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Boeing identifies 737 MAX software issues

written by Sandy Milne | April 8, 2020

Boeing will make two critical software updates to the 737 MAX’s flight control computer to return it to service, according to a report by Reuters.

Even as the company has wound back its US operations amid the COVID-19 outbreak, it seems clear that Boeing will look to push ahead with its bid to win over regulators to approve the grounded jet.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that the software changes involve:

  1. “Hypothetical faults in the flight control computer microprocessor, which could potentially lead to a loss of control known as a runaway stabiliser”, and
  2. “[An issue which could] potentially lead to disengagement of the autopilot feature during final approach.”

The 737 MAX had remained grounded since March 2019, shortly after the crashing of Ethiopian Airlines ET 302.

Boeing has remained in close contact with aviation authorities throughout the process and has stated publicly on a number of occasions that it looks to commission a test flight by mid-2020.

However, with capabilities scaled back across major production facilities, it is unclear how the COVID-19 outbreak will impact on the MAX’s return to service.

According to Reuters, Boeing said that the software issues identified are unrelated to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) issues, which were first isolated as the likely cause of the ET 302 crash. The MCAS system was further blamed in an interim report released by Ethiopian authorities in March.


As Boeing works to identify and fix any faults in the MCAS system, it has also made improvements to:

  1. A power-up monitoring function (January);
  2. An indicator light issue (February); and
  3. The model’s wiring bundles.


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