On January 9th, Boeing released a statement referring to communications released to the US Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The company expressed regret because of the content of these communications, and apologized to the FAA, Congress, and its airline customers, and to the flying public for them.
“We have made significant changes as a company to enhance our safety processes, organizations, and culture. 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 in question contained statements by Boeing employees referring to the Boeing 737 MAX.
In an April 2017 exchange of instant messages, two employees expressed complaints about the Max following references to issues with the plane’s flight management computer.
“This airplane is designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys,” one unnamed employee wrote.
In a message from November 2015, which appears to shed light on lobbying methods used when facing demands from regulators, a Boeing employee notes regulators were likely to want simulator training for a particular type of cockpit alert.
“We are going to push back very hard on this and will likely need support at the highest levels when it comes time for the final negotiation,” the employee writes.
In an instant messaging exchange on February 8, 2018 — when the plane was in the air and eight months before the first of two fatal crashes, an employee asks another:
“Would you put your family on a MAX simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t.”
The second employee responds, “No.”
Peter DeFazio, the House transportation committee chairman, who has been investigating the Max, said the messages “paint a deeply disturbing picture of the lengths Boeing was apparently willing to go to in order to evade scrutiny from regulators, flight crews, and the flying public, even as its own employees were sounding alarms internally”.
“They [the messages] show a coordinated effort dating back to the earliest days of the 737 Max program to conceal critical information from regulators and the public”.
Senator Roger Wicker, who chairs the commerce committee leading the Senate’s probe into Boeing, also said the latest documents “raise questions about the efficacy of the FAA’s oversight of the certification process.”
The US Justice Department has an active criminal investigation underway into matters related to the 737 MAX aircraft.
Some of the messages pointed to problems with the simulators. Boeing, in its statement, said that it is confident “all of Boeing’s MAX simulators are functioning effectively” after repeated testing since the messages were written.
But messages from 2017 show the following:
“I want to stress the importance of holding firm that there will not be any type of simulator training required to transition from NG to MAX,” Boeing’s 737 chief technical pilot said in a March 2017 email.
“Boeing will not allow that to happen. We’ll go face to face with any regulator who tries to make that a requirement.”
Finally, the FAA said that these revelations showed nothing that wasn’t already known. It specifically said that “it determined that nothing in the submission pointed to any safety risks that were not already identified as part of the ongoing review of proposed modifications to the aircraft”.
It has all allegedly been addressed, and that the only surprising thing was “the tone and the content of some of the language.”
“Any potential safety deficiencies identified in the documents have been addressed. The tone and content of some of the language contained in the documents is disappointing.”
It should be reminded that the passenger airplane that crashed in Iran on January 8th was a Boeing 737, and this isn’t the first time a plane of this model, not specifically the 737 MAX has had issues in recent months and years.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Iran Boeing Crash Theories: Ukraine Claims Missile Strike And Terrorist Attack May Be Possible
- Ukrainian Boeing 737 With 177 Aboard Crashed In Tehran Just A Few Hours After Iranian Strike On US Forces In Iraq