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Wed Oct 2, 2019, 01:03 PM

Boeing whistleblower: 737 safety improvement nixed over cost

SEATTLE — Seven weeks after the second fatal crash of a 737 Max in March, a Boeing engineer submitted a scathing internal ethics complaint alleging that management — determined to keep down costs for airline customers — had blocked significant safety improvements during the jet’s development.

The ethics charge, filed by 33-year-old engineer Curtis Ewbank, whose job involved studying past crashes and using that information to make new planes safer, describes how around 2014 his group presented to managers and senior executives a proposal to add various safety upgrades to the Renton-built Max. Ewbank now works on airplane systems integration for the Everett-based 777X program.

The complaint, a copy of which was reviewed by The Seattle Times, suggests that one of the proposed systems could have potentially prevented the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people. Three of Ewbank’s former colleagues interviewed for this story concurred.

The details revealed in the ethics complaint raise new questions about the culture at Boeing and whether the long-held imperative that safety must be the overarching priority was compromised on the Max by business considerations and management’s focus on schedule and cost.

Managers twice rejected adding the new system on the basis of “cost and potential (pilot) training impact,” the complaint states. It was then raised a third time in a meeting with 737 Max chief project engineer Michael Teal, who cited the same objections as he killed the proposal.

https://www.heraldnet.com/business/boeing-whistleblower-737-safety-fixes-were-nixed-over-cost/

That's what happens when bean counters run the company.

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