Boeing - Design Issues...

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations / Flight Safety / Better Pil' started by TXFlyGuy, Apr 11, 2019.

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  1. Sep 26, 2019 #181

    pwood66889

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    "It is never in the interest of any stock owners to destroy the safety reputation Boeing had with these crashes."
    Hate to quibble, BBer, but "interest of any stock owners" is not that commanding to my mind.
    Aviation is it's own little bubble in a way. It is science, as we all know, but it had gotten sucked up in the greater political environment. Ever since ol' Knut bought the big ticket in a Fokker due to lack of inspection. Then we throw in stock mainly held by institutions who are more interested in "beat the street" and we have some of what is slowly coming out.
    So I aver it is more of a "perfect storm" rather than "just one thing," and is a good study for us all.
     
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  2. Sep 27, 2019 #182

    Doggzilla

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    It is political, a result of a movement which sees regulation as oppression. But this is very quickly getting close to off limits on this forum.

    A few years ago I was in California and the state EPA found a company illegally burying 50 gallon drums of toxic waste. I was shocked to see that many people from outside the state viewed this as oppressing the business.

    I was also just south of the Oroville Dam when it began to collapse, and was near some of the fires, and the same thing happened. Their political opponents refused to take responsibility for withholding maintenance funds, then blamed regulations that had actually been ignored. When they started passing regulations to try and stop recurrence of these issues, many people even sent death wishes to them and called them communists and said they deserved to die... because apparently having standards to keep people from dying is oppressive or something.

    Its not just anti regulation, it seems to be anti decency in any form. "Don't tell me what to do"
     
  3. Sep 27, 2019 #183

    Speedboat100

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    This is a very delicate matter...so I approach with caution.

    Boeing is the most well known of all aircraft manufactures...of all time.

    Getting tripped in a matter like this ( MCAS ) is clearly a sign of new winds in the industry.

    I recently started studying fluid dynamics to get my wind turbine aerodynamics better defined.

    I haven't studied for 25 years or so..now I see everyone is tapping their computers in the class like maniacs...and I am writing everything down ( which is propably useless ).

    Then we do practical analysis etc...and I am asking after every move..how did that go now again ? Then finally I get the flow field looking and going like everyone else.

    Sometimes I feel like an idiot..or been kept in the time machine at wrong year setting like Mel Gibson in Forever Young 1992.

    Anyway...I think I have accomplished something in the aerodynamics and mechanics in my design..that propably none of these new students ever will ( I hope not ).

    I think computer is a good tool..I just drew a foil to get the aerodynamics going in the tower part of the turbine....but I'd hate to get there some wizard to to run an Arduino algorithm to all the complex system ( with servo motors etc ) as the design is making them now flow naturally. If it would enhance the efficiency another 5 % and we had a company with shareholders....I would have to yield....but I would still claim the old was better !

    An Airbus hit a forest once in the early days..and Gripens went to forest etc..due to computers. There is a great risk in bringing more moving parts into a system.

    Did this make any sense ? I hope everything turns out the best. RIP those who perished.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
  4. Sep 29, 2019 #184

    litespeed

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    I think we should be able to discuss the politics of it.

    To do otherwise ignores the elephant in the room. We just need to be nice about it.
     
  5. Sep 29, 2019 #185

    flyboy2160

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    Ok, I'll start talking about the elephant.

    I was working at the Everett wide body plant when the mid 90s 'change' began. I still recall MacDaddy's Harry Stonecipher's scathing remarks after/as he toured the factory. He asked about a plane on the line: "How much money is tied up in that as of right now?" When nobody could give an answer - the 'Old Boeing Way' at the time sort of just totalled up everything at year's end - Stonecipher went ballistic. He said something like: "You don't have a business" or "You aren't running a business" if you don't know the up-to-the-minute costs of your product. These scathing remarks - widely quoted in the local papers - propelled him into the big shot positions he held and started Boeing down a New Path away from the Old Boeing Way and into a ruthless - and sometimes short-sighted - focus on costs, costs, and more costs, above all else.

    This led to the ill-fated 787 'farming out' of complete barrel sections (I don't care, it's the vendor's problem!) and to some other fiascos. I was asked if I wanted to be a part of/help out the offloading of engineering from the U.S. to some cheap-labor foreign country. NFW I replied.

    Boeing has some really, really, good and really, really, smart engineers (present company excluded :p.) If you measure just the stock price, the New Way managers have done well. If you look at some of the messes - eh - not so well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
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  6. Sep 29, 2019 #186

    Speedboat100

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    Great insight. MacDaddy wasn't doing that great with the DC-10 cargo doors. Something went unchecked into production..something very important.

