots encountering a "catastrophic" MCAS activation in the sim, and acting as if that was something that was clearly meaningful beyond the test pilot community, yet pointing out that Boeing seemed to dismiss it as meaningful, yet we have statements saying it did not escape beyond the test pilot community so in the end it was unable to be meaningful. They seemed to put a lot of weight on that sim session yet then said it didn't gain traction within the company or change events, which was pretty confusing.

Biggest criticism to me was the heavy use of camera-friendly journalists to tell the story rather than the principals or the actual evidence. They were/are blessed with vivid vocabulary, but by nature are story tellers driven to complete a narrative.

Very dramatic intro, up till about the 4:00 mark, which ends saying 346 people killed, Boeing's reputation in tatters, corporate deception and a broken regulatory process exposed, but at the center was a software system that was supposed to keep people safe but led to their deaths. Strong intro, but hate to say they didn't really keep the software system at the center of their documentary. We got a lot of Forkner and Mulienberg being positioned as the fall guys, along with Boeing blaming the pilots, a Congressman patting himself on the back for that travesty of a hearing, and not a lot of clarity on exactly how the failings in the MCAS software itself were not exposed as they should have been.

Most impactful thing from my point of view was around 42:30 mark with retired FAA engineer Joe Jacobson saying it was a failure (presumably his) that he could not convince three Boeing managers after he saw the data from the JT crash that intentionally going with a single AoA source for MCAS was a design flaw and they shouldn't have relied on the pilot to intervene.

Those of you who feel Boeing blames the pilots too much won't like the part near the end where they play a recording of Calhoun pretty much saying that if US pilots were flying the accidents would not have happened. In other places they do point out a bunch of Boeing's unwillingness to question its processes or its decisions. It is kind of unnerving to hear about such myopia.

Time to wrap this up, laptop batteries are down to 10%.

Anyone else see this documentary and want to share their thoughts?
Last edited by SQ22 on Sat Oct 16, 2021 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Title updated
 
User avatar
intotheair
Posts: 2069
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:00 am

I watched it as well. I’m a big Frontline fan, though after every installment, I always feel like I need a stiff drink no matter the subject matter.

I didn’t really learn a whole lot of new information, and most people on this site who have been even casually following the MAX situation probably won’t learn anything new either. However, I do think it did a really good job of thoroughly explaining the entire fiasco for a wider audience without losing too much detail. The biggest takeaway I guess I had is that I suppose I didn’t really know Mark Forkner’s name before or how much he was involved.

I agree with you about the overreliance on NY Times reporters to tell the story who were perhaps a little too animated. Though at the same time, what else is Frontline going to do if Boeing wasn’t going to give them anything more than a one page written statement? I also would have liked an extra five minutes at the end to go a little more into the plane’s current performance status and that (in my opinion) people shouldn’t worry about flying on a MAX, but that Boeing still has yet to prove it has fixed its cultural problems.
 
User avatar
TheFlyingDisk
Posts: 2396
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:43 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:15 am

Revelation wrote:
Those of you who feel Boeing blames the pilots too much won't like the part near the end where they play a recording of Calhoun pretty much saying that if US pilots were flying the accidents would not have happened. In other places they do point out a bunch of Boeing's unwillingness to question its processes or its decisions. It is kind of unnerving to hear about such myopia.


Boeing blaming pilots for crashes isn't really surprising to be honest. I was reading a book about US427 & the 737 rudder issues back in the 1990s and in the book they showed how Boeing was adamant that the pilots of US427 was at fault until it was absolutely certain that the rudder PCU was at fault.
 
User avatar
Pythagoras
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:33 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:53 am

My views are well known on the topic. Having just watched the PBS Frontline/NYT episode there are number of really critical issues that NYT does not fully discuss which are germane to Boeing's action with the design of MCAS and how it addressed the post-accident modifications.

1) Chief Technical Pilot Mark Forkner's emails concerning the training curriculum where he uses the phrase "Jedi Mind Trick" relate to Boeing's incorporation of two new features--the Runway Situation Awareness Tool (RSAT) and the Roll Command Alerting System (RCAS). Both of these features are safety enhancements which Boeing chose to incorporate on the 737Max. The RSAT system warns the pilots that the airplane is set-up to overrun the runway. The RCAS system warns the pilot that the airplane has inadvertently entered a roll. This is the discussion that he is having with Indonesian authorities. Forkner's comments are no way related to the MCAS system. The NYT implies that had simulator training been imposed by Lion Air that the accident would not have occurred. This is leading the viewer to a false conclusion. Not excusing the language, but the FAA and EASA had already approved training that did not require simulator training. It is not shown what additional simulator training was under discussion and whether it would have made any difference.

2) Pilot Dennis Tajer makes a very key technical point about the Ethiopian pilots turning on MCAS later in the flight. Tajer knows that the ability to manually turn the stabilizer trim wheel depends upon the airspeed that the airplane is flying. The Ethiopian pilots though have not monitored the airspeed and have allowed the airplane to become too fast to allow them to do that. I am not blaming the pilots here because the training for how to address this situation used what is called the "roller coaster technique" which had been removed from the curriculum in the early 1980s. The flight simulator training that Boeing subsequently recommended prior to the 737MAX return to service imposed training for these scenarios which applied to all 737 models retro-actively as it was found insufficient.

3) Frontline/NYT correctly states that the MCAS system was dramatically revised during flight test, namely March 2016. What Frontline does not address is whether the delegation of the MCAS system to Boeing by the FAA and the overall safety of the system was appropriate prior to this late change in flight test. Prior to flight test, the MCAS system was reserved for a corner point of the flight envelope. Prior to flight test, it required two dissimilar sensor inputs to operate--angle-of-attack and g-forces. And it was limited in how much trim it could apply. The decision to remove mention of MCAS from the pilot manuals was made prior to flight test and is entirely reasonable because there is no special training, nor safety hazard, that would require pilot action. The narrative that Boeing Executives are jeopardizing safety by minimizing changes is incorrect because the safety of the system is good before flight test.

So despite the narrative that this was profit over safety, the real story of MCAS is that there was a late change in the functionality of the MCAS system during flight test. The software was poorly written without a check on how much trim was required and was written to re-fire repeatedly without a check whether it was needed. And that this late change in MCAS functionality was not communicated to the FAA pilots who develop the training requirements. Another is that regulators, Boeing and the airlines together believed that pilots were already sufficiently trained to handle a complex and dynamic series of events that would occur in the flight deck. All acknowledge after the accident that the industry did not sufficiently account for this issue.
 
Babyshark
Posts: 321
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:48 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:09 am

“Federal prosecutors are preparing to criminally charge a former Boeing pilot who is suspected of misleading regulators about safety issues during the approval process for the troubled 737 MAX, according to a new report.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10000429/Federal-prosecutors-reportedly-charge-former-737-MAX-test-pilot.html
 
User avatar
Pythagoras
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:33 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:36 am

Revelation wrote:
Those of you who feel Boeing blames the pilots too much won't like the part near the end where they play a recording of Calhoun pretty much saying that if US pilots were flying the accidents would not have happened. In other places they do point out a bunch of Boeing's unwillingness to question its processes or its decisions. It is kind of unnerving to hear about such myopia.


I have a somewhat idealistic opinion that one of the jobs of a journalist is to educate the viewers. Frontline/NYT errs here by not explaining that there is a difference between a mainline pilot in the United States which at the time of design of the 737Max had minimum requirements of:
    At least 23 years old
    Hold commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating
    Pass ATP knowledge and practical tests
    1,500 hours total time as pilot
And the Ethiopia Airlines first officer who had apparently gone through Ab initio training and had 361 total flight hours, of which 207 were on type.

This fact is just not even mentioned by Frontline/NYT. It just doesn't fit Frontline/NYT's narrative though that pilot experience and training level might have been a contributing factor. Calhoun was given the opportunity give Boeing's thoughts on this but the journalists would rather have a gotcha-type quote than get a better understanding of the complexities of the situation. No apologies on my part for Calhoun refusing to answer that question on the record.

Pilot training/experience is certainly part of the Swiss cheese that lead to the accident. It isn't even difficult to find similar accidents from East Africa where the pilots lost situational awareness leading to loss of the airplane, namely Kenya Airways 5Y-KYA* departing Douala Airport Cameroon in 2006 and Ethiopian Airlines ET-ANB** lost in the Mediterranean departing Beirut in 2002

*5Y-KYA https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20070505-0
**ET-ANB https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20100125-0
 
mcdu
Posts: 1713
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:23 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 12:31 pm

This pilot, Mark Forkner left Boeing to be a pilot for Southwest Airlines, the largest 737 customer of Boeing.

