A report by the US Congress from September 16, 2020 concludes that there are multiple causes for the deadly crashes of 2 Boeing 737 MAX planes in 2019 and 2020. According to the report there is a culture of concealment by Boeing, erroneous technical assumptions have been made, and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has insufficient oversight.
A series of causes
Thus, the accidents are not the result of a singular failure, technical mistake or mismanaged event. Rather, they are the horrific culmination of a series of causes:
1. Faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers;
2. A lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management;
3. Grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA.
The culture of concealment has contributed to the 2 disasters. But the report also points to regulatory capture on the part of the FAA with respect to its responsibilities to perform robust oversight of Boeing. Thus, the report accuses both Boeing and the FAA of negligence.
Steve Dickson, administrator of the FAA, piloted a Boeing 737 Max this week. A former commercial pilot, he pledged earlier this year he would personally fly the aircraft before it will be re-certified. And last week, Dickson met with aviation authorities of other jurisdictions including Brazil, Canada and the European Union.
Pilot training for Boeing 737 MAX
The goal is to complete the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) assessment of the 737 MAX. Next, the JOEB’s findings will be published in the draft report of the Flight Standardization Board (FSB). Then the FSB will develop pilot training requirements ahead of the aircraft’s return to service. And finally, a Technical Advisory Board must evaluate the final MAX design documents.
In August, the FAA suggested 4 key design changes to the 737 MAX in order to address the safety issues that led to the 2 crashes. The public comment period for the proposed Airworthiness Directive recently ended and the FAA is now reviewing the comments it received. So this seems a considerably more profound procedure than the one preceding the introduction of the 737 MAX. Hopefully, this will prevent more crashes in future.
Tags: Boeing 737 MAX, US Congress, FAA