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Old 01-16-2020, 11:13 PM
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Boeing


I'm beginning to get sniffs and whiffs to the effect that there is a non-zero chance that Boeing may not be able to survive their current problems - generated by their dreadful miss-handling of the 737 MAX accidents, both before and after the crashes. I find this hard to visualize, but practically each day the Seattle newspaper has new revelations about Boeing and the disaster, absolutely none of which are positive WRT Boeing.

Evidently they have written off over 6 billion dollars, and it's not over yet. And their net sales are now in the negative - they have had more cancellations than they have had sales.

What do you Dopers think the betting odds are? Will Boeing survive? If they don't, the effect on Washington State (and particularly Seattle), will be unimaginable. I have a son-in-law that owns an auto repair shop in Everett (where Boeing has a large facility), and he is already starting to sweat this one out a bit.
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:25 PM
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It's definitely not a good situation.

I've read several articles in the past weeks, and heard an interview on the BBC World Service with a longtime Boeing engineer, all of which concur that Boeing's current problems all stem from their merger with McDonnell Douglas in 1995.

Prior to that, Boeing was an engineering company, with a scrupulous devotion to quality. After the merger, much of senior management were from the McDonnell Douglas branch of the company, and they had a much more business-oriented culture (the word "ruthless" was even used). The new management had a stronger focus on profitability and business results, and Boeing's culture of devotion to quality engineering faded away.
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:29 PM
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Investors don't seem to be too concerned right now. Airlines even anticipate reintroduction of the MAX this summer. Everyone has a "non-zero" chance of total failure and collapse. But there's nothing to panic about just yet.
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:31 PM
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I suspect if things get too desperate, the Pentagon will insist on a Federal bailout.
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:35 PM
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Boeing is a classic case of "too big to fail." Without Boeing, the US wouldn't have a commercial airliner industry at all. (OK, there's a small Airbus factory in Alabama, but I think that's about it.)
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:47 PM
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737Max accidents were not accidents. They were malfeasance. A Fed takeover, like Chrysler is the only way the US will be able to turn around the culture of corruption that"s destroyed our only major aerospace industry. We NEED this company or its equivalent, but NOT as it is now.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:21 AM
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Boeing have a big defence presence as well which will surely help the cashflow in the short term. I think they’ll be ok. I hope so, Airbus needs the competition.
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:30 AM
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This is more opinion than factual, so let's move it to IMHO (from GQ).
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:38 AM
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Boeing will recover well. Their 787, 777, and non-MAX 737s are just fine. Their 797 will likely be a hit. Furthermore, if Boeing came near to bankruptcy, that would allow Airbus to suddenly extort airlines with high prices (since it'd be a monopoly instead of a duopoly) and airlines would abhor that. The U.S. government would also never let the largest American manufacturer ever go under.

Defense-wise, they still have their Apache, F-15, F-18 programs. They'll suffer from the MAX crisis, but they'll survive and 5-10 years from now all this will just be an afterthought.
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Old 01-17-2020, 03:16 AM
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Boeing is a classic case of "too big to fail." Without Boeing, the US wouldn't have a commercial airliner industry at all. (OK, there's a small Airbus factory in Alabama, but I think that's about it.)
Exactly. It's Chrysler all over again, only worse. There is no way the government will let Boeing disappear.
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Old 01-17-2020, 05:23 AM
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The share price seems to be bumping along at around 330, which is a hundred down on last year's peak, but certainly not in the bargain basement.
https://www.nasdaq.com/market-activity/stocks/ba
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Old 01-17-2020, 06:38 AM
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Even if Boeing the corporation goes bust, and even if it can't be reorganized in bankruptcy but has to be liquidated, it still has a bunch of valuable product lines that pretty much have to be built where they're being built now, at least in the medium term. That would be a bad process for a lot of people, but it wouldn't be the end of commercial aircraft manufacturing in the US, or even in Washington.

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Old 01-17-2020, 06:41 AM
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This is a longish video, but it documents some whistle blowers that reported totally out-of-spec fuselage frames being knowingly installed in 737-NGs (prior to current -MAX debacle).

Neither Boeing management nor the FAA were interested in doing anything about it. The FAA leaked the whistle blowers to Boeing who fired them in retaliation.

The former Boeing employee and FAA official interviewed seemed highly credible, and the whole story smells authentic based on my experience as an engineer in avionics and other fields.

My impression is that the 737-MAX is not in any sense a one-off problem, nor even limited to poor engineering. It is just a symptom of deep systemic problems within the current Boeing management culture of profit over quality corner-cutting.

