tv Washington Journal Mary Schiavo CSPAN March 15, 2019 2:29pm-3:13pm EDT
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we will bring you that this afternoon with the president on c-span. until then, here is some of today's washington journal. is the former inspector general for the transportation department 1990101990 six to talk about 1996ne safety -- 1990 to to talk about airline safety. good morning. the wall page of street journal highlights the decision of the faa about the 737 max. would you think of that decision? >> it was long overdue and very necessary. the thought that the united states could take a position that they can't find anything wrong with the airplane, it was really a word game. they took the position there was nothing wrong with the plane, it was safe to fly, when two airplanes were down and 250 people were dead.
they said the second one was unknown. they didn't know the cause. that statement looked insane to the rest of the world. for them to finally come into line, i'm afraid it was too late. >> can you spell out the statement and what you found wrong with it? >> sure. for the lion aircraft the end of october 2018, the boeing had promised the software fix and manuals update. they did the manuals update, it was a black box warning and how to spot if this was occurring. another part of the manual, paper or electronic, to determine what to do, how to troubleshoot, and how to turn off the system, the maneuvering augmentation characteristics system. they were going to make software changes. that was a directive in december. it seemed to have fixed the
problem. what people did not know is there was a debate behind the scenes. how much of a software fix is this going to entail? are you going to put a limit so the nose can not go down more than a small deflection? could it ever happen again where you go full nose down and the pilot can not overcome that? the human body doesn't have enough strength even with two people pulling on it to pull it up. this debate was raging when on ethiopia,after the crash the faa issued a statement saying we are going to order boeing to have these fixes in place by april. that sounded like they had some sort of a fix, but they didn't. the debate was raging on. behind the scenes there was no resolution on what to do. southwest pilots were meeting with boeing.
behind the scenes they were doing one thing, and on the surface they were saying another . that is the problem we had with the faa. the they pronounced that plane was airworthy and they had no reason to say otherwise, what they were saying was no one has brought us evidence on a silver platter. when we issued the certificate, we relied on boeing and boeing's inspectors and boeing told us it was ok. until we get more evidence we won't change our certificate. that is not the same thing as representing to the world you are the foremost aviation safety agency. that is where they dealt the image of the united states as the aviation leader in the world, that has been dealt a blow.
>> we talk about these issues, the work of the faa, how much sway does boeing have to say these are the issues? what is it say about the current condition of the faa of boeing has that kind of sway? >> boley has had that kind of sway for decades. boeing is not alone in controlling the debate and the certification process. that is how the faa over the years has deferred to the industry. we said the same thing when i was inspector general. we looked at the certification process of the 777. it was an airplane when everyone came to love.when it first rolled off of the assembly line it had glitches. none like this, but it had software glitches. we were tasked to look at it. being that i had great auditors in my employee, we came up with a number. we calculated 95% of the boeing triple seven was self inspected by boeing. that might have been a good thing, because the faa does not
have that capability, but we found specific weaknesses. the faa was very inept at looking at, overseeing, and inspecting, and evaluating any software project. isthat the boeing 777, which 4 million lines of code and 150 computers, much like the 737 max 8 8 and 9. they are comparable in the amount of computers. and air traffic control system. when it is a large computerization project or anything that involves overseeing lines of computer code, the faa was not very good at it. when we did the 777 review, they said we don't know if the lines are good. i am paraphrasing. we don't know if the code is good, if the code works, if the software is going to do
anything. that's not our job. we were looking to see that boeing followed our steps and procedures. that sums it up. it is not just blowing. i don't want to suggest that boeing has done something using the faa like other aviation interests uses the faa. that is the way the faa ro lls. unfortunately in this case a lot of people died. to ask questions, you can call us. for those in the eastern and central time zones, (202) 748-8000. in the mountain and pacific time zone, (202) 748-8001. you can tweak your thoughts @cspanwj. when you hear the president say it takes an m.i.t. person to fly the airplane, what is your reaction? >> it really does. i will chalk that up to the
president is busy and did not have time to dig deeply into aviation safety specifics. as someone who wrote a book on it, it takes a long time to dig through that kind of stuff. advancementsdern in aircraft, and the life-saving ones have relied on computers. ground proximity warning systems, the advance weather system, microburst warning system, the new air traffic control system. all of those advances have translated into improvement in safety statistics. models after the initial usually small glitches new with thet, the model has a better aviation safety record. you havee to say that to crunch through numbers and statistics. those are lifesaving
