The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed changes to its aircraft certification policies including a greater focus on flight control systems following the two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 linked to a specific safety system. 

The FAA’s new policy will require design changes for flight control systems designated as “major” to increase transparency around their design and use after Boeing did not disclose important details about its MCAS system during the certification of the 737 MAX. 

While the aircraft model is now flying again, the crashes which killed 346 people in Ethiopia and Indonesia, led to its grounding for 20 months before rigorous testing allowed it to be cleared to fly again. 

Reuters reported that the FAA’s new policy would be joined by additional guidance to aircraft manufacturers on how to identify and supply safety-critical information. 

The focus on the supply of safety-critical data comes three years after the US Congress passed legislation to reform how the FAA certified new planes, including the disclosure of the safety-critical information, after the two major Boeing crashes. 

Investigations into the incidents found that a signal malfunction had led the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System to push the planes down without allowing their pilots time to respond. 

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It was also found that the manufacturer’s influence over the FAA oversight structure had allowed it to withhold information about the system from the administration and pilots.

Boeing has said it will “work transparently with the FAA to ensure we continue to meet all requirements in the certification process.”