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes...637901849.html
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Old 01-17-2020, 07:16 AM
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0-12 months: residential housing as well as commercial real estate prices will slide enough that there will be a bit of an exodus from the area. Some smaller supply chain companies will struggle and perhaps a handful of them will fold.

12-24 months: As is the case all over the United States right now, shell corporations will rush in and purchase available real estate for cash and simply sit on them - warehousing the space until it is more profitable.

24-48 months: since the US government will indeed protect this Corporation, there will be no long-term effects. Real estate availability in the greater Seattle area will drop as people struggle to pay increased rents; companies fighting if possible to relocate.

Too-big-to-fail applies more deeply to this corporation than all of the auto companies because of their entrenched relationship with the Department of Defense and other military agencies.

Their doors will not close because we have decades of contracts for military aircraft and support.

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Old 01-17-2020, 07:17 AM
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Boeing have a big defence presence as well which will surely help the cashflow in the short term. I think they’ll be ok. I hope so, Airbus needs the competition.
Hey don't worry Comarade, Tupolev can take over.

Serious note, Boeing buys stuff world wide and there will be a lot more than the USG interested in ensuring that Boeing still functions.

Thoiugh for s US perspective maybe a second manufscturer won't be the worst thing ever.
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Old 01-17-2020, 08:49 AM
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As horrible as the 737MAX thing is, he sheer value of Boeing's other products is so enormous that the company cannot fail. This isn't a "Too big to fail" comment - there is just too much value there. Boeing makes more money in a bad year than the entire professional sports industry in North America. Even if by some wild twist of fate the current corporation were to go belly up and the value of the stock went to nothing - which will not happen - it would be purchased by some other concern just to get the 787, 777, 737, military equipment and all the intrinsic value of the company. Or more than one concern. Shit, if no one else wants it, I'll pay them fifty bucks for it.
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Old 01-17-2020, 08:54 AM
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It's definitely not a good situation.

I've read several articles in the past weeks, and heard an interview on the BBC World Service with a longtime Boeing engineer, all of which concur that Boeing's current problems all stem from their merger with McDonnell Douglas in 1995.

Prior to that, Boeing was an engineering company, with a scrupulous devotion to quality. After the merger, much of senior management were from the McDonnell Douglas branch of the company, and they had a much more business-oriented culture (the word "ruthless" was even used). The new management had a stronger focus on profitability and business results, and Boeing's culture of devotion to quality engineering faded away.
In 2001, they moved headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. I thought that was a mistake, since it separates management from engineering and manufacturing.
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:46 AM
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In 2001, they moved headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. I thought that was a mistake, since it separates management from engineering and manufacturing.
I thought that was strange too.

I wonder if Boeing wouldn't be better off dropping the 737 MAX altogether. Even if they get permission from regulators to fly it, are airlines going to buy them?

But the company as a whole will be fine. The 787 has been flying for a decade without a fatal accident.
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:58 AM
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My understanding is that the 737 Max offered really good range on a narrow body plane that could fly over oceans, so airlines like Southwest could fly to Hawaii from the west coast, or to Europe from the East Coast. I believe the specs made it very attractive to airlines, so they had thousands of planes ordered. The demand is definitely there. It just needs to be a plane that the airlines and the public trust to fly on.

Yes, it's been a disaster, but Airbus had another sort of disaster in the A380, which they designed and built at massive expense, but it ended up being a big failure. No one wanted it.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:31 PM
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Boeing is also a major space company. They build many satellites. They are building the core stage for NASA's SLS rocket - NASA has already paid >$5 billion to Boeing, and will pay for 10 more core stages under a "cost plus" contract. And they are one of two companies building crew launch vehicles under NASA's commercial crew development contracts.

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Old 01-17-2020, 02:39 PM
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Think the auto industry on steroids. Don't know if it will do any more success in the end but its almost a sure bet.
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Old 01-17-2020, 03:28 PM
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One of the effects of the 737 MAX may be an end to Boeing's recent defense business strategy of wildly underbidding rivals on major contracts (to an extent that industry experts believe Boeing will lose money on the contracts). They've been a ble to pursue this strategy because the commercial business offsets the losses and allows them to establish a long term dominance in certain systems.
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:03 PM
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I wonder if Boeing wouldn't be better off dropping the 737 MAX altogether. Even if they get permission from regulators to fly it, are airlines going to buy them?
The thing is, the old 737NG line is now pretty much obsolete compared to Airbus's A320NEO (which is why they developed the MAX in the first place). If that was all they had to offer in that market segment they'd have to sell it at a substantial discount for airlines to choose it over what Airbus has to offer. In hindsight they probably would have been better off developing a completely new plane to replace the 737, but now I don't think they have much of a choice other that to get the MAX flying again in the short term. In the long term they should still design a new plane to replace it.
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Old 01-17-2020, 05:17 PM
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In 2001, they moved headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. I thought that was a mistake, since it separates management from engineering and manufacturing.
This. I saw the same thing at GE - a gradual concentration of managers in one 'center of excellence', far removed from their customers and engineering teams who had actual field experience. It was a disaster. Central control and management of distant teams and customers is a really bad idea that companies keep making over and over again.
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Old 01-17-2020, 05:55 PM
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Re: The Boeing HQ move. The new boss was from Chicago. Wanted to continue to live there. So they invented an excuse: Chicago is more centrally located to clients. Right. Did they look at a globe?

