Mark Forkner, former Boeing Test Manager, & egrave; been indicted by the US Department of Justice on two counts related to fraud and another four related to computer fraud for voluntarily deceiving the Federal Aviation Administration during the certification process of the Boeing 737 Max. in two accidents that claimed the lives of hundreds of people and led to a suspension of flights until December 2020.
Forkner allegedly provided the federal agency with “materially false, inaccurate and incomplete information” on the flight control system, the Maneuvering Features Augmentation System (MCAS), believed to be the cause of both disasters. To the former pilot & egrave; A scheme to defraud airline customers in order to obtain tens of millions of dollars from Boeing was also challenged.
Forkner & egrave; was the first accused in this affair that saw Boeing pay already; over $ 2.5 billion, acknowledging that two of his employees had misled the Federal Aviation Administration. According to what was found in an email sent to some colleagues in 2016, Forkner would have realized the malfunction of the MCAS without informing those responsible.
The MACS & egrave; the anti-stall software that would cause all the crashes. The development of the 737 Max required more engines. large and heavy that could make it susceptible to stalling in certain situations. To avoid this, the MCAS had the task of automatically lowering the front of the aircraft in case the data indicated a risk of stalling by forcing the lowering of the “ nose '' even after the pilots had deactivated it. The MCAS was not present on the previous version of the 737 and the pilots, unprepared for its operation, were no longer; able to regain control of it.
Forkner, in addition to being aware that the MCAS could make the 737 Max difficult to fly, would also have been aware that the system was active at high speeds; lower than those reported by Boeing to the FAA. Approximately eight months after the email was sent, Forkner allegedly prompted the FAA to remove any mention of the MCAS from its reports.
Forkner now faces up to 20 years in prison for each head of the d & # 39; charge of electronic fraud and up to 10 years for each charge of fraud. The 737 Max, we recall, is; It was again authorized to fly by the FAA in November 2020 and the first commercial flights have restarted since last December.
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