Published: Mon, May 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Boeing says 737 MAX update ready

Boeing says 737 MAX update ready

In a statement released today, Boeing said that they have finished the software fix for the 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which has been grounded since the middle of March following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, the second such crash in 5 months. Boeing has flown the 737 MAX with the updated MCAS for more than 360 hours on 207 flights, the company said.

The airplane manufacturer said it was providing additional information to address requests from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that includes details on how pilots interact with controls and displays in different flight scenarios. Both American and Southwest Airlines have expressed hope for an August date. The FAA waited for three days after the Ethiopian Airlines crash to ground the 737 MAX fleet. He faced questions about the agency's certification and eventual grounding of Boeing's 737 Max fleet after two jets crashed, killing almost 350 people.

The two accidents were connected to the Boeing 737 Max's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System - another component on the flying machine which was meant to improve the treatment of the plane and to stop it from pitching too high. Boeing is redesigning the system to make it less prone to operate in error.

In those accidents, erroneous readings from a single sensor triggered software known as MCAS, which pushed down the nose of each aircraft until pilots lost control. The safety of the aircraft has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of two crashes taking the lives of all 346 people on board.

Southwest Airlines Co and American Airlines Group Inc, the two largest US operators of the MAX, have pulled the jets from their schedules until August 5 and Aug 19, respectively.

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Boeing rose to session highs on the news.

At a congressional hearing on Wednesday, Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell criticized Boeing for not informing the agency more quickly of problems and said the FAA would permit the 737 MAX to resume flights "only when the FAA's analysis of the facts and technical data indicate that it is safe to do so".

Elwell faced tough questions around the certification process that critics say delegates too much authority to Boeing.

Some foreign regulators and safety experts say pilots should practice responding to the new software in flight simulators - a requirement that would delay the plane's return by weeks or months.

Pilot union representatives expressed their frustration about the lack of communication to the flight crew on the MCAS. The exact degree to which pilot error may have been a factor remains unclear and likely will remain so until final reports are issued, but according to CBS, those errors probably would not have been a factor had there not been "clear and fundamental flaws" in the MCAS design.

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