So a ton of management had to move to Chicago or quit. I assume that not all the experienced people moved. That had to hurt to corporate memory and the culture.

One of the all time great stupid moves in US corporate history.
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Old 01-17-2020, 06:36 PM
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That was a stupid reason to move HQ. Perhaps one of their products could have been used to ferry the CEO back and forth to Chicago weekly?
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Old 01-17-2020, 06:57 PM
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Boeing is also a major space company. They build many satellites. They are building the core stage for NASA's.....
Boeing's rocket recently failed to dock with ISS.Software glitch they said. NASA is currently wringing its hands over demanding an unmanned do-over, or moving straight to a crewed mission. If Boeing convinces them to do the later, we could end up with a bunch of dead astronauts on our hands, vs a $500 million or so charge for a repeat. Should Boeing mess this up, they will be in very deep trouble.
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Old 01-17-2020, 07:07 PM
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The KC46 tanker program is having troubles too (although military stuff always has problems it seems).
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Old 01-17-2020, 07:17 PM
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Re: The Boeing HQ move. The new boss was from Chicago. Wanted to continue to live there. So they invented an excuse: Chicago is more centrally located to clients. Right. Did they look at a globe?
It's a good sounding story, but the thing is, Boeing's CEO at the time was Phil Condit. Condit was not from Chicago, he was from California, and had worked for Boeing for 36 years. At that point he'd already been the boss for five years. The company's President - because he'd come over from McDonnell Douglas - was the luxuriously named Harry Stonecipher, who also wasn't from Chicago and was not at that point new to Boeing.
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Old 01-17-2020, 08:02 PM
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ISTR the local stories seemed to center around King County not licking Boeing's seam hard enough with a beneficial tax package after they tore up an ages-old horse track (Longacres) to build their new office complex there. It may have been just some cover-up excuse, but they claimed that Chicago was rolling over more convincingly for them. My memory may be faulty, though.
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Old 01-17-2020, 08:34 PM
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Boeing's rocket recently failed to dock with ISS.Software glitch they said. NASA is currently wringing its hands over demanding an unmanned do-over, or moving straight to a crewed mission. If Boeing convinces them to do the later, we could end up with a bunch of dead astronauts on our hands, vs a $500 million or so charge for a repeat. Should Boeing mess this up, they will be in very deep trouble.
The other commercial crew capsule exploded during testing. I don't think the general public realizes how devastating that was. Whereas the Boeing capsule's failure would not have resulted in loss of life.

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Old 01-17-2020, 08:36 PM
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they probably should throw away a lot of the current software and start from scratch. Instead they will end up fixing stuff broken by other fixes.
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:21 PM
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Something to keep in mind is that the 737Max model had flown thousands of hours prior to the Lion Air crash. The two units that crashed both had single Angle Of Attack sensors, unlike the majority of units. Faulty data from the AOA sensors led to the crashes. Having a single AOA sensor was a cost saving measure, which was not taken by all aircraft buyers.

The 737Max is inherently unstable, but the software corrects for that. When the sensors fail, the software pushes the nose down very rapidly, which the pilots were unable to prevent. The software can be switched off, but the pilots were not aware that the software was the problem. Boeing had not told the airlines about the software, nor included how to deal with software errors in training.

So the Max is not a faulty aircraft which will fall out of the sky immediately. However, in certain situations, the plane will try to fly into the ground. The pilots can prevent this, if they know how. Insuring that all aircraft have two AOA sensors will be a big step toward making the Max a safer aircraft. Training pilots how to defeat the software will also be a big step.

