Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 12, 2019

Boeing Foresees Return Of The 737 MAX In November - But Not Everywhere

The Boeing 737 MAX was expected to be flying again in October. Yesterday Boeing's CEO Dennis Muilenburg pushed that date to November:

Boeing chairman and chief executive Dennis Muilenburg on Wednesday reiterated his projection that, despite concerns publicly expressed by Europe’s air safety regulator, the 737 MAX should begin to return to service around November.

This is unlikely to be the last change of the date. Muilenburg had additional bad news:

However, he conceded that lack of alignment among international regulatory bodies could mean that the grounded jet may first resume flying in the United States, with other major countries following later.

“We’re making good, solid progress on a return to service,” Muilenburg said, speaking at a Morgan Stanley investor conference in Laguna Beach, Calif. He later added that “a phased ungrounding of the airplane among regulators around the world is a possibility.”

The "phased ungrounding" means that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration would certify the plane as being safe while other regulators would still not do so. U.S. passengers would be asked to fly on a plane that the rest of the world would still consider too unsafe to fly. 737 MAX flights from the U.S. to other countries would still be grounded as would the by far largest part of the total fleet in Europe and China.

It is doubtful that insurance providers, U.S. airlines, their passengers and their pilots would welcome such a "phased" move. It is an extremely risky behavior. Any accident during that time, no matter for what reason, would bring the affected airline, Boeing and the FAA into even deeper trouble.

It is likely that Boeing and the FAA would like to blame the foreign regulators for making late or unreasonable demands. But the history of the two deadly 737 MAX accidents and the development since prove that only Boeing and the FAA are to blame for this.

The Muilenburg statement followed a September 3 presentation (pdf) by the chief of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Patrick Ky for the European parliament. It documents how EASA early on told the FAA and Boeing what it would do before allowing the plane back into the air.


On April 1 EASA set 4 conditions:

  1. Design changes proposed by Boeing are EASA approved (no delegation to FAA)
  2. Additional and broader independent design review has been satisfactorily completed by EASA
  3. Accidents of JT610 and ET302 are deemed sufficiently understood
  4. B737 MAX flight crews have been adequately trained

The most important statement in the above is that EASA will not rely on the FAA's judgment of the 737 MAX flight safety but make its own one. This is the consequence of the FAA's delegation of certification authority to Boeing and its very late grounding of the plane.

Ky openly blamed the FAA for giving too much authority to Boeing:

“Yes, there was a problem in this notion of delegation by the FAA of the MCAS safety assessment to Boeing,” Ky told the EU Parliament committee.

“This would not happen in our system,” he insisted. “Everything which is safety-critical, everything which is innovative … has to be seen by us and not delegated.”

EASA tasked 20 of its experts, test pilots and engineers with the review of the 737 MAX. They evaluated 70 test points and in June and July performed simulator test flights. Significant technical issues were found and communicated to Boeing in early July. Solving these issues is a condition for the plane's re-certification:


These are:

  • Lack of exhaustive monitoring of the system failures resulting in a stabiliser runaway
  • Too high forces needed to move the manual trim wheel in case of a stabiliser runaway
  • Too late disconnection of autopilot near stall speed (in specific conditions)
  • Too high crew workload and risk of crew confusion in some failure cases, especially Angle of Attack single failure at take-off

Boeing was expected to provide solutions for each of these issues.

But in a August 2019 meeting of international regulators Boeing failed to present them:

Friction between Boeing Co. and international air-safety authorities threatens a new delay in bringing the grounded 737 MAX fleet back into service, according to government and pilot union officials briefed on the matter.

The latest complication in the long-running saga, these officials said, stems from a Boeing briefing in August that was cut short by regulators from the U.S., Europe, Brazil and elsewhere, who complained that the plane maker had failed to provide technical details and answer specific questions about modifications in the operation of MAX flight-control computers.

As a consequence of Boeing's unwillingness EASA went public with its demands by putting them into the above presentation. Even under political pressure there is no way EASA can now go back on them.

EASA will have its own pilots doing the certification flights on the revamped 737 MAX. They will test it with the modified MCAS as well as without it. They will also test the other points EASA listed.

The flight safety regulators do not provide technical solutions for the problems they find. They only tell Boeing to provide and implement designs that satisfies a regulator's demands. If any of the points above is not satisfactory solved EASA will not allow the 737 MAX to fly in Europe. Other regulators like the Chinese CAAC will likely follow EASA on the issue but may also add additional points. Some 80% of Boeing's single aisle planes are sold into foreign markets. These will not be allowed to fly until the EASA's and others' demands are satisfied.

Boeing has so far provided a solution for the Flight Control Computer problems. It has yet to improve the confusing alarms, crew procedures and the associated training. Boeing does not want mandatory simulator training for new 737 MAX pilots and the FAA seems to agree with it on that point. But Canada already said that it will demand such training and EASA and others are likely to do the same. Boeing has given no appropriate response for the Angle of Attack integrity issues. EASA wants a third AoA sensor or an equivalent technical solution. The manual trim wheel problem, which also applies to the older 737 NG type, is also still an open issue.

Muilenberg does not seem to understand (pdf) that Boeing has to do more about these issues than 'answer questions':

Rajeev Lalwani Analyst, Morgan Stanley & Co. LLCQ
... we've all seen the added sensor chatter. So we'd love for you to clarify what is and isn't accurate.

Dennis A. Muilenburg Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, The Boeing Co
[...] we're going to respect individual questions from different regulators and EASA has brought up some questions and that we're working our way through. I wouldn't see those as divisive. I just think those are questions that we need to answer as part of the process. And questions around things like angle of attack, system design. Recognize that our architecture on Boeing airplanes is different than Airbus airplanes. And that's always been a topic of discussion; that doesn't necessarily mean hardware changes. In some cases, those questions can be answered with simulation work or software updates or process updates. So there's no specificity on answers. They're just question areas that we work our way through as part of the normal certification process. So I would describe it that way. I think we've got to pay attention to it, lot of work to do to answer questions. But everyone's motivated to work together here and it creates timeline uncertainty.

The lack of AoA sensor redundancy and the blocked manual trim wheel need technical solutions. "Answering questions" will not provide those. I for one can not see that EASA or CAAC will let Boeing get away with this.

Muilenburg's admission that the plane is not ready for international certification is devastating news for the company even as he tried to sell its as progress. The FAA might lift the grounding of the plane under political pressure but other regulators will not follow through. The public uproar that will be caused by that will make it nearly impossible to sell tickets for 737 MAX flights.

Even if Boeing finds solutions that international regulators can finally accept, their implementation will take additional months. The AoA sensor and trim wheel issues will likely require hardware changes to the 600 or so existing MAX airplanes. The demand for simulator training will further delay the ungrounding of the plane. There are only some two dozen 737 MAX simulators in this world and thousands of pilots who will need to pass through them.

These technical and organizational problems have all been known for several months. EASA and others pointed them out early and often. But Boeing is still dragging its feet instead of solving them. The delays caused by this unreasonable behavior risk the company's sales, reputation and maybe even its existence.

Previous Moon of Alabama posts on Boeing 737 MAX issues:

Posted by b on September 12, 2019 at 14:51 UTC | Permalink


Muilenburg lives in cloud cockoo land! This is definitive proof that he urgently needs to be sacked. To say he is incompetent would be a gross understatement - he is off the scale. If investors are satisfied with answers like this, they fully deserve to lose their investment.

The foreign regulators walked out because Boeing wasn't willing to provide answers to questions - and yet Muilenburg thinks Boeing is ready to fly?

Basically what he is saying is that Boeing can solve all the 737MAX problems by bullshitting. Nothing else required. Is anybody going to agree with that? Anybody? Anybody? Well, anybody's cat then?

If Boeing makes no serious effort to satify the EASA requirements, there is absolutely zero chance it will fly even in the US, and even with absolute maximum pressure from the US government to restart flying - because other parties like pilots union etc will block it.

