The FAA self-reporting system that made US air travel much safer - no thanks to Boeing

WSJ’s Ben Cohen interviews William Voss, an aviation consultant who’s been a pilot, a mechanic, an FAA executive, an executive with the International Civil Aviation Organization, and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation.

After a spate of air accidents leading up to the 1996 TWA Flight 800 crash, Clinton set up a White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security comprising regulators and industry officials tasked with coming up with a radically different system to prevent what was trending towards at least one major air crash a week.

It required a total U turn in air safety mindset - from traditional post crash investigations to proactive routine self reporting of even the smallest mistakes by every single person involved in air transportation - ground crews, pilots, CEOs…

Everybody except, of course, Boeing :
'The voluntary reporting, data mining and safety practices that have transformed airlines have not been as widely adopted by manufacturers like Boeing, which made the 737 Max 9 jet in the Alaska flight and the 737 Max 8 planes in a pair of 2018 and 2019 overseas crashes that killed hundreds. There is often a culture of silence inside factories that deters employees from speaking up and pointing out defects. Many of the industry’s recent crises can be traced back to nuts and bolts quality problems and production oversights.

Today’s airline operators though have been conditioned to this culture of transparency. They don’t get fired for reporting errors. It’s not reporting errors that is grounds for firing.’


Yes, it’s called “tombstone engineering”, finding the problems after people have been killed.

We see it today in putting not-quite-ready “full self driving” on the roads, with the rest of us playing the part of the crash test dummies.


What I don’t understand is how this FSD con has been allowed to go on for so long in, of all places, the US? Where all those pesky ambulance chasers when we need them?

Yes the DOJ, NHTSA etc. have finally woken up with their investigations of Tesla’s “Autopilot” hype, but that apparently isn’t stopping Musk from continuing to ramp up his “Full Self-Driving Capability” hyperbole :
“Tesla is stepping up promotion of the driver-assistance technology it calls “Full Self-Driving Capability,” seeking to expand use of the controversial software feature as it confronts the prospect of lower sales growth this year.”

That’s after having recalled nearly all its US vehicles last December under pressure from the NHTSA :
Tesla’s Autopilot system may not have sufficient controls in place to prevent driver misuse, it said. There is an increased risk of a crash when Autopilot is engaged and a driver doesn’t maintain control of the vehicle or is unprepared to intervene, the NHTSA said. The agency said as part of its investigation it had reviewed 956 crashes where Autopilot was said to have been used.”

Oh, BTW, this time is different, of course:
“Elon Musk told employees this week that they are required to take customers on a test drive using the technology before they hand over the keys.”

I’m sure one test drive will permanently transform people’s tendencies to push the limits of whatever technology they’ve got their hands on, particularly when none other than Elon Musk says it offers “Full Self-Driving Capability”!

Of course, when it turns out to be not so safe, Tesla will blame the driver for not keeping his/her hands on the wheel !

Today there is justifiable outrage against Boeing for failing to ensure safety on their planes.

Where’s the outrage against Tesla for its failure to ensure its “Autopilot” is safe for both fallible/ distractable human drivers as well as for the occasional lunatic who thinks normal traffic precautions are for the birds?


ICE vehicles have been immortalized in drive-by shootings. How about banning these deadly things?

The Captain

is just curious…

Easy to shut him up. Require HE use FSD all the time. Problem resolves itself–one way or another.

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