more boeing trouble
December 16, 2019

With possible regulatory approval still months away, Boeing will suspend the production of its grounded 737 MAX jet, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The model hasn't been in the sky since March following a fatal crash in Ethiopia that month and another in Indonesia in October 2018, both of which resulted from a faulty software update. But the aerospace giant was continuing to churn out the 737 at a rate of 42 planes per month, creating a backlog of 400 jets while government agencies try to gauge when it may be safe to fly again.

Ultimately, the build-up of undelivered planes proved costly for Boeing, so a temporary pause in production was ordered. It's unclear how long that could last, but no layoffs are expected at Boeing itself. However, the Journal reports the decision will still likely "reverberate throughout the U.S. economy." That's because in addition to the 12,000 or so workers at Boeing's 737 assembly plant in Renton, Washington, the plane's construction also supports thousands of jobs across 600 suppliers and hundreds of smaller firms in the global supply chain. Some of those jobs could be in jeopardy, and one estimate has the production freeze shaving off 0.3 of a percentage point from GDP growth in the first quarter.

"It would be hard to have any single company stop the production of a single product and have it hit the economy as hard as this would," said Luke Tilley, the chief economist at investment-management firm Wilmington Trust. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell

June 27, 2019

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a tweet Wednesday that it had found a new flaw in Boeing's grounded 737 Max jets that could delay the return of the once top-selling planes to the air.

The FAA said it discovered the "potential risk" in simulator tests. The regulator did not provide further specifics but said "Boeing must mitigate" the problem. The FAA previously said it could approve by late June changes Boeing made to fix problems suspected of contributing to two fatal crashes in recent months. Airlines once hoped they would be able to return the Boeing 737 Max airliners to service this summer, but the date has been pushed back to later in the year. Harold Maass

June 2, 2019

A new report from The New York Times reveals Boeing's construction of its 737 Max airplanes was even more head-scratching than initially thought.

The design flaw in the planes which led to two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia in recent months, can reportedly be traced to a breakdown late in the plane's development, which was rushed to begin with as the company sought to compete with a new model of planes from its main competitor, Airbus. Test pilots, engineers, and regulators told the Times they were not aware of a late-stage "fundamental overhaul" to an automated anti-stall system that is believed to have played a role in both crashes.

Those who spoke with the Times said they did not understand the changes, which reportedly removed some of the data and a critical safeguard from the first iteration of the software, leading them to make critical decisions under misguided assumptions. They said the malfunctions could have been avoided if the changes were made clear. They also reportedly worked on the plane under a "compartmentalized approach" with individuals working separately on smaller parts, rather than as a cohesive unite, leaving them without a complete view of the software. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

May 4, 2019

A chartered Boeing 737 airplane carrying military personnel and civilians skidded off the runway at the naval air station in Jacksonville, Florida, and into the St. John's River on Friday evening after flying in from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. All 143 on board were rescued, though 21 were transported to local hospitals to treat minor injuries. Navy security and emergency response personnel were on the scene.

The captain of the plane, Michael Connor, described the safe landing as a miracle. "We could be talking about a different story this evening," he said. "So there's a lot to say about the professionalism of the folks that helped the passengers off the airplane."

Officials did not immediately say what caused the plane to leave the runway, but an investigation is underway.

Boeing has faced scrutiny recently after two of its planes — both the same model — crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia, possibly due to software malfunctions. Tim O'Donnell

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