Boeing completes software upgrade for grounded 737 Max planes

A report says pilots of an Ethiopian airliner that crashed followed Boeing's emergency steps for dealing with a sudden nose-down turn but couldn't regain control

The US firm announced that it had flown the 737 Max with the updated software on 207 flights.

Aviation regulators still have more questions about how pilots interact with the plane's controls under different circumstances, and Boeing said it was providing that information.

The next major step is a certification flight with Federal Aviation Administration representatives on board.

Boeing is providing additional information to the FAA in anticipation of a certification test flight, a key step in winning regulatory approval, the company said. Once that package is finalized, the FAA will schedule a flight test of the 737 Max's new software by its pilots, the agency said.

U.S. officials said American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines flew tens of thousands of flights with the MAX and reported no unusual incidents with MCAS.

After the fatal crashes in Indonesia last October and in Ethiopia this March, investigators tentatively concluded that the MCAS system repeatedly forced both planes into nose dives, due to spurious data that the system was receiving from a single angle-of-attack sensor mounted on each plane's exterior. Pilots were unable to recover and 346 people died.

"The accidents have only intensified our commitment to our values, including safety, quality and integrity, because we know lives depend on what we do", said Muilenburg.

He said he was working with Boeing, regulators and other airlines to plan the return to service and discuss how to allay travelers' potential fear of flying on the Max.

An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019.

On Wednesday, acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said he expected Boeing to make its formal submission for its software update in the next week or so.

This included customer conferences around the world, the first held in Amsterdam on May 7.

Global regulators are meeting on May 23 to review Boeing software and training plans, though doubts remain over how quickly foreign authorities will clear new flights. Apart from bad weather and the partial government shutdown, airlines also blamed the worldwide grounding of Boeing's (BA) 737 MAX series planes as the main reason behind the cancelations.

The 737 MAX fleet was grounded globally after an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 crashed on March 10. "I am not happy with a 13-month gap between finding that anomaly and us finding out about it", Elwell said. The company registered 2,140 flight cancelations during the quarter-1,200 were due to Boeing's troubled 737 MAX planes.

The extent of additional pilot training is emerging as a key issue.

Aviation regulators from other countries will have to assess Boeing's proposed fixes and clear the aircraft to fly in regions independently of the FAA.

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