Mr Forkner left SW last year under the early out offer. Seems unusual to leave a job at SW so soon after being hired unless this looming legal action was on the horizon.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/ex-boeing-pilot-at-center-of-737-max-probe-to-exit-southwest-airlines-11596820915





Babyshark wrote:
“Federal prosecutors are preparing to criminally charge a former Boeing pilot who is suspected of misleading regulators about safety issues during the approval process for the troubled 737 MAX, according to a new report.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10000429/Federal-prosecutors-reportedly-charge-former-737-MAX-test-pilot.html
 
User avatar
atcsundevil
Moderator
Posts: 4658
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:22 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:20 pm

Please stick to discussing the topic.

✈️ atcsundevil
 
Daysleeper
Posts: 743
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:33 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:39 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
My views are well known on the topic. Having just watched the PBS Frontline/NYT episode there are number of really critical issues that NYT does not fully discuss which are germane to Boeing's action with the design of MCAS and how it addressed the post-accident modifications.



I’m not and I’m a little curious. I deliberately avoided the threads discussing the Max until such a time that facts were known and we could draw meaningful conclusions.

So, what exactly was the primary cause of these accidents in your opinion? I understand the “swiss cheese” philosophy in that many air accidents are cumulative in their nature and its often difficult to define an exact cause. However, given that we have two almost identical accidents, I fail to see how this applies here.

I see you questioning the capability of the pilots and their training, and yes, of course it could have been better, but it wasn’t. I also see discussion regarding issues raised during flight testing, be it regarding MCAS specifically, RSAT or the position of the cup holder, all of this is completely irrelevant in my option.

Ultimately Boeing shipped a defective product and over 300 people died as a result. There is no debating that, if it were just a matter of pilot training then it wouldn’t require grounding the type for 2 years to resolve.

Why did Boeing allow this to happen? I don’t know for sure, but there are certainly indications that the engineering brilliance which once defined this company is no longer its primary focus.
 
FlapOperator
Posts: 453
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2021 4:07 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:27 pm

TheFlyingDisk wrote:

Boeing blaming pilots for crashes isn't really surprising to be honest. I was reading a book about US427 & the 737 rudder issues back in the 1990s and in the book they showed how Boeing was adamant that the pilots of US427 was at fault until it was absolutely certain that the rudder PCU was at fault.


Well, first...its all OEMs. During the dual engine flameouts in the Beechjet 400a, Raytheon and P&W were adamant there were no issues with the aircraft. Fume events are a problem in the A320, and Airbus has been less than responsive about those. OEMs don't want to admit fault until its patently obvious.

In that particular case of the 737 rudder hardover, the NTSB took the easy way of pilot error, versus potentially crippling airlines like Southwest and USAir. It was only after Boeing came up with a real solution, did the NTSB then circle back with "Don't worry Mr. and Mrs. America, the 737 is safe!"

Who from the NTSB was ever brought on Capitol Hill to answer for that?
 
FlapOperator
Posts: 453
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2021 4:07 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:32 pm

Pythagoras wrote:


Pilot training/experience is certainly part of the Swiss cheese that lead to the accident. It isn't even difficult to find similar accidents from East Africa where the pilots lost situational awareness leading to loss of the airplane, namely Kenya Airways 5Y-KYA* departing Douala Airport Cameroon in 2006 and Ethiopian Airlines ET-ANB** lost in the Mediterranean departing Beirut in 2002


This bares repeating. Or, we can discuss the maintenance practices of a place like LionAir, which were less than robust, to be charitable.

I don't want to let Boeing off the hook, because MCAS fiasco is indicative of the portfolio entire, as an airplane company that can't build airplanes. Additionally, Boeing is a national champion, and has used that political power to ensure stuff like the Ex-Im Bank operates on their behalf, despite the competitive pressure that is put on other American companies.
Last edited by FlapOperator on Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
FlapOperator
Posts: 453
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2021 4:07 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:35 pm

Daysleeper wrote:

Ultimately Boeing shipped a defective product and over 300 people died as a result. There is no debating that, if it were just a matter of pilot training then it wouldn’t require grounding the type for 2 years to resolve.


I've had multiple friends and acquaintances deal with A320 fume events. Is the A320 a defective product? No, its a safe airplane with a issue that needs forthright action to solve when it tries to kill you. Or, any aircraft since Kitty Hawk.

As I say in response to people describing parachuting as "jumping out of a perfectly good airplane," there is no such thing as a "perfectly good airplane."
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 15377
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:41 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
TheFlyingDisk wrote:

Boeing blaming pilots for crashes isn't really surprising to be honest. I was reading a book about US427 & the 737 rudder issues back in the 1990s and in the book they showed how Boeing was adamant that the pilots of US427 was at fault until it was absolutely certain that the rudder PCU was at fault.


Well, first...its all OEMs. During the dual engine flameouts in the Beechjet 400a, Raytheon and P&W were adamant there were no issues with the aircraft. Fume events are a problem in the A320, and Airbus has been less than responsive about those. OEMs don't want to admit fault until its patently obvious.

In that particular case of the 737 rudder hardover, the NTSB took the easy way of pilot error, versus potentially crippling airlines like Southwest and USAir. It was only after Boeing came up with a real solution, did the NTSB then circle back with "Don't worry Mr. and Mrs. America, the 737 is safe!"

Who from the NTSB was ever brought on Capitol Hill to answer for that?


You've totally lost me. NTSB doesn't allocate fault or blame (every NTSB accident report notes this at the end), nor is it a regulator.
 
FlapOperator
Posts: 453
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2021 4:07 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:48 pm

Cubsrule wrote:

You've totally lost me. NTSB doesn't allocate fault or blame (every NTSB accident report notes this at the end), nor is it a regulator.


The NTSB was pushing the pilot error narrative in the COS 737 (UA585) crash, and finally went with a wind storm after floating insane probable cause trial balloons like "lovers quarrel." They published the final with no public hearing in 1992, then nearly 10 years later when the mass of evidence was undeniable.

Who was brought out of retirement to explain to Congress the NTSBs failure?
 
User avatar
Revelation
Topic Author
Posts: 27048
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:56 pm

intotheair wrote:
I watched it as well. I’m a big Frontline fan, though after every installment, I always feel like I need a stiff drink no matter the subject matter.

LOL, yes, I see where you are coming from.

intotheair wrote:
I didn’t really learn a whole lot of new information, and most people on this site who have been even casually following the MAX situation probably won’t learn anything new either. However, I do think it did a really good job of thoroughly explaining the entire fiasco for a wider audience without losing too much detail. The biggest takeaway I guess I had is that I suppose I didn’t really know Mark Forkner’s name before or how much he was involved.

Forkner is the classic fall guy. I will say PBS was classy for not mentioning that he was drinking while texting, yet the drunken texts slagging off his bosses and others were tailor made to serve as a distraction from the core issue, which is that Boeing Engineering dropped the ball on MCAS.

intotheair wrote:
I agree with you about the overreliance on NY Times reporters to tell the story who were perhaps a little too animated. Though at the same time, what else is Frontline going to do if Boeing wasn’t going to give them anything more than a one page written statement? I also would have liked an extra five minutes at the end to go a little more into the plane’s current performance status and that (in my opinion) people shouldn’t worry about flying on a MAX, but that Boeing still has yet to prove it has fixed its cultural problems.

There were a lot of key points raised by WSJ and Seattle Times and WaPo and others that seemed to not get worked into the story or not emphasized. There were countless pages of info released by the Congressional Hearings. There were other individuals that had insider views of the story as opposed to the four featured individuals whose main qualifications were degrees in journalism and being well spoken and photogenic. Unfortunately, it's too late now to change what they did.

TheFlyingDisk wrote:
Boeing blaming pilots for crashes isn't really surprising to be honest. I was reading a book about US427 & the 737 rudder issues back in the 1990s and in the book they showed how Boeing was adamant that the pilots of US427 was at fault until it was absolutely certain that the rudder PCU was at fault.

One would hope they at least had people inside the company questioning the party line, but it seems few if any were. Retired FAA Engineer Jacobson said he directly lobbied three Boeing managers after the first crash to recognize that relying on a single AoA was a design flaw, but they were bought in to the party line that pilots would recognize MCAS as a runaway stab and would not budge from it. This was after the data from the first crash was available.

