Dennis Muilenburg, embattled Boeing CEO who earlier this year was stripped of his place on the company’s board of directors, has stepped down. Muilenburg has faced withering criticism for the way he and Boeing handled the 737 MAX crisis.
Boeing said today that David Calhoun, current chair of Boeing’s board, will take over as CEO on Jan. 13, with current CFO Greg Smith acting as interim CEO. Calhoun will remain a member of the board. Lawrence Kellner will step up to become non-executive chairman of the board.
In a statement, Boeing said, “The Board of Directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the Company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders. Under the Company’s new leadership, Boeing will operate with a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communication with the FAA, other global regulators and its customers.”
“On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I am pleased that Dave [Calhoun] has agreed to lead Boeing at this critical juncture,” Mr. Kellner said. “Dave has deep industry experience and a proven track record of strong leadership, and he recognizes the challenges we must confront. The Board and I look forward to working with him and the rest of the Boeing team to ensure that today marks a new way forward for our company.”
For his part, Calhoun said in a statement that “I strongly believe in the future of Boeing and the 737 MAX. I am honored to lead this great company and the 150,000 dedicated employees who are working hard to create the future of aviation.”
Muilenburg’s situation has become seemingly less tenable over the last few weeks as the FAA has pushed back on Boeing’s public and private efforts to move the MAX toward airworthiness, a move that likely had a big influence on the company’s decision to halt MAX production last week. Muilenburg was brutally grilled by two congressional committees this year on the MAX debacle, with several calls for him to either work for free or step down immediately. What’s more, last week the company had a very public glitch with the Starliner spacecraft, which was unable to complete its intended docking mission with the International Space Station.
It’s a step in the right direction, but perhaps there needs to be a change of those on the board as well. Changing just one executive isn’t enough to fix the cultural problem Boeing has developed.
As I read I said to myself, “gonna take a bigger change than that.”
A national treasure; a shadow of it’s former self.
If it’s Boeing … it AIN’T going …
I heard it this way “If it ain’t Boeing, it ain’t going”
This was after the Air France Airbus Atlantic crash.
The problem isn’t as much with the office of Boeing CEO as it is with its Board of Directors. Just to briefly summize: There are two members connected with the Blackstone Group which is a private equity firm well known on the “street.” Then one who served as a partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, LLC another private equity firm. Another that was with Acorn Advisors Consulting. You get the picture. Wall street guys that serve on other boards and have other interests. That is a big structural problem with the corporate merry go round that is ingrained in corporate America. These are big money guys, not “airplane makers to the world.”
Well said. I just retired from a big company owned by an investment partnership firm. Another bunch of financial type people. They honestly believe their management skills are portable, no matter the industry. I’m not sure the Board of Director’s culture has much bearing though. The failure to reset the Starliner’s onboard clock sounds like a software or checklist omission. And the decision to make a 2nd AOA sensor on all 737 Max’s an OPTION rather than mandatory. Both occur at a management level that is so far below any CEO or board member as to be invisible. I’m sure the potential MCAS failure scenario was identified by some smart engineer, but was shot down by bully management. I’ve seen it before. (case in point, Challenger oring) The MCAS issue is already fixed, just not accepted yet. This is typical in that they make the guy in charge fix it, then fire him afterwards. Now, nobody at the FAA is confident enough in themselves to approve anything.
The BoD still enabled or at least accepted the profits-over-engineering expenses culture that has taken root inside the company, so they are still responsible to a degree.
Good point and very true. I have observed this type of bullying you mention at an aerospace company I worked for. You are correct. Management is so full of yes men, that it is truly unbelievable unless one has actually seen it first hand.
More heads need to roll and bonuses clawed back. First new head to roll is the person who pushed the MCAS in the first place. How did he ever convince anyone that a “secret system” was needed because the crew doesn’t know to push the nose down with the elevator and not just crank in Stab Trim. Next head to roll should be the Engineering Director who proctered laying off all the senior engineers who know anything about how airplanes fly. Systems design is not just cobbling together C++ code in a foreign country using cheap labor.
You just pre-empted my comment; probably better said than how I would have said it.
This is a stupid comment. This person knows less than they think.
While we are at it, those self righteous p#$&%s who were in bed with them from the FAA must also go. Morally some should go to jail. The entire Boeing Board is complicit in the deaths of those trusting passengers, by giving their full support to Mullenburg after the disclosures.
