"Piss poor design" and "supervised by monkeys": New documents show what Boeing employees really thought of 737 Max

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/10/piss-poor-design-and-sup.html


Corporate death penalty?

Prison time for all the execs who participated in the cover up?

Do we understand why it’s important to protect whistle-blowers now?


That would be a strong “hell yes” from me. Instead, Boeing’s CEO just resigned a couple weeks ago with a $39 million golden parachute. New CEO starts Monday.


Checks out. The problem couldn’t have been a single piece of software, or a single sensor. The aviation industries has tons of standards and tests and reviews to prevent such mistakes. Only when the whole project was somehow rotten at the core they could have all been circumvented.

The economic background for having such a rushed project is also well known by now, with the race-to-market with Airbus. What I still don’t know, and really would like to, is how this played out in practice.

Boeing has proven their ability to do better in the past, and professionals engineers don’t just turn into “clowns” and “monkeys” overnight. How did the pressure work, to make them go against everything they knew? Was it a group dynamic? Individual pressure, informally handed down through the management chain? Or, did they formally adopt methods suitable for quick delivery more than for quality?


All about the engines.

Bigger. Better. Faster. Guess what? They don’t fit and or balance properly with the rest of the air frame.

Yeah, piss poor design and implementation. A software patch was a shitty band aid for the engine design problem. Especially when few knew how to use it.



It’s a good start, but it sounds like Boeing might need to do a Stalinist purge of much of their middle management as well to get back to a culture of excellence instead of maximizing profits at the expense of everything else.


In related news:

“Piss poor design” has repercussions.


Everything I heard is that things went to shit when Boeing bought Mcdonnell Douglas and replaced its competent management with theirs.


Yes and I just lost over $1,300 a month because of this golden parachute asshole after my workplace who makes parts for Boeing and shall remain unnamed cut all of my overtime ability today.

I was actually saving for a house so that I could stop renting and pay down some of my student loans.

This asshole gets paid to leave after his negligence and the people he managed killed people and because of this now his mistake is directly affecting my bottom line and every Union employee at my workplace.

I’m basically just working to pay my bills now and nothing more. Very infuriated. But oh boy the economy is doing great and people like Donald Trump are just getting richer!

Hell the Boeing CEO even gets more than I keep in 6 months for somebody else just to do his taxes!

Well, doesn’t that just make me cheer up? :face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Same day my company sells a machine and is shipping it to China.

The only hope I have right now is that none of us are laid off.

I really fucking hate what America has become. I can absolutely tell you it isn’t getting better in any way for the middle class. We are an oligarchy now, and have been for some time.


These are all exactly the right questions the public absolutely deserves and must insist on receiving answers to.

We also need to get to the bottom of concerns about currently-flying models:

And need to ask why additional problems keep cropping up for the MAX, the more they look into it:

The fact that apparently current aircraft safety regulation during the engineering process largely amounts to Boeing self-regulating, is a sign of very deep corruption between mega-corp and government officials, which is much broader than Boeing obviously.

Late stage capitalism ftw…


I vote we let him use that golden parachute in a charity skydiving event.

That sounds like the Space Shuttle all over again.


The experienced professionals who knew that stuff were too expensive, so the MBAs, convinced that engineering talent is a fungible commodity, got rid of them and replaced them with people with no experience, who they could get cheaper.

They also hired a lot of those inexperienced people as contractors, hired for only one project at a time.

So, in short, the company that was able to do this in the past doesn’t exist anymore.

This is an inevitable path of decline that happens when a high tech manufacturing company puts bean counters in charge instead of engineers who have worked their way up through the ranks. You can see the same thing happening with Intel, but they aren’t as far gone yet as Boeing.


At least DeHavilland had the excuse they were working in completely uncharted territory when they designed the Comet. The MAX is a completely avoidable catastrophe and it would be fitting if the plane never took to the sky again.


Or even a single airplane model for that matter. The New York Times has been doing continuing reporting on the serious and systemic breaches of safety protocols for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner factory in South Carolina. At this point we won’t even know what’s wrong with the things unless someone strips the planes down to their frames or we find forensic evidence after the next big crash.


But, hey, they’re union free down there! /s


I’m not sure I would trust my life to a parachute that came from Boeing.


Note the common ownership:

…and many others.

Most of these are shadow banks that keep a very low profile, but there is some information out there on them:

The US corporate sector is the military-industrial complex.


They should follow the chain of command and inform their monkey of their concerns.


In an insult-to-injury touch; Boeing’s smarmy yet aseptic press release says the below:

“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.”

Sure guys, because what we all really object to is peons being candid about the terrible decisions the organization is carrying out, not the decisions themselves; and everything would have been fine if there had just been more civility among the rank and file about legitimate differences in perspective regarding the relative importance of engineering excellence and shareholder value.

Snark aside, I’d want the communication between employees involved in safety-critical areas to be caustic bordering on adversarial toward any perceived deficiencies; and to be somewhere between gallows humor and a sincere belief that everything not rigorously validated is a disaster just waiting to happen.

If candor makes you look bad that’s a very, very, good sign that candor is not your real vice.