The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is under scrutiny for possible gaps in safety oversight following two recent air disasters involving the Boeing 737 MAX, according to a recent report. The aviation accidents follow a decade where the FAA was considered to have “the best aviation safety record in the world.”
There were 346 people who died in the Boeing 737 MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. A new software feature reportedly caused the planes to steer into the fatal dives. Pilots may not have been adequately warned about the feature, noted the article.
At issue is whether the FAA had vetted the Boeing 737 MAX sufficiently prior to approval. Leaders in the House and Senate, the Department of Transportation’s inspector general, and a federal grand jury in D.C. will be conducting investigations.
The article noted several possible contributing factors to a vigilant safety process. The FAA has limited resources, including insufficient numbers of staff to oversee the work. FAA has outsourced its oversight process to the airlines and manufacturers, a move endorsed by Congress. There is concern over the close relationships that the FAA has with the businesses that it regulates. The other issue is that the FAA does not currently have an administrator appointed by the president.
There are defenders of the agency, who speculated that the training of foreign pilots could have contributed to the air disaster. However, the FAA, Boeing and manufacturers could be held responsible in a plane accident lawsuit, if negligence is found.
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