Aviation

Report: Underground hackers and spies helped China steal jet secrets
Crowdstrike researchers reveal Beijing’s efforts to boost its own domestic aircraft industry

The Airbus 320, pictured here, and Boeing’s 737 are air passenger workhorses and would be competitors to Comac's C919. (Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Chinese government hackers working with the country’s traditional spies and agencies plotted and stole U.S. and European aircraft engine secrets to help Beijing leapfrog over its Western competitors in developing a domestic commercial aircraft industry, according to researchers at the cybersecurity protection firm CrowdStrike. 

“Beijing used a mixture of cyber actors sourced from China’s underground hacking scene, Ministry of State Security or MSS officers, company insiders, and state directives to fill key technology and intelligence gaps in a bid to bolster dual-use turbine engines which could be used for both energy generation and to enable its narrow-body twinjet airliner, the C919, to compete against Western aerospace firms,” CrowdStrike said in a report released Monday evening. 

Probe faults Boeing over 737 Max details given to FAA before certification
Multinational review follows two crashes that killed 346 people

Boeing 737 MAX airplanes are seen parked on Boeing property along the Duwamish River near Boeing Field in August in Seattle, Washington. (David Ryder/Getty Images)

Boeing did not adequately brief regulators about the flight control system blamed for two crashes of its 737 Max aircraft that killed a total of 346 people, according to a multinational task force that reviewed the plane’s certification process.

In a report released Friday, the Joint Authorities Technical Review, a panel chartered by the Federal Aviation Administration that included aviation regulators from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe and other countries as well as representatives from the FAA and NASA, found that increasingly complex aircraft systems have certification requirements that the FAA has yet to match.

Air ambulance services face scrutiny over surprise billing issues
Outrage over surprise medical bills has pushed issue near top of political health care agenda

More than two-thirds of air ambulance rides in 2017 were out of the patient’s insurance network, according to a March General Accounting Office report. (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images file photo)

Patients whisked or transferred to hospitals by air ambulances face time-sensitive emergencies — from strokes to traumatic accidents — so whether the helicopter carrying them is in their insurance network isn’t usually a top-priority question.

Weeks later, many of these patients receive an unpleasant surprise: a bill demanding tens of thousands of dollars.

Appropriators seek clarity on aircraft inspector qualifications
Lawmakers asked FAA response to findings that safety inspectors lacked training to certify 737 Max pilots

Boeing 737 MAX airplanes are seen parked on Boeing property along the Duwamish River near Boeing Field on August 13, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (David Ryder/Getty Images)

Top Senate appropriators pressed the Federal Aviation Administration chief to respond after a federal investigator found that safety inspectors lacked sufficient training to certify Boeing 737 Max pilots.

Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Jack Reed, D-R.I., the chairwoman and ranking member of the Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, asked FAA chief Steve Dickson in a letter Tuesday provide more information about the U.S. Office of Special Counsel’s report and the FAA’s response to it.

FAA misled Congress on inspector training, federal investigator finds
FAA appears to have misled Congress in its responses to questions about employee training and competency, an inspector’s letter said

Boeing 737 MAX airplanes are seen after leaving the assembly line at a Boeing facility on August 13, 2019 in Renton, Washington. A federal investigator has released a new letter that says the FAA appears to have misled Congress in its responses to questions about employee training and competency. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

The FAA appears to have misled Congress in its responses to questions about employee training and competency leading up to grounding of 737 Max jets in March, according to a federal investigator.  

Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner, in a letter Monday to President Donald Trump, said Federal Aviation Administration safety inspectors “lacked proper training and accreditation” to certify pilots, including those flying the Boeing 737 Max, putting air travelers at risk.

Trump opts against call for gun-control bill after Dayton and El Paso shootings
‘Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,’ POTUS says

President Donald Trump makes remarks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence looks on August 5, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump delivered remarks on the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Criticized for sometimes appearing to side with white supremacist groups, President Donald Trump on Monday said such ideologies “devour the soul” as he opted against calling on Congress to pass gun-control legislation following two more mass shootings.

The president was under pressure to speak out against white nationalists after the suspected gunman in a Saturday El Paso shooting that left 20 people dead posted a racist manifesto before his killing spree. The document echoed Trump’s talk about an “invasion” of the United States by undocumented migrants from Central and South America.

Boeing 737 Max grounded following international accidents, downs U.S. export numbers
The downturn in deliveries hit the U.S. trade account hard in May, when U.S. exports of civilian aircraft fell $2 billion

Boeing 737 Max airplanes are stored on employee parking lots near Boeing Field, on June 27, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. After a pair of crashes, the 737 Max has been grounded by the FAA and other aviation agencies since March 13, 2019. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

The downturn in Boeing Co. deliveries caused by the grounding of its best-selling airliner in the wake of two international accidents is having a direct impact on U.S. export numbers.

Company officials said Wednesday that they expect the Boeing 737 Max to be grounded at least through October, shaving billions of dollars from revenue, as they reported an after-tax charge of $4.9 billion related to the disruption of aircraft deliveries.

Trump, Democrats split differences in two-year budget deal
Negotiators are still working on some ‘technical language’ issues

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been updating President Donald Trump on talks between him and Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a potential deal on spending caps and the debt limit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | The White House and congressional leaders are close to unveiling a spending and debt limit deal that would boost funding levels by nearly 4 percent across federal agencies, wiping out the 10 percent cuts that were scheduled to take effect under current law.

According to sources familiar with the proposal, the deal calls for a topline defense figure of $738 billion in fiscal 2020, or slightly higher than the House Democrats’ initial request for $733 billion, but short of the Trump administration’s $750 billion request, which includes cap-exempt accounts for troops serving in conflict zones overseas.

Road ahead: All eyes on the budget and debt limit deal, except when Mueller testifies
House to tackle border issues, while Senate will confirm Defense secretary, clear 9/11 compensation bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants to clear the debt deal this week before the chamber departs for the August recess. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

All eyes this week will be on whether House lawmakers are able to pass a deal to raise the debt limit and set spending levels for the next two years before leaving for the August recess on Friday.

That is except, of course, when former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III seizes all the attention when he testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

House bill targets Qatar-linked ‘flag of convenience’ Italian airline
Targets ‘flag of convenience’ airlines from undermining labor standards

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., joined a bill targeting low-cost foreign airlines seeking to fly to the United States. (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A House bill that would limit access of foreign airlines to the U.S. based on substandard labor conditions for their workers is the latest round in a long — and mostly successful — fight by U.S. airlines and aviation unions to keep low-cost foreign competition out of the U.S. market.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio was joined by other committee leaders, including Republicans, in sponsoring the bill introduced last week and aimed at preventing “flag of convenience” airlines from undermining labor standards.