Boeing shunned automation for decades. When it embraced it, an automated system in the 737 MAX kicked off the biggest crisis in its history
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April 5, 2020 - by Sinéad Baker for businessinsider.com
The fallout from two fatal crashes of 737 MAX plans put one of the US's biggest companies in its biggest-ever crisis
- The two Boeing 737 MAX plane crashes that killed 346 people have been attributed to a faulty automated system that pilots say they were not aware of.
- The crashes have sparked a huge crisis for Boeing, causing it to lose billions, face lawsuits, come under Congressional and regulatory scrutiny, lose plane orders, and lose its status as the world's largest plane maker.
- There is a cruel irony in Boeing's crisis, as the company has a reputation for being traditionally less in favor of automated systems than Airbus, its biggest rival.
- And even though Boeing has used automation for a long time, pilots and experts say the company's philosophy was always to keep pilots informed and give them ultimate control.
- "I think why the pilots were understandably so upset with Boeing because, historically, Boeing insisted that they would keep the pilots in the loop," a former US aircraft crash investigator told Business Insider.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The global aircraft industry is essentially a duopoly — a decades-long transatlantic rivalry between the US' Boeing and France's Airbus which, as trends change or one is hit by hardship, have continually overtaken each other to temporarily reign as the biggest in the world.
And over those decades, it has been certain philosophies in design and management that have kept the two distinct. The fundamental difference comes down to how those philosophies cause pilots to fly those planes.
Over history, Boeing was known for embracing pilot control over fully automated systems, while Airbus...
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