Boeing concealing problems

The US Federal Aviation Administration said on the 18th that Boeing did not report to the regulator in a timely communication record of its two employees in 2016. This record indicates that the two have long known that the flight control system of the Boeing 737MAX series has serious problems and chose to conceal the situation.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which is part of the US Department of Transportation, said in a statement on the 18th that Boeing told the Ministry of Communications about the existence of this communication record on the evening of the 17th and said that it had been discovered a few months ago. The Ministry of Communications immediately informed the FAA and the Inspector General of the Ministry of Communications about this situation.

A number of US media have disclosed the company’s internal communication records. Mark Faulkner, then Boeing’s chief technical pilot, said in a text message after a simulator test on the 737MAX aircraft that the system was “out of control” and that it was “excessive”. In the disclosed information, Faulkner also said, “I (unintentionally) lied to the regulator.”

The FAA considered the content of the conversation “worrying” and expressed disappointment that Boeing did not report in a timely manner. The agency is still evaluating relevant information to decide what action to take. Federal Aviation Administration Director Steven Dickson has sent a letter asking Boeing CEO Dennis Millenberg to explain this.

On March 10 this year, a Boeing 737-8 passenger aircraft belonging to the Ethiopian Airlines (belonging to the 737MAX series) crashed. This is the second air crash that occurred on the Boeing 737-8 passenger plane following the crash of the same type of passenger aircraft of Indonesian Lion Air on October 29 last year. Both air crashes were associated with incorrect activation of the Maneuvering Feature Enhancement System (MCAS) automatic anti-stall software.

On October 11, a joint team of international aviation safety regulators issued a report saying that the US Federal Aviation Administration was not able to assess the Boeing 737MAX series of aircraft, and the evaluation process was flawed in terms of “fragmentation” and “no communication between teams”. The FAA also “outsourced” some of its regulatory responsibilities to Boeing, allowing Boeing to complete its own safety certification for its own passenger aircraft.

According to the report, if FAA technicians fully understand the “maneuvering feature enhancement system”, it may avoid air disasters.