back to article FAA gives Boeing 90 days to fix serious safety shortcomings found in report

"Inadequate," "confusing," "disconnect," and "lack of awareness" aren't words passengers would like to hear associated with aviation safety, but according to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that's exactly what the situation is like at Boeing. The findings come from a report compiled by an expert panel convened in …

  1. Snake Silver badge

    "FAA gives Boeing 90 days to fix serious safety shortcomings..."

    by firing the entire upper M-D management and replacing them with 'real' Boeing employees who have a clue.


    1. Lurko

      Re: "FAA gives Boeing 90 days to fix serious safety shortcomings..."

      "by firing the entire upper M-D management and replacing them with 'real' Boeing employees who have a clue."

      That would be fabulous, unfortunately the McD borg-over was back in 1997 over a quarter of a century ago. I'd hazard a total guess that less than 5% of current Boeing employees have any competent memory of the days before McD ruined everything. And the latest pathetic effort to move McBoeing HQ closer to the FAA office shows that the McD wankers (a) still have control, and (b) have learned nothing from the disasters they've caused.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: "FAA gives Boeing 90 days to fix serious safety shortcomings..."

      Boeing are so far down the road to ruin that I doubt there are many, if any, 'real Boeing employees who have a clue' left.

      I might suggest that anyone still there is by that definition not one of such a breed.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: "FAA gives Boeing 90 days to fix serious safety shortcomings..."

        I might suggest that anyone still there is by that definition not one of such a breed.

        No. Like any company, there will be loads of people beavering away at the coal face trying to do the best they can. If better led, they'd do a much better job.

        Once you've taken a blow-torch to management and got some good people in at the top, then you can start changing culture. There'll be some grumpy people who'll do the right thing even against the will of mangement, and it's often too much trouble to discipline them, so they just don't get bonuses or promotion. So you'll have them. Then there's the easily-led, who'll do what they're told. They're also relatively easy, you just tell them to do the right thing, and have the normal systems to checking that they are. Then there's the ones who've learned to get ahead in the current culture - who you'll have to slowly retrain to understand that doing things properly is the new way to get ahead - or just shove out the airlock.

        The fact that the FAA found out that Boeing organise things so safetfy complaints don't go through an independent system, but to your line-manager to "investigate" tells you everything you need to know about Boeing's current "safety" culture. And their management style too.

  2. IGotOut Silver badge

    Safety culture from the top down... that'll be some crappy posters on the wall, a monthly meeting where real workers will be ignored and if they are "lucky" a team building exercise.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Safety culture from the top down...

      I think I have a few dozens of merit badges from those!

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Safety culture from the top down...

      a monthly meeting where real workers will be ignored

      No! You're being unfair! The Monday morning after the emergency door plug fell out, they had a company-wide conference call on safety.

      All issues are solved now. This FAA report is redendent. All problems have been fixed. Boeing are a great company again.

      Ladies and Gentlemen, there's nothing to see here.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Safety culture from the top down...

        But did they get new ID card lanyards with the new safety motto on them?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Lon24

    The Golden Years

    1958-70 Boeing 707/727/737/747.

    Each one a game changer. Who would have thought 57 years after the 737 introduction they are screwing up big time on the programme in so many ways. The golden generation of designers would surely have got a new design into production before Airbus matched and then overtook the late to the show mangled Max derivative. To keep Boeing's place as the premier planemaker.

    Boeing are being taken to the cleaners by SpaceX too. So it is not the problem of a particular programme but of management and the culture they created (or destroyed?). An appalling fall from grace. Let's hope the old Boeing can break through and make the US justly proud of such a strategic company and industry once again.

    1. Electronics'R'Us

      Re: The Golden Years

      The last Boeing commercial aircraft that was designed and managed by engineers is probably the 777 (not the latest iteration of which horror stories about quality abound).

      I know the principal designer of the flight control computers in that aircraft (and I was involved in the technology refresh some years ago). The Boeing 777 team was both difficult and excellent.

      I mean 'difficult' in a good way as quality issues did not get past them.

      The train wreck that is now Boeing took hold once the bean counters from MD took over; I think most of us in the industry saw the writing on the wall quite quickly and were confirmed in our view when the corporate headquarters was relocated to Chicago.

  4. ecofeco Silver badge

    That's mighty generous.

