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Boeing Replaces Head Of 737 Max Program after Door Panel Blowout Incident

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Clear Facts

  • Boeing has recently replaced Ed Clark, the head of its 737 Max program, following a door panel blowout incident during a flight last month.
  • The incident, which led to an emergency landing and grounding of all Boeing 737 9 Max planes, has been attributed to missing bolts, according to a preliminary report by the United States National Transportation Safety Board.
  • Following the incident, Boeing has faced significant financial losses and a lawsuit from shareholders, citing “serious safety lapses” and “poor quality control.”

Boeing, the American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, has recently made a significant change in its management. The head of the 737 Max program, Ed Clark, has been replaced following an incident where a door panel blew out during a flight last month.

The announcement of Clark’s departure was made by Stanley Deal, the executive vice president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Ed departs with my, and our, deepest gratitude for his many significant contributions over nearly 18 years of dedicated service to Boeing,” Deal stated.

Clark had been leading the program since 2021, with his responsibilities including overseeing the company’s factory in Renton, Washington. This facility was responsible for the final assembly of the Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 plane involved in the recent incident.

The flight was forced to make an emergency landing when an exit door panel blew out mid-flight. This led to all Boeing 737 9 Max planes being grounded for a few weeks for quality control inspections.

According to a preliminary report by the United States National Transportation Safety Board, the plane may have left the Boeing factory without key bolts to secure it. “Overall, the observed damage patterns and absence of contact damage or deformation around holes associated with the vertical movement arrestor bolts and upper guide track bolts in the upper guide fittings, hinge fittings, and recovered aft lower hinge guide fitting indicate that the four bolts that prevent upward movement of the [mid exit door] plug were missing before the MED plug moved upward off the stop pads,” the report read.

This incident has had a significant impact on Boeing’s reputation and financial standing. It has cost the company billions of dollars in value and has even led to a lawsuit from shareholders. The investors argued that Boeing’s “serious safety lapses” and “poor quality control” measures were to blame for the incident, which ultimately led to a drop in stock prices.

In light of these events, Deal announced that the recent management shake-up is part of the manufacturer’s “enhanced focus on ensuring that every airplane we deliver meets or exceeds all quality and safety requirements.” He added, “Our customers demand, and deserve, nothing less.”

Clark’s position will be filled by Katie Ringgold, the vice president in charge of delivering 737s. Ringgold will serve as the vice president and general manager for the 737 program and the Renton factory.

Boeing CEO David Calhoun acknowledged the company’s responsibility for the incident in late January. He stated that Boeing “caused the problem” and that the company “will work” to regain airlines’ confidence. Calhoun also noted that Boeing has increased inspections at its factories and suppliers.

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Clear Thoughts (op-ed)

The recent door panel blowout incident involving a Boeing 737 Max 9 is yet another example of the systemic issues plaguing the once-revered aircraft manufacturer. The removal of Ed Clark as head of the 737 Max program serves as an attempt to restore confidence in Boeing, but one must wonder if a simple management change is enough.

An incident like this, attributed to missing bolts, raises serious questions about the quality control measures in place at Boeing. How can such a crucial oversight occur at a company responsible for the safety of millions of passengers worldwide?

This isn’t the first time Boeing has faced safety issues and financial losses. The company’s reputation has taken a significant hit, and shareholders have filed lawsuits against them. While Boeing’s CEO states they will work to regain airlines’ confidence, it’s clear that the company needs to do more than just change management.

Implementing rigorous quality control measures and ensuring that each aircraft meets or exceeds safety requirements should be Boeing’s top priority. The lives of countless passengers and the company’s future depend on it.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Patriot 01

    February 26, 2024 at 6:49 pm

    This is just another example of people not caring about doing a good job all they care about is a paycheck and they don’t care about hurting or killing a lot of people, workers in this day in time need to get their heads out of the sand and do quality work.

    • PHILLIP S BUDZENSKI, MD

      February 26, 2024 at 7:31 pm

      Patriot 01 – you hit the nail on the head.

  2. Stan

    February 26, 2024 at 6:58 pm

    The least you should do is show an actual 737. This isn’t one.

  3. Jeff Taylor

    February 26, 2024 at 9:23 pm

    Nothing new here, there were all kinds of quality issues with the USAF KC-46 tanker program, poor quality, tools and all kinds of fasteners found throughout multiple airframes to the point USAF were refusing to accept new airplanes. Seems Boeing learned nothing from this. Subcontractor Spirit has a long record of poor quality to the point of having employees assigned to the Renton plant to fix problems as the airframes move down the production line, quality isn’t something that is installed while going down a production line.

  4. Ron Cunningham

    February 27, 2024 at 12:14 am

    The entire culture of Boeing Mgmt.is to move the plane through the position that they are responsible for, without a delay, so that they can get their BONUS, and quality control be damned. I’m speaking from experience, on the 737 & 747 final assembly lines back in 1967 to 1969. When we had a shortage of parts, our Supervisors told us to get a removal of those needed parts from the plane that we just finished a few days ago, and install them on the one in our current position, so he could sell this position as complete. I’m telling you that the schedule of progress (ON Paper) was more important than the actual completed plane.
    Use your own imagination to determine where QUALITY ranks in a Mgmt.System such as I have just described. I know people currently working at Boeing in several different areas, and they tell me things have only changed for the worse over these many years.

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