New potential problem found in Boeing 737 Max jets

Cheryl Sanders
June 29, 2019

U.S. regulators have uncovered a possible new flaw in Boeing's troubled 737 Max aircraft that is likely to push back test flights.

United Airlines has become the latest carrier to extend its ban on using the Boeing 737 Max after the USA aviation regulator said it had identified a new potential risk with the plane.

A key step in the certification is an FAA test flight, which has still not been scheduled until at least the week of July 8, said a person familiar with the matter.

The Boeing 737 MAX jets were grounded globally following the latter of two deadly crashes related to the aircraft's MCAS stall-prevention system.

Boeing Company has been working desperately for the past several months on updating the MCAS software in hope of returning the 737 MAX to service as soon as possible.

Boeing has been working on a software upgrade on the Max's stall-prevention system known as MCAS since Indonesia's Lion Air crash in October.

Along with finding a fix, Boeing and the FAA are also looking into additional training for 737 MAX pilots, and determining whether this will involve more simulator time.

"The Boeing 737 MAX tragedies weigh heavily on an industry that holds safety as its top priority".

The people said fixing the issue might be accomplished through software changes or by replacing a microprocessor in the plane's flight-control system.

Boeing said addressing the issue "will reduce pilot workload by accounting for a potential source of uncommanded stabilizer motion".

While the FAA and Boeing didn't disclose the exact nature of the flaw, CNN reports government pilots found an issue with the microprocessor that may lead to the plane pointing downwards if the chip fails.

Though the FAA claims there is no "timetable" for the certification, sources said to be close to the matter told Reuters that the FAA will take "two to three weeks" to review the plane again after the issue is addressed. "The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate", he said.

Boeing mentioned "we're working closely with the FAA to soundly return the Max to service" and that it believed a software fix would deal with the difficulty.

On Wednesday, United Airlines said it also was removing 737 MAX flights from its schedule until September.

"We continue to evaluate Boeing's software modification to the MCAS and we are still developing necessary training requirements".

Airlines on Thursday urged global regulators to coordinate on measures needed to bring the grounded 737 MAX jetliner back into service, as Boeing (BA.N) grappled with a new technical glitch and investors sold shares of suppliers over fears of more disruption.

Other reports by iNewsToday