WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, estimated that the Boeing 737 MAX might crash fifteen times over the next few decades if Boeing did not repair the problems with the automated flight-control system. The automated flight-control system is suspected to be the cause of two fatal crashes of Boeing’s 737 MAX. The FAA knew about the problem after the first crash. However, as Spectrum News NY 1reported, the FAA did not order the planes grounded until the second crash. The second Boeing 737 MAX plane crashed about five months after the first air disaster.
A chairman of the House Transportation Committee, which is the legislative body investigating the circumstances of the Boeing 737 MAX crashes, said that the FAA gambled with the safety of air travelers by refusing to ground the Boeing 737 MAX until the second crash. The FAA’s hedged its bets on whether Boeing could repair its MCAS software malfunction while allowing airlines to fly the new planes. The MCAS is a system that Boeing installs in its planes that pushes the nose of the plane down when a sensor detects particular readings.
The administrator of the FAA did not consider the FAA’s decision an error. Instead, the administrator lamented a bad result. Instead of grounding the planes, the FAA and Boeing distributed notices to pilots instructing them on the proper procedure to override the downward pitch of the plane. The agency said its decision was made based upon its current policy.
The FAA determined the possible loss of life in future crashes if Boeing did not correct the software. In 45 years, according to the FAA, as many as 2,900 people might die in fifteen doomed 737 MAX airliners if Boeing did not fix MCAS. The FAA based its estimation on the assumption that 4,800 737 MAX planes would be in the air in 45 years. Only 400 were airborne when the FAA grounded them. A manager at Boeing said that the company prioritized the speed of production rather than safety and quality.
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