Boeing pledges to roll out software upgrade for 737 MAX in ‘coming weeks’ after FAA push
The US-based aerospace company has said that it had been developing “the flight control software enhancement” for several months since an identical Boeing model had plunged into the Java Sea off the cost of Indonesia in October, killing 189 passengers and crew.
The upgrade aims, according to the company, “to make an already safe aircraft even safer” and would be installed across all the 737 MAX aircraft “in the coming weeks.”
The announcement comes as the company moves to save face following major reputational fallout from the Sunday crash of Flight 302 after it took off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. All 157 people on board died, prompting the Ethiopian aviation authority to ground its entire 737 MAX fleet. Its example was followed by Indonesia, China, Mongolia, Morocco and several airlines in Mexico, South Africa and the Cayman Islands.
The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), however, has taken a more cautious approach, arguing that the similarities between the Indonesian and the Ethiopian crashes, to which many experts and regulators have been pointing, have yet to be proven or otherwise by the results of an investigation still in its early stages.
While reaffirming 737 MAX’s airworthiness, the FAA demanded Boeing make mandatory improvements to its flight control software, which is alleged to have malfunctioned and become the ultimate cause of the Lion Air Flight 610 crash on October, 29. According to a preliminary report into that tragedy, pilots failed to tackle the automatic anti-stall system due to it receiving erroneous readings from a sensor that measures the angle between the wing and the oncoming air flow, which forced the plane into a nosedive.
It was reported back in November that Boeing was ready to unveil a software fix within six to eight weeks.
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