In any case, Boeing had part of the software for the 737 Max aircraft written by external, relatively inexpensive and inexperienced programmers. Bloomberg writes this on the basis of statements from former Boeing programmers.
Mark Rabin, a former Boeing software developer who worked on the 737 Max, says that work was outsourced to the Indian software company HCL Technologies, Bloomberg writes . According to him, new graduates were appointed to write on the basis of Boeing code specifications. “It was controversial because it was much less efficient than Boeing technicians who wrote the code. It took several rounds to and fro, because the code was not written correctly,” said Rabin. HCL was probably co-responsible for the software for the flight displays.
Several Indian companies would have been involved in the development of the Boeing 737 Max software. This would have been done to save costs. “Boeing tried a lot of things, everything you can imagine, to save costs,” says Rick Ludtke, a flight control engineer fired at Boeing in 2017. According to the former Boeing employee, this had to do with the fact that the Boeing technicians became too expensive. As a result, more and more jobs disappeared and the capacity for design gradually disappeared at Boeing’s facilities in Seattle. Rabin recalls a meeting where it was said from above that Boeing no longer needed experienced technicians, because the products were already mature. Rabin says that the meeting room was full of hundreds of experienced technicians who, according to Boeing, were unnecessary.
Software problems are probably the cause of the two fatal crashes with the 737 Max. In October last year, a device of this type crashed in Indonesia and in March another 737 Max drilled itself into the ground, this time in Ethiopia. This is for the time being attributed to the MCAS system, which probably pushed the nose of the aircraft down sharply based on erroneous data. This is an anti-withdrawal system that has been implemented to prevent the aircraft from sloping back too much and thus losing speed and falling out of the sky. Boeing says it did not use HCL employees to develop the MCAS system.
In the meantime, it seems that the US Department of Justice has extended its criminal investigation into the certification and design of the 737 Max to another relatively new aircraft from Boeing. This includes the 787, better known as the Dreamliner. The Seattle Times writes that sources familiar with the investigation have confirmed this. With the production of the 787 Dreamliner there would be quite a few things in the South Carolina factory. With the 787, there were previously problems with the lithium-ion batteries that overheated and caught fire. The American regulator had to intervene and decided in January 2013 to keep the entire fleet on the ground for a few months. These problems are in principle independent of the specific problems with 737 Max.