One thing the doco emphasized correctly was it was obvious to anyone looking not just at the logger data but also just the ADS-B trace available on day 1 that something other than runaway stab was happening. Gerry S (the Indonesian interviewed at the start of the show) is well known to a.net members and he knew it right away. Since we know a fix was a few days away from being released when the 2nd crash happened, clearly someone in the company knew it was a major problem, but that didn't get communicated correctly up the corporate ladder.

One contributor to the doco said Boeing was "gambling" with passenger's lives. True, but lots of things on the airplane represent gambles with people's lives. 1E9 is still gambling. MCAS's odds came up 1 in 2 years after the first crash, but the doco doesn't seem to trace what impact that calculation had on anyone. Clearly Boeing now wishes it had just grounded MAX after the first crash. I wonder if they've done internal "war gaming" to see how the organization would react to a similar but different situation.

Pythagoras wrote:
So despite the narrative that this was profit over safety, the real story of MCAS is that there was a late change in the functionality of the MCAS system during flight test. The software was poorly written without a check on how much trim was required and was written to re-fire repeatedly without a check whether it was needed. And that this late change in MCAS functionality was not communicated to the FAA pilots who develop the training requirements. Another is that regulators, Boeing and the airlines together believed that pilots were already sufficiently trained to handle a complex and dynamic series of events that would occur in the flight deck. All acknowledge after the accident that the industry did not sufficiently account for this issue.

Thanks for the detailed post, which I am in agreement with. I wish we had more clarity on how major MCAS changes were deemed acceptable so late in the design cycle.

What do you make of the "gambling with the passengers lives" issue? FAA calculated the odds of another crash, they were quite poor, yet FAA nor Boeing grounded the plane. There seemed to be a strong internal bias towards relying on the pilots to sort things out regardless of circumstances, no one seemed to be able to look at things from a different perspective.

Daysleeper wrote:
I deliberately avoided the threads discussing the Max until such a time that facts were known and we could draw meaningful conclusions.

You seem to have done a good job of working through the story as it has been told.

I guess one thing I'd point out that the doco did not point out very well it that it is still Boeing's cover story that any flaws in the design of MCAS were human errors rather than deliberately chosen shortcuts or expedients. This is crucial to Boeing because it eliminates product liability issues since no one can eliminate human errors. This is why they have so much to gain from propping up a fall guy like Forkner. It is also why Boeing was quite willing to cut a deal with DoJ and pay a fine for fraud, but as pointed out it by Pythagoras and others the fraud is really just a side element of the story, the key element is the flaws in MCAS itself.

Luckily for everyone but Forkner they had the transcript of Forkner saying he unintentionally lied to FAA and never corrected himself. That became the key element of the story instead of why the late changes to MCAS were allowed or (early in the design cycle) why was MCAS not treated as a new function or why one guy decided all pilots would recognize MCAS as a runaway stabilizer (when in fact it acted very differently) within four seconds and be able to deal with it appropriately. We have no info on whether that guy made the decision without undue management pressure, whether he did anything to evaluate if an actual line pilot could/would decide it was runaway stab, etc, since Boeing has kept that guy totally under wraps. No one knows who he is, no one has interviewed him as far as we know.

We do know the 737 Chief Engineer signed off on the plane, but he says he just trusted his underlings instead of getting familiar with the design. For instance he says he didn't know MCAS had multiple activations till after the first crash. Note that this same guy is now 777X Chief Engineer.

Those decisions kept MCAS out of the "catastrophic" safety category so it meant it didn't get heavy scrutiny from FAA. The doco has a one-liner where a FAA guy says they didn't do a deep dive on MCAS since Boeing didn't tell them it was important, and this is the basis of that statement.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 15377
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 3:02 pm

Revelation wrote:
I guess one thing I'd point out that the doco did not point out very well it that it is still Boeing's cover story that any flaws in the design of MCAS were human errors rather than deliberately chosen shortcuts or expedients. This is crucial to Boeing because it eliminates product liability issues since no one can eliminate human errors. This is why they have so much to gain from propping up a fall guy like Forkner. It is also why Boeing was quite willing to cut a deal with DoJ and pay a fine for fraud, but as pointed out it by Pythagoras and others the fraud is really just a side element of the story, the key element is the flaws in MCAS itself.


Human error is certainly actionable in the product liability world, but mere negligence is a much better story from a criminal defense perspective. That said, DoJ acts aggressively against large corporations and likely could/would have found fire based on the smoke if there was any fire.
 
Daysleeper
Posts: 743
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:33 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 3:03 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
I've had multiple friends and acquaintances deal with A320 fume events. Is the A320 a defective product? No, its a safe airplane with a issue that needs forthright action to solve when it tries to kill you. Or, any aircraft since Kitty Hawk.

As I say in response to people describing parachuting as "jumping out of a perfectly good airplane," there is no such thing as a "perfectly good airplane."


I am really sorry for your loss, did your friends ever recover from the “bad smell” in the cockpit?

And I agree, no aircraft is perfect, but many, hopefully the majority are not flawed to such an extent that it results in the death of all onboard.

Perhaps I have missed it, but I am curious to your opinion to the cause of these accidents?
 
User avatar
Revelation
Topic Author
Posts: 27048
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 3:35 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
That said, DoJ acts aggressively against large corporations and likely could/would have found fire based on the smoke if there was any fire.

I wish I was as confident in this as you are. It just seems there are too many places where Boeing gives itself the benefit of the doubt for there not to be an underlying conspiracy followed by a concerted yet well-hidden cover-up.

For me as an engineer the generic schedule/budget pressure rationale doesn't hold water. There always is schedule and budget pressure. Ethics demand you block that out and put safety first. If that means career damage, so be it. I know, I've taken career hits for taking a stand based on ethics instead of going with the party line.

It seems there's at least three points where safety didn't come first from an engineering perspective:

    1) Early decisions during design to position MCAS as not being a new function and pilots being able to respond to the unwritten four second rule which means MCAS is not put in the catastrophic safety category so not closely examined by FAA

    2) Late decisions during flight test to enable MCAS in the slow speed regime, increase its authority by 4x, make it depend only on a single sensor, all without much if any review

    3) After the first crash, Boeing is concerned enough about MCAS to dedicate engineering resources to developing a fix, but not concerned enough to ground the airplane, even though we have the calculation saying there would be one hull loss every two years

Seems to me that's more than enough smoke to presume the underlying fire.

Note that none of this involves Forkner, he was a side show to the main act.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Topic Author
Posts: 27048
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 3:53 pm

For background, some info on the 4 second rule from Wikipedia:

In its safety analysis for the 737 MAX, Boeing made the assumption that pilots trained on standard Boeing 737 safety procedures should be able to properly assess contradictory warnings and act effectively within four seconds.[81] This four-second rule, for a pilot's assessment of an emergency and its correction, a standard value used in safety assessment scenarios for the MAX, is deemed too short, and criticized for not being supported by empirical human factors studies.[82] The Lion Air accident investigation report found that on the fatal flight and on the previous one, crews responded in about 8 seconds. According to the report, Boeing reasoned that pilots could counter an erratic MCAS by pulling back on the control column alone, without using the cutout switches. However, MCAS could only be stopped by the cutoff switches.[83]

Documentation made public at the House hearing on October 30, 2019, "established that Boeing was also already well aware, before the Lion Air accident, that if a pilot did not react to unintended MCAS activation within 10 seconds, the result could be catastrophic."[84]

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_73 ... tification

Unfortunately the key references are behind paywalls or are dead links.

If we accept the statement at face value, Boeing used an industry standard yet undocumented and arbitrary criteria not backed by human factors studies to avoid classifying MCAS in the catastrophic safety category.
 
airlinepeanuts
Posts: 206
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:16 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:07 pm

Frontline did a great special on regional airlines in the US after the Colgan Air crash in Buffalo. That episode is entitled "Flying Cheap" I would suggest you watch that one too as they did a great job. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/flyingcheap/
 
User avatar
Pythagoras
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:33 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:00 pm

Daysleeper wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:
My views are well known on the topic. Having just watched the PBS Frontline/NYT episode there are number of really critical issues that NYT does not fully discuss which are germane to Boeing's action with the design of MCAS and how it addressed the post-accident modifications.



So, what exactly was the primary cause of these accidents in your opinion? I understand the “swiss cheese” philosophy in that many air accidents are cumulative in their nature and its often difficult to define an exact cause. However, given that we have two almost identical accidents, I fail to see how this applies here.


The primary cause of this accident is common to so many problems in aviation, namely losing configuration control on the airplane. Boeing lost configuration control of the MCAS system in flight test when they changed it from a two-sensor system operating only in a corner point of the flight envelope rarely, if ever, to be experienced by pilots, to a one-sensor system which operated essentially through-out the flight envelope. The analysis for certification has been essentially completed when this change occurs, and so the configuration that was delivered did not go through the normally thorough process that Boeing and the FAA work to. The fact that the Chief Technical pilot Mark Forkner does not find about this changes for over a half year is an indication of the loss of configuration control.

