Office of Special Counsel says FAA misled about B737 Max8 aviation safety pilots’ qualifications

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Investigator says FAA training inspectors weren’t qualified

Sends letter to President concluding FAA test pilots unqualified

FAA sends letter stating contradictory position

Letters, our insights included-what do you think?

“Federal investigators say some safety inspectors who helped set pilot-training standards for the Boeing 737 Max were unqualified and the Federal Aviation Administration seemed to mislead Congress about their competency.

The FAA disputed part of the investigators’ conclusions on Tuesday. The agency said all the inspectors who evaluated the Max were fully qualified for the work they did, and it stood by its statements to Congress.

The special counsel said that was not true, based on information from the whistleblower and other evidence. Special Counsel Henry Kerner said it is likely that some Max inspectors were neither qualified to certify other pilots to fly nor to recommend how pilots should be trained for procedures and maneuvers on the plane.

U.S. Aviation Regulator Denies It Misled Congress on 737 Max Inspectors

The FAA, which disputed the findings Monday night, issued a second statement Tuesday with a stronger denial. “The FAA stands behind its response to Senator Wicker’s questions about the qualifications of Flight Standardization Board members,” the agency said in the latest statement. The agency’s communications to the lawmaker were cited in the OSC report.

The issue had no bearing on decisions about pilot-training requirements on the 737 Max, the agency said. “All of the aviation safety inspectors who participated in the evaluation of the Boeing 737 Max were fully qualified for those activities,” the agency said.

A couple of thoughts on this complicated controversy in which both sides assert that the other contradicts itself and does not fully understand the facts.

Below are the two letters and attachments which were released. Read them and decide where truth lies in your mind. Here are a few points to consider:

The Handbooks which are cited by the OSC are not law. These documents supplement the relevant regulations. The words found in these pages are NOT THE BIBLE; as even the OSC notes, there are internal inconsistencies.

For years, there have been internal debates between Headquarters and Field Offices, among Field Offices and even within Field Offices—so it is not surprising that the OSC could find “credible” views that contradict the opinion of the Administrator.

The Aircraft Certification Organization (AIR) is in a period of MAJOR TRANSITION both in terms of the regulatory analyses (prescriptive to performance) and organization. As noted below these changes have placed significant stress on the individuals involved and that pressure may have influenced their views of management:

The New Part 23 May Lead To A New AIR Organization: Why & What?

FAA Organizational Evolution Is Required For A Proactive Agenda

FAA Updates—Transitions

Part 23 Is Here, It’s In Effect & Now— Will It Work?

The New Part 23 May Lead To A New AIR Organization: Why & What?

Those observations are based on being present when similar structural changes were announced and were not warmly received by the field. The above comments may be labeled as “bias”, but the perspective is based on one who has been involved with the FAA over two score. The criticisms articulated by the OSC are, by definition, independent—another way of describing lack of insight.

The full text of the Office of Special Counsel to the President

Full text of DOT General Counsel to the Office of Special Counsel







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