Pilots of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 were forced to land Tuesday, marking another instance of safety concerns surrounding the controversial craft. No passengers were on board when the plane made its emergency landing.
The pilots were scheduled to arrive at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, CA before they noticed issues with the engine. The plane will land in Southwest Airlines’ maintenance facility in Orlando, FL for inspection.
“The FAA said in a statement that it was investigating the landing,” The Hill reported. But House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) suggested that the word of the Federal Aviation Administration wasn’t going to be good enough in ensuring the safety of their planes.
“The traveling public needs assurances that the FAA will only recertify the aircraft for flight if and when the FAA, outside safety and technical experts, and pilots agree the aircraft is safe to fly,” DeFazio said Tuesday.
Before President Trump announced on Mar. 13 that the U.S. would ground all of their Max 8 and Max 9 planes, the FAA stated that they found no evidence of faulty behavior from the models to warrant grounding them. Their decision came just after two Max 8 planes crashed within six months, killing all of their passengers.
Policy makers on the left and right disagreed. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mitt Romney (R-UH) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) all called for Boeing to ground their planes. Trump also shared concerns about the planes, but The New York Times said that Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing, called the president and, “encouraged him to keep the planes flying.”
“Yet Boeing did not make Mr. Muilenburg or other executives available for interviews at the time,” The Times reported. “Nor did anyone in Washington — like Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao or Daniel Elwell, the acting F.A.A. chief — truly step forward to become the face of the government response.”
Boeing executives, excluding Muilenburg, will meet today in Renton, WA with around 200 pilots and regulators to discuss possible changes to the 737 Max models.