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737 Max

DOT Inspector General to Audit FAA’s Role in Boeing 737 MAX Response

DOT Inspector General to Audit FAA’s Role in Boeing 737 MAX Response
Joe Cortez

On the request of several former and current government stakeholders, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General will review the Federal Aviation Administration’s response and reaction to the Boeing 737 MAX incidents. In particular, the watchdog will evaluate the procedures for grounding aircraft and “implementing corrective actions.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General is stepping in once again on Boeing’s 737 MAX project, and will audit how the Federal Aviation Administration handled the crisis associated with the aircraft. In a memorandum, the watchdog announced they would immediately begin their audit of how the civil aviation group managed the process.

Audit to Focus on FAA “Process and Procedures” for Grounding Aircraft and Correcting Issues

In a July 2020 report, the OIG noted several issues with the way the 737 MAX was originally certified. In particular, both Boeing and the FAA failed to note how changes in the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation Systems (MCAS) affected pilot control of the aircraft.

This second audit was requested by a group of government stakeholders, including former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and both the chair and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Transportation-HUD subcommittee. On the new inquiry, the OIG will evaluate the FAA’s course of actions for grounding aircraft and “implementing corrective actions” will be evaluated.

“This review will examine FAA’s actions following each of the two Boeing 737 MAX accidents, including grounding of the aircraft and its recertification,” the memo from assistant inspector general for aviation audits Matthew E. Hampton reads. “Accordingly, our audit objective is to evaluate FAA’s processes and procedures for grounding aircraft and implementing corrective actions, including for the Boeing 737 MAX 8.”

The audit will begin immediately, with no stated timeline for conclusion.

Audit Second Recent Blow Against 737 MAX Return

While the audit will not affect any current airlines operating the 737 MAX, it is the second blow for the troubled airframe this year. Earlier in April 2021, Boeing announced that 16 airlines would have to ground a certain number of their 737 MAX aircraft, after an electrical issue relating to a power system component was identified.

View Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. edgewood49

    April 21, 2021 at 5:54 am

    I am not sure about anyone else it seems that the Max issue has been investigated, investigated and investigated not that I don’t want the true facts to come out but at some point either let the plane fly or permanently ground it which will put BA close to if not in BK and maybe thats a thought. But this seems to reek of politics which never really discloses the root issue.

    Just one man’s opinion.

  2. Flying Kiwi

    April 23, 2021 at 1:57 am

    It’s pretty clear already what went wrong on the MAX. Boeing knowingly built a plane with bad handling characteristics, then used MCAS to try to compensate. And in order to save a few million on pilot trainer time they didn’t tell anyone about this. Boeing’s buddies at the FAA signed off on the plane without really looking at it, and everybody was happy until a couple of the planes crashed due to pilot WTF.

    I’m all in favor of anything that increases the heat on the FAA. They need to stop operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boeing.

    But there should be criminal charges against many of the people involved at Boeing, and unfortunately I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.

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