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   Technology StocksBoeing keeps setting new highs! When will it split?

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From: John Koligman3/15/2024 8:09:28 PM
   of 3675
United flight from SFO missing external panel after landing in Oregon

The incident involving United Airlines flight 433 is the latest in a string of recent mechanical problems on United airplanes

By Kristofer Noceda • Published 49 mins ago • Updated 2 mins ago

A United Airlines plane that departed Friday from San Francisco International Airport was missing an external panel when it landed at its destination in Medford, Oregon.

A United Airlines plane that departed Friday from San Francisco International Airport was missing an external panel when it landed at its destination in Medford, Oregon.

United released the following statement:
"This afternoon, United flight 433 landed safely at its scheduled destination at Rogue Valley International/Medford Airport. After the aircraft was parked at the gate, it was discovered to be missing an external panel. We’ll conduct a thorough examination of the plane and perform all the needed repairs before it returns to service. We’ll also conduct an investigation to better understand how this damage occurred."United said the Boeing 737-800 had 139 passengers onboard the plane, with six crew members. The plane also did not declare an emergency while en route to Medford "as there was no indication of the damage during the flight," United said.

The incident involving United Airlines flight 433 is the latest in a string of recent mechanical problems on United airplanes.

On Thursday, United Airlines flight 1816 took off from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport at 5:30 a.m. Just before landing in SFO at 7:30 a.m. local time, the United Airbus experienced a hydraulic leak. It was able to land safely, according to officials.

On Mar. 7, a Japan-bound United flight out of SFO was diverted to Los Angeles after a wheel fell off during takeoff.

Then on Mar. 8, in passengers had to be evacuated from a United Airlines plane in Houston after it rolled off a runway during landing and got stuck in the grass.

Also on Mar. 8, a United flight to Mexico City from SFO was diverted to LAX because of a hydraulics issue.

Last Monday, a United flight headed to SFO from Sydney, Australia had to turn around midflight after fluid was seen spewing out from the right rear landing gear.

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To: John Koligman who wrote (3634)3/15/2024 11:19:21 PM
From: Selectric II
   of 3675
The media suddenly is hyper vigilant about every commercial airline anomaly, and they are quick to point the finger at Boeing in every case.

Do the airlines contract their routine aircraft maintenance and repair to Boeing?

I doubt it.

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To: Selectric II who wrote (3635)3/16/2024 12:00:56 AM
From: John Koligman
   of 3675
Well here's one for you right out of the movie 'Airplane' when the blowup automatic pilot deflated...

After 787 dive, Boeing alerts airlines to issue with pilot-seat switches
The alert was issued after a 787 flown by the Chilean carrier LATAM went into a terrifying dive, injuring dozens of passengers

By Ian Duncan

Lori Aratani

March 15, 2024 at 5:12 p.m. EDT

The LATAM Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane that suddenly lost altitude midflight sits on the tarmac at Auckland International Airport in New Zealand. (Brett Phibbs/AFP/Getty Images)

4 min



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Boeing alerted airlines to a potential problem with loose switches on the pilot seats of its 787 Dreamliner jets after one of the planes went into a dive this week on a flight from Australia to New Zealand that injured 50 people.

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The jets have a switch on the back of the pilot seats that can be used to move the seats forward and backward. Were the switch to get stuck while someone was sitting in the seat, it could press their body against the plane’s controls. In a bulletin to airlines, Boeing said that if part of the switch is loose, a cover over the top can cause it to jam, “resulting in unintended seat movement.”

The bulletin does not refer to the dive incident, which authorities are in the early stages of investigating.

Boeing said in a statement Friday that it was reminding airlines of a 2017 service bulletin addressing an issue with the switches that included instructions for inspections and maintenance.

“We are recommending operators perform an inspection at the next maintenance opportunity,” Boeing said in a statement.

The issue is the latest safety concern for Boeing as the company is under heightened scrutiny from travelers and regulators following a midair blowout on an Alaska Airlines 737 Max in January. The Federal Aviation Administration said it had assembled a panel to review Boeing’s response.

It was not immediately clear how many 787 aircraft were affected by the seat switch issue. But the bulletin, obtained by The Washington Post, was sent to all operators of the aircraft. It instructs operators to carefully inspect a cap on the switches to ensure they have not come loose.

The plane that went into a dive was operated by the Chilean carrier LATAM and was traveling between Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand, on Monday. Passengers have described a sudden dive that threw people to the plane’s ceiling before they were dropped back down again. The plane continued on to Auckland. Ten passengers and three crew members were taken to a medical center, LATAM said.

The incident is under investigation by Chile’s aviation agency, but it has released few details about its probe. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment. LATAM said it was continuing to support the investigation.

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The aviation news site the Air Current and the Wall Street Journal reported this week that investigators suspected that one of the plane’s pilots had been pushed forward into the controls by his seat.

