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Checking In On The Boeing 737 Max

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: Federal Aviation Administration acting Administrator Daniel Elwell (C) testifies with FAA Aircraft Certification Service Executive Director Earl Lawrence (L) during a hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Aviation Subcommittee about the Boeing 737 MAX airplane in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill May 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Department of Transportation is investigating the process that certified the airplane, which has been grounded since it was involved in two fatal crashes, killing 346 passengers and crew in October 2018 and March 2019. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Federal Aviation Administration acting Administrator Daniel Elwell (C) testifies with FAA Aircraft Certification Service Executive Director Earl Lawrence (L) during a hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Aviation Subcommittee about the Boeing 737 MAX airplane in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill May 15, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Daniel Elwell, the acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration, says the agency is reviewing its certification procedures in the wake of two fatal crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max.

Daniel Elwell, the acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration, says the agency is reviewing its certification procedures in the wake of two fatal crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max.

Still, in his testimony before the House Transportation Committee earlier this week, Elwell stood by the agency’s use of private employees to help certify planes.

The current process delegates certain aspects of the inspection to F.A.A.-certified employees at nearly 80 aircraft manufacturers. These private employees are only supposed to inspect parts of the plane that don’t directly pertain to its core safety functions. But in the case of the Boeing 737 Max, the problems with the MCAS anti-stall software ended up being a major safety issue – and some are questioning whether the practice has led to insufficient oversight.

Larry speaks with a reporter and an aviation expert to discuss what we’ve learned in the months since the second crash involving the Boeing 737 Max, and what it means for both Boeing and the F.A.A. going forward.

Guests:

David Gelles, writes the Corner Office column and other features for The New York Times’s Sunday Business section; he’s been following the story; he tweets

Thomas R. Anthony, director of the Aviation Safety and Security Program at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering; former manager of the F.A.A’s civil aviation security division for the Western Pacific Region, which spans from Arizona to Pakistan; he’s also a former air traffic controller

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