The Federal Aviation Administration has “tentatively approved sweeping software and pilot-training changes” for Boeing’s 737 MAX jet, reports The Wall Street Journal. This means that the software fix could enable pilots to gain more control over the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS. A problem in the MCAS is believed to be the reason for the deadly Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that happened earlier this month and led to the grounding of the Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft by about 50 countries, including India. The new feature could enable again flying the grounded aircraft.
As per the report, via The Verge, the software update will loosen the MCAS’ control so that it “won’t overpower other cockpit commands or misfire based on faulty readings from a single sensor.” With the fix, the feature is said to activate once and only for a ‘short duration’ in case there is an issue. While the update is said to be tentatively approved, it needs to go through flight testing and simulations before it is formally approved and could be issued in “the next few weeks.” Additionally, Boeing said that it will now include a warning light designed to warn pilots, which was previously part of an optional package that carriers could purchase.
Boeing’s 737 MAX planes were grounded worldwide after two consecutive fatal crashes happened in five months. The Lion Air crash in Indonesia happened in October, and earlier this month, another Boeing 737 MAX aircraft crashed near Bishoftu, Ethiopia. A total of 346 people lost their lives in the accident, which is said to be because of a fault in the MCAS that was introduced in the plane to address a stalling issue.