The Boeing 737 Max debacle is just bad...

Dr Zaius

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Flawed analysis, failed oversight: How Boeing, FAA certified the suspect 737 MAX flight control system

This just sounds bad.

Having done some of this kind of quality control work some years ago, I can tell you from firsthand experience the relationship between government employees who are supposed to oversee programs and corporate employees is often way too chummy. The truth is that most of the government employees secretly wish they worked for the contractor, thus many of them tend to side with and show more loyalty to the corporation than they do to the government.

And I get it. I saw the way it worked and I made a lot of waves which made be unpopular in some corners, and yet I completely understand why it happens. You get a GS15 with X years of college and X years of experience and he works out of some crappy government office next to the contractor and makes $100k a year with a couple of measly weeks of vacation per year. His counterpoint doing the same thing for the contractor has a huge office, a bunch of cool corporate perks, and makes $700k. I spent four years on a special oversight assignment at United Technologies (which was incredible fun) and that's exactly the way it was. We were supposed to be the official oversight, but the reality was the United Technologies people were far better funded, better trained, way better compensated, and just all around more capable. So in a lot of cases the government was reliant on the contractor to do its own self-policing. And in that situation, obviously profit is going to play a role in some of those decisions.

People don't want to hear that about the aviation industry but it's the truth. The government people were all angling for a way around the conflict of interest rules so they could go work for the contractor. I get it.

But in this particular case, Boeing's design decisions on the Max appear to be reprehensible. Criminally negligent? We can only speculate, but it seems possible. And yet having seen this environment close up, I have doubts Boeing will ever face any significant pressure from the government. The government people will all be on their side and look for ways to rationalize a get-out-of-jail-free card, because that's just the reality of the power dynamic which exists between the government and really huge contractors.

Still, A) not informing pilots the system was in place, B) making it so it can't be turned off in an emergency, and C) making the entire system reliant on a single sensor which can continually override pilot input is, if accurately reported, a catastrophically bad design. But no, it actually doesn't surprise me this made it through the quality control oversight process. It doesn't surprise me in the least.
 

bendizoid

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I wouldn’t even drive a riding lawnmower with that kind of inherent crap.
 

zgrose

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Some extra information on this particular incident:
 

Mister T

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Basically passengers were beta testers for Boeing's software. Just like drivers for Tesla's autopilot feature.
 

Mister T

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A desperate attempt to lay the blame on the pilots as they no doubt come from shitty countries :whistle:

 

zgrose

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Bad operators always blame their tools, though. Best not to get carried away with the hyperbole and just fix the issues and move forward.
 
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