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Boeing: Substandard parts, made in China, from Peter Myers

Boeing outsourced. Substandard parts, made in China with non-aerospace material, installed in 777 and 737(1) Whistleblower on FAA, Boeing and Moog Aircraft cover-up of a Boeing safety threat(2) Some Boeing Jets Have Substandard Parts, Whistleblower Claims(3) Inspector General Says FAA Not Doing Enough to Stop Bogus Parts from Getting on Commercial Flights(4) Boeing was told 737 Max had safety flaws in 2017, say unions(5) Boeing knew about 737 MAX problems for months, but didn't tell FAA until after 2018 Lion Air crash(6) On 737 MAX, two toggle switches were altered to perform the same function(1) Whistleblower on FAA, Boeing and Moog Aircraft cover-up of a Boeing safety threatFrom: Eric Walberg []hi peterm i just got this email from linkedin. you are the expert on this technical stuff. see if it's of interest.My name is Charles Shi, I am a whistleblower on the FAA, Boeing and Moog Aircraft criminal cover-up of a Boeing safety threat. I wonder if you may do a story on the massive Chinese fake Safety parts of flight control hardware of B737 including max.While media focus on the MCAS causing the Max crashes, it is the time to look at the flight control hardware failure that may be the direct cause of Max Crashes.Latest breaking story: A Whistleblower Charges Boeing Jets Have Substandard Parts this article did not touch on the FAA inaction..In last three years, FAA refused repeatedly to refer the matter to law enforcement for criminal investigation no matter what warning was given. So far, the threat was not removed due to massive cover up by Moog, Boeing, FAA and now even by watchdog IG of DOT. Recent FOIA result found that the FAA removed my whistleblowing case from the total 223 Suspected Unapproved Parts?SUP? cases between 2014-2018 which is probably the only exception. Other minor SUP cases were referred to the law enforcement for criminal investigation.My own blog; wish you may do a story on the continued FAA inaction and cover-up. I shall share an online onenote file with key unredacted exhibits embedded to your email once your interest is advised.Thank you!Please feel free to contact me:Charles ShiCell:+86 17717283030ZOOM:915-332-7598Skype: charles20160318Email: charlesshi88@outlook.comYoutube: Some Boeing Jets Have Substandard Parts, Whistleblower Claims JENNIFER ZENGMarch 26, 2019 Updated: March 27, 2019As investigations of the crashes of two Boeing 737 MAX jetliners continue, a former supply chain manager of the contractor for Boeing’s flight control systems says that substandard parts made in China with non-aerospace material have been installed in 777 and 737 planes that are still in service.Now, the whistleblower, Charles (Chaosheng) Shi, is intensifying his efforts to bring light to the issue, which has been troubling him for three years.Shi worked for Moog Aircraft for 10 years, from 2006 to 2016. In 2006, he set up the Moog supply chain in China and almost all suppliers were audited and approved by him, except for the one he’s now accusing of providing substandard parts.He has tried to bring his concerns about the faulty parts to the attention of Moog, Boeing, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Congress, and President Donald Trump. The FAA found that two of Shi’s concerns were substantiated, while others were not.He also reported the issue to Chinese authorities, including Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, and even the Shanghai Public Security Bureau.In an interview with NBC in February 2018, Shi expressed concern that Boeing parts supplied by Moog were outsourced to a third-party Chinese supplier that used cut-rate manufacturing processes.Shi said, "You need to bake the parts to get the hydrogen out of the parts, so the parts can still be solid with integrity. Otherwise, the hydrogen goes into the parts. That can make the parts brittle, so the parts can fail."He also related to NBC an additional violation that was substantiated by the FAA, concerning unbaked parts in Boeing 777 spoilers: a hydrogen embrittlement hazard that might cause the parts and system to fail during flight.Shi told The Epoch Times that the parts in question are mainly components in the Boeing 777 and 737 spoiler systems, which are deployed during takeoff, early flight, and landing.Alarming FindingsShi said he became aware in 2015 that Suzhou New Hongji Precision Parts Co. (NHJ) in Jiangsu Province, China, one of Moog’s suppliers, was reportedly using cheap and substandard materials. He confirmed that with another aviation manufacturer, B/E Aerospace, the sole source for lavatories on Boeing 737 aircraft built since 2012, and the only other aerospace customer of NHJ.B/E Aerospace stopped buying from NHJ in 2013, after it was found that NHJ faked raw material certificates and used substitute materials, resulting in B/E product failures, Shi said.As the manager for Moog Aircraft, Shi said he was responsible for the quality of the parts and materials that were purchased from all suppliers, and had the right to audit those suppliers.Shi later told the FAA that he believed, based on his