Boeing pilot found “egregious” issues with 737 MAX two years before crashes: reports

Oct 18, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A Boeing pilot found issues with the flight system that would bring down two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft two years before the first crash, according to reports.

The pilot, Mark Forkner, said in text messages that the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) on the MAX was “running rampant” in simulator flight tests of the aircraft, reported Reuters and The New York Times on Friday. He called the issue “egregious” in the messages to a colleague in November 2016.

Forkner, who has since left Boeing, admitted in the messages that he “basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly).”

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration went on to certify the MAX 8 in March 2017. The model was subsequently involved in two fatal crashes that took the lives of 346 people before all 737 MAX aircraft were grounded this past March.

“Today we brought to the [House Transportation & Infrastructure] Committee’s attention a document containing statements by a former Boeing employee,” a Boeing spokesman told TPG in response to the reports. “We will continue to cooperate with the committee as it continues its investigation.”

The revelation is the latest potential setback for Boeing and returning the 737 MAX to service. The Chicago-based airframer continues to work with the FAA and other global regulators over a software fix to the MCAS system.

Analysts at Cowen said in a report Friday that they now expect Boeing can resume delivering MAX aircraft in December, pending re-certification by the FAA and other regulators. However, they note that the re-certification timeline remains unclear.

U.S. operators American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines have all in recent weeks pushed the 737 MAX’s return to service to January.

Alaska Airlines was due to take delivery of its first three 737 MAX aircraft in the fourth quarter, but now expects the aircraft in 2020.

Featured image:  A United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft lands at San Francisco International Airport on March 13, 2019, before the plane was grounded (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.