back to article Boeing 737 Max chief technical pilot charged with deceiving US aviation regulators over MCAS

A Boeing 737 Max test pilot has been charged with obstructing US aviation safety regulators, according to the US Department of Justice, and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Former 737 Max chief technical pilot Mark Forkner, 49, of Texas, has been charged with "deceiving the Federal Aviation Administration's …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Some extra info

    Before everyone leaps in about "blaming some poor engineer" - he sent emails/texts bragging about how he had tricked the FDA by fixing simulator tests.

    Career advice for prospective BOFH: whether you're rigging LIBOR or denying the existence of MCAS - don't leave an email trail.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Some extra info

      That's important information - and really needs a source to be cited.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Some extra info

        That's important information - and really needs a source to be cited.
        Those statements:

        "jedi-mind tricking regulators into accepting the training that I got accepted by FAA etc."

        "so I basically lied to regulators (unknowingly)."

        Were covered extensively 2 years ago in the Washing Post, Seattle Times, The Air Current, The Guardian, New York Times, Reuters, and dozens of other news organisations and aviation-dedicated sites around the world. e.g. Washington Post. For anyone who followed the 737 MAX saga, even peripherally, it's gotta almost be common knowledge as it was extensively reported on, brought out in Senate and House hearings, and so on.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Terrifying link.

          Not only the FAA is not doing everything to get back to a proper oversight function, but it is actively dialing its own oversight down and delegating its decisions to vested interests.

          Tell me : is the FAA run by Republicans perchance ?

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Virtually all of the Federal Agencies have been "reorganized" by the Republicans for years now, the FDA (which I deal with) is a total mess too. But it's not just the Republicans at fault here, the Democrats keep refusing to fix the previous administrations stupidity too - essentially the current government failures (and manipulations by corporate profiteers) are the way things are going.

            We claim that all these changes are "evolution to the modern world" but I think it's like discovering that we have evolved to get drunk by drinking water ... it would seem to be a lot of fun and everyone would like it but there would by some bad effects too.

        2. Chris 15

          Re: Some extra info

          That second sentence is telling if true. The first one is somewhat less damning imo as I'm not sure what training regime would make up for the deliberate omission of vital information about their clearly poorly thought outsoftware cludge, and the fact that the driving sensor had zero redundancy.

          The second one points to someone somewhere deliberately withholding information from the guy. I'm not sure how a corporate bribe to the FAA shields individuals from criminal charges when this guy inevitably turns States evidence. I wonder whether he has any documents pointing to someone somewhere inducing him in some manner to not blow the whistle when he found out.

          1. Michael H

            Re: Some extra info

            The first quote is definitely important and will probably be put forward in this case, because while it might not materially have affected the MCAS situation, it does demonstrate something very imporant to the case of the prosecution: clear evidence that the pilot was broadly engaged in deceiving regulators, by knowingly submitting training materials that by his own admission were not acceptable. Even if this isn't a crime, it's a fairly damning indictment of the character and conduct of the guy in question.

        3. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Some extra info

          Two years ago - I can't be the only one to have forgotten.

        4. adam 40 Silver badge

          Re: Some extra info

          The question is - if this is the one they are admitting to, because they have been caught out, how many other problems are lurking there where they have also lied to the FAA?

          They really need to introduce an effective whistleblowing hotline so the engineers can call this stuff out and still keep their jobs.

          1. Cedders_B

            Re: Some extra info

            The really scary question is - are there serious deficiencies in Boeing aircraft that the company *doesn't* know about because the culture doesn't appear to tolerate people who blow whistles ?

      2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

        Re: Some extra info

        The BOFH will never divulge any sort of information, except ask you to check out a specific window, server or UPS. Or drop subtle hints that a certain stairwell may be safer than the elevators.

    2. Teejay

      Re: Some extra info

      Thanks for this info. I just wanted to write something about a pawn sacrifice. However, I still think that this test pilot was under huge pressure from bean counters who will be left untouched. At the end of the day, just always do the right thing - even if it means ruining your career and not knowing how to pay for your kids' education.

      Yeah.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Some extra info

        >At the end of the day, just always do the right thing - even if it means ruining your career

        If you are chief test pilot for Boeing and you say "this plane is unsafe" AND then they fire you = you get enough money from the settlement to never work again + you probably get to be next director of the FAA + you get on every talk show work and become a celebrity

        The real danger of the industry is that by the time you are "chief test pilot" you are so inside in the industry that you would do anything for the Boeing. The bigger danger is that most people at the FAA are the same. The really big danger is that the NTSB is going that way.

        1. Teejay

          Re: Some extra info

          You are probably right (no sarcasm).

          The West has become a funny place. There was a moral code there somewhere between the 50s and the 80s.

          Enter Gordon Gekko. *Pouff!*

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Some extra info

            "Enter Gordon Gekko. *Pouff!*"

            It seems to go in cycles. Original Robber Barons. Late 19th century robber barons. Abusive overly powerful Unions, the list goes on.

          2. reGOTCHA

            Re: Some extra info

            "There was a moral code there somewhere between the 50s and the 80s." - This is just nonsense! Ever heard anything about Edward Bernays and his peers and their influence on modern society? How he redefined the term "public relations" because propaganda was too strong of a word? How, in their view, the average person is an idiot and should be manipulated because they don't know what is best for them?

        2. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Some extra info

          I think the NTSB and other regulatory agencies get "captured" slowly over time, but when something big like this happens it breaks that up as politicians pay long overdue attention to it and nominate someone to "clean house" (which probably makes some of the rats flee in advance)

          It'll get captured again, but probably not for a couple decades, not until almost everyone has forgotten about the 737 Max fiasco and those who do think "we fixed things so something like that will never happen again".

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Some extra info

            With aviation I think it got even worse.

            The NTSB were created because the FAA's remit was to promote air travel AND enforce safety - so every safety issue had to be resolved in a way that didn't harm the perception of air safety, ie. it was always the dead pilot's fault

            Then there was a claim that post 9/11 the was an attitude that any criticism of Boeing was unpatriotic because B52s were vital in the war on terror.

            1. chapter32

              Re: Some extra info

              Add they are doing such a good job on both counts..