Every decision and statement made in the released record by Boeing and the FAA before this change to a one-sensor system is entirely reasonable and consistent with a safe airplane.

The other primary cause in my opinion is just the final MCAS code was frankly bad software when combined with a single sensor. The capability to re-fire after 10 seconds is really what makes the MCAS system deadly. If the software doesn't re-fire MCAS the accidents don't happen. It has been stated in forums within the Seattle Times that Boeing immediately the day after the Lion Air accident initiated a re-write of the MCAS software. I have found no mention as to what this re-write of the software did but it would be my educated hunch that it addressed this particular problem.

Muilenburg didn't write the bad software, the engineers did. And spending time to write good software is not going to jeopardize Boeing profits. As an observation, you will note that there has been zero mention from Boeing about whether it followed its internal software development processes with MCAS.

It also is worth mentioning that everyone in the industry knows that there is an issue with pilot training and capability for the rapidly expanding low cost airlines in the newly developed/developing world, for example India, Indonesia, Malaysia. The conundrum for Boeing and the FAA is what do you do about that when certifying a derivative aircraft. Boeing and the FAA can only rely upon the design practices used and past history of the 737. It is only after the fact that the industry is able to go back and realize that its guidance for how to address the dynamic chain of events like what happened in ET302 is entirely inadequate.
 
User avatar
Pythagoras
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:33 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:22 pm

Revelation wrote:
What do you make of the "gambling with the passengers lives" issue? FAA calculated the odds of another crash, they were quite poor, yet FAA nor Boeing grounded the plane. There seemed to be a strong internal bias towards relying on the pilots to sort things out regardless of circumstances, no one seemed to be able to look at things from a different perspective.


Appreciate you bringing this up as it should have been paragraph 4) in my initial post.

4) Frontline/NYT misrepresents the risk analysis conducted by Boeing and the FAA after the Lion Air accident. The phrase used is "gambling with the passengers lives" as though this is something entirely out of the norm when in fact it is a process which the FAA uses to evaluate reported incidents which happen literally every single day. This process is in fact what has made aviation safer year after year because it mandates the exchange of information without fear of retribution which allows airlines, regulators and manufacturers to make maintain safety and make incremental changes in design, maintenance and operations. Every time that an incident occurs which has the potential for affecting safety it is reported to the FAA and an analysis is conducted which considers the likelihood of the occurrence (probability), the consequences of the failure (outcome), and the number of airplanes affected (exposure). This analysis is used by the regulators to decide the specific action to remediate the issue and the time frame in which it must occur. The risk analysis reported is merely the final calculation assuming that Boeing and FAA were going to take no action, which was never the case. The Frontline/NYT reporting, in my view, should have looked much closer at the risk analysis used by the FAA to see whether the assumptions used after the Lion Air accident aligned with the decision to permit the 737Max to remain in-service. Frontline/NYT should have done better here.
 
User avatar
Pythagoras
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:33 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:49 pm

Revelation wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
That said, DoJ acts aggressively against large corporations and likely could/would have found fire based on the smoke if there was any fire.

It seems there's at least three points where safety didn't come first from an engineering perspective:

    1) Early decisions during design to position MCAS as not being a new function and pilots being able to respond to the unwritten four second rule which means MCAS is not put in the catastrophic safety category so not closely examined by FAA

    2) ....

    3) ...


One does not need to rely upon pilot action and the four-second rule when MCAS is configured using two dissimilar sensors. The probability analysis would account for the failure rate of the angle-of-attack sensor combined with the failure rate of the g-sensor. These are dissimilar sensors without a common mode failure which permits the probability analysis to be cumulative. Furthermore, the exposure is limited to high speed flight only and the consequences are less due to the limited stabilizer travel.
 
metaldirtnskin
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:42 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:03 pm

Revelation wrote:
For me as an engineer the generic schedule/budget pressure rationale doesn't hold water. There always is schedule and budget pressure. Ethics demand you block that out and put safety first. If that means career damage, so be it. I know, I've taken career hits for taking a stand based on ethics instead of going with the party line.


While I would hope this is true on some level, I think it is simplistic at best. Most of us are stuck on the same treadmill, and often have to do things we don't agree with to keep the lights on and the kids fed. If you don't do it, they'll find someone else who will - and the leadership who knowingly create those conditions should be the ones to blame. I could draw an analogy to another case where a large company did something blatantly unethical for sales/marketing reasons, and then did their best to blame the engineers afterward - but I don't want to go into that any further because I know the analogy would become a distraction and that kind of thing is problematic to the point of being a disease on this forum.

In any case, large-scale capitalism is ultimately the art of getting someone else to pay for your mistakes.

Revelation wrote:
It seems there's at least three points where safety didn't come first from an engineering perspective:

1) Early decisions during design to position MCAS as not being a new function and pilots being able to respond to the unwritten four second rule which means MCAS is not put in the catastrophic safety category so not closely examined by FAA


I agree completely with what you said at the top of this thread, about wanting to see this aspect examined further by Frontline (or whomever). There's a lot to suggest that this was a sales/finance-driven decision, to keep the costs of adopting the MAX as low as possible for their biggest customers, and that part I would like to see them emphasize more. As you said, enough smoke to presume a fire.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Topic Author
Posts: 27048
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:03 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
The other primary cause in my opinion is just the final MCAS code was frankly bad software when combined with a single sensor. The capability to re-fire after 10 seconds is really what makes the MCAS system deadly. If the software doesn't re-fire MCAS the accidents don't happen. It has been stated in forums within the Seattle Times that Boeing immediately the day after the Lion Air accident initiated a re-write of the MCAS software. I have found no mention as to what this re-write of the software did but it would be my educated hunch that it addressed this particular problem.

Muilenburg didn't write the bad software, the engineers did. And spending time to write good software is not going to jeopardize Boeing profits. As an observation, you will note that there has been zero mention from Boeing about whether it followed its internal software development processes with MCAS.

It's pretty clear the flight control computer software, including MCAS, was written by Collins to Boeing's specification. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/07/busi ... llins.html is a pretty detailed rendition. It does suggest that profit pressure from Boeing were involved in Collins taking away business from long-standing partners. In the case of FCC, that was Honeywell. It does mention Collins did some offshoring, but doesn't give any details. It does say the Congressional investigators were given records to review by Collins. I suppose some will suggest nothing was amiss, but I'm not confident that Congress would have found people capable of really reviewing such records.

My understanding of the software re-write is the changes to move from an active-standby pair (one computer active, the other ready to take over on short notice) to an active-active pair (both computers active with any resulting commands being compared and if meaningful differences are found then MCAS and autopilot are disabled and pilots must fly manually). This was discussed a lot by Seattle Times as you note.

Pythagoras wrote:
The risk analysis reported is merely the final calculation assuming that Boeing and FAA were going to take no action, which was never the case.

It seems to me it kinda was the case from the time of the first crash till either a fix was delivered or the plane was grounded. Unfortunately it was the later.
 
B52overSMF
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 10:37 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:11 pm

I am also a big, big fan of Frontline. However, like others, this episode didn't really give any new information that those of us on here didn't already know (they also were off just a bit on some info). Then again, I don't think that episode was really for us A-netters.I think they missed a good opportunity to mention the change in engineering ethos at Boeing, especially since the MD merger. Also, the extended whishy washy-ness Boeing had about a clean sheet design vs. 737MAX.

I also didn't care for the focus on the reporters. It felt like it was about 2/3 about Boeing and 1/3 about the reporters. Don't get me wrong, the reporters deserve credit. I just felt it would have been better served to not have so much focus on them or at very least have a different form interview of them.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Topic Author
Posts: 27048
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:18 pm

metaldirtnskin wrote:
Revelation wrote:
For me as an engineer the generic schedule/budget pressure rationale doesn't hold water. There always is schedule and budget pressure. Ethics demand you block that out and put safety first. If that means career damage, so be it. I know, I've taken career hits for taking a stand based on ethics instead of going with the party line.

While I would hope this is true on some level, I think it is simplistic at best. Most of us are stuck on the same treadmill, and often have to do things we don't agree with to keep the lights on and the kids fed. If you don't do it, they'll find someone else who will - and the leadership who knowingly create those conditions should be the ones to blame.

