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The crash of the Boeing 737 in Iran has exposed a major issue concerning the future of the United States!

Original title: Boeing 737 crashes in Iran, exposing a major issue concerning the future of the United States!

On the morning of January 8, a Ukrainian International Airlines passenger plane carrying at least 170 people crashed near Khomeini International Airport in Tehran.

According to reports, the Boeing 737 is scheduled to take off from Khomeini International Airport to the Ukrainian capital Kiev. However, a few minutes after takeoff, it crashed near the airport due to "technical problems", and all the people on board were killed.

In a previous statement, a crash of a Ukrainian passenger plane in Tehran was caused by an engine failure, eliminating the possibility of a terrorist attack. However, the latest statement from Ukraine stated that the cause of the accident will be announced by the investigative committee, and any previous statement has no effect.

However, Boeing's position in the aviation industry after two major air crashes has been questioned. As soon as the accident happened, the outside world pointed its finger directly at Boeing.

In January 2020, the Boeing 737MAX production line at the Langton plant stopped counting down. The closure of the production line means that there are only a few P8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft orders left at the Langton plant.

Boeing, what happened? Made in the USA, what happened?

1

Boeing factory to close

The Langton plant that makes the 737MAX can be described as Boeing's "Longxing Land."

The Boeing's oldest plant, the Langton plant began manufacturing passenger aircraft in the 1920s. After entering the jet era, it has become a well-known Boeing 737 family production base.

The Langton plant mainly produces Boeing's fist product, the Boeing 737 series. Its monthly output accounts for 70% of all Boeing aircraft production. Before the Boeing 737MAX was grounded, the monthly production of Boeing 737MAX at the Langton plant was quite staggering.

The picture shows the Boeing Langton plant, where almost all Boeing 737 series are produced

Aircraft is the "crown" of modern industry. Its production lines are very complex and rely on many global suppliers. Once the aircraft factory is shut down for a few months, it will be difficult to resume production again.

Therefore, unless there is no alternative, the operation of the aircraft production line will never be stopped.

However, the Boeing 737MAX has been grounded for nine months, and the backlog of more than 400 aircraft has become a heavy burden. Boeing cannot continue to operate the Langton plant and has to make a difficult decision to stop production.

In addition to the Langton plant, Boeing also has the largest Everett plant and the youngest North Charleston plant. The former produces Boeing 747, 767, 777, 787 and other wide-body airliners, while the latter produces Boeing 787 exclusively.

Compared to the soon-to-be-closed Langton plant, the two are undoubtedly lucky, however, they are also scandal-ridden, and perhaps destined to witness the decline of the Boeing Empire.

2

Stunning aircraft quality

After the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded, another Boeing 787, the Dreamliner, had a quality scandal.

In April 2019, according to Boeing employees, they were afraid to ride a Boeing 787.

In July, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) said that Boeing's first Boeing 787 qualification document delivered to Air Canada was fraudulent-the qualification documents were ready before the plane was built. The Boeing 787, which has been certified before it was built, had a major quality problem with the fuel leak of the aircraft engine less than one year (10 months after the delivery).

In addition, the Boeing 787 was also accused of remaining tools in the aircraft and the existence of metal debris that had not been cleaned up, which all meant that the American "Northern Industrial Eldest Son" had failed in quality control.

As early as 2014, Al Jazeera revealed in the documentary "Broken Dreams-Boeing 787" a number of problems at Boeing's North Charleston plant.

Workers at the plant broke the news that employees here even abused prescription painkillers, cocaine and marijuana.

It goes without saying how big the harm of drugs is. Even marijuana, which claims to be the least harmful and is gradually "legalized" in many parts of the United States, can cause many side effects on the human body after smoking, such as decreased attention and judgment, sluggish thinking, and memory disorders.

Of course, in the factory, drug use is no longer a secret. Managers know this well, but they never conduct urine tests on employees .

The youngest North Charleston plant is so bad, so what about the Everett plant, the birthplace of the Boeing 747?

As an old Boeing company, the legendary Everett factory is much more reliable than the North Charleston factory, and when foreign customers refuse to accept the Boeing 787 in North Charleston due to quality reasons, they will also be happy to receive Ivers The same product from the Wright factory.

However, in the context of the loose management of Boeing's quality system, the Everett plant has not been able to stand alone.

The KC46 tanker is the next-generation main tanker in the United States. The U.S. Air Force alone placed a super order for 179 KC46s. Since the KC46 is based on the Boeing 767, the production of the KC46 is also in the Everett plant that produces the Boeing 767.

