U.S. House Democrats to continue probe after Boeing testimony
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[November 05, 2019]
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of the
U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the head of
its aviation subcommittee said on Monday that it will continue its
investigation into two fatal 737 MAX crashes after Boeing's testimony
prompted new questions.
Representatives Peter DeFazio and Rick Larsen said in a joint letter to
fellow lawmakers that Boeing Co Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg's
answers at Wednesday's hearing "were consistent with a culture of
concealment and opaqueness and reflected the immense pressure exerted on
Boeing employees during the development and production of the 737 MAX."
The letter said the victims' loved ones "deserve a thorough
investigation from our Committee about how the regulatory system and the
law failed, and that’s exactly what our committee intends to do."
Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Monday the company "will continue
to cooperate with the committee." The Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) declined to comment.
Muilenburg and Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Engineer John
Hamilton's testimony prompted "a litany of new questions for both Boeing
and the FAA about the failures that led to the tragic and unnecessary
deaths of 346 innocent people."
The committee released documents about Boeing's decisions during the
development of the MAX and a key safety system known as MCAS that led to
the two fatal crashes and the plane's grounding in March.
"Our investigation shows that from almost the start, Boeing had a bad
design on MCAS with a single point of failure. Then, Boeing couldn’t
even meet its own design requirements. MCAS was fundamentally flawed,
and according to Boeing’s own analysis, could result in catastrophic
consequences in certain cases," the letter said.
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Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg testifies before the House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee during a hearing on the
grounded 737 MAX in the wake of deadly crashes, on Capitol Hill in
Washington, U.S., October 30, 2019. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger
The letter said the operation of MCAS on the two deadly flights
violated Boeing’s own design criteria for MCAS that required that "MCAS
shall not interfere with dive recovery" and “MCAS shall not have any
objectionable interaction with the piloting of the airplane."
The letter referenced Muilenburg's testimony Wednesday that the
plane would have been grounded after the first fatal crash in
October 2018 if the company knew then what it knows now.
"Our investigation has already shown that Boeing leadership was
aware of many of the problems that engineers are now attempting to
fix during the design and development phase of the 737 MAX," DeFazio
and Larsen said. "The bottom line is that there are a lot of
unanswered questions, and our investigation has a long way to go to
get the answers everyone deserves."
The FAA in recent days has been conducting a software audit of
Boeing's planned new safeguards to MCAS and other architecture
changes to the MAX. The FAA will not unground the MAX until December
at the earliest.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sandra Maler and Cynthia
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