Blind spots: How the Boeing 737 MAX disasters exposed flaws in Canada’s reliance on U.S. aviation policy
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- Transport Canada's close ties to the FAA appeared to work – until the Max catastrophes. Documents show a system built on trust created gaps of information as Canadian regulators followed the lead of their U.S. counterparts
- Essentially, Transport Canada checks the FAA's math, looking at whatever analysis the FAA has done, but not scrutinizing the plane directly itself, unless it has a specific request or concern. It's a system that's been used in many countries for decades to expedite plane certifications and reduce work for regulators.
On Sunday, March 10, as word spread of a deadly plane crash near Addis Ababa, a disturbing picture began to emerge.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 had plummeted to the ground just six minutes after takeoff. The aircraft hit with such force that it tore a crater 10 metres deep, with the plane nearing the speed of sound before impact. All 157 people onboard were killed, 18 of them Canadians.
It was a brand-new plane, a state-of-the-art Boeing 737 Max. Less than five months earlier, the same model had crashed off the coast of Indonesia under eerily similar circumstances, losing control shortly after takeoff. 189 people died. That aircraft was also new.
Nothing was conclusive, but governments around the world were already asking the critical question: Were these two tragic events related? New planes just don't fall from the sky.
But the 737 Max had been airborne less than two years and already two had failed – catastrophically. Statistically, it was now one of the deadliest commercial airliners ever produced, with more casualties in its first 48 months than any other plane in history...
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