US to charge ex-Boeing pilot over 737 MAX crashes

Sept 17, 2021: According to a Wall Street Journal report from Thursday, federal prosecutors are preparing to charge a former Boeing test pilot with misleading aviation regulators over safety issues.

The Wall street journal said Mark Forkner was a key link between the aviation giant and the US Federal Aviation Administration on how to train pilots to fly planes. According to documents published in early 2020, Forkner withheld details about the aircraft’s faulty flight handling system, which the Managing Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS – was later blamed for both accidents – according conclusions from regulators.

The 737 MAX, made by US aircraft manufacturer Boeing, was officially confirmed in March 2017, but remained grounded worldwide for 20 months after 346 people were killed in two accidents in October 2018 and March 2019. Once the MCAS software was modified, Max was allowed to fly again in late 2020. Boeing has acknowledged its responsibility to mislead regulators and has agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion to settle certain lawsuits.

Neither the US Department of Justice nor Forkner’s lawyer responded to requests for comment. The Wall Street Journal said it was unclear what charges Forkner would face.

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