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In the wake of Boeing 737 Max crash, questions arise over FAA oversight of jet safety




Acting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Daniel Elwell testifies during a Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and Space hearing about the current state of airline safety in the Hart Senate Office Building, March 27, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Acting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Daniel Elwell testifies during a Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and Space hearing about the current state of airline safety in the Hart Senate Office Building, March 27, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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Representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Department appeared before a Senate subcommittee hearing on airline safety Wednesday afternoon.

Amid the two deadly Boeing crashes, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration defended the FAA’s practice of relying on aircraft makers to help certify their own planes for flight.

Under the self-certifying program, these employees perform tests and inspections needed to win safety approvals, with the FAA overseeing their work. The approach is credited with holding down government costs and speeding the rollout of new models.

But in the wake of the air disasters involving Boeing’s new 737 Max jetliner in Ethiopia and Indonesia, that practice has been seized on as evidence of an overly cozy relationship between the FAA and the industry.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, Boeing’s vice president of airplane development, Mike Sinnett, outlined the changes he company is making to the flight-control system and pilot training, and he repeated Boeing’s confidence in the safety of the Max.

We recap the Senate hearing and discuss airline safety.  

With files from the Associated Press

Guests:

Lori Aratani, reporter at the Washington Post focusing on transportation issues, including airports, airlines, and the nation's railroad and subway systems; she tweets @loriara

Mike Perrone, president of Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, the federal union representing Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense employees who install, maintain, support and certify air control and national defense equipment



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