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Senate committee questions FAA official regarding 737 MAX crashes

Almost a year ago, New York residents received the devastating news of a crash involving an American-made Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane in the Java Sea near Indonesia. It was only a few months later that a second crash occurred in Ethiopia involving the same type of plane. It recently came to light that an investigation into the first crash by the Federal Aviation Administration concluded that the likelihood of more crashes was high. The top safety official at the FAA recently appeared before a Senate subcommittee to answer questions regarding the FAA's decisions following the conclusion of the investigation. 

The crashes were allegedly the result of a new stabilization feature that Boeing installed in the 737 MAX 8 that reportedly malfunctioned and forced the nose of each of the two planes into a dive from which the pilots could not recover. Following an investigation into the first crash, which identified a high likelihood of similar accidents, the FAA's response was to remind pilots about appropriate cockpit procedures. This despite the fact that pilots were not aware that Boeing had deployed the new system prior to the crash. Meanwhile Boeing worked quickly and quietly to develop and implement the necessary fix. 

Appearing before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee last week, the official reported that the FAA's reticence regarding the new technology was an attempt to avoid confusing pilots with irrelevant information while trying to provide the data necessary to for them to maintain control of the plane. The decision to emphasize cockpit procedures was allegedly based on the notion that pilot error was a significant contributing factor to the first crash. 

Between the two crashes, a total of 346 people lost their lives. Individuals and families who have suffered loss or injury due to a defective product in an aircraft may find it helpful to consult an attorney. 

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