The Boeing Controversy

I’m just a “retired” mom from nowhere in particular. I’m not a pilot, an engineer, a senator or anyone in the know. So it shouldn’t be more obvious to me than to the FAA, Boeing, the airlines or any government that the Boeing Max should have been grounded, and that something seems fishy with the order of things.

After the dreadful Lionair crash, in October of 2018, there were stories of the brand new airplane’s erratic behavior after take off. https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/30/asia/lion-air-plane-why-did-it-crash-intl/index.html

There were immediate investigations and changes to procedures but I don’t recall the planes being grounded, but I thought it should have been. That’s just me – the housewife. – BUT that’s my point – it shouldn’t be more obvious to you and I than to those in the know. At the time, I thought the true story hadn’t really been told, and I was afraid that another tragedy would happen.

Then, on March 10, 2019, the Ethiopian Airlines crash happened. Stories emerged about the plane behaving erratically before the crash, but the Boeing Max planes were not immediately grounded. It seemed obvious to me the housewife, that the planes should be grounded imediately. It seemed to me to be the same story – but what would someone like me know? The Max 8 was not grounded until March 13, 2019.

Guess what, I was booked to fly on a Max 8 on March 13, 2019. I called my airline to ask if they were changing the planes – NOPE – March 10th, 11th, 12th…… Canada’s Transportation Minister (a former astronaut) says he’s investigating, but he has no plans to ground the plane https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2019/03/12/marc-garneau-says-feds-evaluating-situation-as-u-k-other-countries-ground-737-max-8-planes_a_23690568/

The email came – “Your flight to XXXX is tomorrow. Have you checked-in?” Well I knew I wasn’t going on that plane for anything and I cancelled my flight and booked a new one. I purchased a ticket that was more expensive, because I shouldn’t know better than the government, the airline and the manufacturer. My airline finally sent me a message that it was great that I got my original ticket value back, yadayadayada…..

On April 19th, I received another email refunding the ticket price differential to my account as a customer service gesture. I appreciate this, and it’s really not the issue. It’s that it’s obvious that the plane should have been immediately grounded.

Now a year later, I hear all the settlement worries, and worries about getting the Max 8s back in service soon. On the Investment channel that I watch, I always hear about Boeing being on track again as an investment, and I think are you crazy? Today I watched the CEO of Boeing testifying before the US Congress, that Boeing was very sorry., but it still seemed unclear to me whether the FAA and Boeing have too much dependence on each other to properly re-certify the planes. There was too much confusion as to when and if Boeing knew about the text messages from test pilot Forkner about Jedi Mind clearing with the FAA, and that the there were troubles in the simulated testing of the MCAS software system. I don’t know why the CEO of Boeing was being interviewed about these comments and not the test pilot himself? If Boeing knew there were problems with the Max 8 software in 2016, how can this company be trusted with any decisions?

My technical understanding of the Max 8 (and again it’s just me the retired housewife) is that Boeing wanted to design a plane that is similar to the old 737 planes so that the airlines wouldn’t have to invest in too much retraining. The new planes were to be more fuel efficient than the old and so they flew a little bit differently making the equilibrium a little bit different – causing a slight tilt? The MCAS software was designed to automatically re-tilt the plane. There was deliberately nothing in the instruction manuals about the MCAS software.

So it seems to me, that the whole thing was a bit of sneaky business. They designed something that wasn’t quite right, so they wrote some software to fudge it a bit, but didn’t put all of this in the instruction manuals? Could that have been it?

So 346 people died, and we are worried about our share values, and getting these planes back in the air soon? Does it seem right to you? Shouldn’t it be more obvious to the airlines, our governments, the FAA and to Boeing that priorities are a little bit messed up here?

Photo by Quintin Gellar on Pexels.com

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