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Wed, 13 March 2019

Boeing to Issue Software Patch for 737 MAX Aircraft

Boeing has said that for the past several months, and in the aftermath of the fatal Lion Air Flight 610 crash, it has been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX designed to make the aircraft safer.

The patch includes updates to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law, pilot displays, operation manuals, crew training and incorporates feedback received from airlines.

Boeing 737 MAX 7 reg: N720IS. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

The FAA says it anticipates mandating the software enhancement with an Airworthiness Directive (AD) no later than April, and Boeing will deploy the new software across the 737 MAX fleet.

A pitch augmentation control law (MCAS) was implemented on the 737 MAX to improve aircraft handling characteristics and decrease pitch-up tendency at elevated angles of attack. It was put through flight testing as part of the certification process prior to the airplane entering service.

Boeingís 737 MAX Flight Crew Operations Manual (FCOM) outlines an existing procedure to handle the event of erroneous data coming from an angle of attack (AOA) sensor. The pilot can override the flight control law using electric trim or manual trim. In addition, it can be controlled through the use of the existing runaway stabilizer procedure as reinforced in the Operations Manual Bulletin (OMB) issued on 6 November 2018.

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