boeing investigations
March 7, 2020

Nearly a year after a Boeing 737 MAX airplane crashed into an open field shortly after takeoff in Ethiopia, House investigators released a report Friday blaming Boeing's engineering mistakes and "culture of concealment," as well as the Federal Aviation Administration's "grossly insufficient" oversight of the production of the aircraft for the tragedy. The report also applied to an earlier 737 MAX crash in Indonesia, which combined with the Ethiopian Airlines flight killed 346 people.

The report highlighted the fact that Boeing avoided putting pilots through necessary training protocols and removed key references about the plane's flight control system — which is believed to be the main cause of the crashes — from official manuals during the FAA certification process for the MAX model, even after the Indonesia crash. The aircraft has been grounded for months and saw its production halt in January.

Despite accusing Boeing of withholding information from the FAA, the report still chastised the agency for failing "to identify key safety problems," although some Republican lawmakers pushed back against criticism of the FAA's approval process, arguing the report was rushed and led to premature conclusions.

Meanwhile, a draft report from Ethiopian investigators reportedly blamed the plane's design for last year's fatal crash, though it did little to acknowledge the possible role of Ethiopian Airlines and its flight crew. That lies in contrast to Indonesia's report last October which cited errors by Lion Air's workers and crew while also faulting Boeing's software. Read more at Reuters and The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell

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