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Publisher's Summary

From the award-winning reporter for Bloomberg, a suspenseful behind-the-scenes look at the dysfunction that contributed to one of the worst tragedies in modern aviation: the 2018 and 2019 crashes of the Boeing 737 MAX.

Boeing is a century-old titan of industry. It played a major role in the early days of commercial flight, World War II bombing missions, and moon landings. The planemaker remains a cornerstone of the US economy, as well as a linchpin in the awesome routine of modern air travel. But in 2018 and 2019, two crashes of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 killed 346 people. The crashes exposed a shocking pattern of malfeasance, leading to the biggest crisis in the company’s history - and one of the costliest corporate scandals ever. 

How did things go so horribly wrong at Boeing?

Flying Blind is the definitive exposé of the disasters that transfixed the world. Drawing from exclusive interviews with current and former employees of Boeing and the FAA; industry executives and analysts; and family members of the victims, it reveals how a broken corporate culture paved the way for catastrophe. It shows how in the race to beat the competition and reward top executives, Boeing skimped on testing, pressured employees to meet unrealistic deadlines, and convinced regulators to put planes into service without properly equipping them or their pilots for flight. It examines how the company, once a treasured American innovator, became obsessed with the bottom line, putting shareholders over customers, employees, and communities.

By Bloomberg investigative journalist Peter Robison, who covered Boeing as a beat reporter during the company’s fateful merger with McDonnell Douglas in the late ‘90s, this is the story of a business gone wildly off course. At once riveting and disturbing, it shows how an iconic company fell prey to a win-at-all-costs mentality, threatening an industry and endangering countless lives.

©2021 Peter Robison (P)2021 Random House Audio

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Missing so much, but still informative.

I have been a pilot for 50 years, an airline pilot for 44 years, a Boeing pilot for 40 years, and a retired pilot for a few years.

I jumped on buying this book because I wanted a very detailed explanation of how MCAS was supposed to work, and how it ended up killing so many innocents.

I guess, in a way, I did learn the fundamental reason (which I already knew); toxic capitalism. Managers who ruin companies, are uncaring about the safety implications of their decisions, and are disrespectful of the skills and abilities of employees doing critical work. Because they can leave with hundreds of millions in compensation before the effects of their decisions become clear, they think they are "successful", "moral" people. Their hands are covered with blood. It seems only psychopaths can ascend to the top of the corporate ladder. Arrogance, hubris, cruelty.

As far as the poor management that led to the Max and MCAS being mis-designed, and allowed to go into service, this book covers well.

But, for anyone trying to understand the mechanics and aerodynamics of how things went wrong onboard the aircraft, this book is worse than no help. Rivets are not "torqued", the tail does not have a "small wing", air moving over a wing is not "wind". Not only are these things wrong, they impede understanding. Mr. Robison seems like a sharp person. How could these errors make it to print (or recording)?

The little guy gets indicted, the big fish go free to live with their 12 cats in a 10000 sq ft house, or try to assuage their guilt by riding a bike 20 miles a day and studying the bible, or whatever.

Mr. Robison, revise this book! A Lot of what is here is information people need to know.

3 people found this helpful

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Clickbait title pushing other agendas

In first minutes was described aircraft assembly by torquing of Boeing's rivets, divulging author's inexperience regarding aircraft. Bolts are torqued. Rivets are pressed, torque would damage a rivet.
Story went quickly downhill from here as unrelated fluff and filler (CDC) subjects are represented with media bias. Regurgitation of already released stories packed with personal rants, the title is only here to sell the book while rambling on like an open forum podcast.
Returning title to Audible.

1 person found this helpful

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Flying Blind Captures Human Neglect

I learned that Eloise expects a group of hearing aids to be part of us soon. Boeing’s Behavior is nothing short of deadly

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Meh... listenable I guess...

Not what I expected. Goes off on a tangent quite a bit. Deep dive into the Boeing people. Lot of filler....Oh well.

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Possibly decent narrative; amateurish narration

Full disclosure: I didn’t get very far. I’m a pilot. I care a lot about this issue, and I was really looking forward to this book. The narrator is ok, I guess, but his obvious lack of familiarity with the subject matter is distracting. Part of the problem is editorial: this topic is dramatic enough without having to hit readers over their heads with the profundity of it all. Maybe it’s poor direction. Who knows. It’s a perfectly fine primer for a lay audience who knows nothing about aviation, Reaganomics, or the well-trodden reporting of the problems with this airframe… If there is something new in this book, I’m going to hold out for a paper copy in my stocking before doing a deeper dive.