The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) said today that it is establishing a special committee to review procedures used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in certifying new aircraft, including the Boeing 737 MAX, grounded earlier this month after two accidents.
The committee’s interim cochairs, pending the appointment of other members, will be retired Air Force Gen. Darren McDew, former head of the U.S. Transportation Command, and Capt. Lee Moak, a former president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International.
“Safety is the number one priority of the Department, and this review by leading outside experts will help determine if improvements can be made to the FAA aircraft certification process,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in announcing the appointments.
Today’s announcement came just over two weeks after a March 10 accident involving Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, killing all 157 passengers and crew. On Oct 29, 2018, another MAX 8, Lion Air Flight 610, crashed into the Java Sea after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia, killing 189 passengers and crew. The FAA grounded MAX 8 and MAX 9 airplanes on March 13. Other civil aviation authorities worldwide have taken similar action.
The committee, to be known as the Special Committee to Review FAA’s Aircraft Certification Process, is an independent panel; its findings will be delivered to the transportation secretary and the FAA administrator.
The committee is being formed in accordance with a law passed in 2018 outlining criteria for the appointment of panels to provide advice and recommendations on issues involving FAA safety oversight and certification programs and activities, the DOT said. Members of the public who would like to be considered for membership must submit information being published in the Federal Register.