WORRIED Boeing workers thought the controversial 737 Max passenger jet was “designed by clowns” – damning internal communications reveal.
The plane maker released hundreds of the messages as part of its ongoing commitment to transparency in the wake of two horror crashes.
The 737 Max was banned from the air in March 2019 after air disasters in Indonesia and Ethiopia left 346 dead.
The highly-revealing messages show employees slamming the plane, their bosses and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In one exchange on Feb. 8, 2018 – before the first of the two deadly crashes – an unnamed employee asked: “Would you put your family on a Max simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t”.
The second employee then responded: “No”.
Another wrote in April 2017: “This airplane is designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys.”
Some of the communications reveal efforts by Boeing to avoid making pilot simulator training – an expensive and time-consuming process – a requirement for the 737 Max.
The release of the messages is set to deepen the crisis at Boeing which is struggling to get its best-selling plane back in the air and restore public confidence.
The FAA said, however, that the messages do not raise new safety concerns although “the tone and content of some of the language contained in the documents is disappointing”.
Boeing said the communications “do not reflect the company we are and need to be, and they are completely unacceptable”.
House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, who has been investigating the Max, said the messages “paint a deeply disturbing picture.”.
In other emails and instant messages, employees spoke of their frustration with the company’s culture, complaining about the drive to find the cheapest suppliers and “impossible schedules”.
And in a May 2018 message, one employee said: “I still haven’t been forgiven by god for the covering up (what) I did last year.”
Without referencing what was covered up, the employee added: “Cant do it one more time. the Pearly gates will be closed…”
Boeing added that some of the messages “raise questions” about the company’s interactions with the FAA around discussions about the simulator.
But it added: “We remain confident in the regulatory process for qualifying these simulators.”
The aviation giant is now redesigning the automated control system thought to have been the primary cause of the crashes.