Damning report faults Boeing and F.A.A. on 737 Max certification

The FAA lacked the capability to effectively analyze much of what Boeing did share about the new plane, write David Gelles and Natalie Kitroeff for the New York Times.

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WASHINGTON - Boeing failed to adequately explain to regulators a new automated system that contributed to two crashes of the 737 Max, and the Federal Aviation Administration lacked the capability to effectively analyze much of what Boeing did share about the new plane, write David Gelles and Natalie Kitroeff for the New York Times. Continue reading original article

The Intelligent Aerospace take:

October 11, 2019-The New York Times received an early draft of the multi-agency task force which had focused only on the certification of the 737 MAX flight control system which was that played a role in the deadly crashes which took off from Indonesia and Ethiopia in late 2018 and early 2019 respectively, and the commercial aircraft model has remained grounded since. The MCAS system, which is believed to be behind the aircraft's nose pitching sharply down before the crashes took place.

With the 737 MAX being labeled, essentially, an upgraded version of the tried-and-true 737, the FAA didn't exactly do a deep dive into the upgraded flight control system. The task force wrote in its report that “the information and discussions about MCAS were so fragmented and were delivered to disconnected groups” that it “was difficult to recognize the impacts and implications of this system.”

In addition, the report found that, "Some elements of the design and certification remain rooted in the original 1967 certification of the B737-100,” the review found. But while some modern safety tools have been incorporated into new versions of the 737, others were not included in the Max because they were deemed “impractical."

Related: U.S. might approve the 737 MAX to fly — but will the world follow?

Related: Southwest Airlines pilot union sues Boeing over lost revenue stemming from MAX grounding

Related: A former Boeing official is pleading the Fifth Amendment after being subpoenaed for documents in the US Justice Department's probe of the 737 Max

Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Intelligent Aerospace

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