The New York Times published an intriguing article yesterday that spoke about Boeing and the aerospace industry lobbying with Congress to pass a law that undercut the FAA’s capability to review Boeing’s work.  Apparently the bill, passed last year, restricts even more the ability for the FAA to fully analyze aircraft systems.  The 737 MAX was certified under older rules, and the agency still never fully analyzed MCAS, which Boeing made more aggressive late in the development process, with the changes apparently never submitted to the agency.

Thanks to Congress and the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, the FAA can no longer decide whether to delegate oversight to the manufacturer or maintain control of a system itself.  If the FAA decides a system may compromise safety, the new ruled dictate that they will need to conduct and investigation or inspection to make their case for retaking control, including a review with a committee of mostly aerospace executives to ensure the FAA is meeting metrics set by the industry.

The act was passed in congress even after warnings from the Federal Aviation Administration that the law “would not be in the best interests of safety.”  

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