Posted by: BM | Sep 12 2019 15:40 utc | 1

This situation is an absolutely brilliant comment on the problems of the financialisation of Boeing. Nobody could have asked for a clearer statement than this.

Boeing has gone into self-destruct mode.

Posted by: BM | Sep 12 2019 15:45 utc | 2

Boeing is a classic example of what happens when you let the bean counters (a.k.a. "financiers") who know nothing about the engineering and manufacturing processes within a company take over that company. Workers get laid off, engineering and manufacturing is outsourced, regulations are disregarded, but hey, PROFITS GO UP, stock price goes up, share buybacks, multi-million dollar bonuses for the bean counters running the company!! It's all good, right? Well, er no... Safety goes out the window and planes fly themselves into the ground.

Posted by: Greg | Sep 12 2019 16:00 utc | 3


Your reporting on the 737MAX has just been awesome.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 12 2019 16:13 utc | 4

They say that if you were to go back in time with an elephant gun, and shoot a dinosaur right thru the heart, It would take some time for the head to get the messages it was dead....

Same with Boeing.... It's dead.... It just has not fallen down dead yet...

Boeing HAD a very small window to avoid self inflicted death... That window closed.

Smart money is on a big fall for them.

Posted by: Masher1 | Sep 12 2019 16:15 utc | 5

Americans will be proud to give their lives in order to protect corporate bonuses at Boeing.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Sep 12 2019 16:22 utc | 6

Thanks again b for your ongoing coverage of the financialization death of Boeing

@ Masher1 # 5 who wrote
Smart money is on a big fall for them.

The current role for Muilenburg is to stall long enough so that the Smart Money folks can offload their ownership before the crash comes. The gut and run strategy is SOP for the financialization folk, ask Mitt Romney.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 12 2019 16:25 utc | 7

If the FAA certifies the planes American Airlines and United will be the first to put them back in service.

An update from American....

Posted by: dh | Sep 12 2019 16:43 utc | 8

Boeing's failures go beyond the 737MAX and include a recently cancelled $6+Billion contract to supply vital components to the USAF's hypersonic missile program, which set it back a few more years. This report's about the KC-46 continuing problems:

"Boeing’s troubled KC-46 Pegasus refueler and transport plane may have yet another design flaw. The Pentagon barred it from flying passengers and cargo after locks on one aircraft opened on their own."

The plane wasn't grounded but is prohibited from being used as a transport. The article also reviews more of its problems. Boeing's 777 also has issues and here we see early signs of Boeing management's ineptness--perhaps the fine should have had 3 additional zeros added to it to get the proper response? There are many more problems with Boeing products when one searches for them. It ought to be clear that the entire management team at Boeing needs replacing.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 12 2019 16:47 utc | 9

Also interesting that Boeing has more trouble (again) with the Boeing KC46.

"Boeing’s troubled KC-46 Pegasus refueler and transport plane may have yet another design flaw. The Pentagon barred it from flying passengers and cargo after locks on one aircraft opened on their own.

Numerous cargo locks on the floor of one KC-46 unlocked several times during a recent test flight."

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Sep 12 2019 16:53 utc | 10

Karl beat me to it :D

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Sep 12 2019 16:53 utc | 11

@dh - If the FAA certifies the planes American Airlines and United will be the first to put them back in service.

I doubt it. United will wait for EASA. There is a simple reason for that. United is codesharing with Lufthansa and other international Star Alliance airlines.

If one books a flight from Germany to some smaller city in the U.S. the first leg is usually on LH and the second a codeshare flight with UA.
Can LH sell tickets for such flights when the second leg is on an uncertified (for Europe) MAX?
How will its insurances and reinsurance cover that?

All such co-operations and agreements are only possible when regulators agree.

Posted by: b | Sep 12 2019 16:56 utc | 12

They need more Indian programmers for $10/day each.

Hire a couple hundred more of those, and it will be over in no time.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Sep 12 2019 16:59 utc | 13

"Lack of alignment of regulatory agencies" translates to ..... we at Boeing whine that our ability to bribe the FAA doesn't apply worldwide, and we repeat our calls for One-Stop-Shopping for buying regulatory approvals. This would lead to higher efficiencies in our ability to bribe officials.

Posted by: Johnson | Sep 12 2019 17:03 utc | 14

@12 Thanks b. I didn't know about the LH connection. I assume all the updated 737 Max planes will only be used on domestic flights by American, United and Southwest (which owns more Maxs than anyone).

Posted by: dh | Sep 12 2019 17:05 utc | 15

We need a new term for this sort of thing - 4th World? If these things get back in the sky there will be protests. This is exactly the sort of thing that will have Americans cancelling their trips to DisneyWorld and writing to their congressmen. Maybe it's what we need. Unfortunately it probably won't happen. Next month there'll be another press release pushing it to December and so on, until the mess is ironed out I mean bailed out.

Posted by: sejomoje | Sep 12 2019 17:07 utc | 16

Boeing is Too-Big-To-Fail. Should such a prospect occur, we'd see their pet Congresspeople and Senators demanding that the taxpayers bail out the company. National Security would be given as the reason. Now that the industry has consolidated to the point where there are only a couple of airplane manufacturers for military contracts, the taxpayers will be told that it is impossible to allow one of them to fail. If you are an American taxpayer, expect to be grabbed by the ankles, held upside down and shook until even the last penny has been removed from your pockets.

Posted by: Johnson | Sep 12 2019 17:08 utc | 17

In Europe, the "political pressure" would be applied in favor of Airbus.

Posted by: Johnson | Sep 12 2019 17:13 utc | 18

Boeing Co.’s troubled 737 Max jets are unlikely to return to service until early 2020 as regulatory authorities in the U.S. and Europe remain divided and the planemaker has yet to submit its finalized software fix planned for this month, according to Barclays.

Europe's aviation safety watchdog will not accept a US verdict on whether Boeing's troubled 737 Max is safe. Instead, the European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) will run its own tests on the plane before approving a return to commercial flights.

The European Aviation Safety Agency plans to send its own pilots to the U.S. to conduct flight tests of Boeing Co.’s grounded 737 Max jet before it is returned to service, it said Tuesday.

Boeing's travails show what's wrong with modern capitalism. Deregulation means a company once run by engineers is now in the thrall of financiers and its stock remains high even as its planes fall from the sky

Posted by: Sergei | Sep 12 2019 17:16 utc | 19

The 737 Max’s return risks accidentally breaking the aviation industry. The industry is beginning to game out the potential unintended long-term consequences the events of 2019 will have on the business of commercial aviation.

Posted by: Sergei | Sep 12 2019 17:22 utc | 20

The only reason the 737 MAX is not dead yet is because Boeing is an American company. Any other country (specially Russia and China), they would've already been banned and slapped with insurmountable fines.

The 737 MAX's problems comes from its design and are unsolvable. The only way to unground it is through a cultural revolution in the West, where deaths by airplane become morally acceptable again. But that in itself would require billions of dollars spent in propaganda for decades, so the Law of the Tendency of the Profit Rate to Fall stands.

Posted by: vk | Sep 12 2019 17:23 utc | 21

Boeing has struggled since two crashes of its 737 Max aircraft led to the plane being grounded indefinitely. Still, analysts at Morgan Stanley think the company can recover and rally to $500 per share over the next 12 months. Morgan Stanley expects Boeing to post solid earnings growth, especially after the 737 Max is returned to service, which could be as soon as October.

Posted by: Sergei | Sep 12 2019 17:25 utc | 22

Not to imply that the Boeing "errors" and the very early jet airliner "Comet" are even remotely similar... However the outcome may be similar?

Let me sketch the deal>

Comet was a very good airplane. However the holes for the rivets holding it together (particularly 'round the windows) were punched, not drilled. The result was crack fatigue failure of a generally catastrophic character. Bang. they crashed. there's a wiki

" windows had been engineered to be glued and riveted, but had been punch riveted only. Unlike drill riveting, the imperfect nature of the hole created by punch riveting could cause fatigue cracks to start developing around the rivet. "

The Comet got fixed. The RAF flew them until recently, Excellent airplane. But...

