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Boeing executives defend 737 MAX development safety decision

Washington/ChicagoAccording to the testimony of congressional investigators seen by Reuters, two Boeing executives overseeing the development of the 737 MAX defended the company’s decision on a critical cockpit system that was later linked to two fatal crashes.

Michael Teal, the chief product engineer of the 737 MAX, and Keith Leverkuhn, the vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX program, were questioned by investigators from the US Housing Transportation and Infrastructure Commission in May.

Leverkuhn told the investigators of the House of Representatives investigation team: “I think the development of the aircraft will not fail.” Leverkuhn will release the final report on the aircraft development research next week, which has been published since the two crashes. Grounded in March 2019. Killed 346 people.

Leverkuhn defended the decision to associate MCAS, the new safety system on the MAX, with a single sensor that was involved in both fatal accidents. Since then, Boeing has agreed to use data from two independent sensors when the aircraft resumes service, possibly as early as this year.

Leverkuhn said: “Based on our understanding and assumptions about flight crew actions, this is not a mistake.”

Leverkuhn added in subsequent testimony: “It is clear that the error is our assumption of human-computer interaction. Because the process relies on industry standards for pilots to respond to specific failures. What became clear after the accident was , The assumption is wrong.”

Congressional investigators also questioned the testimony that Boeing has never conducted an internal financial analysis to determine the impact of the Federal Aviation Administration’s need for more expensive simulator training.

Teal said that if the 737 MAX design requires simulator training, then Boeing will create it, while acknowledging that customers may be disappointed.

He said: “Airlines will be satisfied with this, of course they will not.” He pointed out that Boeing has always stated that there is no need for simulator training.

Last year, Boeing confirmed that if training is required, Boeing has agreed to pay Southwest Airlines $1 million for each MAX return.

In January, Boeing changed its routes and said it would recommend to provide simulator training for all pilots before the MAX returns to service.

Teal, now the chief project engineer of the 777X, said the aircraft manufacturer revised some of the pilot’s assumptions after the 737 MAX crash. He said: “This is what we are learning now on the new plane.”

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the transcript. He said that Leverkuhn retired earlier this year because he had planned it. He quoted a Boeing spokesperson.

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