Boeing commits to 737 Max software fix

| 20/03/2019 | 68 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Airways 737 Max 8 jet

(CNS): Airlines and pilots who have been flying the now grounded Boeing 737 Max aircraft will see a software update before the end of the month, the manufacturers have said following two fatal crashes in what increasingly appear to be related circumstances. The BBC is reporting that it has seen documents that show the software update will limit the operation of the controversial MCAS system on board the aircraft, which is believed to be at the heart of the new plane’s problems. However, pilots say they were not told about it until after the first fatal crash.

Investigators have already said that there are “clear similarities” between the Lion Air 737 Max crash off the coast of Indonesia last October and the Ethiopian Airlines crash earlier this month. The two crashes killed 346 people in all.

In a letter and video message posted on Boeing’s site, chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said, “Soon we’ll release a software update and related pilot training for the 737 Max that will address concerns discovered in the aftermath of the Lion Air Flight 610 accident.”

Allied Pilots Association spokesman Dennis Tajer told the Washington Post that pilots were not told about the new plane’s software issue, which Boeing was aware of, before the crashes.

On Thursday, international media reports began emerging that the day before the Lion Air crash, an off-duty pilot who happened to be riding in the cockpit of that plane with a different air crew helped them to disable a malfunctioning flight-control system and save the plane when it began nose-diving after take-off. But the crew did not report the incident.

Investigators have reportedly found that the next day, a different crew flying that same plane encountered an identical malfunction and the plane crashed. According to Bloomberg and Reuters, the details of both incidents were recorded by the plane’s cockpit voice recorder.

The Indonesia Safety Committee Report said the plane had multiple failures on previous flights that had not been properly repaired. Airline mechanics had tried to fix related issues on the plane after pilots reported issues with incorrect display of speeds and altitude.

The US government has ordered a review of the process that led to the new aircraft’s licence to fly, and law enforcement authorities are already said to be looking at the FAA’s oversight of the Boeing aircraft.

Meanwhile, the planes remain grounded around the world, including here in the Cayman Islands, as Cayman Airways Ltd has invested in these new planes to upgrade its own fleet. So far, CAL had received two of the four planes it had leased.

However, since as the original 737 aircraft, which the second Max 8 was destined to replace, had not yet left the island, the national flag carrier has been able to juggle its older fleet to fill the gap created by the grounded planes, including the brand new Denver route, which had been introduced based on the arrival of the new Max 8’s.

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Comments (68)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    And the French Investigators have the boxes from the Ethiopian , Just about the worst country to have them (if you are Boeing that is). Get ready for “If its a Boeing, I aint going” revival.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So has CAL announced if their 737 Max Aircraft came with the additional safety features that were “options” on the planes? AA and Southwest have the additional safety options, United does not.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/21/business/boeing-safety-features-charge.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

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    • Anonymous says:

      Until they fit a disagree light and an angle of attack warning, I’m not getting on them. If CAL do not purchase this optional extra then they are taking unacceptable risks for financial expediency and should be boycotted until they do.

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      • anon says:

        I read that AA’s Max 8’s all have the disagree light and an angle of attack warning system, which had to be purchased separately and is apparently a really expensive addition. However, now Boeing will be making the disagree light a part of the package when building the plane and the other warning system will have to still be purchased as an addition.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bring back the tri-lander – absolutely no software issues!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Boeing is not the only Plane maker that have issues.

    As noted above, there are a lot of unreported incidents from all companies that manufacture Planes.

    First thought come to mind with all of this, Boeing could end up in a better position If they do all the testing and proving necessary as well as get some test pilots to try every scenario possible to test the new system.

    The planes are great and the intentions was good.
    Sometimes it takes a tragedy for a wake up call to happen.

    It should involve a lot of the experienced Pilots to offer feedback and such.
    Most Pilots will not fly an aircraft if they are not confident.

