FAA chief faces questioning over Boeing 737 Max airliner

Lester Mason
May 18, 2019

In an interview with CBS News, Nadia Milleron, the mother of Samya Stumo, a 24-year-old passenger who was killed during the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March, said she is anxious that the process for recertifying the questioned Boeing 737 Max jets will be rushed.

The House Subcommittee on Aviation met early Wednesday to ask the FAA some questions about the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes that killed scores of people, so what exactly did we learn, and what comes next?

FAA officials also defended their agency against accusations they allowed Boeing to rush the 737 Max into production.

The 737 Max, Boeing's best-selling aircraft, was grounded on March 13 after it became clear that an Ethiopian Airlines crash three days earlier had similar underlying causes to a Lion Air crash on October 29 near Jakarta.

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.

The FAA investigated the issues after the union filed the report, it said in a statement. In the meantime, the formerly popular planes are grounded worldwide.

"I, at the beginning when I first heard of this, thought that the MCAS should have been more adequately explained in the ops manual and the flight manual, absolutely", Elwell said.

"If we have robust oversight, and we have all the protections in place to guard against conflicts of interest or undue pressure, which I believe we now have, it's a good system", Elwell said.

Subcommittee Chairman Rick Larsen, a Washington Democrat, issued a press release Tuesday seeking answers from FAA on the crashes.

A combined 346 people died in the crashes.

Meanwhile, the pilots in the meeting said they felt they weren't told enough about the MCAS system, which was new to the 737 MAX 8.

The pilots pressed Boeing officials why the planes were still in the air and why an emergency hadn't been announced.

"The only thing that is going to stop this is the public", Milleron said in an interview.

As many as 196 orders of the 737 models have been dropped from Boeing's order book in 2019 alone, and there have been 25 sales of single-aisle planes. Be that as it may, this had not been taken off when an Ethiopian Airlines' 737 Max smashed four months after, killing 157 individuals.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from OR, the chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, said Boeing "has yet to provide a single document" in response to the committee's records requests. But Elwell has said that without the cooperative approach to safety analysis, the FAA would need 10,000 more employees and $1.8 billion in additional funding.

They believe that the FAA has been captured by the industry it is supposed to regulate and take great offense by Mr. Elwell's attempts to downplay the problems in the Boeing MCAS system and in the FAA's certification of the airplane.

One of the areas under investigation following the accidents is how the FAA and Boeing categorized the risks of an MCAS failure.

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

Boeing said last week it only discovered once deliveries of the 737 MAX had begun in 2017 that the so-called AOA Disagree alert was optional instead of standard as it had intended, but added that was not critical safety data.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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