Senate Launches Probe Into Improperly Trained FAA Inspectors at Boeing


Adding to the FAA’s look-see into Boeing and an ongoing FBI investigation into the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, the Senate Transportation Committee is launching its own investigation. This time is has to do with whistleblower complaints claiming the FAA improperly trained its safety inspectors to review the MAX 8 design and certification.

“In light of recent 737 crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, the committee is investigating any potential connection between inadequate training and certification of Aviation Safety Inspectors who may have participated in the FSB evaluation of the 737 MAX,” Sen. Roger Wicker, chairman of the committee, said in a letter to FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell delivered on Tuesday.

Wicker said the FAA may have been notified about these deficiencies as early as August of 2018 and that an in-house investigation of the allegations may have already been done and completed by the FAA.

Meanwhile, Boeing said earlier this week that although it had hoped to deliver revised software to the MAX fleet by mid-April, that fix will be delayed at least several more weeks. Some 350-plus MAX jets remain grounded as safety agencies grind through investigations on two crashes, one in Indonesia in October 2018 and a second in Ethiopia in March. Those probes appear to be focusing on a background anti-stall system called MCAS, which may have been erroneously triggered by faulty angle-of-attack sensors.