Very predictable…Muilenburg did his assigned task…handle the MAX debacle fallout, take the brunt of the criticism, go through the congressional grilling, and be the one who publicly sheds the emotional tears for the loss of life. Once that portion of PR campaign is done, he is history. How he was fired, how he is compensated, and what his relationship was with the Boeing’s board in the recent weeks will be revealed soon.
If he was fired because he was deemed a liability showing signs of becoming a “whistle blower”, he will surface soon at some sort of congressional investigation. If still loyal to the board teeming with investment interests outside of Boeing, he will get a handsome job offering as a reward for successfully doing damage control duty.
Somebody had to take the public humiliation, provide the public emotional display, and say all the choreographed and scripted words that was required in the initial phase of Boeing’s damage-control team. He did that well.
Now it’s phase two of Boeing’s damage-control team. Since they have no choice but to complete MAX with MCAS, it stands to reason that the next CEO will be MCAS loyal, and has had a proven track record of defending it both publicly and professionally within the Boeing ranks. I am sure they have their new public “Gumby” all picked out. The remaining part of phase two is to wait for the inevitable wave of predictable criticism of Muilenburg, note the reaction of the collective aviation press to this “housecleaning”, and public/consumer response to so-called “new leadership” implying a new direction of safety.
Then phase three begins with the new “Gumby”…in my opinion, already groomed, well compensated for, and well prepared his/her participation in this MAX PR resurrection.
This airplane will be returned for service. The FAA needs the MAX to fly to justify it’s role in the certification approval. Boeing will use this new approval to claim vindication of the MCAS concept, design, and engineering. There is no extra airliner manufacturing capacity to replace it. Boeing, Airbus, and all of the 4300+ back log airline customers know that. So do all the politicians who have constituents who live where Boeing has it’s footprint, and all of the supply chain companies needed for continued production.
Muilenburg’s “resignation” is just another phase of public posturing that is needed for a smooth as possible MAX return to service sign off. Muilenburg’s “resignation” is a sign that MAX will fly soon.
I worked with Boeing for a number of years, and am saddened to watch the recent series of train wrecks marking the decline of a great company. Boeing has a rich 105 year history during which it has been a leader in the evolution of aviation/aerospace, so the world will be poorer if Boeing is not able to put out the fires and get back onto the high road. The question is, what will it take to turn the corner? From my experience there are a lot of amazing people across the company, but there are also some deep-seated cultural issues that need to be addressed. The ancient saying that “a fish rots from the head down” probably applies, because leadership owns the responsibility for investing in and nurturing a healthy culture. Culture drives attitudes, and attitudes drive behavior: all the bad things happening to Boeing right now are being driven by a steady deterioration in corporate culture with the resulting knock-on effect on quality & safety. Selecting Dennis Muilenburg as the sacrificial lamb won’t be nearly enough to solve the issue. Boeing leadership need to do some humble reflection and be prepared to make deep changes (starting at the top) in order to stop the rot. The alternative will be a once-great company continuing to sink and becoming a shadow of what it was. If this happens, there will be many more bad headlines and world aerospace will be poorer.
• David L. Calhoun (born 18 April 1957) is an American businessman and former chairman of The Boeing Company. Calhoun was appointed president and CEO-designate of Boeing on December 23, 2019, to assume the roles on January 13, 2020. In 1979, he graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in accounting.
• Calhoun is the global head of private equity portfolio operations at Blackstone and concurrently is the executive chairman of Nielsen (formerly VNU Group B.V.), and was Nielsen’s CEO from 2006 to 2013.
• He was previously the vice chairman of General Electric and CEO of GE Infrastructure, a GE division with $50 billion in revenues and 120,000 employees.
• He is on the board of directors of Boeing and Caterpillar Inc. Author of How Companies Win.
• Author of “How Companies Win”. (Wiki extract)
My first reaction to the news was that it is a good start. Unfortunately, David Calhoun, the replacement CEO, is a former General Electric executive, a company noted for its corporate arrogance and questionable management. Several of you have bemoaned the fact that most board members of large corporations today are either Harvard Business School grads who think they can run any company, regardless of what they manufacture, or they work for investment groups who have conflicts of interest in maximizing the stock values at the expense of quality control and safety. In my working life I saw that up close in the company that employed me. Boeing will survive, but wheter they learn from this and make the needed changes at all levels, remains to be seen.
