An engineer Boeing who worked as an FAA Authorized Rep (AR) on the 737 MAX, speaking about the pressure from management to limit safety testing: “The ARs have nobody supporting them. Nobody has their backs. The system is absolutely broken.”
Engineers say Boeing pushed to limit safety testing in race to certify planes, including 737 MAX
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May 5, 2019 - by Dominics Gates and Mike Baker for seattletimes.com
In 2016, as Boeing raced to get the 737 MAX certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a senior company engineer whose job was to act on behalf of the FAA balked at Boeing management demands for less stringent testing of the fire-suppression system around the jet's new LEAP engines.
That June he convened a meeting of all the certification engineers in his unit, who collectively agreed with his assessment. Management initially rejected their position, and only after another senior engineer from outside the MAX program intervened did managers finally agree to beef up the testing to a level the engineer could accept, according to two people familiar with the matter.
But his insistence on a higher level of safety scrutiny cost Boeing time and money.
Less than a month after his peers had backed him, Boeing abruptly removed him from the program even before conducting the testing he'd advocated.
The episode underscores what The Seattle Times found after a review of documents and interviews with more than a dozen current and former Boeing engineers who have been involved in airplane certification in recent years, including on the 737 MAX: Many engineers, employed by Boeing while officially designated to be the FAA's eyes and ears, faced heavy pressure from Boeing managers to limit safety analysis and testing so the company could meet its schedule and keep down costs.
That pressure increased when the FAA stopped dealing directly with those designated employees — called "Authorized Representatives" or ARs...
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