Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing

by Peter Robinson

Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing by Peter Robison offers a riveting, in-depth look into the catastrophic decline of Boeing, an American industrial behemoth that’s story serves as a stark warning to the business world. This gripping narrative, based on the author’s exhaustive research, exclusive interviews, and first-hand coverage, lays bare the systemic failures and corporate malfeasance that led to one of the most devastating tragedies in aviation history—the crashes of two Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets in 2018 and 2019, claiming 346 lives.

Robison, an award-winning Bloomberg investigative journalist with intimate knowledge of Boeing’s operations, chronicles the company’s transformation from a pioneering force in aviation into a profit-driven entity where a toxic corporate culture took root. “Flying Blind” delves into how Boeing’s leadership, in its fervor to outpace rivals and enrich executives, compromised safety, eschewed rigorous testing, and sidestepped regulatory scrutiny. This narrative is a damning account of how the conglomerate prioritized dividends over human lives, illustrating a profound disconnection between the company’s top brass and the engineers and workers on the front lines—the very individuals who knew the planes inside out.

Through the tragic stories of the victims and the tumultuous experiences of Boeing and FAA insiders, Robison paints a vivid picture of a corporate titan veering disastrously off course. He uncovers how, amidst the race to deliver the 737 MAX to market, Boeing cut corners and muzzled internal dissent, while regulatory authorities were maneuvered into compliance. This account exposes the perilous consequences of a business model that placed relentless cost-cutting and shareholder value above safety and ethical responsibility.

“Flying Blind” is not merely a tale of corporate failure; it is a cautionary case study on steroids about the perils of a misaligned corporate ethos. It challenges the reader to reflect on the vital importance of aligning leadership incentives with genuine organizational values and the critical need for open, effective communication channels throughout all levels of an organization. Robison’s work serves as a harrowing reminder that when companies lose sight of their fundamental responsibilities to customers, employees, and society at large, the fallout can be catastrophic, not just for the company, but for humanity itself.