US Senator Maria Cantwell and chairman Roger Wicker have introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen the oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as well as improve aviation safety.

Drawing on lessons learned from the tragic Boeing 737 MAX crashes, the Aircraft Safety and Certification Reform Act of 2020 clarifies FAA’s oversight and control over the aircraft certification process.

It also includes provisions to address human factors to accurately assess pilot response to cockpit alerts.

Additionally, the bill strengthens safety and whistleblower protocols, as well as eliminates industry-friendly panels and incentives.

Cantwell said: “This bill makes it clear the FAA is in charge of the certification workforce and the approval process. Additionally, it requires the FAA to act on the NTSB’s recommendations on new safety standards for automation and pilot training.

“It’s critically important that the FAA keep pace with skill levels and new technology to oversee the certification process. The Human Factors Center of Excellence and Office of Continuing Education will help ensure FAA inspectors have the expertise they need to do their job.”

The Aircraft Safety and Certification Reform Act of 2020 will assign FAA safety advisers to communicate with and monitor compliance of individual ODA unit members.

They will communicate with members involved in the certification of large commercial aeroplanes such as the 737 MAX, and their engines.

The bill will also require implementation of new National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) safety recommendations on flight automation and pilot response.

Additionally, it will eliminate industry-friendly panels and roll back performance incentives that do not prioritise safety in the aircraft certification process.

With the new legislation in place, FAA’s technical capacity can be built to address challenges of advanced technology such as automation in the cockpit by creating a new Center for Excellence for flight automation and human factors.