Boeing email re 737 MAX: “I’ll be shocked if the FAA passes this turd.”


737 MAX fuselages waiting to become finished airplanes

Boeing has been forced to publicly apologise after internal communications suggested employees were aware of issues with its now grounded 737 Max plane before disaster struck.

Boeing on Thursday published over 100-pages of internal communications as part of the US Federal Aviation Authority and Congress’s investigations into issues with the 737 Max.

The planes have been grounded globally last March following two fatal crashes that killed all passengers…

“This airplane is designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys,” a chat message from April 2017 reads. Another message from the same exchange describes working on the plane as “patch[ing] the leaky boat.”

This is such a shit show,” one employee wrote to another on a chat system in mid-2018.

“Totally,” a colleague replied, “I’ll be shocked if the FAA passes this turd.”

Building crap – or just doing a crappy job of building something – means the same thing to the families of all the folks who died as passengers in 737 MAX crashes.

At least Boeing landed the Starliner OK

” Boeing Co’s Starliner astronaut spacecraft landed in the New Mexico desert on Sunday, the company said, after faulty software forced officials to cut short an unmanned mission aimed at taking it to the International Space Station.

The landing at 7:58 a.m. ET (1258 GMT) in the White Sands desert capped a turbulent 48 hours for Boeing’s botched milestone test of an astronaut capsule that is designed to help NASA regain its human spaceflight capabilities.

” “We hit the bull’s-eye,” a Boeing spokesman said on a livestream of the landing…

” The Starliner capsule was successfully launched from Florida on Friday, but an automated timer error prevented it from attaining the right orbit to meet and dock with the space station. That failure came as Boeing sought an engineering and public relations victory in a year that has seen corporate crisis over the grounding of its 737 MAX jetliner following two fatal crashes of the aircraft.

I watched live coverage of the portion of this adventure that was intended to include docking with the space station. Initial response by commentators may have oversimplified the “error” that made the linkup impossible. Essentially, someone gave the Starliner the wrong time zone for rendezvous with the ISS. Not the first time for an error like this. Might not be the last, either.

Muslim Engineer in Kansas sues Boeing Employees Association

❝ A judge has rejected a move by Spirit Boeing Employees Association seeking to dismiss the lawsuit filed by a Muslim aerospace engineer alleging discrimination stemming from a party at a Kansas lake.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled Tuesday that there remains a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Munir Zanial’s rights were violated on the basis of race, religion or national origin.

❝ The Malaysian national of Indian ancestry rented a pavilion at the group’s lake in 2017 to celebrate Malaysian Independence Day. The lawsuit alleges the association suspended his rental privileges and reported him to authorities.

It alleged an American flag had been desecrated by Islamic State group symbols. But the flag was actually a Malaysian flag and the guests included people of Malaysian Indian ancestry, some wearing hijabs.

Ignorance ain’t bliss, folks. In Kansas it apparently means you might suspect someone of being a dangerous conspiratorial terrorist. Not someone who honors the nation of his birth.

When the marketing department makes safety decisions


Click to enlargeMichael Tewelde/AFP

❝ The Boeing 737 and the Airbus 320 types are single aisle planes with some 150 seats. Both are bread and butter planes sold by the hundreds with a good profit. In 2010 Airbus decided to offer its A-320 with a New Engine Option (NEO) which uses less fuel. To counter the Airbus move Boeing had to follow up. The 737 would also get new engines for a more efficient flight and longer range. The new engines on the 737 MAX are bigger and needed to be placed a bit different than on the older version. That again changed the flight characteristics of the plane by giving it a nose up attitude.

❝ The new flight characteristic of the 737 MAX would have require a retraining of the pilots. But Boeing’s marketing people had told their customers all along that the 737 MAX would not require extensive new training. Instead of expensive simulator training for the new type experienced 737 pilots would only have to read some documentation about the changes between the old and the new versions.

That was a really sensible way to save on training costs, eh?

Thanks, Tom

Phony-Quality Steel scandal hits Boeing, Toyota, Nissan and more


Kobe executives now qualify for their own reality TV show

❝ Boeing, Toyota, Nissan and other big companies are scrambling to check the safety of their products after it emerged they had been supplied with falsely certified metal from Kobe Steel in a deepening scandal that has dealt a fresh blow to confidence in industrial quality controls in Japan.

More than a fifth of the value of Japan’s third biggest steelmaker was wiped off after trading resumed in the company following its admission of falsifying inspection data on an estimated 20,000 tonnes of metals shipped to about 200 customers in the year to August 2017.

