US Boeing CEO Dennis Millenberger testified in the US Senate on the 29th on the Boeing 737MAX plane crash. Under the stern conviction of the senator, he admitted that Boeing “made a mistake” but avoided talking about the deep-seated causes of the accident.
At the two-and-a-half-hour hearing, Millenberg’s testimony can be summarized into three sentences: “We made a mistake” “We are improving” “There is no problem in the future.” But when asked about Boeing when he learned that there were problems with the aircraft’s automatic anti-stall software and how to deal with such detailed issues, Milenberger was concerned about him.
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 occurrence of the Boeing 737-8 passenger aircraft following the crash of the same type of passenger aircraft of Indonesian Lion Air on October 29 last year. An accident occurred. In his written testimony, Mirenberg acknowledged that both air crashes were related to the incorrect activation of the Maneuvering Feature Enhancement System (MCAS) automatic anti-stall software.
This is the first time Boeing management has appeared in the US Congress after the first anniversary of Lion Air. In June of this year, Milenberger refused to go to Congress to testify.
Although there is ample evidence that Boeing aircraft has institutional problems in the manufacturing and certification process, Boeing executives’ hearing strategy limits errors to individual technical levels. Senator Maria Canterwell questioned whether Boeing did not test the failure of the flight control system in the air crash. John Hamilton, vice president of Boeing Commercial Aircraft, who attended the hearing together, said “it seems to be the case afterwards”, but later argued that Boeing conducted extensive testing during the aircraft certification process.
The biggest focus of the hearing was that the US Federal Aviation Administration released a message on October 18 that Boeing did not report to the regulator in a timely manner a 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 but chose to hide.
When asked when to know the record, Millenberg said before the second air crash. This shows that after about two years of Boeing internal awareness, the management was informed. “(Previously) we don’t know,” Millenberg said. Senator Martha Blackburn said that the company’s top management’s explanation of the problem with “don’t know” is worrying.
To make matters worse, Boeing did not take any action after learning of the situation until it reported to the US Federal Aviation Administration a few months after the second crash, which led many senators to testify against Millenberg. The boastful Boeing “safety culture” expressed strong doubts.
Roger Wick, chairman of the US Senate Commerce Committee, said the record showed that Boeing’s “arbitrary and frivolous” was disturbing. Wick believes that two air crashes can be completely avoided. US Senator Richard Blumenthal even compared the 737MAX aircraft to “the flying coffin.”
Boeing and US regulators have been widely criticized for errors, including the US Federal Aviation Administration, which should have assumed regulatory responsibility, to “outsource” safety assessment missions to Boeing, while an international investigation team found that Boeing employees who partially took on this task faced “improper pressure”. Millenberg refused to answer Boeing’s large percentage of certification duties and denied the relationship with the US Federal Aviation Administration. When asked if the regulatory mechanism needed reform, he did not give a clear answer.
Many relatives who held photos of the victims also came to the hearing on the same day. Milenberger apologized to them, but US Senator Tami Duckworth said to Millenberg: “Your statement is half-truth False, you didn’t tell all the facts, which hurt the families of the victims.”
Although many questions about the accident have not yet been answered positively, Millenberg has vowed in his testimony that the 737MAX will be one of the safest aircraft in the world after the go-around. Boeing previously said it hopes to get a go-around approval early in the fourth quarter. But the latest statement from the US Federal Aviation Administration on October 18 is that there is no timetable for the series of passenger planes to go around.
A photo of the victim on the scene said: “Don’t let MAX fly, it will be dead.” On the 30th, Milenberg will also testify in the US House of Representatives Traffic and Infrastructure Committee and continue to receive questions.