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Boeing, and FAA oversight

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Boeing, and FAA oversight

Old 15th Jan 2020, 01:48
  #141 (permalink)  
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can you publicly state who the 777X Chief Pilot is?
Please don't, we don't want names posted in this context. Thanks.
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Old 15th Jan 2020, 07:53
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Originally Posted by LowNSlow View Post
This Bloomberg article and videos don't inspire me to get on a 737 Max when/if they ever get back into service.

In fact I think I'll wait until they have been in service for a few 10's of thousands of hours before any of my family set foot on one.
Hi low n slow
one of the great things about this forum is that we get the full spectrum of opinion.i would have flown on a 737 Max as a passenger , even unmodified post ET , with no changes to the plane, provided that the training as per the FAA AD had taken place. Ie that a 2 hour sim ride would cover loss of airspeed and MCAS induced runaway stab. So that there would be no doubt about the vexed issue of “ can the pilot manage such a scenario”. If he can show us he can, then I would have been happy. Meantime I would expect Boeing to fix the daft design asap.
Modified, even better. No qualms at all.
Ill be booking a flight on the first one back in service if it’s in Europe. My guess is it will be Ireland or UK.
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Old 15th Jan 2020, 08:01
  #143 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by fgrieu View Post
The text in the actual transcript of the chat circa Feb 2, 2018 (never believe the press blindly, try to cross-check) is:

I read this particular statement as an assertion that the MAX would be unsafe due to lousy simulator training. It's also important to understand that this was a chat between colleagues (though Boeing likely made them aware that their conversation was recorded).
Dear Fgrieu

Like many of these alleged “revelations”: from emails, this is , as we see , complete gobbledegook. Makes no sense at all.
Even those that do make sense “we will fight the FAA over not using sims to train for the Max” is perfectly reasonable if you believe it to be true and can show why. I have in the past had to “fight” = argue strenuously with the CAA on issues. That Boeing has dropped the ball corporately is not in question by the way in my view. But it doesn’t mean that the Max once recertified wont go on for another 30:years or more.
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Old 15th Jan 2020, 08:13
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Originally Posted by alf5071h View Post
The history of aviation safety has been built on learning from events involving technical failure - structure, engine, aerodynamics, etc. Human misjudgements reflected the knowledge existing at that time; we learnt, adding knowledge, improving experience - safer.
In this instance (737 Max) the technical knowledge was available; the issue is not of human misjudgement, but of human failure - violation of the principles embedded in the process of design, certification, and regulatory oversight.

The industry’s surprise was that these events did not involve technical failure (although initially thought most likely), but of the ‘failure’ of the humans in the process. Initial reactions, typical of self-denial, sought to blame those nearest to the accident, pilots, maintenance, which only masked the fundamental factors.

One viewpoint is that the violation was deliberate, people knowingly set out to deceive; if so the law will judge.
Alternatively the violation was influenced by ‘environmental’ factors; commercial pressure, faster, better, cheaper, government objectives; normal pressures in the world environment requiring management: - self-management, awareness of personal behaviour and influence on others.

Thus the immensity of the surprise; human failure, not technical.
With technical failure trust can be restored because it is possible to demonstrate that technical aspects have been improved.
However, in this instance the human aspects have to be demonstrated to be ‘improved’, world wide trust re-established, recognition of the falsehood of self generated illusion of being the best - manufacturing or safety oversight, and that the culture which resulted in violation is itself wrong.

Such realisation will take time - how long, has this ever been encountered before? These events will change aviation, a change which requires management, but within a world which is changing even more quickly, and where the greatest ‘environmental’ pressure is time itself.
Aviation has to slow down, balance the pace of certification and regulation with safety. It is not possible to be faster, better, cheaper, all of the time; some aspects have to give way, it must not be safety or the processes which aim to achieve that.