investigation, that NHJ had faked the raw material purchase record, and outsourced parts for Moog to an unknown supplier."NHJ was outsourcing Moog/Boeing business to other unknown and unapproved sub-contractors. One-third of Moog’s business, which was Boeing plane parts, was outsourced to illicit sub-contractors during 2015-2017. And I am willing to testify to this under oath," Shi told The Epoch Times.FAA InvestigationShi’s discovery of the outsourcing was confirmed by an FAA investigation conducted in September 2016. According to an FAA memorandum, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, two allegations made by Shi were found "substantiated":"Moog’s supplier NHJ outsourced Moog machined parts to an unknown supplier. "Shenhai, a NHJ subcontractor, did not properly bake parts both before and after the cadmium plating process, and forged the production process card. The improperly baked parts consisted of four different part numbers."However, Shi’s seven other allegations were found "not substantiated" by the same investigation.According to the FAA memorandum, "Moog auditors identified the following nonconformance issues:"(a) Required stress relief (baking) was not performed prior to cadmium plating;"(b) Hydrogen embrittlement relief treatment (baking) after cadmium plating was performed for only 4 hours on all parts, not 8 hours as required per AMS-QQ-P-416C specification;"(c) Baking procedure controls were not per AMS2750 specification; and"(d) No records of furnace traces [times] were being maintained for more than one week."The FAA investigation also confirmed that "273 discrepant parts delivered to Boeing were installed into spoilers on the Boeing 777 aircraft."Safety CriticalOf greatest concern to Shi is that many NHJ parts are "safety sensitive," and one is "safety critical."One part (Part number: P665A0039–02) is the blocking or mounting lug of the Boeing 737’s spoiler. This is a "Single Point Of Failure (SPOF)" part; if this part fails, the entire system will fail, which may cause a fatal accident.According to a purchase list provided by Shi, Moog has bought 6986 SPOF parts from NHJ during 2015-2017. Shi said these parts can be used to equip more than 600 aircraft, as each 737 uses 10 pieces.Shi said Moog is the exclusive supplier for all models of the Boeing 737, including the Max planes, and NHJ is the only supplier for this SPOF part for the 737 spoiler. His conservative estimate is that 500 Boeing planes may have been compromised, and are still in service.When contacted by the Epoch Times, Moog denied Shi’s allegations with this one-sentence statement: "In response to your request, please note that the Moog parts Mr. Shi references are not on the 737 MAX."The Epoch Times submitted a follow-up inquiry to Moog, with a list of 58 different NHJ parts purchased by Moog, and asked Moog to clarify and verify on which planes these parts are used.Moog hasn’t responded to the request.Shi said, "The motive of NHJ’s using substitute material was that the substitute material was one-third or even one-half cheaper."NHJ couldn’t be reached for comment.‘Serious Safety Threat’Shi said he first became concerned about the parts in May 2015, when two of his supplier development engineers told him that NHJ had a bad history and B/E Aerospace stopped using the company. He became worried and reported that to his direct supervisor. But his supervisor, who had brought in NHJ as a supplier for Moog, brushed it off.Shi also conducted some auditing and investigative work, finding that NHJ was using an "illicit material booking MID system (Material Identification)," which violated aerospace industry standards. NHJ MID numbers had no traceability to raw material sourced from approved raw material vendors."This violation is totally not acceptable," Shi said.Shi also traveled to NHJ a few times after the discovery of the faulty recordkeeping, and found that NHJ stocked raw material for Moog in an open area. That material was mixed with other supplies and was improperly labeled, he said. Some material was labeled; some was not.Shi also found that some "work in process" paperwork didn’t have MID "traceability," which means that NHJ had no traceability in its manufacturing process.On Aug. 7, 2015, Shi became a whistleblower within his company, by bringing the issue to global supply chain management of Moog Aircraft.Shi said he later found that NHJ used faked certificates to fabricate quantities of products they purchased from an approved vendor. He said he was able to determine that from a document he obtained from the approved vendor, showing the quantity of how many units it sold to NHJ, which was only one-third of what NHJ claimed that they had bought.On Jan. 12, 2016, Shi alerted the president of Moog Aircraft and the CEO of Moog Inc., the parent of Moog Aircraft, about the "alarming safety threat." The next day, Shi took the matter to the U.S. FAA. That was also the day he was fired.According to Reuters, Moog said Shi’s employment was ended as part of a "previously communicated global reorganization," and wasn’t related to him raising issues about the supplier’s quality.According to the FAA memorandum, after receiving Shi’s report, the