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Senators Ask for Planes to Be Grounded, Hearing Planned Following Fatal Boeing Crashes

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

The Senate subcommittee on aviation and space will hold a hearing to discuss air flight safety following two crashes from the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircrafts that killed all of their passengers.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MI), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, confirmed Tuesday that a hearing will be set to discuss the issue. 

"It is important to allow the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) and other agencies to conduct thorough investigations to ensure they have as much information as possible to make informed decisions," Wicker said. "Thousands of passengers every day depend on the aviation system to get them safely to their destinations, and we must never become complacent with the level of safety in our system. Therefore, the committee plans to hold a hearing reviewing the state of aviation safety to ensure that safety is maintained for all travelers."

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who chairs the subcommittee on aviation, said it’s important that the U.S. ground their MAX 8 planes like the rest of the world. Even if investigations don’t show that mechanical issues caused the deaths of their passengers, Cruz argued that the safety of the people inside should come first.

“In light of the decisions of regulatory agencies across the world to ground the Model 737 Max,” Cruz said in a statement. “Including those in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, and other countries, I believe it would be prudent for the United States likewise to temporarily ground 737 Max aircraft until the FAA confirms the safety of these aircraft and their passengers.”

The FAA tweeted late Tuesday that they’ve found no evidence suggesting that the MAX 8 planes are suffering from performance issues. The department advised that the models continue to run normally.

Since the fatal crash of a MAX 8 plane that killed 157 people Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, other politicians on both sides are calling for the planes to be grounded. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a 2020 presidential candidate, said that, “serious questions have been raised about whether these planes were pressed into service without additional pilot training to save money.” She joined Cruz in demanding that all MAX 8 flights are stopped.

"Any necessary changes must be made before, not after, more flights occur and more lives are potentially endangered," Warren said. 

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UH) also mentioned the MAX 8 planes in a tweet Tuesday.

“Until the cause of the crash is known and it’s clear that similar risks aren’t present in the domestic fleet, I believe all Boeing 737 MAX 8 series aircraft operating in the United States should be temporarily grounded,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said. “This aircraft model represents only a small fraction of the domestic fleet, and several other countries have already taken this important step, including China and Indonesia.”

Federal reports obtained by CNN revealed that U.S. pilots complained about the MAX 8 in the past. Anonymous members listed issues with, “unintended nose-down situations” when flying the planes.

President Donald Trump blamed the crashes on automated technology replacing experienced pilots, echoing Warren’s comment.

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