FAA frenzied, secretive rush to re-certify Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

Ethiopian Airlines and Lions Air crash, American Airlines shutting up whistleblowers, loose debris damaging the wiring at a Boeing 787 factory, economic loss claimed not to use simulator training for Boeing MAX 737 pilots – the pressing situation to get so many stranded Boeing 737 MAX planes back in the air are pushing for short cuts and possible short cuts in assuring safety for the flying public.

FlyersRights.org submitted this comment against the FAA’s proposal to not require simulator training for 737 MAX pilots. We also requested the FAA extend the comment period to allow independent experts more time to share their expertise with the FAA and Boeing.

Flyers Rights requests extended the time for the public comment period on Revision 17 of the Flight Standardization Board’s Report. On behalf of the traveling public, we request an additional seven days for safety experts, pilots, and others to submit their comments to the FAA.

The recertification of the Boening 737 MAX is of great interest to the general public and deserves a full investigation. After two crashes within six months of each other, both occurring within the first two years of the MAX’s commercial service,the public needs assurances that these airplanes are safe and that the FAA and Boeing are doing everything they can to prioritize safety for the 737 MAX and all other aircraft. To achieve that end, more time is needed for independent safety experts to come forward to share their expertise and concerns.

The recertification process of the 737 MAX will require regaining the confidence of safety experts, pilots, and flight attendants. Additionally, it requires regaining the confidence of passengers and the public. The process to date has been shrouded in secrecy, and we predict passengers will boycott the Boeing 737 MAX if the process is perceived to be rushed, secretive, conflicted, and incomplete.

On behalf of airline passengers, we are petitioning for more time to gather and encourage safety experts to submit their comments to the FAA. The comment period has only been open for 10 business days. In consideration for the FAA’s pending decision to choose the least rigorous change available, “Differences Level B”, an extended comment period will not create prejudice for the FAA or any stakeholder. While Boeing may want the 737 MAX recertified as quickly as possible, we see no reason for the FAA want to jeopardize safety, or appear to jeopardize safety, by recertifying the 737 MAX too quickly and endangering even more lives.

Further Flyers Rights strongly recommends that the FAA require simulator training on the MCAS feature for all pilots of the 737 MAX before a single aircraft returns to the air.

The Allied Pilots Association has stated that the FAA’s proposed fix does not go far enough because it does not include simulator training. The requirement for only more computer time will not only fail to restore the confidence of its pilots to fly on the plane. American Airlines has said it is exploring additional training option, but an individual airline should have not unilaterally put themselves at an economic disadvantage relative to other airlines in order to achieve a safety advantage that should be mandated across all airlines.

A recent whistleblower reported that he or she has observed loose debris damaging the wiring of AOA sensors in the 737 MAX. While Boeing denies this specific claim, the New York Times has reported on a separate whistleblower from the Boeing 787 South Caroline factory who has claimed that he has seen plane approved with debris in them and has been told by supervisors to ignore the violations. The U.S. Air Force stopped accepting deliveries of the Boeing KC 46 aircraft because debris was found inside. This is a pattern of misbehavior that must be fully investigated by the FAA and independent investigators before the FAA continues its push to quickly recertify the 737 MAX.

The FAA must slow down this frenzied, secretive rush to allow the 737 MAX back into the skies until it quires the whole picture from independent safety experts, pilots, and others.

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