Former senior Boeing officials defend 737 max design: Report

Keith Leverkuhn and Michael Teal, who oversaw the development of the aircraft, didn’t concede any procedural mistakes, according to the article, which cited transcripts of closed-door interviews that will be part of a government report to be released this week.
A service truck is seen stopped next to a Boeing 737 Max aircraft in storage at the Renton Municipal Airport in Renton, Washington.(REUTERS)
A service truck is seen stopped next to a Boeing 737 Max aircraft in storage at the Renton Municipal Airport in Renton, Washington.(REUTERS)
Updated on Sep 13, 2020 03:54 PM IST
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ByBloomberg | Posted by Arpan Rai

Two top Boeing Co. executives have told US government investigators that the design process for the 737 Max was not flawed, despite the plane suffering two fatal crashes, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Keith Leverkuhn and Michael Teal, who oversaw the development of the aircraft, didn’t concede any procedural mistakes, according to the article, which cited transcripts of closed-door interviews that will be part of a government report to be released this week.

Leverkuhn, who served as the Max program manager from 2013 to 2018, said that the process was “correct and appropriate,” according to the newspaper. “I do challenge the suggestion that the development was a failure,” he said.

The interviews with investigators mark the two men’s first public statements since the jetliner was grounded in March 2019. The plane was involved in two crashes that killed 346 people after the cockpit flight-control system, MCAS, overpowered pilots and caused fatal nosedives. Dennis Muilenburg was pushed out as chief executive officer by the firm’s board in December 2019.

Leverkuhn and Teal told investigators they had signed off on the MCAS system without fully understanding how it worked, the paper said.

Boeing said Leverkuhn and Teal supervised hundreds of engineers and, given their broad responsibilities, “were not, and could not have been, involved in every design decision” on the aircraft, in a comment to the Wall Street Journal. Boeing also reiterated it has taken steps to improve its internal procedures.

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