In a statement released Thursday evening, North Texas District Attorney Chad Mitcham said Mark Forkner, 49, was defrauding the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of saving Boeing money.
“His heartless choice to deceive the FAA would have hampered the company’s ability to protect passengers and left the pilots in the snow without any information about certain elements of the flight control of the 737 MAX,” the prosecutor said.
This is about withholding information about the MCAS automatic flight control system from Forkner controllers. According to the attorney’s office, the pilot, who chaired the technical team for the 737 MAX, did not inform the company of any changes found in the operation of the system, so they were not included in the instructions for the pilots. Lion Air 610 flights in Indonesia and Ethiopian Airlines in Ethiopia contributed to 302 disasters, killing a total of 346 people. The result was a gap of almost two years on the 737 MAX aircraft.
If Forkner has fulfilled its duty, pilots using the engines should receive additional training in the simulator, which will increase the cost of the 737 MAX and reduce the competitiveness of the Boeing offer on Airbus.
Forkner has been charged with six counts of fraud, the most severe of which is up to 20 years in prison. The man openly admitted that he was going to deceive the regulators, including the evidence collected by the prosecutor’s office, and that he had lied to the FAA.
The former Boeing pilot first hears allegations of corruption. In early 2021, the U.S. company paid more than $ 2.5 billion to the families of disaster victims as part of a settlement with the prosecutor’s office accusing it of fraud and deception of regulators.
According to the House of Representatives’ investigation report, not only the company but also “FAA oversight” is not responsible for this situation. The law to tighten this oversight was passed by Congress in 2020.
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