The US Department of Transportation wants to take another look at the oversight process involved in the re-certification of Boeing’s popular 737 Max passenger jet.
The model was taken out of service in March 2019 after two crashes, in Indonesia and Ethiopia, resulting in 346 deaths. The main cause of the accidents was considered to be faulty control software that directed the jets towards the ground.
“At the request of the former Secretary of Transportation and members of Congress, our office has undertaken a series of reviews related to FAA’s certification of the 737 MAX 8 and its safety oversight,” the Transportation Department’s inspector general, Eric J Soskin, said in a statement issued Tuesday.
“In this review—our third in the series— we will examine FAA’s actions following the two accidents, including FAA’s risk assessments, the grounding of the aircraft, and its subsequent recertification in November 2020.
“Accordingly, our objective is to evaluate FAA’s processes and procedures for grounding aircraft and implementing corrective actions, including for the Boeing 737 MAX.”
A Department of Transportation report issued in February called for improvements in the Federal Aviation Authority’s (FAA) oversight of new aircraft.
According to that report, the FAA’s certification guidance does not adequately address integrating new technologies into existing aircraft models.
The report noted that in addition, engineers in FAA’s Boeing oversight office faced “challenges in balancing certification and oversight responsibilities.”
The report listed a total of 14 points of criticism that the supervision should improve, noting that it must be made clearer in the future when Boeing employees carry out FAA tasks themselves.