This Saturday, Boeing announced that they’ve upgraded the software for their 737 MAX 8 planes and it’s ready to reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes were grounded after they were involved in the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes which resulted in the loss of 346 lives. Currently, airlines are having to cancel flights and rework others during the grounding. American Airlines is reportedly canceling 90 flights per day through April 24 because of their grounded 737 MAX 8 planes.
Teams from Southwest, United and American Airlines went to Boeing’s factory in Renton, Washington, on Saturday to review the software upgrade. The FAA will soon receive and review the fixes to the planes’ system.
The software update for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes is centered on the system designed to prevent aerodynamic stall which was determined by sensors when a plane’s nose was pointed too high. The update will now use multiple sensors to determine if the plane’s nose is too high and will then lower the nose at a lesser magnitude and non-repeatedly.
Southwest and its SWAPA pilots union “have subject matter experts from our Technical Pilot Team and Training Teams headed to Boeing to review documentation and training associated with the modification to the B737 speed trim system,” a spokeswoman said.
“Right now we’re in wait-and-see mode to see what Boeing comes up with,” said Captain Jason Goldberg, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association. Goldberg is among the safety experts and pilots who will test the upgrade.
He added, “We’re hopeful, but at the same time the process can’t be rushed.”
A U.S. official told Reuters that the FAA plans to review the upgrade and approve them in April. With this software update, it’s believed that pilots will have 15 minutes of training on deactivating the anti-stall system (or MCAS) in the event of faulty sensor data, as well as some self-guided instruction.
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