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   Technology StocksBoeing keeps setting new highs! When will it split?

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From: SI Ron (Crazy Soup Man)9/13/2019 11:00:55 AM
1 Recommendation   of 3524

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From: John Koligman10/2/2019 12:56:08 PM
   of 3524
Boeing Engineer Says 737 Max Safety System Was Vetoed Over Cost

A Boeing 737 Max in Renton, Wash. The company’s best-selling model remains grounded after two fatal crashes.CreditCreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

By Natalie Kitroeff, David Gelles and Jack Nicas

Oct. 2, 2019Updated 10:06 a.m. ET

A senior Boeing engineer filed an internal ethics complaint this year saying that during the development of the 737 Max jet the company had rejected a safety system to minimize costs, equipment that he felt could have reduced risks that contributed to two fatal crashes.

Boeing has provided the complaint, which was reviewed by The New York Times, to the Department of Justice as part of a criminal investigation into the design of the Max, according to a person with knowledge of the inquiry who requested anonymity given the ongoing legal matter. Federal investigators have questioned at least one former Boeing employee about the allegations, said another person with knowledge of the discussions who similarly requested anonymity.

It is unclear what, if any, assessment investigators have made of the complaint.

The complaint, filed after the two crashes, builds on concerns about Boeing’s corporate culture, as the company tries to repair its reputation and get the planes flying again.

Many current and former Boeing employees have privately discussed problems with the design and decision-making process on the 737 Max, outlining episodes when managers dismissed engineers’ recommendations or prioritized profits. The engineer who filed the ethics concerns this year, Curtis Ewbank, went a step further, lodging a formal complaint and calling out the chief executive for publicly misrepresenting the safety of the plane.

During the development of the 737 Max, Mr. Ewbank worked on the cockpit systems that pilots use to monitor and control the airplane. In his complaint to Boeing, he said that managers were urged to study a backup system for calculating the plane’s airspeed. The system, known as synthetic airspeed, draws on several data sources to measure how fast a plane is flying.

Such equipment, Mr. Ewbank said, could detect when the angle-of-attack sensors, which measure the plane’s position in the sky, were malfunctioning and prevent other systems from relying on that faulty information. A version of the system is used on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, a new model of plane.

Mr. Ewbank did not respond to requests for comment.

In both crashes of the Max, an angle-of-attack sensor is believed to have failed, sending bad data to automated software designed to help prevent stalls. That software, known as MCAS, then activated erroneously, sending the planes into irrecoverable nose dives.

Mr. Ewbank noted in the complaint, “It is not possible to say for certain that any actual implementation of synthetic airspeed on the 737 Max would have prevented the accidents” in Ethiopia and Indonesia. But he said that Boeing’s actions on the issue pointed to a culture that emphasized profit in some cases, at the expense of safety.

Throughout the development of the Max, Boeing tried to avoid adding components that could force airlines to train pilots in flight simulators, costing tens of millions of dollars over the life of an aircraft. Significant changes to the Max could also have required the more onerous approval for a new plane, rather than the streamlined certification process for a derivative model.

The Dangerous Flaws in Boeing’s Automated SystemHere’s why a system designed to stabilize the 737 Max may have caused two deadly crashes in five months.

According to Mr. Ewbank’s complaint, Ray Craig, a chief test pilot of the 737, and other engineers wanted to study the possibility of adding the synthetic airspeed system to the Max. But a Boeing executive decided not to look into the matter because of its potential cost and effect on training requirements for pilots.

“I was willing to stand up for safety and quality, but was unable to actually have an effect in those areas,” Mr. Ewbank said in the complaint, adding, “Boeing management was more concerned with cost and schedule than safety or quality.”

His account, and the description of the system’s benefits on the 787 Dreamliner, was backed up by a former senior Boeing employee involved in the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing Justice Department investigation. The former Boeing employee, who worked on the Max, confirmed that executives had discussed the system. The employee said they had determined that trying to install such new technology onto the 737 Max, a plane based on a 1960s-era design, would be too complicated and risky for the project, which was on a tight development schedule.

But the former Boeing employee said that Mr. Ewbank’s complaint overstated the importance of such a system and understated the complexity of adding it to the 737 Max. This employee said that Boeing had only installed the system on the 787 Dreamliners, noting that it was unclear how or whether the Max could similarly calculate synthetic airspeed, because it has fewer sensors. The employee also did not recall Boeing executives citing the potential impact on pilot training when deciding not to study adding the system.

A Boeing spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, said in a statement, “Safety, quality and integrity are at the core of Boeing’s values.”