After receiving the first batch of KC46 in 2018, the US Air Force found that KC46 had serious quality problems.

According to the description of the US Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson at the hearing, there are still "foreign foreign objects" in the KC46 aircraft delivered to the US military, and the manufacturing quality is not up to standard.

The so-called "foreign foreign body" is sometimes a wrench that has been forgotten in an aircraft, and sometimes it is aluminum debris on the skin. If these things are not completely cleaned, they may get stuck in some moving parts during flight, resulting in an accident on the aircraft.

You know, the KC46 also has an MCAS system (maneuverability enhancement system, which is the culprit in the two 737MAX crashes), but the MCAS standard for the KC46 is much higher than that of a civilian airliner.

As the next-generation main tanker of the U.S. military, the KC46 naturally has to be foolproof, and the problem must be clearly investigated.

The U.S. Air Force's investigation concluded that "this is a problem of production discipline, and the problem lies in the production line ... we believe that discipline has been abolished."

Therefore, the U.S. military has refused to receive Boeing's KC46 in April 2019.

However, as the Boeing crisis became more serious, it should be about the overall situation. The US Air Force resumed receiving the KC46, but the KC46 was limited to performing "transport missions" and could not perform aerial refueling.

The picture shows the KC46 tanker on the production line of Everett Plant

3

Collapsed regulation

"Frozen three feet is not a day cold", the quality management of the Boeing factory fell to such a situation not overnight.

After Boeing's acquisition of McDonnell Douglas, McDonnell Douglas ’Wall Street professional executive management team joined Boeing.

After the engineers gave way to professional managers on Wall Street, Boeing began to pursue statements and stock prices.

Under this guidance, aircraft must be delivered in a timely manner, production capacity must be expanded, and management of aircraft quality is gradually lax.

To ensure timely delivery, Boeing even changed its quality management requirements and issued them to the grassroots in the form of memos. The quality inspector should inspect every link of the production line, from the screw tightening to component mounting and body sealing. However, in order to catch up with the construction period, many links have been passed hastily.

Judging from the problems exposed by the current Boeing 787, Boeing's quality inspection does have a lot of loopholes. After all, there are problems such as oil leakage, missing tools, and residual metal debris. No matter how it is tested, it is impossible to meet the qualification standards.

John Woods, a former aeronautical engineer at Boeing, prepares maintenance manuals at the North Charleston plant. During his tenure, management asked him to lower the standard for maintenance manuals and reduce the time required for repairs.

He filed a complaint with Boeing's personnel department, but Boeing did not choose to resolve the issue.

It is the person who chooses to solve the problem.

So John Woods was fired by Boeing.

Subsequently, John Woods chose to report the seven hidden dangers found in the work to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but the Federal Aviation Administration adopted only one and let Boeing make corrections.

The only hidden danger recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration has not been reviewed.

This hasty treatment is just one example of countless reports against Boeing, and other reports are also dead.

Of course, John Woods is not alone, and many older Boeing engineers like him are intolerable, and have stepped forward when "whistleblower" (referred to when they find that their company or organization has a serious problem that seriously threatens the public interest, they face it Great danger for those who dare to expose).

As a former Boeing quality management engineer, John Barnett is also a "whistleblower".

In 2016, during the inspection, Barnett discovered that some cabin oxygen cylinders were damaged in appearance. After discovering this problem, Barnett tested 300 brand-new oxygen cylinders, and as a result, 25% of them were invalid. At the time, he reported the problem, but Boeing turned a blind eye to it, and the Federal Aviation Administration also said it could not be verified, and then left it alone.

As an old-school engineer who has worked at Boeing for 32 years, Barnett obviously cannot accept such a result, and eventually left Boeing "for physical reasons" in 2017.

Later, when the Boeing crisis broke out in 2019, John Barnett, who had endured many years of humiliation, finally waited for a good time and chose the overseas media British BBC to break the news to prevent his "whistle" from being suppressed again.

The picture shows John Barnett, a former Boeing quality management engineer

4

Declining U.S. manufacturing

The importance of Boeing to the United States goes without saying. As the world's most well-known representative of the US manufacturing industry, its rapid collapse in quality undoubtedly reflects the decline of the US manufacturing industry.

