Semantron 23 Summer 2023

The Boeing 737 Max crisis

the F.A.A. was so complicated that, for the agency officials and even himself, 'it was like dogs watching TV ’. 114

After the crash of JT610, during a TV interview with CBS News, former NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker said, ‘ the airline (Lion Air), I believe, probably needed to do a better sure, making sure its pilots understood exactly what to do in case the aircraft was performing an unusual way […] clearly, all you needed to do is to turn the system off […] certainly in the United States, they (American pilots) understand how to operate this aircraft... ’ 115 Ironically, Lion Air did ask for more information from Boeing, but was left ignored. And due to Boeing’s fa ult, it is unclear whether pilots understood the system, and perhaps, no pilots actually knew how to fly the aircraft. In fact, the captain of flight JT610, completed his pilot training in America. 116 When Boeing released a statement on November 10, 2018, in which they mentioned MCAS for the first time, American Airline pilot, Captain Dennis Tajer mentioned, ‘I’m looking through the manual. It (MCAS) was in the abbreviation section […] but nowhere else. What is this system? ’ 117 As early as 2013, when Boeing was developing the aircraft, Boeing engineers had already identified MCAS as a potential factor which might cause FAA to require additional training. ‘ Everybody in Boeing knew, you can’t have pilot retraining […] we’ve got to pretend it’s the same plane as the predecessor (B737 NG), ’ said Rep. Peter DeFazio, the chair of the House Transportation Committee in the Netflix documentary, Downfall . 118 The resolution, revealed by a Boeing internal paper, stated ‘ externally we would communicate it (MCAS) as an addition to Speed Trim ’. 119 Speed trim is the existing system on Boeing aircraft, a trim which holds airspeed during low speed manual operations. 120 The whole tragedy reflected the poor company culture in Boeing, with safety not being taken seriously by either workers or managers. Boeing’s poor company culture was often perceived as a result of the acquisition of McDonnel l Douglas Corporations back in 1996. ‘When something wasn’t right, I could bring it up, and I wasn’t afraid of being fired, ’ commented Cynthia Cole, who worked for Boeing for 32 years. 121 Everything seemed to change after the merger of Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, while the CEO of McDonnel Douglas, Henry Stonecipher, ended up being the CEO of Boeing, and McDonnell Douglas became in charge of the very top. The management of Boeing quickly came to value money more than safety, leading to a huge turning point of Boeing’s history. ‘ He (Stonecipher) believed that the most important thing was to take a company and create value on Wall Street. ’ 122 Since then, Boeing focused on how to make even greater profits, products to be more cost-effective, with greater profit margin, eventually becoming an extremely financial-driven company. Rich Ludtke, a former Boeing engineer added, ‘ even the technical 114 Kitroeff 2020, Boeing Employees Mocked F.A.A. and ‘Clowns’ Who Designed 737 Max . 115 CBS News 2018, Probe finds Lion Airplane was not ‘ airworthy ’ before crash . 116 Netflix 2022, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing . 117 Ibid. 118 Ibid . 119 Ibid. 120 Aviation. StackExchange 2019, When was the Speed Trim System implemented on the Boeing 737? . 121 737?ix 2022, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing . 122 Ibid.


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