American Airlines sent a notice to its 787 pilots Friday saying it had identified a “potential hazard” with the switches and that maintenance teams were taking steps to ensure they were “properly secured.” In the meantime, American told captains they should brief anyone on the flight deck that the switch should not be used while someone is sitting in the seat.

The FAA said in a statement that its review board will examine a message Boeing is proposing to send to operators as well as the 2017 bulletin.

John Cox, a former pilot and aviation safety expert, said his first question would be whether there has been a fleet history of this switch sticking or if this is the first time this has happened on the 787.

“If there hasn’t, then it’s a one-off,” he said. “But if it’s happened before, then corrective action needs to be taken.”

Boeing has been buffeted by a steady stream of bad news since the Alaska Airlines incident, which prompted the FAA to launch an investigation into the company’s manufacturing operations. An agency audit found a number of areas that Boeing needed to improve, and regulators gave the company three months to develop a plan to correct any problems.

Much of the recent scrutiny has focused on the 737 Max, a widely used single-aisle airliner. Five years ago, two 737 Max planes crashed within five months of each other, killing a total of 346 people, due to a design change in the jets’ software.

The 787 is a larger aircraft, used mainly on long-distance international routes.

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From: Thomas M.3/17/2024 12:38:13 AM
2 Recommendations   of 3675


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To: John Koligman who wrote (3636)3/17/2024 7:48:40 PM
From: Selectric II
   of 3675
Well here's one for you right out of the movie 'Airplane' when the blowup automatic pilot deflated...
We KNOW that was Boeing's fault.

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From: John Koligman3/18/2024 12:33:57 PM
   of 3675
UAL CEO says 'it's all good'....

United Airlines CEO tries to reassure customers after string of flight problems


  • United Airlines flights have suffered a series of problems in recent weeks.
  • A tire fell off a Boeing 777 after takeoff from San Francisco, and, in a separate incident, a missing panel was discovered after a flight landed in Oregon.
  • United’s CEO told customers that the incidents were unrelated but the airline will incorporate the findings into training and procedures.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby speaking in Chicago on June 5, 2019.
Kamil Krzaczynski | Reuters

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby on Monday sought to reassure customers about the carrier’s safety after a series of flight problems in recent weeks.

In one incident this month, a tire fell from one of the carrier’s Japan-bound Boeing 777s shortly after takeoff, damaging cars in a San Francisco airport parking lot. In another, a missing panel from the plane was discovered after the older Boeing 737 landed in Oregon on Friday.

“Safety is our highest priority and is at the center of everything we do,” Kirby said in an email to customers. “Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, our airline has experienced a number of incidents that are reminders of the importance of safety.”

Kirby said the incidents, which the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating, were “all unrelated” but that the team is reviewing the details “and using those insights to inform our safety training and procedures across all employee groups.”

The string of recent mishaps occurred during heightened scrutiny of the aviation industry after a door plug panel blew off an Alaska Airlines’ nearly new Boeing 737 Max 9 on Jan. 5.

A United Airlines plane.
Source: NBC Houston KPRC2+

On March 8, a United 737 Max plane rolled off a Houston runway. On March 4, a United Boeing 737 that was heading to Florida from Houston returned to the airport after the engine ingested plastic bubble wrap, with video on social media showing flames coming out of the engine.

United’s CEO said the airline had already planned to implement changes such as “an extra day of in-person training for all pilots starting in May and a centralized training curriculum for our new-hire maintenance technicians.”

“You can be confident that every time a United plane pulls away from the gate, everyone on our team is working together to keep you safe on your trip,” Kirby wrote.

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From: Jeff Vayda3/25/2024 12:45:39 PM
   of 3675
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said Monday he intends to leave the beleaguered company by the end of the year in a major shakeup of the company’s leadership. Boeing’s chairman and the head of the commercial airplane unit are also leaving.

Boeing’s chairman, Larry Kellner, will not stand for re-election as a board director. The board has elected former Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf to succeed him. (my bold)

Good that Boeing is cleaning house - long overdue. Boeing could not make a better pick. SM headed up Qualcomm for years and I have the utmost respect for him. (Long time Q shareholder)

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From: John Koligman3/28/2024 6:20:35 PM
2 Recommendations   of 3675
I found the comment at the top disturbing. If your car dies, you can at least move it to the side of the road. It's a whole different can of worms with a passenger jet.

“For years, we prioritized the movement of the airplane through the factory over getting it done right, and that’s got to change,” Brian West, the company’s chief financial officer, said at an investor conference last week.

A Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft on a test flight in Renton, Wash. “They were just trying to get the plane rate up,” a former mechanic there said of the company.Credit...David Ryder/Bloomberg

‘Shortcuts Everywhere’: How Boeing Favored Speed Over Quality
Problems have plagued the manufacturer even after two fatal crashes, and many current and former employees blame its focus on making planes more quickly.

A Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft on a test flight in Renton, Wash. “They were just trying to get the plane rate up,” a former mechanic there said of the company.Credit...David Ryder/Bloomberg

By Niraj Chokshi, Sydney Ember and Santul Nerkar

  • March 28, 2024

In February last year, a new Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max plane was on one of its first flights when an automated stabilizing system appeared to malfunction, forcing the pilots to make an emergency landing soon after they took off.

Less than two months later, an Alaska Airlines 737 Max plane with eight hours of total flight time was briefly grounded until mechanics resolved a problem with a fire detection system. And in November, an engine on a just-delivered United Airlines 737 Max failed at 37,000 feet.

These incidents, which the airlines disclosed to the Federal Aviation Administration, were not widely reported. There were no indications that anyone was in danger, and it was not clear who was ultimately responsible for those problems. But since Jan. 5, when a panel on a two-month-old Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 jet blew off in midair, episodes like these have taken on new resonance, raising further questions about the quality of the planes Boeing is producing.

“There’s a lot of areas where things don’t seem to be put together right in the first place,” said Joe Jacobsen, an engineer and aviation safety expert who spent more than a decade at Boeing and more than 25 years at the F.A.A.

“The theme is shortcuts everywhere — not doing the job right,” he added.

Such reports, and interviews with aviation safety experts and more than two dozen current and former Boeing employees, paint a worrying picture about a company long considered to be at the pinnacle of American engineering. They suggest that Boeing is struggling to improve quality years after two crashes of Max 8 planes in 2018 and 2019 killed nearly 350 people.

Some of the crucial layers of redundancies that are supposed to ensure that Boeing’s planes are safe appear to be strained, the people said. The experience level of Boeing’s work force has dropped since the start of the pandemic. The inspection process intended to provide a vital check on work done by its mechanics has been weakened over the years. And some suppliers have struggled to adhere to quality standards while producing parts at the pace Boeing wanted them.

Under pressure to show regulators, airlines and passengers that the company is taking its latest crisis seriously, Boeing announced sweeping changes to its leadership on Monday. The chief executive, Dave Calhoun, will leave at the end of the year, and Stan Deal, the head of the commercial planes division, which makes the 737 Max, retired immediately. The company’s chairman, Larry Kellner, stepped down from that position and will not seek re-election to the board.

When he took the top job in January 2020, Mr. Calhoun said he was determined to improve the company’s safety culture. It added directors with engineering and safety expertise and created a safety committee on its board. Boeing said that it had increased the number of quality inspectors for commercial planes by 20 percent since 2019 and that inspections per plane had also risen.

After the Max 8 crashes, Boeing and its regulators focused most on the cause of those accidents: flawed design and software. Yet some current and former employees say problems with manufacturing quality were also apparent to them at the time and should have been to executives and regulators as well.

After the Jan. 5 mishap, a six-week F.A.A. audit of Boeing’s 737 Max production documented dozens of lapses in Boeing’s quality-control practices. The agency has given the company three months, or until about late May, to address quality-control issues.

Federal officials have traced the panel blowout to Boeing’s factory in Renton, Wash., where the 737 Max is assembled. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the panel was removed but appeared to have been reinstalled without bolts that secured it in place. That panel is known as a “door plug” and is used to cover the gap left by an unneeded emergency exit.

Current and former Boeing employees said the incident reflected longstanding problems. Several said employees often faced intense pressure to meet production deadlines, sometimes leading to questionable practices that they feared could compromise quality and safety.

Davin Fischer, a former mechanic in Renton, who also spoke to the Seattle TV station KIRO 7, said he noticed a cultural shift starting around 2017, when the company introduced the Max.

“They were trying to get the plane rate up and then just kept crunching, crunching and crunching to go faster, faster, faster,” he said.

The Max was introduced in response to a new fuel-efficient plane from the European manufacturer Airbus. Boeing increased production from about 42 Max jets a month in early 2017 to about 52 the next year. That pace collapsed to virtually zero soon after the second crash, in Ethiopia, when regulators around the world grounded the plane. Flights aboard the Max resumed in late 2020, and the company began to increase production again to avoid falling further behind Airbus.

Now, some Boeing executives admit that they made mistakes.

“For years, we prioritized the movement of the airplane through the factory over getting it done right, and that’s got to change,” Brian West, the company’s chief financial officer, said at an investor conference last week.

Boeing’s factory in Renton, where the 737 Max is assembled. Despite the company’s issues, many employees said they still had a deep respect for Boeing and wanted to see its reputation restored.Credit...Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Mr. Calhoun has also acknowledged that Boeing must improve but has defended the company’s approach to production. “Over the last several years, we’ve taken close care not to push the system too fast, and we have never hesitated to slow down, to halt production or to stop deliveries to take the time we need to get things right,” he said in January.