DreamLiner battery fiasco.
Slat tracks fiasco.
StarLiner spacecraft fiasco.
I believe in coincidences. This ain’t a coincidence. And it took far more than one clueless CEO to make these events happen.
Rooting out treachery (slat tracks)? That’s cultural. But downright incompetence? There’s NOT an app for that…
How did things get this bad at Boeing? Certainly its “evolution” from being an engineering-centered organization, to being a bean-counter-centered one, played a role. Now how will their accountants and lawyers get them out of this situation? The Board made this bed. Now the industry is stuck lying in it. Too bad that Frank Borman is 91 years old. I am NOT happy.
The Atlantic has a good article about Boeing’s shift from engineering to finance brought about the current situation. Just google “Atlantic how Boeing Lost its bearings”.
Here’s an excerpt: “The isolation [by moving HQ from Seattle to Chicago] was deliberate. ‘When the headquarters is located in proximity to a principal business—as ours was in Seattle—the corporate center is inevitably drawn into day-to-day business operations,’ [CEO Phil] Condit explained at the time. And that statement, more than anything, captures a cardinal truth about the aerospace giant. The present 737 Max disaster can be traced back two decades—to the moment Boeing’s leadership decided to divorce itself from the firm’s own culture.”
As the old saying goes, ‘beware the person who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.’ Boeing forgot that their primary focus was to build airplanes, not make money.
Great article, Kirk. Thanks!
The folks at the FAA (and every worker at every government agency, for that matter) are always, and rightfully, incentivised to avoid making decisions by the very real danger of being “Boeinged” by the Monday morning quarterbacks should the decision later be connected to some problem, be it large or small. The specter of having to take back responsibility for approving every engineering decision on every airplane must haunt their nights, and the current glaringly obvious foot-dragging is sure to become a standard feature should they be forced to take that route.
I really hope they do not go down the GE path… a once great company brought to shambles and the stock price shows it. I have experience with GE and the stupidity and low IQ approach to common software problems was supported by arrogance that they do everything right.. their predecessors, perhaps, but not them now. I am not happy about that CEO with GE career track. Hopefully, I am wrong… 😉
They are GE!
The way these design issues are being handled is appalling, and almost nobody recognizes this. I’ll try to give a simple (and thus incomplete) summary of how airplanes should be designed to attempt to illustrate my point.
The fundamental design of every airplane should be such that THE AIRPLANE FLIES LIKE A SIMPLE NOMINAL AIRPLANE. What I mean is, when the pilot or copilot pushes forward on the yoke/stick, the appropriate control surface (elevator) should move, thereby causing the desired result (nose points more downward). When the pilot or copilot pushes on the rudder pedals, the appropriate control surface (rudder) should move, thereby causing the desired result (airplane yaws in the desired direction). And so forth.
NOW, once all the normal controls (stick, rudder pedals, flap lever, throttle, etc) cause the appropriate results (control surface motion, etc), then additional “fancy” and/or “computer assisted” and/or “automated” systems can be added if necessary (or deemed worthwhile). These kinds of changes, which interfere with the nominal operation of how the airplane is controlled should not be taken lightly. But I accept that they can reasonably be justified… even all the way up to “autopilot”.
HOWEVER, here is the crucial point. There MUST BE (something like) a big red button on the control panel that pilot or copilot can hit that instantly bypasses ALL automation and reverts the airplane to the state and behavior of a nominal airplane (and bypasses all add-on automation).
People argue with me about this, but here are the key factoids that support my statement. When something goes SCREWY with an airplane, the pilot and copilot MAY NOT be at 38,000 feet with time to paw through 1000 page pilot operating handbooks and/or other emergency handbooks. The worst problems occur shortly after takeoff or shortly before landing, and there is no time to become a problem-solving engineer while simultaneously trying to control a misbehaving airplane.
So what needs to happen (what needs to be available on modern airplanes chock full of automation) is … that BIG RED BUTTON that pilot or copilot can press to take direct control of the airplane. In other words, to make the airplane fly like a normal airplane where pilot and copilot manipulation of the controls in the cockpit manipulate the control surfaces in the expected ways.