But who judges these, and in a situation where previous measures of being ‘the best’ are broken. First rebuild and calibrate the measuring device - ourselves - an issue without solution, but one which might be contained.
Many thanks for that lucid expose of where the industry finds itself. I’ve said many times here that fixing MCAS or anything else will not resolve the issues of human performance esp. pilots, but including design n certification.
We are at a crossroads as serious as climate change with similar lag times/inertia issues.
We are about to train 500,000 pilots over next 25/years. To what standard one wonders?
30 years ago a BA cartoonist drew a sketch of two pilots with no control column and a hammer. .behind them was a glass case with a control column. On the glass it said “ break glass and remove in an emergency and fit to hole in floor” ! He had it spot on.
Cheers
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Old 15th Jan 2020, 15:35
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retired guy, thanks
Your analogy of control being behind the glass is very apt for automation - our fear of ‘being out of control’ of a technical entity.
However, because the issues arising from the 737 Max accidents are overwhelmingly human, we need to have a key behind the glass for unlocking human thought - thinking for appropriate behaviours. Unfortunately thinking does not involve just one ‘key’; in fact so many it is impossible to describe all aspects, nor provide a conclusive solution.

In this instance we have to consider the issue differently, to seek consensus opposed to a solution, a range of possible interventions - small changes so as not to upset the delicate balance of safety due to unforeseen effects, and to manage the resultant uncertainty - when is an aircraft, pilot, organisation, situation, safe enough.

The regulatory side of the divide shows promise with the introduction of the world-wide group. The current situation requires a consensus to allow the Max to return to service. Future regulation could be based on a group of like minded people - their regulations (FAR/CS 25) reaching agreement for certification, similar to current processes but not necessarily requiring a leader for best practice - FAA would be a participant in a world process.

The Boeing side is more difficult to judge. Fix Max and put it behind them, then consider what next. Boeing’s philosophy for human-machine differs from Airbus, but neither should be judged better or not. The important aspect is how each philosophy is applied; Boeing piecemeal across several types, some retrospectively; Airbus, prospectively, consistently across all types. What should Boeing do?
Being aware of the hazards of large changes, a clean-sheet aircraft will take time. Developing existing aircraft also requires a marketplace, which depends on trust, confidence, etc.

Boeing’s difficulty is not necessarily good for the industry; excellence thrives on competition. Airbus recognises this - risk of letting standards slip, complacency, not having to think too much about the immediate future.

Recent news suggest that Boeing will take a short term view of discounting the market for Max. This might challenge world competitive agreements, but that could be easier to manage than a new product line with the FAA. Time to heal the FAA, customer, supplier, relationships, which could be further eased with a world view of regulation; not Boeing vs the FAA, but Boeing with the regulatory authorities and other manufacturers.
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 00:49
  #146 (permalink)  
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[QUOTE=retired guy;10663322]
30 years ago a BA cartoonist drew a sketch of two pilots with no control column and a hammer. .behind them was a glass case with a control column. On the glass it said “ break glass and remove in an emergency and fit to hole in floor” ! He had it spot on.
R Gu[/yQUOTE]

When the humans get out of sorts with the system behaviour bad stuff happens. Human response is variable but is reasonably predictably variable. For Human, read may be random. That adds some piquancy to system design. 24,000 RPT jets and TPs fly every day, operating around 100,000 cycles a day. things go bad about every week or so, and catastropic about once a month in that part of the aviation community. My PC gives a blue screen fo death around 1 in 10 times I run some programs, my Macbook is weird straight out of the box... and needs the care of the Chinese technician who is allowed x minutes a day for a toilet break to return to it's level of Macness. My android fone locks up about once a week, my iphone has a mind of it's own. "...to really screw up takes a computer..."

As often as we have human frailty exhibited in the system, we have vastly more occasions where the human is the reason that anomalies were detected, and cascading failures were averted. The balance is heavily in favour of humans being desirable in a critical close coupled system, IMHO.

Systems that constrain human response often have issues:

In Chernobyl, the operators undertaking the fateful test were uneasy with the process, but did not know about the inherent risk of the control rod design of their reactor. When they scrammed the system, the hidden flaw resulted in a change that was essentially immediate and irrreversible. Had the management been supportive of feedback from the operators, perhaps history would have had to wait another few years for such a debacle, and maybe, just maybe, the existing research study would have come to light and been recognised as the red flag that it was later.

