It seems like there’s no end in sight when it comes to the disaster which is the 737 MAX, as the plane has been grounded since March 2019 following two fatal crashes. Boeing now finally seems to be proactively cooperating with the FAA, realizing that trying to hide things and control the recertification timeline won’t get them anywhere.
Yesterday Boeing sent more than 100 pages of documents to the House and Senate committees regarding their probe into the 737 MAX, and this reveals more damning communication between Boeing employees.
“Clowns” and “monkeys” behind 737 MAX
Much of the 100+ pages of documents details internal communication between Boeing employees from 2017 and 2018, when the 737 MAX simulator was being developed and certified.
Here’s just some of the communication between Boeing employees that has been revealed:
- In March 2017 a senior person on the 737 MAX team wrote “I want to stress the importance of holding firm that there will not be any type of simulator training required to transition,” and that “Boeing will not allow that to happen; we’ll go face to face with any regulator who tries to make that a requirement” (this is in regards to the 737 MAX requiring separate simulator training, which Boeing was vehemently against as a money saving tactic, but which they’ve since changed their mind on)
- In April 2017 (a month after the first version was certified), one employee described it as having “piss poor design,” and another described it as being “designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys”
- In February 2018, one employee asked “would you put your family on a MAX simulator trained aircraft?” and the other employee responded “no”
What Boeing says about these revelations
Boeing has issued a press release regarding the latest communications to be made public, saying the following:
We regret the content of these communications, and apologize to the FAA, Congress, our airline customers, and to the flying public for them. We have made significant changes as a company to enhance our safety processes, organizations, and culture. The language used in these communications, and some of the sentiments they express, are inconsistent with Boeing values, and the company is taking appropriate action in response. This will ultimately include disciplinary or other personnel action, once the necessary reviews are completed.
Boeing also claims that the issues referenced in these communications “occurred early in the service life of these simulators,” and that major changes have been made since then.
At this point none of this communication comes as much of a surprise.
This entire 737 MAX fiasco has in my opinion done irreparable harm to Boeing’s reputation. For the longest time Boeing had a reputation for quality above all else, and I think in the minds of many, that’s no longer the case.
Admittedly this is a company with 150,000+ employees, and I believe most employees at the company care about the product and safety. But the fact that some employees had such major concerns about the quality of the product, and the plane was still put into service, speaks volumes about the company.
On top of that, it’s one thing if their response during the grounding had been good, but for months and months their sole focus was getting the plane back in the sky at any cost, rather than realizing the gravity of their mistakes.