Brilliant selection of Chair
Smart to bring world’s Airworthiness Experts into Solution Process
May restore Karma for the global CAA network
4/2/19 4:00pm Update
“FAA Establishes Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) for Boeing 737 MAX
The FAA is establishing a Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR). Chaired by former NTSB Chairman Chris Hart and comprised of a team of experts from the FAA, NASA and international aviation authorities, the JATR will conduct a comprehensive review of the certification of the automated flight control system on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The JATR team will evaluate aspects of the 737 MAX automated flight control system, including its design and pilots’ interaction with the system, to determine its compliance with all applicable regulations and to identify future enhancements that might be needed. ”
The creation of JATR was a brilliant step in not only resolving the B737 Max 8 problem, but also to mending the international aviation relations stressed, if not broken. Whoever decided to establish JATR deserves to receive the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy. It is awarded annually “for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.”
To support this hypothetical nomination, some thoughts on the rational below:
Mr. Hart’s CV (below) contains all of the necessary academic credentials and work experience
Christopher A. Hart
Christopher A. Hart is an American lawyer, government official, and pilot. He served as the 13th chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
He first served as a member of the NTSB from 1990 to 1993. After leaving the board, he served as deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, before moving to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1995. While there, Hart initiated the work which resulted in the establishment of Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA), one of the foundations for the FAA’s data-centric, preventative safety approach.
Immediately before returning to the Board in 2009, Hart was Deputy Director for Air Traffic Safety Oversight at the FAA. He had been the FAA Assistant Administrator for System Safety.
Hart was sworn in as a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board on August 12, 2009, and designated by President Obama for a two-year term as Vice Chairman of the Board on August 18, 2009. In August 2013, President Obama nominated him for a second term as Board Member and after Senate confirmation of his nomination, the President, in October 2013, designated him for a third term as Vice Chairman. He has served as Acting NTSB Chairman since April 26, 2014 and in July 2014 was nominated by the President to serve as Chairman of the NTSB. He served as chairman until August 2017, when he was succeeded by Robert Sumwalt.
After his tenure at the NTSB Hart continued his work in the safety industry, chairing Washington DC’s Metro Safety Commission and serving as a safety consultant for private companies such as Uber.
Hart holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Princeton University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Hart’s great uncle, James Banning, was the first African-American to receive a pilot’s license issued by the U.S. government in 1926.
Hart is a licensed pilot with commercial, multi-engine, and instrument ratings.
Contained in that impressive record, Mr. Hart had many opportunities to interact with foreign airworthiness authorities and safety investigation boards. That history will aid his leadership of JATR; for many of the members of the Review Team will remember him or recognize his credentials. His knowledge of FOQA and the FAA data systems will assist in his inquiry. Further, being an aeronautical engineer should give him greater insights.
SECOND, the JATR will add authority, domestically and internationally, of their eventual decision. One of the consequences of the foreign Civil Aviation Authorities’ swift, if not precipitous, grounding of the B737 Max 8. By including them in JATR, these CAAs have become part of the solution.
Press reports so far have indicated that EASA (not surprising), the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration Commission (CAAC) and others have been invited to participate. The collective airworthiness knowledge of this assembled group will impress the governments and general public about the approved MCAS and the new B737 Max 8.
This collective imprimatur will do much to reestablish the credibility instantly among the world’s passengers, indeed many of those considering buying a ticket will recognize their country’s approval.
THIRD, and this may be the deft aspect to the JATR proposal, by including the CAAs in the process, the time required for each of the grounding foreign authorities to reauthorize. Without JATR, the FAA would have issued its B737 Max 8 order and then each CAA would have reviewed the FAA’s technical papers, then asserted its own study. With the JATR composed of many of the CAAs, the Joint decision will obviate the need, excuse, for the individual CAA reviews.