But nobody would buy a ride ...

Posted by: Walter | Sep 12 2019 17:39 utc | 23

Sweep this under the rug:from Deattle Times]

"Mark Forkner, Boeing’s chief technical pilot on the MAX project......

"Forkner suggested to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that MCAS not be included in the pilot manual...The FAA, after internal deliberations, agreed to keep MCAS out of the manual...

"Boeing won the FAA’s approval to give pilots just an hour of training through an iPad about the differences between the MAX and the previous 737 generation. MCAS was not mentioned."

Here, read it for yourself:

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 12 2019 18:04 utc | 24

i agree with the idea of boeing being too big to fall...boeing = ltcm... we know what the ponzi scheme did with that one..

Posted by: james | Sep 12 2019 18:10 utc | 26

The notion that Boeing is going to "fail" in any form of short term timeframe is ridiculous.
Even if the 737 never flies again, Boeing still has its other defense and existing commercial planes to sell parts, services and updates for.
Equally, there is very much a duopoly in commercial aircraft. There is literally no one else that has the capacity to replace Boeing's 737 - and I'm sure Boeing is counting on that. Even Airbus doesn't have the capacity to replace Boeing 737s.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 12 2019 18:23 utc | 27

How Boeing Public Relations handles the situation--

1. Do not mention it.
2. If you have to talk about it, gum* it to death.

* gum it to death, e.g., see quote from Muilenberg near end of b's post, above.

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 12 2019 18:23 utc | 28

Systemantics by John Gall describes Boeing today, it is an organization satisfying its own needs.

Posted by: old Bill | Sep 12 2019 18:40 utc | 29

@ 27 "The notion that Boeing is going to "fail" in any form of short term timeframe is ridiculous."

Very recently Keiser Report evaluated the company has having a net value of less than zero, and that they were one new loan from failing to make payroll.

Maybe he has another opinion... That the MIC will keep a moribund corpse animated, for a time... Maybe!

Posted by: Walter | Sep 12 2019 19:09 utc | 30

I would rather walk than fly 737 Max. The plane is a death trap.

China and Russia both have new airliners that can fill the niche of the 737 Max and probably much much safer too. Western airlines may not buy them but BRICs countries will.

Posted by: Jerry | Sep 12 2019 19:54 utc | 31

Presumably not all Congressmen fly Lear Jets. They will be paying attention to Boeing's response and their constituent's emails.
I don't understand the air force response to the cargo plane issues. Only put pilots at risk?
Do military planes also have to pass FAA certification? (Such as it is?) If so, how did the KC pass inspection?
If not, who insures their planes are air worthy?

Posted by: CD Waller | Sep 12 2019 20:07 utc | 32

Hi Walter

Re the De Havilland Comet.
You are right, it was a brilliant airplane. Unfortunately at the time metal fatigue was a problem which was not understood in the context of pressurised aircraft.

What is interesting is how the British responded to the Comet's fatigue related explosive depressurisation troubles. Everything (and I mean everything) was grounded. Everything included many other aircraft types as well. The government ordered all development projects for new aircraft types at the time halted and then that they be reviewed. Even after that those projects could not proceed until the problems of the Comet were understood and could be solved [to demonstrate how severe the government's reaction was, consider that within the Bristol group of companies was a car building division and its forward model programmes were stopped and could not be restarted until the government rescinded its blanket bans- Bristol cars were affected since they were a part of an aviation organisation and the government's orders did not make distinction between cars and planes unfortunately].

The trouble was that even though the fatigue problem was subsequently understood and design amendments were arrived at to make Comet safe, that took time. In that time the British aero industry lost the lead it had built up across all commercial passenger aircraft sectors, not only for pressurised-cabin jet-propelled passenger aircraft but for everything else as well. Every project and new type launch was delayed, even including non-pressurised aircraft! Time passed quickly.

Boeing 707 arrived and took the market which could have already been partially populated by Comet aircraft. The mighty turbo-prop Bristols and others that were delayed similarly found themselves being launched into crowded markets where competitors already had a firm toe-hold. It was too late to get the sales they were intended to achieve. This set back was never able to be recovered. The take home is that the British government fatally wounded the British commercial aviation industry.

The Comet went on to a long life in civil and military aviation with the last passenger variant retired from regular timetabled commercial service in 1980 and the very last of the Comets flying retired in 1997 (there may have been a few historic and commemorative demo flights since but if there were they were not commercial service). The public certainly did buy tickets to fly Comet. It was a great aircraft and passengers had confidence in it. The trouble was that not that many got sold, since by the time they did re-enter the market the airlines were already running (and buying) 707s. It was too late!

So here we are watching Boeing burning. This time it is a problem which should never have occurred in the first place as the technical knowledge to avoid it existed (Comet was exactly the opposite situation). Boeing ought to review the 757 and 767 and do a modern version of one (or both) of those.

Posted by: Siotu | Sep 12 2019 20:21 utc | 33

..[A]n absolutely brilliant comment on the problems of the financialisation of Boeing. Nobody could have asked for a clearer statement than this. Boeing has gone into self-destruct mode. by: BM @ 2 <= did you mean self-denial mode..

Boeing is a classic example ... by: Greg @ 3 <=of what happens when the local national government imposes on those it governs sufficient market exclusivity, and near exclusive access to the purse of the local national government, so that one and one company, can produce anything. Without competition, there is no incentive for its products to be incentive for its products to be efficient, because the government in partnership with its private monopoly company will bail out the private market partner using tax payer money.

The notion that Boeing is going to "fail" in any form of short term timeframe is ridiculous.
Even if the 737 never flies again, Boeing...there is literally no one else that has the capacity to replace Boeing's 737 - and I'm sure Boeing is counting on that. Even Airbus doesn't have the capacity to replace Boeing 737s. by: c1ue @ 27

EZ allows no competition, takes no prisoners, takes or destroys all that might some day be competition..
B's journalism it a world class performance.

Posted by: snake | Sep 12 2019 20:36 utc | 34

Siotu | Sep 12 2019 20:21 utc | 33

The 767 has morphed into the KC-46 so they have done a lot of that work already, but it is a bit big. More puzzling is why the didn't take the 757 design forward.

Posted by: JohninMK | Sep 12 2019 20:51 utc | 35

Ah siotu, so quick to blame the British Government for acting in the interest of public safety, but no condemnation of boeing for ignoring public safety. I get the picture but I prefer to read Goebbels.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 12 2019 20:53 utc | 36


That is a good question.

757, why not?

Posted by: Siotu | Sep 12 2019 21:08 utc | 37

757 - beautiful plane. Still being used by quite a few airlines. Trump's personal plane is a 757. He at least has good taste in planes.

737 Max? Bag of shit.

Posted by: Jerry | Sep 12 2019 21:12 utc | 38

I hope they go bankrupt.

Posted by: William H Warrick | Sep 12 2019 22:16 utc | 39

>>>> dh | Sep 12 2019 16:43 utc | 8
Did you read the updates/dates?

An Update on the Boeing 737 MAX
Updated Sept. 1, 2019 at 9 a.m. CT.
Cancellations extended through Dec. 3
Updated July 14, 2019 at 9 a.m. CT.
Cancellations extended through Nov. 2.
Updated June 9, 2019 at 9 a.m. CT.
Cancellations extended through Sept. 3.
Updated April 14, 2019 at 9 a.m. CT.
As we prepare for summer, our focus is around planning for the busiest travel period of the year. Families everywhere are counting on American Airlines for their summer vacations, family reunions, trips to visit friends and adventures overseas. Our commitment to each other and to our customers is to operate the safest and most reliable operation in our history.
Updated April 7, 2019 at 9 a.m. CT.
American continues to await information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), other regulatory authorities and Boeing that would permit the 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in our fleet to resume flying.
Updated March 14, 2019 at 4 p.m. CT.
On March 13, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all U.S.-registered Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, including the 8 and 9 variants, as a precautionary measure. This includes the 24 MAX 8 aircraft in the American Airlines fleet. We are complying with the FAA directive.