FAA investigator visited the Moog plant in East Aurora, New York, on March 29, 2016, and interviewed Moog employees "who were most familiar with the process." After reviewing materials provided by Moog, and witnessing "retesting of the materials properties of parts," the FAA concluded that Shi’s allegation was "not substantiated."In August 2016, Shi provided what he describes as additional "compelling" evidence to the FAA. He told the agency about NHJ faking documents about SPOF parts, which were used in the Boeing 737 spoiler, and requested that the FAA reopen the case.The FAA did another round of investigation and found two items out of Shi’s nine allegations were "substantiated."According to the FAA, in response to the substantiated allegation that NHJ had provided improperly manufactured parts, Moog’s product engineering team chose six parts from the suspect lots and "subjected them to high sustained stress load testing." There were "no noted failures." Moog recommended "use as is" for the parts that had already been installed on Boeing planes, which Boeing accepted.Regarding Shi’s claim that NHJ had faked its record of purchases of raw materials, the FAA reports that Moog discovered an "accounting error" that resulted in the discrepancy, which resulted in the agency determining this allegation wasn’t substantiated.Shi says he’s not satisfied with FAA’s handling of the matter, especially the substantiated allegations. He found himself "to be in disbelief that the FAA decided to let these admittedly unauthorized and literally unbaked parts to remain in service, sparing Moog and/or Boeing millions of dollars for removal and retrofitting."In response to the Epoch Times’ request for information and comment regarding Shi’s allegations, the FAA emailed the following statement:"The FAA closed its Moog investigation regarding Mr. Shi’s allegations. The agency determined the corrective action defined by Moog and Boeing associated with the open substantiated allegation was appropriate to address the related issues identified in the investigation. The FAA investigation determined unsafe conditions did not exist."Boeing hasn’t responded to requests for comment.A Late-Night IntrusionShi says his allegations that NHJ faked documents and used inferior materials should be referred to criminal investigators, which he said he has repeatedly asked the FAA to do.After the recent Boeing 737 Max crashes, he has stepped up his efforts by writing to U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), as well as President Trump. He said he’s willing to travel to the United States at his own cost to testify to Congress, should Congress decide to hold a hearing on this.Shi has also taken to social media and to expose the issues and to draw public attention. He hopes more mainstream media can take up his story.Shi said his home in Shanghai was entered in a disturbing manner on March 13."It was the security guard who told me my doors were open. I went down to check two doors, one was the courtyard entrance door in the north, one was the door to my townhouse in the south. Both were wide open. I called police and the fact was recorded by policemen who rushed to my home. The doors were intact but wide open. Nothing got lost. All things were in a tidy state."Shi believes that incident was a warning, with the intruders demonstrating how easily they could reach him. They want him, he said, to stop his efforts to expose the problems with NHJ’s parts.(3) Inspector General Says FAA Not Doing Enough to Stop Bogus Parts from Getting on Commercial Flights Stephen Stock, Michael Horn and Kevin NiousPublished Feb 27, 2018 at 10:44 PM | Updated at 9:52 AM PST on Feb 28, 2018The Department of Transportation's Inspector General says the "FAA’s oversight of industry actions to remove unapproved parts (from the nation’s aviation system) is ineffective," and the agency "cannot be assured that unapproved parts … no longer pose a threat to safety" for the traveling public.That OIG report has prompted ranking member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Peter DeFazio, (D-Oregon), to vow to crack down on unapproved airplane parts that he says pose a safety risk to the flying public. The inspector general’s report echoes a series of stories by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit that first aired in 2016. The Investigative Unit’s reporting found thousands of unapproved parts made their way onto and into the systems of commercial aircrafts.NBC Bay Area also found aviation suppliers and manufacturers who continued to sell unapproved parts even after receiving FAA sanctions."We really need to pay a lot more attention to this. How parts are manufactured and tracked throughout their life and ultimately destroyed at the end so they can’t be snuck back into the part stream," DeFazio told NBC Bay Area.Concerned about the FAA’s oversight or lack thereof, DeFazio was the one who asked the Inspector General’s Office to audit the FAA’s suspected unapproved parts program."I don’t understand what’s going on at the FAA. I asked for that report to see if we have made progress in the last 20 years, and it appears that very little has been made," DeFazio