A 239-page review report submitted by US congressional investigators has blamed both Boeing and regional aviation authority Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for “repeated and serious failures” leading to two deadly Boeing 737 MAX crashes.
World’s largest aerospace company, Boeing had to subsequently ground the entire 737 MAX fleet across the globe pending an investigation onto the onboard flight assistance technology which was allegedly causing the malfunction leading to the crashes.
The investigative report released by congressional democrats after an 18-month probe by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said that “the MAX crashes were not the result of a singular failure, technical mistake or mismanaged event.”
“They (crashes) were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA.”
Congressional Report Excerpts
The latest critical report of the crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines planes that together claimed 346 lives comes at a time when Boeing was positive to get its grounded fleet in the air after several FAA began safety trials for the MAX with upgraded flight systems.
The new report highlighted several alarming discrepancies such as internal pressure to rush MAX’s production amid rising competition from Airbus, Boeing choosing to withhold key information from regulators and unfair lobbying at the FAA by the planemaker which allegedly compromised a fair evaluation of its initial rollout.
At the center-stage of the report was Boeing’s much criticized Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), an anti-stall system that has been seen as a critical factor in both crashes as it activated improperly and repeatedly pointed the planes downward, restricting pilots from regaining control of the planes.
The report remarked that MACS suffered from a “faulty design” which triggered action based on just one sensor and noted that if the aviation giant had classified MCAS as a “safety-critical” mechanism it would have triggered a tighter oversight.
Boeing refrained from intimating or sharing mission critical about the existence of such as system from the pilots as well.
The Chicago-based company has meanwhile insisted that “multiple committees, experts and governmental authorities have examined issues related to the MAX, and we have incorporated many of their recommendations, as well as the results of our own internal reviews, into the 737 MAX and the overall airplane design process.”
“Once the FAA and other regulators have determined the MAX can safely return to service, it will be one of the most thoroughly scrutinized aircraft in history and we have full confidence in its safety,” said the firm which is severely battered by the pandemic and the resulting shrinkage in global air travel.
Meanwhile, an FAA spokesman reaffirmed that the body “is committed to continually advancing aviation safety and looks forward to working with the Committee to implement improvements identified in its report.”
“The FAA continues to follow a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the aircraft to service,” the spokesman added.