Boeing completes 737 MAX software update

Malfunctioning of MCAS software is considered the main cause in the two recent fatal crashes with the aircraft
Almost 400 MAX 737 jets have been grounded worldwide since March (Acefitt / Creative Commons)

Boeing announced the completion of the development of the updated MCAS software for the 737 MAX after conducting simulator testing and engineering test flights. The manufacturer said the work required more than 360 hours and 207 flights.

The malfunction of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control is cited as the main cause of the two accidents with the new Boeing airplane in October 2018 and in March this year.

Boeing also added that it began providing additional data to meet requests from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This information contains details on how pilots interact with different airplane flight scenarios. The next step, according to Boeing, is to schedule test flights with the agency and send the final documentation for a new aircraft certification.

The Boeing statement came a day after FAA director Dan Elwell told Congress that he awaited the manufacturer’s final documentation to begin the new 737 MAX certification within a week. The news also caused the shares of the manufacturer to rose 2.8%.

“With safety as our clear priority, we have completed all of the engineering test flights for the software update and are preparing for the final certification flight,” said Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

“We are committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need, and getting it right. We are making clear and steady progress and are confident that the 737 MAX with updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly. The accidents have only intensified our commitment to our values, including safety, quality and integrity, because we know lives on what we do.”

Along with the software update, Boeing also reported that it has developed new training materials under review by the FAA, global regulators and airlines that operate the 737 MAX.

The return of the aircraft to commercial flights still depends on the approval of regulatory aviation agencies. Boeing has not yet set a date for the return of the 737 MAX, but the US press cites a three-month deadline for that to happen.

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