A near-crash during a flight-simulator session in June led to a complete redesign of the Boeing 737 Max’s flight computer architecture, according to a new Bloomberg report.
That redesign is in addition to the software fix to an automated system that caused two fatal crashes. It has led to extensive delays getting the plane back into commercial service.
The flight computer in the 737 Max was initially based on an older version of the 737, but is now considered antiquated. The redesign brings the computer up to modern standards, better able to manage various automated systems.
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A near-crash in a simulated flight in June, using the software fix Boeing designed for the 737 Max, led to the extensive, ongoing delay that has kept the plane grounded through at least November, according to a new Bloomberg report.
Following the March 2019 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which was the second fatal crash involving a 737 Max in five months, Boeing engineers began designing a software fix to prevent an automated flight-control system from erroneously activating. The plane type was grounded worldwide within two days of the crash.
Initially, Boeing said it would be able to develop and implement the fix to the automated system known as MCAS, or the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System within a matter of weeks, later revising that to several months in order to fully test and certify the new software.
But in June, as engineers were almost finished designing the fix, several Boeing pilots got into a flight simulator to test “a few things.” That was when a simulated computer glitch caused the plane to point its nose down, diving aggressively like the planes in both crashes.
The outcome of that simulator flight, a decision to completely redesign the 737 Max’s flight computer architecture, led to extensive delays that have dragged on through the summer and fall, and now threaten Boeing’s ability to deliver aircraft, book new orders, and maintain revenue expectations.
The extensive redesign, in addition to taking engineers longer, has also led to delays getting clearance from regulators, who are now looking more closely at the changes. Earlier this week, regulators demanded additional documentation from Boeing on the updates.
While the fix originally focused on MCAS, closer scrutiny of the entire plane following the second crash began to look at additional factors, including how pilots would respond to multiple cockpit alarms, …read more
Source:: Business Insider