Issues with 737 Max planes reminds experts of US Air Flight 427

Issues with 737 Max planes reminds experts of US Air Flight 427

PITTSBURGH — As airlines keep their fleets of Boeing 737 Max airplanes on the ground, industry experts say the crashes that sparked the investigation into these planes reminds them of something many people in southwestern Pennsylvania will never forget.

It’s been just over 25 years since US Air Flight 427 crashed outside Pittsburgh International Airport, killing all 132 people on board.

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Now the FAA and Boeing are facing renewed criticism after an independent review found the oversight agency relied too heavily on the manufacturer to certify its own planes.

“The FAA has to increasingly rely on Boeing and their work and their telling the truth and trusting their own system to certify a plane,” Former NTSB Managing Director Peter Goelz said.

Goelz was the managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board when the agency investigated Flight 427’s crash in 1994.

It took more than four years, but eventually the NTSB determined a problem with the rudder system was to blame.  A similar issue caused a crash in Colorado Springs in 1991.

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Goelz said there are parallels to Boeing’s response then and now.

“Boeing was very reluctant to change that system because it would have admitted they made a mistake,” he said.

Boeing and the FAA have now vowed to make safety changes, including an evaluation of the certification process.