Boeing’s 737 Max Is Safe, Says Europe’s Aviation Regulator

He is “certain” that Boeing’s grounded 737 Max planes are now safe to fly, said the head of Europe’s aviation safety agency, EASA, in an interview to the BBC.

In the review of the Boeing plane and the analysis of design changes made by the manufacturer in the planes, his organisation had “left no stone unturned”, said Executive Director Patrick Ky.

All 737 Max planes of Boeing were grounded globally in March 2019 after two fatal crashes within a span of just 5 months involving the planes in which 346 people were killed.

Aviation regulators in eth United States and Brazil have already cleared by the planes and certified them to be ready for commercial flying. It is expected that permission for it to return to service in Europe will be given in mid-January, said EASA.

The first of the two accidents involving the 737 Max planes happened in October of 2008 in a crash of a Lion Air jet in the sea just off Indonesia. The second accident was that of a plane from the Ethiopian Airlines that crashed soon after take-off Addis Ababa in March of 2019, just within five months of the Indonesian accident. 

Investigations into both the accidents have revealed that the cause of the crashes was a flawed flight control software which got off at the wrong time and resulted in the aircraft to go into a uncontrolled and catastrophic dive.

A root-and-branch review of the 737 Max’s design was conducted by the EASA since the Ethiopian crash independent of a similar investigation conducted by the US aviation regulator the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The EASA investigation into the accidents went well beyond reviewing the immediate causes of the two accidents and the proposed modifications by Boeing, Ky said.

“We went further and reviewed all the flight controls, all the machinery of the aircraft”, he explains. Reviewing anything which could cause a critical failure was the aim of the prove, he said.

New computer software will now have to be installed in the 7373 Max planes in order for them to return to commercial service as well as implementing changes to the wiring and cockpit instrumentation.

Mandatory training will have to be provided to pilots to fly the planes and a test flight has to be conducted for each of the planes in order to ensure that the changes implemented have been useful. 

Similar conditions have been set by US regulators.

Hence Ky insists, “We are very confident that it is now a very safe aircraft.”

The FAA had carried out the most of the initial safety certification work on the 737 Max planes and those have simply been endorsed by the EASA under the terms of a long-standing international agreement.

However there are criticisms of the FAA for allowing a fit to fly certificate to an apparently faulty aircraft. Things will be done differently in the future, Ky says.

“What is certain is that there were lessons learned from this, which will trigger new actions from our side”, he explains.

(Adapted from BBC.com)

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