On Wednesday, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator Steve Dickson testified to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure about Boeing’s 737 Max airplane and the process of recertifying the plane. It was the fifth such hearing.
Dickson quickly confirmed to the committee that 737 Max has neither flown a certification flight nor completed the accompanying documentation and review process, almost guaranteeing that the 737 Max will not fly until 2020.
Dickson then testified that the FAA will refrain from delegating any recertification to Boeing. He said that he would fly the plane himself before recertifying it.
Dickson’s testimony comes amid a report that the FAA allowed the 737 Max to continue flying after a fatal crash of Lion Air Flight 610. That report highlights that after the crash, the FAA found the 737 Max to be likely to have a fatal crash once every three years, but refused to ground the aircraft. That changed when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 experienced a similar fatal accident.
Dickson only recently took over as FAA administrator, so the FAA’s mistakes are not to be put on him.
Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, has been with Boeing since 1985 when he began interning with the Aerospace Giant. He has held the title of CEO or president since 2013.
As a member of Iowa State University’s 1986 graduating class, Muilenburg’s actions reflect back on Iowa State and the College of Engineering.
That’s not to say that he has not made Iowa State proud. Boeing is the largest aerospace and defense company and is responsible for a number of major accomplishments under Muilenburg’s leadership.
But Boeing has also struggled as of recently. It has continuously made poor decisions regarding the design, implementation, training and overall safety of its latest variant of the 737 airplane, leading to not one, but two fatal accidents that could have possibly been avoided.
Muilenburg would do well to adopt former President Harry Truman’s philosophy of “the buck stops here.” He needs to take responsibility for Boeing’s failures and take action to correct the problems with the 737 Max.
As Iowa State students, we must expect better from our esteemed alumni. The state of Boeing’s 737 Max program is unacceptable. As a graduate of Iowa State University, Muilenburg must do better. His actions have reflected poorly on our institution, but he has the opportunity to restore American’s trust in Boeing and the safety of flight in general.