    One thing that can also be included with the investigation, is did those pilots have training on those new planes, or did they just ask to “give me a fly” on the new planes? It would be very interesting to know if it was just intuition that the Pilot that was off duty was Trained on the new plane or was it just pilot skills that he knew what to do.

    Cayman Airways was and is not the only one flying these planes, other Airlines have been using them with good results. have you heard any bashing of those other Airlines?

    At lease a good ten planes could be used to test the limits, including the stall factor that is being addressed by the new feature. just my 4 cents.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Spoke to few pilots about this. They are still totally ready to fly the MAX. You just need to be aware of how MCAS works, and how to disable it if it ever failed. These pilots were apparently not adequately trained on that system.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So that explains why the Ethiopian flight crashed, even though the pilots had specific training on the issue after the Lion Air crash? Or the fact that the Lion Air crew tried to disable the electronic trim control and to enable the autopilot, both of which should have stopped MCAS, and neither worked? Given Boeing knew about the problem BEFORE Lion Air crashed, and did squat, and despite knowing the problem needed a software fix but allowed people to keep flying the aircraft whilst they worked on the fix, I think anyone who is prepared to fly the aircraft before someone independent certifies that the problem truly is fixed needs their head examined.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You can talk to all the “pilots” you want but the truth remains that industry much less the public is totally stumped as to the facts surrounding these last two accidents and its still way too early in the investigation to be making assumptions. Pilots are not engineers my friend, and are easily influenced to comfort themselves. It delibrately took some time but we slowly see the transition from Boeing taking responsibility for they manufacturing and design issues of the 737 MAX and the subsequent crashes, to now the systems works fine even when its not working and both crashes were the pilots fault. Sincerely hope you not taking guidance from our local wright brothers either which is a whole other issue within itself.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow you spoke to a few pilots! Problem solved then! Why don’t you notify the authorities that have grounded the planes that you have the solution?

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Good ol’ western pride and b.s. exceptionalism – always in need of a face-saving proverbial under-rug sweeping to uphold the facade.

    Had it been a Russian or Asian manufacturer there would be HELL TO PAY for this murderous eff’ry.

    – Who

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Sue Boeing – a fat class-action would be nice. They’ve been utterly blasé about this, from not even informing pilots properly about the post-Lion Air update, to being in cahoots with their apologists at the FAA who are more interested in America (Boeing) v Europe (Airbus) sales wars, than the lives of their customers.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Our lives are in the hands of corporations that put profit over people and software that seems to be largely developed on a trial and error (break/fix) basis.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    CAL better just send these planes back. Myself and many other Caymanians are too scared to go on one of these pieces of junk, and will not trust our lives with a software fix!

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I hope the software update isn’t anything like the apple updates?every month there’s an update to fix the last bug. The pilots before the next crew should be charged with murder. Their actions of not reporting the incident probably killed everyone on the plane. CAL change these planes out please and go back to the old way of flying of have skilled and qualified pilots and not some computer that the pilots are unable to disengaged when there is an issue.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The designer at Boeing and the FAA officials who approved the design should be held accountable for all 247 peoples deaths!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The pilots are dead already. Besides, don’t believe everything you read or hear. Mainstream media goes into unfathomable insinuations to get your attention and reaction.
      P.S.Take me back to pre-internet and wi-fi time anytime. People were more sane just 20 years ago.

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    • Jotnar says:

      Read this before you blame the pilots on Lion Air. In particular points 3 and 4 from the initial report, which says the pilots tried to disable the MCAS by switching off the electronic trim and by trying to enable the autopilot, both of which should have worked, and neither did that day. And BTW, the pilots on the previous flight reported that the airspeed sensor was faulty, and it was replaced before the fatal flight. Reasonable assumption on their part that fixing the component would fix the problem.

      https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/03/article/was-the-737-max-problem-just-bad-software/

    • Anonymous says:

