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The claims were brought to the Senate Commerce Committee’s attention by multiple whistleblowers. The FAA could have been notified of the deficiencies as early as August 2018, according to a letter from Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss., to acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell requesting any information or internal reports regarding the allegations.
“In light of recent 737 crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, the committee is investigating any potential connection between inadequate training and certification of Aviation Safety Inspectors who may have participated in the [Flight Standardization Board] evaluation of the 737 MAX,” Wicker wrote.
A Max jet operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed last month, less than five months after a Lion’s Air crash involving the same plane.
Boeing is working on a software update to address, among other things, the so-called “angle of attack” sensor, which tracks lift on takeoff to prevent stalling and is thought to have led to both the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.
The software is expected to be submitted to the FAA in the “coming weeks,” a delay from Boeing’s initial timeline to ensure the company has “identified and appropriately addressed all pertinent issues,” the agency said in a statement on Tuesday.