According to a report published on Tuesday by the global news agency Reuters, a congressional panel of the United States was told by the acting head of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration that there needs to be some evolvement of the approach to oversight related to aircraft safety issues and certification that is followed by the US air transport regulator after the two fatal aircraft crashes that took place within a time period of less than five months that involved the Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts. The Reuters report is based on a written testimony of the FAA executive.
The first crash happened with a Boeing 737 Max aircraft of Lion Air of Indonesia which crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff on 29 October last year, killing all 189 passengers and crew who were on board. The next fatal accident occurred with the same craft model being used by the Ethiopian Airlines which also crashed to ground seen after taking off on March 10 in which all of the 157 people on board were killed.
The Boeing 737 Max aircraft would only be allowed to fly again and start services all over the world “only when the FAA’s analysis of the facts and technical data indicate that it is appropriate,” the acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell is set to inform the a Senate Commerce subcommittee, claimed the Reuters report.
The proposed upgrade for its anti-stall software for its 737 Max aircraft was only first submitted by Boeing with the FAA for getting it passed and certified by the regulator on January 21 of the current year, says the written testimony of Elwell to the subcommittee. The testimony also confirms that the FAA has tested “this enhancement to the 737 MAX flight control system in both the simulator and the aircraft.”
There were no comments made by Boeing over the issue when contacted by Reuters. However analysts and experts are expecting that the largest aircraft maker of the world would unveil more details of the software upgrade as soon as sometime this week itself.
The written testimony by Elwell to the panel also says that the FAA “will go wherever the facts lead us, in the interest of safety.” While acknowledging the challenges being currently faced by the FAA, he firmly stuck behind and supported the aircraft certification systems used by it.
“As the aerospace system and its components become increasingly more complex, we know that our oversight approach needs to evolve to ensure that the FAA remains the global leader in achieving aviation safety,” Elwell’s testimony reportedly says.
The Reuters report also says that a written testimony by the National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt, submitted separately with the panel, says that the board is “examining the U.S. design certification process to ensure any deficiencies are captured and addressed, potentially up to and including NTSB safety recommendations.”
The Boeing 737 MAX safety certification process is being investigated by Federal prosecutors and the Transportation Department’s inspector general.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)