In Fukushima, the design (not Japanese, USA, GE) had issues, but the failure of imagination in the designs location gave little chance for human intervention. The response was not effective but the operators were hampered by the lack of information, and processes that stifled aggressive responses.

For Challenger, Boisjoly and McDonald were disregarded by the system...

For Columbia, management denied the increasingly more anxious requests by engineers to task imaging.

For the MAX, I doubt that there was no concern at the coal face on the decisions being made.




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Old 16th Jan 2020, 13:44
  #147 (permalink)  
 
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The Fix

Talking of cartoons, there used to be a famous one of a designer looking out of his window at a smoking wreck and sighing “Oh well - back to the drawing board!”

I guess he worked for a British company. American companies have no culture of redesigning from the ground up - they stick with what they have. The thing is, to find the “Fix”. Once you have found the fix you can move on.

If you ever looked at the convoluted system of rods, cams and threaded adjusters on a DC-8 or 9 cockpit sliding window, you can almost follow the brain waves of the designer as he he searches for the fix for the fix for...

If, as a few have suggested way back before this long delay, MCAS had been replaced by a revised trim feel mechanism, the manual trim wheel by a backup power driven system, and if more redundancy were built into the AoA system, I am guessing we would all have a better feeling about the Max. But no - we have to find the fix for what we have. A redesign would take too long.

Now maybe the British designer in the cartoon didn’t do so well as his company eventually failed. On the other hand...
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 14:14
  #148 (permalink)  
 
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I totally agree with much of your post, however I do have some misgivings with respect to the “regulatory world wide group”. My not inconsiderable experience in time within the engineering aspects of the aerospace industry does not give me confidence in many of the worlds aviation regulatory authorities. Some of them authorities dating back to the beginnings of aviation.
EASA has not in my opinion shown a great improvement in standards but rather the “dumbing down” to the lower. For example back in the 1990s the UK CAA were very reluctant to just accept the B737-500 series insisting on a host of additional requirements for the grant of Uk certification and were against further “grandfathering” by Boeing for the 737 series. This was not the story in many of the EU nations. This predated full EASA authority.. I have much personal experience of rejecting US originated STCs fully approved by the FAA but woefully short of meeting UK requirements.
History tends to confirm my opinion.
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 14:53
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[QUOTE=fdr;10664054]
Originally Posted by retired guy View Post

In Fukushima, the design (not Japanese, USA, GE) had issues, but the failure of imagination in the designs location gave little chance for human intervention. The response was not effective but the operators were hampered by the lack of information, and processes that stifled aggressive responses.
This is GROSSLY off topic but i think you would be amused to find out that GE design was much more solid than it may looks like. Each Fukushima reactor building was build with a panel designed to fall down in case of earthquake. Aaaaaand Japanese welded them shut after they did exactly that after few minor earthquakes. So, when big one happened hydrogen gas accumulated and exploded.

Why they did that? Local population was unhappy when they saw holes in reactor buildings.
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 15:15
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[QUOTE=PashaF;10664435]
Originally Posted by fdr View Post

This is GROSSLY off topic but i think you would be amused to find out that GE design was much more solid than it may looks like. Each Fukushima reactor building was build with a panel designed to fall down in case of earthquake. Aaaaaand Japanese welded them shut after they did exactly that after few minor earthquakes. So, when big one happened hydrogen gas accumulated and exploded.

Why they did that? Local population was unhappy when they saw holes in reactor buildings.
Definitely off-topic, but . . . That's incorrect. You seem to be referring to the building blowout panels, which are supposed to "blow out," of course, to relieve pressure inside the building. In the emergency, hydrogen built up inside the reactor buildings, but with insufficient pressure to release the panels. Here's a good explanation by the Japan CNIC (yes, they're an anti-nuke organization, but they know what they're talking about): https://cnic.jp/english/?p=4255
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 16:56
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Robert P, #150, re world-wide certification group.
The likelihood of world-wide regulation depends on the outcome of the existing group’s findings on the 737 Max.

