Thursday, September 17, 2020

Cost-cutting and two air crashes

 "Boeing failed in its design and development of the Max, and the FAA failed in its oversight of Boeing and its certification of the aircraft," a18-month investigation concluded.

The nearly 250-page report found a series of failures in the plane's design, combined with "regulatory capture", an overly close relationship between Boeing and the federal regulator, which compromised the process of gaining safety certification.

"Cost-cutting… that jeopardised the safety of the flying public", a "culture of concealment" over issues with the aircraft, "troubling mismanagement misjudgements" - just some of the charges against Boeing.

 The FAA, comes off almost as badly. US representatives find it guilty of "inherent conflicts of interest" and "grossly insufficient oversight". The regulator was, in effect, in Boeing's pocket and that the FAA's management "overruled" its own technical and safety experts "at the behest of Boeing".

The report said Boeing had failed to share information about a key safety system, called MCAS, designed to automatically counter a tendency in the 737 Max to pitch upwards. Boeing was at fault for "concealing the very existence of MCAS from 737 pilots", it found. MCAS was not in crew manuals and Boeing sought to convince regulators not to require simulator training for Max pilots, which would incur extra costs. The MCAS system has been blamed for two crashes that  caused the deaths of 346 people came within months of each other, shortly after the plane went into operation.

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