I say this as a pilot (albeit only a private pilot, not airline pilot) and a life-long scientist and engineer who has designed quite a few automated systems (including ones that control machinery large enough to squash human beings into paste). So I’ve thought about these issues in more than one context and for many years.
The entire approach of the MCAS system is FUNDAMENTALLY CORRUPT. The reason Boeing (and Airbus) designs systems in such a corrupt manner is quite obvious. They are working towards airplanes that do not have a pilot or copilot in order to reduce expenses for the airlines. The pilot and copilot are a significant cost in every flight (though not the largest cost, which is probably consumed fuel). And so the airlines want to eliminate them. So all these automation systems they are developing are designed in a way that they become part of fully automated systems that eliminate pilot and copilot. And that desire leads them to design these systems in fundamentally flawed manners. The case of the MCAS system is even worse though. To base system behavior off of only one AOA sensor is MIND BOGGLING malfeasance and corruption.
Your assessment and suggestions would be completely appropriate – if it was 1950. It’s not.
And while MCAS is a kludge, it most certainly is NOT a step in the direction of autonomy. Quite the opposite, it functions only when the aircraft is being hand flown.
Contemporary consensus is that airplanes are supposed to protect themselves (and their occupants) FROM pilots. In fact, people (including pilots) are stunned when that does not occur, as in the case of AA 587, when the first officer ruddered the entire vertical stabilizer right off of the airplane.
You do NOT “evolve” your way to autonomy. You MUST design it in, from the start. MCAS has NOTHING to do with replacing human pilots. Nothing.
I’m old enough to remember a vibrant and highly competitive aerospace industry that included companies vying for talent and customers like:
– North American
Today Boeing, Lockheed-Martin and Airbus dominate the industry with Bombardier and Embraer on their way to being absorbed.
Some consolidation was in order but 40 years of consolidation-friendly policies have distorted industry incentives and eroded management performance. Aerospace isn’t alone in that respect. The pharmaceutical industry is undergoing a similar consolidation and management transformation. So did the financial services industry before the collapse in 2008.
Just look at where it led the automotive industry. Once swallowing up all carmakers, we ended up with two carmakers vying for number one and one crashing, whole the other went through years of recalls unscathed. And today, a few of these brands have been lost to history with the few survivors breathing a sigh of relief as they can finally go back to working for the4mselves.
In the end, it gave birth to a multitude of startups getting ready to take over. IN another 30 to 75 years, we might see the same thing again… and again… and again. No wonder there is little to no enthusiasm in these industries these days when V level officers come from every other industry but the one they “manage”.
To some defense of the departing CEO, external roadblocks may be less transparent with Mulliberg’s departure but internal factors that have been prohibiting improved transparency will remain at the Boeing with some of this transparency not caused from Muilenburg oversite, just the lack of Muilenburg being mis-communicated to. It should be the labor unions responsibility, IAM 751 and SPEEA, to stop mis-communication and collaborate with Boeing company leadership about the certified aircraft mechanics and engineers that execute Boeings’ manufacturing plans to build and certify aircraft into service. Going forward into the new year, the new Boeing company leadership must stop miscalculation of transparency to the unions. The union leadership also need to improve transparency with their union members and hold Boeing accountable to miscalculation to union membership. Start by offering a profit sharing program. Take the millions of dollar savings from the CEO’s departure and use it in 2020 to seed a new profit sharing program. Sends a good message to the FAA and newspress that Boeing leadership is restructuring for success.
Pointing to internal cultural problems within the current “Lean Boeing” that has apparently dispensed with all those “expensive” checks and balances within aircraft design:
1. The Pegasus B767 tanker had a MCAS to alert pilots to unwanted pitch-up, which I believe used a double-AOA-vane system with computer cross-check for validity, and benign methods of auto pitch-down. The Max design team reportedly reviewed this system but chose not to incorporate critical features.
2. Still a mystery to me as to what drove last-minute decisions to make the Max MCAS so powerfully aggressive. And the apparent lack of senior engineering oversight that should have moderated those decisions. And further, the lack of communications about it all. So it appears we have a collection of junior-engineering mistakes made by a company with 100 years’ experience. Maybe driven by a program team trying to please a Board of Directors who are not Boeing-style airplane builders.
