Regulators challenge Boeing to prove its Max jets are safe

WASHINGTON - Aviation regulators worldwide laid down a stark challenge for Boeing to prove that its grounded 737 Max jets are safe to fly amid suspicions that faulty software might have contributed to two crashes that killed 346 people in less than six months. In a key step toward unearthing the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, flight recorders from the shattered plane arrived Thursday in France for analysis, although the agency in charge of the review said it was unclear whether the data could be retrieved. The decision to send the recorders to France was seen as a rebuke to the United States, which held out longer than most other countries in grounding the jets, reported David Koenig and Tom Krisher for the Associated Press.

DOT announces special committee to review FAA’s aircraft certification process; will be led on an interim basis by former Air Line Pilots Association chief Lee Moak and retired Air Force Gen. Darren McDew
DOT announces special committee to review FAA’s aircraft certification process; will be led on an interim basis by former Air Line Pilots Association chief Lee Moak and retired Air Force Gen. Darren McDew
WASHINGTON - Aviation regulators worldwide laid down a stark challenge for Boeing to prove that its grounded 737 Max jets are safe to fly amid suspicions that faulty software might have contributed to two crashes that killed 346 people in less than six months. In a key step toward unearthing the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, flight recorders from the shattered plane arrived Thursday in France for analysis, although the agency in charge of the review said it was unclear whether the data could be retrieved. The decision to send the recorders to France was seen as a rebuke to the United States, which held out longer than most other countries in grounding the jets, reported David Koenig and Tom Krisher for the Associated Press.

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The Intelligent Aerospace take:

March 18, 2019-The U.S. FAA grounded Boeing 737 MAX variants on Wednesday after saying regulators had evidence that the movements of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 were similar to Lion Air Flight 610, which killed all on board last fall. Boeing will need to finish updating the avionics software before the FAA will consider "un-grounding" the passenger jets.

On Sunday, Boeing President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg issued a statement on the ongoing investigation into Flight 302.

"Boeing continues to support the investigation, and is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available. Safety is our highest priority as we design, build and support our airplanes," Muilenburg said on March 17. "As part of our standard practice following any accident, we examine our aircraft design and operation, and when appropriate, institute product updates to further improve safety. While investigators continue to work to establish definitive conclusions, Boeing is finalizing its development of a previously-announced software update and pilot training revision that will address the MCAS flight control law's behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs. We also continue to provide technical assistance at the request of and under the direction of the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. Accredited Representative working with Ethiopian investigators."

Related: Boeing grounded: What it means for air travel

Related: Boeing agrees with NTSB and FAA to temporarily ground 737 MAX models; President Trump issues executive order

Related: The Boeing 737 MAX: Is the problem with the plane or the pilots?

Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Intelligent Aerospace

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