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Old 8th October 2019, 02:02   #286
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. It is how management took precedence over engineering.
a

Agree. The outcome will be interesting. It is almost a philosophical question; how do you ensure maximum engineering creativity, at minimal cost and time, without management interventions?

Many managers will tell you, if left to their own devices, engineers would never finish a design, always find another thing to improve, always want to test one more thing.

There are two thoughts about managing engineers. Those that feel the manager needs to have a solid engineering background as well. And those that feel the less technical knowledge the better.

Personally, I think it is more relevant they have the ability to talk to engineers and understand the real risks. Or better get the engineers to come up with the real risks and possible mitigation. Of course, taking a risk also implies that sometimes things go badly.

There are some theories on the banking crisis. And that it was partly due to management simply not understanding what risks they were running. Some of these financial products are hugely complex. A P&L and a balance sheet only tells you so much.

The more an organization is able to build a comprehensive view of what is really happening and how issues are being addressed, decisions taken, the better.

Jeroen
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Old 8th October 2019, 03:43   #287
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Default Re: Boeing 737 Max crashes and grounding

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Agree. The outcome will be interesting. It is almost a philosophical question; how do you ensure maximum engineering creativity, at minimal cost and time, without management interventions?
Truth be told, this has happened a lot in the car industry as well. There are multiple stories of defective cars being introduced despite the engineers highlighting errors and management overriding them to put such products on sale for financial reasons. Additionally, as competition has increased, the bean counters have gained ascendancy. Call it the price of doing business, but profit takes precedence over everything else.

No doubt this happened in Boeing as well. One of the keys with the Max was ensuring it was treated as the same plane by the FAA and airlines. This saved a lot of time and money for everybody, but meant many needed changes couldn't be made
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Old 8th October 2019, 08:25   #288
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Default Re: Boeing 737 Max crashes and grounding

The 'management not heeding engineers' has been an undercurrent in the 737Max saga for quite sometime. The whistleblower just sort of made the complaint formal. The truth of this allegation will not rest on the word of just one individual, but on lots of seemingly minor corroborating evidence. Or lack of it.

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It is how management took precedence over engineering.
Quote:
Agree. The outcome will be interesting.
Better expressed as management which did not understand/ appreciate, or worse chose to ignore, the engineering aspects of a job.
Management does not HAVE to be engineers, but not understanding its importance where it is necessary - clearly they have failed at their main job ie. management.
Unfortunately it is all too common, esp nowadays. So I said
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On a more serious note I hope some enterprising investigative journalist will look into the organisation of the teams trusted to see the Max through. Did it include (in key decision making posts) people who made Boeing Boeing? Or was the normal caution and conservative attitude of these people considered to be stumbling blocks, and were thus removed from this project. And the Max project essentially handed over to (for want of a better word, at least in my vocabulary) the MBA crowd?
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It is almost a philosophical question; how do you ensure maximum engineering creativity, at minimal cost and time, without management interventions?
I would say delivering a well engineered (design and execution) product which I need and can afford. Does not have to be at the cutting edge of anything.

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Many managers will tell you, if left to their own devices, engineers would never finish a design, always find another thing to improve, always want to test one more thing.
Most engineers would also tell you the same thing! As would say authors or composers or ... about their work.

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There are two thoughts about managing engineers. Those that feel the manager needs to have a solid engineering background as well. And those that feel the less technical knowledge the better.
As long as the support team is properly picked, filling in for shortcomings.
In days gone by, Exxon CEO used to be a through the ranks hands on guy. BP CEO - Oxbridge. Both were/ are successful companies. (Would be interesting to hear your thoughts on Valdez and Deepwater Horizon in the context of this discussion).

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Sutripta
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Old 8th October 2019, 15:39   #289
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Default Re: Boeing 737 Max crashes and grounding

Now, skeletons exposed in Ethiopian airlines' closet:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...sh/3898991002/

I wonder if it is only coincidence that both 737 max crashes happened in countries and companies where technical competence, regulations, enforcement and management all leave much to be desired. Not coincidentally, all the above qualities are closely linked to money - extreme pressure on costs and short term profitability usually push good sense into the background.
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Old 8th October 2019, 16:40   #290
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Both were/ are successful companies. (Would be interesting to hear your thoughts on Valdez and Deepwater Horizon in the context of this discussion).
That is a bit of a trip down memory lane.

