Boeing, FAA at center of congressional hearing

Washington DC Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The heads of the Department of Transportation and the FAA both testified before Congress on Wednesday.

Senators want to know exactly why two Boeing airplanes crashed and what’s being done to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Investigators believe the crashes were caused by faulty sensors and overly complicated software.

Lawmakers want to know why the FAA allowed Boeing to certify its own airplanes as safe to fly.

“I am of course concerned about any allegations about coziness with any company,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said. She has ordered the FAA’s inspector general to audit the entire safety certification process for the Max 8 jets. 

Boeing says it was working on a fix for the planes before the second crash, and the company offered an optional safety feature, for extra money, which might have saved the planes. Neither doomed jet was equipped with the feature. 

California Senator Dianne Feinstein says she plans to introduce legislation mandating safety features be automatically included.

“Key safety equipment should be included in the basic sale price of a plane,” she said.

In a second Senate hearing, acting FAA administrator Daniel Elwell defended FAA procedures, including how the Max 8 jet was certified. 

“Our certification processes are extensive, well established, and have consistently produced safe aircraft design for decades…” Elwell said.

FAA Inspector General Calvin Scovel has promised a full investigation. He says the FAA will revamp its safety procedures for new aircraft development by July.

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