3. The current “fixes” for the Max MCAS will constitute the system that should have been released in the first place. Given proper design team makeup and appropriate cross-program and senior engineering reviews, it likely could have been created within appropriate timeframes and avoided all the horrible consequences that have ensued.
The current Boeing Board of Directors has been part of the cultural misdirection within the company for a long time. Replacing one man at the top will not change much. All things related to aviation are very unforgiving, and so should we be to a Board detached from the technical realities of their products.
“… Board detached from the technical realities of their products.“ Excellent take away.
The leadership changes announced today by Boeing are a step in the right direction. The Boeing Company has long been a world leader in both breakthrough engineering and the highest standards in aviation safety. Under Dennis Muilenberg that reputation for quality has been unquestionably tarnished. The roughly 20,000 engineers and technical workers represented by our union at Boeing are committed to reestablishing Boeing’s leading role in commercial aviation, defense and space flight. We look forward to working with current Chairman and incoming CEO David Calhoun.
Paul Sheaaron, formerly an engineer employed at Boeing, is the President of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers. Across the nation, IFPTE represents 80,000 highly-skilled, workers in both the public and private sectors, including 22,000 engineers and technical workers at Boeing and other aviation companies through IFPTE affiliate the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001.
I ain’t buying your premise here, Paul S. Sounds like union doublespeak to me ! What’re ya doing … buttering up the next new Big Boss Man ? Sure sounds that way to me.
You want us to believe that Dennis Muilenberg somehow singularly misaligned the work of “20,000 engineers and technical workers” and his sudden replacement with a former GE bean counter will be the fix. Nope … I ain’t buying it.
The fallacious design of MCAS has ONE of it’s roots IN the work of the very people you are touting as geniuses save for a proper leader. The one person who had the guts to be a whistleblower said as much. This Corporate problem is a helluva lot larger and — as so many above have said — is going to take a good vacuum cleaning with the most powerful Dyson ever made to fix it. FAA is complicit; Boeing management across the board at all levels is complicit … including the Unions; the Board is complicit; the rough and tumble world of airplane manufacturing general is complicit. ALL of it has to change and only their heads next to Dennis on the altar will get anyone’s serious attention. Firing or asking for Dennis Muilenberg’s resignation is nothing more than the offering of one sacrificial lamb at the altar of PROFIT!. The Board is playing a PR game and little more here. His blood won’t fix a thing.
The listing of “fiascos” by Yars above also left out the B767 tanker problems, as well. And lets not forget the two tantrums Boeing threw over Northrop Grumman / EADS winning that contract OR the time Darlene Druyun spent in the crowbar hotel after the revolving door of Govment/Industry hit her on the butt. Everywhere you turn within the Boeing of the 21st Century, there’s a significant problem causing either safety or other issues. ‘Ol Dennis didn’t do that … BOEING did that … with help from others. No amount of tap dancing can change the facts, sir. PROFIT is driving Boeing in front of safety and other important issues. The Company is in too big a hurry with programs to make a profit. The Max competing with Airbus is another example. If an engineer (Muilenberg) couldn’t fix it, a bean counter replacement is ill equipped to do better. It’s “window dressing.” If it makes you feel better … swell. But it ain’t gonna fix nuthin’. I bet you have the replacement “throne” already in place in the Union halls?
The recent stock price tumble of Boeing shares is likely THE largest driver in Muilenberg’s departure. The timing is highly suspicious. It’s always about “shareholder value” … screw safety, screw reliability engineering, screw so many things … as long as the share prices keep rising. And what do many Board and Senior leaders within the Company get compensated with … shares.
Connect the dots and skip the Union doublespeak. If you folks knew Dennis was a problem, why did it take until now for ya to speak up? Never mind … I already know the answer to that one.
Redesigning the engine placement on the MAX is clearly out of the question, but the near-term technical fix is clear; 2 AOA sensors STANDARD, include a disagree warning system and mandate sim training for all MAX pilots instead of just an hour on the iPad. In the longer term the organizational problems with Boeing and the FAA are going to be much harder to fix.
Their first big error was moving the corporate HQ from Seattle to Chicago, thus distancing the head shed from the people doing the work. The second big error was listening to the pencil-pushers who castrated the 737Max flight control system. Redundant flight controls with voting logic have been arpond since the Saturn V days, more than 50 cars ago. putting a nickel-snd-dime system on a major transport aircraft was stupidity to the MAX.
