Boeing announced on Thursday that it has completed development of updated software for the 737 MAX, as well as concluding the associated simulator testing and completing the company’s engineering test flight. The software update is designed to address faults with the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that are widely considered to have significantly contributed to the fatal accidents of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Boeing says it has also developed new training and education materials that are now being reviewed by the FAA, global regulators and airlines “to support return-to-service and longer-term operations.” The Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded since March.
According to Boeing, it is now addressing FAA requests for additional information, which “include detail on how pilots interact with the airplane controls and displays in different flight scenarios.” From there, Boeing and the FAA will schedule the certification test flight and Boeing will submit final certification documentation for the new software. “We’re committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need, and to getting it right,” said Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg. “We’re making clear and steady progress and are confident that the 737 MAX with updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly.”
The U.S. House of Representative Aviation Subcommittee also held a hearing on Wednesday to discuss the current status of the Boeing 737 MAX. As shown in the video below, the committee heard testimony from FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell and NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. The hearing was the first in what is expected to be a series of Aviation Subcommittee hearings examining the circumstances around the accidents and the certification process for the MAX.