The Strategist

US congressmen name reasons for Boeing 737 MAX crashes

09/17/2020 - 03:10

The fatal plane crash involving the Boeing 737 MAX occurred because of "colossal financial pressure" on the company, "erroneous assumptions" of engineers and the influence of Boeing on American officials. This conclusion was reached by American congressmen after a year and a half of investigation.

The Boeing 737 MAX plane crashes were "the horrific culmination of a series of erroneous assumptions made by Boeing engineers, a lack of transparency from Boeing executives, and a flagrantly inadequate FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] oversight." This is stated in a report published on the website of the Committee on Transport and Infrastructure of the American Congress.
The 238-page report was released following an 18-month investigation, the report said. It describes "serious mistakes and oversights" in terms of the design, development and certification of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, two of which resulted in the deaths of 346 people. Congressmen identify five key issues:
Manufacturing pressures that compromised the safety of passengers. Boeing and the 737 MAX program faced “tremendous financial pressure” to compete with the new Airbus A320, which led to “massive attempts” to cut costs, stay on schedule and avoid production slowdowns;
"Misguided assumptions" in terms of design and performance. Boeing allegedly made such assumptions about the 737 MAX's key technologies, most notably the MCAS system, which automatically corrects the aircraft's position. The company allegedly expected that the pilots, who were largely unaware of the existence of MCAS, would be able to neutralize any potential system error;
The culture of hiding. Boeing allegedly withheld key information from the FAA, its customers and the 737 MAX pilots. There was allegedly hidden, in particular, information that the pilot, when testing the aircraft, took more than 10 seconds to react to the MCAS error. The pilot himself described this situation as "catastrophic";
Inconsistent representation. The report cites several instances in which Boeing employees who were authorized to act on behalf of the FAA did not report potential problems to the agency;
Boeing's influence on the FAA. Several FAA officials reported cases where the agency's leaders made decisions not in favor of their own technology experts, but in favor of Boeing.
The Boeing 737 MAX series aircraft began operating in October 2017. Already in 2018, the first plane crash occurred with the airliner of this model - the plane of the Indonesian airline Lion Air fell into the sea shortly after departure. 189 people died. Five months later, another 737 MAX crashed in Ethiopia, killing 157 people. After that, Boeing 737 MAX flights were suspended around the world. Boeing froze production of 737 MAX this January.