FAA defends handling of Boeing 737 Max after deadly crashes

FAA chief defends handling of 737 Max

Washington — The acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday told Congress that Boeing's 737 Max will not fly again until the government is confident it is safe. All 737s were grounded in the U.S. after two deadly crashes. 

FAA officials also defended their agency against accusations they allowed Boeing to rush the 737 Max into production.

Investigators believe Boeing's new MCAS anti-stall system was connected to two crashes: one in Indonesia last October and one in Ethiopia in March. The crashes killed a total of 346 people and grounded the 737 Max worldwide.

"Once we are convinced absolutely of the safety of return to service, we will do it," said Daniel Elwell, the FAA's acting administrator.

The parents of Samya Stumo, 24, worry that process will be rushed too. Stumo was killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

"How could you possibly finish the required analysis and investigation by August," asked Nadia Milleron, Samya's mother.

Milleron said she doesn't think the plane should go back in the air anytime soon. "We don't have the information about it," she said.

CBS News obtained audio of American Airlines pilots complaining to a Boeing official last year that even they were not informed about the new system.

"Somebody at the corporate level made the decision that this isn't important to brief our pilots on. People who fly airplanes for us," a pilot said.

Boeing sources told CBS News they're convinced that a bird strike shortly after takeoff sparked the chain of events that brought down the Ethiopian Air flight. But Ethiopian investigators said they found no evidence a sensor was damaged by a foreign object.

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    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.