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Some extra info

          "If you are chief test pilot for Boeing and you say "this plane is unsafe" AND then they fire you = you get enough money from the settlement to never work again + you probably get to be next director of the FAA + you get on every talk show work and become a celebrity"

          His appearance in court should be interesting. Will he suck it up and hope Boeing will "look after" him? Will he spill the beans on the higher ups?

          1. J__M__M

            Re: Some extra info

            Or will he bring in the Boeing 737-7/-8 System Differences Manual (Jan 2017) and open it to page 748?

            Look after him? They already threw him under the bus.

        4. J__M__M

          Re: Some extra info

          He was not chief test pilot, he was chief technical pilot. One flies airplanes, one flies simulators.

          And if he thought it was unsafe, he probably wouldn't have taken a job flying one for Southwest after max development ended.

        5. Persona Silver badge

          Re: Some extra info

          No, they don't fire you and give you a big settlement.

          They "promote" (move you sideways) to the "special projects" group. There you get given mind numbingly pointless tasks with no resources and very specific objectives which are not going to be met unless you focus everything on them. Your browser and email history will be examined in detail so anything you do that could be considered a minor infraction of company policy will be noted. As you have failed to meet several of your objectives at you next appraisal you will receive a "poor" performance rating which means no pay increases or bonuses. Eventually perhaps after a couple of years the continuing poor performance will lead to the firms disciplinary process being invoked and termination of employment.

          When you consider legal action claiming that you have been victimized the firm reaches out the records of your appraisals and that browser and communication history to show how justified they are in getting rid of you and that it had nothing to do with declaring the plan unsafe.

        6. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Some extra info

          But...I have been told, time and time again, that The Industry* is perfectly capable of self regulation and there's no need to waste tax dollars on an agency to do what The Industry has been successfully doing for years...and if you *do* regulate us, then we will no longer be competitive and we'll have to lay thousand of workers off or go out of business.

          I hear this *every* time increased regulation is discussed in Congress (usually during the investigation after a horrendous accident). It's gotten to be a bit of an expected line, much like "I don't recall, Senator", or "you might certainly think that, I couldn't possibly comment."

          I wish I were joking.

          * doesn't matter which one: mining, oil & gas, chemical, transportation...they all use the same line.

        7. Annihilator Silver badge

          Re: Some extra info

          "If you are chief test pilot for Boeing and you say "this plane is unsafe" AND then they fire you = you get enough money from the settlement to never work again + you probably get to be next director of the FAA + you get on every talk show work and become a celebrity"

          That equation only holds true if something goes wrong. The amount of dangerous things that slip past the net and don't result in something horrific (or get subsequently fixed in a later release) will be terrifying large. Plus settlements are never enough to ensure you're set for life. And not everyone will end up the next director of the FAA.

          David Coulthard once gave a good analogy on F1 when reviewing the concept cars for 2022. "They're good, but these will be the rubbish versions - they're designed by F1 chassis designers, who if they were the best, would have been snapped up by a team to design their car instead." I assume that in a capitalist world with a funding-cut-by-GOP FAA, a similar theory would hold true. Boeing will pay better than the FAA and will probably have better skilled engineers - I'm generalising of course, there will be exceptions to that rule.

      2. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

        Re: Some extra info

        My old man worked for GO Trains in Toronto when they were starting out (60s or early 70s?). He ran the one of the switch houses around Bathurst St.

        Their first train ever, with all the media pomp and circumstance is set for the maiden trip. The big dogs say 'Go' and my pop looks at the board and it is red-- a signal light is out. He waits.

        The grown ups call him pointedly to explain the lack of trains. He politely and succinctly says no trains can travel safely until the light goes green, hangs up and starts gathering his belongings.

        A grown up comes just as he's about to leave for the duration, he explains again and the grown up says "you acted rightly, of course". Calls are made and with a minor delay, GO service begins.

        You can be damn sure though, the old man was good and ready to walk and to never look back.

    3. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

      Re: Some extra info

      I've read his comments. Many of them were messages on a Teams-like messaging tools with his co-workers. It didn't help when he called the FAA technical team "nodding dogs".

      Although it's very tempting to send scathing sarcastic emails to team leaders, before you send any controversial emails, just think how you'd feel having the email read back to you in court. Then imagine how your team leader will react when you defecate in their email inbox while trying to deflect blame for the fuckup.

      1. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

        Re: Some extra info

        And imagine how few people will be on your "side" when it can be shown that your actions contributed to the death of hundreds

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: Some extra info

          So this is basically the Ford Pinto all over again?:

          https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a6700/top-automotive-engineering-failures-ford-pinto-fuel-tanks/

          "Ford neglected to add reinforcements to protect the easily ruptured fuel tank, endangering drivers while earning the Pinto a reputation for catching fire that persists today. The automaker's public relations black eye lasted for years."

          'Disgusted' does not even begin to cover my feelings at the moment.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Some extra info

            No this is worse.

            You could argue that the Pinto's fuel tank needed more protection - but you can always add more protection, more airbags, more safety features etc etc.

            This is like having a hot exhaust pipe going through the middle of the fuel tank and then solving this by having an accelerator pedal that stops working if it gets too hot. And a single temperature sensor and not telling the driver.

            1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

              Re: Some extra info

              The grossly stupid element of the whole debacle, is that the MCAS system actually had a 2nd backup sensor fitted, that could only be swapped manually. Trouble is, adding a new feature breaks your regulatory approval (change in operating instructions), so no one ever told the pilots how to use it.

              1. anothercynic Silver badge

                Re: Some extra info

                Incorrect. MCAS didn't have sensors 'fitted' or manually switched. MCAS used two sensors (vanes) that already existed. However, the Boeing engineers chose to only take the readings of *one* of the two sensors (one on either side of the fuselage) at any one time. If you flew the jet this time, it'd read the data from the port sensor, then the next flight MCAS would read the data from the starboard sensor, and the flight after that, it'd switch back to port.

                This design change goes against the 'quorum' style of reading data from an *odd* number of sensors all the time, i.e. 3, 5, 7, 9, where the data from the *majority* (the quorum) is considered to be the correct data. To avoid a 'stalemate' (one sensor says this, the other says that), the engineers just went with 'oh, it'll be fine if it's just one sensor'. It clearly wasn't.