You forgot the reason Boeing built a second plant in South Carolina to get a facility in a right to work State to hold over the heads of the Unions in Washington, Orval.
You can fix the Max, probably already have. But can you fix Boeing? Maybe not ??????
In closing, it is time to win the hearts and minds of the Boeing flying public.
Putting a guy in charge who literally is coming from the same entrenched culture that is at the heart of the problem to begin with is a joke. The degradation of Boeing’s culture has been steadily going on for decades. Changing a few people at the top does nothing. I’m not sure Boeing can pull out of this. They’ve been digging the hole really deep for a lot of years and now they’re throwing dirt on themselves.
The MCAS fiasco is really nothing, just the tip of the iceberg. What I would really like to know, or, maybe not know, is what other little gems lie lurking in the MAX just waiting to rear it’s ugly head. Once back up and running, what do you think is going to happen if the MAX has one more major event, or, two for sure. What are the odds, given the company culture this airplane was conceived and built under of another tragedy. The company will be toast is a heart beat.
As far as replacing Boeing, the markets always have and always will adjust to supply and demand. Will there be a transition along with a lot of heart ache and grief, sure, just as there has been in every other industry out there. Aviation is no different. I am one who is not holding my breath for Boeing.
Considering the lack of safety review while the MCAS was being “fine tuned” in flight testing, Tom’s concern about additional disasters waiting in the wings is well founded.
Raf is correct; Boeing has already become GE. Three of the last four CEOs for Boeing are former GE top executives that learned at the feet of Jack Welch. If there is a bright side to Calhoun being in charge is that he is already 62, so only has less than three years before his mandatory retirement age of 65 (a Boeing rule). Unfortunatly for the aviation industry, many of Textron’s upper management are also former GE disciples, and we have already seen what they have done to Cessna and Beechcraft. It appears that Jack Welch’s legacy will be a trail of once great American companies brought low by bean counter mentality. The bean counter’s mantra of “I can run any company, regardless of what they do” should actually be, “I can run any company… Into the ground”.
Too bad the Board, et al, doesn’t read this blog … they’d return to the Glory days of the B247 !!
Wesołych Świąt Larry.
Dziękuję Ci, nawzajem, RAF
Based on the count and the pedigrees of people hitting my LinkedIn profile, I’d say that a LOT of industry bigwigs read this blog. Regularly.
Wait for the book. “The tragedy and lessons of the 737 MAX”. Boeing’s financial liabilities are now greater than the New and Improved MCAS implementation costs. Somebody do something!
In reading the Seattle Times today my understanding is that Boeing’s Mark Forkner the 737 chief technical pilot during the development of the MAX has spilt the beans.
I worked as an engineer on a big black military airplane for 12 years. In the early design, test and validation days before first flight, every week either structures people or avionics people would alternate to perform a dog and pony show for all the VP’s in an auditorium to discuss the prior two weeks efforts. My specific VP was a hard ass. Woe be the engineer who stood up to deliver a slide show who had numbers that didn’t add up or anything else that either stood out as wrong OR didn’t make sense. We lived in fear of receiving a tongue lashing from the VP’s because we knew we’d be having a chat with our manager later. Reliability and Maintainability engineering were key and central points in the effort, too. Once an actual airplane popped out, I’m here to tell you that the hundreds of embedded computers, data busses and millions of lines of code along with structures all pretty much worked AND were reliable. During early flight test, anomalies did surface but nothing outlandish occurred … it was just polishing of all the systems and interoperability in the real world. In actuality, every system had already “flown” in other ways before getting married together. As compared to the early days of flight test after WWII, such a complex machine has flown well and aside from one lost to human error as induced by weather, they’re all still with us … 20+ years later … now flown by line pilots far less qualified than the test pilots who initially flew the things.
And I would deliberately say one other thing … the Company did all this WITHOUT a union. A union has never been able to penetrate that Company because they pay well, expect much, treat employees fairly, have a reasonable grievance process, promote on merit and the overall work environment couldn’t be better. During my prior USAF days, I worked with all the major airframe manufacturers and I knew that Company to be the best. I also knew Boeing wasn’t. Hence why I wound up where I did.
