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Flying High Lately? Or is it too risky?

No, we are not referring to using drugs, but to air travel.

Have you flown on commercial airlines lately? I try to avoid it unless there is no practical alternative—such as a year ago March when I flew to Phoenix to be with my son, and then again in June into PDX (Portland) in order to get to Hood River, Oregon for the memorial service for him.

Before 9-11-01 flying commercial used to be a somewhat enjoyable experience—unless your business travel necessitated you fly so much that your accumulated frequent flyer miles added up annually to the equivalent of a trip to the moon and back. One of my siblings in corporate upper management used to lament about living out of my suitcase” as he jetted around the globe most of his career. Understandable.

But for the occasional traveler, flying commercial used to mean that flights were abundant, relatively on time (save for bad weather delays, etc.), and there were usually any number of empty seats so that I seldom had to put up with playing elbow bump” with someone sitting in the middle seat.

Plus, the stewards and stewardesses (politically-correct-woke language now insists they be called genderless flight attendants”) seemed more friendly and full meals were the norm. Maybe it’s just me, but I now characterize flying commercial as akin to riding a Greyhound in the sky; i.e., passengers feel like sardines in a tin can.

Okay, maybe I’m pining for the good ol’ days and maybe it wasn’t quite as rosy as I just portrayed it. Sure, if you fly enough miles, sooner or later, you’re going to have a rare and scary incident in the air. I’ve had several.

But all the recent news about Boeing-built airliners has had me wondering what it’s all about. The Epoch Times carried a front-page story in my print edition, dated May 29-June 7, 2024, entitled

Internal Boeing Safety, Quality Reports Surge.”

Here is a link to the story in the online edition.

QUOTE: In January, the FAA temporarily grounded Boeing’s U.S. fleet of 737 MAX 9 planes…

Boeing saw a 500 percent increase in employee submissions regarding safety concerns in early 2024 compared to the year before, the company said in a May 24 report.

After the Jan. 5 Alaskan Airlines incident, when a recently manufactured 737 MAX 9 lost a door panel midflight, Boeing said it redoubled its efforts to encourage employees to raise concerns about product and services safety, quality, and compliance.”

This caused a six-fold or 500 percent increase in employee submissions over safety issues in the first two months of 2024 compared to the same months in 2023, according to Boeing’s third annual Chief Aerospace Safety Officer report.

The report also summarizes several Boeing initiatives to improve safety, including a new collaboration with its top labor union and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)…

Following the Jan. 5 door panel incident, the FAA temporarily grounded Boeing’s U.S. fleet of 737 MAX 9 planes and restricted the company from increasing the plane’s production rate until lingering safety issues are addressed. END QUOTE

We previously reported about the long-time quality control worker at Boeing who died mysteriously as he was about to testify for a second day. Now comes word (on May 2, 2024) from Epoch Times TV that QUOTE:

A former quality auditor at a Boeing supplier died suddenly this week after struggling with a sudden, fast-spreading infection,” the Seattle Times reported on May 1. END QUOTE

The continuing saga of Boeing’s woes causes me to speculate: Are all the airline giant’s problems merely about Boeing trying to cut costs by ignoring safety?

And/or is it about the possible degradation of the workforce due to the corporation using employees less skilled than they should be, and/or having less pride in their work?

Or—you know me—my mind went to the 30,000 foot view (approximate cruising altitude of domestic jetliners). Could there be some other agenda at work here?

About all I came with was the possibility that a woke” Boeing was being deliberately nosedived into corporate death (bankruptcy). And the very top execs would know that along the way to the corporate cemetery, they would experience some actual crashes with many casualties, and a sudden rash of scary incidents for passengers, etc., but for what purpose?

It could be the old Hegelian dialectic again. The ultimate goal being to restrict the people’s freedom to travel. Scare em enough and they’ll quit flying. Makes it easier to corral the herd and keep them in our 15-minute cities.”

Whether there is any truth to that scenario remains to be seen. Meanwhile, a column in American Thinker came to our attention which offers a well-reasoned explanation from a gentleman with an abundance of credentials in the flying industry. (See credentials at the end of his opinion piece below.) All emphases and comments in [brackets] are mine.

Dated March 21, 2024, it is entitled QUOTE:

The real reason Boeing is in the news

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2024/03/the_real_reason_boeing_is_in_the_news.html

By Matthew G. Andersson

In short, China wants Boeing out. China’s new knock-off passenger jet is waiting for approval as a replacement for the Boeing 737, and the Biden administration is only too willing to help the Chinese by demonizing an American manufacturer, with national security implications.

As major media report, Boeing’s crisis may open a gap for Chinese jets to fly through.” With a Trump presidency, this would not have happened, and it’s another reason why the DNC and its China-first allies want Trump permanently sidelined.

To an unusual extent, the major media are reporting what seem to be a nearly unending series of mishaps involving U.S. commercial airline aircraft made by the Boeing company. Whether it’s a window blowing out in flight, a tire falling to the ground after takeoff, or a sudden nosedive“ in cruising flight, it seems the Boeing jet, especially the 737, can’t be trusted anymore, and the public is being conditioned to think so.

There are two things I would propose that readers consider, however, in all these mass media stories. One is that there are actually many more flight irregularities” on any given day, anywhere in the world, on many different aircraft types, that media do not report at all, or that passengers never know about. Many involve routine items that are managed by the crew or addressed by maintenance personnel in a normal manner.

