DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky
April 18, 2024
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The US Federal Aviation Administration’s long-awaited report on the safety culture at Boeing has been published.  [Link].

Congress tasked the independent review panel with looking at the FAA’s use of Organization Designation Authorizations (ODAs). The ODA system allows for “The ODA office oversees and ensures consistency of the FAA’s oversight program for companies that issue certificates and conduct certain inspections on behalf of the agency.” This allowed Boeing to approve its work and deliver aircraft without the FAA’s direct oversight.

The report went through 4,000 pages of Boeing documentation, conducted seven surveys, and held over 250 interviews within Boeing.

The first bullet point of the 50-page report notes: “The Expert Panel observed a disconnect between Boeing’s senior management and other members of the organization on safety culture.”  It continues that interviewees questioned Boeing’s safety reporting systems would enable open communication and non-retaliation.  This is a big ouch for Boeing.

The panel found Boeing’s safety management systems (SMS) match up with ICAO and FAA SMS frameworks. But the Boeing SMS was confusing. Procedures and training were complex and in a constant state of change. The report notes confusion across organization levels.  This complexity needs attention because it is clearly a source of trouble.

The report notes Boeing made some changes after the MAX crashes. But the safety process is still “inadequate and confusing,” and opportunities exist for Boeing to retaliate against employees who don’t sign off on ODAs. The report lists over 50 recommendations for Boeing and the FAA, and it says Boeing should be given six months to develop an action plan.

The news media describe the report as damning for Boeing: Bloomberg, NYT, WSJ, and The Seattle Times.

As we noted last week, the first domino wasn’t nearly enough.  And not be limited to Boeing, either.

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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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