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Senate Commerce Committee chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate Commerce Committee said Tuesday it's investigating multiple whistleblower complaints accusing the Federal Aviation Administration of improperly training its aviation safety inspectors, including some who reviewed the now-grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets involved in two recent crashes.

Details: Committee chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said in a letter to acting FAA administrator Daniel Elwell that information obtained from the whistleblowers suggested that the FAA may have been notified about training and certification concerns as early as August 2018 — before the Lion Air crash in October. He also noted that he's concerned about those who have been improperly trained and certified and may have participated in evaluations of Boeing 737 MAX flight control systems suspected of causing both crashes.

  • Boeing 737 MAX’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), an automated flight-control system, has come under scrutiny in the wake of the fatal crashes. Investigators believed it was erroneously activated during the Lion Air flight in Indonesia, and the system may have played a role in last month's crash.
  • The FAA, which is responsible for certifying new planes, has faced backlash for not grounding the Boeing 737 MAX jets faster, as well as for delegating certification activities to Boeing.
  • Wicker did not say whether the whistleblowers worked for the FAA, another agency or Boeing.

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

Go deeper

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

2 hours ago - Science

Exploding demand for laboratory space

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Office occupancy rates remain deflated across industries, but one type of workplace is in high demand: labs.

The big picture: A number of trends — in public health, American demographics and venture capital funding — are colliding to supercharge the life sciences industry.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Technology

Trump's unconventional social media SPAC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Donald Trump's social media startup is under investigation by federal securities regulators, before it's even launched a product, and every new disclosure seems to invite new questions.

Why it matters: Trump Media & Technology Group was always bound to be controversial, but it's inviting extra scrutiny by keeping basic details secret and making wild promises.

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