(New York) A former Boeing test pilot was charged Thursday with failing to send sensitive information to the FAA by the U.S. Air Traffic Controller during the 737 MAX certification, his attorney said Friday.
Mark Forkner, 49, was the first person to be criminally prosecuted in connection with the causes of two 737 Max crashes that killed 346 people in 2018 and 2019.
“This tragedy is something we deserve to seek the truth – not a victim,” his lawyer, David Kerker, told AFP.
“If the government takes this case to justice, it will show the truth that Mark did not cause this tragedy, that he did not lie and that he should not be charged,” he added.
Mr. Forkner was indicted Thursday by a large arbitral tribunal in Texas. He is accused of providing “false, inaccurate and incomplete information” to the FAA about a change in MCAS flight control software that was embroiled in two tragedies. For doing this to save Boeing money.
In a message to a colleague revealed in 2019, he noted that the software made it difficult to fly a plane on a simulator.
But he deliberately chose not to share this information with the FAA, which does not require specific training for pilots and should not include a reference to MCAS in training documents.
Boeing has already acknowledged its responsibility in dealing with the authorities and agreed to pay more than $ 2.5 billion in January to settle some of the cases. But no one has yet been prosecuted in this case.
Representatives of the families of the victims were present on Friday. Forkner often said he was a “revenge”.
“Boeing has set up an organization for short-term financial gains and Mark Forkner operates within this organization,” said Nadia Milleron, the mother of one of the victims of the March 2019 Ethiopian Airlines crash.
“Lawyers can look for other people responsible for these accidents. All families who have lost someone feel the same way: Boeing executives and the board of directors should all go to jail,” he added.