Published: Sat, May 18, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Boeing Will No Longer Fly Solo on Oversight of the 737 Max

Boeing Will No Longer Fly Solo on Oversight of the 737 Max

In newly revealed audio recordings, pilots faced resistance from a Boeing official when they angrily confronted them about their safety concerns about the 737 MAX 8 aircraft months before the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in March.

Acting FAA head Daniel Elwell is scheduled to testify Wednesday while a Senate committee hears from President Donald Trump's pick to lead the agency on a permanent basis.

Boeing is already the subject of a criminal investigation by the Justice Department.

News reports on the eve of the hearing chronicled a November 27 meeting after the Lion Air crash at which American Airlines pilots pressed Boeing for safety changes that could have temporarily grounded the plane.

"The use of this outside third party review on un-grounding the airplanes in the future, and their establishment of a blue ribbon commission, using authorities that we put into the FAA law previous year to look at the broader certification of airplanes is an important step as well", Congressman Larsen said.

"I think that's an issue, sir", Elwell said under questioning by DeFazio. The Boeing MAX issue should be a wakeup call to the FAA that it needs to separate itself from Boeing's influence and independently check the safety of Boeing's airplanes and systems.

"The FAA has a credibility problem", declared the subcommittee chairman, Rick Larsen, D-Wash. Those accidents killed almost 350 people.

CBS News obtained audio of American Airlines pilots complaining to a Boeing official previous year that even they were not informed about the new system.

Lawmakers grilled Elwell during the hearing, quizzing him about the certification process that allowed the plane to fly.

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The growing use of designated employees to assist in certification is part of the evolving philosophy of greater cooperation between the FAA and the companies it regulates, Boeing said in a statement.

Representative Peter DeFazio, a Democrat of OR, struck a sharper tone, criticizing Boeing for pilot manuals that didn't mention a new automated flight-control system implicated in both accidents. Boeing has acknowledged that bad data feeding into the MCAS system played a role in the crashes.

A common link in both crashes was the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System.

"These guys didn't even know the damn system was on the airplane - nor did anybody else", another said.

New York-based Kreindler, along with co-counsel, Chicago-based Power Rogers & Smith L.L.P., have filed several wrongful death federal lawsuits against Boeing Company and Rosemount Aerospace, Inc. with additional claims to be filed tomorrow on behalf of victims who were among the 157 people killed in the March 10, 2019 ET302 plane crash in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The US Allied Pilots Association said this month computer explanation would "not provide a level of confidence for pilots to feel not only comfortable flying the aircraft but also relaying that confidence to the travelling public".

"Mr. Elwell was either unable or unwilling to describe any meaningful improvements the FAA is making to its certification processes and oversight".

Representatives from China Eastern, Air China, China Southern and Boeing declined to comment. "The FAA continues to side with Boeing against aviation safety". The 737 Max is Boeing's best-selling plane and it is built in his home state of Washington.

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