Boeing: Profits 1st, Safety 2nd? (Part 3)

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Message 2132850 - Posted: 21 Feb 2024, 4:30:23 UTC

Not sure how our chief antagonist missed this:
https://apnews.com/article/osprey-crash-clutch-grounded-accidents-explainer-5d81b361e3d1e43402f6727341515668 wrote:
Materiel strength was the subject of a whistleblower lawsuit that Boeing settled with the Justice Department in September for $8.1 million. Two former Boeing V-22 composites fabricators had come forward with allegations that Boeing was falsifying records certifying that it had performed the testing necessary to ensure it maintained uniform temperatures required to ensure the Osprey’s composite parts were strengthened according to DOD specifications.

A certain temperature was needed for uniform molecular bonding of the composite surface. Without that bond, “the components will contain resin voids, linear porosity, and other defects that are not visible to the eye; which compromise the strength and other characteristics of the material, and which can cause catastrophic structural failures,” the lawsuit alleged.

In its settlement, the Justice Department contended Boeing did not meet the Pentagon’s manufacturing standards from 2007 to 2018; the whistleblowers contended in their lawsuit that this affected more than 80 Ospreys that were delivered in that time frame.
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Message 2132855 - Posted: 21 Feb 2024, 6:41:12 UTC
Last modified: 21 Feb 2024, 6:41:43 UTC

And I cant's see their "tilt rotor" replacement (as opposed to the Osprey's "tilt wing") being any better either as it's more complicated yet again.

I'm not that keen on choppers, but at least they have a chance of auto-rotating down (if the blades and steering parts are there still).
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Message 2132862 - Posted: 21 Feb 2024, 12:02:06 UTC - in response to Message 2132850.  

Ouch! A multiple deadly Ouch!

Note from that article:

... on Wednesday, the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps grounded all Ospreys after a preliminary investigation of last week’s crash indicated that a materiel failure — that something went wrong with the aircraft — and not a mistake by the crew led to the deaths.

And it’s not the first time...

... more than 50 troops have died either flight testing the Osprey or conducting training flights over the program’s lifespan, including 20 deaths in four crashes over the past 20 months...

... the Marine Corps forewarned that more accidents were possible because neither the military nor manufacturers have been able to isolate a root cause. It said future incidents were “impossible to prevent without improvements to flight control system software, drivetrain component material strength, and robust inspection requirements.”



Boeing's profits first and the consequences be damned?


Fly safe?
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Message 2132863 - Posted: 21 Feb 2024, 12:02:41 UTC
Last modified: 21 Feb 2024, 12:03:05 UTC

And I'm reminded that Boeings's latest 'troubled' big project, their "Starliner", has gone quiet for an awful long time... Were all of the problems with the flammable tape, sticky valves, and sub-spec parachute straps, all cleared and fully tested and proved?...


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Message 2132890 - Posted: 21 Feb 2024, 23:48:34 UTC - in response to Message 2132863.  

Ooooer... I posted too soon:


NASA Invites Media to First Astronaut Launch Aboard Boeing’s Starliner
wrote:
... launch of NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station. The mission will be the company’s first Starliner spacecraft mission with crew.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will launch aboard Starliner on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and dock at the orbiting laboratory, where they will stay for up to two weeks. Liftoff is currently targeted for mid-April 2024...

... The mission will test the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner system, including launch, docking, and return to Earth...



Fly safe!
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Message 2132899 - Posted: 22 Feb 2024, 3:30:17 UTC

Fly safe!
We can only hope that they do.
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Message 2132907 - Posted: 22 Feb 2024, 6:35:34 UTC

I doubt this will be enough to change the culture at Renton.

Boeing ousts head of 737 jetliner program weeks after panel blowout on a flight over Oregon
SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing said Wednesday that the head of its 737 jetliner program is leaving the company in an executive shake-up weeks after a door panel blew out on a flight over Oregon, renewing questions about safety at the company.

Boeing announced that Ed Clark, who had been with the company for nearly 18 years and led the 737 program since early 2021, was leaving immediately.

Clark oversaw the factory in Renton, Washington, where final assembly took place on the Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 involved in last month’s accident. Federal investigators said bolts needed to help keep a panel called a door plug in place were missing after repair work on the plane.

Katie Ringgold, a vice president in charge of delivering 737s to airlines, will succeed Clark as vice president and general manager of the 737 program and the Renton factory, according to an email to employees from Stan Deal, the CEO of Boeing’s commercial airplanes division.
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Message 2132915 - Posted: 22 Feb 2024, 14:32:41 UTC - in response to Message 2132907.  
Last modified: 22 Feb 2024, 14:33:26 UTC

A Golden retirement, excuses, and scapegoating, anything rather than any real fixes?...