❝ The steelmaker had sold metal with strength that did not match the quality standard it had promised its clients for use in products ranging from cars to aircraft. It warned at the weekend that the problems could stretch back 10 years.

❝ It is the latest in a string of scandals highlighting wider concerns about inspection and quality control in Japan from wobbly building pilings at the construction arm of Asahi Kasei to overstated fuel economy at Mitsubishi Motors. The Kobe Steel news came just days after Japanese carmaker Nissan was forced to recall about 1.2m vehicles that were inspected by unauthorised technicians.

Other companies affected by the Kobe Steel scandal include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, IHI, Honda, Mazda and Subaru. Kobe Steel said it had no evidence of any safety concerns as a result of the fraudulent certification.

If Japan can get away with corruption like this for a decade, it sets a new goal for Trump and his chump followers to try to match.

Boeing-Iran Deal for $16.6 Billion — unless Trump and his Republican flunkies screw it up

❝ The agreement Iran’s national carrier reached with Boeing to buy 80 aircraft valued at $16.6 billion is the first deal of its kind since 1979 — and one that will force Congress and President-elect Donald Trump to balance their diplomatic priorities with U.S. job growth…

❝ The pact reopens a market where Boeing hasn’t delivered a plane since 1977 — two years before a revolution roiled Iran and set off four decades of tension with the U.S. Those feelings still reverberate, with Trump critical of a nuclear accord that opened a path to the plane deal and the U.S. Congress considering legislation that could scuttle the transaction.

❝ Boeing noted that the deal was reached under the conditions of a U.S. government license issued in September and that the agreement with Iran Air will support almost 100,000 jobs in the U.S. aerospace industry. Iran is a critical market for Boeing in its competition with Airbus Group SE, said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst…

“Boeing can’t compete with Airbus if it can’t sell to places like Iran and China,” Thompson said. “Selling to Iran is a business imperative for Boeing.”

Iran – like the rest of the industrial world – realizes that Trump’s Amerika First policies in the hands of Congressional neo-cons and TeaPublicans are quite ready to cut off the noses, etc., of American workers to spite furriners’ business dealings with the United States. Fortunately, for Iran and other nations who might buy long-haul aircraft from Boeing there remains an alternative in Europe. A Europe unlikely to jump when ordered by Daddy Warbucks.

Who knows. Before Trump returns to counting money in his realty business, China might even have something to offer.

Boeing gets $2 Billion in bonuses for failed missile defense system

❝ From 2002 through early last year, the Pentagon conducted 11 flight tests of the nation’s homeland missile defense system. The interceptors failed to destroy their targets in six of the 11 tests — a record that has prompted independent experts to conclude the system cannot be relied on to foil a nuclear strike by North Korea or Iran. Yet, as The LA Times reports, over that same time span, Boeing, the Pentagon’s prime contractor, collected nearly $2 billion in performance bonuses for a job well done…

❝ An LA Times investigation by David Willman also found that the criteria for the yearly bonuses were changed at some point to de-emphasize the importance of test results that demonstrate the system’s ability to intercept and destroy incoming warheads.

Early on, Boeing’s contract specified that bonuses would be based primarily on “hit to kill success” in flight tests. In later years, the words “hit to kill” were removed in favor of more generally phrased benchmarks, contract documents show.

❝ L.David Montague, co-chair of a National Academy of Sciences panel that documented shortcomings with GMD, called the $2 billion in bonuses “mind-boggling,” given the system’s performance…

The cumulative total of bonuses paid to Boeing has not been made public before. The Times obtained details about the payments through a lawsuit it filed against the Defense Department under the Freedom of Information Act…

❝ By relying on bonuses, Montague said, the missile agency has effectively told Boeing: “We don’t know what we’re doing, but we’ll decide it together and then you’ve got to work toward maximizing your fee by concentrating on those areas.”

Um, where can I get a job like that?

This smartphone will self-destruct in 3… 2…1…


“What do you mean…sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander?”

Boeing has unveiled a smartphone that appears to come straight from a James Bond spy movie…In addition to encrypting calls, any attempt to open the casing of the Boeing Black Smartphone deletes all data and renders the device inoperable.

The secure phone marks an extension of the communications arm of the Chicago-based aerospace and defense contractor, which is best known for jetliners and fighter planes…

Boeing’s tamper-proof phone is aimed at government agencies and contractors who need to keep communication and data secure, according to Boeing and filings with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission…

Due to the phone’s security features, Boeing is releasing few details about the wireless network operators or manufacturer it is working with, and has not provided a price or date by which the phone might be widely available, but said it has begun offering the phone to potential customers.

