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US FAA expands use of rating boards in aircraft certification

The grounded Boeing 737 MAX is seen parked at Grant County International Airport in Lake Moses
A landed Boeing 737 MAX is seen parked at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, U.S. November 17, 2020. REUTERS / Lindsey Wasson

March 1, 2022

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Monday said it is expanding the use of independent groups of safety experts to review new designs and technologies in certifying commercial aircraft. commercial.

The FAA says it is expanding its use of the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) to help ensure it has a “consistent and thorough approach to all aircraft certification projects”.

The FAA convened the TAB shortly after the second Boeing 737 MAX crash in March 2019 to assist in reviewing the plane’s grounding.

Boeing Co said on Monday that it will continue to work transparently through “the FAA’s rigorous and detailed processes… We will continue to engage with the FAA to ensure we meet their expectations. and all applicable requirements.”

The FAA plans to establish boards earlier in the certification process and use them on aircraft that are largely similar to current models and are commonly referred to as derivatives.

The FAA has a panel to evaluate the certification of the Boeing 777X.

The boards look at a variety of issues including identifying new technologies or designs that “could be catastrophic if they fail”, the FAA said, and to determine “whether similar systems are viable caused problems on other aircraft” and to ensure the appropriate FAA offices were involved in the Certification Process.

Boeing continues to face FAA scrutiny after two deadly 737 MAX crashes in five months in 2018-19 that killed 346 people.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson told Congress last year that the agency was giving Boeing less responsibility for certifying planes and “requiring manufacturers to be more transparent.”

The FAA is currently scrutinizing a number of issues related to Boeing aircraft. The agency said earlier this month it would retain the authority to issue airworthiness certificates for Boeing 787s until it is confident that “Boeing’s manufacturing and quality control processes consistently produce ‘ aircraft that meet the FAA’s ‘design standards’.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington, Editing by Marguerita Choy and Matthew Lewis)

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Caroline Bleakley

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