    I'd give them 9 minutes. Tops.

  5. Philo T Farnsworth


    One thing the FAA could do is send some competent inspectors over to Boeing instead of letting Boeing self-regulate.

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

    I'm no aeronautical engineer but it seems apparent this isn't the way to build aircraft.

    1. Georgski

      from your first link

      > David Calhoun, CEO of Boeing said in a recent earnings call that Boeing is glad that the FAA paused its [Boeing's] production expansion, which gives the company time to fix things and do right.

      So: Even after the short term-ist, stock price driven, engineering has caused terrible results for everyone _even the shareholders_, he still won't take any action to fix it until forced by the FAA.


  6. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

    Good luck. How long has Boeing's QA department been in absentia?

    The only thing that is going to get them to change their ways are penalties in the hundreds of millions range. Something that seriously hurts the bottom line...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      The great thing about sacking all your quality control people, is that you no longer have to expensively remanufacture product with defects. Because there is no product with defects anymore. I don't know why all companies don't do this.

      1. Julz


        Get on the programe. That's the way software's been manufactured for decades.

  7. sanmigueelbeer

    the panel said it "struggled to identify effective guidance" that translated Boeing's safety management system

    Could it be the SMS was written by an accountant?


  8. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "We've taken important steps to foster a safety culture that empowers and encourages all employees to share their voice. But there is more work to do," a Boeing spokesperson told us. "We will carefully review the panel's assessment and learn from their findings, as we continue our comprehensive efforts to improve our safety and quality programs."

    Bla, bla, bla, bka. Bla, Bla, Bla, Bla........Bla.

  9. Denarius

    so why not just shut Boing (sic) down ?

    Rot is too deep. Shut it down except for maintenance only component/CA authority to keep existing working planes safe until end of life. Chinas QA cant be much worse and CAC would like some customers. No doubt Airbus would like that and there may be room for a newer business to step up.

    1. Maximus Decimus Meridius

      Re: so why not just shut Boing (sic) down ?

      Politics. No US politician would let Boeing fail, no matter how bad the products were, civil, military or space. The loss of 'national prestige' would be too high. This knowledge has allowed Boeing to get where it is today.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: so why not just shut Boing (sic) down ?

      Airbus have an order backlog of over 8000 aircraft, Boeing over 6000. If there were no Boeing there would be a fleet replacement crisis, older aircraft would be kept longer.

      CAC need to step up quickly.

      1. Julz


        In the wings (sic); Comac?

    3. seven of five

      Re: so why not just shut Boing (sic) down ?

      Airbus would hate it. They would not be able to buy a new teacup without some antitrust agency all over them

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So they need a name change, really

    Or sell themselves to someone else like Monsanto did so their scandals are harder to look up.

    Alternatively, they could be honest and just drop the letter "e" from their name..

    1. Roger Kynaston

      Re: So they need a name change, really

      Reminds me of the old black joke skydivers used to tell each other. "If you are going in grab the grass so you don't bounce!"

      Icon since I expect that Boing senior manglement are drinking a lot of it.

  11. Mobster

    The rot started when corporate safeguards, so necessary for a free capital markets, were done away with in the name of "making it easier to do business". Getting rid of regulations, such as prohibiting stock buybacks etc, and tying executive payment to stock price (a very volatile metric) ushered in a school of corporate management sharks who destroyed business. Engineers and people of tenure got laid off, manufacturing got out-sourced, off-shored, and everything else to save a penny to improve the next quarterly earnings statement. This led to the demise of many (GE, Westinghouse, IBM, Ford, GMC, etc.). Boeing is but one of the rotten apples in a barrel-full.

  12. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    One thing I wonder about, so in software development you'll have this bugzilla (or bug report area on github, or whatever) for large projects with 100,000s of items listed, and often 100-1000 even for small ones. So if defect and safety issue reports were handled like that, having a large number filed would not be discouraged. Some would be like "this is definitely a defect", many may be "this should have a failsafe", and in some cases closed out because on discussion the item does already have a failsafe in the design that the filer just wasn't aware of. But it's better to be certain.

    But, in a culture of corporate-style cost cuttings, I imagine issue reports would be viewed as a increase in development costs rather than an important part of safety-critical design and therefore actively discouraged.

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