The US Office of Special Counsel (OSC) on Tuesday alerted the President and Congress that several Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety inspectors were not sufficiently trained to certify pilots, including some who piloted the dangerous Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts.
According to the Disclosure of Wrongdoing, OSC sent letters to the President and Congress alerting them to the results of a FAA whistleblower investigation. The disclosure states:
In its investigation, the FAA’s independent Office of Audit and Evaluation (AAE) determined that 16 out of 22 safety inspectors, including those at the Seattle Aircraft Evaluation Group, had not completed formal training. Further, 11 of the 16 undertrained safety inspectors did not have Certified Flight Instructor certificates, which are a basic position requirement. Based on information provided by the whistleblower and material obtained via an ongoing investigation, this also included safety inspectors assigned to the 737 MAX. According to the whistleblower, the unqualified inspectors administered hundreds of certifications, known as “check rides,” that qualified pilots to operate new or modified passenger aircraft.
Despite the deficiencies uncovered by the prior investigation, the FAA testified in an April 2019 hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that “all of the flight inspectors who participated in the Boeing 737 MAX Flight Standardization Board certification activities were fully qualified for these activities.” The OSC disclosure characterizes these statements as “misleading in their portrayal of FAA employee training.”