Boeing details fixes to get 737 Max flying again

Boeing details fixes to get 737 Max flying again

Kerry Wise
March 28, 2019

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump issued an emergency order to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in the US after one of the planes, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed shortly after takeoff and left 157 people dead.

Southwest said two pilots on the plane noted "a performance issue with one of the engines shortly after takeoff", CNN reported.

The engine issue reported by the pilots appears to be unrelated to the control-software issues that have plagued the 737 Max and that may have contributed to the crashes of both Lion Air Flight JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302.

On the eve of Wednesday's Senate hearing, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 made an emergency landing while being ferried with no passengers from Orlando to California. It was the second fatal disaster involving a 737 MAX aeroplane in more than five months after Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610 crashed and killed 189 people in October a year ago.

To avert this outcome and save the lives of the 189 people on board, pilots would have had to completely shut off the power from the anti-stalling system, but that would require knowledge about two more switches that apparently the pilots didn't have.

Investigations are ongoing, but a preliminary report on an Ethiopian Airlines crash will very likely be released this week, the country's transport ministry said on Tuesday.

"While revamping FAA's oversight process will be an important step, continued management attention will be key to ensure the agency identifies and monitors the highest-risk areas of aircraft certification", Scovel wrote in his prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press.

Boeing said on Saturday that a software upgrade for the anti-stall system was ready for the FAA to review.

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In a rejoinder, KQ chairman Michael Joseph said that the publication misquoted him, saying that KQ has not ordered any planes, contrary to what Nation reported. As the global fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 is grounded, it is only allowed to fly in special circumstances, such as being transferred to a storage facility.

With some airlines cancelling orders for 737 Max jets, business is booming for Boeing rival Airbus.

American Pilots will also have to complete FAA-approved computer-based training on the changes, followed by a mandatory test, but some pilots have said more may be needed.

The crew declared an emergency after taking off from Orlando International Airport (seen in the above stock image) around 2:50pm, and landed the plane safely.

The planemaker has developed an update to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, according to a company statement late Tuesday. Boeing has grounded all 737 Max 8 flights after two deadly crashes in recent months.

He said the committee needs to understand what happened with the crashes, how the FAA determined that the Max was airworthy, and "take action to keep something like these tragic crashes from occurring again". On March 10, an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Kenya crashed six minutes after takeoff, killing 149 passengers and eight crew.

Dan Elwell, the acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration, defended his agency but acknowledged that as systems become more complex, the FAA's "oversight approach needs to evolve".