House subcommittee to hold May 15 hearing on Boeing 737 Max

The equipment, which had been offered as an option, alerts pilots of faulty information from key sensors. (Source: Boeing/MGN)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. House subcommittee has scheduled a May 15 hearing on the Boeing 737 Max airliner.

The Aviation Subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold the hearing at 10 a.m.

The committee's website says the hearing will be on the "status of the Boeing 737 Max."

Witnesses were not announced, but the committee is likely to summon representatives from Boeing as well as the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. They'll be asked about how the FAA certified the plane to be airworthy.

The Max was grounded when an Ethiopian Airlines Max crashed March 10, less than five months after a Lion Air Max plunged into the sea off the coast of Indonesia. In all, 346 people died.

Faulty flight control software has been implicated in the crashes. Boeing has been working on an update to the software in an effort to get the planes back into the air.

During a March hearing in the Senate, lawmakers peppered Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell with questions about the agency's practice of relying on aircraft makers to help certify their own planes for flight.

Elwell defended the strategy and said it has produced safe aircraft designs for decades. He also said the FAA would need 10,000 more employees and another $1.8 billion a year to do all the work now done by designated employees of the companies it regulates.

Under the self-certifying program, these employees perform tests and inspections needed to win safety approvals, with the FAA overseeing their work. The approach is credited with holding down government costs and speeding the rollout of new models.

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