But Boeing needs to engineer a new aircraft, with higher landing gear and a different wing, so that the new engines can be mounted under the wing, not in front of it.
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:31 PM
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Haven't they already built hundreds of the 737 Max (with or without the two angle of attack sensors)? I think they continued production until recently, so they need to convince someone to buy them.
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:36 PM
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The other commercial crew capsule exploded during testing. I don't think the general public realizes how devastating that was. Whereas the Boeing capsule's failure would not have resulted in loss of life.
You would not think these would be hard anymore, but apparently we have not advanced as much past the 1960's in space hardware as I would like to think. It is still a hard problem.
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Old 01-17-2020, 10:51 PM
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Something to keep in mind is that the 737Max model had flown thousands of hours prior to the Lion Air crash. The two units that crashed both had single Angle Of Attack sensors, unlike the majority of units. Faulty data from the AOA sensors led to the crashes. Having a single AOA sensor was a cost saving measure, which was not taken by all aircraft buyers.
This was not how I understood the issue. The reality I understood was much worse. All the planes were fitted with dual sensors (left and right), but software sometimes struggled to deal with conflicting inputs, or just chose to use the less-favorable reading. The planes that crashed due to conflicting inputs were not fitted with an indicator that informed the crew of the conflict.

AAUI, the indicator light was a thirty thousand dollar option (not sure where I saw that number).
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:34 AM
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A quick search does not reveal how many boeing employees are in Chicago. IIRC it's only in the hundreds. Big controversy at the time because it was one of those "look at all the jobs for the tax break" deals, and ended up being just a few hundred employees 'cause the then CEO wanted to live in Chicago and not Seattle. Obviously the Chicago weather vs Seattle was a big draw.

Boeing, being quite skilled at sucking on the government teat, has employees in all 50 states.

Here is the Boeing website breakdown of employees as well as orders. For employment, Illinois does not make it into the top 10, which means there are less than 3000 employees in headquarters out of 153,000 employees. http://www.boeing.com/company/general-info/

Here is a link to when Boeing opened and expected to have 400 employees: https://boeing.mediaroom.com/2001-09...ons-in-Chicago
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:32 AM
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Haven't they already built hundreds of the 737 Max (with or without the two angle of attack sensors)? I think they continued production until recently, so they need to convince someone to buy them.
Those planes already have buyers. Boeing (and Airbus and every other commercial aircraft manufacturer) doesn't just build planes and hope some airline decides to buy them. They take orders sometimes years in advance, so when a plane comes off the line they already know what airline it's going to. Those planes they've built are to fulfill orders from airlines that have already agreed to buy them.
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:48 AM
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Obviously the Chicago weather vs Seattle was a big draw.
Holy fuck, have you even been to Chicago? What about Chicago weather would make it preferable to Seattle? I mean, in Chicago, people die in the spring when big chunks of ice fall from the tops of skyscrapers.
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Old 01-18-2020, 02:20 AM
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This was not how I understood the issue. The reality I understood was much worse. All the planes were fitted with dual sensors (left and right), but software sometimes struggled to deal with conflicting inputs, or just chose to use the less-favorable reading. The planes that crashed due to conflicting inputs were not fitted with an indicator that informed the crew of the conflict.

AAUI, the indicator light was a thirty thousand dollar option (not sure where I saw that number).
You're both half right. The B737 MAX all have two AoA sensors (I suspect ALL B737s have had two AoA sensors from the very first model, but not sure), however the MCAS software only used one sensor for each flight. If the sensor it used failed then the MCAS would act on bad information. The use of AoA indicators and AoA disagree warnings in the flight deck may give clues to the flight crew about what is wrong but would not have done anything to fix the underlying problem of the MCAS relying on a single sensor.
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Old 01-18-2020, 10:41 AM
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Haven't they already built hundreds of the 737 Max (with or without the two angle of attack sensors)? I think they continued production until recently, so they need to convince someone to buy them.
Those planes already have buyers. Boeing (and Airbus and every other commercial aircraft manufacturer) doesn't just build planes and hope some airline decides to buy them. They take orders sometimes years in advance, so when a plane comes off the line they already know what airline it's going to. Those planes they've built are to fulfill orders from airlines that have already agreed to buy them.
Are the airlines still going to want the planes? The flying public is skeptical of flying on that model plane. Some will refuse to take a flight on it, even if all of the right steps are taken to correct the issue.
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:32 PM
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In hindsight they probably would have been better off developing a completely new plane to replace the 737,...
I don't think this is a valid conclusion at this point in time, the issue was their execution. If they had managed the process better and created an MCAS system that was both more reliable and/or visible to pilots (which would have required some training) then there probably wouldn't be a controversy right now.
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:37 PM
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Holy fuck, have you even been to Chicago? What about Chicago weather would make it preferable to Seattle? I mean, in Chicago, people die in the spring when big chunks of ice fall from the tops of skyscrapers.
I assumed he/she was joking because neither place is the top of the charts for weather.

