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A House committee issued a scathing report Wednesday questioning whether Boeing and government regulators have recognized the problems that caused two deadly 737 Max jet crashes and whether either will be willing to make significant changes to fix them.

Staff members from the Democrat-controlled Transportation Committee blamed the crashes that killed 346 people on the “horrific culmination” of failed government oversight, design flaws and a lack of action at Boeing despite knowing about problems.

The committee identified many deficiencies in the Federal Aviation Administration approval process for new jetliners. But both the agency and Boeing have said certification of the Max complied with FAA regulations, the 246-page report said.

“The fact that a compliant airplane suffered from two deadly crashes in less than five months is clear evidence that the current regulatory system is fundamentally flawed and needs to be repaired,” the staff wrote in the report released early Wednesday.

The report highlights the need for legislation to fix the approval process and deal with the FAA’s delegation of some oversight tasks to aircraft manufacturer employees, said Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon.

“Obviously the system is inadequate,” DeFazio said. “We will be adopting significant reforms.”

He wouldn’t give details of possible changes, saying committee leaders are in talks with Republicans about legislation. He said the committee won’t scrap the delegation program, and he hopes to reach agreement on reforms before year’s end.

The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday could make changes to a bipartisan bill introduced in June giving the FAA more control over picking company employees who sign off on safety decisions. One improvement may be that a plane with significant changes from previous models would need more FAA review.

The House report stems from an 18-month investigation into the October 2018 crash of Lion Air flight 610 in Indonesia and the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in March of 2019. The Max was grounded worldwide shortly after the Ethiopia crash. Regulators are testing planes with revamped flight control software, and Boeing hopes to get the Max flying again late this year or early in 2021.

The investigators mainly focused on the reason Boeing was able to get the jet approved with minimal pilot training: It convinced the FAA that the Max was an updated version of previous generation 737s.

But in fact, Boeing equipped the plane with software called MCAS, an acronym for Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which automatically lowers the plane’s nose to prevent an aerodynamic stall. Initially, pilots worldwide weren’t told about the system, which Boeing said was needed because the Max had bigger, more powerful engines that were placed further forward on the wings than older 737s.

In both crashes, MCAS repeatedly pointed the nose down, forcing pilots into unsuccessful struggles to keep the planes aloft.

Committee investigators said they found several instances in which Boeing concealed information about MCAS from the FAA and airlines.

The Chicago-based company didn’t disclose that MCAS worked off a single sensor called “angle of attack,” which measures a plane’s pitch. It also didn’t disclose that a gauge that would have alerted pilots to a malfunctioning sensor didn’t work on the vast majority of the jets.

Boeing also concealed that it took a company test pilot more than 10 seconds to determine that MCAS was operating and respond to it, a condition that the pilot found to be “catastrophic,” according to the report. Federal guidelines assume pilots will respond to this condition within four seconds.

Four Boeing employees working as “authorized representatives” with permission to act on the FAA’s behalf to validate aircraft systems knew about the test pilot’s slow response. But there was no evidence that they reported this to the FAA, the report said.

Another authorized representative raised concerns in 2016 about hazards of MCAS repeatedly pointing the plane’s nose down, but the concerns never made it to the FAA.

Repeated MCAS activation and faulty sensors “were the core contributing factors that led to the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes more than two years later,” the report said.

According to the report, Boeing wanted to keep details about MCAS from the FAA so it wouldn’t require additional pilot training. That would ruin Boeing’s sales pitch for the Max, that pilots of older 737s wouldn’t have to go through extensive simulator training to fly the new planes.

Investigators found that Boeing had a financial incentive to avoid more pilot training. Under a 2011 contract with Southwest Airlines, Boeing would have had to knock $1 million off the price of each Max if simulator training was needed.

“That drove a whole lot of really bad decisions internally at Boeing, and also the FAA did not pick up on these things,” DeFazio said.

He added that Boeing had an internal meeting in 2013 and agreed never to talk about MCAS outside the company. At one point, MCAS was listed in pilot training manuals, but an authorized representative signed off on removing it, he said.

In a statement, Boeing said it has worked to strengthen its safety culture and has cooperated with the committee. The company has incorporated many recommendations from committees and experts who have examined Max issues.

Boeing said it has learned from mistakes.

“Change is always hard and requires a daily commitment, but we as a company are dedicated to doing the work,” the statement said.

The FAA said in a statement it looks forward to working with the committee to make improvements, and it’s already making changes based on internal and independent reviews. “These initiatives are focused on advancing overall aviation safety by improving our organization, processes, and culture,” the FAA said, adding that it is requiring a number of design changes to the Max before it can fly again.

When it came to FAA oversight, investigators said they found multiple examples of agency managers overruling technical and safety experts at the behest of Boeing. A draft internal FAA safety culture survey said that many in the FAA believe aviation safety leaders “are overly concerned with achieving the business oriented outcomes of industry stakeholders and are not held accountable for safety-related decisions,” the report stated.