improvements that rely upon computers. you do not have to be a m.i.t. rocket scientist to fly. i got my flight training before i went to law school will stop i am not a rocket scientist. i'm the first one to say you don't have to be that to fly a plane. what you do have to have is your ,ircraft manual has to tell you and your training has to tell you, everything that can affect your flight control of that plane. that comes back to the 737 max 8 and nine. before the crash at the end of october, the pilots were not told that the airplane is itself would take over and that the pilots could not forcefully override without turning off the system override the nose down deflection. that is a control issue with the plane. the pilots should have been told and they were rightfully irate. host: you are in the process of
flight. how would the manual come into this? how does that work? i always like a quote by donald douglas, the founder of douglas aircraft. it went out of existence after the dc-10 crash. he said when the weight of the paper equals the weight of the plane you can go fly. manuals are so important that they are separately certified. they are such an important part of the plane. i worked plane crashes where a mistake in the manual downed the plane. lion air i think can readily be plus a lot more, computer problems, but the manuals didn't tell them what to do so they were flying blind. i have had cases where diagrams were reversed and no one had
ever done a manuals check. since7 has been around 1967. that means that the manual has been around since 1967. you adapt the plane and change the plane and it gets better and you do other things to it, but the basis of the manual involves. it is like evolution. when you make major changes come you have to have a manual to review and say does this still makes sense given what we have done to the plane? has anyone made sure that they hang together after we have hung all of the ornaments on the 737? that would be one of the things investigators look at. if the manuals have been updated. i worked the plane crash most of what we found was the manual started out as a clean air manual, then the king air manual, then the beach 1900-b
manual will stop there were errors in the manual that had been there since the beginning. we found in that case that the manual had not had a major , and overhaul. if you don't tell people how to do things, you can't expect them to do it properly. one issue said on the checklist to check the trim system. ok the motor is on it is working. it did not say check the directionality of the trim system. make sure that if the motor is running that it is going in the direction you commanded the electric tram. that is what -- electric trim. the crash.t caused you have to tell pilots and maintenance people in the manuals what to do. (202) 748-8000 for the eastern and central time zone. (202) 748-8001 for mountain and
pacific time zones. in kentucky, hello. ask to i would like to what extent the current culture of deregulation in washington has caused this issue with say funding problems for regulation within the faa and their decision-making process. guest: great question. i've seen that over several decades. deregulationn -- was interpreted, and generalizing of course, but interpreted as a carte blanc. and manufacturers believed they have more freedom to chart the course of their development, development of new airplanes, etc. theyaa saw that as a cue should defer more to the industry. they did and they have. faagultion said to the
that they are in partnership with the airlines and the manufacturers and aviation interests. you can find statements with a say that the airlines are their customers. you would think that the safety of the american people would be their customers, but they believe they are in partnership with the industry. cues thation sends they are not the cop on the beat. they are one of the folks at the table in the industry. le.t is not their ro we have to have the cop on the beat. we can trust the airlines, we can trust going. the faa differs to them greatly. we have to go back to what the american people expect and what the max disasters told the world that may be we are not verifying. ulation plays into that.
the vision that they are partner in the aviation industry plays into that. maybe even the shutdown played into that. we are waiting on parts to come back from the government from crashes. the shutdown delay the process. didn't delay them working on the 737 max 8 8? i guess the investigation will play that out. host: when it comes to the black boxes, there are pictures of them in the paper, if you are investigating what information are you looking for from the box? guest: thank heavens the black boxes are the newest version. the talk that voice recorder has 25 hours of recording. the lionw from aircraft, the first 737
max crash in october, the recording was tremendously helpful. that had recordings of prior flights. including ones where they had had problems and had written in the maintenance blog to get the system. they gave them clues and what was going on. that the recordings of the flight. the 25 hours of recording will be extremely valuable, because they will be able to hear if there were problems before. is the pilots had recorded difficulties on prior flights. what they were doing to fight this. did they have problems understanding instructions? did they know what was going on? it would give them a picture of how a human being in the cockpit was approaching the software and control problem. the flight data recorders, again, really advance. 1000t 1000 parameters,
leads of data from the aircraft. it will give investigators -- it is a split second by split second snapshot of what was going on. it will give them the cause of the crash. it will do it rather readily. as soon as they download it, they will probably have it. says is twitter, jody it artificial intelligence crashing the airplanes or humans trusting artificial intelligence crashing the airplanes? guest: it is what they call flight laws. human beings making decisions about what they want the plane to do by itself. this is so fascinating. theyis happening is when put in what makes the max 8 so powerful is new engines. it was supposed to be a better performing plane, more efficient and more powerful.