“Boeing offers its employees a number of channels for raising concerns and complaints and has rigorous processes in place, both to ensure that such complaints receive thorough consideration and to protect the confidentiality of employees who make them,” he added.

Shares of Boeing fell as much as 1.7% in early morning trading Wednesday.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, declined to comment on the complaint.

Mr. Ewbank worked as an engineer at Boeing from 2010 to 2015, and was generally well regarded by his colleagues, according to two people with knowledge of his work who requested anonymity to discuss a sensitive internal inquiry. In Mr. Ewbank’s complaint, he said he had left the company in part because he had become concerned that the company was not prioritizing safety. He returned to the company in 2018, where he is now working on the development of a new 777.

Mr. Ewbank said that he did not initially file a complaint during the development of the Max, in part because the “fear of retaliation is high.”

He stepped forward this year, he explained in the complaint, because of the “ethical imperative of an engineer — to protect the safety of the public.”

“Boeing is not in a business where safety can be treated as a secondary concern,” Mr. Ewbank wrote in the complaint. “But the current culture of expediency of design-to-market and cost cutting does not permit any other treatment by the work force tasked with making executive managements’ fever dreams a reality.”

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From: Eric10/16/2019 2:58:57 PM
   of 3524
  • Boeing & Aerospace
  • Business

  • Questions raised about photos used as evidence of repairs in Lion Air, Boeing 737 MAX crash investigation

    Oct. 15, 2019 at 6:36 pm Updated Oct. 15, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    The cockpit of a grounded Lion Air 737 MAX 8 jet. The crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane bore similarities to the Oct. 29 crash of a Lion Air plane, stoking concerns that a feature meant to make the upgraded MAX safer has actually made it harder to fly. (Dimas Ardian / Bloomberg)

    Alan Levin
    Harry Suhartono
    Bloomberg News

    Weeks after a Lion Air jet crashed in the Java Sea, killing all 189 aboard, an airline employee gave investigators photographs meant to show that a crucial repair had been properly performed the day before the disaster.

    Yet the photos may not show what was claimed.

    The time displayed in photos of a computer screen in the cockpit of the Boeing 737 MAX indicated they actually had been taken before the repair was performed, according to a draft of the final crash report being prepared by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), portions of which were reviewed by Bloomberg News.

    Investigators were similarly unable to confirm the authenticity of other photos in the packet, which were supposed to show how a piece of equipment near the jet’s nose had been calibrated, according to the report. There were indications that the pictures depicted a different plane, according to two people familiar with the investigation.

    The draft report doesn’t say whether anyone falsified or misrepresented the photos — which would be considered a serious breach of protocol — but concludes that they may not be valid evidence.

    The incident injected additional tension into the already fraught international investigation in which billions of dollars and the reputations of airlines, manufacturers and entire nations are on the line.

    737 MAX CRISIS


    Dennis Muilenburg out as Boeing chairman but keeps CEO position
    Boeing rejected 737 MAX safety upgrades before fatal crashes, whistleblower says
    Extra pilot saved doomed Lion Air jetliner on next-to-last fli

    According to one person briefed on the matter, the Indonesia-based airline has told investigators that the allegations about the photos are unsubstantiated and shouldn’t be mentioned in the final report of the October 2018 crash. But to others involved in one of the most significant accident probes in decades, it could represent an attempt to mislead investigators about a critical aspect of the case and needs to be documented, said two other people who were briefed about the existence of the photos.

    Lion Air spokesman Danang Prihantoro said that he could not comment on the investigation. Representatives of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) declined to comment on the existence of the photos.

    Indonesia’s NTSC, which is overseeing the investigation, is finalizing the report and expects to release it by early November. Anggo Anurogo, a spokesman for the investigation agency, said it wouldn’t comment on the report before its release.

    Portions of the draft reviewed by Bloomberg News say an engineer gave the photos to investigators to show that the replacement of a sensor on the plane on Oct. 28 had been done properly. The sensor, known as an “angle-of-attack” vane, was malfunctioning on the very next flight as well as the one the next day that crashed and is at the heart of the investigation, according to an NTSC preliminary report released last November.

    Some of the images were taken of the inside of an equipment compartment where the faulty sensor was attached, according to the people familiar with the investigation. Part of the calibration process occurs in that location.

    Visible in the background of these photos was other equipment with identification marks, the people said. Officials at Boeing were able to trace at least one of the devices to a different 737 MAX jet operated by Lion Air, they said.

    Other photos were shot in a 737 MAX cockpit, where mechanics check to see that the sensor is providing accurate readings, the people said. Those photos showed the captain’s flight display, but the time shown on its digital clock was before the repair being performed, according to the draft report.