said. "One critical component that isn’t up to manufacturer’s standards could take down a plane mid-air."The audit criticized the FAA for a lack of recordkeeping, management control, and inaccuracies in tracking unapproved parts.For these reasons, FAA cannot be assured that unapproved parts have been removed from the system and no longer pose a threat to safety.DOT OIGCHINESE PARTS ON AMERICAN PLANESOfficials at the Inspector General's Office aren't the only ones raising safety concerns about unapproved parts ending up in commercial airplane systems. Industry whistleblower Charles Shi, who worked for an aviation parts supplier for Boeing aircraft, believes the problem of unapproved parts is worse than the FAA acknowledges.Shi worked as a quality control inspector based in China, overseeing parts made for Boeing aircraft.During his inspections, Shi says he found that parts outsourced to another third party Chinese supplier were made with inferior materials that were not "baked" long enough to harden appropriately during production."You need to bake the parts to get the hydrogen out of the parts. So the parts can still be solid with integrity. Otherwise the hydrogen goes into the parts that can make the parts thin and brittle so the parts can fail," Shi told NBC Bay Area.The parts in question are components in a Boeing 777’s spoiler system, which allows an airplane to take off and land safely.Shi took his safety concerns to the FAA. According to documents from an FAA whistleblower investigation,  officials confirmed that hundreds of parts used on Boeing 777’s were manufactured in violation of FAA standards and that documents were "fabricated" by a third party Chinese supplier to conceal the violation. Even so, the FAA still allowed Boeing to install the parts "as is." Those parts remain on Boeing aircraft to this day.On March 14, 2016 Charles Shi filed a whistleblower complaint with the FAA alleging substandard materials and processes were used by a Chinese manufacturer to produce parts intended for Boeing aircraft.A spokesperson for Shi’s former employer, Moog Inc., said the parts in question were tested and determined to meet specifications. "There have been no reported issues with these parts. The FAA investigated and determined all necessary corrective actions had been taken," the spokesman said.A spokesperson for Boeing said the company also found no issues with the parts in question, stating:"The safety of the flying public is Boeing’s primary concern, and any allegation related to safety is thoroughly investigated. In late 2016, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration investigated allegations related to suppliers to Moog. Boeing cooperated fully. The FAA investigations, as well as Boeing and Moog, found no evidence of a safety risk related to these allegations. Any claim otherwise is false.""A lot of our airlines have outsourced their heavy maintenance to overseas where, you know, one criminal could put in a part that's going to cause a critical failure in that plane. One terrorist could put in a part that intentionally is going to fail," DeFazio said.FAA records analyzed by the Investigative Unit revealed incidents like these happen more often than the public is aware. Investigation reports and unapproved part notifications found more than 2,800 individual airplanes that had unapproved parts discovered on them since 2011, including on U.S. commercial air carriers.California Company Continued to Sell Bogus Aircraft Parts Despite FAA Cease-and-Desist OrderCalifornia Company Continued to Sell Bogus Aircraft Parts Despite FAA Cease-and-Desist OrderThe NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit found thousands of instances where bogus and potentially dangerous airplane parts were surreptitiously installed on planes including major commercial airliners. The Federal Aviation Administration sanctions repair shops and manufacturers who deal bogus parts, but records show that doesn’t always stop some compani... Read more(Published Thursday, May 18, 2017) Former Acting FAA Administrator Joseph Del Balzo believes the agency could do more to root out bogus parts from the industry."I don't think anybody really knows how serious the issue really is," Del Balzo told NBC Bay Area. Through his firm, JDA Aviation Technology Solutions, Del Balzo helps train inspectors how to identify bogus parts. "The FAA certainly doesn’t have the resources to go out and get the data. ... I don't think anybody knows how serious the issue really is."FAA ENFORCEMENTFAA Acting Administrator Daniel K. Elwell told the Investigative Unit his agency is reviewing the inspector general’s recommendations while also touting his agency’s safety track record."There has not been a commercial passenger fatality in the U.S. in nine years. It's an amazing safety record that is borne from a collaborative approach to safety," Elwell said.As a former commercial pilot, Elwell said he does not believe unapproved parts pose a safety risk to the flying public."I've been flying for longer than I care to admit and was recently checked out again. So if I had a concern about it, I wouldn't be flying," Elwell told NBC Bay Area.Meanwhile, DeFazio