While the outlet describes the report's scope as "narrow", the task force was able to review the certification of the 737 MAX's automated system, known as MCAS, which had a key role in the fatal Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights in October 2018 and March this year, respectively.
"With adequate FAA engagement and oversight, the extent of delegation does not in itself compromise safety", states the report, which is scheduled to be released officially later today (Oct. 11).
It concludes that the FAA wasn't sufficiently aware of what MCAS was and so was unable to exercise proper oversight; and that "undue pressures" were placed on Boeing staff carrying out tasks on behalf of the regulator.
The FAA thanked the panel for its "unvarnished" report.
In both of the crashes, a single damaged sensor plunged the plane into a irremediable nose dive just minutes after take-off, leaving pilots with no chance of correcting the 737 MAX's path.
According to the report, the FAA had been made aware of MCAS, though "the information and discussions about MCAS were so fragmented and were delivered to disconnected groups" that it 'was hard to recognize the impacts and implications of this system'.
Investigators recommended the FAA confirm the MAX's compliance with regulations regarding the plane's flight guidance system, flight manual and stall demonstration.
Morocco's national carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) has suspended a deal to purchase two more Boeing BA.N 737 MAX jets after the same model of aircraft crashed in Ethiopia, a source from the airline told Reuters on Thursday.
"We have cooperated fully with the FAA's independent review of the Max aircraft, and we won't put our customers and employees on that plane until regulators make their own independent assessment that it is safe to do so", the company said in a statement.
Over the years it has delegated more and more safety certification work to Boeing.
The company is also addressing a flaw discovered in the software architecture of the 737 Max flight-control system involving using and receiving input from the plane's two flight control computers rather than one.
The report suggested that the FAA reconsider how much time it estimates pilots will need to troubleshoot a problem, because of that increasing complexity. European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) officials told senior US counterparts that one element of the fixes, having two flight control computers operate simultaneously, goes against decades of prior design and has not been adequately tested, the news agency wrote. "The accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia are a sombre reminder that the FAA and our worldwide regulatory partners must strive to constantly strengthen aviation safety".
Boeing said it appreciates the work of the panel led by the former chairman of the U.S. Transportation Safety Board, Christopher Hart. It has said it is revising the plane's software to improve safeguards.