    This "conveyor belt" efficiency troubles me...people must feel like mouses in the flywheel when working fast and efficiently 5 days a week a year long. Still I think it is honest work...and can be also mind healing somehow...because it leaves you from worrying other things. What does bother more is the lack of courage in the decision making to use new aerodynamics in practise....737 is almost 60 years old plane if not more..shoudn't that ring a bell ? There has to be an army of engineers and concept wizards ready to give new ideas into practise...with just one 1/10th of mr. Muilenbergs pay check.

    When I think of my possible wind mill production...I cannot escape from the fact that all the work will be done in Singapore or Indonesia...after the board gets the change to fatten the shareholders wallets. That really worries me...as the work could be really really fun..when organized right...and no one has to brake their backs doing them..and it would still be profitable for all.
     
  7. Sep 29, 2019 #187

    flyboy2160

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    Thank you.

    There was enormous financial pressure to make the 'new' 737 a member of the 737 family instead of an all new model: The FAA certifies PIC by make and model. If the new plane could be squeezed into the 737 family, then all the current 737 PIC could fly it. If it was a new model number, then all those 737 PIC would require big time retraining and re-certification.

    From everything I've read, the MAX does fly like a regular 737 almost all the time. The MCAS was supposed to kick in for the small parts of the envelope - (slow, flaps up, some AoA, IIRC?) - where the flying qualities were different.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  8. Sep 29, 2019 #188

    BJC

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    I know ATPs, including senior check airmen, who fly/flew all models of the 737. They don’t have a problem with the MAX. They are not very complimentary of the piloting skills of the crews that crashed. “All you have to do is ...” [Not much different than a private pilot dealing with a run-away trim or autopilot.]

    The other side of the issue is that ALPA continues to have significant problems with Boeing’s proposed fix.


    BJC
     
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  9. Sep 29, 2019 #189

    flyboy2160

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    From everything I've read, this looks correct.
     
  10. Sep 29, 2019 #190

    Wanttaja

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    I put 35 years in at Boeing as an engineer. Never worked the airplane side of the business, but just about all the engineers loathed Stonecipher. And of course, when he came in, many of the mid- and higher-level managers were replaced by those he'd worked with at McD's.

    Got a friend who has unique experience on this...he worked as a Boeing manager, then went to work at an air freight company BUYING Boeing airplanes, and ended his career in the FAA certification branch. He traces Boeing's problem to the McD's merger as well. The 757 would have been a better candidate for expansion than the 737 (~20 year newer design, already designed for larger-diameter modern engines, etc.). But for some reason, Stonecipher didn't like it and pushed the 737 expansion instead.

    Boeing has had three major new programs since the McD takeover of the aircraft business... the 737 Max, the 787, and the KC-46 tanker. All have had major problems related to how the business was run.

    My favorite Stonecipher story...Boeing had a series of ethical lapses at the senior manager level, and, of course, that meant that the rank and file had to be prevented from similar sins. The entire company took a half-day off to go to major stadiums to be thundered at about what we were not allowed to do. They showed Stonecipher on the jumbotron at the Tacoma Dome, explaining to us why ethics was so important at Boeing.

    Then six months later Stonecipher was fired for an ethical violation.....

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  11. Sep 29, 2019 #191

    BJC

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    I’ve seen both of those movies; once some people reach a certain level of power, they forget that the rules also apply to them.

    Boeing - a once great corporation; now just another Chicago gang.


    BJC
     
  12. Sep 30, 2019 #192

    Speedboat100

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    Somehow I am getting the impression FAA has not done its task...and demanded more redundant MCAS for the 737 MAX in the first place ?
     
  13. Sep 30, 2019 #193

    Swampyankee

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    Deregulation. The FAA was told to offload the work to Boeing.
     
  14. Sep 30, 2019 #194

    Speedboat100

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    Was told by who ?
     
  15. Sep 30, 2019 #195

    Swampyankee

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    Congress and/or the President

    Deregulation of business has been very fashionable
     
  16. Sep 30, 2019 #196

    BJC

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    Were they also told (citation, please) to offload oversight?

    Thanks,


    BJC
     
  17. Sep 30, 2019 #197

    Speedboat100

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    That does not sound very good..there has to be an ethical code in FAA to serve and protect the aviation safety ( passengers and crews ) !
     
  18. Sep 30, 2019 #198

    flyboy2160

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    edit

    In reply to:
    Speedboat100 "Somehow I am getting the impression FAA has not done its task...and demanded more redundant MCAS for the 737 MAX in the first place ?"
    and to
    Swamkyakee "Deregulation. The FAA was told to offload the work to Boeing."

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please save the undocumented conspiracy theories for things like 9/11 and the JFK assassination.

