Debris found in fuel tanks of 70% of inspected 737 Max jets

In summary, the Boeing 737 Max is facing issues with fuel filters. It is unclear if these airplanes were supposed to be delivered to customers already if the 737 Max wouldn't be grounded for other reasons, but foreign objects in more than half of the inspected planes is certainly nothing customers want to see. There are 350 more aircraft waiting they have to check.
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TL;DR Summary
Debris found in 35 out of 50 inspected new airplanes at Boeing
Yes, that 737 Max. News. It's unclear if these airplanes were supposed to be delivered to customers already if the 737 Max wouldn't be grounded for other reasons, but foreign objects in more than half of the inspected planes is certainly nothing customers want to see. There are 350 more aircraft waiting they have to check.
A Boeing spokesman cautioned against applying the 70% to all 400 jets, saying there’s no way to know how many have the same problem until they’re all inspected.
There would be a way to know if you would check the airplanes more carefully...
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It seems not to be a big deal if they have properly inspected the fuel filters. :H :oops:o_O
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Any FOD is bad, this is just another example of issues coming up wrt the 737-MAX. The tanker program was gounded last year multiple times for manufacturing debris in not only the fuel tanks, but other places on the aircraft (wrenches being dropped and not retrieved etc...)
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Given every last one will have had documented inspections, got to hope there was an honest mix-up rather than being signed off by 'J. D~e', 'D. D~~k', 'M. M~~~e' or the eponymous 'P.P. Squiggle'...
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Tom, I jest but, long ago and far away, I nearly lost my job over such. Late on a Friday, I'd refused to sign off on an urgent bulk batch of cough syrup as the samples were slightly the wrong colour. Production Supervisor swore the stuff was okay, swore my eyes were wrong, took incomplete documents away...

Monday morning, I found a lynch-mob posse waiting. The filling line's in-process checks had caught it on the Saturday, shift sent home, my head to be put on a stake...

But, as I pointed out, I'd only signed for the failures.

And, on the Saturday morning, my usual optician had found me waiting on his doorstop when he opened up. Situation explained, he did me a full check-up, broke out the colour-vision flash-cards, deployed tint-strips and tint-wheels just in case. No, corrected by the prescription spectacles I'd worn, my vision was excellent. I had trouble naming subtle shades, but I could match them very, very well. Better than him. He kindly wrote me a 'repeat' prescription confirming these findings. Which I produced in my defence.

Ah ? Hmm. Execution stayed, they looked at the batch documents again.

I'd come at that complex colour mix three different ways, each from above and below, found every result out of spec. Some near, some not so near. Not even one 'acceptable'...

Some-one else had added one (1) 'acceptable' result, signed for the batch. The illegible 'dead spider' was recognised as 'resembling' that of the Production Supervisor who'd taken the incomplete documents. Exit posse, stage-right...

The consequences were mostly 'above my pay-grade', but rumours abounded. That 'Production Supervisor' was certainly 'promoted sideways'. We were told an urgent eye-test had revealed he'd developed just enough astigmatism to see that batch's wonky colour as okay, so now required spectacles...

Yeah, right. Pull the other leg, there's bells on it ! But, given he'd been very, very active in our powerful staff union, we made quiet jokes about 'diplomatic astigmatism'...
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  • #6
Some time ago I was in charge of the automated test systems for many of Cisco Systems' wireless networking products. When the test system occasionally began failing too many units, I usually got pinged on to adjust the testing so passing rates would increase. My practice was to review the test code and ensure it was functioning properly, and once that was confirmed, hold firm and tell them to "fix the products, not the test."

When I became a physics professor, the process repeated when too many students earned Ds, Fs, or Ws in my intro algebra-based physics course. Guidance counselors were placing way too many students in the course without appropriate math prerequisites. Most of the faculty who taught the course before me simply dumbed down the course enough to pass them. I held the line and eventually got the math prerequisites fixed, and success rates (A, B, or C) more than doubled.

It's easy to criticize product quality issues that are the responsibility of others. We all need to own our product responsibilities first. The vast majority of math and science teachers students have had before getting to me were woefully remiss in owning their quality responsibilities. And I'd venture to surmise, low product quality in education contributed to the attitudes and actions relating to the 737 woes. Students either learn that mediocre efforts are not good enough or that they are "good enough."
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  • #7
Dr. Courtney said:
It's easy to criticize product quality issues that are the responsibility of others.
That's oversimplified. Every person has to make decisions in life. Who to trust? Who to distrust? Trust in an airliner is high on the list of importance.

Boeing can't have it both ways. They can't say, "Trust us based on our long history of quality, excellence, and safe operation," then cry foul if people look at the recent history as indicative of a sea change in Boeing's culture.

In a corporation, it takes only a few employees in powerful positions to poison the culture. I am reminded of the infamous conference call in 1986 where NASA and Thikol management bullied the engineers, resulting in the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster. It was a cultural problem to allow management to participate in the call at all. The issues were technical and the decision should have been technical. "The specifications say 50 degrees F. The temperature is below 50. No go. Period."

In 1970, the top 10 Fortune 500 were: General Motors, Exxon, Ford, GE, IBM, Chrysler, Mobil, Texaco, ITT, Gulf Oil. Only Exxon remains on today's top 10 list. It is my opinion that all the non-oil companies on that list declined because the company culture did not keep up with the times. It is also my opinion that Boeing is at risk of similar decline.

For a more in-depth look at the problem of company culture contributing to decline, I recommend this excellent book from 1993. Computer Wars:: The Fall of IBM and the Future of Global Technology
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What is the significance of debris found in fuel tanks of 70% of inspected 737 Max jets?

The presence of debris in the fuel tanks of 70% of inspected 737 Max jets is a cause for concern as it can potentially lead to fuel contamination and affect the performance of the aircraft. This issue was discovered during routine inspections and has prompted further investigations and safety measures.

What kind of debris was found in the fuel tanks?

The exact nature of the debris found in the fuel tanks has not been disclosed by the authorities. However, it is believed to be a combination of metal shavings, tools, and other foreign objects that may have entered the tanks during the manufacturing or maintenance process.

How does debris in the fuel tanks affect the safety of the aircraft?

Debris in the fuel tanks can potentially clog fuel filters and cause engine failure, leading to a loss of control of the aircraft. It can also damage the fuel pumps and other components, resulting in costly repairs and potential delays in flight operations.

What is being done to address this issue?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an Airworthiness Directive requiring all 737 Max jets to be inspected for debris in the fuel tanks before being returned to service. Boeing has also implemented additional quality control measures in their production and maintenance processes to prevent debris from entering the fuel tanks.

Is this issue unique to 737 Max jets?

While the recent inspections have only been conducted on 737 Max jets, debris in fuel tanks can potentially be found in any type of aircraft. However, the FAA has not reported any similar findings in other aircraft models at this time.

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