Giant US aerospace and defence group Boeing announced on Thursday night (South African time) that it had concluded the development of updated software for its 737 MAX single-aisle airliner type, as well as the associated simulator testing and engineering flight test. The updated software is for the 737 MAX’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).
The MCAS has been implicated in two 737 MAX crashes in just five months, that killed a total of 346 people. Boeing reported that it has, to date, flown the 737 MAX with the updated MCAS software on 207 flights totalling more than 360 hours.
The company added that it was providing further information to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which the regulator has requested. This includes information on the interaction between pilots and the flight controls and displays in various flight scenarios. Once this has been done, Boeing will cooperate with the FAA to schedule the certification test flight and present its documentation for final certification.
“With safety as our clear priority, we have completed all of the engineering test flights for the software update and are preparing for the final certification flight,” affirmed Boeing chairman, president and CEO Dennis Muilenburg. “We’re committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need, and to getting it right.”
The group has also created improved educational and training materials that are now being evaluated by the FAA and regulators in other countries, as well as by customer airlines. These are to support the return to service and subsequent operations of the 737 MAX. Part of this is a number of regional conferences being held around the globe.
“We’re making clear and steady progress and are confident that the 737 MAX with the updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly,” he assured. “The accidents have only intensified our commitment to our values, including safety, quality and integrity, because we know lives depend on what we do.”