Boeing said it will pay to train airline pilots on its 737 MAX aircraft.
The Calgary-based airline says it won’t follow the lead of Indonesia’s flag carrier, which cancelled its multibillion-dollar order for 49 Max 8 jets, citing a loss of confidence after two deadly crashes in the past six months.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Indonesia’s national airline is canceling a $4.9 billion order for Boeing 737 Max aircraft, after two deadly crashes involving the planes in five months; and Boeing is promising changes as investigations into the company ramp up.
Sources tell CBS News the Justice Department’s fraud unit subpoenaed documents, records, and data concerning the approval process for the 737 Max aircraft.
“If there is any kind of documentation that indicates that they knew there was a problem, and either didn’t resolve to the satisfaction of the FAA or didn’t reveal that, that could put them in jeopardy in terms of a possible criminal violation,” said former FBI executive David Gomez.
PT Garuda Indoesia had ordered 50 Max 8 jets in 2014, and received the first plane from the order last year, but is requesting to cancel the order, citing a loss of confidence.
“Passengers always ask what type of plane they will fly as they have lost trust and confidence in the Max 8 jet,” Garuda spokesman Ikhsan Rosan told The Associated Press, “This would harm our business.”
Garuda is the first airline to announce a cancellation of 737 Max planes since the new model jets were grounded over fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
Garuda joined other airlines worldwide in grounding its one Max 8 jet after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight this month which killed all 157 people aboard. It came less than five months after 189 people died in the Oct. 29 crash of another Max 8, operated by Indonesian private carrier Lion Air.
Rosan said that Garuda plans to meet with Boeing representatives next week in Jakarta to discuss details of cancelling the order.
“We don’t want to use Max jets … but maybe will consider switching it with another Boeing model of plane,” Rosan said. He said Indonesian passengers are afraid to take flights using any Max model, whether it’s the 8, 9 or 10 series.
The Ethiopian Airlines crash earlier this month and the Lion Air disaster off Indonesia in October killed 346 people combined. Both planes crashed minutes after takeoff.
Preliminary flight data indicates the jets struggled to gain altitude, and published reports reveal a safety assessment Boeing gave the FAA appeared to downplay the operation of the planes’ anti-stall systems. In the Lion Air flight, it’s believed the anti-stall system repeatedly pushed the plane’s nose down before the crash.
Boeing said it will add a warning system that alerts pilots to a sensor failure on the 737 Max. It had been offered as an $80,000 option, but it appears neither plane that crashed was equipped with the warning system.
“Most likely it was a connection between technology that may be new, and training that might not have been ready yet either, and crew procedures and airline procedures that also might have been a mistake” said aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia.
Ethiopian Airlines is defending its pilots after the New York Times reported they weren’t properly trained on the 737 Max aircraft. The airline said its pilots went through all the training required by Boeing and the FAA to fly the Max 8.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
CHICAGO (CBS) — Lawsuits are piling up for Boeing, and now the Justice Department is issuing subpoenas in the wake of two deadly plane crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft.
The FAA has grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 planes in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10, and the Lion Air crash near Indonesia last October. A total of 346 people died in the crashes.
The FBI is assisting in a criminal investigation into how Boeing’s 737 Max was certified to fly. The Justice Department is focusing on Chicago-based Boeing’s certification and marketing for its 737 Max aircraft.
Sources briefed on the investigation said the criminal probe began after the crash of a Lion Air flight off the coast of Indonesia last October.
“The measures taken by Boeing after the first accident were not enough to avoid a second accident,” said French aviation safety expert Jean-Paul Troadec.
A separate investigation is looking into whether Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan violated ethics rules by boosting products from Boeing, his former employer. He has denied the claim.
Meantime, the attorney behind another wrongful death lawsuit against Boeing promised it would be just the first of many. The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court on Wednesday, centering around the Lion Air crash.
Steven Marks has represented both foreign and domestic victims in virtually every major plane crash over the past 33 years, and he said these Boeing crashes are different.
