FAA Forms Committee To Review Boeing Safety Systems


The FAA has formed a committee of 24 aviation academics and industry representatives to examine Boeing’s safety culture in the wake of investigations slamming the company’s development and certification of the 737 MAX. The panel was mandated by Congress in 2020 as part of a legislation package to change how Boeing creates new airplanes. Congress issued a scathing report that year on the company’s performance with the MAX, which was involved in two fatal crashes resulting from changes to its flight control system. The company has been on a tight leash ever since with the FAA taking over final signoff on some designs before they can be delivered.

The panel is made up of experts from NASA, major U.S. airlines that fly the MAX, labor unions and parts suppliers. Airbus also has a seat at the table. It’s report is expected in nine months. Among the experts is MIT lecturer and aerospace engineer Javier de Luis, whose sister was killed in one of the MAX crashes. He was pointed when he spoke to a congressional hearing on the tragedies. “Boeing cannot be allowed to continue to certify its own designs, especially those systems that directly impact vehicle safety, with little to no outside review,” Reuters quoted him as telling the legislators.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. The article doesn’t say how long the committee is required to last… does anyone know? Indefinitely? Also, is Congress actually going to the FAA’s budget for this and the other mandates?

    • I would like quotes from an industry expert to explain Airbus’ role here. It does seem curious and there is a good reason for it?

      • Free and legal corporate espionage?

        I really can’t see any good reason why Airbus should have anything to do with Boeing oversight. It’s not like they don’t have their own safety culture issues.

  2. This is your typical Congressional knee-jerk reaction to a problem – form a committee to “study” the problem to death. I would imagine that the Boeing legal team will petition to have any Airbus representatives removed from the panel since it is likely a conflict of interest and could reveal sensitive technical information to a direct competitor. Maybe they could also investigate the FAA’s foot-dragging on getting literally anything approved for the aircraft industry. There are STC applications of all sorts that have been languishing for years now waiting for a final approval from the FAA.

  3. So what’s the alternative, do nothing? Someone has to take a hard look at Boeing’s practices and corporate culture. The FAA is a convenient scapegoat taking flak from all sides. Half of our politicians think companies like Boeing should not be subject to government oversight. Many want to privatize some of the FAA’s functions and eliminate others. The problems at Boeing show why that would be a bad idea.

  4. After the fiasco of the lawmakers modifying the deadline of the Boeing 737 MAX in favor on the manufacturer, only fools can believe this circus. This will only result in free propaganda for Boeing when the “Committee” finish the review.