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Boeing and FAA Faulted In Damaging Report On 737 Max Certification

Published by Slashdot on Sat, 12 Oct 2019

A new report from a task force convened by the FAA found that Boeing failed to adequately explain to regulators a new automated system that contributed to two crashes of the 737 Max, and that the FAA lacked the capability to effectively analyze much of what Boeing did share about the new plane. The New York Times reports: The review scrutinized the F.A.A.'s certification of the Max's flight control system, including the new automated system, MCAS, that played a role in both crashes, in Indonesia last October and in Ethiopia in March. The report found that while the F.A.A. had been made aware of MCAS, "the information and discussions about MCAS were so fragmented and were delivered to disconnected groups" that it "was difficult to recognize the impacts and implications of this system." The task force said it believed that if F.A.A. technical staff had been fully aware of the details of MCAS, the agency would probably have required additional scrutiny of the system that might have identified its flaws. Boeing is now updating the system to make it less powerful, and it says it will install a modified version when the Max, which is still grounded, returns to service. A broad theme of the report is that the F.A.A. was too focused on the specifics of the new system and did not put sufficient effort into understanding its overall impact on the plane. In certification documents that Boeing submitted to the F.A.A., MCAS was not evaluated as "complete and integrated function" on the new plane. The report also said Boeing had failed to inform the F.A.A. as the design of MCAS changed during the plane's development. Boeing also failed to thoroughly stress-test the design of MCAS, according to the report, which found that "the design assumptions were not adequately reviewed, updated or validated." In addition, the report criticized Boeing for not adequately assessing the extra effort pilots might have to make to deal with MCAS, and it noted that Boeing had removed mention of MCAS from a draft of the pilot's manual. As a result of that decision, some key F.A.A. officials were not fully aware of MCAS and were "not in a position to adequately assess training needs," the report found.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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