FOURTH, speculation has pointed at possible geopolitical reasons for the unusually quick and largely unsubstantiated bases for the grounding of the B 737 MAX 8. If trade issues or differences with the Trump administration were part of the policy basis for the CAAs’ actions, then the invitation of the CAA staff, the technical people, will put them inside the Technical Tent. There the discussions will be confined to computer science, Center of Gravity, etc., NOT TRADE TARIFFS for example. Once the JATR decision is announced, it will be difficult for a hidden political reason to be the back story for an adverse B 737MAX 8.
FIFTH, the CAAs of the world has devoted almost 15 years to establishing mutual respect for their respective competences. The end result of this work by all of these governments is a network of bilateral agreements. Aerospace manufacturing has become increasingly global. While assembly my still be concentrated in Renton, USA; Toulouse, France; Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil; Montreal, Canada; etc., production is increasingly diversified. That reality compels the individual CAAs to rely on the competence of their counterparts; they have not the resources to surveil all of these locations. Thus, the network of BASAs.
That system of confidence took a horrendous hit on March 11 and the ensuing days.
- “China: The Civil Aviation Administration of China orders all domestic airlines to suspend operations of all 737 MAX 8 aircraft by 18:00 local time (10:00 GMT), pending the results of the investigation, thus grounding all 96 Boeing 737 MAX planes in China.
- Indonesia: Nine hours after China’s grounding, the Indonesian Ministry of Transportation issued a temporary suspension on the operation of all eleven 737 MAX 8 aircraft in Indonesia. A nationwide inspection on the type was expected to take place on March 12 to “ensure that aircraft operating in Indonesia are in an airworthy condition.”
- Mongolia: Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia (MCAA) said in a statement “MCAA has temporarily stopped the 737 MAX flight operated by MIAT Mongolian Airlines from March 11, 2019.”
- Singapore: the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, “temporarily suspends” operation of all variants of the 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore.
- India: Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) released a statement “DGCA has taken the decision to ground the 737 MAX aircraft immediately, pursuant to new inspections.
- Turkey: Turkish Civil Aviation Authority suspended flights of 737 MAX 8 and 9 type aircraft being operated by Turkish companies in Turkey, and stated that they are also reviewing the possibility of closing the country’s airspace for the same.
- South Korea: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) advised Eastar Jet, the only airline of South Korea to possess Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to ground their models,and three days later issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) message to block all Boeing 737 MAX models from landing and departing from all domestic airports.
- Europe: The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspended all flight operations of all 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX aeroplanes in Europe. In addition, EASA published a Safety Directive, effective as of 19:00 UTC, suspending all commercial flights performed by third-country operators into, within or out of the EU of the above mentioned models
- United States: The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an affirmation of the continued airworthiness of the 737 MAX; major United States-based 737 MAX operators Southwest Airlines and American Airlines also expressed confidence.
- Canada: Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said it was premature to consider groundings and that, “If I had to fly somewhere on that type of aircraft today, I would.”
- Canada: Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, prompted by receipt of new information, said “There can’t be any MAX 8 or MAX 9 flying into, out of or across Canada”, effectively grounding all 737 MAX aircraft in Canadian airspace.
- Panama: The Civil Aviation Authority grounded its aircraft. “
With the exception of the Canadian Minister of Transportation, none of these official notices met the technical requirements of the Chicago Convention of 1944 or the respective BASA. The absence of any stated basis for their action was a diplomatic and personal insult to the FAA and Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Ali Bahrami (an aeronautical engineer). Basically, these CAAs denigrated the technical airworthiness competence of the US.
The JATR process should allow for reestablishment of those personal and professional relations. Further, 2019 EASA – FAA International Aviation Safety Conference will be held in Cologne from 12-14 June 2019. This regular meeting brings together senior aviation professionals from regulators, manufacturers, airlines and associations from all world regions, to discuss global aviation safety issues from the perspective of both the regulators and industry.
The public record does not mention who divined that a Joint Authorities Technical Review was the best path to returning the B 737 MAX 8 to safe flight. He, she or whatever team deserves the Collier Trophy.
While they work, the folks at Boeing will begin to reestablish its reputation.
Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg joined Boeing test pilots aboard a 737 MAX 7 flight for a demonstration of the updated MCAS software.
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