Beyond pilot trash talk, 737 Max documents reveal how intensely Boeing focused on cost

Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times on

Published in Business News

Though Boeing redacted most of the names, so that one cannot pin down the individuals speaking in many other exchanges, the sentiments expressed are deeply embarrassing to the company.

One pilot who gave a presentation to FAA staff mocks their lack of technical knowledge: "It was like dogs watching TV."

The supplier of the large Max simulators, U.S.-Canadian firm TRU, is "disorganized, chaotic, dysfunctional," though hard-working, honest, and cheap.

The 737 Max is described as "designed by clowns, who are in turn supervised by monkeys."

"Would you put your family on a Max-simulator trained aircraft?" one pilot asks, then answers himself: "I wouldn't." His colleague agreed.

Indonesia's air safety authority, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is "apparently even stupider" than another unnamed foreign regulator.


And one pilot notes, in reference to dealings with the FAA, that "I still haven't been forgiven by God for the covering up I did last year."

Saving airlines money

Behind this loose talk are more telling details. The emphasis in all the documents is on meeting the directive from Max program leaders that the new jet must be classified by regulators as so close to the previous 737 model that airlines will have to pay for only minimal pilot training. Forkner writes of pulling "jedi mind tricks" to convince regulators of this.

The reason for the emphasis is clear from one email thread that begins with Boeing's jet sales director for Africa and the Caribbean expressing concern when an airline considering buying the Max asks for precise dollar figures for what pilot training will cost.


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