During flight test, one (or maybe more?) airplane developed a fuel flow issue. Analysis showed that a rag was found in a large filter. Guess what happened. Managers had to don the protective equipment and go into the tanks as a final final QA. Do ya think that got people’s attention? Fear of retribution goes a long way toward making sure that everyone did everything right! Never happened again.
To be fair to Boeing, they’re not feeding off the teat of the Government / military. They’re IN the business of making a profit which means counting pennies. That said, they also have a moral responsibility to also ensure the safety of the people their machines carry and that the intended “missions” are met. How a Company could have allowed a single point failure mode to be designed into their MCAS system defies everything I remember about my time in such an aviation environment. Someone in the trenches along with several layers of managers above them are responsible for that. I’m sure they know who they are; their conscience’s must be heavy? I’ll be interested to hear what the Chief Technical Pilot says, RAF.
As for Boeing … it’s time to find a way to balance profit making with proper engineering and giving the employees suitable time to do a good job and to test everything before flight. Sometimes that’ll mean ya win .. and sometimes it won’t. Boeing is one of the largest generators of GDP within the US … they better get their poopus maximus together fast. We can all hope.
Moral responsibility is everything and that goes right to the heart of culture. Moral responsibility is taught, ingrained as a child and never leaves you, ever. Morality bleeds from a person and touches everyone top down and bottom up. You either have it as an adult or you don’t. That being said, it’s clear the current Boeing management are only going to make cosmetic changes as evident by the the Calhoun swap out. Boeing’s current culture is a cancer. It affects everything. The only solution is to do what you do when you deal with cancer. Be aggressive, cut it all out and know that you will be cutting out a lot of the good with the bad. It is the only solution.
For a while, I taught A&P classes. On the first night, we’d spend an hour talking about integrity and self-discipline. You learn discipline in various ways. This leads to the development of self-discipline. The idea is that you practice self-discipline when no one else is looking. That’s the basis for integrity as an airplane mechanic. I force myself to think about that every time I touch an airplane.
During my long USAF career, I wondered why RIF’s and other personnel actions would cut some “good” people. The answer … because what’s left is the crème de la crème. As you say, Tom, aggressive actions are the only repair for the largess that is currently plaguing the Big B.
Sure is a LOT of reading here!
We know that the 2 Max losses were foreign carriers.
I would like to know how many U S Max pilots had the stab problem
& just disabled it & wrote it up – anyone out there – please reply.
Also, having had plenty of sim time, what procedure would the company
use to train pilots in a sim to disable a malfunctional MCAS.
Wouldn’t you just turn the switches off?
Sorry for being too practical.
Boeing, Boeing, Boeing…. Whatever happened to the other side of the equation?
The FAA could clarify everything in one short statement, instead they leave us back benchers guessing and blaming.
What is the hold up? Why not sign the improved system off?
It’s time for Boeing to step up and “Pay-To-Play”. They need to pay the biggest fine in FAA history and all will be forgiven. ‘$afety Fir$t’ as they say.
Very interesting comments from everyone. I’m not hearing the reason(s) the Max MCAS was made so aggressive so late in the flight test program, with apparently little review as to how pilots would handle the large array of lights, horns, bells, buzzers, stick shakers ane etc. that would confront and overwhelm them if they didn’t disable an errant system within the first several seconds. The first Lion Air crew did disable the system with the help of a 3rd pilot on the jump seat. Then a further mystery: the airplane was not taken out of service and no word of the problem was given to the next crew, who rode the airplane to their death.
Back to making the MCAS so aggressive at the last minute, does anyone know what drove that move? Mark Forkner is a tech pilot, not one of the flight test pilots. I’m presuming the flight test pilots and engineering crew found something they felt they could not overlook. What? If anyone knows or has a good suspicion, please comment. Then, what sort of a runaway process incorporated the change into production airplanes?
At its core, the MCAS is the mother of all stick-pushers.
Clearly, motherhood is not for everyone (thing).
Boeing just announced the retirement of their Chief Legal Counsel.
More to come?
Try reading THIS article in The Atlantic:
With 2019 now behind us, the production numbers between Airbus and Boeing spell DISASTER !!
Airbus completed 863 airplanes while Boeing completed 345. This is the first time since 2011 that Airbus beat out Boeing. Since Boeing is a major generator of US GDP, the FAA better get off it’s ‘duff’ and DO SOMETHING !!