Maybe I'm lucky or blessed, but I have had a 35 year engineering career where I never spent time off due to lack of work. It's even easier now that so many places offer remote work. I've also avoided jobs that create moral dilemmas, such as working on weaponry or nuclear power, both of which I've had opportunities to engage in that I've declined.

I think if you're doing something that lives directly depend on, you have an ethical and professional responsibility to not sign off on things due to management pressure, and if you can't accept that burden, you should look for other work. The system only works when you do push back. There's a reason why FAA has engineers sign documents, it's called accountability. If signatures only represent responses to management pressure, why bother having them.

It's fine to say management should be blamed for exerting undo pressure, but that doesn't excuse those who sign off due to such pressure. Two wrongs don't make a right.
 
metaldirtnskin
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:42 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:33 pm

Revelation wrote:
Maybe I'm lucky or blessed, but I have had a 35 year engineering career where I never spent time off due to lack of work. It's even easier now that so many places offer remote work. I've also avoided jobs that create moral dilemmas, such as working on weaponry or nuclear power, both of which I've had opportunities to engage in that I've declined.

I think if you're doing something that lives directly depend on, you have an ethical and professional responsibility to not sign off on things due to management pressure, and if you can't accept that burden, you should look for other work. The system only works when you do push back. There's a reason why FAA has engineers sign documents, it's called accountability. If signatures only represent responses to management pressure, why bother having them.

It's fine to say management should be blamed for exerting undo pressure, but that doesn't excuse those who sign off due to such pressure. Two wrongs don't make a right.


I think it's fair that the engineers should share some culpability, and while two wrongs don't make a right, it's also not a zero-sum game: you could look at it as part of the accident chain, where both management and engineering should have been part of a system of safeguards that failed on both counts.

I also wouldn't accept that leadership can pressure their organization however much they please and expect that there will be no failures as a result. There's a reference above to someone who just signed off while trusting his underlings to sort it all out somehow, and I feel pretty strongly that they shouldn't get away with that sort of reverse Nuremberg defense.
 
User avatar
Pythagoras
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:33 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:54 pm

Revelation wrote:
It's pretty clear the flight control computer software, including MCAS, was written by Collins to Boeing's specification. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/07/busi ... llins.html is a pretty detailed rendition. It does suggest that profit pressure from Boeing were involved in Collins taking away business from long-standing partners. In the case of FCC, that was Honeywell. It does mention Collins did some offshoring, but doesn't give any details. It does say the Congressional investigators were given records to review by Collins. I suppose some will suggest nothing was amiss, but I'm not confident that Congress would have found people capable of really reviewing such records.

My understanding of the software re-write is the changes to move from an active-standby pair (one computer active, the other ready to take over on short notice) to an active-active pair (both computers active with any resulting commands being compared and if meaningful differences are found then MCAS and autopilot are disabled and pilots must fly manually). This was discussed a lot by Seattle Times as you note.


With regards to Boeing/Collins, what I envisioning happening during flight test when MCAS is modified is that Boeing revises the specification for Collins to remove the software module from MCAS that accesses the data from the g-sensor and then updates the look-up tables for when MCAS is active. If this is what they did, it may have bypassed a series of steps which are put in-place as one develops software. The software architecture is fundamentally left unchanged. This is what has not been discussed.

The details of the initial software re-write have not been publicized. This is the re-write which Boeing had ready for implementation when the ET302 accident happened. The details are not known but it would not have incorporated comparative analysis between two sensors based upon how quickly the software was developed and from my read of subsequent events. I'd be open to information demonstrating otherwise.

Revelation wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:
The risk analysis reported is merely the final calculation assuming that Boeing and FAA were going to take no action, which was never the case.

It seems to me it kinda was the case from the time of the first crash till either a fix was delivered or the plane was grounded. Unfortunately it was the later.


The risk analysis is used to determine how quickly the software fix needed to be implemented. The variables that come into play are the failure-rate of an angle-of-attack sensor and the probability of the pilot taking the proper corrective action. The overall exposure, which is the number of airplanes subject to the the discrepancy, also is important. The judgment decisions on how to assign probability and assess the consequences are another hole in the Swiss cheese of this accident. Of course, this type of analysis is not robust to discrete events like maintenance failure of an AoA vane or a supplier falsifying test results or discrete events like a bird strike.

This is another frustrating part of this story where "If only...."
 
frmrCapCadet
Posts: 5155
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 8:24 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:06 pm

We need a thread, perhaps in technical, as to just what we mean when we say, "safety come first". In a sense it is not true: getting the job done, the crops in, shelter over our heads, down the road to wherever we need to be, the enemy repelled come first. When we use that phrase I think most of us know what is meant, but it still is problematic wording. Companies tend to use it when we all know they do not mean it in the slightest - more 'we have our butts covered should we end up in court'. Sorry for the ramble.
 
User avatar
Pythagoras
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:33 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:11 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:
The risk analysis reported is merely the final calculation assuming that Boeing and FAA were going to take no action, which was never the case.

It seems to me it kinda was the case from the time of the first crash till either a fix was delivered or the plane was grounded. Unfortunately it was the later.


The risk analysis is used to determine how quickly the software fix needed to be implemented. The variables that come into play are the failure-rate of an angle-of-attack sensor and the probability of the pilot taking the proper corrective action. The overall exposure, which is the number of airplanes subject to the the discrepancy, also is important. The judgment decisions on how to assign probability and assess the consequences are another hole in the Swiss cheese of this accident. Of course, this type of analysis is not robust to discrete events like maintenance failure of an AoA vane or a supplier falsifying test results or discrete events like a bird strike.

This is another frustrating part of this story where "If only...."


It just occurred to me that even the bird strike event to Ethiopian Airlines ET302 was another hole in the Swiss cheese that had to align. With separate left and right systems, there was a 50/50 probability that the bird would have hit the vane on that particular flight. One just has to feel so sorry for the ET302 families because so many poor decisions were made.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Topic Author
Posts: 27048
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:17 pm

metaldirtnskin wrote:
I think it's fair that the engineers should share some culpability, and while two wrongs don't make a right, it's also not a zero-sum game: you could look at it as part of the accident chain, where both management and engineering should have been part of a system of safeguards that failed on both counts.

I also wouldn't accept that leadership can pressure their organization however much they please and expect that there will be no failures as a result. There's a reference above to someone who just signed off while trusting his underlings to sort it all out somehow, and I feel pretty strongly that they shouldn't get away with that sort of reverse Nuremberg defense.

Thanks for the well thought out response, it's given me a few things to think about.

In this context it's pretty clear Calhoun isn't the right man for the job, given his comments presented near the end of the documentary. It's pretty clear the loss of two aircraft due to Boeing's own mistakes that occurred on his watch as Board Member hasn't humbled him in any way. He blamed previous leadership i.e. DM, he blamed the non-US pilots and said they went with sim training to appease the regulators and pilots of the developing world, said the US airlines probably don't need sim training to deal with MCAS, yada yada. Just like DM he's going with swagger rather than humility. Makes you wonder what he'd do should another Boeing product encounter a major calamity. Actually, not much to wonder, he'd likely blame everyone but Boeing.

Pythagoras wrote:
With regards to Boeing/Collins, what I envisioning happening during flight test when MCAS is modified is that Boeing revises the specification for Collins to remove the software module from MCAS that accesses the data from the g-sensor and then updates the look-up tables for when MCAS is active. If this is what they did, it may have bypassed a series of steps which are put in-place as one develops software. The software architecture is fundamentally left unchanged. This is what has not been discussed.

The details of the initial software re-write have not been publicized. This is the re-write which Boeing had ready for implementation when the ET302 accident happened. The details are not known but it would not have incorporated comparative analysis between two sensors based upon how quickly the software was developed and from my read of subsequent events. I'd be open to information demonstrating otherwise.

My recollection from reading various sources (so not 100% reliable) was the April fix was more of what we call a "point fix" i.e. things like get rid of multiple activation, do better sanity checking on inputs, reduce stab authority, etc. Address the egregious errors in MCAS itself without changing too much else so the testing burden is manageable.

It is also my recollection that a re-write to active-active mode was kicked off after the first crash the previous November but IMO would never have been done by April, there's just way too many things to change and way too much testing to do. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_73 ... tification says FAA wasn't presented with the final active-active software load till October and IIRC they found at least one error that required a respin of the software.
 
User avatar
Pythagoras
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:33 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:38 pm

Revelation wrote:
Pythagoras wrote:
With regards to Boeing/Collins, what I envisioning happening during flight test when MCAS is modified is that Boeing revises the specification for Collins to remove the software module from MCAS that accesses the data from the g-sensor and then updates the look-up tables for when MCAS is active. If this is what they did, it may have bypassed a series of steps which are put in-place as one develops software. The software architecture is fundamentally left unchanged. This is what has not been discussed.