Once upon a time, the U.S. manufacturing industry took the lead in the world. During the Second World War, the huge manufacturing industry in the U.S. transformed into amazing military production capacity:

Boeing ’s "Air Fortress" B17 bomber produces 300 a month;

The launch speed of the "free wheel" almost reached one ship a day;

The most powerful aircraft carrier of the Second World War, the "Essex", reached the speed of one month after the US industry was fully mobilized ...

Such manufacturing capabilities have made the United States a "democracy arsenal" in the mouth of the West. From China's anti-Japanese battlefield to the Soviet Eastern Front battlefield to the clear blue Pacific Ocean battlefield, there are no shortage of active American-made figures, which have laid the foundation for the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War Solid material foundation.

After the end of World War II, the United States became the world's largest industrialized country. Boeing, General Motors, Chrysler, and other well-known names became representatives of American manufacturing.

However, the United States, which won the "Cold War" victory, began to vigorously develop the financial industry, and the manufacturing industry went downhill.

In 1970, the manufacturing sector accounted for 35% of US GDP, and then gradually declined. Although the Obama administration has been shouting "manufacturing returns to the United States", for many years, the decline in the share of manufacturing in the U.S. GDP cannot be stopped. Data for the second quarter of 2019 show that The proportion has fallen below 11%.

1970-2014 U.S. manufacturing's share of GDP continued to decline, and service industry continued to rise

The U.S. Department of Labor's industrial demographic data shows that in 2008, the United States had 13.41 million people engaged in manufacturing; by 2018, the manufacturing employment population has dropped to 12.69 million, and it is expected to drop to 12.05 million by 2028. In 1980, the US manufacturing employment was 19.3 million.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, in addition to the sharp decline in the electricity consumption of the US manufacturing industry during the 2008-2009 economic crisis, the rest of the time has basically remained at about 1 trillion kilowatt-hours throughout the year.

In the first half of 2019, China's manufacturing power consumption was 1.45 trillion kWh, and continued to grow significantly.

The decline of the US manufacturing industry began in the 1980s and peaked in the 21st century. Of course, there are factors for the rise of emerging industrial countries represented by China, but the more important reason is that the United States has continuously shifted low-end manufacturing to countries with lower labor costs.

For the United States, transferring low-margin low-end manufacturing to other countries and controlling the most profitable high-end manufacturing (such as civil jets) seems to be a good choice. However, the composition of the manufacturing industry is pyramid-shaped, and high-end manufacturing is certainly at the top of the pyramid. However, if there is no blood transfusion for low- and middle-end manufacturing, such as training qualified workers for high-end manufacturing and providing equipment required for industrial upgrading, Sooner or later, high-end manufacturing will become an air tower.

Today, Boeing is suffering from the serious consequences of a weak manufacturing pyramid.

There is also the US shipbuilding industry that once outperformed the world. During the Second World War, the speed of launching American ships was called "dumplings." However, the US shipbuilding industry is gradually being replaced by China, Japan, and South Korea. The US shipbuilding industry that lacks civilian ship orders only has warships manufactured, and there are not enough orders to train workers, which has led to a significant decline in the quality of US warships.

In 2017, the US civil shipbuilding industry had only 1% of the market share. This 1% is still due to the "Jones Act" that ships operating in the United States must be made in the United States, otherwise this 1% will not remain.

Civilian construction facilities in operation in the U.S. have been categorized as "other"

The decline of the civil ship manufacturing industry inevitably affected the construction of warships. The San Antonio amphibious landing ship was originally scheduled to be commissioned in July 2002. As a result, it was delayed to launch in July 2003, and its service was postponed to January 2006. Moreover, the US Navy failed two inspections and had to return to the factory for overhaul. When it was tested again at sea, it also had a malfunction of the fuel circuit ventilation system, causing dangerous combustible gas to gather in the cabin.

The U.S. Navy's San Antonio amphibious landing ship has just completed, and the internal pipeline has already been like this

Even the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, a symbol of U.S. maritime military power, has frequent problems during construction.

The latest US model "Ford" aircraft carrier was originally planned to enter service in 2014. As a result, the service date was continuously pushed back due to equipment failure, and during sea trials, it had to return to port due to a ship bearing failure.

In short, Boeing's fall to the altar is only a microcosm of the decline in the US manufacturing industry, and high-end manufacturing alone will not be able to sustain it for long.

In the near future, domestic C919 may replace Boeing 737 as the most popular medium-sized passenger aircraft, and China will also make a reputation of "Made in China" in high-end manufacturing.

It is only a matter of time before China fully crushes the US manufacturing industry. Back to Sohu, see more

Editor:

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