Boeing investigation reportedly finds new software problem on 737 Max planes

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REUTERS/Jason Redmond

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered Boeing to fix a newly discovered software issue in its 737 Max aircraft before allowing it to fly.
  • Boeing officials reportedly described the new software problem as “relatively minor” and said it was unrelated to the anti-stall system that is being investigated after two 737 Max crashes.
  • Officials with knowledge of the FAA’s probe said the fix for this new problem is essential for safety.

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered Boeing to fix a newly discovered software issue in its 737 Max aircraft before allowing it to fly, according to a Washington Post report published on Thursday.

Boeing officials reportedly described the new software problem as “relatively minor” and said it was unrelated to the anti-stall system that is being investigated after two deadly 737 Max crashes happened just months apart. Nevertheless, officials with knowledge of the FAA’s probe said the fix is essential for safety.

Three hundred and forty-six passengers and crew members were killed after two 737 Max aircraft – Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 – crashed within a span of five months. The aircraft has been grounded in the US and many other countries.

The 737 Max’s new automated safety feature has been under intense scrutiny as Boeing and aviation authorities investigate the crashes. Initial reports suggest that a faulty reading from a sensor could have played a role in both crashes. The reports indicated that the faulty sensor may have triggered the plane’s automated system and pointed the nose downward after takeoff.

Some pilots were reportedly unaware of the safety feature and also believe they did not receive adequate training with the new system. Boeing’s software update and “comprehensive pilot training” will address issues with the suspected faulty system, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

“Safety is a core value for everyone at Boeing and the safety of our airplanes, our customers’ passengers and crews is always our top priority,” Boeing said in a statement.

“Boeing’s technical experts continue to assist in this investigation and company-wide teams are working to address lessons from the Lion Air Flight 610 accident in October,” the company added.