WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator JD Vance (R-OH) questioned Acting Administrator Billy Nolen of the Federal Aviation Administration on the safety of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft during a hearing held by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
“One worry that I have – we’ve had a couple of incidents that have come to our attention in our office that I just wanted to highlight here, if we could. So I would point your attention here … The first is an American Airlines flight, January 20th, coming from Miami. This is a very new Boeing 737 MAX. And the flight is American 2692:
‘PAN-PAN-PAN, due to a control failure with our stabilizer trim, we’d like to remain at 7000 [feet] while we work some issues.’
“You know what pan is? It’s a non-[emergency], sort of call for help. So that was an American flight on January 20th, just a couple of months ago. And this is a February 24th flight, 2023, Phoenix, Arizona. I may be especially worried about this because my own family’s flown on a 737 at Southwest out of Phoenix, Arizona, before. Southwest 9017:
‘We need to turn back towards Phoenix and we’re going to declare an emergency. We just declared, just because it’s a brand new airplane and the autopilot is not, the trim system is not working on the aircraft. It’s not trimming at all. So we’re having to do manual trimming…’
“When I look at that with relatively new aircraft, I guess my automatic reaction is, is the 737 MAX actually safe? Have we done the necessary work here? Does your agency, do you feel confident, that we’re actually in a position here where we can say that 737 MAX is doing what it needs to do in light of the fact that we have some pretty recent safety complaints here?”
Watch the full exchange here: