MIAMI – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing have gamed the Boeing 737 MAX recertification process, according to a new Senate report.
Released by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the report contains shocking allegations. Before recertification tests, the FAA and Boeing apparently “had established a pre-determined outcome to reaffirm a long-held human factor assumption related to pilot reaction time.”
A whistleblower further revealed that before simulator tests, Pilots who were told “remember, get right on that pickle switch” reacted to an emergency scenario in 4 seconds. Pilots not given such briefing reacted in 16 seconds, clearly demonstrating how tests were manipulated via the time-lapse.
The MAX Set to Fly
Boeing on Friday responded by saying it will seriously look at “the committee’s findings and will continue to review the report in full” while the FAA added that the report ” contains a number of unsubstantiated allegations.”
Meanwhile, Senate Commerce Committee chairman Roger Wicker said the report demonstrates “significant examples of lapses in aviation safety oversight and failed leadership in the FAA.”
The FAA further added that safety issues had “been addressed through the design changes required and independently approved by the FAA and its partners.”
The report further alleges that Southwest Airlines (WN) “put millions of passengers at potential risk” by operating jets without confirmation of the completion of required safety evidence of the type.
While the Boeing 737 MAX has returned to service in Brazil with GOL (G3) and is set to return to service in the US on December 29, it will be interesting to see what developments arise thanks to the report, especially considering that the US Senate and House of Representatives unanimously reformed how the FAA certifies new aircraft.
Featured image: Boeing