Documents were requested by lawmakers from Boeing on cockpit alerts that were found faulty abroad the 737 Max airplanes. The company allegedly knew of the issue for over a year prior to informing regulators. The fault remained unfixed for around 3 years.
Rep. DeFazio & Rep. Larsen who are Democrats and chairmen of several committees stated on Friday that they had requested information from United Technologies, Boeing and FAA, for documents and an accurate timeline depicting when they were informed of the fault and the period when the airlines were intimated.
DeFazio stated that he was concerned about Boeing’s reluctance to disclose the cockpit fault for over a year after discovery to FAA. Along with Rep. Larsen, he wanted more documentation, which would enable the construction of a full picture about the details of who had the requisite knowledge at what point.
737 Max airplanes were grounded globally after two planes crashed fatally within a span of 5 months. Over 346 people died during the crashes. The anti-stall mechanism on board the plane is considered to be the reason behind the crash. Investigators consider it to have been fed bad data, causing the planes to take fatal dives. Cockpit sensors under review inform pilots if any sensors aboard the airplane are not functioning properly. They determine and inform if the airplane is travelling at the right angle.
Lawmakers stated that they had received information of Boeing’s plans to delay software updates which would’ve fixed the problem by over 3 years. Boeing has confirmed this to be true on Friday. The update was to fix the issue initially scheduled for 2020, based on safety reviews carried out by Boeing. It was meant to be added to Max 10 series of flights. They admitted that they had fallen short in implementing the AoA alert. Steps are underway to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Current FAA head Daniel Elwell informed the House Committee that he wasn’t happy over the time gap between Boeing discovering the issue and informing regulatory authorities. Another hearing is set for June 19, which will include testimonies from flight attendants and pilots, people who are knowledgeable about the plans of the panel.