NTSB criticizes aircraft certification process over Boeing

NTSB criticizes aircraft certification process over Boeing
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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is criticizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its certification process for Boeing planes, saying the tests underestimated the time pilots need to diagnose a problem.

The board released a series of recommendations Thursday for the FAA to consider when evaluating Boeing plans. The report comes in the wake of the Trump administration grounding Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft earlier this year following a pair of crashes that left hundreds dead.

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The NTSB argues that Boeing did not test its planes thoroughly with pilots, including insufficient tests to sensor failures, which early investigations indicate caused the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, The Associated Press reported.

"We are concerned that the process used to evaluate the original design needs improvement because that process is still in use to certify current and future aircraft and system designs," the board says.

The NTSB is requesting the FAA look into how pilots would respond to all potential cockpit alerts and change the cockpit design and pilot training to avoid future crashes. The FAA has 90 days to respond.

Chaz Bickers, the director of corporate communications for Boeing, told The Hill that the company is committed to looking into the NTSB recommendations. 

"We value the role of the NTSB in promoting aviation safety," he said.

The FAA said in a statement that the "lessons learned" from the plane crashes will be a "springboard to an even greater level of safety." 

"The agency will carefully review these and all other recommendations as we continue our review of the proposed changes to the Boeing 737 MAX," it read. "The FAA is committed to a philosophy of continuous improvement."