                One of the requirements for returning to the air by EASA was that Boeing either fits another vane, or generates data from other sources to establish the amount of pitch. The 787 uses something called synthetic airspeed, which does something similar. This is what EASA wants in the MAX eventually. Boeing, naturally, is against that because it opens them to possibly needing a new type certificate as opposed to the derivative type certificate the 737 has right now (thanks to the lies Boeing told the FAA).

                That said, the 'quorum' style sensing does not always work out either... we've seen that in various incidents where it was discovered that the pitot tubes had frozen (and been blocked) and subsequently generated bad data. Airbus jets then had them replaced by heated ones so that they don't cause this problem.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Some extra info

                  "the 'quorum' style sensing does not always work out either... we've seen that in various incidents where it was discovered that the pitot tubes had frozen (and been blocked) and subsequently generated bad data."

                  Yes. But don't forget that modern commercial airliners pitot tubes (there'll be three of them) are supposed to have dissimilar redundancy (different designs) to minimise the risk of a common fault causing identical failures at the same time, ie 3 pitot tubes, not all of the same (or similar) designs.

                  In the case of AF447 (look it up) so many different things "went wrong", not just in the engineering sense either.

                  One issue on AF447 was that two identical pitot tubes failed identically and outvoted the one that was still working. There was already an Airworthiness Directive (?) out to get rid of the dubious Pitot tubes but for some reason (bean counting?) the changes hadn't been made on the AF447 aircraft.

                  Or something like that. Lots of other factors too - but "defence in depth" didn't work on that occasion :(

                2. Robert 22

                  Re: Some extra info

                  Interestingly, my 2011 Chev Impala uses electronics to control the throttle. The position of the accelerator pedal is measured by two sensors and, if the results are inconsistent, a warning is displayed and the throttle is only allowed to be partially opened. At least, somebody seems to have thought about some "what ifs".

                  1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                    Re: Some extra info

                    Not the only vehicle. Some started with a single pot, but when the problems were realised, two pots working oppositely (i.e. 1 goes 0 to 5V from closed to full throttle, the other does 5v to 0V) became the norm.

                    That (as you say) allows the management system to detect an abnormality and apply some safety limits.

              2. J__M__M

                Re: Some extra info

                Sensor that could only be swapped manually?

                Swapped manually, like every other sensor sticking out of every other airplane ever, you mean.

                "adding a new feature breaks your regulatory approval (change in operating instructions)"

                Regulatory approval is not based on the instruction manual.

                1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

                  Re: Some extra info

                  Welllllllll, in general the user manual controls the safety instructions.

                  It's not so much regulatory approval, it's whether pilots receive an assumed training equivalent license. Typically pilots are only allowed and insured to fly one type of large plane. If the design and operation deviates by too much, the regulator will not consider it a similar plane. From a logistics POV, it's a pain in the butt if your pilots can't fly all of your planes (they would need separate training). Ergo this requirement is probably the root cause of all this sorry mess.

                  I vaguely recall Boeing may have had a customer contract with a major customer,that required all their planes to be covered by the same pilot training. I think it had a serious cash penalty if the 737max didn't get a generic 737 training program.

                  1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                    Re: Some extra info

                    I vaguely recall Boeing may have had a customer contract with a major customer,that required all their planes to be covered by the same pilot training. I think it had a serious cash penalty if the 737max didn't get a generic 737 training program.

                    Correct, that was Southwest Airlines.

                  2. Mine's a Large One

                    Re: Some extra info

                    Pilots can fly many different types, providing they've had the training and been awarded the type rating.

                    Provided you've had the training and hold a type rating for a Boeing 747 and and Airbus A320, you can fly both.

              3. Aitor 1 Silver badge

                Re: Some extra info

                If I remember correctly, it was "an extra" that had to be paid.

                1. J__M__M

                  Re: Some extra info

                  80 grand extra is hardly a barrier when msrp is 150 million.

                  1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                    Re: Some extra info

                    But to a beancounter, $80k is $80k to be saved regardless of the price of hte aircraft.

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Some extra info

              The control wheel tells the pilot instantly when the plane goes off trim for any reason. Because it's "for any reason" there is also a trim switch at the pilot's thumb to put it back into trim. None of the accident pilots used the trim switch for that purpose. Instead of letting what is ordinarily fingertip pressure to guide the plane, the pilots allowed 50-100 pounds of force to build up and decided that rather than using that thumb switch, they would put their shoulders to it.

              In hindsight so many accept that pilots should not understand how the plane controls they have at their actual thumb works and what it does and instead the plane should not require pilots at all.

              There is an instrument on the control panel that tells exactly what the trim of the plane is. No pilots looked at that either - they ignored a reading right on the control panel. So I guess monitoring the condition of the plane is no longer required of pilots either.

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: Some extra info

                How do you know what the pilots did and looked at? Pilots understand better than you how trim works. The use of trim would be first to change the attitude, then to trim off the load, you don’t fly the aeroplane with the trim. Ridiculous to suggest that pilots don’t know when to use trim.

                1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                  Re: Some extra info

                  It seems to be the same AC who comes here every time thus topic is brought up. His argument seems to boil down to "Those stupid foreign pilots don't know how to fly". File under troll and walk away.

                  1. itzman
                    Facepalm

                    Re: Some extra info

                    Even if the answer is 'those stupid pilots don't know how to fly' that is merely an indication that the training given to them was inadequate, an that was own to Boeing's failure to fully document the changes.

              2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                Re: Some extra info

                The pilots were faced with what to all intents looked like a trim runaway. They could not have used the "easy to use trim switch" to deal with that because they would have pulled the circuit breaker for the electric trim. The thing is, by the time they would have worked out to do that, the forces involved would already have reached very high levels - and I believe it's a LOT of turns of the manual trim needed.

                So there they are, both of them using all their strength to try and overcome the out of trim forces, and they have to manually wind a couple of hundred turns of the manual trim wheel.

                Incidentally, had MCAS been properly documented then pulling the electric trim breaker would be the way to disable MCAS - physically prevent it running the electric trim motor. So the same problem - the nose is down, very large forces needed to override the out of trim controls, airspeed and forces rapidly increasing, and you have to wind the manual trim wheel a couple of hundred turns before you either hit the ground or rip the wings off.

                And don't forget that both accidents happened at fairly low height (not much time to fix things), when the engine would have been on a high power setting (so making things go wrong very fast), and the pilot workload isn't exactly "sat around twiddling thumbs".

                1. TheFifth

                  Re: Some extra info

                  The pilots were faced with what to all intents looked like a trim runaway

                  That's the problem though, MCAS doesn't look like a trim runaway at all. That's where Boeing slipped up, they assumed pilots would recognise it as a runaway quickly. Unfortunately by they time they did recognise it, it was too late and they were so far out of trim, they could not manually recover.

                  A real trim runaway is easier to spot as the trim wheel starts turning fast and continuously in one direction. MCAS on the other hand inputs five second bursts of trim, so the trim wheel spins intermittently, which is something that is constantly happening in a 737 cockpit anyway. The Speed Trim System is constantly moving the trim wheel by small amounts. During takeoff is when Speed Trim makes most adjustments, so I can easily see how the MCAS activations could be confused as normal STS inputs by a pilot (https://www.pprune.org/tech-log/614997-b-737-speed-trim-system.html).

                  I've messed about in a training certified, full motion 737 simulator and that trim wheel is always moving intermittently. I can completely see how the pilot could miss what MCAS was doing as it's not like a normal runaway trim at all.

                  Other than that, I completely agree with what you said.

                  And as mentioned above, you don't fly a plane using the trim.

        2. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

          Re: Some extra info

          I still chuckle about what some of the good Airbus engineers had to say in their comms:

          "Would you put your family on a MAX simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t."

          Or the classic quote, from the head of aerodynamics:

          "This airplane is designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys."

          1. Blank Reg Silver badge

            Re: Some extra info

            As I've said before, they should just scrap them all and melt them down for beer cans.

            1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
              Joke

              Re: Some extra info

              Same could be said for the planes.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Some extra info

              The system has been reworked, the planes are safe now, and they're flying again.

              Your suggestion is stupid, and you should feel stupid.

              1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                Re: Some extra info

                Prove it.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Some extra info

        "Although it's very tempting to send scathing sarcastic emails to team leaders, before you send any controversial emails, just think how you'd feel having the email read back to you in court. Then imagine how your team leader will react when you defecate in their email inbox while trying to deflect blame for the fuckup."

        Once you reach a certain level of power, if you are not careful and a generally nice person to start with, arrogance can easily take hold. With great power and arrogance comes a huge self-perception of invincibility. We see it time and time again in industry and politics.

        1. Vometia has insomnia. Again.

          Re: Some extra info

          I've seen it with a couple of family members. What is intriguing is that they never seem to learn: because they got away with it in their teens, they reckon they know how to get away with it. However often they fail, the failures are an anomaly.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Some extra info

          Imposters syndrome always kept me under control.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some extra info

      The 'e' in email stands for 'evidence', as the legal counsel for a large software company once told me.

    5. Solviva

      Re: Some extra info

      Tricking the FDA? Think you're posting on the wrong thread, this is about aviation, not food and drugs.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Some extra info

        Sorry: Phone+Brain autocomplete = I work in medical devices

        ... doh ....

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Some extra info

          stupid computers cannot spell and autocorrect just proves it

    6. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Some extra info

      If he admitted it in email or text, and none of the recipients did anything, doesn't that make it a wider responsibility? And if the authorities have settled the wider responsibility as a "meh, that's ok" then I think he could reasonably stand up in court and say that all sides are agreed that what he did was ok.

      You can't settle with the bosses and then persecute the minions. It isn't logical and it isn't justice.

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: Some extra info

        It isn't logical and it isn't justice.

        Money and politics trumps both of those.

    7. Cedders_B

      Re: Some extra info

      I know very little about corporate responsibility legislation in the US, but is it not the case that Boeing is both responsible for and liable for Forkner's actions and omissions ? If so, the inevitable question is why the employer is treated so very differently from the employee.

  2. stewwy

    I hope he kept the flimsies from Reacher Gilt

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Don't know who you mean, no-one here by that name. Only Mr Randolph Stippler.

  3. steelpillow Silver badge
    Devil

    This is not the pilot retraining you are looking for

    According to Reuters he wrote in 2016 that he was "Jedi-mind tricking regulators" into accepting inadequate pilot re-training.

    With the Dark Side, this one is.

    (Icon just about close enough to Darth Maul to pass muster)

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: This is not the pilot retraining you are looking for

      I am willing to bet Forkner wasn't the only one to have been in favour of pulling the wool over the regulator's eyes.

      A pity they are not all answering for this.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Flame

        You mean : all the ones above him in the food chain ?

        Because the Board should get a lashing from this as well, and I'm not talking stock value.

      2. steelpillow Silver badge

        Re: This is not the pilot retraining you are looking for

        "A pity they are not all answering for this."

        Watch this space, once Forkner starts plea-bargaining.

        1. J__M__M

          Re: This is not the pilot retraining you are looking for

          what are we watching for (once Forkner starts plea-bargaining)?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is not the pilot retraining you are looking for

      Consider that after the Lion Air crash the entire details of how to successfully fly the plane (same plane, same problem the day before did 90 minutes and the pilots wrote up a nuisance complaint, not a near-death complaint) and how to crash the plane (don't trim) were sent to the entire flying community and both Boeing and the FAA issued exact guidance on what to do - and Ethiopian decided to do ... nothing. No reviews, no training, no other thing.

      In contrast the Ethiopian pilots failed to do most of the items on the stall-warning checklist as well, which they were supposedly actually trained for. Failing to do the stall-warning checklist set them up for failure.

      And then similarly skilled pilots put PIA 8303 into a neighborhood. On a plane with no known defects related to the crash.

  4. paulr78

    Surprisingly crisp, clear writing ... a rarity these days.

    Nice job!

  5. nematoad Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    No thanks.

    "Boeing is still hoping airlines start placing more orders for the jets."

    I'm not.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm....

    So will Boeing stand by their man and defend him (regardless of what he wrote), or throw him under the bus?

    Even if he gayfully wrote that he had fooled the regulators, everyone above him who read his email should be complicit in what happened.

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm....

      With the wonders of MCAS floating, like scum, to the surface yet again I'm left wondering how long it will take for NASA to realize that Boeing's Starliner, given its history of poorly tested software, faulty fuel control valves and late delivery, may not be the safest or cheapest way for astronauts to commute to the ISS.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm....

