Should/Can the FAA modify the Boeing ODA???

Boeing ODA
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Mounting evidence that FAA-Boeing relationship flawed

Standard ODA works with Integrity

Even if Boeing ODA should be amended, the FAA may not have the capacity to exercise the returned work

Long term solution may be found back in 1938

The Senate (1 below)and  House (2) Committees have held hearings about Boeing’s original exercise of its Organizational Delegation Authority (ODA) as well as its subsequent reformation efforts. At about the same time, the families  of the  Ethiopian Airlines  flight  302 (“the Families”) filed a petition (3) with the FAA to terminate the Max-8 ODA.

The discrepancies cited by Congress and the Families do presently pose valid questions about the continued validity of the delegated authority.

Below is (i)a recitation of the Max 8 disaster and of the trail of reactions,(ii) an assessment of whether ODA modification might be warranted, (iii) of why reduction of this authority might not be feasible and finally of a possible long term solution to bring the necessary technical competence to certification.

(i)Recitation

The tumult associated with the B-737 Max 8 may now be equaled by the tempest of its aftermath. The initial period was full of indignation and denial. As the certification history evolved, doubts about the integrity of the process increased and eventually reached a crescendo. Pundits, politicians and journalists increased the amplitude of criticism. Congress passed remedial legislation and the FAA attempted to fulfill those expected reforms- not to the heights expected by the Hill:

·       Chair DeFazio Announces Hearing On FAA Oversight Of The Boeing 737 MAX Certification 2019

·       New York Times On Lion Air Boeing 737 Max-YOUR THOUGHTS??? 2019

·       The Joint Authorities Technical Review For The B 737 MAX 8 CREATOR Deserves The Collier Trophy 2019

·       Regulatory And International Processes Applicable To Boeing 737 MAX 8 Grounding By FAA 2019

·       Office Of Special Counsel Says FAA Misled About B737 Max8 Aviation Safety Pilots’ Qualifications 2019

·       House To Hold Another B737 Max8 Hearing– Will Those Who Made The FAA’s Decisions Be Witnesses December 2019

·       What Really Brought Down The Boeing 737 Max? 2019

·       DeFazio/Graves FAA ODA Certification Reform Says A Lot; Does It Mean Much? 2020

·       FAA’s Responses To DeFazio/Larsen Letter And Survey 2020

·       Update On FAA’s And Boeing’s Remedial Actions On Aircraft Certification 2020

·       ‘It’s More Than I Imagined’: Boeing’s New C.E.O. Confronts Its Challenges 2020

·       Sec. Chao’s Special Committee On Certification Points To SMS Among Other Measures 2020

·      The Absent, Critical Point In The Boeing Chief Engineer Stories 2020

·       After EASA Director Ky “Demotion” Of FAA TC Credibility- What Do The Recent Citation And King Air Actions Tell Us 2021

·       FAA ODA Today After Three DOT Inspector General Reviews And New Congressional Funding 2021

·       The 737 Max Reactions And The Threat To Article 33 Of The Chicago Convention 2021

(ii)modification warranted ?

ODA is a well designed instrument of certification. It exists because the FAA and other certification authorities do not have the numbers of examiners nor the level of expertise to assess the airworthiness of proposed aircraft (see this analysis by a DER/DAR[1] of 50 years of ODA succeeded). The relationship between the FAA supervisory team and the Boeing responsible representatives did not meet these standards or so it would appear.  The underlying disfunction in this relationship flawed the certification of the MAX8 and destroyed the FAA’s reason to rely on the direct interface with the company’s “delegatees”.

This is a question which emerged in 2020Time For ODA Order Chapter 7 Action On Boeing ODA? when it was evident (observations by  Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) and the DOT OIG) that undue pressure was being exerted by Boeing. The questions asked by the House (2) and Families (3) appear to support the conclusion that the ODA relationship, even after the FAA, presumably, has modified those terms.

ODA should remain in the CFRs, but Boeing’s existing Max 8 and maybe even its other existing ODAs should be reviewed, likely modified and even possibly terminated.

(iii) ODA MODIFICATION MAY NOT BE FEASIBLE—long term SOLUTION???

A 2020 New York Times Article- Is It Time To Reconsider The Boeing ODA? pointed to the possibility of a FAA review of this delegation. The lack of visible FAA action, since then, likely reflects that any significant reduction of the ODA would shift a workload to the FAA beyond its capacity (volume and depth of expertise). After all, those  inabilities were the justification for the aegis of this designation.

Practically, the FAA’s termination of Boeing’s ODAs would cancel America’s primary contributor to our balance of trade. It may be able top assemble a cadre of aerospace, aerodynamics, materials, systems, avionics, etc. expert engineers to exercise oversight, but even that band aid would take time to adhere to this problem’s fix.

