Jet design rules become tough for all aircraft manufacturers - GulfToday

Jet design rules become tough for all aircraft manufacturers

Jet design rules become tough  for all aircraft manufacturers

A pilot in the cockpit of a Bombardier jet during an expo in Las Vegas, US. Reuters

BRASILIA/PARIS: Jet design rules are becoming tougher for all aircraft manufacturers after Boeing crashes last year. Tuesday marked one year since the deadly crash of a Lion Air jet, which Indonesian investigators linked in part to violent seesaw movements triggered by flawed anti-stall software.

Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have been grounded around the world since March following a second fatal crash, this time involving a plane operated by Ethiopian Airlines.

Planemakers worldwide face tougher scrutiny and changes in the way aircraft are certified in the aftermath of two fatal crashes of Boeing 737 MAX jets, leading regulators said.

The MCAS software, activated by a single faulty sensor and omitted from training manuals, has led to calls for tighter regulation as well as improvements in the training of pilots.

“The certification process will change; I think so,” the head of the US Federal Aviation Administration, Steve Dickson, told Reuters at an airlines meeting in Brazil.

Speaking to airlines earlier, Dickson also emphasised a need to raise standards for airplane pilot training globally.

A recent report by international regulators, commissioned by the FAA, faulted processes at both the US regulator and Boeing.

But the impact of the crisis is likely to be felt worldwide, including at Boeing’s rival Airbus and new entrants from Russia to China and Japan, as regulators step up efforts to ensure that risks are correctly identified right from the drawing board.

“We are going to make it harder,” Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), told Reuters when asked about the future of certification in general, without naming countries or companies.

“In the future we may ask to have a larger set of data which will be used in the certification case than today,” he added.

In part, that will involve using new technology to run simulations to spot flaws that may be missed in flight testing.

But regulators are also expected to take a close look at one of the key tenets of aviation safety, an obscure piece of regulation known as the “Changed Product Rule”.

Under this rule, manufacturers revamping an old design like the 737 only need to comply with latest regulations on systems undergoing major changes, which means risks must be understood.

For the rest of the aircraft, the original standards still apply, which in the case of the 737 date back to the 1960s.

That is no problem when risks are small, officials say.


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