Seattle; 364 days of cloudy and slight precipitation, 1 day of pure blue sky (but still only 64 degrees)

Chicago: 6 months of polar vortex and then 6 months of easy-bake-oven - with one day of nice 72 degree weather
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:16 PM
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Re: The Boeing HQ move. The new boss was from Chicago. Wanted to continue to live there. So they invented an excuse: Chicago is more centrally located to clients. Right. Did they look at a globe?

So a ton of management had to move to Chicago or quit. I assume that not all the experienced people moved. That had to hurt to corporate memory and the culture.

One of the all time great stupid moves in US corporate history.
None of the speculations are true. Boeing wanted to show the world that they are a worldwide company. In reality, very little actually moved from Seattle to Chicago. They incorporated some of their various entities into a single location. Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the branch that build airplanes, is still headquartered in Seattle. Boeing Defense and Space is headquartered in St. Louis. Boeing Helicopters is in Philadelphia. If I have to call HR, i call someone in Florida. I now have almost 40 years at Boeing, to everyone here in Pugetropolis, it's still a Seattle company.
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:31 PM
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I don't think this is a valid conclusion at this point in time, the issue was their execution. If they had managed the process better and created an MCAS system that was both more reliable and/or visible to pilots (which would have required some training) then there probably wouldn't be a controversy right now.
It is, in my opinion a valid conclusion, but they also needed, in hindsight, to have started work on it years in the past. At the time that the MAX was being developed, Airbus was taking orders for the Neo, which used new fuel-saving engines. Boeing did not have a plane to compete with it. A brand new plane takes much longer to develop than an update to a current model, and Boeing customers were demanding new fuel efficient planes. They were willing to order planes from Airbus if Boeing couldn't deliver. One way Boeing could compete was to guarantee that existing 737 pilots would not have to undergo costly training if the airlines bought the Boeing 737 update, the MAX.

That locked Boeing into some impossible constraints. Update the existing 737 to use the larger fuel efficient engines, but make no changes that would require expensive simulator training. If they could not deliver on all of those criteria, their customers said they would go with Airbus.

As it turns out, they should have either taken the short term hit, and worked to develop a new plane, or they should have offered to pay for any required training in order for airlines to stay with them. (They came close to doing this anyway with Southwest -- it's going to get a $1 million per plane rebate because simulator training is going to be required for pilots to fly the MAX when it returns to service.) It would be less than they wound up losing, and, you know, people would not have died.

I also agree that they have a deeply dysfunctional corporate culture now. How they can recover from that, I'm not sure. Though it does look like they are currently rooting out every glitch in the MAX they can find, and publicly announcing them. That may be a decent sign, but from what has come out about the dreamliner production lines, shoddy work, using defective parts, managers overruling quality control personnel, etc., they have a long way to go.
  #46  
Old 01-18-2020, 02:27 PM
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Most people don't know the HQ is in Chicago or care where the HQ is. It only matters if you are a customer of Boeing.
  #47  
Old 01-18-2020, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Are the airlines still going to want the planes? The flying public is skeptical of flying on that model plane. Some will refuse to take a flight on it, even if all of the right steps are taken to correct the issue.
I'm not sure if they have a choice. American and Southwest, the two airlines with the most Maxes on order, were counting on those planes to replace their old MD-80s and 737-300s respectively, both of which were retried recently. Without the Maxes they've been forced to cancel routes that they were were planning on flying, because they don't have enough planes. Airbus is sold out of NEOs for years, and neither airline can afford to wait that long for new planes (and Southwest buying Airbus would be a HUGE deal).

And I wonder what percentage of the flying public actually is aware of what kind of plane they're on in the first place. I'm sure airlines will downplay the "Max" part of the name and will just label them "737-8" or whatever. How many people are knowledgeable enough about planes to know that that's a Max?
  #48  
Old 01-18-2020, 03:24 PM
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they should change the name to 737 - Super Safe
  #49  
Old 01-19-2020, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Are the airlines still going to want the planes? The flying public is skeptical of flying on that model plane. Some will refuse to take a flight on it, even if all of the right steps are taken to correct the issue.
IAG ordered (well, LoI), 200 of them post-grounding.
  #50  
Old 01-19-2020, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
I wonder what percentage of the flying public actually is aware of what kind of plane they're on in the first place....
I will know, and I won't ride the bug infested corporate profit-mobiles.
i very much doubt that i am alone.
A new plane. Built by engineers, not bean counters, from the ground up.is the solution here. Boeing can take that or leave it; but So Can I.
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