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Trump Grounds 737 Max Until Boeing Can Prove Someone Other Than ‘Albert Einstein’ Can Fly One

The silver lining for Boeing is...

Earlier Wednesday, we spent quite a bit of time delving into the geopolitical ramifications of Boeing’s recent misfortunes.

Long story short, the company’s best-selling aircraft has effectively been blackballed by most of the world following another exceedingly unfortunate “our 737 Max fell out of the sky and nobody knows why” moment.

China took the lead and other countries followed, with the most stinging rebuke of the FAA’s wait-and-see approach coming from Europe, which decided on Tuesday that it’s probably best to preemptively ground the aircraft before any more of them decide to ground themselves.

Amid the global backlash, pressure on the FAA grew and the bad press started to mount as major media outlets highlighted regulatory capture and Boeing’s “800-pound gorilla” status in the lobbying community.

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How Long Before Trump Demands The World Stop Blackballing Boeing?

For his part, Trump initially suggested that the problem with the 737 Max likely stemmed from the planes being too advanced, the pilots being too smart or some combination of both. Because naturally, when something goes wrong, it’s logical to assume that had everything and everyone involved been stupider, mistakes would have been avoided and lives would have been saved.

It’s like how the Titanic would have never hit that iceberg if only the ship had been made of papier-mâché and the crew had been entirely comprised of monkeys in people clothes.

The president also took a phone call from Boeing’s Dennis Muilenburg and more than a few folks suggested that chat might have had something to do with the US delaying a decision to ground the planes.

Meanwhile, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle suggested a temporary grounding was likely the best option and it seemed like just a matter of time before the bad press ended up creating a PR nightmare for the administration. Consider this, for instance, from The Dallas Morning News:

Pilots repeatedly voiced safety concerns about the Boeing 737 Max 8 to federal authorities, with one captain calling the flight manual “inadequate and almost criminally insufficient” several months before Sunday’s Ethiopian Air crash that killed 157 people, an investigation by The Dallas Morning News found.

The News found five complaints about the Boeing model in a federal database where pilots can voluntarily report about aviation incidents without fear of repercussions.

The complaints are about the safety mechanism cited in preliminary reports about an October Boeing 737 Max 8 crash in Indonesia that killed 189.

The disclosures found by The News reference problems with an autopilot system, and they all occurred during the ascent after takeoff. Many mentioned the plane suddenly nosing down.

And so, figurative gun to his head, Trump made the call on Wednesday afternoon, announcing that the FAA would in fact ground the 737 Max pending “answers” he says are “hopefully” forthcoming.

 

Why Trump felt like he should be the one to make the initial announcement on this rather than the FAA itself is anyone’s guess. It’s almost as if he feels like he needs to make all major announcements irrespective of whether he’s the proper person for the job.

And before you think we’re being needlessly derisive or otherwise exaggerating Trump’s penchant for making everything about him, do note that he actually tweeted out a video of himself making the announcement just moments later.

In any event, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. This is insult to injury for Boeing and the shares reacted accordingly, falling to day lows and extending what was already on track to be one of the worst weekly losses in a decade. The stock is now off about 13% this week.

You can believe Trump wants this resolved. Just about the last thing he needs from an economic perspective is for this to spiral into some kind of acute crisis.

The silver lining for Boeing is that based on Trump’s Tuesday tweets, all the company needs to do to get these suckers back in the air is replace all the technology in the cockpit with an Etch-A-Sketch and replace the pilots with a couple of mannequins in MAGA hats…

 

5 comments on “Trump Grounds 737 Max Until Boeing Can Prove Someone Other Than ‘Albert Einstein’ Can Fly One

  1. Harvey Darrow Cotton

    Nobody knows how to ground airplanes better than Trump. He did run Trump Shuttle into the ground.

  2. Sometimes the less said the better.. It is very easy to not read anything hyper critical into this issue if one were so inclined. Trouble is this is Trump we are seeing here and he just can’t seem to get his foot out of his mouth irregardless of topic….lol

  3. Clearly, despite almost every other air transport regulatory agency in the world looking at the similarities with the earlier Boeing 737Max crash, and acting accordingly, the FAA doesn’t seem to understand ‘the precautionary principle.’ Independent aviation analysts said their access to data more than 1 day earlier showed a striking similarity with the earlier crash. No need for Trump to opine; we all just need the FAA to protect the flying public and all of our belief in air safety, not FAA ‘CYA’ and giving cover to Boeing. Irreparable harm would have been done if there was another 737Max crash while the FAA ‘DITHERED.’

    • jamaican

      “No need for Trump to opine…” So true on so many occasions.
      btw anyone notice that it’s the “split seconds” part where the tweet was interrupted for FULL 12 MINUTES due to character limits?
      Gotta love the irony.
      🙂

  4. Anonymous

    Read the internal engineering discussion on this design. To what extent should robots be flight correcting an intrinsically unstable propulsion system? Saving how much fuel putting engines there?

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