Stumo Family Urges Senate Commerce Committee to Reject Wicker Aviation Safety Bill

The family of Samya Rose Stumo, who died in the the crash of the Boeing 737 MAX in Ethiopia on March 10, 2019, has sent a letter to the members of the Senate Commerce Committee urging them to reject legislation, called The Aviation Safety Improvement Act of 2020, that was introduced this week by the Chairman of the Committee Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).

Samya Rose Stumo

On June 17, 2020, the Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the Federal Aviation Administration’s oversight of its certification processes. 

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson will testify about issues associated with the design, development, certification, and operation of the Boeing 737 MAX following international accidents in the past two years.

The Stumos said the Wicker bill should be called “The Boeing Protection Act.” 

“It does not limit excessive delegation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) duties to Boeing,” they wrote. “It does not allow the FAA to remove nonperforming Boeing engineers doing work for FAA.  It does not allow the FAA to supervise or have direct contact with Boeing engineers doing work for FAA. The bill does not fix the problem of only 27 young, inexperienced FAA technical staff in the BASOO office pretending to oversee 1500 Boeing ‘authorized representatives’ doing FAA work. It allows Boeing to continue hiding problems, failing to perform crucial system safety assessments of critical aircraft systems, engaging in ‘jedi mind tricks’ as to FAA and laughing at scenes of ‘dogs watching TV’ as Boeing emails revealed months ago.” 

“The Aviation Safety Improvement Act merely mandates a safety management system – irrelevant to the reasons for the crash – and requires the FAA to do a series of internal studies. Studies are where issues go to die.” 

“The Aviation Safety Improvement Act of 2020 is weak and it dishonors Samya’s memory and we oppose it. We know that other ET302 families oppose it as well.  We urge the Commerce Committee to be bold and achieve a new era of aviation safety that we can be proud of and that other countries admire.” 

The Stumos said that “there has been a full year of horrific disclosures showing why this second crash should not have happened.” 

“Boeing hid critical information from FAA. FAA excessively delegated and abdicated certification decisions to Boeing. System Safety Assessments were not performed on critical safety systems like MCAS. Old tech  – no flight control system, no redundancy in rudder control –  was put in the MAX because of the faulty amended type certificate process. Too many aircraft were pumped through the Boeing factory each month causing severe worker and supplier problems.”

“FAA and Boeing knew, after the first crash of Lion Air in October 2018, that the MCAS was a deadly problem. They predicted, through a Transport Aircraft Risk Assessment Methodology (TARAM), another 15 crashes without a fix. But they did not ground the plane pending a fix.  The next crash killed my daughter. And 156 others.” 

“FAA promised, repeatedly, to be transparent to crash families and to provide answers to all questions and documents supporting. We asked for documents. They said “we’ll get back to you”. They provided zero documents in the last year despite our requests. They don’t do what they say they will do.” 

“FAA deludes itself, in an institutional self protection instinct, into thinking its delegation system is fine. New Administrator Steve Dickson has identified no employees that made mistakes – during the certification of this Obama era plane – and has replaced or disciplined no one. He could have brought in his own team to rebuild professionalism and trust in the FAA, but he did not.” 

“Other countries no longer trust FAA claims of airworthiness and safety. FAA refused to respond to the Joint Authorities Technical Review report – wherein those other countries reviewed FAA actions – that severely criticized its actions.” 

“The ET302 families have told Chairman Wicker and many members of the committee that excessive delegation must be fixed so FAA does its safety job and Boeing can no longer cut corners to make a buck. That was our core demand. We asked for family members and outside experts to testify at hearings. That request was not met.” 

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