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Despite acknowledging vigorous testimony by witnesses during hearings about the effectiveness of Canada’s aircraft certification process in the aftermath of the two fatal Boeing 737 Max crashes — which resulted in a global grounding of the new platform — a House of Commons committee said June 9 that the system needs to be “even more robust.”
Among other things, the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities unanimously recommends less reliance on other countries’ regulatory approvals of new aircraft types, full recertification of any changes to critical systems, more collaboration with other countries’ regulatory agencies, and a possible exchange of permanent representatives.
It also recommends more funding for Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) and a reinvigorated role for industry involvement through the Canadian Aviation Regulatory Advisory Council (CARAC).
These and other recommendations flow from the committee’s inquiry, which began in February, into the Lion Air crash in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March 2019. Both crashed minutes after takeoff with a total loss of 346 passengers and crew. The 28 witnesses at the committee included not only a broad spectrum of industry experts, but also families of the victims.
The fundamental cause of the crashes was determined to have been the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) — software developed especially for the 737 Max to address control issues identified during the aircraft’s preliminary design stage. Redesigned engines and their nacelles caused the aircraft to pitch under certain circumstances; the MCAS was designed to pitch the nose down if an undesired pitch-up threatened flight…