Boeing whistle-blower claims 737 Max updates are not adequate

The group representing the Federal Aviation Administration engineers leading Boeing’s upgrade of the grounded 737 Max reports that the government’s new aircraft fixtures are not going far enough.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, representing FAA engineers who check and sign aircraft certification, reported in Monday’s comments that Max should comply with stricter requirements on cockpit warnings.

Since the aircraft was modified from older iterations, its configuration was not necessary to meet the new safety standards. The Union protested that the planned jetliner fixtures were comprehensive and that the more recent legislation should apply.

The remarks are critical since they indicate that some of the FAA’s technical personnel do not agree on the aircraft’s substantial planned modifications. The Boeing whistleblower separately asked the regulators to apply more protections to the aircraft.

The FAA has suggested various improvements to the aircraft after the accidents that killed 346 people before allowing it to transport passengers again. Among the changes: the device that was pushing the jet’s nose down in both crashes will no longer be constantly triggered, and different measures were taken to reduce the likelihood of the jet’s failure.

The Agency also plans to involve substantial additional modifications to the aircraft, such as an updated flight-computer framework, to increase the framework’s redundancy.

In order for the FAA to be in a position to mandate fixings, it must follow up on the responses, which amounted to more than 200 as of Monday afternoon. The deadline for submissions shall be the end of the day. Filings range from terrified customers who say they will not go for Max to too technical white papers by engineers.

The NATCA comments do not suggest whether individual engineers objected to the FAA’s tentative approval of Boeing’s redesign. The Agency’s rank-and-file technical workers have often accused supervisors of being wrongly overruled, according to numerous reports after the accidents, including one from the House Democrats released on September 16.

There is still no suggestion on how costly and time-consuming it will be to obey the group’s suggestions. The proposed modernization of the aircraft took more than a year to achieve this point.

NATCA ‘s comments contain five different recommendations. They vary from comparatively modest improvements in emergency protocols to a call for what seems to be more significant modifications to the aircraft cockpit alerting system.

Given the aircraft’s planned improvements, it will also be vulnerable to false alerts from a single sensor, the Union said. “This configuration does not conform with the FAA rules and could lead to a pilot misunderstanding,” he said.

Last week, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board reported that the FAA’s guidelines were consistent with its findings on the aircraft released last year, though families and friends of the accident victims called for significant improvements before the aircraft returned.

The Airline Pilots Union, which represents more than 60,000 flight crew members in North America, has suggested many improvements to the FAA program, such as the pilots’ opportunity to uninstall the noisy thump warning that arises as the aircraft is about to reach an aerodynamic stall.

Boeing said that it would not respond to the comments on the suggested FAA fixes. In a tweet, the FAA said that it would “consider all remarks.”

In New York, Boeing closed 2.97 percent to $156.35 in the wake of significant market declines. Shares dropped marginally more than 50% this year through September 18, the highest decline on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Curtis Ewbank, a whistleblower who had previously raised questions about the aircraft’s construction with Congressional investigators, said in comments submitted with the FAA that the new mandate repairing the jetliner would not resolve numerous dangers found in the two deadly Max accidents and earlier events.

“Further action is needed to revise the FAA procedure in such a manner that it correctly assesses the configuration of the aircraft and controls it in the public interest,” Mr. Ewbank said in the comments.

Mr. Ewbank said that the FAA and Boeing should avoid inaccurate readings from the sensor involved in both accidents and enhance the aircraft’s warning systems.

Besides, the Department should carry out a more comprehensive review of how pilots respond to emergencies and conduct a more in-depth overhaul of the flight control system, he added.

The FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency are both preparing to mandate Boeing to implement longer-term improvements after the plane’s return, some of which are close to those requested by Mr. Ewbank.

The Business Association, which campaigns for airline customers, Travelers United, said it backed the aircraft’s restoration.

“After this comprehensive and unparalleled safety analysis of the aircraft, it is time to bring the 737 Max aircraft in the air to represent the flying public where they can improve passenger travel opportunities and reduce carbon emissions and fuel burns,” said Charles Leocha, president of the company.

A retired Boeing engineer who said he worked on 737 decades ago called on the firm to provide more specific information on the machine’s nature involved in the crashes. Robert Bogash, who said he was also interested in collision cases, said that more accessible improvements to the aircraft, such as restricting its weight and speed, might do the same thing as the automatic device used in the two less dangerous accidents.

“Personally, none of us want another 737 crash – we have committed our careers to this incredible aircraft – and my recommendations and remarks are directed at ensuring that the result of this extended grounding is as successful as possible,” said Mr. Bogash.

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