    Lion Air, which already was pushing back on preliminary conclusions by investigators, has challenged assertions that the photos were falsified and asked the NTSC not to include the pictures and any reference to them in its final report, according to one person familiar with the airline’s view of the matter.

    The airline further said the photos didn’t come from the carrier, the person said. The pictures were blurry, and the airline couldn’t understand how equipment markings could have been identified, the person said.

    Investigative reports of crashes often contain hundreds of pages and document evidence collected and significant issues faced during the probe.

    The repair depicted by the photos is central to the investigation. A malfunction of the angle-of-attack sensor is believed to have triggered an automated system on the plane to repeatedly force its nose down, eventually causing the pilots to lose control and crash at high speed into the ocean.

    Documents reviewed by Bloomberg News show the repair station XTRA Aerospace in Miramar, Florida, had worked on the sensor. It was installed on the Lion Air plane on Oct. 28 in Denpasar, Indonesia, after pilots on earlier flights had reported problems with instruments displaying speed and altitude. XTRA has said it is cooperating with the investigation.

    For months, examinations of the Lion Air crash and the second, similar accident March 10 of a 737 MAX operated by Ethiopian Airlines have focused on the angle-of-attack sensors and their role in the functioning of a feature built into the jet known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System.

    MCAS, designed to keep the nose of the plane from drifting too far up in flight, was fed data from one of the plane’s two angle-of-attack sensors, devices that protrude from the jet’s nose and resemble a weather vane.

    When it senses the nose has risen too far, it automatically pushes it back down, reducing the risk of an aerodynamic stall. Investigators believe a malfunction of the sensor on board the Lion Air flight mistakenly forced the nose of the plane down repeatedly until the pilots lost control.

    The same failure occurred Oct. 28 immediately after the repair on the Lion Air jet, but pilots on that flight were able to recover and fly to their destination. Not so on the final flight of the jet, when the pilots began fighting for control shortly after takeoff.

    The plane hit the water in a high-speed dive, shattering into pieces. While investigators haven’t said whether they’ve recovered the angle-of-attack sensor from the bottom of the sea, the plane’s black-box flight recorder was brought up and confirmed the sensor was malfunctioning.

    The crash, and the Ethiopian Airlines disaster months later, prompted a worldwide grounding of Boeing’s best-selling jet, leading to billions of dollars in losses and international investigations into how the system was designed and approved.

    The mechanic who worked on the Lion Air jet before the crash reported the new device was installed according to the maintenance procedure, the November 2018 preliminary report said.

    “Installation test and heater system test result good,” said an entry in the plane’s maintenance log included in the report. The mechanic also told a pilot about to fly the plane that the sensor “had been tested accordingly,” the report said.

    However, data in the report suggest the calibration wasn’t done properly or at all, said John Goglia, a former airline mechanic who used to serve on the NTSB.

    Such processes are routine and relatively simple, Goglia said. The procedure is designed as a fail-safe to ensure that a mechanic can quickly determine whether a newly installed sensor isn’t working.

    “They were given an unairworthy airplane because the maintenance was incomplete and didn’t correct the problem,” he said.

    Alan Levin
    Harry Suhartono

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    From: Jamie15310/18/2019 1:41:21 PM
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    Boeing shares slide after FAA discovered ‘concerning’ messages about 737 Max certification

    A Boeing test pilot complained in the 2016 message that the system, known as MCAS, was difficult to control, the New York Times reported. Pilots at airlines including American complained after the crashes that it did not know about the system, known as MCAS, until after the first crash.

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    To: Jamie153 who wrote (3435)10/18/2019 3:04:28 PM
    From: John Koligman
       of 3524
    To me the big red flag was when the CEO was stripped of the Chairmanship to 'focus' on the 737 problem a short time ago. A strong signal that things were going to get more ugly. In addition to the lives lost, these 'shortcuts' are going to cost the company a LOT of money and imo result in a pretty significant stain on it's reputation.

    Boeing Pilot Complained of ‘Egregious’ Issue With 737 Max in 2016

    A Boeing 737 Max 8 plane. The 737 Max was grounded earlier this year after crashing twice in five months.CreditCreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

    By David Gelles and Natalie Kitroeff

    Oct. 18, 2019Updated 2:58 p.m. ET

    A Boeing pilot working on the 737 Max said in messages from 2016 that a new automated system was making the plane difficult to control in flight simulators, more than two years before it was grounded after two deadly crashes.

