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

2 hours ago - Sports

Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m. EST: 32,062,182 — Total deaths: 979,701 — Total recoveries: 22,057,268Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m EST: 6,967,103 — Total deaths: 202,558 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  5. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  6. Sports: Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  7. Science: During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

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

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!