A US government report has found that airplane giant Boeing failed to submit certification documents to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) detailing changes to a key flight control system of the globally grounded 737 MAX aircraft.
The flight control system, known as MCAS, was “not an area of emphasis” because Boeing presented it to the FAA as a modification of the aircraft’s existing speed trim system, with limited range and use, quoted a Reuters report.
“Boeing did not submit certification documents to FAA detailing the change.
“FAA flight test personnel were aware of this change, but key FAA certification engineers and personnel responsible for approving the level of airline pilot training told us they were unaware of the revision to MCAS,” the report said.
The government report was conducted by the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (IG).
In response to the report, the Transportation Department said that the FAA’s certification of the 737 MAX was hampered by a lack of effective communication between the agency and Boeing.
More than 800 aircraft have been grounded worldwide since mid-March 2019 after investigators found flawed flight control software on the 737 MAX partially responsible for the crashes of two jets in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.
Boeing’s MCAS stall-prevention system has been faulted in both crashes.
On Monday, Boeing began a test flight to determine whether the revamped 737 MAX is safe.
The flight took off from an airfield near Seattle and flew through eastern Washington state before dipping down into Oregon and eventually returning to the Seattle area.
The FAA has approved the certification test flights after Boeing submitted safety fixes for review.