Published: Sat, May 18, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

FAA expects Boeing to submit 737 MAX fix soon for approval

FAA expects Boeing to submit 737 MAX fix soon for approval

The 737 MAX 8 is now grounded worldwide after the March crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that killed all 157 people onboard and drew scrutiny to the new Boeing model's anti-stall system, which investigators believe may have brought the jet down.

FAA acting administrator Daniel Elwell will face questions from the House Transportation Committee on the administration's role in approving the jet to fly, the Times reports.

Ranking member Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., questioned assertions the FAA was to blame for the crashes, saying that in both Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air, the pilots he described as "both in their 20s and with less than 160 total hours combined flying a 737 Max", were partly at fault.

In audio obtained by CBS News, members of AA's pilots' union quizzed Boeing officials about the system - knowns as MCAS - in a tense meeting in November previous year, weeks after a Lion Air Max crashed in Indonesia and four months before the loss of an Ethiopian Airlines Max.

LEWIS: Several other congressional committees are examining the relationship between Boeing and the FAA.

"I am not happy about a 13-month gap", he said, adding that the agency would fix the issue.

They told Elwell that the closeness between Boeing and the FAA may be one of the reasons it took the agency a relatively long time to ground the Boeing jets.

Elwell defended the FAA's approval of the system on the Boeing jets, but admitted the system should have been better explained in the pilots' operational and flight manuals.

"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.

"The FAA needs to fix its credibility problem", Larsen said. Those accidents killed almost 350 people.

"We remain confident that the impending software updates, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing for the MAX, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon", said an American Airlines spokesman.

Following the Lion Air crash, Boeing had issued additional instructions to pilots in case they faced a malfunction of the MCAS.

Elwell was criticized for the FAA's decision to hold off on grounding the US's Max fleet after the second crash.

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.

Elwell said the United States body acted only after "data" showed a connected between the October Lion Air crash and the March Ethiopian Airlines crashes.

The IATA event is for airlines only but will include updates from the FAA and Boeing.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio said Thursday (NZT) during a hearing that he hoped the aircraft manufacturer begins complying with requests for data on the plane's design soon as lawmakers grilled USA aviation regulators on the jetliner. The agency has not had a permanent director since January 2018.

The 737 Next Gen models that preceded the Max family have one of the lowest accident rates of any modern jetliners, according to Boeing's annual accident summary. No Boeing representative was scheduled to testify.

FAA unions oppose expanding the program because they say it gives too much authority to companies and that employees have an incentive to side with their bosses.

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