Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Boeing, FAA both faulted in certification of the 737 Max

Boeing's top-selling aircraft the 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since a March 10 crash in Ethiopia killed 157 people the second fatal crash of the model in less than a year American Airlines Says It Expects To Start Flying Boeing 737 Max Again Next Year
Deanna Wagner | 12 October, 2019, 04:28

The JATR draft report, obtained by Reuters ahead of its release today, also said the FAA's long-standing practice of delegating "a high level" of certification tasks to manufacturers such as Boeing needs significant reforms to ensure adequate safety oversight.

American Airlines says Boeing 737 Max will be back in service in January.

Democratic Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal said the report confirms "our worst fears about a failed broken system of aviation safety scrutiny". The planemaker's reputation and finances have been battered after two Max crashes killed 346 people and prompted a worldwide grounding.

While the outlet describes the report's scope as "narrow", the task force was able to review the certification of the 737 MAX's automated system, known as MCAS, which had a key role in the fatal Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights in October 2018 and March this year, respectively.

Boeing said in a statement it will work with the FAA to review the panel's recommendations and that the company is working to "continuously improve the process and approach used to validate and certify airplanes going forward".

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Bloomberg reported this week that European regulators are not satisfied with the changes that Boeing hopes will get it the all clear signal from the FAA, which could possibly mean that the plane will return to service without their support.

As a reform, the report suggest the FAA update its certification process to allow the agency to be more involved in the design process of new planes earlier on.

The panel included members from US agencies, and aviation regulators from Europe and eight foreign countries including Canada and China.

FAA Administrator Steven Dickson said in a statement he will review the recommendations and "take appropriate action". "The accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia are a sombre reminder that the FAA and our global regulatory partners must strive to constantly strengthen aviation safety". That's made him a target of critics who contend that Boeing was too slow to fully explain the role its flight-control software played in the Max disasters.

Boeing's Aircraft Flight Manual didn't include some "non-normal" and emergency procedures "as required by regulations", the JATR said. It called on the FAA to better integrate how the agency's test pilots assess new designs. The Boeing organization that conducts such work has about 1,500 people, while the FAA team overseeing their work has 45. "However while some modern safety tools were incorporated into the MAX's design, some were left out after Boeing deemed them 'impractical".