Boeing 737 MAX

A recent NETFLIX documentary, Downfall, discusses the events leading to the two crashes of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in a short span of time — Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29, 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019. The film is critical of Boeing and draws a picture of a flawed management philosophy at Boeing at that time that focused on raising stock value instead of fostering a strong safety culture (which had previously existed at the company). Was there an agenda by the movie producers to shed a bad light on Boeing? I don’t know. It was an interesting documentary and seems to draw its conclusions based on interviews and investigations. I would encourage you to watch it and draw your own conclusions.

If you are interested in the story of the 737 MAX, there are several podcasts discussing the 737 MAX by Flight Safety Detectives (hosted by John Goglia (former NTSB member) and Greg Feith (former Senior Air Safety Investigator with the NTSB). Episodes 17 and 19 discuss the facts of the Indonesian Report of Lion Air Flight 610. The podcasts originally aired in January, 2020. They shed a totally different light on the incident. They discuss human factors that contributed to the accident. They also criticize the “mainstream media” for taking statements from aviation “professionals,” taking those statements out of context and spinning them to draw whatever conclusion they want.

In the end, as someone who is in the industry, it’s confusing. Can you imagine how confusing it must be to the public that has no technical knowledge of aviation! What are the facts? Did Boeing’s alleged actions during certification lead to the accidents? Was it poor pilot training? Was FAA to blame?

This seems like case study in human factors. There wasn’t just one incident that led to the two crashes. Many factors contributed to the accidents. After viewing Downfall and listening to Episodes 17 and 19 of the Flight Safety Detectives podcast, I believe that every human factor in the Dirty Dozen (except for fatigue) probably contributed to these tragic accidents.

Thanks for reading!

Joe Escobar

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