Somehow I don't think American are going to be the first to fly their 737Max.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Sep 12 2019 22:41 utc | 40

Dennis Muilenburg's Wikipedia entry shows that his total compensation package in 2018 was US$23,392,187. The source is Bloomberg.

With that level of comfort for himself and his family, Muilenburg sure can afford to live in Tierra de los Cuckoos de la Nube.

One really has to wonder who Boeing Corporation's shareholders and investors are, that they tolerate such huge salary and compensation packages for senior people like Muilenburg while engineers, designers, technicians and factory-floor workers maybe don't get the pay or the working conditions they deserve. But I would not be surprised if most of Boeing's shareholders turn out to be the very senior corporate execs who borrow money from Wall St banks to buy shares in the company and expect workers to sacrifice parts of their own compensation packages to pay back the interest on those loans.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 12 2019 22:41 utc | 41

@ Siotu | Sep 12 2019 20:21 utc | 33 (Comet)


You may know the movie, vaguely derivative of Comet>

"No Highway" Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich and other stars - on YT

I am ashamed I was too brief. And it is worth considering that the long term effect was to really hurt the UK airplane industry. Perhaps 40 years ago I was working with GE on a "go fix your screw-up" job on a cogen extraction turbine at a sawmill in Oregon. My engineer and I spent several happy hours drinking and chatting - after I found the sabotage (woodruff keys deliberately left out dust control rotary valves)---anyway "H.C." told me several things from his old days with GE, and jobbing around with several employers - right after the Korean war and through to our time together.

One was about repowering the Constellation airliners with GT's - and what went wrong with that > "alloys not suitable" ie metallurgic incompatibility. However it may be that the motivation was fear that there might be a Comet-type failure it wasn't worth the risk. I don't know if there really was an issue with the Connie getting repowered - but they thought there was or might be. I understand that super DC 3's are, some, GT, but they're nonpresurized, and tough.

Another was an isotope separation method that I have never again heard of - but he said it worked, simply not economic (though what's "economic" about making "poot"?) I looked into it as theory. It's slow, but probably could be improved. Other than that it is not good to say.

Yet another about the hypersonic (?) re-entry shape that they dropped on near zero at Kwaj. (in the 1960's). I think it was pretty heavy...see Boeing X 20 @ wiki - what he spoke of was a 1/4 size (?) test vehicle shape, ie preliminary work, shooting from Vandenberg. I wonder if Boeing kept the data they had when X20 was cancelled.

Do read the X20 wiki...nazi boffins to us boffins to intercontinental rocketbomber...what a career to brag about in Hell!

Posted by: Walter | Sep 12 2019 22:43 utc | 42

I suspect that Trump has the political chops to avoid pushing this with the FAA and foreign safety agencies. I'm not so sure about the #resistance. I can well see the Democrats complaining that Trump hasn't applied pressure.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Sep 12 2019 22:45 utc | 43

Ghost Ship @ 40:

We'll need a new description for the shade of deep blue that will have appeared on the faces of the PR spin doctors of AA and United Airlines by the time the FAA gives the Boeing 737MAX aircraft the all-clear to fly again.

I suggest that with your monicker being Ghost Ship, you go first to say what that colour should be called.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 12 2019 22:53 utc | 44

@ 40 The AA update was Sep 1st ....that's a couple weeks ago. But who knows. I just assume AA and UA have better contacts in the FAA than I do.

So If AA aren't the first to fly the 737 Max who do you think will be? Nobody ever is one option of course.

Posted by: dh | Sep 12 2019 23:28 utc | 45

I am ssurprised that airlines are not forcing Boing to take back their defective product of deception and irresponsible behavior. Boing acted with malfeasance.

Posted by: jared | Sep 12 2019 23:36 utc | 46

Mao, the problem was not with the programmers (Indian or any other nationality). The problem was with the design! The programmers just coded what the design called for. Boeing engineers specified how the software was supposed to work. Boeing engineers made the decision to use ONLY ONE of the two AOA sensors that are already on the plane. Boeing engineers made the decision NOT check the data from the AOA reading for "sensibility". (The last AOA reading on the Ethiopian Air was 70 degrees! 70 freaking degrees, that's near vertical. No way could a commercial jet ever have an angle of attack of 70 degrees!) Boeing engineers made the decision to keep overriding the pilot and pointing the nose down, multiple times. Those were all poor (disastrous!) design decisions on the part of Boeing. Now you could say that if Boeing had had in house programmers programming the design MAYBE one of those programmers would have raised a red flag. Maybe they would have thought to included a data sensibility check (even though it was not included in the design). Maybe. But the was not faulty programming, it was a very poorly thought out design.

Posted by: Greg | Sep 12 2019 23:41 utc | 47

There's no mention of the 286 processor issue. Why?

Posted by: Stephen Morrell | Sep 12 2019 23:48 utc | 48

If it were a hot rodded MG with a big block V8 it would be dangerous due to design, rather as Covair fixum via computational add-on would be possible, except just don't start the engine...

Naturally there's latent antipathy, and that's capitalized by political engines - but the fundamental is the flying machine 737 NFG is intrinsically dangerous due to a positive feedback loop, either through the computer or directly due to CG being such that it tends to stall. This is Wright Brothers stuff...

Posted by: Walter | Sep 13 2019 1:22 utc | 49

re an obscure isotope sep method...

I recall refs about Philip Abelson's LiquidThermalDiffusion method at Phila. Navy Yard. Expensive and inefficient but worked to supply early amounts of [low] enriched-235. Rumors were that those early amounts were enough to demo by 1944 feasibility of [terribly] low-yield implosion device that was stashed away as back-up in case hi-yield gadgets failed.

re Operation Paperclip and nazi-typeboffins. I think there is recent inquiry of that matter and the number of paperclips went into the 1,000's. Just unverified talk on web at this point. But hey!, best and brightest albeit evil can elevate one above the rat race. I'm sure can be justified in at least 10,963 survival-of-fittest ways.
And that's just by 3rd-rate lawyers.

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 13 2019 1:29 utc | 50

Boeing’s travails really lays-out the consequence of supremacy of multi-national corporations over governments in the West and the Elite’s absolute contempt for the riff-raff. Exploitation and cost cutting enrich the wealthy at the expense of safety and the environment. Laws were tossed aside to enable it. However; tariffs, nationalism and the restart of the Cold War have intervened. In the Empire’s homeland the 737 Max may well fly passengers again but overseas its safety will have to be proven. Like Brexit, this illuminates the need for the people to regain control over their lives from the criminal cartels that control the American and British governments. If 80% of the projected 737 Max production cannot be sold this will have huge adverse impact on workers, Boeing and the American economy.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Sep 13 2019 1:39 utc | 51

There is a legendary and semi-mythical creature that the common folk and their superstitious storytellers call the "Free Market".

In recent decades it has rarely if ever been seen, but one such sighting of this endangered species occurred very shortly after the grounding of the Boeing plane, when online booking sites very quickly added a sorting filter to their platforms, allowing consumers to select manufacture and model of plane as part of their booking choice.

It's very easy to imagine that the directors of Boeing could wish that the economic propaganda and monopoly hold over US consumers were better than it is. Such a loophole in the corporate sway over the market as to allow some competition in the area of consumer choice was perhaps unforeseen. One can imagine the US government trying to close that loophole by dictat, but we shall see.

Many people suggest that the US population is so propagandized that it will gladly buy its own demise. But we shall see, and we shall learn something from this.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 13 2019 1:39 utc | 52

Boeing is in the business of 'death from the skies'. This is part of it.

Posted by: bjd | Sep 13 2019 1:58 utc | 53

Company founder v hired-CEO:

They have no skin in the game of quality and integrity, as the founders typically have in their acts of creation [at least in Capitalist propaganda]. It is in the nature of founders' culture.

Hired CEOs' skin is unlike founders' skin. It is typically "rake-in as much as possible while i'm in this position, then i'm outtahere and devil take the hindmost". That make sense in the nature of hirelings culture.

Is this too simple?

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 13 2019 1:58 utc | 54

Here's the big conundrum as far as the test pilots who will be responsible for re-certifiying this airplane.

Let's recall that the large diameter engines, mounted higher and farther forward caused a pitch instability at high angle of attack.

This was the reason for MCAS to begin with. The airplane's control yoke REDUCED backpressure as that stick was held back, rather than it is supposed to. This is because of the big engine nacelles actually creating a lift force at high alpha, thus reducing the balancing force required on the elevator in the tailplane and thus reducing force on the stick. This is a bad and even dangerous trait for an airplane, because the pilot feeling the controls going light is going to want to pull back more...possibly putting the wing into an aerodynamic stall and losing control of the airplane.

Now this part of the the envelope does not happen in routine flight and requires a steep bank angle to reach that high alpha. But it is part of the flight envelope and a wind shear event, or even a strong gust, or the need to turn sharply in an emergency situation are all scenarios where such a flight condition could come into play.

Test pilots are also highly qualified aeronautical engineers and they go by formal handling qualities measurements called the Cooper-Harper scale.

A rating of 3 is the lowest possible that is acceptable. Obviously the test pilots working on the 737 MAX sent the airplane back as unacceptable, because the MCAS authority was GREATLY EXTENDED after those initial test flights found it lacking. By a factor of four times in fact, as well as the ability to command MULTIPLE times the movement of the tailplane.

This is drastic surgery that tells someone experienced in this science that the original MCAS 'lite' drew a very poor score on that rating scale.

So now the 'fix' is going to be reducing MCAS authority, presumably back to the original MCAS 'lite'...perhaps even less?

The question now is how are those test pilots and flight test engineers [especially the ones from the FAA and EASA and other countries' aviation regulators] going to square this circle?

If the plane handles lousy in a critical corner of the envelope [perhaps even dangerously lousy]...and the new and greatly reduced MCAS authority doesn't do much to fix that...then how do you sign off on that and say it's good to go?

There has actually been a lot of shuffling among the Boeing flight test department, with test pilots and engineers departing or being reassigned. Some of these former Boeing test pilots and engineers have come out and spilled a lot of beans.

This does not look solvable to me. We have to keep a close eye on this 'fix' as it unfolds...and we have to be sure that the test pilots, especially the government ones, aren't pressured to sign off on an airplane that does not measure up.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 13 2019 2:01 utc | 55

I want to edit my last:

Company founder v hired-CEO:

They have no skin in the game of quality and integrity, as the founders typically have in their acts of creation [at least in Capitalist propaganda]. It is in the nature of founders' culture.

Hired CEOs' skin is unlike founders' skin. It is typically " 'They' put me here. Rake-in as much as possible while 'they' keep me here", [then i'm outtahere and devil take the hindmost]. That makes sense in the nature of hirelings culture.

Is this too simple?

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 13 2019 2:03 utc | 56

The belief that EASA will resist on re certification until boeing fixes all the problems is based on an erroneous belief that EU agencies are more caring and less corrupt than US agencies. The original euro certification gives lie to that premise.
Muilenburg is sticking to his guns because he knows that the history of regulation within neoliberal environments supports him.

Of course EASA is going to hold out seeming to want more in europe than the US, this is an essential Modesty Panel for an organisation whose petticoats have been shewn to be grimy, and of course a signal to boeing that they must up the ante on their backhander.

For those not paying attention neoliberal regulation works efficiently for regulator, corporation and politician by containing many poorly drafted variables. The corporation submits their idea/service/product and it is initially knocked back, the corporation then approaches regulatory body (which until the Max contretemps was most usually the FAA for aviation matters because it had been successful in 'persuading' euro-pols that EASA was too close to Airbus to be truly objective) and assorted regulators are promised jobs in the US industry on completion of regulatory agency tenure.
Next neolib pols stick their paws out for their emoluments prior to agreeing that corporation has made all changes necessary.

This is how regulation works in an allegedly deregulated market and nothing coming outta Brussels, Seattle or DC in the last 12 months contradicts that view.

Boeing are pissed that they are going to cop a lot of new expenses (presumably EASA regulation will also become much more hands-on for military aircraft and with the extortionate fees weapons makers already have to pay decision makers, boeing are gonna take a huge hit long term) while the euro regulators are busy negotiating their new fees structure, but boeing going down the gurgler is unthinkable as it suits none of the greedies.

The new 'costs' will be factored in to new contracts but since that isn't the case with the MAX the negotiation will be more rigorous than usual but it will not end in the collapse of boeing.
In the end all this will be sorted because the ultimate goal is to get euro snouts in a trough sufficiently deep to give the few a good long guzzle. No guzzle at all has never been considered a viable option.

Posted by: A User | Sep 13 2019 3:00 utc | 57

flankerbandit@56 - Good post, flakerbandit. This issue has been swept under the rug by Boeing lawyers for obvious reasons: THERE IS NO REPROGRAMMING FIX for MCAS authority/force/persistence curves. EASA (and presumably the FAA) know this. MCAS-lite didn't work before and it won't now. Boeing arguably compounded the problem by making MCAS more aggressive as a cheap 'fix'. If they have to do anything outside of the MCAS tables (they will), it will mean an exponentially-increasing amount of redesign and retesting.

Boeing engineers already know this - the directors of Boeing's business and finance divisions still have no clue. And who would want to be the Boeing engineer today that tells the directors that uncomfortable fact? None of them are even bothering. They're dragging their feet on proposing any kind of fix because there is none. Boeing's response: keep shuffling engineers until one is clueless enough to 'find' a cheap, easy fix. At which point, Boeing leadership will proceed to dump all their Boeing stock and options as fast as the market can absorb them.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Sep 13 2019 3:35 utc | 58

Paveway IV @59 & flankerbandit @56--

Some of us at the beginning of this excellent FUBAR example said there was no fixing the MAX--it needed to be completely redesigned: Period. Myself, and presumably those who held that position, have yet to see any reason to alter our judgment. The recent string of additional Boeing SNAFUs serve to confirm that judgment. Unfortunately, I've not seen one case where Neoliberal dogma was defeated by the moral requirement to serve the public's interest. So, I predict the 737MAX Death Trap will be deemed worthy until it kills again.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 13 2019 4:55 utc | 59

This Boeing crash and burn failure syndrome has gotten way out of hand.

Maybe time to form the Boeingboro Baptist Church to picket the funerals of the fools who were sacrificed to the Boeing Bottom Line of Satan. Yeah picket the funerals.

That will surely get some additional airtime.

Posted by: blues | Sep 13 2019 5:05 utc | 60

So it is possible that the FAA will recertify but the 737MAX but the EASA will not.


Under those conditions how long will it take the Trump administration before it imposes economic sanctions on the EU?

A day, maybe? A week, perhaps?

Plan A will be to use the threat of sanctions to cower the EASA into folding.

Plan B will be to use sanctions to grind the Airbus assembly line to a halt and, eventually, to ground Airbus planes as they come due for their scheduled maintenance.

After all, there probably are numerous US-made components in the Airbus A320....

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Sep 13 2019 5:14 utc | 61

"Phased ungrounding"?
The US regulators and Boeing
will come up with a
"market solution" I am sure:
tickets on a 737MAX will sell
with a (big?) discount. And the
stupid public will buy it.

Posted by: Oscar The Red Cat | Sep 13 2019 5:58 utc | 62

Plan B will be to use sanctions to grind the Airbus assembly line to a halt and, eventually, to ground Airbus planes as they come due for their scheduled maintenance.
Posted by: Yeah, Right | Sep 13 2019 5:14 utc | 62

The problem with that scenario is that with Boeing 737 deathtraps removed from the market for safety reason, there will be a shortage of short-haul aircraft which can only (at present) be satisfied by Airbus. If Airbus is taken out by sanctions, it will hit all airlines including US airlines.

My ground assumption is that the 737 MAX is unfixable, and any counterargument to that is going to be impossible to support with evidence.

Posted by: BM | Sep 13 2019 6:07 utc | 63

Planes in the A320 family are produced in France, Germany, China, and the US. Two out of the four largest users/customers are in the US and the other two are in China. At least that's what Wikipedia says and they tend to be a year or two behind on any technical and economical stuff due the to the documentation requirement but that is a good thing for a reference work which is what they aim to be (nobody consulted the Encyclopedia Britannica for the latest and greatest, only to "dip their toes" "wet their tongue"* on a subject).

* Much more Moo-appropriate :D

(Is it okay to use the S tag even though it's not in the list of allowed tags?)

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Sep 13 2019 7:34 utc | 64

Excellent reporting on Boeing, B.

The 737 max has a design problem and is highly unlikely , that it will ever be solved. There appears to be no reprogramming fix possibility for the MCAS. Left options facing Boeing are bankruptcy or being taken over by the US government. "Too big to fail " is not going to fly.

Posted by: Friar Ockham | Sep 13 2019 8:01 utc | 65

Thank you chu teh #55 and 57 Not too simple .. precisely the problem.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 13 2019 8:53 utc | 66

On the subject of useless aircraft I just noticed this humorous tale regarding the F35 [very stealthy] aircraft.

I had to read this twice to see if it was not a 9/11 black joke.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 13 2019 9:15 utc | 67

@ chu teh | Sep 13 2019 1:29 utc | 51

Philly Navy Yard TD project was, I believe, useful - they had a boiler testing facility that they adapted.

Not the same method. Vastly more efficient. Also slow. And dangerous.

Posted by: Walter | Sep 13 2019 10:23 utc | 68

@62 " If Airbus is taken out by sanctions, it will hit all airlines including US airlines. "

That rather assumes rational thinking on the part of the Trump Administration, doesn't it.
Gee, not sure I'd bet on that being true.....

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Sep 13 2019 11:22 utc | 69

@62 "The problem with that scenario is that with Boeing 737 deathtraps removed from the market for safety reason, there will be a shortage of short-haul aircraft which can only (at present) be satisfied by Airbus."

I started my post with the proposition that the FAA will allow the 737MAX to fly but the EASA will not.

So the base assumption is that the 737MAX will NOT be removed from the American market, but it will be removed from the European market.

If that is the case then US retaliatory sanctions against Airbus can be spun as
a) teaching those cheese-eaters who is boss and
b) allowing Boeing to recover its balance sheet by moving all those 737MAX's it *can't* sell into the European market over into the US short-haul market to replace the A320NEO's that Trump will be grounding.

The overseas (i.e. foreign) short-haul carriers get screwed, sure, but who cares, serves them right, we are locked out of that market anyway, etc.

The domestic (i.e. American) short-hail carriers replace all their A320s with 737s, thus Making America Great Again!

Not saying its ethical.
Not saying its logical.
Not saying its economical.

But it'd be just the thing that Trump could spin, spin, spin as a YUUUUGE win for America.
MAGA! MAGA! MAGA! F**k you Frenchies. Up yours Jerry! Take that, Dutchies!

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Sep 13 2019 11:41 utc | 70

India just said they will also do their homework by themselves and only after FAA will have declared the 737MAX fit to fly again:

Posted by: Laurent K | Sep 13 2019 12:28 utc | 71

@ flankerbandit | Sep 13 2019 2:01 utc | 56...

Very thoughtful remarks. It does occur to me that if Raygun had not done the job on PATCO and if the pilots' union was strong...they'd refuse to fly 'em.

The scenario about using them in USA and so forth, yeah, nuts, but probably happen. Good thoughts.

But back to reality. How indeed will any qualified key person sign off?

Somehow the Fukushima Method may be employed. The FM consists of simply lying while quietly changing the "acceptable standards" of exposure.

And, not too sarcastically here, by blaming others - thus escaping the matter of fixum - this being the Pharmacos Fallacy in Rhetoric...and the pilots will take the blame, after all, if the machine is known to be unsafe, and you fly anyway, well, that's --- (drum roll please!) "pilot error", ain't it?

If they can BS about the 911 games, they can fake the 737 about as well.

P T Barnum put it another way.... Just by the entrance, just inside they set up a big beautiful sign with an egret on it, and an arrow pointing toward a gate. The sign said... "This Way to the Egress"

It was the exit, of course... PT didn't need a sucker twice.

Posted by: Walter | Sep 13 2019 12:31 utc | 72

Lots of folks here are asserting that Boeing is much too big to fail, and will not be allowed to fail.

But that could be dead wrong. Those 737-MAX crashes may well mark the utter end of Boeing. And maybe it will not come to pass that the US somehow manages to bail out Boeing. There is a two edged sword in play here. It could turn out that Boeing will totally collapse, and then cause the entire US system to collapse right along with it.

Posted by: blues | Sep 13 2019 14:02 utc | 73

Some excellent comments here. Also b's reporting has been excellent but his spiel about the honest EASA is totally ridiculous (and he is even of European extraction so he should know the name of corruption).

For me the best comments are: Paveway IV @59, flankerbandit @56, Vietnam Vet @52 and BM @1.

Finally, let me repeat myself from the previous comments on the topic: 737Max is unfixable but it has now become a matter of the survival of the fittest. Sucking up shit from the Main Sewerage Media on behalf of Greed Inc (aka "elite") could never remain cost free in the long run, even though superficially it appears to always come at the expense of some "shithole country" (you know Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen ... an endless list of those that the Imperial US takes a dump on). The essential law of lying is that lies spring back. Eventually, constantly eating the MSM shit served springs back on its local self-confident imperial consumers and only those resistant to it survive. 737Max is not the only one such situation, there will be many more bigger ones as the decline pans out. But it is a wonderful case study of the symptoms of the decline: $24M per year for an utter shyte of an answer, passing time whilst waiting to be bailed out by the dumb rubes.

Posted by: Kiza | Sep 13 2019 14:39 utc | 74

@ Paveway IV 56 and karlof 1 60

One only need look at the evolutionary physical growth of the 737 over its last four generations spanning 50 years.

The original dash 100 had a max takeoff weight of just 110,000 lbs, about the same as a commuter jet of today, or a long-range bizjet. The MAX is nearly double that at 195,000 lbs. Engine power has also doubled.

Passenger capacity has increased from 103 to 204...all on the same diameter fuselage tube and the same basic airframe...just the wing was finally enlarged by about 35 percent on the NG series that came out in 1997.

I can't think of another passenger jet that has doubled in mass and capacity on the same basic airframe. This airplane should have been completely redesigned a long time ago, with the NG. So yeah, there is no band-aid fix available at this point.

The only question is whether another catastrophe looms in the wings, so to speak.

@ Walter 73

You are absolutely right about blaming the pilots. This is standard operating procedure nowadays.

I used to have great faith in the professionalism of the NTSB accident investigators until it became impossible to ignore that they were bending over backwards to avoid blaming the giant manufacturers.

The pilots' union is doing the best they can. The senior reps have been quite frank and outspoken to the major media and have pulled no punches.

I can tell you that there was a lot of consternation in the unions right from the get-go and that Indonesian crash...but the rank and file were told to keep quiet until more hard data emerged, which it did after the Ethiopian crash. That was well handled by the unions.

There are also a segment of pilots who are grumpy about the grounding because their flying hours have taken a hit. That is just the way it goes. Not everybody will ever be on the same page.

Bottom line is that it's a very good thing that the pilot profession still has a union. Considering the nonstop, decades-long anti-union propaganda in the US that has gained a lot of traction with ordinary folks who would actually benefit most from having a union and all the pay and benefits that go with that...well it is enough to sometimes just give up on the intelligence of the average American.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 13 2019 15:05 utc | 75

Has America Become One Of The Most Evil Nations On The Entire Planet?

