FAA let Boeing 737 Max continue to fly even as review found serious crash risk
The FAA analysis, dated 3 December 2018, was released on Wednesday during a House committee hearing into US’s top aviation oversight of the aircraft’s certification. The review predicted 15 fatal crashes were possible if no changes were made to flight-control software, which has been implicated in both crashes, over the course of the plane’s lifetime.
According to the Wall Street Journal, FAA officials had major concerns about the Max’s MCAS stall prevention software, which investigators have blamed for the Lion Air crash. But they decided to certify the plane anyway in anticipation of Boeing fixing the software and, in the meantime, telling aircrew worldwide how to respond to MCAS issues.
The 737 Max is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating nearly 4,700 orders from more than 100 customers worldwide. Boeing had hoped to get the plane back in the air this year after a major overhaul, but the FAA has said the recertification process will stretch into 2020.