Apr 2, 2019

Senate panel to probe FAA safety inspectors after whistleblower complaints

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 β€” 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

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What to watch in tonight's Democratic debate

Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Colorado. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is now the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his opponents are ready to try to knock him down at tonight's debate in Charleston, South Carolina β€” especially Michael Bloomberg, who was the punching bag at the Las Vegas debate.

Why it matters: This is the last debate before Super Tuesday, when Sanders is expected to win California and Texas and could secure an insurmountable lead for the Democratic nomination. That's a direct threat to the entire field, but especially to Bloomberg, who skipped the early states to focus on the March 3 contests.

Bob Iger to step down as CEO of Disney

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday that it had named longtime Disney executive Bob Chapek as CEO Bob Iger's successor, effectively immediately. Iger will remain executive chairman of the company through 2021.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully turned around Disney’s animation and studio businesses and with the strategic acquisition of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Most recently, he was the person behind Disney's successful launch of its Netflix rival Disney+.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business