Mark Forkner Wiki – Mark Forkner Biography
Mark Forkner is a former chief technical pilot for Boeing Co (BA.N), was charged with fraud on Thursday for deceiving federal regulators evaluating the company’s 737 MAX jet, hindering the ability to protect airline passengers and leaving “pilots in the lurch,” the U.S. Justice Department said.
In Texas, a grand jury indicted Forkner on six counts of scheming to defraud Boeing’s U.S.-based airline customers to obtain tens of millions of dollars for Boeing, the government said.
He is 49 years old.
Mark Forkner Charged in Fraud
According to the indictment, Forkner, mainly in the run-up to the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to approve the 737 MAX in 2017, provided the FAA Aircraft Evaluation Group with “materially false, inaccurate, and incomplete information” about a new part of the flight controls for the Boeing 737 MAX, called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).
The MCAS, a software feature designed to push the airplane’s nose down in certain conditions automatically, was tied to two fatal crashes of the 737 MAX over a five-month period that killed 346 people and led to the FAA’s grounding the plane for 19 months, an action which was lifted in November 2020.
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“In an attempt to save Boeing money, Forkner allegedly withheld critical information from regulators,” said Chad Meacham, the acting U.S. attorney for Northern Texas. “His callous choice to mislead the FAA hampered the agency’s ability to protect the flying public and left pilots in the lurch, lacking information about certain 737 MAX flight controls.”
The FAA declined to comment.
Investigators found that both crashes were tied to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, software, which had been designed to help stabilize the jet after heavier, repositioned engines placed on the aircraft caused the plane’s nose to point too far upward in certain circumstances.
In both crashes, incorrect data from a faulty sensor caused the MCAS to misfire, forcing the planes to nose down. MCAS was not mentioned in the pilot manual — allowing pilots to enter the MAX cockpit without simulator training would have cost the airlines more money.
Forkner was the main point of contact between the administration and Boeing regarding areas like pilot training and manual recommendations, an FAA official explained at the time.
Boeing said in a statement in 2019 that Forkner’s comments “reflected a reaction to a simulator program that was not functioning properly, and that was still undergoing testing.”