If I recall:

Valdez stranded and subsequent oil spil due to a navigation error. Serious lack of proper seamanship. Third mate alone on the bridge, full speed in difficult waters, captain unavailable/drunk?, did not ask any other officers to help out, fatigue, hight workload, no communication with Traffic Control etc.

It played out on the bridge of a ship, but it could almost have been in the cockpit of airplane. A lot of that has/gets addressed through Crew Resource Management these day. These things do not get solved, let alone adressed, unless management really believes its worthwhile doing so.

Can not really recall how the clean up and so on played out.

Deepwater Horizon, from memory, when all is said and done, is a case where they executed on a detailled plan, but the plan was flawed. They should have picked up on it.The plan simply was not good enough, various short cuts that engineers must have understood were potential risks.

But again a case of time pressure (cost) that probably let to shortcuts with disastrous result.

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Old 8th October 2019, 18:42   #291
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Default Re: Boeing 737 Max crashes and grounding

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Originally Posted by Motard_Blr View Post
Now, skeletons exposed in Ethiopian airlines' closet:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...sh/3898991002/

I wonder if it is only coincidence that both 737 max crashes happened in countries and companies where technical competence, regulations, enforcement and management all leave much to be desired. Not coincidentally, all the above qualities are closely linked to money - extreme pressure on costs and short term profitability usually push good sense into the background.
Two responses from my side to this article. First, what he says about their maintenance processes and attitudes could well be true. I have seen airlines in Asia follow abysmal practices and it is just that these aircraft are so well designed that they keep flying (no meaningful experience of African airlines). Quality of maintenance really starts to count only from what used to be called the C3 check which comes in roughly year three for an aircraft like the B737. Second, the MCAS related accident is most unlikely to have been triggered by maintenance procedures. This aircraft was too new to have needed any scheduled maintenance at all.
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Old 8th October 2019, 19:34   #292
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. Second, the MCAS related accident is most unlikely to have been triggered by maintenance procedures. This aircraft was too new to have needed any scheduled maintenance at all.
The plane involved in the first crash experienced multiple problems with the AoA sensor/vane on the prior flights.

Maintenance failed to fix it properly, apparently. I say apparently, because I am not quite sure what happened. But early on in this one, the consensus was that the maintenance work was carried on the AoA vane prior to the doomed flight more than once. It was suggested that again mistakes were made and the plane was essentially not airworthy from a maintenance point of view when it was dispatched on that fateful flight.

If they had fixed the AoA problems properly it is likely that this flight would have never experienced the MCAS problems on that particular flight. Admittedly, the whole MCAS things and AoA sensors was just a time bomb ticking, waiting to happen anyway sometime.

So the suggestions is there that maintenance might have been able to provide this accident.

I can not judge to what extend these engineers should have been able to fix the problems that were noted before. To what extend they followed procedure etc. A lot of this part of the investigation and public discussion has been completely overshadowed by the revelation on how Boeing engineered and certified (FAA) MCAS in the first place.

Everybody was busy naming and shaming Boeing and the FAA. Other parts of the investigations (including performance of pilots) was forgotten, deemed irrelevant etc.

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 8th October 2019 at 19:38.
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Old 8th October 2019, 20:08   #293
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Default Re: Boeing 737 Max crashes and grounding

And the latest
https://www.wsj.com/articles/frictio...ce-11570527001

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 8th October 2019, 22:42   #294
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Default Re: Boeing 737 Max crashes and grounding

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
That is a bit of a trip down memory lane.

If I recall:

Valdez stranded and subsequent oil spil due to a navigation error. Serious lack of proper seamanship. Third mate alone on the bridge, full speed in difficult waters, captain unavailable/drunk?, did not ask any other officers to help out, fatigue, hight workload, no communication with Traffic Control etc.

It played out on the bridge of a ship, but it could almost have been in the cockpit of airplane. A lot of that has/gets addressed through Crew Resource Management these day. These things do not get solved, let alone adressed, unless management really believes its worthwhile doing so.

