'I Would Tell My Family To Avoid The Max. I Would Tell Everyone, Really…'Experts And Ex-Boeing Employees Issue Warning On Max

'I Would Tell My Family To Avoid The Max. I Would Tell Everyone, Really...'Experts And Ex-Boeing Employees Issue Warning On Max

Airlines are resuming flights with the troubled Boeing Max 9 planes which were all grounded following the door panel blow-out incident on Jan. 5, but aviation experts say that these planes still have significant and potentially dangerous quality-control issues.

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Boeing Max 8 jets first made headlines in 2018 and 2019 when two catastrophic crashes caused by design flaws in flight control software killed 349 people. The Max airplanes were cleared to fly again in 2020, but the Jan. 5 incident that saw an emergency exit door fly off of a Max 9 plane in the middle of a flight grounded the troubled planes again. They’re now supposedly cleared for flight again. Multiple ex-Boeing engineers told the Los Angeles Times that they don’t trust these Boeing planes,

“I would absolutely not fly a Max airplane,” said Ed Pierson, a former Boeing senior manager. “I’ve worked in the factory where they were built, and I saw the pressure employees were under to rush the planes out the door. I tried to get them to shut down before the first crash.”

“I would tell my family to avoid the Max. I would tell everyone, really,” said Joe Jacobsen, a former engineer at Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Aviation safety experts have pointed to the blowout as just the latest example of a deeper problem at the manufacturer. They argue that the company needs a cultural change.

Pierson said that returning the Max 9 to service was “another example of poor decision making, and it risks the public safety.”

Boeing said it had no comment on Pierson’s remarks

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Jacobsen, a former FAA engineer and Boeing engineer, said that he and other safety advocates have been concerned about numerous Max plane safety problems for years, and said that Boeing is playing whack-a-mole with the issues. He believes that serious Boeing Max safety recalls will continue to pop up unless Boeing fixes all of the problems at once rather than waiting for catastrophe before addressing them.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive admitted to Boeing employees in a message to the company that the company has disappointed and let down its customers.

Both United Airlines and Alaska Airlines lean on FAA oversight on the safety of the Max planes, and both airlines say that their planes have been thoroughly inspected and are reliable.

FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said that the quality assurance issues they’ve seen are unacceptable, and said that the FAA will have more boots on the ground scrutinizing production and manufacturing. The FAA is not permitting Boeing to expand production of its Max fleet.

“The National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the Flight 1282 midair cabin panel blowout is ongoing.

Boeing has promised to cooperate with the investigation. After the incident, Chief Executive David Calhoun acknowledged that “a quality escape” had occurred, telling employees, “This event can never happen again.”

“This blowout — we’ve seen this pattern before. Something big happens, and Boeing makes all of these promises,” said Pierson, executive director of the Foundation for Aviation Safety, a watchdog group.

The safety problems on the Boeing Max planes go far beyond this one incident, Pierson said. In September, the group published a study that found airlines filed more than 1,300 reports about serious safety problems on Max 8 and Max 9 planes to the FAA.

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“These same issues that were there in 2018 and 2019 [at Boeing] that were the precursors to the accidents are still there,” Pierson said. “This is a culture where money is everything. They measure success by how many airplanes are delivered, instead of how many quality airplanes are delivered. … When you factor all of this together, it’s just a disaster waiting to happen.”

The attorney representing families of the victims of the 2019 Max 8 crash that killed 157 people criticized the FAA for allowing airlines to resume flying Max 9s. Both United and Alaska found loose bolts on their Max 9 planes after the Jan. 5 door failure.