The U.S. House Transportation Committee Friday (March 6, 2020) released a preliminary investigative report based on the hearings it has held on the design, development and certification of the Boeing 737 Max8 crash in Ethiopia that occurred on March 10 last year. Also, it is being reported that Ethiopian crash investigators also released a separate draft interim report Friday that concluded the March 10 crash was caused by the plane’s faulty design.
In a separate move, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fined Boeing nearly $20 million for installing unverified and unapproved equipment on several types of aircraft including on some of the 737 Max8s. The equipment reportedly dealt with cockpit displays to the pilots that are not compatible with sensors on the aircraft. Boeing has 30 days to pay the $19.68 million fine or negotiate a reduction.
As families and friends make their way to Ethiopia now for the one-year memorial of their loved ones, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Majority Staff released a preliminary report that outlined “technical design failures on the aircraft and Boeing’s lack of transparency with aviation regulators and its customers as well as Boeing’s efforts to obfuscate information about the operation of the aircraft.” A copy of the preliminary findings, which can be found here, stated that the 737 Max8 is marred with technical problems and lack of transparency issues on the part of Boeing.
“As our family travels to Ethiopia to honor our daughter Samya Rose Stumo, we are heartened that Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio [D-OR] and his team have released this important preliminary report. The FAA has been captured for many years, enabling Boeing’s cost-cutting culture that used shoddy software to cover up aircraft design defects,” said Michael Stumo, father of Samya Rose Stumo who died in the second crash.
Five months prior to that crash, in October 2018, another Boeing 737 Max8 crashed in the Java Sea after take-off from Indonesia, killing all aboard. A total of 346 perished in the two crashes. “The families want legislation that ends ODA [Organization Designation Authorization] – the program that allows Boeing to self-certify the safety of its aircraft. ODA killed my daughter. The FAA needs to be released from capture by the industry and do its job,” Michael Stumo said.
The congressional report concludes, among other things, that “The fact that multiple technical design missteps or certification blunders were deemed ‘compliant’ by the FAA points to a critical need for legislative and regulatory reforms.” The 13-page report goes into several areas of Boeing’s deficiencies including its “culture of concealment” from the FAA. A copy of the complete report can be found here.
DeFazio commented on the report in a press release issued Friday and said that the work is ongoing and that “our search for answers continues” on behalf of the families “and for everyone who boards an airplane. The public deserves peace of mind that safety is always the top priority for everyone who has a role in our aviation system.”
Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago and Lead Counsel of the consolidated litigation in federal district court in Chicago, said that that same type of obfuscation has been occurring regarding obtaining necessary documents from Boeing. Lawyers will be appearing later this month before U.S. Magistrate M. David Weisman regarding the ongoing discovery process involving dozens of families who have sued Boeing. Clifford said he is hoping that Congress also will look into the release of all pertinent documents by Boeing in an efficient and timely manner so that the litigation may proceed smoothly.
For further information, please contact Clifford Law Offices Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 (cell).