DOT Probing FAA Approval of Boeing 737 MAX Planes

Credit: Newsy Studio
Published on March 18, 2019 - Duration: 01:41s

DOT Probing FAA Approval of Boeing 737 MAX Planes

The investigation comes after two deadly crashes involving Boeing's 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

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DOT Probing FAA Approval of Boeing 737 MAX Planes

The Department of Transportation is investigating the FAA's approval of Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft after two deadly crashes involving the planes.

That's according to a report from the  Wall Street Journal .   Federal prosecutors and DOT officials are also looking into Boeing's development of the planes.

It isn't clear if the two investigations are related.   Last October, a  Lion Air plane  crashed into the Java Sea just minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board.   And on March 10, an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed en route to Nairobi, Kenya,  killing all 157 people  on board.

In both instances, the planes that crashed were new Boeing 737 MAX 8s.   An investigation into the Lion Air crash revealed that pilots battled with the plane's automatic stall-prevention system to try to keep the plane in the air.

That system pulls the plane's nose down automatically if data says the nose's angle is too high, which can cause the plane to stall.    Preliminary data  from the Ethiopian Airlines plane's black boxes shows "similarities" to the Lion Air plane crash.

Authorities are investigating whether the automatic stall-prevention system had anything to do with the crash.   The Transportation Department inspector general's office investigation will focus on whether the FAA used appropriate design standards when approving the automated system.  The FAA said in a statement on Sunday that its "aircraft certification processes are well established and have consistently produced safe aircraft."   Boeing 737 MAX 8s have been grounded indefinitely.    

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