Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX. Photo: China News Service/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration concluded that no retraining was necessary upon introducing the MCAS system in the Boeing 737 MAX 8 to commercial pilots, according to the FAA's Acting Administrator Daniel K. Elwell, who, on Wednesday, said he did not believe the certification process of the aircraft included training for sensor malfunctioning or reporting of faulty data in flight simulations.

Details: Elwell, who expressed confidence in the MCAS system — short for Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System that Boeing installed to prevent the aircraft from stalling — admitted there was no "specific instruction on the MCAS," to his knowledge. The Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Aviation and Space held a hearing on federal oversight and the approval process within the aviation industry, largely focusing on the FAA's certification process for the Boeing's 737 MAX 8 — which has been involved in 2 fatal crashes in less than a year, killing 346 people — and the relationship between the industry and its regulators.

The backdrop: Investigations are ongoing following October's Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 earlier this month. The "first priority in aviation must always be the safety of the flying public," said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in his introductory remarks at Wednesday's hearing.

  • In his opening comments, Elwell said the FAA was "fully involved" in the certification process for the Boeing 737 MAX 8, referencing "133 of the 297 flight tests" the FAA worked on. Elwell also reminded the subcommittee that "in the past 10 years, there has only been one commercial airline passenger fatality in the United States in over 90 million flights.
  • Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) asked Elwell why pilots were not required to receive simulator training for the Boeing 737 MAX 8, to which he explained that a Flight Standardization Board recommended that no additional training was required, with pilots from around the world agreeing unanimously that the 737 MAX was similar enough to earlier models.
  • Elwell clarified that MCAS is not an anti-stall system, but a supplement to the speed-trim system, adding "it is still yet to be determined if the malfunctioning of the [angle of attack] AOA caused the crash. We actually don't yet know what caused the crash."
  • When pressed by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.,) Robert Sumwalt, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board and Elwell could not explain how they would have regained control of the Lion Air flight when the nose of the plane dipped 21 times before crashing.
  • In a heated exchange with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) Elwell said: "Sir, the distinction between what goes in a flight deck and what stays out is a discussion, and whether or not a display is safety critical or not, is a distinction FAA is qualified to make."

Quick take: Earlier on Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) asked Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao about the relationship between the FAA and Boeing regarding safety certifications, to which Chao said she was "concerned about any allegations of coziness." Also on Wednesday, Boeing released software updates to the MCAS software system.

What's next: The subcommittee plans to hold a second hearing for non-government witnesses, including Boeing. Per Elwell: "The 737 MAX will return to service for U.S. carriers only when the FAA's analysis of the facts and technical data indicate that it is appropriate to do so."

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the 737 MAX crashes

Go deeper

13 mins ago - Health

Popular independent COVID tracker officially ends daily updates

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer group of data analysts, researchers, and journalists brought together by The Atlantic, published its final daily update on Monday — the one-year anniversary of its founding.

Why it matters: The project quickly became a vital resource for news media, academic researchers, and everyday Americans to track COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the absence of reliable and public data from the federal government.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Energy and climate move closer to center stage on Capitol Hill

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The imminent enactment of Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package creates space for lawmakers and the White House to craft infrastructure plans with big climate and energy-related provisions.

Why it matters: President Biden, during the campaign, vowed to make low-carbon energy, climate-resilient infrastructure and transportation projects a big focus of an economic recovery package. And the Texas power crisis could give fresh momentum to investments in grid modernization.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The European Central Bank and the market's moment of truth

ECB president Christine Lagarde; Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The biggest event for markets this week will be Thursday's meeting of the European Central Bank's governing council and the press conference following it from ECB president Christine Lagarde.

Why it matters: With interest rates jumping around the globe, investors are looking to central bank heads to see if they will follow the lead of Fed chair Jerome Powell, who says rising rates are nothing to worry about, or Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who has drawn a line in the sand on rates.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!