FAA Forms Multi-Agency Board To Review Boeing's Proposed Fix For Its 737 Max

Boeing 737 Max
A 737 Max aircraft is pictured at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington, U.S., March 27, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo)

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced earlier in the week that it was going to be forming a multi-agency task force for review Boeing's software fix proposal for its troubled 737 MAX airplanes.

The Technical Advisory Board will be comprised of various agencies including NASA, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, the US Air Force, and FAA experts. The FAA selected the agencies to avoid bias as they were not part of the Boeing 737 MAX's initial certification.

According to the agency, the board's job will be to provide recommendations based on its finding of Boeing's software fix. The recommendation will be used to ultimately decide whether or not the airplane model would be allowed to return to service. The board will be working closely with the FAA during their review. Boeing has reportedly not yet submitted its proposed fix for the software bug that causes the planes to automatically dive without pilot input.

Boeing's 737 MAX 8 models have been grounded throughout several countries around the world following a series of accidents that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of passengers. The incidents include airplane crashes in October of last year and more recently in March of this year. The separate crashes resulted in the deaths of 346 people, with the airplane's software being blamed.

The bug was pinpointed to the plane's new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The anti-stall software system was installed by Boeing in its rush to compete with Airbus' new A320 Neo. Boeing installed a slightly larger engine on its popular 737-800 airplanes, which resulted in a side effect that would push the nose of the plane up during full thrust.

The software was installed to solve that problem as it would automatically point the nose down if pilots were attacking at too high an angle. Unfortunately, Boeing neglected to highlight the new system to pilots, who only received two hours of training for the new airplanes.

The review into Boeing's proposed fix was instigated by a call from Congress to conduct an independent review on the anti-stall system prior to allowing any of the new planes to fly again. According to the FAA, the Technical Advisory Board will fully evaluate the proposed fix to the automated maneuvering system and determine whether further investigation is required prior to FAA approval.

Shortly after the issue was made public, Boeing's stocks immediately plummeted, sending the company into its worst years financially. Its top-selling jets were immediately grounded worldwide, further cutting into its revenues. Boeing has stated that it will be implementing various software upgrades and provide additional training to pilots to prevent any further crashes from happening.

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