As family members return with remains from Ethiopia following the crash of the 737 Max8 jet on March 10, 2019, some call for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to terminate Boeing’s Organization Designation Authorization (ODA). Under federal law, the ODA program is the means by which the FAA grants designee authority to organizations or companies related to issuing certificates, or related to the examination, testing and inspection necessary to issue a certificate on behalf of the FAA administrator.
In a letter to Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Steve Dickson, some family members who lost loved ones in the Boeing 737 Max8 crash in Ethiopia on March 10 demand the FAA revoke ODA from Boeing before considering whether to unground the plane.
The families’ concerns were heightened by a recent story that broke last week about a former Boeing pilot who knew, more than two years ago, that the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software was “running rampant” in simulator tests even as Boeing convinced the FAA that the system should not be included in flight manuals. The MCAS reportedly was a substantial factor that caused two deadly crashes involving the Max8.
“The FAA should revoke Boeing’s ODA because it cannot be trusted to self-certify its product,” said Michael Stumo, father of Samya Stumo who was killed in the March 10 crash. “Engineers, the Joint Authorities Technical Review and The Wall Street Journal have reported that Boeing places undue pressure on engineers certifying safety. This inherent conflict of interest of profit versus safety killed 346 passengers and cannot be reconciled. Boeing failed to correct the MCAS problem after it hijacked the Lion Air plane last October.”
Stumo has been among the family members who have been vocal about the certification of the Max8 and insisting that regulatory agencies around the world as well as the U.S. Justice Department carefully scrutinize all aspects of the Boeing 737 Max8 before determining whether to unground it. “We want to be certain that there will be no third crash so no one else suffers the terrible loss that all of us have,” Stumo said.
The 737 Max8 remains grounded worldwide while regulators attempt to figure out the issues that caused two crashes shortly after takeoff, killing everyone on board.
Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, who was named lead counsel in the Boeing crash in Ethiopia said, “These families continue to suffer with each new story that comes out about the deception that apparently took place in getting the Max8 into the air. Our lawsuits will help to uncover just how far up the chain of command at Boeing the negligence went.”
Separately, deputy FAA chief Dan Elwell reportedly told a U.S. House committee hearing the agency currently was not seeking additional funding for safety efforts, but that could change depending on various reviews. The JATR review report of Oct. 11 stated that the FAA engineers were too few and too unqualified, causing the FAA to delegate more certification functions to Boeing due to lack of qualified personnel.
More than a dozen family members from various countries are expected to attend the Oct. 29-30 hearings on Capitol Hill before U.S. Senate and House committees when Boeing’s top officials have been called to testify regarding the 737 Max8 airplane in the wake of the two crashes in the last year that took 346 lives. Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg, who was recently was stripped of his job as board chairman, is expected to testify.