Boeing’s Software Update
Boeing has announced its plan to upgrade the software of its 737 MAX 8 fleet, following the Federal Aviation Administration’s orders after a series of two separate air travel accidents involving the aircraft.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 was the aircraft used in both the Lion Air accident and the Ethiopian Air crash, which claimed the lives of 189 people and 157 people, respectively.
One aviation analyst, Mary Schiavo, said in an interview with CNN about the Ethiopian Air disaster, “It’s highly suspicious. Here we have a brand-new aircraft that’s gone down twice in a year. That rings alarm bells in the aviation industry, because that just doesn’t happen. The similarities with Lion Air are too great not to be concerned.”
The FAA said that it would “mandate design changes” to the Boeing 737 MAX 8 by April this year. Pilots from Lion Air reported that they had trouble with Boeing’s new feature for the 737 MAX 8 called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), used for the aircraft’s much larger engines. In a report by Engadget, the machine was said to “have engaged erroneously, pushing the nose down and causing the plane to go into a dive. The pilots apparently fought the controls, but were unable to counter the problem.”
Meanwhile, Boeing had this to say about the Lion Air crash involving the aircraft, “[We have] been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer. [The software upgrade] will be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks.”