Industry must ensure new aircraft meet regulations, says FAA's acting chief

Ethiopian-Air-Flight-302-Feature

Also on Wednesday, Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell will testify that Boeing submitted an application on January 21 spelling out changes it planned to make to crucial flight-control software on the 737 Max - the same system that is suspected of playing a role in the October 29 crash of a Lion Air jet in Indonesia and the March 10 plunge of an Ethiopian Airlines Max.

Southwest said the plane's pilots reported a "performance issue" with an engine shortly after taking off for the California airport, where it was flying to be in short-term storage.

The aviation giant, which has been under fire and has seen its flagship narrow-body planes grounded since 13 March, tested the system upgrade on Monday, two days after pilots from American and Southwest Airlines did simulation flights in Renton, Washington, the sources said.

"The crew followed protocol and safely landed back at the airport" around 3pm (3am Malaysian time today), spokesman Chris Mainz said.

But following the worldwide grounding of Boeing's 737 Max 8 fleet earlier this month, the facility has started to welcome a few new guests that are far too young to be stored in such a wasteland.

Airline regulators around the world grounded the model two weeks ago amid concerns the anti-stall system was behind two recent deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. However, the system may have brought the plane down as pilots struggled to override it.

The statement came a day after Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Tewolde Gebremariam said he expected the preliminary report "maybe" to be released this week or next.

The announcement comes ahead of Chao's scheduled appearance before the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies subcommittee budget hearing on Wednesday morning.

Boeing is working on a software update to its planes to address, among other things, errors with the "angle of attack" sensor - a key part of its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that tracks lift at takeoff to prevent stalling. Southwest Airlines Flight 8701 took off as normal at around 3pm, but just minutes into the flight, the pilots reported a problem.

The second crash involved Ethiopian Airlines and their CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, was among those anxious for answers.

Well, we're glad the pilots were able to land this plane safely and there were no passengers on board.

"In all cases pilots continue to have the ability to manually override MCAS and manually control the aircraft", he said.

He "also requested that the Inspector general provide us with status reports on any corrective actions undertaken by the FAA since the first accident and whether pilot training is adequate before the Max returns to revenue service".

After analyzing the Ethiopian Airlines flight's recovered black box, the Ethiopian Transport Ministry said the crash had "clear similarities" with the Lion Air flight.

Goldberg said it was "inexcusable for Boeing to omit this information from the pilot manuals for training".

The airline and FAA are reportedly investigating the incident.

Southwest Airlines has been cancelling an average of 130 of its 4000 daily flights for now.

The Federal Aviation Administration delegates much of the work of airplane certification to manufacturers such as Boeing under a decades-old process.

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