The details of the initial software re-write have not been publicized. This is the re-write which Boeing had ready for implementation when the ET302 accident happened. The details are not known but it would not have incorporated comparative analysis between two sensors based upon how quickly the software was developed and from my read of subsequent events. I'd be open to information demonstrating otherwise.

My recollection from reading various sources (so not 100% reliable) was the April fix was more of what we call a "point fix" i.e. things like get rid of multiple activation, do better sanity checking on inputs, reduce stab authority, etc. Address the egregious errors in MCAS itself without changing too much else so the testing burden is manageable.

It is also my recollection that a re-write to active-active mode was kicked off after the first crash the previous November but IMO would never have been done by April, there's just way too many things to change and way too much testing to do. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_73 ... tification says FAA wasn't presented with the final active-active software load till October and IIRC they found at least one error that required a respin of the software.


A scenario that makes sense to me is that this October 2019 version still relies upon pilot corrective action to recognize and address failure modes. With the extended media focus and the congressional hearings, in December Dickson realizes that this design solution is not politically acceptable and tells Boeing so. This is what gets Muilenburg fired because Muilenburg has been working and messaging Wall Street under the presumption that the FAA and Boeing have agreed upon plan. Remember Dickson only takes over the FAA in August of 2019 and all the plans for design changes have been made before he even takes the helm.
Last edited by Pythagoras on Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
User avatar
FiscAutTecGarte
Posts: 521
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:40 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:58 pm

intotheair wrote:
I watched it as well. I’m a big Frontline fan, though after every installment, I always feel like I need a stiff drink no matter the subject matter.


I felt that way after watching "The Merchants of Cool" a Frontline episode from more than 10 years ago.... and I thought, 'My god absolutely everything is so manufactured, so carefully curated, and so aligned against parents just trying to raise good kids who have a healthy sense of self-esteem and contentment.' I might have had two stiff drinks afterwards.

Back on topic. I'll watch this one, but I sense that I'll be as disappointed as Rev with the lack of depth of some of the more critical factors.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Topic Author
Posts: 27048
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 8:52 pm

Babyshark wrote:
“Federal prosecutors are preparing to criminally charge a former Boeing pilot who is suspected of misleading regulators about safety issues during the approval process for the troubled 737 MAX, according to a new report.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10000429/Federal-prosecutors-reportedly-charge-former-737-MAX-test-pilot.html

It's another sad element of this story no matter how it gets told.

I can think of two main ways the story can be told:

    1) Forkner is being made even more the fall guy. He'll be the only one to actually face personal blame for the whole terrible debacle. Other people lost jobs, but they are highly compensated executives who left the company with their pensions intact.

    2) Forkner really should have come clean with the FAA once he learned about low speed activation. Ideally this would have triggered FAA to do a deep dive on MCAS and find its flaws, but that IMO isn't highly likely. Boeing had largely captured the regulatory process, it's hard to see it decide to support such a deep dive, they probably would have found another way to subvert it. Yet if Forkner would have come clean he'd also have had to leave Boeing due to career damage but now would not be potentially facing criminal charges, probably would still be an airline pilot and probably making a good living, and hopefully at a lower stress level with less alcohol consumption.

I suppose one way to look at the criminal charges is they could be a way to try to get Forkner to implicate others within Boeing. Staring at a big block of jail time has a way of focusing a person, and can make it easier to decide if you're going to go down, you aren't going to go alone. I guess time will tell on that one.
 
User avatar
airzim
Posts: 1554
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2001 7:40 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 8:59 pm

This might be redundant (and slightly older) but does cover some of the topics not covered in the Frontline story. Perhaps in the interest of time they truncated some of the other elements (including the merger of MD and Boeing).

https://newrepublic.com/article/154944/ ... revolution
 
BoeingGuy
Posts: 6679
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:01 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:14 pm

Revelation wrote:
Babyshark wrote:
“Federal prosecutors are preparing to criminally charge a former Boeing pilot who is suspected of misleading regulators about safety issues during the approval process for the troubled 737 MAX, according to a new report.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10000429/Federal-prosecutors-reportedly-charge-former-737-MAX-test-pilot.html

It's another sad element of this story no matter how it gets told.

I can think of two main ways the story can be told:

    1) Forkner is being made even more the fall guy. He'll be the only one to actually face personal blame for the whole terrible debacle. Other people lost jobs, but they are highly compensated executives who left the company with their pensions intact.

    2) Forkner really should have come clean with the FAA once he learned about low speed activation. Ideally this would have triggered FAA to do a deep dive on MCAS and find its flaws, but that IMO isn't highly likely. Boeing had largely captured the regulatory process, it's hard to see it decide to support such a deep dive, they probably would have found another way to subvert it. Yet if Forkner would have come clean he'd also have had to leave Boeing due to career damage but now would not be potentially facing criminal charges, probably would still be an airline pilot and probably making a good living, and hopefully at a lower stress level with less alcohol consumption.

I suppose one way to look at the criminal charges is they could be a way to try to get Forkner to implicate others within Boeing. Staring at a big block of jail time has a way of focusing a person, and can make it easier to decide if you're going to go down, you aren't going to go alone. I guess time will tell on that one.


It infuriates me how Dave Calhoun has put all the blame on Mark and Patrik. I lost all respect for Calhoun’s ethics and leadership after that. I understand Boeing leadership had to place all the blame on two former employees to avoid further company liability, but it doesn’t make it ethical.

What, do you think Mark and Patrik decided to de-emphasize changes to the regulators all by themselves? Of course not. They were directed to minimize changes BY BOEING LEADERSHIP. They were acting under management direction - the same management who denies any fault and put the blame on others.
 
LCDFlight
Posts: 1372
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:22 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:20 pm

Not the biggest Frontline fan. It's infotainment. Notice how their classic voiceover man consistently makes authoritative sweeping statements using his wonderful voice. But the script is usually kinda just the opinion of the editor or writer.

The Boeing MCAS case has such clear facts that they probably did better. I will watch.
Last edited by LCDFlight on Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
User avatar
Pythagoras
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:33 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:21 pm

Revelation wrote:
Babyshark wrote:
“Federal prosecutors are preparing to criminally charge a former Boeing pilot who is suspected of misleading regulators about safety issues during the approval process for the troubled 737 MAX, according to a new report.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10000429/Federal-prosecutors-reportedly-charge-former-737-MAX-test-pilot.html

It's another sad element of this story no matter how it gets told.

I can think of two main ways the story can be told:

    1) Forkner is being made even more the fall guy. He'll be the only one to actually face personal blame for the whole terrible debacle. Other people lost jobs, but they are highly compensated executives who left the company with their pensions intact.

    2) Forkner really should have come clean with the FAA once he learned about low speed activation. Ideally this would have triggered FAA to do a deep dive on MCAS and find its flaws, but that IMO isn't highly likely. Boeing had largely captured the regulatory process, it's hard to see it decide to support such a deep dive, they probably would have found another way to subvert it. Yet if Forkner would have come clean he'd also have had to leave Boeing due to career damage but now would not be potentially facing criminal charges, probably would still be an airline pilot and probably making a good living, and hopefully at a lower stress level with less alcohol consumption.

I suppose one way to look at the criminal charges is they could be a way to try to get Forkner to implicate others within Boeing. Staring at a big block of jail time has a way of focusing a person, and can make it easier to decide if you're going to go down, you aren't going to go alone. I guess time will tell on that one.


The legal case for this is difficult because of willful intent. Usually crimes are ones were one willful commits an act, for example, signing off on a certification document which one knows is incorrect. This would obviously be a criminal act. Here though Forkner is accused of a criminal act for something that he did not do, which was correct information that he had previously told the FAA. That is more difficult case to prove. The argument would need to be that once Forkner's understood the prior information provided was incorrect that as the airplane was still not certified that all prior approvals relying upon that information were invalid. The prosecution will need to point to specific certification documents that were materially affected by the failure to provide that information. The case will rely upon hypothetical of what might have happened had the correct information been provided. My impression is that conjectures and hypothetical arguments are not generally accepted as evidence in legal proceedings.

