Thursday, 12 December 2019

The FAA knew the 737 Max aircraft was unsafe and likely to crash 15 times during its life span after the Lion Air disaster and before the Ethiopian crash

The second crash of a Boeing 737 Max could have and should have been avoided it has been revealed this week, after analysis carried out by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after the first crash the twin jet in October 2018 clearly indicated that the MCAS flight-control that pitched the nose down would likely lead to as many as 15 catastrophic accidents over a 30 to 45-year life span if it was left unfixed.  Yet the FAA didn't ground the jets then and there, its leaders let the fatally flawed jet's continue to operate even after a second crash which left hundreds dead.   Indeed,  even after that second crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet,  the FAA continued to safe the type was safe and was shamed into grounding the aircraft after virtually all the major national air safety authorities around the world grounded the 737 Max, over safety fears. 

The FAA’s own analysis was disclosed yesterday to the US House Transportation Committee Hearing which is investigating the FAA's oversight of Boeing and the 737 Max certification process. 

Peter DeFazio, chairman of the committee said: "The FAA rolled the dice on the safety of the travelling public and let the Max continue to fly until Boeing could overhaul its MCAS software."

After a new Boeing 737 Max of Lion Air Max plunged into the sea off the coast of Indonesia in October 2018, the FAA carried out a risk assessment, which lead to the shocking conclusion the type would suffer a crash between every one to two years should the faulty software not be fixed. The FAA's leaders then took the decision to allow the Max to continue to operate - a decision that would prove to be deadly.


The FAA had allowed manufacturer Boeing to self-certify many aspects of the 737 Max airworthiness prior to it entering service, selectively rubber-stamping things, despite alleged warnings from Boeing staff that corners were being cut and 'chaotic' management.  

Also on Wednesday, the FAA confirmed it was investigating a number of production issues at Boeing's 737 MAX factory, that were disclosed by a former manager at the plant who cited schedule pressure, lack of parts and worker fatigue as causes of quality and safety risks.
Photo Reuters 

The ex-manager, Ed Pierson said there was a “chaotic and alarming state” inside Boeing’s factory that undermined quality and safety. “It is alarming that these sensors failed on multiple flights mere months after the aeroplanes were manufactured in a factory experiencing frequent wiring problems and functional test issues,” he told the hearing. He said he had "Witnessed a factory in chaos and reported serious concerns about production quality to senior Boeing leadership months before the first crash." yet Boeing ignored his concerns and rather than slowly the production line to catch up,  they ramped it up to a faster monthly completion rate. 

The jet's have been grounded since March and Boeing has been putting pressure on lawmakers and the FAA to get things moving again. The firm warned another significant delay in getting airworthiness certification of the 737 Max could force it to cut or even halt production of the type, which could have crippling repercussions across the supply chain. 

However, the FAA said it would not be subcontracting or allowing Boeing to self certify this time around with the 737 Max. A statement said "The FAA fully controls the approvals process for the flight control systems and is not delegating anything to Boeing," and "The FAA will retain authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates of airworthiness for all new 737 Max airplanes manufactured since the grounding."





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