The Department of Transportation Inspector General (IG) office has launched another audit of the FAA’s certification process of the Boeing 737 Max. This latest investigation will examine the agency’s oversight of the aircraft’s maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) and the angle-of-attack disagree indicator. This is the fourth investigation since 2019 into the FAA’s initial certification of the aircraft in 2017.
MCAS was cited by safety investigators as a contributing factor in two fatal Boeing 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019. In addition, in August 2017 Boeing conceded that not all 737 Max aircraft were equipped with an AOA disagree alert despite intending for it to be standard for the fleet. The FAA recertified the Boeing 737 Max 8 in late 2020 after the aircraft was grounded for nearly two years.
“During the original certification process from 2012 to 2017, Boeing included limited information on MCAS in its initial briefings to the FAA and presented it as a modification to the existing speed trim system that would only activate under certain limited conditions,” the IG said. ‘Our objectives will be to evaluate FAA’s compliance with applicable statutes, regulations, and policies in overseeing Boeing actions for (1) the inoperability of the AOA disagree alert on the majority of the Max fleet in 2019 and (2) the inclusion of MCAS as part of the speed trim in the 737 Max design.”