FAA failed to properly review 737 Max system

Boeing Finds Itself in a Fresh Pickle

A report Friday by global aviation regulators criticized the US Federal Aviation Administration's certification of the MAX.

It concludes that the FAA wasn't sufficiently aware of what MCAS was and so was unable to exercise proper oversight; and that "undue pressures" were placed on Boeing staff carrying out tasks on behalf of the regulator.

Boeing did not fully explain to federal regulators an automated flight system featured in its new 737 Max, and those regulators didn't have the capability to effectively analyze much of what Boeing did share about the plane.

The report said the FAA had just 45 people in an office overseeing Boeing's Organization Designation Authority (ODA) and its 1,500 employees.

According to the report, the FAA had been made aware of MCAS, though "the information and discussions about MCAS were so fragmented and were delivered to disconnected groups" that it 'was hard to recognize the impacts and implications of this system'. However, in another statement to the paper, the FAA said there is "not a prescribed timeline" for the 737 Max's return to service and it had not told airlines there is.

In conclusion, the report found issue with the process for certifying a new plane based on a previous design, as it 'lacks an adequate assessment of how proposed design changes integrate with existing systems, ' the Times reported.

Boeing did not respond to criticism in the report but said it is "committed to working with the FAA in reviewing the recommendations and helping to continuously improve the process and approach used to validate and certify airplanes". European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) officials told senior USA counterparts that one element of the fixes, having two flight control computers operate simultaneously, goes against decades of prior design and has not been adequately tested, the news agency wrote.

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Southwest Airlines Co and Brazil's Gol Linhas Aereas have grounded a total of 13 Boeing Co 737 NG airplanes after USA regulators ordered urgent inspections last week.

United Airlines is latest and final US airline to push back service.

The company said it expects to cancel more than 8,000 flights for October, November, December and the first few days of January and that it will monitor regulatory updates and make adjustments accordingly.

The fast-selling 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since mid-March while Boeing Co updates flight control software at the centre of two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within a span of five months.

It's claimed the FAA has already taken steps to address these recommendations, which in large has contributed to the prolonged grounding of the MAX, which is now expected to return early 2020.

By acting months in advance, the airlines are removing the risk that their schedules around Christmas and New Year's could be scrambled by the absence of the Max.

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