        >may not be the safest or cheapest way

        Why would that be a concern?

        The point of manned space flight is to transfer non-defense spending to defense companies in the districts of politicians on the funding committee.

        1. J__M__M

          Re: Hmmm....

          to transfer non-defense spending to defense companies in the districts of politicians on the funding committee?

          Districts like Russia you mean? Either way, NASA's annual budget is a rounding error compared to defense.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm....

        At least the Starliner won't need the MCAS system, it is supposed to fly nose up.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm....

      and what happened to peer reviews? Surely such thing should be independently checked...

      1. timrowledge

        Re: Hmmm....

        Well, it depends who you’ve given a peerage to...

  7. van.teknica

    I think He and Boeing Execs should unknowingly fly on a 737-Max, before the improvements, with a faulty sensor.

    At the very least, They should all be charged with 346 counts of Negligent Homocide. Boeing has become much the same as NASA. They had their moment in history. The 737 and it's variants need to go away forever. I will never fly on a 737-MAX.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      once the 737 MAX has been sufficiently scrutinized and fixed, it might become the safest plane in the air...

      (and then I'd fly on it no problem)

      1. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

        REasoning past B....

        I was on a plane once against which a bomb threat was phoned in. After taxiing to the *far* corner of the field at LAX, we were all taken off the plane, all checked baggage matched to people from the plane, and the plane searched with explosives sniffing dogs.

        When they said that the checks hadn't turned up anything and the plane would be proceeding to destination (Oakland, CA) and anybody who wanted back on was welcome to do so, a guy near me remarked that there was no way he'd ever get on that plane. I turned to him and said, "Why not? It's probably the most thoroughly checked and safest plane you'll ever fly on in your life." I re-boarded and it was--after that--a completely unremarkable flight.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: REasoning past B....

          "When they said that the checks hadn't turned up anything and the plane would be proceeding to destination (Oakland, CA) and anybody who wanted back on was welcome to do so, a guy near me remarked that there was no way he'd ever get on that plane. I turned to him and said, "Why not? It's probably the most thoroughly checked and safest plane you'll ever fly on in your life." I re-boarded and it was--after that--a completely unremarkable flight."

          I see the others guys point too though. A bomb threat credible enough to go through what you described, and they found nothing. Does that mean there is no bomb or just that they didn't find it yet? Obviously there wasn't, since you'd probably not be relating the story, but, ya know, some people take more convincing than others :-)

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: REasoning past B....

            Well, it's like the old joke about the guy who's scared of flying, because he's afraid of the plane being blown up. So he goes to see a psychiatrist, who reasons with him.

            "Do you know what the odds are of there being a bomb on your plane? Very small. Less than one in a hundred thousand."

            But the guy isn't convinced. "There's hundreds of thousands of flights a year, so statistically, one of those planes will have a bomb on it."

            The psychiatrist thinks on this. Then inspiration strikes. "What if I told you that there was an easy thing you could do, that would reduce the odds to 1 in a million billion?" The guy is all ears. This is odds he can accept.

            The psychiatrist offers his solution. "It's very simple. Next time you fly, take a bomb on board with you. The odds of there being two bombs on any given plane are 1 in a million billion..."

            (Apologies to those of you who have heard this before. And by the way, never be tempted to offer this one by way of light conversation while waiting in line at an airport.)

            1. Brian 3

              Re: REasoning past B....

              I'd just like to point out that bringing your own bomb in NO way lessens the chances? This is why psychiatry is such quackery.

              1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

                Re: REasoning past B....

                Umm, whoosh?

              2. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: REasoning past B....

                Er Brian 3, it’s plain obvious to me, that the more bombs you bring aboard a plane, the less chances there are of a bomb destroying the plane, especially if the bombs are from Lush.

                1. ChrisC Silver badge

                  Re: REasoning past B....

                  "especially if the bombs are from Lush"

                  Ah, so chemical warfare rather than conventional explosives...

              3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: REasoning past B....

                >I'd just like to point out that bringing your own bomb in NO way lessens the chances?

                Baldrick- why are you carving your name on that bullet ?

                ......

                1. adam 40 Silver badge

                  Re: REasoning past B....

                  It's not the bullet with your name on that should worry you.

                  It's the ones saying "to whom it may concern".

        2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: REasoning past B....

          It's probably the most thoroughly checked and safest plane you'll ever fly on in your life.

          And if it wasn't, you and him would never know...

          1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Re: REasoning past B....

            Well, assuming you mean that everything would end with a quick bang, then you'd be wrong.

            Depending on altitude, it takes a while to lose consciousness due to the low air pressure - from memory it's around 15 seconds at 30-35k feet, and the effect tails off so that between something like 10 and 20k feet it will depend to a certain extent on your physique (smokers fare badly here) whether you lose consciousness at all. And if the oxygen masks drop, and people use them, then they may remain conscious even at 30-35k feet.

            And after the bang, it could take a few minutes for the big pieces of plane to reach the ground - obviously dependent on what the damage is and whether it "sort of" flies or falls like a stone. So quite likely that many or most of the passengers will have at least a few minutes to contemplate the situation.

            In the case of the JAL 747 where the rear pressure dome blew out, the aircraft carried on flying for some time before it flew into the side of the mountain. Reports from the few survivors indicate that quite a lot more probably survived the crash but died due to their injuries and/or hypothermia before rescue attempts were started many hours later the following morning.

            Not a nice thought really, but there isn't any truth in a suggestion that when the bomb goes BANG then no-one will know anything about it.

      2. Chris 15

        Agreed. Let's hope it actually does get to that level though...

    2. J__M__M

      >I think He and Boeing Execs should unknowingly fly on a 737-Max before the improvements.

      After development ended he took a job with Southwest doing exactly that. Makes you think.

  8. 4d3fect

    Boeing I'm sure has different labels ready to apply to this person, here are just a few to choose from:

    Lamb

    Patsy

    Fall guy

    Former employee

    Contractor

    Rogue

    Liability

    Depreciated asset

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      You missed "non-executive"

  9. Snake Silver badge

    Somewhere, somehow, both the public and the media

    need to start calling out the true source of all these issues: Boeing isn't "Boeing" because it is now controlled by McDonnell-Douglas management.