said he is working to strengthen regulations that would allow investigators to more easily identify legitimate aviation parts."I want to see every part indelibly marked at the manufacturer, tracked throughout its lifespan and disposed of properly at the end of its lifespan."If you have a tip for the Investigative Unit, give us a call at 1-888-996-8477, or you can reach us via email at Boeing was told 737 Max had safety flaws in 2017, say unions 15, 2019 — 6.01amThree unions representing aviation safety inspectors said in a sharply worded report months before the Boeing's 737 Max was approved for use that the planemaker was given too much authority to oversee itself and that the new jet had safety flaws.The new version of the decades-old 737 was approved with a vulnerable flight-control system and flaws in its fuel tank because Boeing and Federal Aviation Administration management overruled front-line workers, the report charged.The report, obtained by Bloomberg News, didn't raise concerns about a safety feature implicated in two crashes since October that killed a total of 346 people. There's no indication the issues identified by the unions led to incidents. Boeing said in a statement that the plane was certified "in full accordance" with FAA procedures.But the report took aim at a controversial FAA program encouraged by Congress that gave manufacturers such as Boeing more authority to approve their own designs. The agency wanted to transition its workforce of engineers, pilots and inspectors who assess new aircraft designs to focus on only the highest risk issues and on auditing the work of companies."The unions are concerned that the safety benefits of a second set of eyes provided by direct oversight of both domestic and foreign certification projects in high risk aspects of the certification process has not been recognised as an essential function within" FAA, the unions wrote in the report.Leaders of the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board, which is assisting in investigations of the crashes, are scheduled to testify Wednesday before a House aviation hearing.While the FAA itself signed off on at least the preliminary design of the Manoeuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS, which was driving down the noses of the two planes that crashed, some of the approvals were granted by Boeing employees designated to act as representatives of the FAA.These so-called designees have become a lightning rod in the aftermath of the crash on October 29 of a Lion Air 737 Max off the coast of Indonesia and an Ethiopian Airlines jet on March 10. In both cases, the MCAS system was repeatedly trying to push the plane into a dive. Neither crew managed to counteract the system and each eventually crashed.The 737 Max, Boeing's best-selling aircraft, has been grounded since March 13 as the manufacturer works on new software to address the accidents.One of the areas under investigation following the accidents is how the FAA and Boeing categorised the risks of an MCAS failure. A malfunction of the system was deemed to be "major" or the more serious classification "hazardous," depending on when it occurred during flight, according to the FAA.MCAS was not categorised as "catastrophic," the most severe condition that requires additional layers of protection. That classification is reserved for failures that can't be countered by pilot actions and would lead to multiple fatalities.Current and former FAA officials say that the process of using designated representatives of manufacturers isn't inherently unsafe so long as its properly overseen. The FAA would have to hire 10,000 more employees and increase its budget by $US1.8 billion ($2.6 billion) if it didn't rely on company employees, acting Administrator Daniel Elwell testified at a Senate hearing in March.FAA unions oppose expanding the program because they say it gives too much authority to companies and that employees have an incentive to side with their bosses. While unions didn't cite employment issues in their report, decreasing the role of company representatives could lead to more FAA jobs.The three unions - National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - wrote that designees had failed to address safety issues on multiple aircraft models. Portions of the report were earlier cited by the Seattle Times.Among the issues the unions identified on the 737 Max, which was nearing certification in early 2017, was a rudder control system that lacked adequate redundancy, a refueling system that could lead to spills and fuel tank wiring.The FAA investigated the issues after the union filed the report, it said in a statement. The agency declined to say what steps, if any, it took in 2017 to address the specific allegations because of the numerous investigations currently underway into the plane. In addition to reviews by FAA committees, Congress and the Transportation Department, the Justice Department is conducting a criminal probe of how the plane was certified.The FAA has defended the certification process for the 737 Max, saying it was done according to long-standing practice.Boeing has reported no new orders for its 737 MAX after its worldwide