But statistically, it is hard to explain the sudden cluster of reported issues with Boeing aircraft, and based on random occurrence, while China is aggressively lobbying to have its copycat model replace it. Moreover, the major media seem intent on scaring the public with related stories of Boeing safety whistleblowers,” including one apparently found suddenly dead. END QUOTE

Since Mr. Andersson’s column, there is another to be added to the story. This from the Epoch Times TV online, May 2nd.

QUOTE:

2nd Boeing Whistleblower Dies Suddenly

A former quality auditor at a Boeing supplier died suddenly this week after struggling with a sudden, fast-spreading infection,” the Seattle Times reported on May 1. END QUOTE

Continuing with Mr. Andersson’s piece QUOTE:

I suggest that these irregularities may not be random. Allow me to explain.

Little known to the general public and air travelers is that China has made an exact duplicate of the Boeing 737 and wants to see it in service as a replacement, worldwide (with a convenient firefighting” tanker model as well).

This Chinese knock-off” costs a fraction of the Boeing model and is waiting for U.S. regulatory approval. What better way to accelerate its introduction than to engage in a classic disinformation” program to discredit the safety of the current competitive model?

Who stands to win in such a scenario? [Cui bono? Latin for who benefits?” Or it’s another way of saying Follow the money!”] A number of parties, political, financial, and commercial. Airline management care about cost, and they will pursue cost reduction in any way they can.

Unknown to most Americans is that airline major maintenance is largely done outside the United States, in such countries as South Korea, Singapore, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador, with China next. A Chinese passenger jet that costs half the price, and is financed by the Chinese, would be welcomed with open arms.

Airline executives are also ideologically captured to an unusual extent by the current White House, based in part on billions of dollars in COVID rescue funds, along with regulatory pressure to comply with White House narratives including the promotion of minorities and the adoption of racial identitarian themes in labor practices and hiring. This also includes Biden biosecurity“ programs involving passenger compliance and controls. [What kind of high tech biosecurity” are we talking about here…? Just saying…]

The Biden administration, directly in opposition to President Trump, made China accommodation a centerpiece of its foreign policy and industrial policy. It is feasible that Biden’s people are actively facilitating the current public relations war against Boeing and its suppliers and paving the way for China to bring thousands of its replacement aircraft into our airspace. (Like illegal migrants crossing our borders, it is another form of invasion.)

These aircraft also fit a number of Biden ideological agendas, including what kinds of pilots are trained and used to fly our commercial aircraft. China has worked to make its model especially easy to operate by automation, the Chinese claim, with supposedly less actual pilot skill involved, making cockpits more open to pilot candidates based on criteria other than experience, skill, or psychological fit.

This is a dangerous illusion, but it sells easily to the current Biden political class and its Department of Transportation, which is more a political institution than a technical one at its senior levels.

Most of all, this is a threat to U.S. national security. Also unknown to most passengers is that the U.S. military maintains its reserve program authority to convert U.S. airlines into military operations at its discretion.

What would this mean if the domestic U.S. airline fleet were composed of Chinese-manufactured models, with Chinese parts, software, computer code, electronic sensors — effectively a flying iPhone that can be tracked and traced, or interrupted, or shut down, on command by a foreign government?

The Boeing corporation is among our most central American defense suppliers, and it should be asked to what extent it is being attacked by foreign interests, or infiltrated politically and administratively. I submit that this scenario is technically feasible; institutionally possible; and probable in circumstantial, historical, and direct evidence standards and implications.


Matthew G. Andersson is a corporation founder and former aviation CEO. He was previously an executive adviser with the aerospace and defense practice of Booz Allen Hamilton and a senior aviation consultant with Charles River Associates.

He is the author of The New Airline Code, a text on aviation law and policy, and is a jet aircraft commander and flight instructor. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Financial Times and received the Silver Anvil award from the Public Relations Society of America.

[I was once a member of the PRSA and was editor of the PRSA Central Ohio Chapter’s newsletter for a year; ca. 1975-76.]

He testified to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Aviation, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, concerning new aircraft in the national airspace system. He graduated from the aeronautical science and flight technology program of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business; and the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked with White House national security advisor W.W. Rostow at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. END QUOTE

On the positive PR side for Boeing (thus far in the mission), there is the recent launch of Boeing’s Starliner rocket carrying two highly-experienced astronauts to dock with the ISS (Isis?) space station. Ooops…spoke too soon. As we post this blog, the mission is now encountering issues.” We truly pray the astronauts return safely.

Boeing Starliner’s crew is now on the space station after encountering new issues en route

Here’s the link.

In a loosely-related story comes the news of the plane crash death of an Apollo-mission astronaut, William Anders. The Epoch Times reports QUOTE:

Maj. Gen. William A. Anders, USAF (Ret.), an astronaut who was part of the first Apollo 8 manned mission to the moon, died on Friday at the age of 90 while piloting an aircraft that crashed off the Washington coast.

His son confirmed the news, sharing with NPR that his father was flying solo in a Beech A45 plane when it descended into the waters near Jones Island, Washington.

Our family is devastated. He was a great man and a great pilot,” said Greg Anders.

The National Transportation Safety Board has announced an investigation into cause of the crash.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson paid tribute to Mr. Anders, recalling the historic Earthrise” photograph taken from lunar orbit during the Apollo 8 mission. END QUOTE

The full story in the ET online, dated 6-7-24, is here.

Pray for the safety of all people who are traveling, especially by air, as we get closer to our November 2024 elections. The evil cabal will stop at nothing.

-END-

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