It does seem harsh to lay the entire blame of a program that can't maintain configuration control or write good software on one employee. Forkner's defense should be that it is not his responsibility to make sure that configuration changes are properly communicated to the FAA. He did not propose the change and neither did he have technical inputs to it. This is outside of his technical responsibility and thereby he cannot be held criminally accountable.
 
sxf24
Posts: 1355
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:22 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:33 pm

BoeingGuy wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Babyshark wrote:
“Federal prosecutors are preparing to criminally charge a former Boeing pilot who is suspected of misleading regulators about safety issues during the approval process for the troubled 737 MAX, according to a new report.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10000429/Federal-prosecutors-reportedly-charge-former-737-MAX-test-pilot.html

It's another sad element of this story no matter how it gets told.

I can think of two main ways the story can be told:

    1) Forkner is being made even more the fall guy. He'll be the only one to actually face personal blame for the whole terrible debacle. Other people lost jobs, but they are highly compensated executives who left the company with their pensions intact.

    2) Forkner really should have come clean with the FAA once he learned about low speed activation. Ideally this would have triggered FAA to do a deep dive on MCAS and find its flaws, but that IMO isn't highly likely. Boeing had largely captured the regulatory process, it's hard to see it decide to support such a deep dive, they probably would have found another way to subvert it. Yet if Forkner would have come clean he'd also have had to leave Boeing due to career damage but now would not be potentially facing criminal charges, probably would still be an airline pilot and probably making a good living, and hopefully at a lower stress level with less alcohol consumption.

I suppose one way to look at the criminal charges is they could be a way to try to get Forkner to implicate others within Boeing. Staring at a big block of jail time has a way of focusing a person, and can make it easier to decide if you're going to go down, you aren't going to go alone. I guess time will tell on that one.


It infuriates me how Dave Calhoun has put all the blame on Mark and Patrik. I lost all respect for Calhoun’s ethics and leadership after that. I understand Boeing leadership had to place all the blame on two former employees to avoid further company liability, but it doesn’t make it ethical.

What, do you think Mark and Patrik decided to de-emphasize changes to the regulators all by themselves? Of course not. They were directed to minimize changes BY BOEING LEADERSHIP. They were acting under management direction - the same management who denies any fault and put the blame on others.


I’ve talked to Boeing employees who work with Mark Forkner and none are surprised by what’s come to light. While very smart, he played fast and loose, and tended to be very aggressive. Many other people were fired from Boeing, but there are only two that are being prosecuted.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Topic Author
Posts: 27048
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:43 pm

BoeingGuy wrote:
It infuriates me how Dave Calhoun has put all the blame on Mark and Patrik. I lost all respect for Calhoun’s ethics and leadership after that. I understand Boeing leadership had to place all the blame on two former employees to avoid further company liability, but it doesn’t make it ethical.

What, do you think Mark and Patrik decided to de-emphasize changes to the regulators all by themselves? Of course not. They were directed to minimize changes BY BOEING LEADERSHIP. They were acting under management direction - the same management who denies any fault and put the blame on others.

I totally understand your point of view. As noted Calhoun also said some pretty derogatory things about non-US pilots, ones I don't think were necessary. He has an arrogance about him, a sense he can throw his weight around with impunity. It definitely doesn't foster a spirit of teamwork, instead it puts everyone on guard and tense.

I'm sure Mark and Patrik got their orders from above. yet if you look at the dailymail link the complaint talks about two employees forming a conspiracy to defraud, and no one else is in the snare. I wonder what legal guidance they are getting. It may be wise to consider if they can implicate others to lessen the hit they may be facing.

Pythagoras wrote:
The legal case for this is difficult because of willful intent. Usually crimes are ones were one willful commits an act, for example, signing off on a certification document which one knows is incorrect. This would obviously be a criminal act. Here though Forkner is accused of a criminal act for something that he did not do, which was correct information that he had previously told the FAA. That is more difficult case to prove. The argument would need to be that once Forkner's understood the prior information provided was incorrect that as the airplane was still not certified that all prior approvals relying upon that information were invalid. The prosecution will need to point to specific certification documents that were materially affected by the failure to provide that information. The case will rely upon hypothetical of what might have happened had the correct information been provided. My impression is that conjectures and hypothetical arguments are not generally accepted as evidence in legal proceedings.

It does seem harsh to lay the entire blame of a program that can't maintain configuration control or write good software on one employee. Forkner's defense should be that it is not his responsibility to make sure that configuration changes are properly communicated to the FAA. He did not propose the change and neither did he have technical inputs to it. This is outside of his technical responsibility and thereby he cannot be held criminally accountable.

The unfortunate thing for Mark Forkner is the text where he admits he unknowingly lied to FAA, and then did not do anything that we know of to correct that situation. Even if it isn't applicable in all the various legal contexts, it is a big problem for him and his lawyers to deal with.
 
metaldirtnskin
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:42 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:45 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
Revelation wrote:
I suppose one way to look at the criminal charges is they could be a way to try to get Forkner to implicate others within Boeing. Staring at a big block of jail time has a way of focusing a person, and can make it easier to decide if you're going to go down, you aren't going to go alone. I guess time will tell on that one.


The legal case for this is difficult because of willful intent. Usually crimes are ones were one willful commits an act, for example, signing off on a certification document which one knows is incorrect. This would obviously be a criminal act. Here though Forkner is accused of a criminal act for something that he did not do, which was correct information that he had previously told the FAA. That is more difficult case to prove. The argument would need to be that once Forkner's understood the prior information provided was incorrect that as the airplane was still not certified that all prior approvals relying upon that information were invalid. The prosecution will need to point to specific certification documents that were materially affected by the failure to provide that information. The case will rely upon hypothetical of what might have happened had the correct information been provided. My impression is that conjectures and hypothetical arguments are not generally accepted as evidence in legal proceedings.

It does seem harsh to lay the entire blame of a program that can't maintain configuration control or write good software on one employee. Forkner's defense should be that it is not his responsibility to make sure that configuration changes are properly communicated to the FAA. He did not propose the change and neither did he have technical inputs to it. This is outside of his technical responsibility and thereby he cannot be held criminally accountable.


There are plenty of ways a person could be charged with criminally negligent homicide, negligent manslaughter, etc., depending on the jurisdiction. As I understand it if you should reasonably have foreseen a grave risk of death, but do not, and someone dies as a result, that charge could apply.

That said, I have a hard time believing either: (1) that even if Forkner could be guilty of that, he could possibly be the sole lone nut, or one of just a few, undertaking all of that behavior on their own; or (2) that if the authorities actually had a case for something like manslaughter that they wouldn't be trumpeting that to the heavens. None of the sources seem willing to say what they plan to charge.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, I have merely seen far too much Law & Order :lol:
 
User avatar
Pythagoras
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:33 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:47 pm

sxf24 wrote:
I’ve talked to Boeing employees who work with Mark Forkner and none are surprised by what’s come to light. While very smart, he played fast and loose, and tended to be very aggressive. Many other people were fired from Boeing, but there are only two that are being prosecuted.


The only publicized departures otherwise are Muilenburg and McAllister who were fired and CFO Greg Smith who retired. These individuals were at the helm though and not directly responsible for the day-to-day decisions as they played out.
 
BoeingGuy
Posts: 6679
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:01 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:01 pm

sxf24 wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:
Revelation wrote:
It's another sad element of this story no matter how it gets told.

I can think of two main ways the story can be told:

    1) Forkner is being made even more the fall guy. He'll be the only one to actually face personal blame for the whole terrible debacle. Other people lost jobs, but they are highly compensated executives who left the company with their pensions intact.

    2) Forkner really should have come clean with the FAA once he learned about low speed activation. Ideally this would have triggered FAA to do a deep dive on MCAS and find its flaws, but that IMO isn't highly likely. Boeing had largely captured the regulatory process, it's hard to see it decide to support such a deep dive, they probably would have found another way to subvert it. Yet if Forkner would have come clean he'd also have had to leave Boeing due to career damage but now would not be potentially facing criminal charges, probably would still be an airline pilot and probably making a good living, and hopefully at a lower stress level with less alcohol consumption.

I suppose one way to look at the criminal charges is they could be a way to try to get Forkner to implicate others within Boeing. Staring at a big block of jail time has a way of focusing a person, and can make it easier to decide if you're going to go down, you aren't going to go alone. I guess time will tell on that one.


It infuriates me how Dave Calhoun has put all the blame on Mark and Patrik. I lost all respect for Calhoun’s ethics and leadership after that. I understand Boeing leadership had to place all the blame on two former employees to avoid further company liability, but it doesn’t make it ethical.

What, do you think Mark and Patrik decided to de-emphasize changes to the regulators all by themselves? Of course not. They were directed to minimize changes BY BOEING LEADERSHIP. They were acting under management direction - the same management who denies any fault and put the blame on others.


