The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is facing scrutiny from Congress and the FBI after two Boeing 737 Max crashes last year that killed 346 people –media reported — because of how the agency initially inspected the plane and allowed it to fly. On Thursday, however, an independent panel set up by Transport Minister Elaine Chao concluded that while the FAA could improve the process, no major changes were needed.
“The Committee found that the FAA’s certification system is an effective and important contributor to the world’s most secure aviation systems,” the report’s executive summary reads. However, the FAA is acutely aware of the security challenges facing a rapidly changing and expanding industry. “
It is understood that one of the focus of the commission’s investigation is whether the FAA, a unit of the Us Department of Transportation, should continue to entrust part of its aircraft certification process to third-party companies as part of the Organization’s Age Authorization (ODA) program. Boeing used THE ODA to certify the 737 Max and earlier 787s and 777s, meaning the company completed the aircraft inspection under the guidance of the FAA.
However, the committee concluded that Max’s five-year certification process would not have come to a different conclusion without an authorized project. “The ODA is an iterative, comprehensive process based on the expertise that FAA has accumulated in process management and oversight for more than half a century. The FAA should continue to use the existing licensing system, which is well-established, well-controlled and promotes safe development through effective oversight. “
The report also said that as part of the certification process, the flight control system MCAS had been identified and tested, although the agreement did not require comprehensive testing of the system for mechanical and man-made failures.
FAA Director Steve Dickson said in a statement that he was pleased with the committee’s findings and that “when we take steps to strengthen our aircraft certification process, the agency will carefully consider the work of the Committee and the recommendations of various investigation reports and other analyses.” “