Boeing finishes software update for grounded airliner

Boeing finishes software update for grounded airliner

The 737 Max 8 and 9 were grounded worldwide after an Ethiopian Airlines crash two months ago that investigators have described as appearing similar to a Lion Air crash previous year.

To date, Boeing has flown the 737 MAX with updated software for more than 360 hours on 207 flights, the company said.

The next major step is a certification flight with Federal Aviation Administration representatives on board.

The FAA said earlier this week that it would hold a meeting on 23 May with air regulators from around the world to provide an update on reviews of Boeing's software fix and new pilot training.

"Once the requests are addressed, we will work with the FAA to schedule their certification test flight and submit final certification documentation".

Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg in a statement cited "clear and steady progress" toward updating the MAX so that it will "be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly".

Boeing has implied that the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines pilots did not react properly to the plane's automatic downward pitch of the nose - failing to disconnect MCAS in the first case and flying too fast to control the plane in the second.

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Boeing announced Thursday that it has put the finishing touches on a software fix for its 737 MAX after 346 people died in two separate crashes involving the aircraft.

Boeing has separately developed enhanced training and educational materials that are now being reviewed with the FAA, global regulators and airline customers to support the jet's return to service.

Boeing engineers have been working on the software update for more than six months - far longer than they expected - having started shortly after the October 29 crash of a Max operated by Indonesia's Lion Air. This will mean that the road to getting the Boeing 737 MAX recertification will be a long one.

Worldwide regulators are meeting on May 23 to review Boeing software and training plans, though doubts remain over how quickly foreign authorities will clear new flights.

The FAA's acting administrator, Daniel K Elwell told members of Congress this week that the decisions of pilots played a role in the crashes of 737 Max jets in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Other reports have indicated flight crews may not have been aware the systems were not operational by default or otherwise received insufficient training. "We don't know what training is like for Lion Air pilots or Ethiopian pilots". "I am not happy with a 13-month gap between finding that anomaly and us finding out about it", Elwell said. The halt to the 737 MAX has dented Boeing's revenues and clouded the company's earnings outlook. "The reason why they submitted it to us is so we can stick it in the simulator so we could test it, so we can also look at their system safety analysis and see whether it will appropriately address it".

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