National certification requirements either have the same basis or are sufficiently similar to form a consensus. Differences are more likely in interpretation; this could be influenced by experience and language (culture) - a risk even across the Atlantic - a significant problem in some areas, particularly in local operational application.
Inexperienced or new regulators should gain from exchanges within a group (more than currently done), but also the historical leaders of certification from alternative national special conditions, which invite explanation and discussion - benefiting both regulators and manufacturers.

Agree - the FAA STC process is weak and open to misuse - similarly DER; these would benefit revision using a world view. Also ‘grandfather’ rights could be improved, but his might not be such a major issue as implied by some PPRuNe views of the 737.

One UK manufacturer required all STCs to be approved by their design and airworthiness, and flight test as necessary. Any vendor or operator bypassing this, or STC rejected by the OEM, was forced to hold all of the responsibility for change - that tended to sharpen up certification practices.

The future relationship between FAA and Boeing, or any other pairing, will change in the aftermath of the Max, but the debate will be if change will improve the industry or just enable new ‘failure’ paths.
Aircraft have certification requirements for design and build, but none for human operators (excepting interpretations for system interface in 25.1302, etc). Neither are there any requirements or control of management practice - only oversight of the outcome; the balance of safety and commerce needs to be better judged with respect to certification and aircraft operation.

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Old 16th Jan 2020, 20:35
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Panel Clears 737 MAX’s Safety-Approval Process at FAA

Boeing’s 737 MAX was certified as a derivative rather than an all-new plane

https://www.wsj.com/articles/panel-c...aa-11579188086
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 22:20
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RE wsj article re FAA today Thurs 18th

By
Andy Pasztor and
Doug Cameron
Updated Jan. 16, 2020 4:14 pm ET

A federal advisory panel evaluating the safety-approval process for Boeing Co.’s 737 MAX concluded regulators adhered to policies in certifying the plane and determined it wouldn’t have been safer if it had received the scrutiny of an all-new aircraft.
Lee Moak, co-chair of the independent committee set up last year, declined to identify mistakes made during certification of the now-grounded jets, instead describing current procedures as “appropriate and effective.”
Previous reports by outside experts have sharply criticized the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval process, and the agency itself has acknowledged various errors.

Mr. Moak, former head of the largest North American pilots union, told reporters his panel concluded an overhaul of the process isn’t warranted. The panel provided its initial report Thursday.
Citing “thorough work by aviation professionals” involved in clearing the MAX to enter service in 2017, Mr. Moak urged the FAA to push ahead with delegating additional certification authority to Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers.

The report also calls for enhancing FAA-sponsored safety-management techniques, along with increasing the size and experience of the FAA staff.

The thrust of the latest study, commissioned nine months ago by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, differs from earlier panels’ findings as well as bipartisan comments from senators and members of the House calling for reversing decades of increased delegation of such FAA oversight to industry.

With the MAX’s grounding likely to stretch into late spring, Boeing’s new management is scrambling to rebuild trust among airline customers and international regulators.

Thursday’s report and press conference largely endorsed the way the MAX was certified as safe to fly. That conclusion is at odds with recent findings by other advisory groups, testimony at congressional hearings and statements by Boeing itself, which has acknowledged shortcomings in the certification process.

The five-member panel didn’t lay out technical slip-ups or mistaken design assumptions on the part of the FAA or Boeing. The FAA, various investigative agencies and safety experts have all said such lapses, in both engineering and procedural issues, led to two fatal MAX crashes in less than five months that killed 346 people.

The panel concluded that the FAA properly followed its own regulations and processes in approving the plane, and exerted the appropriate degree of oversight regarding MCAS, the automated flight-control system that misfired and put both jets into fatal nosedives.

Reaction to the latest report by some victims’ families was immediate and negative. Michael Stumo, whose daughter was killed in one of the accidents, said the document is “divorced from reality” and “endorses the FAA as paper pushers without technical expertise and direct oversight.”

