Boeing inappropriately skilled pilots in 737 MAX exams – U.S. Senate report
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft parked in Boeing Field in Seattle
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – According to a lengthy Congressional report released Friday, officials “exercised inappropriately” during recertification efforts after two fatal 737 MAX accidents killed 346 people.
The report by the Republican Senate Commerce Committee officials said testing a critical safety system called MCAS, which has been linked to both fatal accidents, this year was against proper protocol.
The committee concluded that officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing (NYSE 🙂 “had established a predetermined outcome to confirm a long-held assumption of the human factor in relation to the pilot’s response time … It appears in this case that the FAA and Boeing were trying to cover up important information that may have contributed to the tragedies of the 737 MAX. “
The report, which quoted a whistleblower allegedly accusing Boeing officials, encouraged test pilots to “remember to properly approach this pickle counter before the exercise, which resulted in a pilot responding in about four seconds.” set “, while another pilot responded in about 16 seconds in a separate test.
The report was confirmed during an FAA employee interview, the committee added.
Numerous reports have shown that when developing the 737 MAX, Boeing did not adequately consider how pilots respond to cockpit emergencies.
Boeing said Friday it was “taking the committee’s findings seriously and will continue to consider the report in full”.
Senate Trade Committee chairman Roger Wicker said the report “contains a number of significant examples of failures in flight safety oversight and failed leadership in the FAA.”
The committee also said, “Several independent whistleblowers have reached out to the committee to allege that FAA senior management was complicit in determining the 737 MAX training certification level prior to any assessment.”
Boeing refused to request simulator training for pilots prior to operating the 737 MAX, but reversed course in January.
The report also found that Southwest Airlines (NYSE 🙂 was able to operate more than 150,000 flights carrying 17.2 million passengers on jets without confirming that the required maintenance was completed.
The Senate report said the southwest flights “put millions of passengers at potential risk.” Southwest did not comment immediately.
Boeing is still facing an ongoing criminal investigation into the MAX. The committee said its review was “limited due to the ongoing criminal investigation.”
Last month, the FAA cleared the 737 MAX’s return to service, and flights in Brazil have resumed. The first commercial flight US 737 MAX with paying passengers is scheduled for December 29th.
Last month, the Senate committee unanimously passed a bill to reform FAA certification of new aircraft and provide new whistleblower protections, among other things, while the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a similar bill.
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