Chicago: Boeing has issued changes to controversial control systems linked to two fatal crashes of its 737 Max planes in the past five months. But, it is still not certain when the planes, which were grounded worldwide this month, will be allowed to fly.
Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the accidents. As part of the upgrade, Boeing will install an extra warning system on all 737 Max aircraft, which was previously an optional safety feature.
Neither of the planes, operated by Lion Air in Indonesia and Ethiopian Airlines, that were involved in the fatal crashes carried the alert systems, which are designed to warn pilots when sensors produce contradictory readings. Boeing said that airlines would no longer be charged extra for that safety system to be installed.
The planemaker has also issued an upgrade to the software that has been linked to the crashes. The Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System, better known as MCAS, is software designed to help prevent the 737 Max 8 from stalling.
It reacts when sensors in the nose of the aircraft show the jet is climbing at too steep an angle, which can cause a plane to stall. But an investigation of the Lion Air flight last year suggested the system malfunctioned, and forced the plane’s nose down more than 20 times before it crashed into the sea killing all 189 passengers and crew.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says there are similarities between that crash and the Ethiopian accident on 10 March. Boeing has redesigned the software so that it will disable MCAS if it receives conflicting data from its sensors, the BBC news reported. –ONA