    MD. You know, that MD. With products so "great" that they left the civilian aviation business because the public no longer had [any[ trust in their designs.

    Anything and everything that has to do with this 737 fiasco goes back to management. Since Boeing is now controlled my MD, we really need to remind the world of this fact...and hopefully get a few heads rolling.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Somewhere, somehow, both the public and the media

      That was nearly 25 years ago. I suppose the culture has probably persisted, but likely most of the management of that era have moved on or retired by now.

      1. AVR

        Re: Somewhere, somehow, both the public and the media

        Organisation culture really does outlive any individual member, yes. Whether by word of mouth or by new hires being chosen to fit in with the existing culture.

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Somewhere, somehow, both the public and the media

        Snake's not wrong. Management culture persists for decades. All I'll do is point at IBM. Remember them? ;-)

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Somewhere, somehow, both the public and the media

          There's also the Boeing McDD HQ being moved from Seattle to Chicago post-'merger'. Before that, Boeing techs could basically walk over to the management offices, grab one of them by the tie and drag him to a construction hall if the tech needed to have management being *quite* aware of some problem.

          Less easy if HQ is a couple of hours by plane away.

        2. Snapper

          Re: Somewhere, somehow, both the public and the media

          And Microsoft, remember them ;-)

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Somewhere, somehow, both the public and the media

      Ahem... MD left the commercial aviation business because they got swallowed by Boeing... Just remember, the MD-80 family planes are only leaving aviation now because they're gas guzzlers compared to the A320neo, A220 (*cough* C-Series *cough*) and the MAX planes, and they were a pleasure to fly (apparently as were the DC-10 and MD-11) :-)

      But yes, you're right, there's been a *lot* of pointing at the fact that Boeing management are effectively influenced by the old MD management who were placed into various high-ranking jobs after the 'merger'. ;-)

  10. Klimt's Beast Would
    Facepalm

    Forkner forked, aka an autoforking.

  11. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    We asked Boeing to comment.

    We asked Boeing to comment

    I am going to pre-empt and hazard a guess this is what Boeing is going to say:

    1. Boeing is "saddened" (not really, no) by the news

    2. Mark Forkner was a "'rogue employee motivated by greed'".

    Did I miss anything?

    1. BOFH in Training

      Re: We asked Boeing to comment.

      How about :

      This is currently under legal process and so we are unable to comment on this matter. Or something like that.....

    2. Woza

      Re: We asked Boeing to comment.

      Missed a couplen on the bingo card:

      3. We have made changes and this can never happen again

      4. Safety is our highest priority

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will Boeing be coming up with a new logo?

    Maybe a septic tank in the air, approaching a windmill.

    1. Denarius Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      @AC

      you owe me new wall paint. brilliant image

  13. Binraider Silver badge

    While there is obviously some complicity in the problems, the point should be made Boeing's management system should have been on the case to challenge and review results, not merely check box compliance.

    Watching the result closely.

  14. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

    The Reg does like to twist the MCAS tale. Unfortunately, it is nowhere near as straightforward as 'evil conspiracy'. The MCAS faults are widely discussed, but what isn't - the Reg keeps pushing a debunked fiction here - is that there were many more MCAS incidents than crashes, and the only planes that crashed were flown by very junior, inexperienced flight crews, who simply wouldn't get right-seat jobs at any European or US airline big enough to fly 737s. All the experienced, senior flight crews managed to keep the planes in the air under exactly the same conditions.

    While we can fix what went wrong at Boeing, that does nothing to deal with the pilot experience issues which were fundamental to the crashes.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      That;s still Boeing's fault though.

      Allowing untermenschen to buy these aeroplanes - when they are specifically designed to only be flown by 'real' men

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No. Read "Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras", NYT.

      Boeing has some very mean, arrogant and stupid dumbfucks running the shitshow in Chicago. They are still there.

    3. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Racist bullshit

      Except what you have posted is provably bullshit and I suspect driven by racist assumptions.

      The only pilot with low flying hours was the Ethiopian copilot at 200hrs. The 3 other pilots (Ethiopian & Indonesian) had ~5000hrs each.

      1500 is considered a reasonable minimum.

    4. naive Silver badge

      It is sad to see the down votes. But it is actually a good sign, the wokies down voting will claim 1+1=-3 when they think the number "2" represents something non inclusive, racist or whatever white noise that goes around in their brain.

      The whole charade with the test pilot may also be a smoke screen laid out by the FAA. If someone at the FAA had made the effort to check the design of the flight control system, the presence of computer augmented flight control input to stabilize a commercial jet should have become clear. This type of technology is normally used on military fighter jets, which are unable to fly without computer assistance.

      FAA seemed to have been a bit too eager to neglect its duties and just listen to the sweet talk of Boeing in case of the 737-MAX. It is also a sign of the times, where corporate oversight by government, be it taxes or product safety, is a global rat race to the bottom.

      1. ChrisC Silver badge

        No, what's sad is seeing someone (who at least, unlike the other Boeing supporters in this thread, at least had the decency to post under their "real" name vs hiiding completely behind an Anonymous Coward tag) perpetuate the myth that the aircrew in these two fatal incidents were so useless that they'd not get a look in at an airline that operates out of more civilised, respectable, not full of wierd furriners who don't know how to do their jobs properly, parts of the world...

        When 1+1 = a number two AKA a steaming pile of shit, then denouncing it as something unpleasant isn't just a load of wokie cobblers, it's what anyone with an ounce of decency in their body should be doing.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >If someone at the FAA had made the effort to check the design of the flight control system,

        That's not really how regulated industries work.

        If the FAA had to check every line of code in Boeing's systems they would need more programmers than Boeing with more experience of the Boeing software design than Boeing itself. At this point why not just have the FAA design all aircraft ?

        If the FAA don't trust Boeing's design, can they trust Boeing's manufacturing? Do they have to have an FAA inspector standing next to each Boeing machinist watching what they are doing? Does this extend down the supply chain to all subcontractors? Does the FAA have to have a guy in the mine watching somebody dig out the bauxite?

        The point of ISO9001 and ISO13485 and ISO all-the-bloody-rest, is that you say what you are going to do and you do it in the way you said. At some point the regulators have to trust you.

