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Subject:  Boeing and self-certification Date:  3/13/2019  11:36 PM
Author:  AdvocatusDiaboli Number:  554918 of 604120

Well that's nice, ain't it. Boeing gets to certify its own aircraft. Since this change was made, Boeing introduced two new models - the Dreamliner and the MAX. Both had serious safety problems that were discovered only after the planes had entered operation. At least the 787's Dreamliner burning batteries didn't kill anyone, but that was just pure luck.

The roots of this crisis can be found in a major change the agency instituted in its regulatory responsibility in 2005. Rather than naming and supervising its own “designated airworthiness representatives,” the agency decided to allow Boeing and other manufacturers who qualified under the revised procedures to select their own employees to certify the safety of their aircraft. In justifying this change, the agency said at the time that it would save the aviation industry about $25 billion from 2006 to 2015. Therefore, the manufacturer is providing safety oversight of itself. This is a worrying move toward industry self-certification.

Before this policy was instituted, the agency selected these airworthiness representatives, who may have worked for the manufacturer but were chosen and supervised by the agency. These experts were responsible for guiding the agency’s decisions about whether to ground an aircraft for safety concerns.

This is another example that shows that deregulation doesn't necessarily save costs. Aside from the 300+ lives lost, the long-term damage incurred by Boeing to its reputation, the costs for grounding and fixing its planes (if that is even possible) could easily outstrip whatever savings Boeing realized under this new "oversight" system. The tail risks are substantial. If the 737 Max 8 and 9 are irredeemably unsafe, or perceived to be so, then Boeing will have nothing to offer its customers in this critical segment for years. There's 5000 737 Max planes on order.
Let's be perfectly about what Boeing is doing with the Max 8 and Max 9 - due to its increased engine size, these aircraft are inherently unsafe and rendered safe (or supposed to be rendered safe) only through a (badly designed) software solution.
I would prefer not to fly with such an aircraft. If I was an airline that had any choice in the matter, would I choose such an aircraft?
If I was Boeing, would I want to keep selling them? If another 737 Max crashes two years from now, will I want to pay for grounding a much larger fleet of now 1000 or so planes?
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