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International Panel Criticizes FAA Approval Procedure for Boeing 737 MAX Jets

A panel of international aviation safety regulators concludes a report criticizing the initial US regulatory clearance procedure


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of the 737 MAX jets, respondents shared the conclusions and called for a comprehensive reassessment of how complex automated systems should be certified for future commercial aircraft [19659004] Within about a dozen statements, these government and branch officials said the task force was ready to inform the Federal Aviation Administration of the lack of clarity and transparency of FAA authority to assess the safety of certain flight control features. Some of these people believe that significant design changes have not received sufficient attention from the FAA.

The report, according to these officials, also alleges that the agency has exchanged data with overseas authorities in the initial certification of MAX two years ago as inadequate, based on mistaken industry-wide assumptions about how averaging the data Pilots are would respond to certain air traffic control emergencies. FAA officials said they are developing new guidelines for the pilots' response after two deadly crashes.

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The document is expected to be published in the next few weeks. It is the first official external review of MAX certification as the fleet was discontinued worldwide after the crash in March. The planes crashed after repeated dropouts of an automatic flight control system called MCAS, which pushed down the nose of both aircraft, even though their pilots were trying to pull the aircraft out of their steep dives.

The FAA's "Joint Authorities Technical Review" panel, chaired by Christopher Hart, former chairman of the US National Transportation Safety Board, will chair Christopher Hart. Attendees were asked to review the procedures for approving MAX flight control systems and to provide general recommendations for resolving system failures. Members include aviation safety regulators from Canada, China, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, the European Union, Brazil and the United States practices, and in some cases the re-evaluation and updating of decades of safety rules and technical standards. Boeing and regulators are working to rebuild public trust in the aircraft and to remove the foundations that have disrupted the industry and disrupted global flight schedules.

"We welcome the review of these experts," said a FAA spokesman on Sunday regarding the JATR and a number of other external reviews of the MAX certification. The agency will "carefully review all results and recommendations," he added.

A Boeing spokesman said the company was looking forward to the finished report and was "determined to further improve safety in collaboration with the global aerospace industry," adding that the aircraft manufacturer continues to work with regulators to put the aircraft back into service.

Details of near finished report have not yet been reported. Final amendments may, according to some officials, modify some of the conclusions, but the general approach and recommendations for a comprehensive reassessment are unlikely to change.

Initially, the panel was compiled by the FAA as part of a strategy to promote international consensus. However, as Boeing worked to develop software fixes for MCAS and related systems, and inconsistencies between the FAA and some of its foreign counterparts arose in public, the report was transformed. According to industry officials, it now appears to be more of a mitigation that is partly aimed at outlining changes in certification standards and procedures in the longer term.

The JATR document will not analyze the accidents or suggested corrections for MCAS or changes to MAX flight control computers. The FAA has stressed that the advisory group has no veto power over changes to MCAS.

However, the report may influence changes to traditional design principles that determine the safety of new aircraft models. Certification of software controllers for increasingly networked and automated on-board systems "is a completely new game requiring new approaches," said a senior security expert in the industry, who discussed the report with regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

Government Approval of Such Systems This not only requires verifying the reliability of basic software, but also ensuring that average pilots can promptly and appropriately respond to emergencies due to mechanical or computer malfunctions.

According to one of the officials, the panel is expected to request more data ̵

1; participation and transparency between different governments, especially in certifying the safety of aircraft such as the MAX, whose basic designs are derived from previous models.

Two crashes and the worldwide landing of the Boeing 737 MAX airliner caused widespread disruption in the international aerospace industry. Robert Wall of WSJ explains the continuing impact of grounding the aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

In addition, the draft report recommends reviewing and updating the FAA guidelines and daily certification procedures to ensure early and significant FAA involvement in new on-board systems, particularly with regard to pilot response times in human-computer emergencies -Interactions.

Some of the draft recommendations have already been included in Boeing's pending corrections to the grounded MAX fleet, the official told FAA that choreographing an almost simultaneous return of MAX jets in many parts of the world is freaking out.

Technical differences have led to major political and diplomatic struggles. The FAA has been trying for months to ensure that MAX jets are re-deployed around North America, Europe, and other regions around the same time as they are re-released for passenger transportation. Instead, several foreign authorities are establishing their own test protocols and timetables.

European regulators have recently told their FAA counterparts that they are unlikely to be ready to lay the groundwork until the beginning of November, which remains the FAA's informal goal.

The UAE announced over the weekend that it wanted to stick to its own, longer schedule. China and India, two fast-growing aviation markets, are also likely to last longer than the US.

The Canadian regulators, in turn, signal the FAA that they are likely to need simulator training for pilots before the MAX fleet registers in the country, according to one of the people who were briefed on the issue. This will take more time than the process the FAA is expected to carry out for US carriers. A spokeswoman for Transport Canada had no comment.

The gap between the FAA and its foreign counterparts underscores the erosion of the size of the US agency. The FAA has been setting standards for aviation safety for decades. It has led the voluntary reporting of vulnerabilities, the analysis of such data, and approaches to tailoring pilot training to accidents and incidents in practice Patrick Ky, Head of the European Aviation Safety Agency, told the European Parliament earlier this month: "It is very likely that international authorities would like a second opinion on a FAA decision to repeal the directive." Ground.

Even after EASA's go-ahead, agency officials are expected to push for significant additional safety improvements to the fleet. Most notably, EASA has suggested adding a third fully functional pitch sensor to the MAX – which effectively measures how far the nose of the aircraft is pointing up or down – underscoring the controversy that is likely to swirl around the aircraft in the foreseeable future ,

Write to Andy Pasztor at [email protected] and Andrew Tangel at [email protected]

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