Aviation insiders told Boeing new aircraft has safety flaws

A Singapore Airlines airplane at Jet Quay CIP Terminal

The House transportation and infrastructure committee questioned acting Federal Aviation Administration chief Dan Elwell and National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt about the planes, which have been barred from flight for two months.

Boeing and the FAA are facing multiple investigations focusing not only on the crashes, but also on the process by which the 737 MAX was originally certified for flight.

"As our work continues, I offer this assurance: In the USA, the 737 Max will return to service only when the FAA's analysis of the facts and technical data indicate that it is safe to do so", Elwell told the House aviation subcommittee.

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 sits outside the hangar during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington December 8, 2015.

"I, as a pilot, when I first heard about this, I thought there should have been more text in the manual about MCAS, I agree", he said.

"The meeting will provide a forum for airlines to exchange information about the experiences and challenges that they face as a result of the grounding and in their preparation for the reintroduction of the aircraft into operations, " IATA said.

A combined 346 people died in the crashes. Only after those things are established will the FAA allow the 737 MAX to fly again.

"I'm pleased to have such a qualified nominee before us", said the committee's top Democrat, Maria Cantwell of Washington, who also praised Dickson for his service in the Air Force.

DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, said he was disappointed that a single sensor's failure had led to the crashes.

Under the FAA's delegation system, companies such as Boeing can appoint people to work as the FAA's "authorized representatives" with the ability to issue certifications.

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The hearing comes as the FAA oversees Boeing's upgrade to MCAS as the actions of both the FAA and Boeing are being investigated by government authorities, including the US Department of Justice.

However, he conceded pilots could have been better informed about the automated flight-control system implicated in both crashes.

"We flat out deserve to know what is on our airplanes", one pilot says on the recording.

"Every ODA member is vetted by the FAA before that member is approved", Elwell said.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, the chairman of the full transportation committee, said a key question revolves around how some pilots apparently didn't know how to respond to the MCAS technology, which causes aircraft to change pitch on their own to avoid a stall.

Representative Sam Graves, Republican of Missouri, said the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes illustrated problems with pilot training and with the capacity of overseas regulators.

Cruz, whose state hosts the headquarters of Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, has been particularly tough on the FAA regarding its handling of the safety certification of the 737 Max.

At a separate hearing Wednesday, senators pressed the nominee to become FAA administrator, Stephen Dickson, on whether the agency needs to change procedures that led to certification of the 737 Max.

Committee leaders said they still expect to call Boeing to testify at a future hearing but expressed some frustration they have not yet received any documents from Boeing as they probe what went wrong with the 737 MAX.

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