CEO will tell Congress that Boeing made mistakes on Max jet

On the anniversary of the first of two deadly crashes involving 737 Max jets, Boeing’s CEO will tell Congress that the aircraft company knows it made mistakes and is throwing everything into fixing the plane.

“We have learned and are still learning from these accidents,” Dennis Muilenburg said in comments prepared for delivery Tuesday to a Senate committee. “We know we made mistakes and got some things wrong. We own that, and we are fixing them.”

A key lawmaker said Monday that Boeing should have got things right the first time, before the Max began carrying passengers.

Muilenburg is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the Senate Commerce Committee, then again on Wednesday before the House Transportation Committee. Boeing released his prepared statement Monday.

His appearances in Washington come as Boeing faces investigations by both committees and a criminal probe by the Justice Department. It is also being sued by families of some of the 346 people who died in the crashes of a Max off the coast of Indonesia on Oct. 29, 2018, and another in Ethiopia on March 10.

In their final report on the first crash, Indonesia investigators said last week that Boeing’s design of a key flight-control system made the plane vulnerable if a single sensor failed — disregarding the aviation industry’s long reliance on redundant systems to prevent disaster. They also faulted Lion Air, which operated the plane, and U.S. regulators who approved it for flight.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said he will ask Muilenburg why Boeing didn’t tell the Federal Aviation Administration about changes during development of the Max that made the flight-control system called MCAS more powerful. DeFazio suggested that Boeing concealed the true power of MCAS to discourage regulators from examining the system more closely.

On both fatal flights, faulty sensors caused MCAS to push the planes’ noses down, and pilots were unable to save the aircraft. Boeing is now making the nose-down pitch less frequent and powerful, and it is adding redundancy by tying it to two sensors and two computers instead of one each at a time.

“They seem to have done what they should have done to begin with, which is they made the system less radical,” DeFazio told reporters. “There are numerous regulators looking at this, it isn’t just going to be the FAA. This will be the most thoroughly scrutinized fix in the history of the aviation industry.”

Congress is expected to consider changes to the way FAA certifies new planes and its practice of deputizing employees of Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers to perform safety tests on key components.

Some relatives of passengers who died in the crashes want Boeing banned from conducting safety reviews — they want FAA inspectors to do all that work. Such a change would require a big increase in FAA’s budget. According to DeFazio, there are about 45 FAA inspectors overseeing 1,200 Boeing employees who conduct much of the actual testing.

Several relatives of Max victims want Muilenburg to pay a personal price for the accidents and Boeing’s response.

“We don’t think Muilenburg should be CEO anymore,” said Michael Stumo, whose daughter Samya was on the Ethiopian Airlines Max. “He presided through this, minimizing it, trying to convince everyone it was pilot error, everything was fine, it’s a safe plane. Everything so far has been dissembling, denial, pointing the finger somewhere else.”

Muilenburg, who is expected to meet with some of the family members Wednesday, was stripped of his title as chairman of the Boeing board earlier this month. The most senior executive dismissed so far was the head of Boeing’s commercial airplanes division, Kevin McAllister.

Just Posted

Thousands fill City Hall Park for Red Deer Lights the Night

With the flip of a switch, downtown Red Deer was filled with… Continue reading

Central Alberta skiers, snowboarders thrilled for start of season

Central Alberta skiers and snowboarders are finally able to hit the slopes,… Continue reading

CN conductors’ union gives 72-hour strike notice as talks continue

TORONTO — Canadian National Railways conductors, trainpersons and yardpersons have given strike… Continue reading

Auto insurance to climb for central Alberta motorists

It’s going to be tough on many businesses, says local courier company owner

Canada’s Salvation Army testing out quicker tap-and-go option at kettle stations

TORONTO — Canada’s Salvation Army is testing out a new and faster… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Pain 101 class — learn to take control of your chronic… Continue reading

Man, 66 struck and killed by vehicle in Regina intersection

REGINA — Police in Regina say a 66-year-old man is dead after… Continue reading

Homicide unit investigating after body found in burned SUV in Abbotsford, B.C.

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Homicide detectives have been handed the case after police… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

Abortions rights advocates urge Liberals to turn politics into policy

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned for re-election on a promise… Continue reading

Impeachment testimony comes from White House budget official

WASHINGTON — House impeachment investigators met in private Saturday with a White… Continue reading

Football brings some peace to Sioux family after suicide

VERMILLION, S.D. — Teenagers Jashawn and Jayton Pease embraced in the end… Continue reading

St. Mark’s Square reopens in Venice, but water remains high

VENICE, Italy — Tourists and residents were allowed back into St. Mark’s… Continue reading

Most Read