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U.S. House investigation find fault with both FAA and Boeing for 737 MAX crashes

Boeing 737 MAX storage ©AirTeamImages

An investigative report produced by the U.S. House Transportation Committee into the fatal Lion Air and crashes involving the has found fault both with the way the Federal Aviation Administration () approved the plane's design, and design failures on the Boeing side.

The preliminary investigation classed the FAA's certification of the aircraft “grossly insufficient” and that the agency had failed in its duty to identify critical safety problems. The 13-page report made it clear that: “The combination of these problems doomed the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights,” while also stating that: Boeing's 737 MAX design “was marred by technical design failures, lack of transparency with both regulators and customers, and efforts to obfuscate information about the operation of the aircraft.”

The FAA said in a statement it welcomed the report's observations and that lessons learned from the two fatal crashes “will be a springboard to an even greater level of safety. While the FAA's certification processes are well-established and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs, we are a learning agency and welcome the scrutiny.”

The report also showed that both the FAA and Boeing missed “multiple red flags and clear data points” in recommending that the 737 MAX should continue to fly after the Lion Air crash. The U.S. House panel also faulted Boeing for what it described as a “culture of concealment” in its failure to disclose information to airline about the 737 MAX's MCAS stall-prevention system which has been linked to both crashes, and that a key angle-of-attack cockpit alert was “inoperable on the majority of the 737 MAX fleet.”

Separately, according to Reuters news agency, last Friday the FAA proposed fining Boeing US$19.7 million for allegedly installing equipment on hundreds of 737 aircraft containing sensors in heads-up displays that regulators had not approved for use.

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