Rockwell Collins
Rockwell C Headsupdisplay 800

FAA to Fine Boeing on New 737 Violation

March 9, 2020
A penalty of $19.68 million is proposed in a case involving unauthorized sensors on nearly 800 Boeing 737 Next-Generation and 737 MAX jets.

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed a $19.68 million penalty against Boeing Co. for allegedly installing unauthorized sensors on nearly 800 aircraft of the 737 series, including 618 Boeing 737 Next-Generation and 173 Boeing 737 MAX jets.

Boeing has 30 days to respond the FAA’s enforcement letter.

The unapproved sensors are listed as Rockwell Collins head-up guidance systems, which the agency stated were installed on 791 jets between June 2015 and April 2019. A head-up (or heads-up) display (HUD) is a transparent data presentation that allows pilots to receive up-to-date readings without looking away from a standard field of vision.

FAA alleges that Boeing violated federal aviation regulations when it certified those 737s as airworthy, though they were not in conformance with their type certificate — the authorization that FAA issues to accredit an aircraft category or series' airworthiness, according to its manufacturing design (‘type’). It certifies that the aircraft is manufactured according to an approved design, and that the design ensures compliance with airworthiness requirements.

FAA further alleges that Boeing failed to follow its own Business Process Instructions, which are meant to prevent such violations from occurring.

According to FAA's statement, Rockwell Collins subsequently conducted the necessary testing and risk analysis for the systems it manufactured, and updated the documents.

The 737 program is already under close scrutiny. The 737 MAX aircraft continue to be grounded, waiting clearance from FAA and other air-safety regulators to resume operations after two fatal crashes in October 2018 and March 2019. Other certification and maintenance issues have been raised against the 737 MAX in the course of the worldwide grounding.

The FAA separately discovered that numerous 737-NG jets (the design generation that preceded the 737 MAX) have defective "slat tracks" -- components that attach a jet's fuselage to the wing structure. In that instance, the agency said Boeing failed to maintain its quality assurance system and knowingly certified aircraft as "airworthy".

Latest from News

Liujunrong | Dreamstime
Dmitry Kalinovsky | Dreamstime
Spirit AeroSystems
Ford / Rudolph Libbe Group
General Motors