CEO of Boeing Addresses Tough Questions on the Design of the 737 Max Plane
According to an online news report at gpbnews.com, 6 months following the first of 2 fatal crashes of 737 Max jets, the chief executive officer of Boeing was addressed with tough questions from Boeing shareholders as well as reports regarding the safety of these types of aircraft. The questioning occurred on Monday, April 29, 2019.*
According to the online report, the CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, adhered to the script in repeating the same phrase over and over again: that “the company ‘owns’ the responsibility to update its software, but does not precisely ‘own’ the disasters.”
The recent plane accidents involving the 737 Max jets are linked to sensor readings that were erroneous. However, Boeing asserts that it is only “one link in a longer chain of events,” and is not the proof necessary to demonstrate that there was a flaw in the aircraft’s design or due to a process that is broken.
The CEO addressed tough questioning at a “testy” press conference following a meeting of Boeing’s shareholders where there was a call to split the roles of the chairman of the board and the company’s CEO, both positions of which are held by Muilenburg. However, this proposal was not approved.
The company is under significant scrutiny due to the aircraft’s software system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, also known as MCAS. Boeing notes that the software is intended to augment the stability of the aircraft when it is “at an elevated angle of attack, so that it feels to pilots more like other 737s.”
"Pilots can override MCAS," NPR's Daniella Cheslow reported earlier this month. "But a lot of pilots say they didn't know the software existed until after the Lion Air crash. They say the manual did not explain it or provide explicit instructions on how to disable it."
In response, the CEO noted that "[t]here are multiple contributing factors. There are factors that we can control in the design and in this case that common link related to the MCAS system and its activation. We're going to break that link and this will prevent accidents like this from happening again."
In the meantime, all 737 Max jet plans continue to be grounded. Muilenburg indicates that Boeing is focused on getting them back in the air, safely. He also notes that Boeing will "do everything possible" to regain the trust of the public.
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Sources: https://www.gpbnews.org/post/boeing-ceo-faces-tough-questions-737-max-planes-design and https://www.npr.org/2019/04/03/709487222/pilots-split-over-faa-chiefs-claims-on-boeing-737-max-training