Boeing Employees Mocked FAA and Clowns Who Designed 737 Max

Not good ! The company expressed regret at the embarrassing communications it sent to investigators on Thursday, which included a comment that “this airplane is designed by clowns, who are in turn supervised by monkeys.”  Boeing Employees Mocked FAA and Clowns Who Designed 737 Max

~ Rob

NY Times By Jan. 9, 2020

Boeing employees mocked federal rules, talked about deceiving regulators and joked about potential flaws in the 737 Max as it was being developed, according to over a hundred pages of internal messages delivered Thursday to congressional investigators.

“I still haven’t been forgiven by God for the covering up what I did last year,” one of the employees said in messages from 2018, apparently in reference to interactions with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The most damaging messages included conversations among Boeing pilots and other employees about software issues and other problems with flight simulators for the Max, a plane later involved in two accidents, in late 2018 and early 2019, that killed 346 people and threw the company into chaos.

The employees appear to discuss instances in which the company concealed such problems from the F.A.A. during the regulator’s certification of the simulators, which were used in the development of the Max, as well as in training for pilots who had not previously flown a 737.

“Would you put your family on a Max simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t,” one employee said to a colleague in another exchange from 2018, before the first crash. “No,” the colleague responded.

In another set of messages, employees questioned the design of the Max and even denigrated their own colleagues. “This airplane is designed by clowns, who are in turn supervised by monkeys,” an employee wrote in an exchange from 2017.

The release of the communications — both emails and instant messages — is the latest embarrassing episode for Boeing in a crisis that has cost the company billions of dollars and wreaked havoc on the aviation industry across the globe. The Max has been grounded for nearly 10 months, after the two deadly crashes. A software system developed for the plane was found to have played a role in both accidents, and since then the company has been working to update the system.

There is still no indication when the Max might be cleared to fly again, as the company and regulators continue to discover new potential flaws with the plane.

 

Boeing Employees Mocked FAA and Clowns Who Designed 737 Max

 

The messages threaten to further complicate Boeing’s tense relationship with the F.A.A. Both the company and agency indicated Thursday that the messages raised no new safety concerns, but they echoed troubling internal communications among Boeing employees that were previously made public.

In several instances, Boeing employees insulted the F.A.A. officials reviewing the plane.

In an exchange from 2015, a Boeing employee said that a presentation the company gave to the F.A.A. was so complicated that, for the agency officials and even himself, “it was like dogs watching TV.”

Several employees seemed consumed with limiting training for airline crews to fly the plane, a significant victory for Boeing that would benefit the company financially. In the development of the Max, Boeing had promised to offer Southwest a discount of $1 million per plane if regulators required simulator training.

Internal Boeing communications about the 737 Max

Read the emails and instant messages released by Boeing that show company employees discussing potential flaws in the 737 Max.

 

In an email from August 2016, a marketing employee at the company cheered the news that regulators had approved a short computer-based training for pilots who have flown the 737 NG, the predecessor to the Max, instead of requiring simulator training.

“You can be away from an NG for 30 years and still be able to jump into a MAX? LOVE IT!!” the employee says, following up later with an email noting: “This is a big part of the operating cost structure in our marketing decks.”

Requiring simulator training can be costly for airlines and even after the crashes, Boeing told the F.A.A. it was not necessary. It was not until Tuesday that Boeing said it would recommend simulator training for pilots who fly the Max.

Boeing on Thursday expressed regret over the messages. “These communications contain provocative language, and, in certain instances, raise questions about Boeing’s interactions with the F.A.A. in connection with the simulator qualification process,” the company said in a statement to Congress. “Having carefully reviewed the issue, we are confident that all of Boeing’s Max simulators are functioning effectively.”

Boeing Employees Mocked FAA and Clowns Who Designed 737 Max

“We regret the content of these communications, and apologize to the F.A.A., Congress, our airline customers and to the flying public for them,” Boeing added. “The language used in these communications, and some of the sentiments they express, are inconsistent with Boeing values, and the company is taking appropriate action in response. This will ultimately include disciplinary or other personnel action, once the necessary reviews are completed.”

The messages outraged several lawmakers, who saw a disregard for safety and broader problems with the culture at the company.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said in an interview that he would push for new congressional hearings to question Boeing leadership about the “astonishing and appalling” messages.

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Boeing Employees Mocked FAA and Clowns Who Designed 737 Max

Boeing Employees Mocked FAA and Clowns Who Designed 737 Max