I’ve talked to Boeing employees who work with Mark Forkner and none are surprised by what’s come to light. While very smart, he played fast and loose, and tended to be very aggressive. Many other people were fired from Boeing, but there are only two that are being prosecuted.


I worked with and knew both Mark and Patrik directly, so I can comment here about my impressions. I felt both were well intended and would never knowingly do anything unsafe. Mark was clearly under a lot of pressure and often appeared somewhat stressed out. When I first met him I thought he was kind of a grouch. Then when I got to know him better, I got to like him. I realized he was under pressure from above to minimize training differences and was actually a good helpful dude.

I felt that he had kind of a dry sarcastic sense of humor (as do I) so I can see him saying some of those things in IM in jest that have since been taken out of context. I’m not suggesting he didn’t make mistakes or make inappropriate comments in IM, but I feel like Mark is being made a scapegoat by Boeing to avoid Boeing leadership taking proper responsibility.

Mark being prosecuted and Michael Teal now being the 777X Chief Project Engineer is like the ultimate in unjustness.
 
User avatar
Pythagoras
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:33 am

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:50 pm

BoeingGuy wrote:
Mark being prosecuted and Michael Teal now being the 777X Chief Project Engineer is like the ultimate in unjustness.


That is a pretty damning statement. We know Forkner withheld information from the FAA. Did Teal do anything other than just say "no"? Because the job of the CPE is to control statement of work creep. I worked on 737NG and it was the same philosophy, namely any change that was not related to meeting the mission or required for certification was rejected. It is what got Harry Arnold fired because he tried too hard keeping the airplane a derivative on emergency egress and the FAA refused to budge.
 
sxf24
Posts: 1355
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:22 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw

Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:00 am

BoeingGuy wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:

It infuriates me how Dave Calhoun has put all the blame on Mark and Patrik. I lost all respect for Calhoun’s ethics and leadership after that. I understand Boeing leadership had to place all the blame on two former employees to avoid further company liability, but it doesn’t make it ethical.

What, do you think Mark and Patrik decided to de-emphasize changes to the regulators all by themselves? Of course not. They were directed to minimize changes BY BOEING LEADERSHIP. They were acting under management direction - the same management who denies any fault and put the blame on others.


I’ve talked to Boeing employees who work with Mark Forkner and none are surprised by what’s come to light. While very smart, he played fast and loose, and tended to be very aggressive. Many other people were fired from Boeing, but there are only two that are being prosecuted.


I worked with and knew both Mark and Patrik directly, so I can comment here about my impressions. I felt both were well intended and would never knowingly do anything unsafe. Mark was clearly under a lot of pressure and often appeared somewhat stressed out. When I first met him I thought he was kind of a grouch. Then when I got to know him better, I got to like him. I realized he was under pressure from above to minimize training differences and was actually a good helpful dude.

I felt that he had kind of a dry sarcastic sense of humor (as do I) so I can see him saying some of those things in IM in jest that have since been taken out of context. I’m not suggesting he didn’t make mistakes or make inappropriate comments in IM, but I feel like Mark is being made a scapegoat by Boeing to avoid Boeing leadership taking proper responsibility.

Mark being prosecuted and Michael Teal now being the 777X Chief Project Engineer is like the ultimate in unjustness.


It’s the job of senior management to set but goals. If the goals would compromise safety or other values, it’s the responsibility of those tasked with pursuing the goals to speak up. If there was someone at Boeing that told Forkner to minimize training differences at any cost, all of the investigations would have found that.
 
BoeingGuy
Posts: 6679
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:01 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flawo

Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:41 am

sxf24 wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:
sxf24 wrote:

I’ve talked to Boeing employees who work with Mark Forkner and none are surprised by what’s come to light. While very smart, he played fast and loose, and tended to be very aggressive. Many other people were fired from Boeing, but there are only two that are being prosecuted.


I worked with and knew both Mark and Patrik directly, so I can comment here about my impressions. I felt both were well intended and would never knowingly do anything unsafe. Mark was clearly under a lot of pressure and often appeared somewhat stressed out. When I first met him I thought he was kind of a grouch. Then when I got to know him better, I got to like him. I realized he was under pressure from above to minimize training differences and was actually a good helpful dude.

I felt that he had kind of a dry sarcastic sense of humor (as do I) so I can see him saying some of those things in IM in jest that have since been taken out of context. I’m not suggesting he didn’t make mistakes or make inappropriate comments in IM, but I feel like Mark is being made a scapegoat by Boeing to avoid Boeing leadership taking proper responsibility.

Mark being prosecuted and Michael Teal now being the 777X Chief Project Engineer is like the ultimate in unjustness.


It’s the job of senior management to set but goals. If the goals would compromise safety or other values, it’s the responsibility of those tasked with pursuing the goals to speak up. If there was someone at Boeing that told Forkner to minimize training differences at any cost, all of the investigations would have found that.


Yeah, Mark just made up the idea to minimize training differences at any costs all by himself because he felt like it. :roll:
 
sxf24
Posts: 1355
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:22 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flawo

Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:05 am

BoeingGuy wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:

I worked with and knew both Mark and Patrik directly, so I can comment here about my impressions. I felt both were well intended and would never knowingly do anything unsafe. Mark was clearly under a lot of pressure and often appeared somewhat stressed out. When I first met him I thought he was kind of a grouch. Then when I got to know him better, I got to like him. I realized he was under pressure from above to minimize training differences and was actually a good helpful dude.

I felt that he had kind of a dry sarcastic sense of humor (as do I) so I can see him saying some of those things in IM in jest that have since been taken out of context. I’m not suggesting he didn’t make mistakes or make inappropriate comments in IM, but I feel like Mark is being made a scapegoat by Boeing to avoid Boeing leadership taking proper responsibility.

Mark being prosecuted and Michael Teal now being the 777X Chief Project Engineer is like the ultimate in unjustness.


It’s the job of senior management to set but goals. If the goals would compromise safety or other values, it’s the responsibility of those tasked with pursuing the goals to speak up. If there was someone at Boeing that told Forkner to minimize training differences at any cost, all of the investigations would have found that.


Yeah, Mark just made up the idea to minimize training differences at any costs all by himself because he felt like it. :roll:


The idea could have started elsewhere but it’s incumbent on subject matter experts to speak up if the idea is bad. That’s a big part of their job.
 
BoeingGuy
Posts: 6679
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:01 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flawo

Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:33 am

sxf24 wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:
sxf24 wrote:

It’s the job of senior management to set but goals. If the goals would compromise safety or other values, it’s the responsibility of those tasked with pursuing the goals to speak up. If there was someone at Boeing that told Forkner to minimize training differences at any cost, all of the investigations would have found that.


Yeah, Mark just made up the idea to minimize training differences at any costs all by himself because he felt like it. :roll:


The idea could have started elsewhere but it’s incumbent on subject matter experts to speak up if the idea is bad. That’s a big part of their job.


You sound like a Boeing management stool pigeon. How you can blame Mark and defend Boeing leadership is beyond me. You sound like part of the Boeing problem.

I don’t totally disagree with you. I would stand up if I thought something was unsafe. But I have enough in my pension and 401k to say F-you and walk. He probably didn’t.

Maybe Mark has mouths to feed. And he was being pressured and perhaps threatened by unethical Boeing management. I don’t agree with how he handled it, but I can understand. Unethical leadership pressured him and then point fingers at him, while they count their bonuses.
 
sxf24
Posts: 1355
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:22 pm

Re: PBS Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flawo

Sat Sep 18, 2021 2:12 am

BoeingGuy wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:

Yeah, Mark just made up the idea to minimize training differences at any costs all by himself because he felt like it. :roll:


The idea could have started elsewhere but it’s incumbent on subject matter experts to speak up if the idea is bad. That’s a big part of their job.


You sound like a Boeing management stool pigeon. How you can blame Mark and defend Boeing leadership is beyond me. You sound like part of the Boeing problem.

I don’t totally disagree with you. I would stand up if I thought something was unsafe. But I have enough in my pension and 401k to say F-you and walk. He probably didn’t.

Maybe Mark has mouths to feed. And he was being pressured and perhaps threatened by unethical Boeing management. I don’t agree with how he handled it, but I can understand. Unethical leadership pressured him and then point fingers at him, while they count their bonuses.


There’s a difference between placing blame and recognizing everyone has a responsibility to speak up. That’s how safety management system works and it’s appears (from lack of investigative findings) that neither Forkner, nor anyone around him, raised concerns with senior management.

If Forkner or anyone else spoke up, made their case respectively with data, and were ignored, senior management would be deserve attacks and those that spoke up should be protected.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 10

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos