Did Boeing hide a problem?

By Erik Dolson

How is it that communist China moved more quickly to protect their flying public by grounding the Boeing 737 Max than the Federal Aviation Administration moved to protect Americans? Why did the FAA wait until world condemnation drowned out their excuses?

It could not be because Boeing has the second largest lobbying budget in America, after AT&T, right? I mean, no company would put profit ahead of safety, right? Not here in America, where the free market all but guarantees that each and every company puts the welfare of customers over the bottom line, every time.

Like drug makers. Or insurance companies. Or Goldman Sachs. Monsanto. Though they might be tempted, they just wouldn’t.

But … Boeing? Boeing wouldn’t even be tempted, even after their move out of Seattle to Chicago.

Even as Republicans are ever more successful at dismantling agencies that protect Americans from corporate greed, there are limits to what those companies would allow, right?  Lead in drinking water? If you can’t taste it, you can ignore it. Pesticides and herbicides causing cancer? Wear thicker socks. Lethal paint strippers sold in Home Depot? Hold your breath during application. Air polution? Lower standards because Big Oil profits are threatened by electric cars!

Boeing 737s falling out of the air? We’ll wait for more information, the accidents look similar but may not be, pilots had concerns some time ago and we at Boeing were listening and apologizing! We were also making LOTS of MONEY but you need to believe us when we tell you that Safety is Our Number One Concern!

There was a time when heads of Japanese companies would commit suicide over disgracing their company and nation for acts similar to this. There was a sense of honor, and consequently, a belief in dishonor. Had Boeing done the honorable thing and immediately and voluntarily grounded its own fleet and admitted it failed to adequately inform and then train pilots in new systems, and possibly had a design flaw in their money making work horse, I’d applaud the company and government oversight.

But Boeing didn’t do that, and neither did the FAA. There was so much mistrust that the watchdog had been captured by the wolf that Ethiopia, site of the second crash (just a “shithole” country according to the man standing on the desk in the oval office and sending out scream-tweets), would not send the plane’s data recorders to the U.S. for analysis, but opted for France (home of Airbus) instead. We are definitely Making America Great Again.

Who at Boeing is responsible for decisions that led to the deaths of over 300 people in two aircraft accidents? Which executive made the call on limited training, on silence, on pretending that a software kludge made up for bad engine placement? Which engineer raised his or her hand and said, “This is not right.” We need names.

What communication occurred between Boeing and the FAA after each accident? What internal communications occurred within Boeing? Who wrote what to whom? It’s time for subpoenas. It’s long past time that we held individuals responsible for corporate malfeasance, and stopped slapping a corporate wrist. We need names.

There are executives at Wells Fargo who still have jobs, long after “new accounts managers” were fired for not foisting enough fake services on unsuspecting bank customers. We never got names.

But … Boeing?

If this is as bad as it seems, without parsing words or the utterance of greasy little excuses, it will be time for heads to roll, time for some executives to fall on their swords.

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About Erik Dolson

Erik Dolson is a writer living in Oregon

2 Responses to Did Boeing hide a problem?

  1. Jane Miller says:

    It’s sad, yet also telling, that there is a louder outcry against celebrity parents who buy their children’s way into college than there is to this abhorrent situation.

    Dante said there’s a special place in hell for those people who break a bond of trust. Boeing owes safety to those who trust the company enough to purchase tickets. If Boeing did what it looks like it did, a trust has been broken and the perpetrator(s) must face the consequences

  2. Erik Dolson says:

    Talked to a boater today whose was an airline pilot and whose brother was a top exec at Boeing. I told him I thought the company was guilty at least of hiding the problem, and I thought I’d get some push back.

    Instead, he said he would not fly on the 737 Max.

    The pilot’s seen it before, most often from Airbus. He’d actually had to file reports to the NTSB. Was told once by an airline to shut up and sit on information about a problem — and that led to a horrific crash in New York. He wept.

    I said, “we need names. Someone is guilty.” He agreed. He agreed that, especially after the Indonesian crash, somebody knew that there was a problem.

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