Can not really recall how the clean up and so on played out.

Deepwater Horizon, from memory, when all is said and done, is a case where they executed on a detailled plan, but the plan was flawed. They should have picked up on it.The plan simply was not good enough, various short cuts that engineers must have understood were potential risks.

But again a case of time pressure (cost) that probably let to shortcuts with disastrous result.

Jeroen
Sorry to go off topic here but I feel obligated to pipe in with something oil industry related. I'm going off lectures from 5 years ago now but in the case of Deepwater Horizon the biggest problem was that the 3 gigantic seabed hydraulic rams that act as pincers basically to cut off a well inexplicably failed. This 3 fold design for a Blow Out Preventer (BOP) was industry standard and had performed fine in numerous instances before, in preventing catastrophic blowouts, ie where the pressure in the reservoir is far far greater than the pressure of the mud (aka drilling fluid being pumped down), causing everything to come spilling out - think Mentos in a bottle of coke.

I dunno what to make of the bit about the Exxon CEO being a hands on guy and BP being Oxbridge. I think that's simply anecdotal. From what I've seen is that at these supermajors, the very top brass nowadays is largely stacked in favour of those from a MBA or finance background as opposed to the technical folks (which would include your engineers and your geoscientists). I think in the small to medium sized exploration companies would you find a greater degree of technical folk in major management positions. Makes sense considering its these small companies that really actually find the oil - the big fish just wade in to buy them out when they need to beef up their reserves ratio. Of course the supermajors are integrated companies that involve everything from the exploration side to selling sandwiches at a petrol station so perhaps it makes sense that a technical person isn't the best bet for the head honcho.

Anyway, that was just my two pence on that.
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Old 8th October 2019, 22:59   #295
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Sorry to go off topic here but I feel obligated to pipe in with something oil industry related. I'm going off lectures from 5 years ago now but in the case of Deepwater Horizon the biggest problem was that the 3 gigantic seabed hydraulic rams that act as pincers basically to cut off a well inexplicably failed. .
I know many people have pointed the problems with the rams. These were supposed to be a last resort measure and they did not work. But that is not the root cause. If you want to understand the root cause you need to look at why they needed the rams in the first place.

It is like the 737 Max, we can debate about whether the pilots could have saved the plane. But that does not diminish the fact that Boeing made a huge design error and how they went about this whole MCAS system. Like your rams, the 737 pilots were the last line of defence of a bad design in the fist place. They could have saved the day, but the root cause is something entirely different.

Their plan (as I refer to) was flawed because they simply did not allow for enough cement between the production casing and the protection casing. They simply did not even have enough cement on the rig and or supply vessels. Which was really appealing, because it was not as it was the first time they did this. They made a conscious call to speed up the process.

Further short cuts in procedure presented more problems. The failing of the rams was a problem as it was supposed to safe the day. But the plan they had designed and were executing to was flawed to begin with. You do not design that relies on your emergency and back up procedures keeping you safe.

Have a look and weep:

http://theoildrum.com/node/6493

Jeroen
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Old 10th October 2019, 09:11   #296
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Looks like Max will be in air around mid-January at least for AA. That means almost 10 months of grounding and for other airlines even more.

https://news.yahoo.com/american-airl...120014720.html

However, glad to learn that finally there is some resolution in sight.

At a recent round table conference at Airbus, a senior executive said something that changed my perspective of the aerospace industry and especially safety.

He said, "safety is not a competition in aviation" and "we all are in to it together, one's pain can not be another's gain in this business".
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Old 10th October 2019, 12:15   #297
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Looks like Max will be in air around mid-January at least for AA.
We will see, it is absolutely not a given. Because the FAA has not committed to any time, as far as I am aware. We have new problems / new requirements popping up for the last half year. So I am not holding my breath on this one.

All bets are of, until it actually happens. It will still be interesting to see if the other aviation regulators will re-instate the max along the same timelines as the FAA.

Would be very awkward, to say the least, if FAA approves and AA starts flying them in the USA, but in the rest of the world the Max stays grounded. In fact that would be a bigger problem for Boeing. Most of the Max are sold to carriers outside the USA!

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