Boeing unveils fixes to 737 Max flight system

The firm gathered hundreds of pilots including reporters for an event to unveil the changes to a software which has been blamed by aviation authorities for the crash of the planes of Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air.

Boeing Source: Bloomberg

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing on Wednesday unveiled a fix to the flight software system and the pilot training of its signature 737 Max plane, as it pledges to do all it can to prevent further accidents following two plane crashes that killed nearly 350 people.

The firm gathered hundreds of pilots including reporters for an event to unveil the changes to the stall prevention system or Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), a software which has been blamed by aviation authorities for the crash of the planes of Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air.

‘We're working with customers and regulators around the world to restore faith in our industry and also to reaffirm our commitment to safety and to earning the trust of the flying public,’ said Mike Sinnett, Boeing's vice-president of product strategy.

‘The rigor and thoroughness in the design and testing that went into the Max gives us complete confidence that the changes we're making will address any of these accidents.’

‘We are going to do everything to make sure that accidents like this don't happen again,’ Mr Sinnett said.

Boeing is currently under scrutiny from the United States Justice Department for the certification and marketing of its 737 Maxes.

Investigators have drawn similarities in the flight data from both crashes, while aviation authorities are pinpointing the MCAS as the reason for the crashes.

Read more on China grounds use of Boeing 737 Max planes after Ethiopian Airlines crash.

What will the new software update reflect?

The software update will make changes on the MCAS, which originally was designed to automatically command a plane to go down if it senses an imminent stall.

A change to the software will include data from another angle of attack (AOA) sensor, a sensor which measures the horizontal tilt of the plane. The earlier software only included data from one of such sensor.

The use of one AOA sensor follows industry practises, said a Boeing official in a CNN article.

Faulty data from the sensor had caused the MCAS to push Lion Air down towards the ocean, investigators in Indonesia have revealed.

With the updated software, it will not create a downward pushing cycle when an abnormal reading is reflected on the AOA sensor, nor will it tilt in an angle that disallows a pilot to counteract it manually.

Boeing is expected to hand in its final compliance documents for the update to regulators by this week.

With the update, pilots will need to complete a new, intensive computer-based training before they are allowed to fly the plane, said Mr Sinnett. The new software updates to the planes will take around an hour.

Read more on Boeing's shares plunge 9% after Ethiopian Airlines' plane crash.


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