once they swapped the engine, and found that the nose tended to pitch up. that is dangerous because it can stall the aircraft. human beings made the decision, instead of calculating how to fix that, one of the most basic issues of flight, weight and balance and angle of attack, they decided to have a computer. they programmed the software system tocas counteract a basic weight and balance issue. to counteract that by pushing the nose down. the fault is of the humans who wrote the flight laws in the computer algorithm to do that. i think that the investigators will question that. was that a good thing for the faa to approve? computer system
correction, the plane is not airworthy. they will be asking if the humans made a mistake saying that is a fix to the pitch up problem. twitter,ther off of how many uneventful takeoffs have?he 737 max guest: i can use southwest. had backhey said they to the time of the lion air crash, 90,000 hours and 40,000 cycles, meaning takeoff and landing. that gives you an idea from one airline. the lion air investigation said that the reason this got kicked off is there was an instrumentation problem in the andk that -- in the cockpit the angle of attack indicators
were not agreeing. you did not on other flights have a malfunction of some of the instruments that the mcas from. takes its cue that happened in lyon air. the angle of attack indicator was erroneous, and the mcas read that as time to kick in the trim down. that is according to the investigation from lion air. there will be more coming out of the ethiopia investigation as well. host: hello. caller: good morning. i was curious, are these new 737's still having cable controls between the controls and the cut it in the flight surfaces? or is it a flyby wire set up? i saw a spokesperson for pilot association who was deeply angry about not having information from the software manufacturers. can these planes be controlled
from the ground? that is all i got for you. thank you. combination.re a they are not a true fly by wire because they are based on the traditional 737. these planes at this juncture in the aviation nations of the world know passenger aircraft are controlled from the ground. you are correct. ral aviation administration has tested that out with large aircraft over the united states which could carry passengers. they tested that capability a decade ago. it is possible, but that equipment is not operational on any passenger carrying airline. maybe that is what the president meant when he said pilots would not be necessary. they are now and they will be for the foreseeable future.
that is not a capability of doing that. the pilots, because they still, nots not a try by -- it is a flyby wire, because they do have to fly the plane and that they have the actual controls they are manipulating through that is another reason why they were so angry they weren't told. you need to know how you are flying the plane. and there is the old school. when i learned to fly a long time ago, you could feel the p lane. a touch of the controls told you lot. there have been complaints that over time the ability to have the touch on the controls is gone and you don't have the feel of flying anymore. the safety statistics say all of the improvements until this have helped. the statistics have gotten better. host: the former inspector general for the transportation
department. go ahead. caller: good morning. good to see you on television. i have read your book. i am just putting forward the idea that what the government needs is to have people who have better knowledge. they are very intelligent, our leaders, but they don't have the support innowledge areas across our society, everything from banking to agriculture to international studies. they just -- there doesn't seem to be enough. earlier in the program, the faa did not have the people to really supervise the industry and say this software is likely to fail every so many cycles. we need better trained people at the top of our society. host: apologies for that.
point, whatr's would you do in changing the light of what we are talking about? guest: the caller is absolutely right. i wrote about this in my now very old book. the problem is leadership changes so rapidly. when i was inspector general i argued for it. i eventually got the head of the faa should have a term. during my time in government, i think i served under six or seven different administrators at the faa. they came and went. they tended to be fairly political. they tended to have an airline background. sometimes not a technical airline background. they pretty much accepted at face value what rank-and-file told them. sometimes rank-and-file is terrific. that is where some of your real expertise lies in career people in the faa will stop somewhere it turned into a political
issue. not partisan political. not republican versus democrat. aviation political interest follows the money. if a certain state or district has an aviation interest they will argue one way versus another. there was one congressman we called the congressman from a certain airline. i won't mention him or his airline. over time there was a bit of brain drain in the faa deferred more to boeing and the airline. the caller is right. the solution is to require high standards at the faa. the faa -- in my opinion, they were a secretive circle the wagon agency. they promote from within. they are suspicious of change. it would take a culture change to get that going. 9/11 dealt them a blow that they deserved.
