The 737Max is a lesson in delusion

definition: delusion, deluded; A delusion is a mistaken belief that is held with strong conviction even in the presence of superior evidence to the contrary

It seems like the 737Max story just doesn’t want to get any better.

One after another facts drop into view demonstrating massive and yet entirely human mistakes, mostly caused by deluded decision makers, and the cost of doing something about it.

The public were in a state of deluded ignorance, always believing that Boeing and the FAA would never do anything dangerous or misguided.

Boeing employees were deluded by their own mythology – they didn’t think they could do wrong by accident because someone elsewhere – the FAA or some other dingy office in the depths of Boeing’s corporate maze, was overseeing that the impossible couldn’t happen.

Boeing’s people were deluded into thinking the MCAS angle of attack sensor could be re-worked later. Because they had been under the delusion that pilots and operators would be told how to deal with it. They weren’t.

Someone at Boeing was under the delusion that pilots didn’t need to know about MCAS because it was automated and clever – an assumption born of delusional thinking.

Everything points to Boeing’s own invincibility, it’s rightness, it’s complacencies, in thinking it could do no wrong and that someone, somewhere was making sure it would all be alright in the end.

The people who made that deluded assumption were the ones who should have been making that call. The unwillingness to say “we shouldn’t (or should) do this”, is endemic – it’s a symptom of a cost driven culture motivated by profit and the pressures of time and schedules.

Nobody wants to be seen holding things up or costing money. The first thing that goes is responsibility. Humans tell themselves they have no choice, that if it wasn’t safe the FAA or someone else will surely spot it.

Boeing self-certifying it’s own product shows how deluded that thought process truly is.

It’s a delusion born of the human need to justify a decision, when doing the right thing is too expensive to be a good thing.

Nobody wants to be seen to slow things down, loose a productivity bonus, or cost money.

Until that culture changes – and Boeing is rife with it – look at the KC46 tanker, more allegations of 787 poor workmanship and quality issues, and the 737Max, another 737Max saga is inevitable.

When profit drives everything shortcuts happen and eventually someone pays. 346 passengers and crew on two 737Max’s already have.

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