    The real FAA oversight is carried out by company engineers who are also designated engineering representatives of the FAA. There is no other way to get the detailed, inside, ongoing information about the design short of the FAA massively increasing its size. The engineering reps I've met have been very good and knowledgeable engineers, who are respected within and outside the company.

    While I have been severely critical of Boeing about some things - especially the 737 single rudder-single Moog controller- the current piling on about the MCAS seems more driven by the current nihilistic hatred of big, successful companies than by actual knowledge of the MCAS. As already pointed out here, recovery should have just been by the already existing flight manual procedures.

    (edit: I'm using the uncapitalized term designated engineering rep to cover both the official capitalized titles DER and DAR.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
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  19. Sep 30, 2019 #199

    Speedboat100

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    I agree..you gotta have proof if you tell us that president or the congress ordered the MCAS to go through without the required testing and inspection.
     
  20. Sep 30, 2019 #200

    Wanttaja

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    Yup. Much of that was budget (good engineers aren't cheap) but a lot of that is practicality. The FAA overseer should be at least as good as the engineer who's doing the work...but how do they get that way with a 25-year career of pushing FAA paper? Especially when an experienced corporate engineer will have to take a pay cut (and lose pension) to leave their company. In addition, good engineers LIKE doing engineering. Paper-pushing, checking government boxes, has little appeal.

    So the FAA has what's called Authorized Representatives (ARs). These are employees of the company (Boeing in this case) who are extremely qualified engineers who are assigned to be the FAA's watchdogs during development. We in the homebuilt world are familiar with "Designated Airworthiness Representatives" (DARs)....they're basically the same thing. Designated Engineering Representatives (DERs) are also out there. They can work as independents, but for big companies like Boeing, there's enough work that it makes sense to have them as full-time hires. "AR" is basically a term combining the two types.

    The program has been around for quite a long while. Boeing has produced a lot of good airplanes using ARs to monitor safety.

    Then came the McDonnell Douglas takeover of Boeing's commercial aircraft business. I'm sure McD's used ARs as well, but the sheer economic size of the merger brought a new drive for cost-cutting...and, to some extent, an alienation between Boeing's engineers and Boeing's managers.

    Prior to the merger, the majority of Boeing managers and executives "worked their way up" through the engineering ranks. They knew the airplane business. What's more, it enhanced the feeling of teamwork. My lead engineer in one program in 1994 was the executive in charge of my organization six years later. I had a young woman just out of college as a mentee in 2008. She was my manager when I retired in 2017...and is currently in executive training. But we're in an insulated spacecraft-development area, not strongly affected by the merger.

    The McD merger brought in a bunch of strangers to lead aircraft development and production. That in itself wasn't bad...but a lot of the managers, expecially the higher execs, came from industries OTHER than aviation. The new attitude was that making airplanes was no different that making toasters. The drive for higher profits was on; no longer the emphasis on developing good products, we were expected to "enhance shareholder value."

    This came to a head in early 2000. The Boeing engineer's union had never called a strike, but the new McD leadership didn't have the close relationship with their engineering work force and managed to tick us off. The head of human relations was quoted in the paper as saying, "...engineers are prima-donnas who thought the world revolved around them.”

    For more details about the strike, see my old Avweb article at:
    https://www.avweb.com/features/the-boeing-strike-a-report-from-the-trenches/

    I think much of Boeing management thought that an engineer's strike wouldn't affect production. The machinists' union handled actually aircraft construction, agreements between the two unions allowed members to cross each other's picket lines. Production and deliveries would continue, using managers. Boeing would still receive the payments for new airplanes, and the engineer's strike shouldn't affect business for months.

    But the toaster execs forgot one thing: The ARs. ARs handled the licensing and final certification on behalf of the FAA...and the ARs were members of the engineering union. They walked, and deliveries STOPPED.

    The machinists were gleeful. While the engineer's union had traditionally been the company's lapdog, the machinsts' union had a far more adversarial relationship. They love the chance to stick it to the company. So they kept producing airplanes, and pushing them onto the ramp...where they sat. Boeing's customers were livid that Boeing's management hadn't anticipated the AR issue.

    After forty days, a settlement was reached. The engineers, including the ARs, went back to work.

    And the toaster execs started work to remove the ARs from the engineering union. That failed, but what DID happen is that they placed the ARs more closely under control.

    A recent Seattle Times article explained how that affected 737 Max development. With union protections, ARs who held out for stricter standards or demanded more in-depth testing coudn't be fired. They were merely reassigned, taken off the 737 Max program entirely, and a more amenable AR assigned. Those more attuned to maintaining schedule and reducing costs. Those who believed in "enhancing shareholder value."

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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