LONDON – The newly released Flight/Risk on Amazon Prime Video reflects the overview you actually need to see regarding the Boeing 737 MAX crisis. Here is my take.
Please bear in mind that this review is reflective of my opinions only on the documentary and is not influenced by any third parties.
So, without further ado, let’s get into it…
Dominic Gates’ Brilliance Highlighted…
One major point in the documentary that should be noted is the high accuracy of coverage that Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times provided as this crisis was unfolding.
His energy towards encouraging Boeing to cooperate with stories and their reluctance to do so speaks out a message that Boeing knew they were in the wrong.
This, alongside the exposure coming from the Department of Justice investigation when leaked internal messages from Boeing’s chief technical pilot Mark Forkner, brought the crisis into the explosive view it needed to.
It comes as no surprise that Gates ended up winning the Pulitzer Price in 2020 for his coverage of the MAX crisis, as it was right on the money, and the documentary definitely reflected that as well.
And it is someone like Gates who you can trust regarding this sort of coverage. In his interview with Pulitzer, he explained the following:
“We told readers in the story that we’d sent the details to Boeing [Regarding the emergence of MCAS] before the second crash. That had a huge impact. I was inundated with mail and with requests from all over the world to give interviews.”
“Many of our readers are former Boeing people. They were universally angry at what we had uncovered. Many other readers not part of the industry were shocked to learn of the extent to which FAA oversight has been delegated to Boeing itself.”
“Boeing did not question any of our published detail.”
“That story was the beginning of a series of investigative features. Each revealed more about the pressures within Boeing and within the FAA that had led to MCAS being certified without sufficient oversight.”
Focus on Victims’ Families Vital…
What I liked the most about this documentary is how it focused more on the families of those who lost their lives in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
The documentary focused on the family of Zipporah Kuria and was an excellent case study of how the decisions that came from Boeing affected that family.
I feel this was a lot more extensive than Netflix’s release of Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, as Flight/Risk documented reactions whilst the investigations were still ongoing.
Even the footage taken that wasn’t seen in the news cycles at that time definitely highlighted the impact that it wanted to get across in the entirety of the documentary.
For me, I found it to be effective, as it was quite a tear-jerker and was definitely more representative of what the world should have known about Boeing at that time.
A Lot More Insight into The Toxic Culture at Boeing…
Another important aspect of the documentary was seeing the behind-the-scenes from Edward Pierson, a former Boeing employee who ended up blowing the whistle on Boeing’s practices.
The massive shock surrounding his testimony was how he wrote multiple letters to the then CEO Dennis Muilenberg as well as to the Board of Directors at the American planemaker before Lion Air Flight 610 crashed.
One sad element was how he disclosed to his wife how this became an obsession for him, as he wanted to make sure that the airplanes Boeing was producing became safer.
But if it wasn’t for that obsession or determination, this wouldn’t have placed the overt pressure needed to be applied on Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to accept their mistakes regarding the certification process.
One thing that I agreed with from Pierson was how he saw through FAA Administrator Steve Dickson when he tested out the MAX himself during the recertification stage.
He instantly knew that because of the revolving door that occurred between Boeing & the FAA, this “government agency” would have sided with Boeing. It was a PR move, there and simple.
And subsequently, they did when they choose to send the aircraft back into the skies, to the disappointment of Pierson.
But this has ultimately shown the toxic culture that went on under the helm of Muilenberg, and even to this day, Dave Calhoun still has a major task ahead of him.
Overall Rating: 5/5…
As I mentioned previously, I feel Flight/Risk was a better representation of the MAX crisis than Netflix’s Downfall: The Case Against Boeing.
Through Gates’ month-by-month coverage resonating within the documentary, there was less of a dramatic effect as the information didn’t need any more adding to it.
The unique look through Zipporah Kuria and the aftermath with herself and her family reflects the high level of damage to the other families affected by this crisis.
Also, Pierson’s powerful testimony and feeling behind the scenes highlighted how much it meant to him to get his point across, especially when safety was being compromised at the expense of profit.
So, for that, I give this documentary 5/5, and if you haven’t watched it already, please do so.