      You won’t find any apple or microsoft software in aircraft systems. It wouldn’t get through any part of the certification process.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I found this NASA site that logs avaition malfunction reports. I looked first at the 737 Max and looked through all of the critical malfunctions…scary. Then I started looking at others, including Airbus, Lockheed, Bombardier and others. It’s amazing how many critical faults occur, many of which require an emergency landing and we never hear about it. All of the manufacturers have far more malfunctions than I imagined. If you are scared of flying, do look at this site: https://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/search/database.html

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  12. CAL Max8s have to go. says:

    I wonder if the brainiacs at Cayman Airways will now cancel the order for the 2 remaining Max 8s or ask for them to be converted to a 800 series airplane. In fact, return the 2 we already have and do the same- get an 800 or even 700 series. No matter what the fix is or isnt, the travelling public has lost all faith in the Max8. Do the right thing CAL

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sure, Boeing is just going to whip up a batch of the B737-800’s for everyone..sic

      Just a few months ago, Honda had a recall on all of their airbags because they were deploying when they shouldn’t and in some cases caused fatalities..They replaced everyone of the airbags but they didn’t give everyone an older Honda to replace the new one that those folks had bought…In fact they even fixed the airbags on the old ones..

      Do you really believe that Boeing could risk having another one of these crash for the same issue…They would have to close up shop!

      You do realize that once this problem is fixed that not only Cayman Airways but American, Southwest and United will go back to flying them here again….

      Stop the fear mongering!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Really, where is Boeing going to get 800’s and 700’s to give them? Geesh, the mentality of some people.. Do a little research before you put your mouth in gear..

      800’s are being phased out by most airlines and can’t tell the last time I even saw a 700

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      • Anonymous says:

        Your comments are so wrong and misguided as the 800 continues to be made, as well as the 700 albeit to a lesser degree.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Airbus then!

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      • Anonymous says:

        737NG’s are still in production and operation worldwide mate. And a huge second hand market (wonder why) exist. Just like VP-CNG that up until it’s departure everyone was happy to fly on and rave about. Stop being a hypocrite

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      • Anonymous says:

        Lol you need to practice what you preach 7:57. Aircraft manufacturers rarely if ever Lease or sell aircraft directly to operators. These transactions are handled by aircraft leasing companies. And 737NG’s are still in production today and even more inventory on the secondhand market. They are being converted as freighters, for military use and business jets amongst other uses. Guess what most airlines are flying now since the max is grounded ! But your an industry expert so you knew this already

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    • Anonymous says:

      6:59 pm u r right send back the 2 – 800 max an get the 700 series, they carry about 140 passengers, burn less fuel and have long flying time

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      • Anonymous says:

        OMG..the height of ignorance and stupidity on this blog…where did you get these statistics from..Slokey? Even him had better sense than you..

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    • Anonymous says:

      Bobo…like to see the old BAC1-11 back in the Brac , Nostalgia…..

  13. Anonymous says:

    Time to consider Airbus guys?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Why do we need pilots? Boeing’s software fix will help the plane fly it’s self, at least that’s what their software engineers told them. Pure madness, it’s like when HAL fights the pilots inputs.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Well lets hope Lion Air’s off duty pilot along with the crew from the prior day are very strongly reprimanded or suspended (could face legal actions) cause just maybe if they do their job and immediately reporting this major issue with the planes erratic behavior… just maybe 346 lives could have been saved. He or crew were the HERO one day by his quick actions and saved the lives on that flight but became a ZERO by not saying or reporting what they experienced the day before and caused many lives to perish.

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  16. Say it like it is says:

    Boeing have a lot to answer for. The Pilot’s Association say Boeing were aware of the software issue before the two fatal crashes, yet their CEO states that the software update they are working on will “address concerns discovered after the Lion Air accident”.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Software fix or not, I’ll be ding my best to avoid flying on these lemons.

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    • Say it like it is says:

      4/43pm At least CAL have a core of loyal passengers who will still fly the lemons i.e. the large number who fly for free on every flight.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Imma take the bus.

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