two thousandr 11 one happened the security function was stripped from them. they were in charge of security on september 11 and didn't do it and they lost a lot of people. i think they are still recovering from their past failures. the acting administrator for the faa, does it concern you that we call him acting administrator? guest: it depends on what the acting administrator does. i worked with many acting administrators, some were good and some are not. it depends on what his real constitution is. to make changes and make sure that the faa is turned into a stellar cop on the aviation , or if theyo speak look at themselves as another partner at the table with the airlines and boeing. and to commit to make sure that they have the ability to understand huge projects.
not just aircraft certification. the next generation of aircraft controls. perhaps it will not be computerization, the five g network integration. it could be a wonderful undertaking, but i don't inc. they are on top of it. ahead.rizona, brian, go say that would like to the former inspector general is spot on with her comments about the evolution of tech. the maintenance manuals and flight operation manuals. as a retired boeing employee i worked on the maintenance side performing retrofits. we used to find errors in tech manual maintenance manuals that toed back 12 to 15 years previous models of the same aircraft. the explanation was, the government approved it without
reviewing it because it has been in the manual for so many years. she is absolutely spot on. thank you. thank you. i learned that by working a crash. that is how you find the errors. in massachusetts, there were the errors. it is sad that it takes the loss of life define these mistakes. there will be congressional hearings that they will address the manual issue. host: what about inspections and maintenance? the federal government requires of airlines on inspection and maintenance is that it follows the federal government checklist. i am not being flippant. that is true. they have a checklist they check when they look at an airline. perform by surrogate inspectors, designated
inspectors. when the faa inspector comes, they look if the inspectors checked all of the boxes. each airline has a certificate manager, the overarching inspector. those inspectors are often co-located with the airlines. the criticism of that in the past has been they have gotten cozy with the airline. i don't think that would disqualify an inspector to be co-located with the airline, as long as the inspector is fully independent and fully reviews everything being done. the problem we found when we investigated the system of inspection when you do for most of the airline is most the time he became very blase fair -- very blase fair. until something went wrong. then it was backtracking and going back and it is backtrackid going back and retracing steps and then mak -- they try to play
catch-up. the damage to the reputation in the media has been done. andy: our guest not only served as former inspector general for the transportation department, her book, flying blind flying mary schiavo joining us. caller: there's no reason why we cannot have redundancy or backup measures as a last step. secondly, just like any other free market thing, a period of time the sanitization -- american owned some of the service are not standardized around the world i've gone back to firing available people. butnot a technology person i know one thing. when you cut corners and spend more money on advertising saying you got a seven course meal
30,000 feet above and the maintenance manuals are not kept ---- not many inspectors like the food industry or anything else. bottom line and bonus is the name of the game. the congress goes along with it. host: thank you, john. guest: he is absolutely right the evolution of the faa and the inspection oversight is something that is not a good trend. this problem of making money versus oversight that's why the faa needs to be independent. when i was inspector general we had several issues we were -- we had ag worldwide effort with the federal bureau of investigation, an undercover operation to bogusr oldest aircraft -- aircraft parts.
going ands project the faa put in writing and sent a letter stop this investigation, this is hardly something that the airlines need when they are drowning in red ink. it was stunning to me -- of course we did not stop. it was stunning to me that they wanted to do this balancing act and come down on the side of the economics for the airline back in the 90's -- back in the 1990's. if you're going to have complete deregulation you need informednt but very and i don't want to say strict but people who are enforcement minded, that they do not mind .eing a cop the faa does not like to be a cop. host: rich, you are next up for our guest, good morning. caller: great discussions. one thing that seems to be the black boxes exist. dollars are going by and we
don't have them yet. we're just working to find out what's on that. it should be required in 24 hours if those boxes existed they get back to where they should be. lives and dollars are on the line. we should have switches anytime to go from manual to automated because we will run into this whole lot of places where computers are involved. in industry we have that problem now. we have off switches that are visible and people have to know where they are. something went wrong, i'm shutting off the machines because someone is going to get hurt. we have the airbag problem on cars. no one was allowed to throw the switch off and say this thing is going to shoot me in my chest i can turn it off because the insurance companies or whatever would let it happen. right around all this stuff. i will listen to your answers. thanks.
