(CMR) A former senior manager at Boeing's 737 Washington factory said the company's 737 Max might have been cleared to fly too soon.
The Boeing 737 Max aircraft has been grounded for almost two years after two new 737 MAX airplanes crashed, killing 346 people within five months. However, several North American and European countries have cleared the aircraft to fly again.
In a January 20 report, Ed Pierson said many important questions remained unanswered. He said,
“At the top of the list, is whether the 737 MAX, 737 NG and P-8 Poseidon have defective AOA Sensors or electrical system problems that could lead to another preventable tragedy?”
Pierson's report said this should be thoroughly investigated as the Federal Aviation Administration's recertification fixes failed to address these issues adequately.
Investigators believed both accidents were caused by a single sensor's failure, which sent inaccurate data to flight control software, forcing the aircraft downwards instead of gaining height.
Efforts to make the aircraft safe have focused on redesigning the software; however, Pierson wants more to be done.
He said production defects that were possibly linked to flight control systems and complex electrical wiring should be addressed.
“How can we trust the airplane is “100% safe” when basic questions arising out of the accident investigation reports remain unanswered?” Pierson asked.
Regulators in the US and Europe said their reviews of the aircraft were thorough and that the 737 MAx aircraft is now safe to fly.
However, Pierson said they had ignored factors that may have contributed to the crashes.
Pierson also had strong concerns about the Boeing factory which he believes have also not been addressed. In 2018, he told lawmakers, the factory was chaotic and dysfunctional.
He said after the 737 Max was grounded, Boeing continued to produce the aircraft in large numbers throughout 2019; however, several production defects have since surfaced.
“Since June 2019, several alarming production quality defects have come to light including defective slat tracks, deficient aircraft wiring shielding around the engines, and widespread foreign object debris (FOD) in fuel tanks—a crystal clear sign of an unhealthy and dangerous production environment,” Pierson said in his report.
The report also stated that “the triggering event for the crashes was a defective AOA Sensor part, and quite possibly, a malfunctioning electrical system stemming from a dangerously unstable production environment.”
“We can either investigate these production problems and fix them, or we can wait for another disaster,” Pierson said.