Former Flight Safety Foundation Board Chairman Kenneth Hylander and current Board member Gretchen Haskins are among six outside experts appointed by Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao to serve on a special committee empaneled to review, and recommend improvements to, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) aircraft certification process.
“Safety is the number one priority of the department, and this independent outside review will help determine if the FAA aircraft certification process can and should be improved,” Chao said.
Hylander, who served three years as the chair of the Foundation’s Board of Governors, currently is chief safety officer at Amtrak. He also is a former senior vice president for corporate safety, security and compliance at Delta Air Lines, and was senior vice president for safety and engineering, and chief safety officer at Northwest Airlines.
Haskins, who currently serves on the Foundation’s Board, is chief executive officer of HeliOffshore, a U.K.-based organization dedicated to global offshore helicopter safety. Haskins previous served on the board of the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority as group director of Safety, and before that, was group director of safety at NATS, the U.K. air navigation service provider.
The special committee will be co-chaired by Capt. Lee Moak, former president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, and retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Darren McDew, former head of the U.S. Transportation Command.
Other members of the committee are Dr. Amy Pritchett, a professor and head of the Aerospace Engineering Department at Penn State University and a former director of the Aviation Safety Program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and J. David Grizzle, chairman of the Board of Republic Airways and former FAA chief counsel and chief operating officer of the FAA Air Traffic Organization.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it was creating the special committee on March 25, just over two weeks after the 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 all 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.
According to DOT, the special committee’s charge includes, but is not limited to “the FAA certification process workplan, process timeline, organization designation authorization, designated engineering representatives authorization/certification, authorized representation certification and oversight thereof.”
The panel is specifically tasked with reviewing the 737 MAX 8 certification process from 2012 to 2017, and with recommending improvements to the certification process.