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Message 2132931 - Posted: 22 Feb 2024, 15:58:06 UTC

In other economic sectors, it is common for experts and managers to move from one company to a competitor or to be headhunted by them. (yes, trade secrets, etc.). Isn't there something like that in the aviation industry? So that someone brings experience from similar processes or a different company culture. Or is there a Boeing bubble and an Airbus bubble without contacts between each other? Or maybe from military aircraft companies where aircraft are also built in high throughput production lines?
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Message 2133096 - Posted: 26 Feb 2024, 14:07:28 UTC
Last modified: 26 Feb 2024, 14:09:30 UTC

More "Ouch"...


Ryanair says aircraft problems could push summer fares up 10%
wrote:
Airline may have to trim schedules as it awaits delayed delivery of new Boeing Max 737-8200s...

... Quality control issues at the US manufacturer – vividly highlighted by the blowout of a part of the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines Max-9 in midflight last month – have led to a slowdown in production and deliveries.

O’Leary said: “Our summer 2024 schedule was on sale predicated on getting 50 [new] aircraft...

... He said that the airline [Ryanair] had discovered “silly, small things” during inspections of recent aircraft deliveries. He said they would lift floorboards and find a rag or a spanner under them. “It’s indicative of a poor approach to quality control on the line in Wichita or Seattle and Boeing need to fix it.”...



So... Those little extras of hidden rags and spanners cost a whopping "10% extra"?!

... But... What else is lurking under those floorboards?...

(As if your life doesn't depend on such 'small' things?...!...)


Fly safe?...
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Message 2133101 - Posted: 26 Feb 2024, 15:05:24 UTC - in response to Message 2133096.  

Having one chunk of your fleet bing grounded for days or weeks costs a fair bit, especially if that grounding also requires remedial work to be done before each aircraft can return to service.
Add to that fares are based on having a particular fleet of aircraft being available. Most airlines replace their aircraft on a planned date, and assume that the replacement will be more economic to operate - and the cost of operation isn't just about fuel use, but in many places there are surcharges for noise and other environmental items, which are often higher on older aircraft. So with the lower delivery rate from Boeing into the airlines (either by leasing or airline purchase) many airlines are having to operate aircraft beyond the planned replacement date.
Thus airlines may not have all the seats they want to sell, thus will push the price on those they have, each seat costs more per passenger-mile to operate, there are higher airport charges due to the "less friendly" aircraft having to be used.
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Message 2133107 - Posted: 26 Feb 2024, 16:32:23 UTC - in response to Message 2133096.  

Ryanair says aircraft problems could push summer fares up 10%
wrote:
Airline may have to trim schedules as it awaits delayed delivery of new Boeing Max 737-8200s...

O’Leary said: “Our summer 2024 schedule was on sale predicated on getting 50 [new] aircraft...
They sell tickets for planes they don't even have yet? I guess that's called 'short selling'.

Well there's the wet-lease market for such imbalances. But for 'unknown reasons' the available single-aisle aircraft for wet-leasing are scarce worldwide. That's maybe a profitable future business for Boeing's management too. They have, so to speak, enormous leverage to control prices in the wet-lease market.
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Message 2133108 - Posted: 26 Feb 2024, 16:54:44 UTC - in response to Message 2133101.  

Perhaps the shortage (pilots and planes) will push prices high enough that the herds will thin and only those who would wear their Sunday best will be able to get a ticket. Not all things are as bad as they seem at first blush.
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Message 2133110 - Posted: 26 Feb 2024, 17:20:28 UTC - in response to Message 2133107.  

Yes they haven't got them today, but they were due to be in service by the time they were required for a particular flight, bearing in mind that some of the flights that are on sale today are for flights in several months time. As far as airlines are concerned there are two things you don't want - new aircraft sitting around for several months waiting for their maiden service flight, and the new aircraft that was due to fly today full of passengers sitting in the assembly shop on the other side of the world.

Wet lease, or dry lease, to cover late deliveries are very expensive, and are really only ever considered when there is no alternative. Using a short-lease aircraft (wet or dry) can easily double (if not more) the cost of an individual flight. Just now all large B737 operators with outstanding orders will be trying to hire aircraft to cover these late deliveries, and so those with aircraft available for lease/hire will increase the cost of such leases because of demand.
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Message 2133111 - Posted: 26 Feb 2024, 17:25:54 UTC - in response to Message 2133108.  

