Boeing Board's Lack of Expertise Under Scrutiny in 737 MAX Safety Oversight

Saul Bowman
Мая 8, 2019

Boeing said Sunday engineers had found the safety alert issue on its 737 MAX aircraft in 2017, a year before the deadly crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people.

The US planemaker has been trying for weeks to dispel suggestions that it made airlines pay for safety features after it emerged that an alert created to show discrepancies in Angle of Attack (AOA) readings from two sensors was optional on the 737 Max.

The manufacturer's own experts reviewed the issue and "determined that the absence of the AOA Disagree alert did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation", according to the Boeing statement.

After the Lion Air crash, Ms King said, Boeing notified Southwest that it had discovered the lights did not work without the optional angle-of-attack indicators, so Southwest began adding the optional feature too. But its engineers discovered that the sensor worked only with a separate, optional safety feature.

Senior company management is said to have become aware of the problem after the Lion Air plane crashed.

Due to the developments, Boeing has said it will be issuing a display system software update on MAX planes before they are reinstated.

Meanwhile, in some cases domestic carriers who purchased the Max did not learn of the software glitch until after the Ethiopian Airlines crash that left 157 people dead and led to an worldwide grounding of the fleet, according to the Wall Street Journal and carriers.

Its statement seemed to point blame at an unnamed supplier when it stated that the problem was located in "the software delivered to Boeing". At the same time, the company discussed the status of the AOA Disagree alert with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Читайте также: Boeing knew about 737 MAX problems before Indonesia crash

If it had been working, the warning light would have lit up on the fatal flights of both the Lion Air and Ethiopian jets.

Investigators believe that incorrect data from an "angle of attack" sensor triggered the aircraft's anti-stall software, known as MCAS, causing the nose of the planes to pitch down as the pilots struggled for control.

Boeing said Sunday that the planes could be flown safely without the alert, but said it will be included in the 737 Max before the planes are flown again.

"However, Boeing's timely or earlier communication with [airlines] would have helped to reduce or eliminate possible confusion", the spokesman said in a emailed statement emailed to Associated Press.

Neither the Lion Air aircraft nor the Ethiopian Airlines jet had the feature.

According to the statement, "When the discrepancy between the requirements and the software was identified, Boeing followed its standard process for determining the appropriate resolution of such issues".

Boeing did not inform the airlines, the pilots and the public until April 29, six weeks after the second crash. After media leaks pointed to Boeing's dodgy behaviour after the Lion Air disaster last October, new reports have suggested that the aviation giant was not forthcoming about its new plane's faulty alert system with airlines.

"We are being told by Boeing that the AOA Disagree Alert ... is inhibited until 400 feet above ground level", he said Sunday. Even if an airline didn't pay extra for the AOA indicator display gauge (pictured here on a schematic for earlier 737 versions than the MAX), if the sensors went out of sync, a warning should have been shown to the pilots.

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