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Did 737 Max hearing help restore FAA’s credibility?

A Boeing 737 MAX. (AP)

The House Subcommittee on Aviation met early Wednesday to ask the FAA some questions about the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes that killed scores of people, so what exactly did we learn, and what comes next?

The chair of the subcommittee is Democratic Congressman Rick Larsen from Everett, and he joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss what came of the hearings, and what to expect in the future.

“We learned a couple of things: First thing is that something did go wrong in the certification process, and some information wasn’t shared,” he said. “Another more reassuring comment was the fact that they’re going to use this technical advisory board third party review to help inform their decision to un-ground airplanes in the future.”

A total of 189 people died in a Lion Air crash out of Indonesia on Oct. 29, 2018, when the plane nose-dived into the ocean. A total of 157 people died in a similar crash in Ethiopia. Like the Indonesian crash, the pilot of the plane in Ethiopia sent a distress call shortly after takeoff.

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Of issue in particular is the credibility of the FAA, and whether these hearings helped to assuage some of the concern, since the United States was one of the last countries to ground the flights.

“I don’t think they’re back to 100 percent. The use of this outside third party review on un-grounding the airplanes in the future, and their establishment of a blue ribbon commission, using authorities that we put into the FAA law last year to look at the broader certification of airplanes is an important step as well,” Congressman Larsen said.

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“Next week they’re bringing together the heads of civil aviation authorities — their FAA equivalents if you will from other countries — they’re bringing them into the U.S. to walk through and talk through the steps they’ve taken to date. These are all steps that are important steps to regain that credibility,” he added

Are the safety issues unique to just the 737 Max, or all Boeing planes?

Also of concern is whether such certifications issues and related problems were unique to the 737s, or if they’re a sign of potential issues with other planes, putting into question general flight safety issues at Boeing.

“It sure looks like this is an issue that was directly related to the 737 Max. Remember, what’s driving this is a design change in the airplane that moves the engines forward on the wing,” he said.

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“It does not exist in the other models of Boeing airplanes. It is unique to the 737 Max, so therefore every expert I’ve talked to and every pilot I’ve talked to says this is a Max problem, it’s not a Boeing writ large problem.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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