How will history remember us? As Americans, we like to think that we are a light to the world and that other countries should be using us as a model for how to properly do things. But the truth is that we have become unspeakably evil, and after reading this entire article I doubt that there will be anyone that will disagree with me. And while it is certainly true that there are quite a few other nations that are also tremendously evil, none have fallen harder or faster then we have. At one time America truly was “the hope of the world”, but now just about every form of wickedness that you can possibly imagine is exploding all around us, and very few of our national leaders seem to care.

The first example that I would like to discuss is something that came out in court on Thursday…

Posted by: t r u t h | Sep 13 2019 15:07 utc | 76

If there's a silver lining to this black cloud of corruption and Regulatory Capture by commer$ial interests it's this...

"As a consequence of Boeing's unwillingness EASA went public with its demands by putting them into the above presentation. Even under political pressure there is no way EASA can now go back on them."

This move indicates that EASA's bigwigs think the EU's politicians are every bit as corrupt as AmeriKKKa's. It's EASA's way of blackmailing them into foregoing bribes/ inducements.

On the other hand, if EASA was squeeky clean and relentlessly front & centre then the Dutch and Oz would never have had the gall to exclude Malaysia from the "official" MH17 inquiry and try to blame Russia.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 13 2019 15:51 utc | 77

CEOs Abandon Ship: Record 159 CEO Exits in August as Overall Layoffs Surge

CHICAGO, September 11, 2019 - Increased churn continues at the chief executive position, as employers at U.S.-based companies announced 159 chief executive officer changes, the highest monthly total on record, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Last month's total was 28% higher than the 124 CEO exits announced in July. It is 3% higher than the 154 CEO changes announced in the same month last year, the previous highest monthly total. August marks the seventh time this year that CEO changes were higher than the corresponding month one year earlier.

So far this year, 1,009 chief executives have left their posts, 15% more than the 879 CEOs who left the top spot at companies through August 2018. It is the highest total of CEO exits in the first eight months of a year since Challenger began tracking in 2002.

Chief executives are leaving at a faster clip than even during the recession. In 2008, the next highest year for CEO turnover, 992 CEOs had announced their exits through August, 2% lower than the current year-to-date total.

"With growing uncertainty surrounding global business and market strength, the fact that so many companies are choosing this moment to find new leadership is no coincidence," said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Challenger tracks CEO changes at companies that have been in business for at least two years, with a minimum of ten employees.

Posted by: Royal Knights | Sep 13 2019 16:05 utc | 78

When I first flew back in the 1950s every airport had little kiosks where travelers could buy flight insurance.

I suppose one can still buy such insurance on-line, but do travelers still do this?

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Sep 13 2019 17:42 utc | 79

@Walter @50

I have fond memories of an MG TF with a small block Chevy 327. Licensed and streetable. Every minute it rolled without something bad happening was a miracle. No one expected an uneventful ride.

A few weeks ago had breakfast with a group of buddies who ride pushbikes together. About 15 of us. 737MAX had had an episode of being in news. One guy said he wouldn't fly in one again. Shouted down. All the rest proclaimed their total faith in Boeing, American aviation, the FAA. I kept quiet. By a score of roughly 13-2 the problem did not exist. All well informed persons in their 50s and 60s, all Democrats, all true believers in 'Murica.

Posted by: oldhippie | Sep 13 2019 17:50 utc | 80

@81 oldhippy

Baby boom democratic party faithful are beyond hope. They swim in a sea of delusions fed by mainstream media and NPR. Joe Biden is a decent man, Obama was a revolutionary, the wars are all noble, and what's good for Wall Street is good for America (and their 401K plans) etc etc etc. Conservatives of a libertarians bent are far easier to reason with even if they have zero class consciousness and cannot fathom public systems being better in some cases. At they care about individual freedom and know that TPTB are not working in their interests. American liberals are simply a lost cause and will be sheep to the slaughter when their financial situation is shredded in the upcoming fiscal recession/depression/holocaust. After that they might be worth arguing with, but I would not bet on it, even then.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Sep 13 2019 18:41 utc | 81

Well, yes.

Which is why Boeing gets away with it. Which is why Boeing is a dead man still walking, rather than already buried. I should have added most of these guys fly very often on business and they will put their lives where their foolishness is.

Posted by: oldhippie | Sep 13 2019 19:05 utc | 82

You are absolutely right about blaming the pilots. This is standard operating procedure nowadays.
Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 13 2019 15:05 utc | 76

Isn't it surprising there were no accusations of pilot suicide against the Indonesian and Ethiopian 737max pilots? That is Boeing's standard fallback - and airbus too for that matter, though especially Boeing. Perhaps there was just too much immediately available evidence from communication with traffic control for the suicide accusation to fly. Other pilot-victims were not so lucky.

Posted by: BM | Sep 13 2019 19:42 utc | 83

Boeing is not doing well with its new KC-46 tanker for the Air Force.
WASHINGTON: The Air Force and Congress are simply sucking up the latest calamity to befall the KC-46 tanker, with representatives on both sides of Capitol Hill — and the prospective new Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett — expressing support for the beleaguered program.
“There is no other option at this point,” explains Todd Harrison, the director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). “The Air Force needs new tankers, and Boeing is the only one making them.” . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 13 2019 22:56 utc | 84

Old hippie @82
Oldhipie, that is exactly what I called the survival of the fittest - 13 out of 15 are not fit to survive because they suck up the MSM shyte of the parasitic “elite”, although it could also be a little bit of lying amongst “friends” to put someone else’s family on the 737Max chopping block. Not a completely bad evolutionary strategy, watch what they do rather than what they say.

For exactly the same reason that 737Max happened in the first place nothing with it can change now - it is a systemic issue. Could you even imagine Boeing all of a sudden turning to making its planes honestly? Why would they do that when it has the US Government to apply sanctions or send a carrier group or two?

Posted by: Kiza | Sep 13 2019 23:19 utc | 85

Posted by: Johnson | Sep 12 2019 17:08 utc | 17>

Johnson, If no airline buys the planes Boeing make then no income from the commercial arm equals a massive drop in income then small enough to fail.

2: The KC-46 issues, The contract for the refuelers was originally won by Airbus. Boeing kicked up such a fuss the contract was reissued and (you guessed it) Boeing won the contract. So now the Airforce, Navy and Army have a substandard refueller floating around up in the sky (or will have if enough moulah is issued to the right hands) This is called killing your own kind by default. not a good look for the military, when word gets out (not just this aircraft I mean all the substandard equipment being issued to service personnel) Eventually no one wants to join, then thats a whole other story.

Posted by: KamNam | Sep 14 2019 0:14 utc | 86

KC-46 issues stem from the fact that its designers attempted to make a multitask airplane--tanker and transport. No other airplane attempts to do that. USAF tried to get more use for its $$ but instead got a lemon costing far more $$.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 14 2019 0:46 utc | 87


Yup everyone involved the MIC is in it for the $$$, even for the lowly recruits, and now the military already have problems finding warm bodies to fill boots in relative peace. I reckon there will be a long line of empty queues and chirping crickets signing up for the empire's next military misadventure.

Posted by: JW | Sep 14 2019 3:35 utc | 88

"Why, of course the people don't want war . . . But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship . . . Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.." ---Hermann Goering, 1946

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 4:06 utc | 89

Retired Captain Kevin Sullivan has launched his new book No Man’s Land and has been conducting numerous national and international media interviews, advocating for automation failure training for pilots on all fly by wire aircraft. This noble man is speaking out, still while suffering the effects of PTSD. The two Sullys, Kevin Sullivan and Chelsey Sullenberger have created enormous awareness globally regarding the human impact of automation failure and that aircraft manufacturers can no longer assume because it is automated it is better. In particular they have spoken of the B 737MAX aircraft. Sullenberger recently released a testimonial in the USA about this aircraft. It takes great courage to speak out and I admire them both. They are aviation guardians. Point 4 of the EASA conditions is that B 737MAX pilots are adequately trained. This is the key point Captain Kevin Sullivan has been highlighting in all his media work. Read his book. It has been written as a record of events around automation failure onboard an Australian aircraft and to honour all the crew and passengers and those swift first responders who were there to assist.

