Boeing says it has finished with its updates to the flight-control software implicated in two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max, moving a step closer to getting the plane back in the sky.
In addition to updating the 737 MAX software and completing more than 360 hours on 207 flights (simulate and actual), it is addressing some of the questions that the FAA had about pilot interaction and emergency responses.
The US regulator has asked Boeing to provide more details about "how pilots interact with the airplane controls and displays in different flight scenarios", the company said in a statement on Thursday (US time). Once that package is finalized, the FAA will schedule a flight test of the 737 Max's new software by its pilots, the agency said.
It is unclear when the 737 MAX aircraft will return to service, but USA airlines have said they hope the jets will fly this summer.
The 737 MAX was grounded following a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 on board just five months after a similar crash of a Lion Air flight killed 189 people. "[.] The accidents have only intensified our commitment to our values, including safety, quality and integrity", said Muilenburg.
The company also said it had completed associated simulator testing on the upgraded system and had developed training and education materials that are now being reviewed by the FAA, global regulators and its airline customers.
After the first crash, of a Lion Air jet, Boeing told USA pilots at the end of November that it could have the software fix ready in about six weeks.
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We continue to seek information on the design, training and certification of the Boeing 737 MAX.
This included customer conferences around the world, the first held in Amsterdam on May 7.
With the 737 Max out indefinitely, turbulent times lay ahead for Boeing (BA) stock.
Elwell defended FAA's practice of designating employees of Boeing and other aerospace manufacturers to do some inspection work, saying it takes advantage of industry expertise, and "when done right, is indispensable to the health and safety of our system". "I am not happy with a 13-month gap between finding that anomaly and us finding out about it", Elwell said. "We don't know what training is like for Lion Air pilots or Ethiopian pilots".
While how the FAA moves largely out of Boeing's control, Seifman points out that the company is using the lower production (42/month) of the Max "to bring the supply chain up to rate (52/month, in most cases) and move past the production challenges it has encountered in 2018 and early 2019".
Aviation safety analyst Todd Curtis told the BBC that it would take a lot to convince the pilots and other flight crew members that the Boeing MAX aircraft was safe.
All 300 passengers and crew survived, with 30 taken to hospital mostly with minor injuries or for precautionary check-ups. Four people have been killed after a plane owned by a Shoreham-based company crashed in Dubai , the BBC has reported.
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