By Andy Pasztor
Boeing Co.'s engineering mistakes and "culture of concealment," coupled with insufficient federal safety oversight, led to twin fatal crashes of the company's 737 MAX jets, House investigators concluded in a report released Friday.
The preliminary findings, issued by Democrats on the House Transportation Committee, describe in stark terms the engineering and regulatory lapses revealed during five public hearings over the last year into the design and certification of the MAX, which was grounded around the world last March.
The crashes claimed a total of 346 lives and the protracted grounding continues as Boeing works on software fixes and develops pilot training requirements that will win the approval of regulators. Boeing halted the aircraft's production in January.
Friday's report details Boeing's determination at various levels -- years before the MAX won approval by the Federal Aviation Administration -- to avoid putting any pilots through costly ground-simulator training.
That single-minded goal was evident across Boeing's engineering, marketing and management ranks, according to the report, and resulted in various efforts to mislead or withhold information from FAA officials during the lengthy certification process.
The report also reiterates earlier complaints by lawmakers that the Chicago-based aerospace giant was able to exert undue influence over the FAA, partly because regulators delegated much of their oversight responsibilities to Boeing employees authorized to act on the government's behalf.
More broadly, the reports also details examples of FAA managers overruling safety concerns of their own technical experts related to another Boeing airliner, the Boeing 787.
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