        It's the same reason you have traffic laws rather than a cop sitting next to every driver.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          True, but without regular checks (just like the occasional cop) to keep the business more or less honest, the bottom line becomes the sole motivator.

    5. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      The Reg does like to twist the MCAS tale.

      More like twisting the knife.

    6. adam 40 Silver badge

      If that is the case the question is: why these more experienced pilots didn't blow the whistle on this, they must have known what the consequences would be if a less experienced pilot was put in the same scenario.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Big Fish Get Away

    From Forbes, "Boeing 737 Max Aftermath: The Big Fish Get Away"

    > 'Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney who led the Boeing case, left the Dept. of Justice to become a partner at Kirkland & Ellis. That firm — with profits per equity partner averaging $6.2 million — serves as Boeing’s outside counsel. Want more? Her joining the firm was announced by her new partner, Mark Filip. As Boeing’s counsel, Filip signed the sweetheart Deferred Prosecution Agreement on behalf of the company. Filip, incidentally, also came to Kirkland & Ellis from the Dept. of Justice, where he issued the much-touted “Filip Memorandum,” setting forth “Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations.” No kidding. '

    1. James Anderson

      Re: The Big Fish Get Away

      Much of the blame for this resides with the FAA accepting Boeing's self certification of " Amended Type Certificate " to FAA thereby skipping much of the expensive testing required of a new design.

      The certification history is here https://www.easa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/dfu/EASA%20TCDS%20IM%20A%20120%20-%20rev%2024.pdf

      The relevant clause being "Part 25 Amendment" which means this is a change to a previously certified design and only specific changes to the previous design are scrutinised.

      The 737-MAX has only a few wheel nuts and the Boeing logo in common with the 737-200 the last one to be fully tested and certified in 1967 or thereabouts.

      As the FAA accepted the 737-MAX as a "737" type. Any pilot who was trained on the original 737-200 is considered certified for the 737-MAX even though it is a completely different plane.

  16. iron Silver badge

    I hope he throws the board under the plane.

    "Yes your honour, I did lie, cheat and mislead the FAA. I did so because otherwise I would lose my job, health insurance and pension which would leave me destitute and homeless. Who told me to lie? The President, CEO, COO, CFO, etc of Boeing."

    1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      I hope he throws the board under the plane

      No, he won't.

      His wife and his children will be taken care of by some "generous benefactor". Everything his family will need financially, medically, etc. will be "taken care of".

      And, maybe, when he finishes his prison sentence, he just might get a lifetime pension that will make any CEO blush.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        I think you have a touching faith in how corporate scum work.

        They are safe. He’s going under the bus.

      2. itzman

        golden parachutes...

        Are only issued to ex employees that have valid evidence of their superior's complicity.

    2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      The object of prosecuting him is to show others that following orders is not a defence.

  17. jollyboyspecial

    "In November 2016, the DoJ claims Forkner learned about an important change to MCAS and deliberately withheld that from the FAA's AEG, leading to safety approval reports not mentioning the software's presence."

    So there investigators are saying that the test pilot not telling the FAA about three change is more significant than the people who made the change?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Yes because it was his job to tell the FAA.

      He is not a test pilot in the "Right Stuff" sense - it's just a macho title for the job of signing off on the training requirements.

      The engineers made the changes on the assumption that the effects of these would be made known to the pilots in a way that they could use them safely. Boeing decided there were business reasons for not doing that.

  18. Grumpy Rob

    Automation and Safety

    "That;s still Boeing's fault though.

    Allowing untermenschen to buy these aeroplanes - when they are specifically designed to only be flown by 'real' men"

    I assume this is meant to be sarcastic, but it has an element of truth. Aviation automation has delivered a great improvement in safety over the past 20-30 years. And the cost pressures on airlines and the great demand for pilots (well, before Covid, anyway) has meant shortened pilot training times - most of the time all the pilot has to do is program up the computers. But, on those now very rare occasions when things go wrong with the automation, the pilot has to very quickly work out what is wrong, and take control. In some tragic cases they can't work out what's wrong - e.g. AF447.

    More than 10 years ago I was talking to an old airline check captain (who had flown 707s and 747s) - he told me how shocked he was when he was asked to do an initial assessment of a new intake of pilots for his airline. He said that he put all the pilots into the simulator, and more than half of the 20 or so couldn't hand fly straight and level while he was talking to them - they were automation-dependent. So you'd just better hope on your next flight that (a) nothing goes wrong with the automation, and (b) if it does *your* pilot is a "real man" :)

    1. Bruce Ordway

      Re: Automation and Safety

      "So you'd just better hope..." for so many other things too?

      I remember listening to a presentation about 30 years ago.

      The talk was given by the current head of DARPA at the time. (hmmm.. can't remember his name).

      He discussed the level of ability for graduating programmers and where they can expect to end up working.

      He started with the "A" programmers who went to places like NASA or CERN, then the "B" programmers, etc...

      The thing that stuck with me all these years is his example of the "C" programmers. How he stated that they would be the ones most likely to work on your automobiles ABS. Just one of many critical systems that would be at increasing risk in the future ( in his view ).

      My gut feeling is that his observations and conclusions were for the most part, correct.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Automation and Safety

        I had a developer join the team after a stint with airbus working on flight control systems.

        He was one of the most productive code writers I have ever worked with and would have innovative approaches which would produce hugely efficient code.

        In a team of 4 programmers his code was always the last to go live as debugging took 5 times as long as the others.

        Some of the stuff we were doing was complex but it was all rules based and they had been defined in advance.

        When I challenged how he had managed at Airbus his response that there were multiple developers writing the same code for redundant computers, he actually relied on the other devs code being 100% correct so it would highlight his errors

        Last I heard he was working as a roofer using no safety equipment.

    2. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: Automation and Safety

      Had a similar experience 5 years ago in conversation with a senior airline captain. After the AF crash some airlines put their pilots in a Cessna 172 to do a circuit. Half could not manually fly a simple plane anymore. Some companies began to mandate their pilots do regular GA flying to keep basics current. However I note that some of the best acrobatic pilots fly heavies for income or are glider pilots so they have very current skills in manual aircraft maneuvering. Just hearsay.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Automation and Safety

        “Half could not manually fly a simple plane anymore”.

