Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Airlines need to protect their customers and their crew, thereby their reputations. Engineers need to be able to work things, as necessary. Marketing? Management? Other players? Such as?

The arm-chair critic, for one. Well, amuse yourself with this blog.

------- later in the day -------

CNN report. Earlier, a Japanese airline, or two, had decided to ground its aircraft. Now, FAA has made a similar decision. We will watch this closely. The hope is to be flying soon.

from CNN report
Aside: We got started here in 2007 because there was an announcement that a major section was ready to ship from a supplier. And, I knew that it could not be true from what I seen two years before. Well, the piece did ship. Boeing put pieces together. Then, it had the audacity (ah, engineers, don't you love those marketeers) to roll out an empty shell under great fanfare (some termed this a potemkin affair). You know, everyone had the expectation that the thing could fly soon. You know how long it took to get to the flying state? Several parts of a year. Now, of course, as problems surfaced, engineering found ways to get things to work. Eventually, the marketing view was told to let engineering take the lead. That thing of idiots driving the world is one big problem with the world, but everyone knows that do we not. We'll visit the issue, again, as we're getting to where complicated states will require, continually, our collective intelligence, with minimal gaming. It was about that time that the financial idiocy was coming out. You see, the engineers finally got the 787 out, albeit there may be still things that need to be worked out. Finance? Ben has done his best to float the idiots. It was just a little while ago that Jamie was arguing that they knew what they were doing and ought to self-regulate. Then, the whale plopped in his lap, poor guy. Fortunately, there are people looking into these matters, such as Rick Bookstaber (his post points to related research).


Now, we all ought to consider that complexity is something that ought to keep us from hubris (see Business, as stupid - written before I knew about Rick's post). We have two factors that are at large here. Mathematics and its descent into common use is a prime one. That applies in this case (we noted that earlier) and in business. It's really the same failing for both engineering and business (where these two do not overlap, okay?). In case of business program management, we have ideas that "risk" has been conquered; just think back to idiotic claims in the 2007/2008 time frame. I know, Ben with his largess has open a spigot to imaginary bucks that has aerated the gaming (so what that the DOW is up? tell me, please, in detail, what is behind that? now, please, follow it up with something of value that is real? can you find some balance in your analysis? oh, you're considering that we've hocked the future for our progeny?). Now, engineering has similar problems. Their success with modeling, especially dynamic systems, has caused many to run off as if a model equals reality (again, we can go into depth here and intend to).

What is the second factor? Human nature. In the case of business, it's all of the greed and other positions that push toward things like dark pools and other idiocies. Too, you get people, like the ad-men, using analysis to look for soft parts of yourself (as in, trying to determine how to lure your little arse into a compromising position, essentially). In engineering? It's the complexity, and a bunch of guys, usually, pushing mathematics, perhaps, way beyond its limits. My mathematician friend/mentor always complained that engineers just read the book. They don't prove theorems or work derivations (as in, guys, from a foundation'l sense, tell me why your methods work and what might be their limits). Oh, it computes (acknowledging, of course, that all of these issues go back to that artificial creation of ours) is sufficient? From whence do you make that to be your verification? Oh, because the computer model agrees with what you see in the real world?

Now, as said before, with engineering, you can test in reality (finance cannot do this the same way). With a plane, you can fly the thing, put it through some paces that are significant, and measure performance in the testing situation. Earlier, I left the engineering side alone since the financial idiots were still running amok. Will this latest event push me back to some balanced view? After all, we do have engineering failures. Many times, though, they seem to point back to human failure. I'm not so sure that such is always the case, albeit it is nice when we can do that (to be human is to err - nice little excuse, too many times). 


07/15/2013 -- A fire late last week bring an opportunity to see what goes into determining whether to do composite repair or to undergo a section replacement.

03/12/2013 -- Boeing has fixes that it wants to test.

02/28/2013 -- Boeing has proposed a solution; FAA is reviewing.

01/24/2013 -- Article from New York -- The Digital Skeptic: Dreamliner Brings iPhone 'Reliability' to the Skies. With something as complex as the 787, how many operational issues can be expected to crop up (at 35K feet -- rhetorical answer? A bunch.)? A student paper at Uniz of Az looks at 787 outsourcing (see Mahmoodi). Boeing Tech Fellow's cautionary note, on outsourcing (2001 - there was quite a bit of discussion at the 2004 conference in LA, to boot, about matters of technical design -- also, whistle blower?). Related, 787 blog.

01/23/2013 -- A look at the battery and related comments. Worth a read.

01/21/2013 -- WSJ has a nice recap from the beginning.

01/20/2013 -- WSJ story from the flightblogger.

01/18/2013 -- Problems, such as those alluded to in this blog, wouldn't have happened under Mullaly? Alan was an engineer; so, he knew his stuff and airplanes. Too bad that we can't go back and see how he would have handled all of those issues over the past few years. I would suggest this: no potemkin event.

01/17/2013 -- One criticism, that might stand up (we'll see), is that engineering took the back seat many (perhaps, too many) times.

Modified: 07/15/2013

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