Washington, March 28 (IANS) Boeing unveiled an overhaul to a software system and the pilot training of its signature 737 MAX plane, marking its most direct attempt to fix an element of the plane’s original design that investigators believe led to two recent crashes.
At the company’s plant in Renton, Washington, where the plane is assembled, Boeing pilots ran through scenarios on a flight simulator that was transmitted live into a conference room on Wednesday where regulators and some 200 pilots from client airlines were gathered, Mike Sinnett, Boeing’s vice president for product strategy, told the media.
The guests were able to request test simulations, CNN reported.
“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,” Sinnett said.
“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.”
At back-to-back hearings in Washington on Wednesday, President Donald Trump’s administration officials were grilled about the decision to defer large parts of the 737’s safety certification to Boeing.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said that she found it “very questionable” that safety systems were not part of the standard package offered by Boeing on its 737 Max jets.
Aviation authorities have fingered the software as a leading factor in the Lion Air crash last October that killed 180 people. Investigators have drawn similarities between the flight data from that crash and the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines accident that killed 157 people.
The software update will affect software known as the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which is designed to automatically command a plane down if it senses an imminent stall.
The software has also been changed so that it does not repeat the downward pushing cycle in the event of an abnormal Angle of Attack (AOA) censor reading, and will no longer produce an angle that can not be counteracted manually by a pilot.
Boeing is expected to submit the final compliance documents for the update to regulators later this week.