Published: Sun, June 30, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

FAA finds "potential risk" in Boeing 737 MAX update

FAA finds

"The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate", the authority admitted on June 26, 2019, without going into detail what those "potential risks" constitute of.

"For now, we think investors should expect continued volatility as BA and the regulators work behind closed doors to ferret out any additional issues". It was not yet clear if the issue could be addressed with a software upgrade or would require a more complex hardware fix.

Investigators believe that, in both instances, the plane's automated flight control system was acting from erroneous signals and malfunctioned, sending the aircraft into a nosedive that pilots could not recover from. One of the anonymous sources told CNN, "if you can't recover in a matter of seconds, that's an unreasonable risk".

Just a few weeks ago, the FAA had announced that the aircraft could be flying again by the end of the month.

China was first to ground the MAX after a March 10 crash in Ethiopia within five months of a similar crash off Indonesia, killing a combined 346 people.

A new problem with MAX software emerged last week when FAA test pilots were reviewing potential failure scenarios of the flight control computer in a MAX simulator, a Boeing official told Reuters.

The new flaw involving the Max makes it increasingly likely that the single-aisle jet won't resume flights before the fourth quarter, analyst Sheila Kahyaoglu of Jefferies said in a report to clients Thursday.

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Boeing has begun notifying customers and others with a stake in the 737 Max's future that it anticipates it can address the issue as well as a broader software redesign, and return the plane to service in a September time frame, according to a person familiar with the manufacturer's talking points. The news that the FAA has found a "potential risk" in software developed for the 737 Max should come as no surprise.

"We are encouraged by the reported progress and proposed path forward for returning the aircraft to service, and we remain confident that, once certified by the FAA, the enhancements will support the safe operation of the MAX".

Meanwhile on Thursday, Boeing lawyers said they were negotiating settlements with the families of dozens of Lion Air crash victims, meaning the planemaker can avoid prolonged and potentially costly court litigation.

- Southwest Airlines grounding extended - Even before this latest issue surfaced, the outlook for getting the planes back in the air was uncertain, in part because the FAA wants other regulators to approve the plane's reentry soon after the United States agency does.

The earliest that Boeing will conduct a certification test flight is July 8.

FAA says it is still evaluating Boeing's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) modification, along with creating training requirements and responding to recommendations received from the Technical Advisory Board (TAB).

IATA director general and chief executive Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement after the meeting the two 737 MAX tragedies weighed heavily on an industry that held safety as its top priority.

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