The biggest whistleblowers: Boeing's 737 Max disaster: A manager warns, but no one listens to him

This article is an acquisition of Capital , Capital's premium digital offering.

The biggest whistleblowers: Boeing's 737 Max disaster: A manager warns, but no one listens to him

This article is an acquisition of Capital , Capital's premium digital offering. For you as a stern PLUS subscriber, it is exclusively available here until July 29th, 2023. After that, it will again only be available to Capital subscribers at www.capital.de/plus

It's almost spring-like weather in Arizona when the brand new Boeing 737 Max 8 takes off on its maiden flight into the partly cloudy skies in February this year. The machine was only delivered to the Southwest airline in Phoenix the evening before. With 164 passengers on board, she is now heading for Houston, Texas. Two and a half hour. Routine.

But shortly after take-off, the pilots notice that something is wrong. From an altitude of 3,300 meters, the captain sends an emergency message to the tower: The technology that is supposed to stabilize the aircraft in autopilot mode is failing. The crew decides to turn back. 23 minutes after takeoff, flight WN 971 lands safely at the airport in the Arizona capital. All occupants are safe.

Ed Pierson remains calm as he discusses the incident, but there's indignation in his voice. How is something like that possible with an airplane that has just come out of the factory, he asks: "Is this the new normal?" The ex-Boeing manager is one of several whistleblowers who contributed to the clarification after two crashes of 737 Max machines and revealed shocking abuses at the aircraft manufacturer. But it's not over for Pierson. He has made the fight for more security his mission.

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