Southwest Pilots Slam Boeing "Fraud... Put Flying Public At Risk"

Update (1415ET): Boeing shares have accelerated lower as more details of the 'smoking gun' messages comes out.

A Boeing test pilot complained in one of the messages that a flight control system, known as MCAS, was difficult to control, according to the messages, obtained by NBC News.

“It’s running rampant in the sim on me”, the pilot, Mark Forkner, Boeing’s former chief technical pilot, said in 2016 to a colleague, referring to the simulator, according to the transcript. “Granted, I suck at flying, but even this was egregious.”

His colleague replied that they would have to update the description of the system.

“So I basically lied to regulators (unknowingly),” read Forkner’s reply. Forkner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

And now Southwest Pilots Union has come out swinging, confirming that Mark Forkner is a Southwest aviator and blasting Boeing for "misleading" the FAA, saying that Boeing's "fraud" put "the flying public at risk."

Boeing shares are down 5.5% now...

Accounting for 122 points lower in the Dow.

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Boeing shares are under pressure following a Reuters report that internal instant messages from 2016 - that have only recently been shared with the FAA - suggested employees misled the FAA about a key safety system on the 737 Max.

The FAA Administrator is demanding an explanation from Boeing regarding the delay in the recently disclosed 737 MAX 'smoking gun' documents. As CNBC notes, the FAA says Boeing discovered the messages “some months ago” and the flight regulatory agency finds the document “concerning.”

“The FAA is also disappointed that Boeing did not bring this document to our attention immediately upon its discovery,” the agency said.

“The FAA is reviewing this information to determine what action is appropriate.”

The document was shared with lawmakers investigating the plane’s certification, the FAA added.

The stock is down 3% and falling...

And Boeing's demise is weighing on The Dow...

The FAA says it will release further details later today.

In recent weeks, disclosures about Boeing's too-cozy relationship with the FAA have emerged just as the company has sprung into damage control mode (once again) and removed Dennis Muilenburg from his chairman role (he remains CEO and the operational head of the company) and assured investors that its 737 MAX 8 planes would be airborne once again early next year. Yesterday brought us disclosures about another potential disaster: The discovery of cracks in the wings of some older 737 models.