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FAA Shares Letter Formally Notifying Boeing of Investigation

todayJanuary 14, 2024 21

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The FAA is conducting an investigation to determine if Boeing failed to ensure completed products conformed to its approved design and were in a condition for safe operation in compliance with FAA regulations. The FAA formally notified Boeing of the investigation in a letter dated Jan. 10.

The investigation is a result of an incident on a Boeing Model 737-9 MAX where it lost a plug-type passenger door (door plug) and additional discrepancies. The FAA in a Jan. 11 update on the Grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 9 Aircraft said: “Boeing’s manufacturing practices need to comply with the high safety standards they’re legally accountable to meet.”

The letter addressed to Carole Murray, Vice President, Total Quality, Boeing Commercial Airplanes said: “This investigation is being performed to ensure compliance with Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) and your FAA approved quality system.”

Requirements were listed:

Part 21 CERTIFICATION PROCEDURES FOR PRODUCTS, ARTICLES, AND PARTS, Subpart G–Production Certificates, Sec. 21.146, Responsibility of holder, states in part, “The holder of a production certificate must…(c) Ensure that each completed product or article for which a production certificate has been issued … presented for airworthiness certification or approval conforms to its approved design and is in a condition for safe operation;”

BCA Quality Manual, Revision I dated June 26, 2023, section 8.5.1 Inspection and Testing states in part, “Appropriate inspection and test activities are conducted … post-delivery activities are conducted in accordance with contract or regulatory requirements.”

The letter from John Piccola, Aviation Safety Director for the FAA’s Integrated Certificate Management Division, alleges, “Boeing may have failed to ensure its completed products conformed to its approved design and were in a condition for safe operation in accordance with quality system inspection and test procedures.”

Boeing was given 10 business days to provide evidence or statements relevant to the investigation and was told: “Your response should contain the root cause of the encountered condition(s), products/articles affected, service impacts, the extent of any immediate/long-term action taken to correct and preclude its recurrence, and any mitigating circumstances which you believe may be relevant to this case.”

In the Jan. 11 update, the FAA stated: “This incident should have never happened and it cannot happen again.”

The update concluded by saying: “The safety of the flying public, not speed, will determine the timeline for returning the Boeing 737-9 Max to service.”

Boeing also provided an Jan. 11 update. It contained the following statement on the FAA investigation:

“We will cooperate fully and transparently with the FAA and the NTSB on their investigations.”

Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun addressed the importance of trust and transparency at a recent all-employee safety meeting on Jan. 9. Here are two excerpts:

  • On transparency: “We’re going to approach it with 100% complete transparency every step of the way.”
  • On trust: “We’re going to have to demonstrate it by our actions, by our willingness to work directly and transparently with them (customers). And to make sure they understand that every airplane that Boeing has its name on that’s in the sky is in fact safe.”

 

 

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Written by: JT

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