March 26, 2019

Chairs DeFazio, Larsen Urge FAA to Conduct Third-Party Review into Boeing 737-MAX

March 26, 2019

Daniel K. Elwell

Acting Administrator

Federal Aviation Administration

800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20591

Dear Acting Administrator Elwell:

It is imperative that any technical modifications proposed for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft as a result of the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents, which cost the lives of 346 people, including eight Americans, are comprehensive and reliable. As you know, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) review, evaluation, and certification of any such changes must be thorough, deliberative and cannot be rushed. As the investigations proceed, it is important that there be a clear understanding of the cause or causes of the two accidents involving the 737 MAX and that the public is confident that all identified problems will be completely resolved.

In order to provide this level of assurance, we urge you to engage an independent, third-party review composed of individuals with the technical skills and expertise to objectively advise on any measures being considered requiring the safety certification of new and novel technology, as recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board. This should require a review of any recommended technical modifications and any proposed new training requirements for pilots. As you know, safety must always be held paramount and guide every decision the FAA makes.

To be clear, we believe this proposed third-party review should be separate from the recently established Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee, which Congress required in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-254) to review aircraft and flight standards certification processes. Involving a separate and independent third-party review to evaluate such corrective measures to the 737 MAX will help ensure that the chosen approach is methodical, durable, and resilient.

Please keep our Committee’s staff informed of your actions regarding this request. We appreciate your consideration of this critically important matter. If you or your staff have any questions, please contact the Committee staff at (202) 225-4472.


Peter A. DeFazio                                                        


Committee on Transportation                                                

  and Infrastructure                                                       

Rick Larsen                                                                 


Subcommittee on Aviation