Current and former Boeing employees, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters and feared retaliation, offered examples of how quality has suffered over the years. Many said they still respected the company and its employees and wanted Boeing to succeed.

One quality manager in Washington State who left Boeing last year said workers assembling planes would sometimes try to install parts that had not been logged or inspected, an attempt to save time by circumventing quality procedures intended to weed out defective or substandard components.

In one case, the employee said, a worker sent parts from a receiving area straight to the factory floor before a required inspection.

A worker currently at Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner factory in North Charleston, S.C., described seeing numerous problems on planes being assembled, including wires being routed incorrectly, raising the risk that they could rub against one another, resulting in damage.

Employees would also sometimes go “inspector shopping” to find someone who would approve work, the worker said.

Some of the concerns echoed accusations of quality lapses by several whistle-blowers at Boeing’s South Carolina factory who spoke to The Times in 2019.

Several current and former employees in South Carolina and in Washington State said mechanics building planes were allowed in some instances to sign off on their own work. Such “self-verification” removes a crucial layer of quality control, they said.

Boeing said in a statement on Wednesday that it had eliminated self-inspections in South Carolina in 2021 and that the practice accounted for less than 10 percent of inspections at other sites. The company inspects each plane before delivery to make sure that wire bundles are appropriately spaced, the statement said, and it does not allow inspector shopping.

Another factor at play in recent years has been that Boeing’s workers have less experience than they did before the pandemic.

When the pandemic took hold in early 2020, air travel plummeted, and many aviation executives believed it would take years for passengers to return in large numbers. Boeing began to cut jobs and encouraged workers to take buyouts or retire early. It ultimately lost about 19,000 employees companywide — including some with decades of experience.

In late 2022, Boeing lost veteran engineers who retired to lock in bigger monthly pension payments, which were tied to interest rates, according to the union that represents them, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. More than 1,700 union members left the company that year, up from around 1,000 the year before. The members who left had been at the company for more than 23 years on average.

“We warned Boeing that it was going to lose a mountain of expertise, and we proposed some workarounds, but the company blew us off,” Ray Goforth, executive director of the union, said in a statement, adding that he thought the company used the retirements as an opportunity to cut costs by replacing veteran workers with “lower-paid entry-level engineers and technical workers.”

Boeing now employs 171,000 people, including in its commercial plane, defense, services and other divisions. That figure is up about 20 percent from the end of 2020. But many new workers are less seasoned, current and former employees said.

One Boeing employee who conducted quality inspections in Washington State until last year said the company did not always provide new employees with sufficient training, sometimes leaving them to learn crucial skills from more experienced colleagues.

Boeing said that since Jan. 5, employees had asked for more training and that it was working on meeting those needs, including by adding training on the factory floor this month.

District 751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, which represents more than 30,000 Boeing employees, said the average tenure of its members had dropped sharply in recent years. The proportion of its members who have less than six years of experience has roughly doubled to 50 percent from 25 percent before the pandemic.

After the Jan. 5 incident, Boeing announced changes to improve quality, including adding inspections at its factory in Renton and at the plant in Wichita, Kan., owned by a supplier, Spirit AeroSystems, that makes the bodies of Max planes.

The Alaska Airlines plane that was forced to make an emergency landing in January after a piece of its fuselage blew out in midair. Because it could take Boeing time address its issues, some carriers said they expected to buy fewer aircraft from the company.Credit...Amanda Lucier for The New York Times

Boeing recently said it would no longer accept Max bodies from Spirit that still needed substantial work. It previously tolerated flaws that could be fixed later in the interest of keeping production on schedule.

Addressing its problems could take Boeing time, aviation experts said, frustrating airlines that need new planes.

Some carriers said recently that they were rejiggering their growth plans because they expected fewer planes from Boeing. Airlines may try to buy more from Airbus.

“They need to go slow to go fast,” Scott Kirby, the chief executive of United Airlines, told investors this month, referring to Boeing. “I think they’re doing that.”

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To: John Koligman who wrote (3641)3/29/2024 11:16:36 AM
From: Selectric II
   of 3675
This is very concerning. Boeing has got to get its act together.

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From: Thomas M.4/7/2024 9:06:21 PM
2 Recommendations   of 3675
Terrifying video shows engine of Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 ripping apart during takeoff

Passengers on a Houston-bound Southwest Airlines flight watched in horror Sunday as an engine on the Boeing 737-800 appeared to come apart mid-flight.

The flight immediately returned to Denver after crew members noticed a removable sheet of metal covering one of the plane’s engines sheared off during takeoff.

In a terrifying video posted on X by ABC’s chief transportation reporter Sam Sweeney, the metal engine cover can be seen whipping in the breeze like paper as it tore loose.


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