Boeing: 737 MAX certification followed US rules

Questions have been raised about why the Boeing 737 MAX was approved so quickly, despite flaws to its flight system
Questions have been raised about why the Boeing 737 MAX was approved so quickly, despite flaws to its flight system

Boeing said Monday that the flight stabilization system under scrutiny following two deadly 737 MAX plane crashes, met all US regulations.

"The 737 MAX was certified in accordance with the identical Federal Aviation Administration requirements and processes that have governed certification of all previous new airplanes and derivatives," Boeing said Monday.

Boeing and regulators face increased examination over the stall prevention system, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS, which authorities have said was likely a factor in deadly crashes in Indonesia in October, while the in Ethiopia earlier this month showed similarities.

"The FAA considered the final configuration and operating parameters of MCAS during MAX certification, and concluded that it met all certification and regulatory requirements," Boeing added.

Since the Ethiopian crash, which claimed 157 lives, questions have been raised not only about Boeing, but also the FAA and its close relationship with the company.

While it may take months for definitive conclusions, experts are asking why the MCAS was given the green light despite objections by American pilots who had voiced concerns with the system.

Investigation into the Lion Air crash in October implicated the MCAS which can erroneously force the down when the autopilot is engaged, if it detects the plane may be at risk of a stall. Both crashes happened shortly after takeoff.

American pilots had complained of the flaw, and Boeing has been working on a software upgrade to the system and issued new instructions about how to override the issue in the meantime.

In service since May 2017, the 737 MAX 8, one of several variants of the 737 MAX, has now experienced two deadly tragedies, a scenario that is unprecedented for a new aircraft.

The US Transportation Department's is probing the FAA's approval of the MCAS, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper also said the criminal division of the Justice Department was looking into the development of the plane.

The 737 MAX was certified as a variant of the 737 Next Generation, the plane it replaced, despite major differences in the engine and the MCAS, according to documents available on the FAA's website.

But because of budget constraints, the FAA delegated aspects of the approval process to Boeing itself, according to sources.

Under a program, known as the Organization Designation Authorization (ODA), employees of Boeing are accredited by the FAA to assist in approving the aircraft—including design, production, flight tests, maintenance and other systems—as well as signing off on the training procedures of pilots on new planes.


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Mar 18, 2019
Looks like they followed the 'tick box' letter of the law, not the spirit...

Mar 18, 2019
Except they allegedly increased the MCAS pitch-down maximum by a factor of four without telling the certifying body. Then made the MCAS code allow additive re-re-triggering which the human pilots couldn't keep up with: So the pitch-down was potentially unlimited if the plane's single 'angle of attack' sensor was faulty. ( Earlier 737's apparently had two sensors. )

https://www.extre...ir-crash

Mar 18, 2019
Addendum: The 737 Max 8 actually had two angle sensors but apparently only one was connected to MCAS as it wasn't regarded as a 'hazardous' system.
Also many certification and safety checks were delegated by Congress from FAA to manufacturers following 9/11. Its also alleged that Boeing were under pressure to rush this process through to beat the competing A320neo.
https://www.extre...ir-crash

Mar 18, 2019
Another lesson bought in blood...

Mar 18, 2019
Sounds like the pilots should have paid attention to the classes. That's kinda, you know, part of the stuff you do if you want to be a pilot. And this is what happens when pilots ignore training.

Mar 19, 2019
We'll have to wait for box and voice results to be sure; but poor training provision and/or bad instructions may have contributed to these crashes.
Following instructions/training and pressing MCAS reset may be what permitted the MCAS to retrigger and extend it's authority over aircraft pitch-down.

Mar 19, 2019
Sounds like the pilots should have paid attention to the classes. That's kinda, you know, part of the stuff you do if you want to be a pilot. And this is what happens when pilots ignore training.


Sure, but planes should be designed not just with an ideal pilot in mind, but for the lowest common denominator. And if your plane begins to nosedive due to a faulty sensor, overriding pilot input, then it is a dangerous design, period. Not flight worthy.

Mar 19, 2019

Sounds like the pilots should have paid attention to the classes. That's kinda, you know, part of the stuff you do if you want to be a pilot. And this is what happens when pilots ignore training.

I'm pretty sure MCAS failures are not part of the simulator training courses.


Mar 19, 2019
It does sound like elevator 'trim runaway' is part of basic training on 737's according to the pilots:- https://theaircur...s-jt610/

It also sounds like MCAS could have saved 'Flydubai 981' and 'Tatarstan 363' if it had been fitted on those earlier model 737's:- https://en.wikipe...ight_363

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