About a dozen family members who lost loved ones in the crash of a Boeing 737 Max8 jet in Ethiopia are expected to attend a hearing Wednesday (Dec. 11, 2019) on Capitol Hill when Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Stephen Dickson is expected to testify.
The House Infrastructure and Transportation Committee has called the hearing at 10 a.m. to hear for the first time from the newly-appointed head of the agency that decides when the faulty jets will be ungrounded following two fatal crashes in the past year.
A vocal family member already has sent a letter to Dickson asking him to address the issues concerning the Max8 jet on a more comprehensive level, not just focusing on the MCAS software that has been the subject of much discussion regarding the March 10 crash of the new plane in Ethiopia as well as the previous crash of the same type of aircraft just five months earlier out of Indonesia.
“The courage of these families is unsurpassed,” said Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices who was appointed Lead Counsel in the litigation regarding the crash in Ethiopia. “In an effort to make the plane safer for everyone else, these families, who are still horribly grieving, have taken it upon themselves to promote safety measures of this aircraft in an attempt to prevent a third crash so that others around the world will not suffer the same loss.”
Nadia Milleron, mother of Samya Stumo who died in the crash, sent a letter to Dickson Friday (Dec. 6) stating that “We are concerned because there’s no evidence the FAA is doing any review of the grounded 737 Max planes beyond MCAS evaluation.” MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristic Augmentation System) is the software system that handles the plane’s angle of attack, a critical element particularly at takeoff. Both planes crashed minutes after takeoff. “What comprehensive review are you doing of the grounded planes before they are allowed to fly?” Milleron asked Dickson in her letter.
Milleron goes on to say, “If the plane can not be fully recertified, please ensure that essential systems and components have been reviewed by independent experts to confirm flyer’s safety and to restore the confidence in American aviation safety. There are no more second chances.” The Max8 reportedly was the 14th iteration of the 737 in 50 years, a move Boeing officials said they decided upon instead of asking the FAA for the certification of an entirely new aircraft, as the families have been pointing out to Congress that funds the FAA.
Chris Moore of Toronto, father of Danielle Moore, who also died in the crash, wrote a separate letter Friday to U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Chair of the Committee, with questions and concerns for committee members to ask of Dickson. Among the questions Moore poses are: “FAA pushes innovation in the industry. But if you can’t manage safety regarding MCAS [or even understand it] why should you be an advocate of this?” and “Why didn’t FAA have enough depth to determine that the MCAS may have catastrophic effects?” and “Why did you defer to Boeing and not listen to your engineers?” and “Why didn’t you ground the B737 Max after the first Crash? You had the information that it was unsafe [catastrophic].” Moore and his wife Clariss intend to be at Wednesday’s hearing.
FlyersRights.org, a non-profit organization that supports legislation protecting the rights of airline passengers, researched a white paper that explains “how the 737 MAX was unwisely certified and what needs to be done.” The paper includes several recommendations regarding the Max8 and states, “Neither the FAA nor Boeing has shown interest in addressing the 11 recommendations of this white paper to correct the problems. They have shown no interest in remedying the more than a dozen flaws in the system found by multiple international aviation safety agencies… A third crash, if it happens, will cause more deaths, more family heartache, destroy Boeing and end the credibility of US aviation safety system.”
The families will be available to comment to the press Wednesday at the Rayburn House Office Building 2167 following the hearing, “the Boeing 737 MAX: Examining the Federal Aviation Administration’s Oversight of the Aircraft’s Certification.”
For further information, please contact Clifford Law Offices’ Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 (cell).