    The pilot, Mark Forkner, complained that the system, known as MCAS, was causing him trouble. “It’s running rampant in the sim,” he said in a message to a colleague, referring to the simulator.

    “Granted, I suck at flying, but even this was egregious,” he went on to say, according to a transcript of the exchange reviewed by The New York Times.

    The 737 Max was grounded this year after crashing twice in five months, killing 346 people. In both cases, MCAS malfunctioned because of erroneous data, sending the planes into unrecoverable nose dives.

    Mr. Forkner, the chief technical pilot for the plane, went on to say he had lied to the Federal Aviation Administration.

    “I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly),” Mr. Forkner said in the messages.

    Boeing provided the transcript to lawmakers in Capitol Hill over the past day, in advance of hearings this month at which Boeing’s chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg, will testify about the crashes for the first time. Boeing had provided the transcript this year to the Department of Justice, which is conducting a criminal investigation, according to two people familiar with the communications, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the exchange was not yet public.

    “This is the smoking gun,” Representative Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon, said in an interview. “This is no longer just a regulatory failure and a culture failure. It’s starting to look like criminal misconduct.”

    Boeing 737 Max: The Latest on the Fallout After 2 Deadly CrashesBoeing remains under intense scrutiny nearly one year after the first Max jet was involved in a fatal accident.

    Mr. DeFazio is chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and his office is overseeing the House investigation into the crashes.

    “Boeing cannot say this is about one person,” Mr. DeFazio said. “This is about a cultural failure at Boeing under pressure from Wall Street to just get this thing out there and make sure that you don’t open the door to further pilot training.”

    Eight months before sending the messages, Mr. Forkner asked the F.A.A. if it would be O.K. to remove mention of MCAS from the pilot’s manual. The F.A.A., which at the time believed the system would activate only in rare cases and wasn’t particularly dangerous, approved Mr. Forkner’s request.

    The F.A.A. administrator, Stephen Dickson, sent Mr. Muilenburg a letter Friday morning demanding that the company account for why it did not provide the messages to the agency earlier.

    “I expect your explanation immediately regarding the content of this document and Boeing’s delay in disclosing the document to its safety regulator,” Mr. Dickson wrote.

    Reuters was first to report on the existence of the messages.

    A lawyer for Mr. Forkner played down the importance of the messages, saying Mr. Forkner was talking about issues with the simulator.

    “If you read the whole chat, it is obvious that there was no ‘lie’ and the simulator program was not operating properly,” the lawyer, David Gerger, said in a statement. “Based on what he was told, Mark thought the plane was safe, and the simulator would be fixed.”

    Mr. Forkner, who is now a pilot for Southwest Airlines, and Mr. Gustavsson did not reply to requests for comment.

    Gordon Johndroe, a Boeing spokesman, said the company was “voluntarily cooperating” with the congressional investigation and provided the messages to lawmakers as part of that process.

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    To: John Koligman who wrote (3436)10/18/2019 6:00:35 PM
    From: Jamie153
    1 Recommendation   of 3524
    BA was a cash cow but the cash came after a CEO put profits ahead of safety. The rehiring of engineers will help some but it'll take time.

    " Boeing is reaching out to retired airline technicians, mechanics, and engineers and offering temporary jobs to help get its stored 737 Max planes ready for delivery when the global grounding ends."

    Earlier this year they outsourced their Max Software at $9 an hour.

    "Engineers feared the practice meant code wasn’t done right"

    How is it possible that none of this is regulated? Someone getting $9 a hour to code software for a plane is insane, but profitable.

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    From: SI Ron (Crazy Soup Man)10/18/2019 9:10:50 PM
       of 3524
    Boeing 737 MAX test pilot grappled with simulator flaws, too

    SEATTLE, Oct 18 (Reuters) - In newly released text messages from 2016, a top Boeing 737 MAX test pilot tells a colleague that the jet's MCAS flight control system - the same one linked to two fatal crashes - was "running rampant in the (simulator) on me.".............

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    From: Glenn Petersen10/20/2019 9:24:24 PM
       of 3524

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    To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (3439)10/26/2019 9:57:34 AM
    From: Jamie153
    1 Recommendation   of 3524
    The entire management team of BA needs to be replaced. They put profits ahead of safety. CEOs who screw customers or employees will look like gods until it crashes (pun intended) around them. It's far to easy to work for or buy from someone else. Rule #1, don't screw your customers or your employees.

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    To: Jamie153 who wrote (3440)10/26/2019 10:37:32 AM
    From: Glenn Petersen
       of 3524
    To state the obvious, you should never compromise when it comes to safety issues. An inexcusable ethical lapse that cannot go unpunished.

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