Posted by: Fly girl. | Sep 14 2019 5:14 utc | 90

@88 karlof1 Untrue. The Australians fly a variant of the Airbus A330 that they use very successfully for both refueling and transport. It was that success that helped Airbus win the first USAF contract, only to have the decision, ahem, overturned "on appeal".

But it can be done, because Airbus has already done it.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Sep 14 2019 10:09 utc | 91

Many interesting and intelligent posts.

Certainly this highlights the utter fraud of Neoliberalism, the vile dogma of Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand and Paul Krugman (yeah really) that greed is all. Without some sense of honor, and patriotism, and duty, pure greed just results in a bunch of sharks ripping chunks of flesh out of each other. In many ways Boeing is not as bad as a lot of the rest of our corrupt society, it's just easier to notice the rot when the result is a plane falling out of the sky. Consider Boeing the tip of the iceberg.

On another note: even well designed airplanes will, now and then, fly into the ground. If/when the 737 Max is flying again, ANYTHING bad that happens will doom the aircraft. Boeing may well be too big to fail - or not - but the first couple of years after a 737 Max ungrounding will be a very, very delicate time.

And on another note: as corrupt as Boeing's management is, it remains true that modern jet aircraft are extraordinary achievements and even the 737 Max flew safely for an extremely large number of flights. But as the regulators dig ever deeper into the code, and push for ever more fixes, well... there is no such thing as a small change in code, and there is no real way to truly certify code of any complexity short of long-term experience in the field. If Boeing substantially rewrites the control software for the 737 Max, then for the first year after going back into service the odds are very good indeed that some new bug will have been introduced into the plane...

Posted by: TG | Sep 14 2019 10:11 utc | 92

This morning I see the WP touting the 737 "return to service" is "weeks away".

Well, they oughtta know, considering who they work for.

@ oldhippy...TR4 + 327 with AT...never finished. shouldda used a 302 or 289 - they fit better.

The magic fixum ? There's a list for the crashes causes for crashes to come> Spilled coffee. Electrical short. Pilot error. Birdstrikes. Sabotage. Blown fuse. Lunar efect. Menstrual cramps. Trimwheel bearing too tight. Putindidit. Mail in suggestions? Why not...

Posted by: Walter | Sep 14 2019 10:43 utc | 93

@ Posted by: TG | Sep 14 2019 10:11 utc | 93

The 737 MAX was launched in January 2016. That makes it two fatal accidents in two and a half years due to design flaws. Two accidents in 2.5 years is extremely high ratio and is unacceptable.

And we're talking only about accidents that involved fatalities -- who knows how many emergency landings, where the pilot bailed the plane out, happened that we don't know yet?

Besides, it's not like the 737 MAX is revolutionary -- on the contrary, it is a reactionary model (in reaction to the new Airbus model). If it was revolutionary, then maybe we could accept some deaths in the name of progress, but even this argument is not valid here.

The 737 MAX is a bureaucratic aberration: it only exists because Boeing wanted to avoid the pains of approving a new design with the FAA. They tried to put a big engine in a small chassis. There's no scientific achievement here -- and we have Airbus' rival model to prove that.

Posted by: vk | Sep 14 2019 13:55 utc | 94

@94: Headlines in 3 months

“Boeing 737 MAX to be approved by lunchtime”

At lunchtime: “737 MAX approval delayed due to regulatory stubbornness, CEO expects minor issues to be addressed by dinnertime”

(Why not? If it makes sense to increase stock prices in a 3 month time frame and damn the future, why not narrow the fiduciary event horizon to lunchtime?)

Posted by: Arakawa | Sep 14 2019 16:02 utc | 95

Arakawa | Sep 14 2019 16:02 utc

Excellent example of true "insider".

The ultimate "insider" knows, with real certainty, what exactly will happen at a predetermined time and place and some effect that will be caused, all of which enables some desired advantage to be gained [e.g., to increase stock prices].

It is simple and effective.

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 14 2019 18:52 utc | 96

vk | Sep 14 2019 13:55 utc only exists because Boeing wanted to avoid the pains of approving a new design with the FAA...

Boeing is a vital component of the AngloUS hegemon which, in operation, is senior to US sovereignty.

The 737MAX program has overwhelming effects on the world marketplace for human transportation, in terms of initial costs to produce and market compared to any competition.

This further enables corollary "opportunities" that ride on top of the widespread adoption, such as control of competition [Airbus.Bombardier,BRIC, etc including production of engines] worldwide.

Noteworthy, control of competition enables control of other governments in both helpful and nefarious ways. The global import/export trade is impacted and opened to secret wheeling/dealing of enormous proportion.

Any risks could be managed. The debacles of Vietnam War, Fukushima, San Onofre, 2008 global banking bail-out, et al demonstrated any fails could be managed. Even a worst-case scenario could be handled by propaganda like..."kill them all and let God sort them out".

Thus, the incentive to choose the 737MAX path, despite the risks obviously known to the tech insiders. All naysayers at any level were effectively neutralized.

737MAX program is hugely far.

The traps of mental derangement are insufficiently recognized.

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 14 2019 20:02 utc | 97

If the US wants to decouple the world economy, especially China, way to go with its most important export industry.

Posted by: fx | Sep 15 2019 8:16 utc | 98

Given incoming retaliation tariffs for Airbus subsidies the price for making 737MAX fly again in Europe will be exorbitant.

Posted by: pppp | Sep 16 2019 6:47 utc | 99

A friend responded to me with the following when I sent him a link to this Sept 12 article on the return of the B737 Max:

"The whole slant seems to be that the push of article-writers is that the manufacturer must make the plane idiot-proof; that is what I find most alarming. Every aircraft has its quirks and requires specific training to fly it properly, and I don't see the 737Max as being any different. North American pilots have flown these a LOT more hours/miles than either of the airlines that have crashed one-each, and the simple difference is in proper training and the resulting competence. It is only two airlines that have crashed them, and when one looks at the procedures they followed it leads to a head-scratching, 'WhyTF did they do that??' reaction.

I'm alarmed that the tone of discussion is tending towards Boeing having to build an airplane so that any Saudi half-wit terrorist, with nothing more than C172 training, should be able to fly one into a building--I don't want that. The plane has some special requirements due to the larger engines; 'deal with it'. The POM has the details in it, there should be no way that Boeing has to design the thing so that nobody has to learn anything beyond C172 competency to be able to fly it.

If we have a problem in aviation, it is not with the 737Max; it is one arising from there being so many airlines now flying so many passengers in aircraft so computer-controlled that the average quality of airline pilot has gone WAY down--you should hear the descriptions of airline pilots from my friend Boyd trying to find a competent FO for the G5. We need to fix that, not make the planes idiot-proof--because no matter what you do, 'along comes another idiot'.

Even a bottom-of-the-list pilot like me has listed in my log book that I'm checked out in a Fleet 80, C150, C152, C172, C180, and have controls time in a Hughes 500, a Hiller 12E, a Bell 206, and (the bragging-rights top of the list) De Havilland Single-Otter serial number 007. There is no way any of them, other than the 150 and 152, fly the same. In fact, even if you are stall-trained on only a C172 and enter a stall in a Fleet Canuck--you're gonna shit your pants.

The author makes a big deal about control-column pressures as if that's all a pilot uses to make control-input decisions. Shouldn't we expect that he/she should have an eye on airspeed? Another good example--a Hughes 500 has completely direct mechanical controls, no hydraulics. A Bell Jet Ranger has fully hydraulic-boosted controls, there is no feed-back pressure like in the Hughes no matter where or how much you move the cyclic. Which one is wrong?

I expect airline pilots to exceed my knowledge by a LONG way, but they are not--and the discussion like this is tending to make Boeing the villain, rather than the incompetent pilot."

Is he wrong?

Posted by: G Strebel | Sep 21 2019 3:42 utc | 100

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