grounding, as well as disappointing orders and deliveries for the entire quarter.All the issues identified by the union involved features on older versions of the plane that wouldn't be permitted if the company was developing a model from scratch. When manufacturers such as Boeing update an existing model, the FAA has leeway to approve such designs if it finds that safety isn't compromised.The growing use of designated employees to assist in certification is part of the evolving philosophy of greater cooperation between the FAA and the companies it regulates, Boeing said in a statement."The long-standing collaborative engagement between the FAA, Boeing, its customers and industry partners has created the safest transportation system in the world," the company said.The 737 Next Gen models that preceded the Max family have one of the lowest accident rates of any modern jetliners, according to Boeing's annual accident summary.Bloomberg(5) Boeing knew about 737 MAX problems for months, but didn't tell FAA until after 2018 Lion Air crash 6 May 2019, 9:29pmBoeing has admitted it discovered a safety alert in the cockpit of its 737 MAX plane was not working as intended, yet it did not disclose that fact to airlines or US federal regulators until after one of the planes crashed months later.Key points:- Boeing realised its 737 model's sensor warning light only worked when an additional feature was bought within months of its 2017 debut- The FAA said it was first notified of the issue in November 2018, after the Lion Air crash- It is not clear whether purchase of the additional feature would have prevented crashes in Indonesia or Ethiopia- The feature was designed to warn pilots when a key sensor might be providing incorrect information about the pitch of the plane's nose.But within months of the 737's debut in 2017, Boeing said, its engineers realised the sensor warning light only worked when airlines also bought a separate, optional feature.The sensors malfunctioned during an October flight in Indonesia and another in March in Ethiopia, causing software on the planes to push their noses down.Pilots were unable to regain control of either plane, and both crashed, killing 346 people total.It is not clear whether having the warning light would have prevented either the Lion Air crash or the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines MAX near Addis Ababa.The crash was the worst airline disaster in Indonesia in more than two decades.Boeing's disclosure on Sunday (local time), however, raised fresh questions about the company's candour with regulators and airline customers.Boeing said again that the plane was safe to fly without the sensor alert, called an angle-of-attack disagree light.Other gauges tell pilots enough about the plane's speed, altitude, engine performance and other factors to fly safely, the company added.A spokesman for the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the agency was first notified of the non-working warning light in November, after the Lion Air 737 MAX crashed in Indonesia.He said FAA experts determined that the non-working cockpit indicator presented a low risk."However, Boeing's timely or earlier communication with [airlines] would have helped to reduce or eliminate possible confusion," the spokesman said in a emailed statement emailed to Associated Press.He declined to give more details.In manuals that Boeing gave to Southwest Airlines — the biggest operator of both the MAX and 737s in general — the warning light was depicted as a standard feature just as it is on older 737s, according to Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King.After the Lion Air crash, Ms King said, Boeing notified Southwest that it had discovered the lights did not work without the optional angle-of-attack indicators, so Southwest began adding the optional feature too.That allowed the airline to activate the sensor-disagree warning lights on its 34 MAX jets earlier this year, she said.Ms King described both features as "supplemental" and "advisory" to other information provided to pilots during flights.The indicator was designed to tell pilots when sensors that measure the pitch of the plane's nose appeared to conflict, a sign that the sensor information is unreliable.Boeing told airlines that the warning light was standard equipment on all MAX jets.Boeing engineers quickly learned, however, that the warning light only worked if airlines also bought an optional gauge that told pilots how the plane's nose was aimed in relation to the onrushing air.Boeing said the problem stemmed from software delivered to the company.A Boeing spokesman declined to name the software vendor to Associated Press.In its statement on Sunday, Boeing said that because in-house experts decided that the non-working light did not affect safety, the company decided to fix the problem by disconnecting the alert from the optional indicators at the next planned update of cockpit display software.Boeing did not tell airlines or the FAA about this decision.Moving forward, Boeing said it hoped to win approval from the FAA and foreign regulators to get the MAX flying again before summer in the northern hemisphere is over.When