Headlines from hell

For Boeing, any day it's in the news any more is a bad day. And it keeps having that kind of day.

The latest headlines include a jumbo 787 dropping hundreds of feet, injuring 50 people on board, one seriously. There was blood. There were screams of terror. A pilot told a passenger that all of his controls went blank. The flight was between Australia and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the most prominent whistleblower who's been complaining about corner-cutting in Boeing's manufacturing of 787's was found dead in his car, shot in the head, in South Carolina. He was in the middle of depositions in a lawsuit against the company, and he was singing loudly. It looks like a suicide, the authorities are saying. Given what the guy has been going through, worrying about what he's seen on the assembly lines, that might be what happened. Maybe.

Not in the headlines: The CEO of Boeing still has his job. It pays north of $20 million a year.


  1. There is a belief this incident is related to airworthiness directive 2016-23-09 which called for “repetitive cycling of either the airplane electrical power or the power to the three flight control monitors.” This AD was the result of a report that indicated all three FCMs might simultaneously reset if continuously powered on for 22 days and this would address the unsafe conditions.

    Airworthiness directives are quite common for all aircraft - Boeing, Airbus and more. What isn’t known is whether or not LATAM had reset their FCMs as directed or not. We’ll find out in time.

    1. Sounds like a design defect. Maybe we'll find out in the Boeing bankruptcy.

    2. I used to be a repetitive cyclist.

  2. Two thoughts: 1) Memories of Enron WRT to the circumstances of death. 2) only $20M? The CEO of PGE makes north of $6M with a captive audience (zero competition), and a lot of customer service issues and dissatisfaction lately.

    Coincidentally, and not implying anything more, Enron and PGE have an "interesting" history.

    1. ^NO kidding!
      This is one of my main hobby local subjects that sounds mundane and boring that no one really thinks much about.

      I doubt bankruptcy.
      Such a strange thing; extremely capital intensive, but also heavily government subsidized without much competition…

      It’s like they’re doing a US auto industry thing of spreading out everything to be immune to labor unrest at at great expense in slooooow motion / lower volume production with less competition & more government direct customer base?

      Turns out, after revisions, the DeHaviland company’s Comet jet airliner that Boeing & McDonnell-Douglas ate their lunch on all those years ago was kind of the right idea all along?
      Fly a good ways direct, ideally take some rail for the rest.

      DeHaviland actually learned from the mistakes & had the goal of a reasonably fuel efficient, passenger airport, longer range compatible safe jet from inceptions and set out to correct them largely on their dime after the war in a much shrunken & battered UK manufacturing economy.
      Boeing & MD ate their lunch & didn’t really care much about safety with their modified/duct taped military bombers & cargo jets where the safety of the cargo wasn’t exactly the #1 goal and have been resting on that laurel / eating competitors ever since.

      I’m with ya on the nationalization; that’s so late 19th century/early 20th quaintly optimistic; best case we get something like ConRail that spins off all the dead weight/still cuts services/better facilities in higher paying areas &/or supporting many existing airframes like crazy & is re-privatized after it can make profit for the most sharkish players to gobble up like Norfolk southern, which basically has the rep as the worst mainline railroad.

      Even the other Nationalization case for the railroads to a degree was in reaction to being so hopeless for WW1 mobilization; not exactly an admirable cause (US involvement in said war) & there are lots of other military defense producers that aren’t necessarily Boeing in the year of our lord 2024.

  3. They've been interviewing Boeing assembly workers and engineers and they refuse to fly the newer Boeing planes.

  4. This is from 9 years ago and still completely relevant. https://youtu.be/rvkEpstd9os?si=SNzsqesuoZW5mPs4


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