Some hope as the average sun, sea and sangria(*) really NEED their two weeks of sun, sea and sangria every year or they really won't be having a "holiday" this year.
A large chunk of Ryan Air's summer travel is ferrying said people between the UK and the Mediterranean coast for their annual dose of too much sun, too much sea and too much sangria.

(*) other words starting with "s" may be more applicable
.....
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Message 2133129 - Posted: 27 Feb 2024, 10:15:54 UTC

An interesting review of the state of play within Boeing's safety management system~
https://www.faa.gov/newsroom/Sec103_ExpertPanelReview_Report_Final.pdf

The bullet point at the top of page 5 contains this statement:
However, the Boeing SMS procedures are not structured in a way that ensures all employees understand their role in the company’s SMS. The procedures and training are complex and in a constant state of change, creating employee confusion especially among different work sites and employee groups.


I never like seeing "complex", "constant change" & "confusion" in the executive summary of a report on a company's SMS as these words are often indicative of a poor safety culture that is being patched to cover the most recent set of holes. With a good SMS then stability is required, so that those actually working to the SMS know what they are required to do and so are more likely to follow the procedures correctly. That said, when an SMS is in a mess there is need for a "halt and restart", and a whole new set of simplified procedures implemented - and this does mean there will be disruption to the output flow while staff at all levels are re-trained, but better that pause than yet another near/fatal incident due to the messy SMS.
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Message 2133138 - Posted: 27 Feb 2024, 11:51:59 UTC - in response to Message 2133129.  

That said, when an SMS is in a mess there is need for a "halt and restart", and a whole new set of simplified procedures implemented - and this does mean there will be disruption to the output flow while staff at all levels are re-trained, but better that pause than yet another near/fatal incident due to the messy SMS.
People at Boeing certainly know how to "halt and restart" their procedures.

But halting production costs a lot of money and will further upset major customers who might are forced to change their fleet policy. For example the narrowbody fleet of United Airlines is quite old on average. Three quarters are B737/B757, one quarter is A320series. Boeing won't be able to delay deliveries to customers like that for much longer. A vicious circle.
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Message 2133141 - Posted: 27 Feb 2024, 13:18:36 UTC - in response to Message 2133138.  

Yes, halting and restarting production is not a cheap option, but, sadly, when things are in a real mess it can be the only way out of the hole. But then having to stop production as a result of a crash caused by poor workmanship is even more expensive.

The United airframe age problem is not uncommon, and they currently have a plan in place to reduce the average airframe age by buying/leasing new airframes. I don't know what the split between Airbus & Boeing products is, but each manufacturer will have allocated a number of airframes each month (or year) so they can satisfy their share in United's overall plan. These days the lead-time from ordering an new aircraft is measured in years, so even if United decided today to cancel all their outstanding Boeing airframes and substitute them with Airbus airframes then "new" orders on Airbus would go to the back of the queue, and United's fleet would get older. As you say, if Boeing's recent problems (from which they appear to have no escape plan) may well force United (and other airlines) to look at their future buying plans and re-balance them in favour of Airbus. At least United, with their heterogenous fleet and, presumably options on both Airbus & Boeing, can move the Airbus options to orders and the Boeing options to cancelled; unlike some other airlines who have homogenous Boeing fleets don't have that path available, a substantial delay in the delivery of new Boeing to these airlines could mean they would be faced with increased operating costs, and not being able to replace ageing aircraft in line with their plans.
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Message 2133198 - Posted: 28 Feb 2024, 13:32:14 UTC

That would mean that the genius Michael O'Leary for the first time in three decades overlooked a risk in his long-term strategy to wipe out all (smaller) continental European airlines without overseas connections: Ryanair's homogenous fleet of hundreds of 737-800 and Max 8-200.
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Message 2133206 - Posted: 28 Feb 2024, 18:05:04 UTC

Will push come to shove and force Boeing to fix all the problems or will this be just another slapping on the cheek for them?
Boeing given 90 days by FAA to come up with a plan to improve safety and quality of manufacturing
The Federal Aviation Administration is giving Boeing 90 days to come up with a plan to fix quality problems and meet safety standards for building new planes.

The agency said Wednesday that the directive follows meetings with top Boeing officials, including the company's CEO at FAA headquarters in Washington.

“Boeing must commit to real and profound improvements,” said FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker. “Making foundational change will require a sustained effort from Boeing’s leadership, and we are going to hold them accountable every step of the way."
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Message boards : Politics : Boeing: Profits 1st, Safety 2nd? (Part 3)


 
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