After an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed Sunday, many countries ordered the planes grounded. The United States joined that call Wednesday and are ordering the aircrafts, and similar ones, not to fly.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, has a powerful position role over the airline industry, as the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“There is going to be a very rigorous oversight investigation by my committee,” DeFazio said.
He said it’s justified that countries are ordering for the planes to be grounded, since the Max 8 and Max 9 jets have different technology than previous models, but pilots were not required to retrain in order to fly them.
“My concern is this is essentially a different airplane than all the earlier versions of the 737 in that it has this MCAS system [Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System] … and different flight characteristics,” Rep. DeFazio said.
“I want to know how it was that this plane got certified without requiring pilot retraining,” he said.
The Ethiopian Airlines plane crash has similarities to the Lion Air crash that happened about five months ago near Indonesia. That crash involved the same type of plane.
“When [the FAA] got a very detailed track of the [Ethiopian Airlines] plane’s course, which wasn’t available before sometime [Wednesday], they found it looked very similar to the Lion Air crash,” Defazio said. “We think in Lion Air, the automatic system triggered because of a faulty sensor and the pilot did not override the system and instead fought the plane … That may or may not have happened with this plane.”
DeFazio said there is no way to know for certain that the two crashes were due to the plane’s automated system until Ethiopian Airlines releases its data recorder, which they have been unwilling to do so far.