Boeing to ‘address concerns’, update software, offers pilot training
Saleem Samad of DOT
Boeing Co Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg, facing the biggest crisis of his tenure, said on Monday that the company understands “lives depend on the work we do” and was taking steps to “fully ensure” the safety of the 737 MAX jet in the wake of deadly crashes.
In an open letter addressed to airlines, passengers and the aviation community, Dennis Muilenburg says Boeing will soon release a software update and offer related pilot training for the 737 Max to “address concerns” that arose in the aftermath of October’s Lion Air flight that plunged into the Java Sea, killing 189. The planes’ new flight-control software is suspected of playing a role in the crashes.
Investigators into the Boeing Co 737 MAX crash in Ethiopia more than a week ago have found striking similarities in a vital flight angle with the 737 MAX that came down off Indonesia, piling pressure on the world’s biggest plane-maker, reports Reuters/AP.
The Ethiopian Airlines disaster on March 10 that killed 157 people led to the grounding of Boeing’s marquee MAX fleet globally and sparked a high-stakes inquiry for the aviation industry. The Lion Air disaster involving a MAX 737 killed 189 people.
Boeing is fully cooperating with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation and National Transportation Safety (DTNTS) board on all issues relating to the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents, Muilenburg said.
He said work was “progressing thoroughly and rapidly” to learn more about the Ethiopian Airlines accident and understand information from the airplane’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders.
Boeing’s software fix was developed in the aftermath of the Indonesia crash when regulators suggested false sensor data could cause a system known as MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) to overreact and make the jet difficult to control.
Muilenburg said the software update and pilot training revision “will address the MCAS flight control law’s behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs.”
The United States and many other countries have grounded the Max 8s and larger Max 9s as Boeing faces the challenge of proving the jets are safe to fly amid suspicions that faulty sensors and software contributed to the two crashes in less than five months.
U.S. prosecutors are looking into the development of Boeing’s 737 Max jets, and French aviation investigators concluded there were “clear similarities” in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Max 8 recently and a Lion Air jet in October.