comments one the the black boxes. last october literally when the lion aircraft went down i was at the international conference of plane crash investigators. the issue at that conference was black box technology. conference when the world is searching for black boxes on the bottom of an ocean 370 wentin after mh missing. a lot of the focus on black boxes is requiring technology so there will be either one continuous streaming of data, which airlines have complained about because that is expensive, you have to pay for the data streaming service to the satellite, or having a system for when the airline is in trouble the black rocks -- black box sends its data and the data is streamed so the airline has it. this is similar to the data
programs that are already on the plane. they stream data back and forth already. but not to the extent that the black box does. the big debate now is to make it so that you will have the data immediately if something is going wrong and you don't have the chance of not finding a black box on an ocean floor or buildings on 9/11 2001, the black boxes did not survive the fire. that is the next generation technology they are working on now. something's going wrong, the data streams and you have it. the other thing discussed was having ejected will black box when the plane is going down the black box shoots out. you are still searching for a black box in an inferno in an ocean. technology is perhaps on the coas cost of getting better. host: when it comes to the actual flight, how much is done by computer and how much with the hand on the wheel or the
stick? guest: it depends how you want to fly. right now literally it depends if the airline orders in this way. the whole thing could be done by the computer. most pilots hand fly the takeoff and landing. you see for example the asiatic crash in san francisco. the problemars ago, they got into, it was triple seven, it hit the seawall coming in. they had a problem of they were flying it but have switched off some equipment and did not realize the speed protection computer was no longer functioning. if you are going to hand fly you have to make sure you are not relying on the computer to do something that you should be doing and the same thing on approaches. visual approaches, we had the other incident in san francisco
where an air canada flight almost landed on the top of several airplanes on the taxiway. you want to hand fly it you have to take the place of instruments and keep doing that visual instrument suite is the computers, if you are not following them you got to do it on your own. of that the problem of the interface there. host: we will hear from maria from illinois. caller: my question, because i up, iot heard this come do have young adults and they computers. will the investigation being the show in either of these max accidents whether or not the software was hacked? orthere a real concern
serious thought about while planes are in flight on the computers software system completely dependent that there is hacking ability to create havoc for the pilots? guest: absolutely and i'm glad you brought that up. tremendous concern in the industry about the ability to have air traffic control, about theairports ability to hack into those systems. that is a huge worry for the air traffic control system. something called a bsb, obviously it will be even more lifesaving to keep planes separated around the globe. there's a tremendous worry about to insulate those systems from hacking and to be able to determine attacks on the system.
built into the system. that protection has to be there. same thing on the aircraft. specific question about whether the investigators will be able to tell if the plane was hacked, yes they will because they will be able to tell from the black boxes where the command inputs came from. host: from michigan, this is philip. good morning. caller: good morning. my question is do you think group decision-making will become mandatory in the future? how do you feel about the columbia and the challenger going down because the administrators failed to look at the information properly to save the people from dying? guest: absolutely. it does take a bunch. that's why i think the industry and the faa, we credit the ntsb
for this one, that is why crew resource management is mandatory . you are supposed to be continuously challenging each other, discussing with each other. if someone raises a concern, for example if you're coming in and one of the pilots as we need to do a go around you got to act on that. by requiring that constant challenging and not just taking one person's opinion for it, aviation has gotten safer for that. the national transportation safety board that was calling for years for mandating this system. it is called crew resource management. this constant challenging and reviewing of different decisions along the way. ,hat is something faa oversight that their inspectors need to look at, not just did they check every box but how did they get to the point where they say we've done this process and the
processes were very important. the processes themselves, as to how you do the decision-making, are supposed to be approved by the faa certification process. how you arrive at your decision is sometimes as important as your decision. host: don from kansas, you're the last call. caller: yes. 2000,eing up until around spent a lot of money on research and development. about the time they moved to chicago they became more of the corporationican interested in the finances and big dividends for everybody and they forced a lot of the research and development on to their suppliers. for the 787 it was 70% foreign. i wonder how that figures into this. guest: there was a change. i think the change came before the 787. i think the change in the theory
and supplying's and just-in-time deliveries and management came with the triple seven. was a documentary and it is hard to find now. pretty much disappeared. in this movie it talks about the fact that it had hundreds of suppliers around the world and they were in charge -- they took the specs from boeing, that they created and produced and delivered just-in-time for just -- in time for assembly, the parts. boeing was probably the fact that that was a global aircraft produced from -- i think they said they had 157 different major companies from around the world and how many countries? i used to know the country count on that. it was a different approach to assembling the aircraft. , thes not seattle suppliers and designers in one area. now it became an extended