Through a spokesman, FAA Chief Steve Dickson —who has publicly blasted Boeing for pressuring his staff to accelerate approval of MAX software fixes and pilot training changes—said, “The agency will carefully consider the committee’s work, along with the recommendations identified in various investigative reports and other analyses.”

A Boeing spokesman said, “We will study these recommendations closely, as we continue to work with government and industry stakeholders to enhance the certification process.”

Mr. Moak said the panel, as part of its deliberations, didn’t consider a batch of recently released internal Boeing employee messages that ridiculed regulators, misled airlines and portrayed a cavalier attitude toward safety. Lawmakers have said the messages show Boeing employees sought to hide important safety issues and trick regulators world-wide.

The panel—also headed by retired Air Force Gen. Darren McDew —urged stepped-up analysis of human factors that could lead pilots in the cockpit to act differently than existing assumptions, in line with earlier recommendations by other groups.

The MAX’s certification was the 13th time the FAA has updated and extended its original approval for the 737 family of jets, originally approved in 1967.

How Boeing’s 737 MAX Troubles Ripple Through the Industry
Two crashes and the global grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX commercial airliner led to extensive disruption in the international aerospace industry. WSJ’s Robert Wall explains the continuing effects of the plane’s grounding. Photo: Getty Images
The panel said that during interviews with industry and government experts, there was a clear consensus that evaluating the MAX as an all-new aircraft wouldn’t have produced “more rigorous scrutiny” or “a safer airplane.” Lawmakers and other FAA critics have reached conclusions that are odds with both of those points.
In two of its potentially most significant recommendations, the panel urged earlier and greater involvement of FAA pilots and agency training experts in aircraft design considerations. And it urged the FAA to step up efforts to promote enhanced pilot qualifications as it locks in minimum training requirements for new jetliners.
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 22:45
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Originally Posted by Longtimer View Post

Panel Clears 737 MAX’s Safety-Approval Process at FAA

Boeing’s 737 MAX was certified as a derivative rather than an all-new plane

https://www.wsj.com/articles/panel-c...aa-11579188086
Hmmm.

The WSJ story will be locked behind the paywall for many here. So, here's the coverage from Market Screener:

Boeing : Panel Clears 737 MAX's Safety-Approval Process at FAA -- Update

01/16/2020 | 04:30pm ESTBy Andy Pasztor and Doug Cameron

A federal advisory panel evaluating the safety-approval process for Boeing Co.'s 737 MAX found regulators adhered to policies in certifying the plane, and concluded the plane wouldn't have been safer if it had received the scrutiny of an all-new aircraft.

Lee Moak, co-chair of the independent committee set up last year, declined to identify mistakes made during certification of the now-grounded jets, instead describing current procedures as "appropriate and effective."

Previous reports by outside experts have sharply criticized the Federal Aviation Administration's approval process, and the agency itself has acknowledged various errors.

Mr. Moak, former head of the largest North American pilots union, told reporters his panel concluded an overhaul of the process isn't warranted. The panel provided its initial report Thursday.

More
This is so much out of step with every other report and analysis, to date, that much of the world is almost certain to see it as an attempted whitewash.
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 22:59
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Att'y & SLF, looking in some disbelief at news article & planning to read report just released, interested to see responses, reactions etc. of the well-informed ....

Pending this reading, so are the Congress and FAA, and NTSB, and Boeing board, and the unions there and the pilots' unions, and all the otber stakeholders, particularly other regulatory agencies globally, supposed to conclude now that JATR and its report were [a] incorrect; [b] superfluous and/or unnecessary; [c] otherwise insignificant and immaterial?

Not intending to be posting in "over-reaction", but . . . . .
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 23:36
  #156 (permalink)  
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Here's more or less the same news story in Canada:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/gov...-faa-1.5429217
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 23:37
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Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3 View Post
Att'y & SLF, looking in some disbelief at news article & planning to read report just released, interested to see responses, reactions etc. of the well-informed ....