Boeing’s website says the phone can be configured to connect with biometric sensors or satellites. Other attachments can extend battery life or use solar power…

“We saw a need for our customers in a certain market space” that Boeing could meet with its technology expertise, she said.

That’s a polite way of saying – “we already deal with the creepiest paranoids in the United States government. This is one more way we can rake in more taxpayer dollars.”

NSA/US spying screwed Boeing out of a multibillion-dollar contract


Click to enlarge – Saab Gripen

Brazil had been struggling for years to decide which company to choose for a $4 billion-plus fighter jet contract, one of the world’s most sought-after defense deals and one that would help define the country’s strategic alliances for decades to come.

But Rousseff, the leftist president known for being sometimes gruff and even standoffish with foreign leaders, was thrilled after a 90-minute meeting in Brasilia on May 31 with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

After Biden’s reassurances that the United States would not block crucial transfers of technological know-how to Brazil if it bought the jets, she was closer than ever to selecting Chicago-based Boeing to supply its fighter, the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

“She’s ready to sign on the dotted line,” one of her senior aides told Reuters at the time. “This is going to happen soon.”

And then along came Edward Snowden.

Documents leaked by the former National Security Agency contractor, released in the weeks after Biden’s visit, ended up enraging Rousseff and completely changing her plans, several Brazilian officials told Reuters.

On Wednesday, she surprised the defense and diplomatic worlds by tapping Sweden’s Saab to supply the jets, a move aides said was made in part as a deliberate snub to the United States.

The decision was one of the biggest and most expensive consequences yet of the NSA revelations, which have strained Washington’s relations with countries around the world.

RTFA. Long with lots of detail. Including official reasons for the change in plans – and excuses from American politicians. All crap.

Boeing would have had the contract, thousands of jobs would have had added security, investors and workers alike would have profited. But, the legitimate anger against indiscriminate spying by the NSA creepshow working away like a horde of criminal elves in every presidential workshop since Reagan – brought a result that shouldn’t have been a surprise. Not since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on Spies, Incorporated under the NSA/United States banner.

Please, don’t kid yourself into thinking this is a one-off. Every US headquartered company that’s trying to export something will be asked by every prospective customer – do your products come with a built-in backdoor for the NSA?

All the paranoid accusations made by Congress since the earliest days of the first Cold War have come home to roost like magnetic chickens.

X-48C aircraft flight testing campaign comes to an end

The flight testing campaign of the X-48C Blended Wing Body (BWB, aka Hybrid Wing Body) research aircraft kicked off on August 7, 2012, at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. Eight months later the campaign has come to a close with the 30th and final flight carried out on April 12. NASA plans to use the data gathered over the campaign to aid in the design of future “green” airliners that are quieter and more fuel-efficient than conventional aircraft, while Boeing is touting the design’s potential military applications.

Unlike flying wing designs such the Stealth Bomber that lack a definitive fuselage, BWB designs have separate wing structures that are smoothly blended into a flattened and airfoil-shaped body. The purpose of the recently-completed flight testing campaign was to establish base data relating to the lift, stall and spin characteristics of the BWB design that promises increased fuel economy and range due to the entire aircraft contributing to lift generation…

In an effort to reduce the X-48B’s noise profile and study its low speed stability its wingtip winglets were moved inboard on either side of the engines – effectively turning them into twin tails – its fuselage was extended at the rear by about two feet (0.6 m), and its three 50-pound thrust jet engines were replaced with two 89-pound thrust engines. The result was the X-48C, which boasts the same 21-foot (6.4 m) wingspan and approximate 500 lb (227 kg) weight as the X-48B that made 92 flights between 2007 and 2010.

In the evolution from X-48B to X-48C, the aircraft’s flight control system software was also modified to account for the different handling qualities of the two models. The team says this enabled a stronger and safer prototype flight control system that is suitable for future full-scale commercial blended wing aircraft…

“We have accomplished our goals of establishing a ground-to-flight database, and proving the low speed controllability of the concept throughout the flight envelope,” said Fay Collier, manager of NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation project. “Very quiet and efficient, the hybrid wing body has shown promise for meeting all of NASA’s environmental goals for future aircraft designs.”

We probably won’t see anything looking like this in passenger/cargo/civilian aircraft for a couple of decades. And Boeing admits their first probable customers will be Uncle Sugar’s Air Force.

Which means you and I get to pay for them instead of some airline. Still – it is an interesting looking critter and hopefully produced research which will aid all aircraft construction.