In an interview with investigators, Keith Leverkuhn, former Boeing general manager for the Max who was promoted in the company, said he considered development of the Max a success despite the crashes.

“I do challenge the suggestion that the development was a failure,” the report quotes him as saying.

Investigators wrote that this raised doubts about Boeing’s ability to change.

“Only a genuine, holistic, and assertive commitment to changing the cultural issues unearthed in the committee’s investigation ... can enhance aviation safety and truly help both Boeing and the FAA learn from the dire lessons of the 737 Max tragedies,” the report said.

____

Airlines Writer David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.

News Source: Associated Press

Tags: pilot training the committee the committee report said

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Ex-UFC Champion Blasts LeBron James: He Would Get Tooled

Getty LeBron James walks on the court during a stop in play in a preseason game against the Golden State Warriors at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk took aim at Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, saying that the NBA titan would “get tooled” by a high-level MMA fighter. James’ name has been in headlines within the MMA community since last Saturday when top welterweight Colby Covington called him a “spineless coward.”

After defeating Tyron Woodley in the main event of UFC Fight Night 178, Covington made a political statement during his post-fight interview with commentator Jon Anik.

“Chaos” is a known supporter of President Donald Trump and he said, “Ladies and gentlemen, the silent majority is ready to make some noise. If you thought that was a beating, wait until November 3 when Donald Trump gets his hands on sleepy Joe [Biden]. That’s going to be a landslide.”

“I want to dedicate this fight to all the first responders, all the military out there,” Covington continued. “This world would not be safe without you guys, you keep us safe.”

He then turned his attention to James, as well as welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. “Not these athletes, man. I’m sick of these woke athletes and these spineless cowards like LeBron James. And speaking of spineless cowards, Marty Fake Newsman, Street Judas, we got unfinished business. There’s nowhere to run and there’s nowhere to hide. I’m coming for you, you’re next!”

Since throwing the verbal jab at James, some fans and fighters have speculated about how James would fair inside the Octagon and how a fight between him and Covington would go.

On Monday, Chaos tweeted, “LOL at the snowflakes that believe [LeBron James] could even last 10 seconds with me! If that coward had the balls or the ability to kick anyone’s ass, Delonte West would’ve lost his teeth long before his meth habit!”

Sherk Says That James Wouldn’t Last in a Fight With Any High-Level Fighter, Including Himself View this post on Instagram

Ufc fightnight, #status #ufc#best

A post shared by Sean Sherk (@themusclesharksherk) on Jun 24, 2014 at 2:36pm PDT

A few other fighters also chimed in on James competing in MMA, including Sherk. “The Muscle Shark,” who last fought in September 2010 when he defeated Evan Dunham by decision at UFC 119, posted his thoughts on James via Facebook.

Responding to an article from The Sun with the headline “Colby Covington says ‘coward’ LeBron James ‘wouldn’t last 10 seconds with me,'” Sherk wrote:

He wouldn’t, he’s big, clumsy, slow, lacks the cardio it takes to fight, has no boxing ability, no wrestling ability, no submission fighting skills. He has never been punched, kicked, kneed or elbowed and has no idea how to even react. LeBron James would get tooled by any high level mixed martial artist…….. including myself!!

The Muscle Shark has a professional MMA record of 36-4-1. He won the vacant UFC lightweight title in 2006 when he defeated Kenny Florian by unanimous decision at UFC 64. He went on to defend the belt once, beating Hermes Franca by decision in 2007 at UFC 73. However, The Muscle Shark was stripped of the belt after failing a post-fight drug test.

He attempted to regain the lightweight title at UFC 84 in 2008 but was finished by BJ Penn via third-round TKO.

Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

Darren Till Said Covington Would Defeat James in an NSFW Tweet View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @darrentill2 on Aug 25, 2020 at 11:09am PDT

After the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, a comment James made to the media that has been perceived by some as a shot at Covington. It is unconfirmed if the NBA star was commenting about Chaos or not.

“You put that pressure on yourself when you don’t really care about what other people think,” LeBron said via Heavy’s Austin Boyd. “Because what other people think doesn’t really matter because they don’t understand. Anybody can talk from outside. But if they got into the ring, if they got into the arena, probably 10 times out of 10, they s— their pants.”

One fighter who took the comment as James firing back at Covington was top UFC middleweight Darren Till. Till took to Twitter on Wednesday to respond to James’ comment.

The tweet contains NSFW language, reader discretion is advised.

Please tell me I have not just seen a video of lebron saying Colby would shit his pants in the ring with him?
Colby may be an arsehole, in fact a funny arsehole cos so many peoples love getting offended.
But Colby Covington would tear lebron James a new arsehole then rawdog him..

— Darren Dicaprio (@darrentill2) September 23, 2020

Till tweeted, “Please tell me I have not just seen a video of lebron saying Colby would s*** his pants in the ring with him? Colby may be an a***hole, in fact a funny a***hole cos so many peoples love getting offended. But Colby Covington would tear lebron James a new a***hole then rawdog him..”

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