American Airlines Pilots Confronted Boeing About Safety Issues Before Ethiopia Crash

Pilots pushed Boeing to act after Lion Air crash Reports

Elwell said he expects Boeing to complete its work "in the next week or so", after which the FAA will analyze the software changes and conduct test flights.

The FAA would have to hire 10,000 more employees and increase its budget by $1.8 billion if it didn't rely on company employees, acting Administrator Daniel Elwell testified at a Senate hearing in March.

As Dickson addressed senators, Elwell appeared at the same time before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to update lawmakers on the status of the Boeing 737 Max.

Subcommittee Chairman Rick Larsen, a Washington Democrat, issued a press release Tuesday seeking answers from FAA on the crashes.

These so-called designees have become a lightening rod in the aftermath of the crash on October 29 of a Lion Air 737 Max off the coast of Indonesia and an Ethiopian Airlines jet on March 10.

A combined 346 people died in the crashes.

"Despite the enviable track record of aviation safety in the USA over the past decade and more, we must never rest", Dickson said.

Another report yesterday said the FAA did not independently evaluate the safety of a Boeing 737 MAX system implicated in the two deadly crashes, deferring to Boeing on key judgments.

The investigation didn't uncover evidence that Boeing intentionally misled the FAA.

DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, said he was disappointed that a single sensor's failure had led to the crashes. "To me we haven't got a business case at the moment, I'm still looking for the business case that tells me we will have dual systems on board that are fully reliable, an oil drip won't spark off a fire that will be uncontrollable and that we don't need crew on board".

Elwell refuted reports that the FAA wasn't directly involved in approving the plane's flight-control system.

White House counsel rejects Democratic efforts to investigate Trump
Jerry Nadler (D-NY) makes a statement with some of his colleagues after the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold U.S. Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for not responding to a subpoena on Capitol Hill, May 8, 2019.

FAA unions oppose expanding the program because they say it gives too much authority to companies and that employees have an incentive to side with their bosses.

Erroneous data from a sensor responsible for measuring the angle at which the wing slices through the air - known as the Angle of Attack - is suspected of triggering a flawed piece of software that pushed the plane downward in two recent crashes.

Some airline pilots have complained about not having enough information about the MCAS system and its potential pitfalls, and in response to questioning, Elwell acknowledged that "the MCAS should have been more adequately explained in the ops manual and the flight manual, absolutely". Boeing is redesigning the system to make it less prone to operate in error.

However, Elwell emphasized that the crashes were the result of a chain of events that also included pilot actions, or inactions.

Asked for comment on DeFazio's statement regarding records, Boeing spokesman Charles Bickers said, "Boeing continues to support the ongoing accident investigations and is committed to working closely with Members of Congress, their staff and relevant officials". Boeing officials did not testify.

He said that over the course of some 50,000 flights done by the 737 Max 8, the FAA received 24 reports from pilots related to "some sort of anomaly on pitch". Carey said his pilots are seeking "proper oversight" of Boeing, the FAA and airlines including their own.

Wednesday's hearing is expected to be only the first in a series on the issue.

Nadia Milleron, whose daughter, Samya Stumo, was on the Ethiopian Airlines plane, was in the audience at Wednesday's hearing.

A Boeing executive at the meeting defended the plane.

LEWIS: Elwell defended the FAA's original certification and said the five-year process wasn't rushed.

The 737 Next Gen models that preceded the Max family have one of the lowest accident rates of any modern jetliners, according to Boeing's annual accident summary. He promised senators that he would make sure the FAA does not become captive to the industry it regulates.

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