Ahhhh, so they’re going to eat low down on the chain, are they?

A Boeing pilot involved in testing the 737 Max jetliner was indicted on Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges of deceiving safety regulators who were evaluating the plane, which was later involved in two deadly crashes.

The indictment accuses Mark A Forkner of giving the Federal Aviation Administration false and incomplete information about an automated flight-control system that played a role in the crashes, which killed 346 people.

Prosecutors said that because of Forkner’s “alleged deception”, the system was not mentioned in key FAA documents, pilot manuals or pilot-training material supplied to airlines.

A test pilot is to be blamed, not anyone in the executive suites or, Lordy Forbid, the c-suites.

13 thoughts on “Ahhhh, so they’re going to eat low down on the chain, are they?”

  1. The FAA allowed Boeing to mark their own homework because they didn’t have the expertise. Death followed.
    Pfizer, and others, appear to have done much the same thing. Some skimpy trials, a favourable write-up, some heavy duty lobbying and Bob’s your uncle, a torrent of moolah. I wonder how it will end.

  2. The first time I saw the expression “the c-suite” I thought it remarkable filthy language by American standards.

  3. Dennis, Who Sometimes Watched 'Law And Order'

    Don’t be to sure of yourselves.

    This is how you get to the executives. First you slap charges on the underlings and then you offer them a plea deal for their testimony. This isn’t the end of it, it’s just be beginning.

  4. Saw an old article from 2017 about how Moderna in particular were banking on mRNA tobut one of the problems was that the only viable use they had was vaccination due to some issues with multiple treatments vs one-off type and that the issue then was that vaccines didn’t make any profit….fast forward a bit and suddenly mRNA vaccines are profitable and the approval process has been significantly short-cut

  5. Why not just threaten the pilot with charges instead of the farce of making them? Is he so loyal to exec shite who are leaving him out to swing in the wind? With his testimony secured save time and money and just charge the big monkeys /

  6. I’d guess it’s really a matter of making charges where you can – the higher ups probably (for the moment) have enough plausible deniability to avoid charges. Also, once you have criminal charges actually in play, then that opens up all sort of avenues for forcing disclosure of stuff that might have been withheld previously – as in, “this is needed for a criminal trial, hand it over or be in contempt of court”, vs “please hand over the incriminating evidence we can neither prove you have not force you to hand over” which is probably the case without those criminal charges.
    I think there’s a lot more to come in this sorry saga.

    NB – I doubt you can blame the contract programmers. They’ll have been given a spec, and Boing should have done quality assurance on their outputs. Since it’s likely that the spec is wrong, you can’t blame someone for writing software that does exactly what you were asked for it to do – the programmers won’t be aviation experts, and won’t necessarily know enough about the environment the software will operate in to be able to see if there’s an issue there.

  7. I don’t think this was a programming error, the software was (AFAICT) behaving precisely how it was designed to behave, the problem was the crews weren’t properly trained in handling the resultant behaviour.

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