Fasten Your Seatbelts, Boeing

Fasten your seatbelts

Tiger Beat (emphasis mine):

“The Federal Aviation Administration is facing its greatest crisis in years, as multiple investigations seek to understand what went wrong at an agency that spent the past decade amassing what had been considered the best aviation safety record in the world.

“That record is now tarnished, after a total of 346 people died since October in two crashes involving the Boeing 737 MAX — a plane the agency approved after allowing the company to conduct much of its own oversight of the certification process, under a regulatory strategy Congress has repeatedly endorsed. And the scrutiny comes as the FAA nears its 15th month of waiting for President Donald Trump to nominate a permanent leader.”

So self-regulation doesn’t work? I’m shocked. Speaking of being shocked, I’ve not seen any official word from Transportation Secretary Elaine Chau, wife of amply be-chinned Mitch McConnell.

Being the child of lawyers this liability analysis in the LATimes caught my attention:

“Boeing’s risks might be rising after a report in the Seattle Times that the company’s safety analysis for the airliner’s new flight control system had crucial flaws. Much of the legal liability depends on the findings of investigators, as well as the contracts Boeing has with airlines that purchased the planes.”

As most stories about legal liability, this is kind of bloodless to put everything in terms of dollars, but it also (of course) is about guilt; if you are not guilty of anything there will be no awards.

The story goes on to list the cascading damages besides the victims of the plane crashes. You see, the airlines of the grounded planes can sue Boeing for lost revenue while the plans remain grounded (and presumably for any loans to buy the planes), and of course the airlines of the crashed planes can sue as well. And then there’s all the potential cost recovery when someone loses the case. The victims families can sue the airlines of the crashed planes, and the airlines can sue Boeing, and…

This has ripples that extend way beyond the obvious, but it really all comes back to allowing companies to self-regulate, which puts it at the feet of Congress. And as I’m sure we’ll learn soon enough that this specific self-regulation scheme came while Republicans were running roughshod over common sense, claiming that the Invisible Hand wouldn’t allow companies to do something so bone-headed as to not perform due diligence.

So by their philosophy, Boeing is in the soup because of market forces. Therefore, Boeing should not get bailed out by the US gubmint. Hahaha, but of course they will be bailed out. Corporations are people, my friends! Look to see who is owned by Boeing.

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9 Responses to Fasten Your Seatbelts, Boeing

  1. MDavis says:

    So… … Boeing was allowed to do their own quality control, cradle to grave (no outside oversight, IOW) because it should make obvious sense to make sure that the moral and financial mess that you describe does not come about due to your company’s negligence. Said Republican congress, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Hmm.
    Compare and contrast to known actions of stock market and CEO geniuses, like Romney and his rapacious company. No oversight needed there as long as the stockholders are happy, right? But the stockholders are to be appeased even if it means selling off everything the company needs to continue to do business and make a profit, as long as that was a really good quarter.
    I claim it is the same attitude, a short-sighted attempt to make this a good quarter; which translates, in the case of the Boeing thing – maybe – a short-sighted attempt to keep the boss happy by not finding anything wrong because finding stuff wrong at that level could be expensive. Or maybe a short sighted attempt to qualify for the profit-share bonus this quarter because you know an entire rework of the 737 MAX would really cut into the profits that are bonus-shared…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Batman 54 says:

    It’s the Demmycrats fault!!!! They didn’t stop us.


  3. milordcutter says:

    “Corporations are people, my friends!”
    If corporations are people, and the stockholders own the corporations, then the people that are stockholders are people that own people. Isn’t there another word for people owning people?


  4. FELINE MAMA says:

    What exactly does TS Ms. Chau do? Curious. Never hear about her. Then again, maybe, there’s a reason.


  5. Astamari says:

    There were actually two issues involved 1) the due diligence and lack of FAA regulatory oversight that you mention and the general GOP dislike of regulations of any type (except for reproductive rights, of course). But also 2) pilots were given no training and, in fact, were not even informed that new software had even installed and then when that software misperformed, they didn’t know what to do.

    The 737 is 50 years old this year. Boeing has been tinkering with the plane for years to make it go farther, be more fuel efficient and make it more automated. One of the reasons for the new software is that Boeing installed much bigger engines on the plane to extend its range. This has made the plane more inherently unstable.

    But Boeing won’t design a new plane instead of endlessly tinkering because that costs money. That doesn’t mean old airplane models should always be discontinued. That old workhorse, the DC 3 was developed in 1934, 85 years ago and still sees service to this very day even though new planes stopped being made in 1947. The plane is simple, sturdy and can take off and can land anywhere (on land that is). nearly half of original planes are still in service. I used to travel on them when I was in the Peace Corps. Perfectly fine plane (and that was Ethiopian Airlines, BTW). The 737 is a different story.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Randall says:

    346 people died on these planes – we’ve got to DO something!
    Over 30,000 people died from firearms in the USA last year – – – thoughts and prayers.


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