WASHINGTON : Boeing on Wednesday (local time) successfully tested its new software update, following the devastating Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes which have claimed the lives of over 300 people.
Boeing shares have hit all-time lows following the Ethiopian Airlines crash, as several countries and airlines grounded the 737 MAX aircraft citing safety concerns.
The aircraft manufacturer’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg was on board Wednesday’s 737 MAX 7 demo flight which was upgraded with the new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software update, according to Boeing. Investigators have raised doubts regarding the system following the two crashes.
“Boeing has developed an MCAS software update to provide additional layers of protection if the AOA sensors provide erroneous data. The software was put through hundreds of hours of analysis, laboratory testing, verification in a simulator and two test flights, including an in-flight certification test with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) representatives on board as observers,” a statement by Boeing outlined.
The new update to the system lets the pilot have the ability to override MCAS and manually control the aircraft, ensuring that the pilot always has the upper hand, according to the manufacturer.
“These updates reduce the crew’s workload in non-normal flight situations and prevent erroneous data from causing MCAS activation. We continue to work with the FAA and other regulatory agencies on the certification of the software update,” Boeing said.
Safety concerns with regard to the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have been high, as the two crashes took place within a span of five months.
In October last year, a Boeing 737 MAX Lion Air flight crashed in Indonesia, claiming the lives of all 181 people on board, while in March 2019, 157 people died when another 737 MAX aircraft with the Ethiopian Airlines crashed near Adis Ababa. Both the crashes took place within minutes of take-off.