“Telling pilots they can fly what amounts to a terribly different aerodynamic plane, and not even advising them of the new equipment to me is the most outrageous things I’ve seen in aviation over the past 35 years,” he said.
CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave reported this week that U.S. airline pilots were initially given just 56 minutes of training — on an iPad — about the differences between the new Boeing Max planes and the older 737s.
The Max 8 is outfitted with bigger, more fuel-efficient engines than earlier 737s, and the weight and positioning of those engines shifted the plane’s center of gravity forward, increased the potential for the nose to pitch up after takeoff. To counteract this risk, Boeing developed software known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS.
In the Lion Air crash, a sensor malfunction triggered the new MCAS anti-stalling system, pushing the nose of the plane down nearly two dozen times before the aircraft plunged into the Java Sea. It happened on the same plane the day before the crash. A third pilot riding in the jump seat identified the problem, and told the crew how to stabilize the plane. That crew did not report it.
Several pilots have said they were not trained on the new MCAS anti-stalling system in the 737 Max planes.
“It must have been just horrifying in the cockpit for these professionals. You know, it’s been stated, ‘It should have been a memory item.’ Well, clearly it wasn’t,” former National Transportation Safety Board managing director Paul Goelz said.
Marks said he’s already in touch with families of the victims in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, and said several more lawsuits against Boeing are likely in the coming months.
European and Canadian regulators are doing their own reviews of the changes Boeing is making to a key flight-control system.
The captain of a doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight did not practice on a new simulator for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 before he died in a crash with 157 others, a pilot colleague said.
A U.S. Senate panel plans a hearing on March 27 on aviation safety after two fatal Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft crashes since October.
The pilots of a doomed Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX scoured a handbook as they struggled to understand why the jet was lurching downwards, but ran out of time before it hit the water, three people with knowledge of the cockpit voice recorder contents said.
The shakeup showed how Boeing was freeing up engineering resources as it faces scrutiny during crash investigations.
Air Canada plans to keep its Boeing 737 MAX planes on the ground until at least July 1, the company said Tuesday.
CHICAGO (CBS) — After two catastrophic crashes involving the 737 Max 8 that left almost 400 dead, there are serious new questions about how it was approved to fly.
Congress plans to investigate the approval process of Boeing’s 737 Max 8. That information comes on the heels of a Seattle Times report that the FAA may have sidestepped its oversight duties, allowing Boeing to essentially certify the aircraft itself.
“The flight data shows that they were very similar characteristics, that the plane went nose down at a not too far different altitude,” said Kevin Durkin, the aviation expert for Clifford Law Offices. “I believe it’s going to turn out that they were identical because of a single sensor, which caused the plane to nose dive.
He believes that potential flaw in the 737 Max 8’s design is part of an investigation. American Airlines Captain Dennis Tajer said lack of training to handle it should also be investigated.
“That aircraft was certified without simulator training,” Tajer said.
Now the spotlight is on how it was certified in the first place.
A Seattle Times report states that the FAA may have handed off some or all of the approval process to Boeing itself.
“It’s a deep concern,” Tajer said.
“The FAA should oversee everything,” Durkin said. “They are the ultimate authority in the United States to say these aircraft are safe or not safe, and they should not leave it to the manufacturer to make that decision alone.”
An FAA representative told CBS 2, “The 737 Max certification program followed the FAA’s standard certification process. We have no reports from whistleblowers [or] any other sources pertaining to FAA technical personnel being pressured to speed up certification of the Boeing 737 Max.”
“As the facts from the accident become available and we understand the necessary next steps, we’re taking action to fully reassure airlines and their passengers of the safety of the 737 Max,” said Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg.
“Our pilots are now getting a chance to reset and see all the facts, and I can assure you that aircraft’s not going to fly again until the pilot’s say, ‘I’m confident in it. I’m trained, and I’m knowledgeable,” Tajer said.
Durkin said it has become more common over the past 20 years for the FAA to hand over some of its oversight to manufacturers because the FAA is strapped for resources.