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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

Boeing expects 737 Max software update ‘soon’

Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in flight

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has said the company expects to be releasing a software update for the B737 Max aircraft that was involved in two fatal crashes ‘soon’.

In an open letter to airlines and passengers, Muilenburg said the “tragic losses of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610 affected us all” and that Boeing has been working with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on “issues relating to both” incidents.

He added: “Soon we’ll release a software update and related pilot training for the 737 Max that will address concerns discovered in the aftermath of the Lion Air Flight 610 accident.”

The update will include changes to the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law, pilot displays, operation manuals and crew training.

Initial evidence from the Lion Air crash revealed the pilots may have struggled with this system on take-off, with data showing it pushed the aircraft’s nose down more than 20 times.

Investigators analysing data from the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft’s flight recorders say they have found “clear similarities” between the crashes.

A preliminary report is expected to be released by mid-April.

It is still unclear how long the global fleet of 737 Max aircraft will remain grounded.

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