        Sounds like bullshit. A simple plane is simple to fly under normal VFR conditions.. Legally a person who has never seen an attitude indicator can solo after 10 hours. With the exception of the approach and landing, it’s easier handling than driving a car.

        1. WhereAmI?
          Angel

          Re: Automation and Safety

          There's a trick to doing good approaches if you fly the same light aircraft type(s) all the time. Do a few approaches on the PAPI and find a scratch/mark/whatever (use a dirty fingerprint) inside the cockpit that lines up with the runway when you're on the PAPI.

          Worked for me :-)

        2. Grumpy Rob

          Re: Automation and Safety

          Yeah - well I think the point is not that they couldn't "fly" the plane, but that they couldn't do it from "muscle memory" - while doing other more important tasks, like working out whether the engine was on fire, the wing was falling off, or something similar. The problem is task saturation - if all your mental effort is going in to flying the plane you don't have any mental capacity left over to work out what the problem is and how to fix/work around it.

          Nowadays most pilots only get to actually hand fly the plane from takeoff to a few hundred feet up off the ground, and the last few hundred feet down when landing. The rest of the time the automation is on, because it's the most economical way. And simulator time is expensive, so airlines do the absolute minimum hours of that. It's no wonder pilots' basic flying skills get rusty. Have a read of this thread on pprune.org - rumours-news/388573-pilot-handling-skills-under-threat-says-airbus.html.

      2. Boothy Silver badge

        Re: Automation and Safety

        "Half could not manually fly a simple plane anymore"

        That just doesn't ring true to me.

        First time I ever went up in a light aircraft (I'd been a passenger on large jets before), was when I was in my early 20s, about 30 years ago. Not a Cessna, but it was a simple two seater prop, not a racer, although it was capable of doing some tricks, like loops, barrel rolls (just slowly) etc.

        The pilot, who knew I was a keen user of flight sims (early 90s on an Amiga), did a pop quiz on the way up, asking me to point out each instrument and control, and state what they each did.

        Once we levelled out, and were heading in the right direction, he then told me what the target cruse speed, heading and altitude needed to be, and promptly let go of the controls, saying "Your turn!".

        I was flying it myself for a good 40 minutes or so, including making turns to new headings pointed out by the pilot, and moving to a higher altitude at one point. He only took control back, as he wanted to do a few tricks, and of course land again! (He also did all the radio chatter, as we moved from one area to the next, letting, presumably some air traffic bods somewhere know where we were, and heading to).

        Not saying I was any good or anything, but if I can pick up the basics within the first 10 mins of my first flight, after only playing flight sims on my Amiga (didn't get a 'IBM compatible PC' till Win 98 came out), then I really can't image how a trained pilot, irrespective of what they've flown recently, would not be able to pick it up again very rapidly!

        Granted you'd have to find out things like cruse, take off, landing, stall speed etc. But you have to do that for all aircraft anyway.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Automation and Safety

          Tricky balance.

          There is reasonable evidence that the AF447 crash was caused by pilots who fundamentally didn't know how to fly, they were aircraft systems managers.

          But there have been many more accidents by pilots who ignored warnings/faults/ATC and their crew because they had the biggest mustache

  19. nautica Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    First attempt...

    "We asked Boeing to comment."

  20. nautica Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    Second attempt...

    "We asked Boeing to comment."

  21. nautica Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    Third attempt...

    We asked Boeing if they ever plan on commenting.

  22. CJatCTi

    When only companies are blamed it keeps happening again & again & again

    Until individuals know that they could get caught and personally suffer, rather than hide behind "corporate responsibility" where only the shareholders loose some will keep doing bad things.

    Would the banking crises of happened if traders had money taken from then when decisions they had made when bad and it was shown that it was a fiddle?

    PPE somebodies decided selling polies nobody could claim on was a good idea and they still have their bonuses.

    Fiddling the results to get your car through emissions test or your plane in the sky, would you have done it if you thought you would go to jail for 20 years?

    And if it wasn't you save your skin and grass on the person who made you do it.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: When only companies are blamed it keeps happening again & again & again

      I disagree. That provides a perverse incentive for companies to skip on management oversight. It should not be possible for the little guy to cheat, whether they personally bear the consequences or not. The company is the one profitting from anything done by staff, so it is for the company to ensure that it is done legally or to pay the fines if it isn't.

      Of course, if those fines aren't big enough to hurt then shareholders and management will come to regard them as just a cost of doing business. That's a separate problem though. Lawmakers shouldn't take the view that they can only be bothered to levy small penalties, so they will only prosecute the little people in order for those small fines to actually deter.

      1. WanderingHaggis

        Re: When only companies are blamed it keeps happening again & again & again

        There has to be personal responsibility but that has to extend beyond the test pilot if he had told people about "fixing" things then his manager should also face charges if there is a culture of corruption the GD CEO whoever responsible for allowing it should be charged. Corporate manslaughter is just a way of ducking out of your responsibility and hiding the guilty party. If a bean counter blocked the report then he / she should pay. .

  23. Medixstiff

    I expect if he tried to go the whislteblower route, he'd end up like Epstein, unless they get him out of the country altogether.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Culture.....and Money.......

    Once upon a time there was a big aircraft giant, led mostly by people with a long engineering background.....you know, people who design and build and test stuff for a living.

    Then the leadership became more interested in money:

    - move away from the company's roots in Seattle

    - outsourcing (translation: cheaper "stuff")

    - move to "right to work" states (translation: weaken the unions)

    - weaken pension rights (translation: save more money)

    - persuade the FIA that "self-certification" was faster and cheaper (translation: manufacturer quickly certifies its own work...and saves more money)

    In this fictitious story, it took a few years for the downside of this focus on money over engineering to yield results. Maybe the money results were satisfactory.

    But unfortunately, elsewhere the results were not good, either for the customers of the aircraft giant, or for the employees either. When "money talks", it's sometimes right to close your ears!!

  25. Potemkine! Silver badge

    If this guy guilty? Probably.

    But being the only one facing court, it's a shame. All these people in charge in Boeing and FAA should be sat next to him.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One would think a person in that position would brag about his putative contribution to the incredible increase in airliner safety over the past few decades, rather than his achievements in being human garbage, but there ya' go.

    It's not just a B-move cliche, villains really do love to boast about their Evil Deeds, especially when it's in their worst interest to do so.

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