A panel of international air-safety regulators is finishing a report expected to criticize the initial U.S. approval process for Boeing Co.’s
737 Max jets, according to people briefed on the conclusions, while urging a wide-ranging reassessment of how complex automated systems should be certified on future airliners.
As part of roughly a dozen findings, these government and industry officials said, the task force is poised to call out the Federal Aviation Administration for what it describes as a lack of clarity and transparency in the way the FAA delegated authority to the plane maker to assess the safety of certain flight-control features. The upshot, according to some of these people, is that essential design changes didn’t receive adequate FAA attention.
The report, these officials said, also is expected to fault the agency for what it describes as inadequate data sharing with foreign authorities during its original certification of the Max two years ago, along with relying on mistaken industrywide assumptions about how average pilots would react to certain flight-control emergencies. FAA officials have said they are devising new pilot-reaction guidelines after two fatal crashes.
Expected to be released in the next few weeks, the document would be the first official outside review of Max certification since the fleet was grounded world-wide in March after the crashes. The planes nosedived after repeated misfires of an automated flight-control system, called MCAS, which pushed down the noses of both aircraft despite efforts by their pilots to pull the planes out of their steep dives.
Also popular on WSJ.com: