Boeing 737Max

How to Fix Quality Issues at Boeing – Episode 230

Boeing should use a third-party organization that would act on behalf of the FAA to monitor the design and production of its aircraft. That’s the proposal of special guest and Kilroy Aviation CEO Mike Borfitz published in a June 28, 2024 editorial in Aviation Daily.

This kind of oversight had been provided in the past by Boeing employees who acted as the eyes and ears of the FAA. The process is based on FAA regulations created in 2005 that allowed manufacturers to create Organization Designation Authorizations (ODAs), groups of employees who were paid by the manufacturer and who worked for the FAA.

The effectiveness of this organizational setup for Boeing was questioned in the wake of the 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019. Borfitz’s proposal would address the weaknesses of the previous setup by having a third-party organization outside of Boeing’s control act as Boeing’s ODA. This would make it more likely that concerning issues would be brought to the attention of the FAA.

This episode includes a wide-ranging discussion of how aircraft are certified to FAA standards. Todd Curtis and Borfitz, both of whom worked for Boeing when the company merged with McDonnell Douglas, relate that the merger led high-level Boeing managers to focus more on shareholder value.

Borfitz expresses his belief that the current Department of Justice sanctions against Boeing that require an independent monitor to oversee compliance and safety for three years would be ineffective because it allows Boeing to return to its previous management policies in three years.

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