Until 1938, that is before there was an FAA, airworthiness was determined by UL in order to get aircraft insurance. UL As An Historical Model For Replacing ODA If Congress Stops That Authority-Comments On The Negroni Commentary. That solution would face massive political opposition, require statutory amendments, involve lead times to recruit the staff– among many impediments. As with other UL analyses, the aircraft certification would not be free.UL from 1938 to today


  1. SENATE HEARING

Crash Victims Demand End of Boeing’s Power To Certify[2] Aircrafts[3]

 

by Linda S. Hohnholz

Senators discussed the approach of the FAA to effectuating ACSAA and its work to implement provisions of the legislation in accordance with congressionally mandated timelines.

Administrator Dickson

For three hours, FAA Administrator Dickson discussed topics such as the FAA’s delegation and certification processes, safety culture and systems oversight practices since the passage of Aircraft Certification Reform and Accountability Act ACSAA as well as the impact of COVID on current aviation schedules.

Several family members were able to attend the Senate hearing today either in person or via the internet.

Michael Stumo of Massachusetts, who lost his daughter Samya Rose Stumo, 24, in the crash, applauded Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) for asking when the FAA will stop trusting Boeing with regulating themselvesDickson said the FAA is now retaining some regulatory functions, but Stumo pointed out that means the manufacturer continues to regulate itself on many levels.  Stumo added, “The manufacturer will not change until its self-regulation authority is pulled.  Boeing must then re-prove it is competent and trustworthy.” Families and friends, who lost loved ones in the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX jet in 2019, continue [PETITION]to ask Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to terminate the aircraft maker’s ability to certify its own airplanes, a provisionStumo family allowed in a program called the Organization Designation Authority (ODA) that allows third parties to perform functions of the FAA. [More on petition at 3.]

Hundreds of family and friends who lost loved ones on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft petitioned DOT officials, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Dickson to withdraw Boeing’s ability to certify its aircraft because “it has become clear that Boeing is not a company that can be trusted with the public safety responsibilities conferred by the ODA,” according to their petition to the DOT dated Oct. 19, 2021.

The petition cites 15 reasons why Boeing misconduct requires the FAA to terminate Boeing’s ODA including the company’s “deceiving the FAA” about the methods the MAX aircraft operated “by way of misleading statements, half-truths and omissions,” creating “an ODA culture that applies undue pressure to engineering personnel so they are not able to exercise independent judgment free from organizational conflicts of interest,” and “failing to insulate the ODA from Boeing’s profit motives.”

Sen. Cantwell and hearing banner


 

  1. HOUSE ACTION

DeFazio, Larsen, and Stanton Seek Answers from FAA on Apparent Lack of Boeing Accountability for Longstanding 737 MAX Issues | The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

DeFazio and Larsen banner

List of Issues Specified:

  • Angle of Attack Disagree Alert
  • Boeing Efforts to Downplay MCAS
  • Has the FAA identified the Authorized Representative who concurred with the plan to downplay MCAS?
    • If so, has the FAA interviewed this individual and/or requested related documents?
    • Is this Authorized Representative still authorized to conduct work as a Boeing ODA Unit Member on behalf of the FAA?
    • Please provide the committee with copies of all records related to the FAA’s efforts, if any, regarding the above questions.
  • Did the FAA ever investigate the circumstances or individuals involved in Boeing’s 2013 plan to downplay MCAS?
    • Please provide the committee with copies of all records related to the FAA’s efforts, if any, regarding the above question.
    • What, if anything, has FAA done to hold any of the individuals at Boeing accountable who took part in Boeing’s 2013 efforts to downplay MCAS?
    • Please provide the committee with copies of all records related to the FAA’s efforts, if any, regarding the above question.
  • Does FAA regard the actions memorialized in the enclosed Boeing document as acceptable?

 

  1. Families Petition

Families Petition

The families of victims of Ethiopian crash ask DOT to terminate Boeing’s ability to certify aircraft

André Orban

 

 

Families

The petition cites 15 reasons why Boeing misconduct requires the FAA to terminate Boeing’s ODA including the company’s deceiving the FAA” about the methods the MAX aircraft operated “by way of misleading statements, half-truths and omissions,” creating an ODA culture that applies undue pressure to engineering personnel so they are not able to exercise independent judgment free from organisational conflicts of interest,” and “failing to insulate the ODA from Boeing’s profit motives.”

Chris MooreChris Moore of Toronto, Canada, and father of Danielle Moore, 24, who was killed in the crash, said, The ODA process is based on faith in the organisation given the authority to certify the product.  This same organisation rakes in over $1 billion revenue weekly; the CEOs and directors award themselves bonuses for improved quarterly gains. However, the ODA process has a weak qualification process that does not require professional engineers to meet the criteria, no code of ethics and a faulty whistle-blower process largely due to conflicted officials.  How can we have confidence in safety?

oda history

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

[1]Mike Borfitz resume

 

 

 

 

[2] The statute, to be precise authorizes the FAA to CERTIFICATE 49 U.S. Code § 44704 – Type certificates, production … AIRCRAFT. Certify is a misnomer.

 

[3] Again, to be precise, this Boeing ODA applies to the B-737 Max 8 and not other aircrafts. That delegated authority only allows Boeing to recommend certain actions to the Administrator

Limit ODA?

 

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