Semantron 23 Summer 2023

The Boeing 737 Max crisis

they failed to stabilize the plane. Without MCAS’ erroneous interference, all 346 lives might have survived. The 10 seconds given by the system is also significantly insufficient for pilots to react in an emergency, where they are battling with all the warning chimes in the cockpit, without truly knowing what is happening to the aircraft. ‘We shouldn’t be blaming the pilots, and we shouldn’t expect pilots to have to compensate for flawed designs. These crews would have been fighting for their lives, in the fight of their lives, ’ said Captain Sullenberger, a retired pilot who was the captain of flight 1549, one which ditched in the Hudson River in 2009 after the aircraft suffered loss of power from bird strikes, saving all 155 aboard. 106

Flaws: manufacturers’ responsibility

Although Mark Forkner, the former B737 MAX Chief Technical Pilot was arrested for felony charges of deceiving federal regulators, he was ruled not guilty by a jury in federal district court in Fort Worth on 23 rd March 2022. 107 ‘ This airplane is designed by clowns, who are in turn supervised by monkeys ’ still remained one of the most significant accusations of the crisis. This came out from a Boeing employee in 2017. Meanwhile, there were Boeing employees mocking federal rules, talking about deceiving regulators and joking about potential flaws on the B737 MAX, revealed by hundred pages of internal messages delivered to congressional investigators. 108 In another instance, it was revealed that Boeing promised to offer Southwest Airlines a discount of $1 million per plane if the FAA required simulator training. 109 From several other reports, Boeing employees really strived to avoid any simulation training. ‘ There is absolutely no reason to require your pilots to require a MAX simulator to begin flying the MAX ’ . 110 In an internal Boeing communication on 28 th March 2017, ‘ I want to stress the importance of holding firm that there will not be any type of simulator training required […] Boeing will not allow that to happen […] We’ll go face to face with any regulator who tries to make that (simulator training) a requirement. ’ These words came from the Chief Technical Pilot for the Boeing 737 MAX. 111 Boeing employees continued to mock the airlines and the FAA officers, according to testimonies and reports. Before JT610’s crash, Lion Air did ask for additional training resources, including simulator training. 112 However, Boeing convinced them in 2017 that it was unnecessary. ‘ Now friggin Lion Air might need a sim […] because of their own stupidity.’ This came from a Boeing employee in June 2017. 113 Further papers revealed that in 2015, a Boeing employee said that a presentation the company gave to

106 House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee 2019, Rep. Lynch Questions Panel on Boeing 737 MAX Stakeholder Perspectives : 5:39. 107 Associated Press 2022, Former Boeing test pilot Mark Forkner found not guilty of deceiving FAA in 737 Max fraud case . 108 Kitroeff 2020, Boeing Employees Mocked F.A.A. and ‘Clowns’ Who Designed 737 Max . 109 Rucinski et al. 2019, U.S. lawmakers question Boeing’s $1m rebate clause for Southwest 737 MAX orders . 110 Lopatto et al. 2020, Boeing employees’ frightening internal messages released in 737 Max investigation . 111 Netflix 2022, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing . 112 Beene et al. 2020, Boeing Mocked Lion Air Calls for More 737 Max Training Before Crash . 113 Lahiri 2020, Boeing employees pushed back on ‘ stupid ’ airlines and regulators who asked for more pilot training.


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