Watchdog: Engineers Urged Grounding 737 Max Faster

Inspector general's report says FAA bosses wanted more data
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2023 1:40 PM CDT
Watchdog: Engineers Urged Grounding 737 Max Faster
A Boeing 737 Max jet, piloted by Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson, prepares to land at Boeing Field following a test flight in Seattle in September 2020.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

The Federal Aviation Administration rejected the recommendation of engineers to immediately ground Boeing's 737 Max after two fatal crashes, preferring to wait for more data, a new inspector general's report says. It was March 13, 2019, three days after the second crash, before the airliner was grounded, CNN reports. Agency engineers in Seattle thought they saw similarities in the crashes and told FAA officials at headquarters that 737 Max flights should be halted during the investigation. "Instead, they waited for more detailed data to arrive," the report by the Transportation Department's inspector general said. It was released Friday.

One engineer's initial estimate was that the chance of another crash involving a 737 Max exceeded FAA risk guidelines by 13 times, per the AP. The analysis "suggested that there was a 25% chance of an accident in 60 days" if no changes were made to the planes, an FAA official said. But the report said, "this document was not completed and did not go through managerial review due to lack of detailed flight data"; it did acknowledge there was data that suggested the crashes were not related. Other nations were quicker to ground the planes. The report made recommendations for improving risk assessments, among other issues, per Reuters, which the FAA said it endorsed. (More Federal Aviation Administration stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.