Whistleblower: Boeing Rejected 737 Max Safety Upgrades Before Fatal Crashes

Dominic Gates, Steve Miletich, and Lewis Kamb, reporting for The Seattle Times:

The ethics charge, filed by 33-year-old engineer Curtis Ewbank, whose job involved studying past crashes and using that information to make new planes safer, describes how around 2014 his group presented to managers and senior executives a proposal to add various safety upgrades to the MAX.

The complaint, a copy of which was reviewed by The Seattle Times, suggests that one of the proposed systems could have potentially prevented the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people. Three of Ewbank’s former colleagues interviewed for this story concurred. […]

Managers twice rejected adding the new system on the basis of “cost and potential (pilot) training impact,” the complaint states. It was then raised a third time in a meeting with 737 MAX chief project engineer, Michael Teal, who cited the same objections as he killed the proposal.

Just devastating allegations — which ring very true.

This piece by Matt Stoller back in July documents the downfall of Boeing. Boeing was once one of the greatest companies in the world, with an engineering- and design-driven internal culture that served the company well financially. Make great airplanes and airlines will buy them. But then they acquired McDonnell-Douglas, primarily a military contractor, and McDonnell-Douglas executives wound up in charge of the combined company. They destroyed Boeing’s engineering-first culture, culminating in the literally disastrous 737 Max.

Thursday, 3 October 2019