International aviation giant Boeing says there’s a new glitch in getting its 737 MAX series aircraft back in the air, as industry analysts note it will likely be the end of the year before the grounded planes are back in service.
An unrelated problem arose during the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) review of a required software update, one that was prompted by the March 2019 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 and the previous disaster involving Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia in October 2018. There were no survivors in either accident.
The new issue with a computer chip failure is separate from the flawed Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), an autopilot software system that pilots in both crashes had little time to override and were unable to achieve. It was identified during recent tests and simulator sessions, Boeing said in a statement.
Work on the MCAS updates began after the Lion Air Flight 610 crash, but the upgrades were not yet available when the Flight ET302 crash occurred.
“The FAA review and process for returning the 737 MAX to passenger service are designed to result in a thorough and comprehensive assessment. Boeing agrees with the FAA’s decision and request, and is working on the required software,” the company said.
“Addressing this condition will reduce pilot workload by accounting for a potential source of uncommanded stabilizer motion,” they added. “Boeing will not offer the 737 MAX for certification by the FAA until we have satisfied all requirements for certification of the MAX and its safe return to service.”
Image: Ethiopian government file