In the wake of the second Boeing 737 Max8 crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people from 35 countries, family and friends of 52 of the victims sent a letter Tuesday (Aug. 6, 2019) to the heads of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the US Department of Transportation asking for a full regulatory review of the aircraft before it is ungrounded. The families were joined by 109 relatives and friends of another 30 victims of past crashes of US aircraft. More family members are signing on every day.
The entire fleet was grounded after the March 10 crash, which was the second crash in four months of the new aircraft. In October, 189 people were killed when a 737 Max8 crashed in the Java Sea.
In a worldwide effort led by Michael Stumo and Nadia Milleron, parents of Samya Stumo who was killed in the crash in Ethiopia, the letter pointed out that the 737 has undergone major changes since it was introduced into service more than half a century ago as a small regional jet. The 737 MAX8 should be considered a new airplane after many changes that transformed it into a much bigger, more unstable intercontinental jet. The FAA only reviewed parts of the MAX, not the whole plane, before it was approved to fly. This partial certification allowed the Max to fly sooner than a new plane certification. The letter, sent to FAA acting administrator Daniel Elwell, incoming FAA administrator Stephen Dickson and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, asked for the full recertification of the 737 Max as a new aircraft.
“We do not want any more families to experience the pain, anguish, sadness and loss that we have experienced,” the letter read. “We therefore respectfully request that you determine that a full recertification and mandatory simulator training is necessary before the 737 Max 8 is allowed to fly again.” The letter also asked the FAA to require simulator training for pilots on the 737 Max instead of iPad training that has been suggested by Boeing, makers of the aircraft.
Stumo and Chris Moore of Toronto, Canada who lost his 24-year-old daughter Danielle in the Ethiopian crash also called for the resignation of Ali Bahrami, head of safety at the FAA.
Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices and an internationally recognized aviation attorney who represents dozens of families in the Ethiopian crash, said, “I applaud the families of the Ethiopian crash, being joined by others who have suffered the loss of a loved one in an air crash, to undertake this bold move on behalf of the public. Although their loved ones are gone, they are finding the strength to proactively make the government and the flying public aware of the problems with the 737 Max airplane and to ensure that it doesn’t compromise the safety of anyone in the future.”
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