Dubai: Boeing on Wednesday outlined a series of changes it will be making to the software on its 737 Max aircraft, which has been grounded across the world following two fatal crashes.
The American manufacturer said that all 737 Max pilots will have to complete training on the upgraded software before flying the model again. The steps follow the fatal crash of an Ethiopian Air plane of the same model, which led aviation regulators to suspend operations of any 737 Max as a safety procedure. Earlier in October, a Lion Air aircraft of the 737 Max model crashed, killing everyone on board.
It is uncertain when the software upgrade will be made as it will depend on each aviation regulator around the world, Boeing said.
In a conference call with reporters, a Boeing spokesperson said the company has been working on the software update for some time, and the software has gone through “a significant amount of development and testing”.
“We are very confident in the changes what we made to the [software] function, and we have thoroughly evaluated the function against all corners of the envelope. We are very confident that with the changes we’re making, all issues that we’re aware of and all aspects of the functionality meet our intent.”
The spokesperson added that Boeing is meeting with 200 pilots and aviation regulators from international markets to discuss the changes.
Pilots and other experts in the industry have been pointing to an issue with the Max’s software that uses data from a sensor to automatically dip the nose of the aircraft to prevent stalling. Pilots then only have less than 40 seconds to override the system and prevent the dip, according to a New York Times article citing unnamed sources who did a simulation of crashes.
On Wednesday, Boeing said that the software update will including inputs from an extra sensors, eliminating the chance of erroneous data causing the plane to dip.
Boeing will also provide a manual with enhanced details of the software changes, as well as computer-based training, and technical bulletins. All 737 Max pilots will have to complete training on the changes before flying the model.
Asked about how the crashes and the respective groundings will impact Boeing’s future relationship with airlines, the company said it will ultimately come down to customers’ and passengers’ faith in Boeing and earning their trust.
Boeing’s spokesperson said the changes in the software “absolutely” are not an admission that the system was originally flawed to begin with.