Boeing Engineer Claims Additional System Problems With 737 Max, May Affect 777X Safety

Boeing 737 Max
Boeing engineer claimed additional issues. Photo: Boeing

A Boeing flight-deck engineer who has previously raised a complaint alleging serious shortcomings in the development of the Boeing 737 Max has asserted that there are systematic problems with the design of the aircraft.

In a letter written to the Senate by a Boeing flight-deck engineer, Curtis Ewbank, he has mentioned that the systematic problem must be fixed before the 737 Max is allowed to return to service.

As reported by The Seattle Times, Curtis Ewbank is a 34 year old flight-deck systems engineer, whose job when the Max was in early stages of development involved studying past crashes and using that information to make new planes safer.

737 MAX stored
FAA was pleased with Boeing's progress on 737 MAX. Photo: Reuters
In the letter written by Ewbank to the US Senate and publish by The Seattle Times, he wrote:

“I have no doubt the FAA and lawmakers are under considerable pressure to allow the 737 MAX to return to service as quickly as possible and as soon as the public MCAS flaw is fixed.”

“However, given the numerous other known flaws in the airframe, it will be just a matter of time before another flight crew is overwhelmed by a design flaw known to Boeing and further lives are senselessly lost,” he added.

Boeing 737 Max
He argued fixing MCAS is not enough. Photo: Tim Jue

He argued that fixing only Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which led to two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing a total of 346 people on-board is not enough.

Ewbank also suggested that similar shortcomings in the flight-control systems may affect the safety of Boeing's new 777X widebody jet, which is not yet in service.

He also suggested that this may affect Boeing 777X too. Photo: Boeing

“The 737 MAX’s original certification was accomplished with hand-waving and deception to hide the numerous ways the 1960s-era design of the 737 does not meet current regulatory standards,” he wrote.

In a recent Department of Transportation (DOT) advisory panel report on the Max crashes, he called the report as "a serious threat to aviation safety and the flying public."

Boeing 737 max
He also blamed the FAA in the letter. Photo: Boeing

He also faulted Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for "allowing such reckless disregard of regulations and aviation safety."

“If the FAA was truly regulating in the public interest, it would take action against Boeing for its continued deception and gross errors in the design and production of the 737 MAX by withdrawing Boeing’s production certificate,” he concluded.

Boeing 737 Max
Boeing temporarily suspended Max production earlier this year. Photo: Getty Images

Regarding the letter, a Boeing spokesperson issued a statement saying:

“We have not seen the letter. As you know, Boeing offers its employees a number of channels for raising concerns and complaints and has rigorous processes in place that ensure complaints receive thorough consideration and protect employee confidentiality."

"Accordingly, Boeing does not comment on the substance or existence of such internal complaints,” the spokesperson added.

Boeing 737 MAX
Boeing claimed it had not seen the letter.

However, earlier Boeing said that when the Max returns to service it will be one of the most thoroughly scrutinized aircraft in history.

“We continue to work closely with the FAA and other regulatory authorities as we work towards certification and safe return to commercial service," Boeing said in a statement.

Boeing 737 MAX
Boeing is expecting Max to be the safest airliner. Photo: Reuters

"When the Max returns to service, it will be one of the most thoroughly scrutinized aircraft in history, and we have full confidence in its safety.”

Ewbank also said that investigators from the FBI and a U.S. House of Representatives committee had reached out to him after the Seattle Times published his internal ethics complaint last year.

Boeing 737 MAX
Over 400 already built max are stored in storage. Photo: Reuters

Boeing 737 Max have been grounded for over a year. Over 400 newly built 737 Max are currently in storage. The Max's grounding costs has increased by $2.6 billion over the last quarter totaling just over $18 billion.

When do you think Boeing 737 Max will return back to service? Once re-certified will you fly on the Max series? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below:


  1. I hope Max can be back as quick as possible. I don't think it is good that some one magnifies some normal issues to prevent Max from returning back to the market.