it does, the company said, the sensor warning light will be standard.Nearly 400 MAX jets were grounded by airlines worldwide in mid-March after the Ethiopia crash.Boeing was working to fix the software that pitched the planes' noses down based on faulty sensor readings, and to provide pilots with more information about the plane's automation.Meanwhile, the US Justice Department was conducting a criminal investigation into whether Boeing misled regulators about features on the plane including flight-control software at the heart of the crash investigations.The company was also under scrutiny by congressional committees and the Transportation Department's inspector general, and it faces a growing number of lawsuits by families of the dead passengers.AP(6) On 737 MAX, two toggle switches were altered to perform the same function Tyler DurdenSat, 05/11/2019 - 11:30When Boeing transitioned from the 737 NG model to the 737 MAX, designers altered a toggle switch panel that could have prevented both of the deadly crashes over the last year in Ethiopia and Indonesia, killing a combined 346 people, according to an investigation by the Seattle Times.On the 737 NG, the right switch was labeled "AUTO PILOT" - and allowed pilots to deactivate the plane's automated stabilizer controls, such as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), suspected to be the culprit in both crashes. The left toggle switch on the NG would deactivate the buttons on the yoke which pilots regularly use to control the horizontal stabilizer.On the 737 MAX, however, the two switches were altered to perform the same function, according to internal documents reviewed by the Times, so that they would disable all electronic stabilizer controls - including the MCAS and the thumb buttons on the yoke used to control the stabilizer. (Dimas Ardian / Bloomberg)Former Boeing flight-controls engineer Peter Lemme, a harsh critic of the MAX design, first raised questions over the switch alteration on his blog, and says he doesn't understand why Boeing made the change.He said if the company had maintained the switch design from the 737 NG, Boeing could have instructed pilots after the Lion Air crash last year to simply flip the "AUTO PILOT" switch to deactivate MCAS and continue flying with the normal trim buttons on the control wheel. He said that would have saved the Ethiopian Airlines plane and the 157 people on board."There’s no doubt in my mind that they would have been fine," Lemme said. -Seattle TimesBoeing told the Times that they had historically called for pilots to flip both switches to disable a problematic or "runaway" stabilizer, so the button change matched that procedure, adding that the two switches "were retained for commonality of the crew interface.""Boeing strongly disagrees with any speculation or suggestion that pilots should deviate from these long-established and trained safety procedures," the company added.During the October Lion Air flight, pilots were reportedly unaware of the MCAS system - while the day before, an off-duty pilot with knowledge of the stabilizer controls helped pilots disable the system on the same plane. Data from the flight revealed that the repeated commands from the MCAS system sent the flight from Bali to Jakarta plummeting into the sea.After that crash, Boeing issued a directive calling for pilots to use the typical runaway stabilizer procedure to deal with MCAS in the event of a problem. Then pilots would be able to swivel the tail down manually by physically turning a control wheel that connects to the tail via cables.But on the Ethiopian Airlines flight, the pilots appear to have recognized the errant MCAS problem and flipped the cutoff switches as described in the checklist. But then it appears that the pilots were unable to move the manual wheel, likely because the forces on the tail made it physically challenging to turn. -Seattle TimesAfter they were able to manually control the stabilizer, the Ethiopian Airlines pilots appear to have flipped the cutoff switches back on, reactivating the MCAS system. Shortly after, it entered a fatal nosedive which killed all 157 people aboard."When you’re pulling on the column with 80-100 pounds of force trying to save your life, your troubleshooting techniques are very weak," said aviation consultant Doug Moss. "You need some gut-level instinctive things to do to solve the problem."A veteran Boeing 737 test pilot said that all Boeing planes have two such cutoff switches, not just the 737. And both he and American Airlines Captain Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association who flies 737s, said they could think of no existing procedure that called for flipping only one of the switches.The procedure appears to be designed to prepare for a situation in which the plane’s stabilizer motor is for some reason jammed and moving uncommanded in one direction – a classic "runaway stabilizer" situation. That would require shutting off all power to the motor. -Seattle TimesNotably, the FAA did not notify pilots that the functionality of the switches had been altered, simply noting in its documentation the labeling change "Stab Trim cutout switches panel nomenclature."