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The 737 Max consists of four versions all of which have the MCAS system. The 737 Max 8 was involved both crashes.                  Boeing The 737 Max consists of four versions all of which have the MCAS system. The 737 Max 8 was involved both crashes. Boeing
Deanna Wagner | 18 May, 2019, 05:00

The acting chief of the Federal Aviation Administration defended his agency's safety certification of the Boeing 737 Max jetliner, the plane involved in two deadly crashes, and the FAA's decision not to ground the jet until other regulators around the world had already done so.

Daniel Elwell, acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, testifies during the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Aviation Subcommittee hearing on "Status of the Boeing 737 MAX" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2019.

Family members of the Ethiopian Airlines crash victims expressed disappointment over the projected recertification of Boeing's 737 Max jets sometime August.

The call for changes, which could have required the best-selling aircraft model to be temporarily grounded, were reported by The New York Times and CBS News after they obtained an audio recording of the November 27 meeting between the American Airlines pilots union and officials from the aircraft manufacturer.

The Transportation Department's inspector general and a Senate committee are looking into the FAA's relationship with Boeing, and the House subcommittee is likely to follow a similar path.

"I certainly wouldn't characterize it as rushed", Elwell said.

"Elwell admits that the 'MCAS should have been more adequately explained in the [Boeing operations] manual and flight manual, absolutely.' But the FAA approved those manuals without any discussion of the MCAS". A total of 346 people were killed in the crashes.

The crashes on the Boeing 737 Max were caused by anti-stall system MCAS, that caused pilots to lose control of the aircraft, and ignored the concerns of pilots in November a year ago following the first crash involving a Lion Air jet.

"Our team continues to work collaboratively with the FAA, Boeing and the Allied Pilots Association in this process".

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"This is not self-certification", Mr Elwell said.

DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, said he was disappointed that a single sensor's failure had led to the crashes.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio said Thursday (NZT) during a hearing that he hoped the aircraft manufacturer begins complying with requests for data on the plane's design soon as lawmakers grilled USA aviation regulators on the jetliner.

But then a second plane crashed in Ethiopia in March, killing another 157 people and leading the FAA and other regulatory agencies to ground all 737 MAX jets. He said that "none of those reports were related to the MCAS" - the flight-control system cited as a cause in the two fatal crashes.

The FAA has come under fire for approving a feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, and for giving the planemaker too much authority to oversee itself.

"These guys didn't even know the damn system was on the airplane - nor did anybody else", one pilot said. The investigation results so far, however, have not suggested Boeing intentionally misled the FAA.

Elwell, who defended at length FAA's certification process, said on Wednesday that he was "not aware of an internal assessment that reaches that conclusion".

Larsen is a Democrat from Washington, where Boeing builds the plane.

Representatives from China Eastern, Air China, China Southern and Boeing declined to comment.