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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is reportedly considering an entirely new angle on its investigation into Boeing’s 737 Max line of jets after a company insider called a hotline to highlight a new issue with the aircraft.
All 737 Max planes across the world were grounded by regulators after two of the aircraft crashed in separate incidents that claimed 346 lives.
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At least four current or former Boeing employees called the FAA hotline to make complaints about the 737 Max line after Ethiopia’s transport minister released a preliminary report on the March crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 that killed 157 people.
The whistleblower complaints mainly focused on widely known issues with the planes’ angle of attack sensor, a piece of equipment which measures the plane’s angle in the air, and its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) which is responsible for adjusting the plane’s angle to prevent stalling.
However one of the complaints highlighted a previously unreported issue which involves a “foreign object” damaging the wiring of the angle of attack sensor. An FAA source is understood to have said that the agency is considering a new approach to the probe because of the report.
Boeing shareholders have filed a class action lawsuit against the aircraft maker, accusing it of withholding information on safety deficiencies in the 737 Max planes. The company’s Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg and Chief Financial Officer Gregory Smith are reportedly named among the defendants.