AVweb

Boeing President Dave Calhoun briefly got out of the hot seat he occupied before a Senate committee to apologize to victims of Boeing plane crashes that filled the gallery on behalf of the company. “I would like to apologize, on behalf of all of our Boeing associates spread throughout the world, past and present, for your losses,” Calhoun said after numerous calls from those in the gallery to turn around and face them. “And I apologize for the grief that we have caused.” Calhoun was already in for a rough ride before hundreds of grieving relatives flooded into the chamber carrying posters of their dead loved ones and slogans shaming Boeing.

The night before the hearing, another whistleblower came forward alleging Boeing hid infractions from FAA safety inspectors and allowed unapproved parts to be installed in aircraft. Under questioning from lawmakers Calhoun said he was aware of the company retaliating against whistleblowers. As Calhoun was testifying, the Seattle Times revealed that Boeing’s MAX aircraft have a system in their engines that is not included in their flight manuals and has been activated in a couple of serious incidents.

The load reduction device decouples the primary fan from the engine if the fan becomes unbalanced. That occurred in two serious bird strike incidents which resulted in heavy smoke in the cabin in one and in the cockpit in another. The LRD worked as intended to stop the engines from literally shaking themselves apart but in doing so could also have altered the pilots’ response to the damaged fans. The FAA told the Seattle Times there’s no evidence the LRD affected pilot responses to the two engine incidents and Boeing said that since the systems cannot be controlled by the pilots there’s no need for them to know about it.

But Southwest Pilots Association Vice President Tom Nekouei disagreed. “If I have a system in the airplane that has a function, I need to know about it,” he said, noting the lack of transparency is like the lack of pilot knowledge of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System that was a major factor in the crashes of two MAXes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The post Boeing President Apologizes Directly To Crash Victims’ Families At Senate Hearing appeared first on AVweb.

Read More