Before the controversial Boeing 737 Max can take off again, it must undergo numerous design changes in order to address safety issues that surfaced after two fatal crashes, said U.S. regulators on Aug. 3. Crashes involving the jet in 2018 in Indonesia and in 2019 in Ethiopia led to its global grounding. Orders for the jet’s grounding occurred in March 2019.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) proposed changes – one of which recommends software changes to flight-control computers – had previously been the subject of widespread attention and discussion among airline industry and government officials. Public comments on the proposed changes will be accepted for 45 days.
Software changes, rerouting of wiring
The FAA has not addressed whether to allow the Max jet to fly again. Officials at Boeing, meanwhile, were optimistic that the company could receive approval to continue providing finished Max jets by this year’s fourth quarter.
Among the FAA’s proposals include:
- Software changes to flight-control computers.
- Additional pilot alerts needed under certain conditions.
- The need to reroute specific wiring on the planes.
Introduced in 2017, the Max jet had been in use for about two years. An estimated 400 were in service until the two fatal crashes that led to the deaths of nearly 350 people. The jet’s flight-control software has been under suspicion for pushing the planes’ noses downward due to defective sensor readings.
The FAA has not been without its critics following crashes of the two Max jets. Members of the U.S. Congress as well as families of passengers who died blamed the federal agency for originally allowing the Max jet to fly.