Pending this reading, so are the Congress and FAA, and NTSB, and Boeing board, and the unions there and the pilots' unions, and all the otber stakeholders, particularly other regulatory agencies globally, supposed to conclude now that JATR and its report were [a] incorrect; superfluous and/or unnecessary; [c] otherwise insignificant and immaterial?

Not intending to be posting in "over-reaction", but . . . . .


This part of report is interesting

An area of focus regarding the certification of the 737 MAX 8 is one of the functions of the flight control system—the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). MCAS is an extension of Boeing’s speed trim system, which has been used extensively and safely on the Boeing 737-800. Boeing added a new functionality to MCAS for the 737 MAX 8, reconfiguring a flight control system that had 200 million flight hours of operational safety.

It is important to note that the FAA retained design approval of the 737 MAX 8 flight control system, including MCAS, through the end of certification process. This means the task of certifying the flight control system was only delegated to the Boeing ODA after several years of design review and discussion. It is also noteworthy that MCAS was identified and tested in both Boeing’s and the FAA’s certification flight tests. The FAA’s regulations and protocols did not require testing of MCAS for combinations of mechanical and human failures. Boeing and FAA inspectors determined that a malfunctioning MCAS system would present itself as runaway stabilizer trim, an occurrence with specific non-normal checklist procedures and for which pilots are trained to address.
Its the ' we report- you decide ' bit
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Old 17th Jan 2020, 00:21
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Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3 View Post
Att'y & SLF, looking in some disbelief at news article & planning to read report just released, interested to see responses, reactions etc. of the well-informed ....

Pending this reading, so are the Congress and FAA, and NTSB, and Boeing board, and the unions there and the pilots' unions, and all the otber stakeholders, particularly other regulatory agencies globally, supposed to conclude now that JATR and its report were [a] incorrect; superfluous and/or unnecessary; [c] otherwise insignificant and immaterial?

Not intending to be posting in "over-reaction", but . . . . .


I suspect that, when the background on this committee, its selection and remit are known, it will turn out that it is largely driven by the political appointees currently occupying the top echelon at DOT, people who are ideologically committed to an absolute minimum of regulation. It's not easy to imagine another reason for a report on the MAX disaster to end up suggesting even further delegation to the manufacturer.
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Old 17th Jan 2020, 00:55
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And were this att'y situated with the representational team appearing in the federal district court in Washington D.C. on behalf of Plaintiff Flyers' Rights (which, for any skeptics, includes Sully among other worthies) in its suit against FAA for FOIA disclosure - oh boy, does the need for independent review by FR which undergirds its lawsuit gain persuasive force, or lose such force, based on the new advisory group report? Let me think, and think real hard.

And more, the basis for the suit need be only the legitimacy of the independent review sought by FR; showing necessity isn't really critical.

Not to drift much more but what this advisory group report will do to motivate and/or accelerate the FAA reform measures percolating their way around Congress, well. (I mean, when certain other Congressional, uh, activities are no longer the only game in town.)
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Old 17th Jan 2020, 01:45
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Originally Posted by OldnGrounded View Post
I suspect that, when the background on this committee, its selection and remit are known, it will turn out that it is largely driven by the political appointees currently occupying the top echelon at DOT, people who are ideologically committed to an absolute minimum of regulation.
The members of the committee and their backgrounds have been known since it's formation. https://www.flightglobal.com/systems...132387.article

Co-Chairs:
Lee Moak - former president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
Darren McDew - former commander of the Air Force’s transportation command

Members:
Amy Pritchett - Head of The Pennsylvania State University’s aerospace engineering department and former director of NASA’s aviation safety programme
Gretchen Haskins, chief executive of HeliOffshore, an association focused on safe offshore operation of helicopters
Kenneth Hylander - Amtrak’s chief safety officer
David Grizzle - Republic Airways board member & formerly was the FAA’s chief counsel.

So only Mr. Grizzle has former DOT ties, and none are political appointees.

If you prefer reading the original report to mass media summaries, it can be found here. https://www.transportation.gov/brief...ons-aircraft-0
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