Issue Found In Boeing 737 MAX Start-Up Process

Boeing found a new glitch in the 737 MAX. This time, the glitch is in software used during the start-up process, said a person familiar with the matter.

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There’s another problem with the MAX. Photo: Getty Images

As reported first by ABC News, Boeing is making the necessary updates under the gaze of the Federal Aviation Administration. The manufacturer will keep its customers and suppliers informed.

The company found the new glitch during a technical review. Boeing found that the software supposed to monitor other systems did not start correctly. “It’s similar to the steps any computer might make when first turned on,” said CNN.

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The source said the issue is not related to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The MCAS is the software related to the two fatal crashes that killed 346 people in October 2018 and March 2019. This software could push down the nose of a plane, helping pilots to avoid a stall. However, when it erroneously activated, pilots could no longer control the plane and the results were disastrous.

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Boeing 737 MAX
It is uncertain if the glitch will delay the recertification of the program Photo: Getty Images

It is uncertain if this will delay the return of the MAX

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t recertified the single-aisle aircraft of Boeing. It is uncertain if this new glitch will delay even more the return of the MAX to commercial operation.

“We continue to work with other international aviation safety regulators to review the proposed changes to the aircraft,” said the agency.

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FAA grounded the 737 MAX on 13 March 2019, just three days after the crash of the flight ET302 of Ethiopian Airlines. Meanwhile, Boeing works on an update to the MCAS software. The US manufacturer also reduced the monthly production of its best-seller airplane.

Ultimately, Boeing will temporarily shut down the MAX production. This decision affected Boeing suppliers like Spirit Aerosystems.

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Boeing stops producing new MAX aircraft. Photo: SounderBruce via Wikimedia Commons

The billion-dollar crisis

The crisis is costing billions of USD to Boeing. For example, a bunch of airlines have agreed to compensation from Boeing. With over 370 Boeing 737 MAX planes in service and dozens more due to be delivered, the longer it drags on, the more money airlines lose.

Also, Boeing can’t deliver any 737 MAX aircraft. That’s the reason the company halted the production altogether.

But the airlines hit back at Boeing on a different front: orders. In 2019, the company ended with negative commercial airplane orders. The order book for the MAX shrank by 183 planes, as The Verge reported. Moreover, Malaysia Airlines suspended this week the jet deliveries of the troubled family.

Finally, the crisis shook Boeing to its core. The CEO of the company, among other top heads, resigned before 2019 ended. Now, David Calhoun is the new director and president of the US manufacturer

Before the two crashes, the 737 MAX was on-route to become the most important aircraft in Boeing’s history by numbers. As the company says, “the 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history with about 5,000 orders from more than 100 customers worldwide.

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Gerry S

I am done talking about MAX. Until they fly again. 'Nuff said!

JFP

Agreed!

Armand2REP

There are so many flaws in this design they should scrap it and proceed with the NMA like they should have done from the beginning.

Frank

They’re in too deep, now. Besides, the NMA would not replace the Max – it is in a different space, replacing the 757/767’s.
Boeing needs to hurry up and release the future small aircraft, bite the bullet and switch users to that model. Airbus cannot make any more A320’s – so no one gets any new aircraft for 5 years…

Adam|Adam@majorboon.com

Why even try anymore like srsly, it sucks that they can’t just ditch the aircraft. They need to keep it because of the demand and the money spent,

TonytTDK

They can’t just ditch the MAX for TWO very good reasons…. 1. They’ve already built nearly a thousand of them & currently have orders for 4000 more & are BILLIONS of dollars in debt to this aircraft, which can only recovered by sales of the aircraft & 2. The IS NO Actual Final Design of the Small Future Aircraft currently in existence. All Boeing have is concepts & computer generated images. It will take them at least 5 years to get from the day they actually decide to build it until it actually comes into service & AFAIK, they have… Read more »

Kaden|kadezimm2004@gmail.com

😂😂 The 737max is the funniest JOKE ever!!

Ravioliollie

I can think of about 350 departed who would hardly find any humor in your post.

chk

More problems for this model but Boeing still not pulling it.

mohave

Boeing should build an all new single aisle with fuselage wide enough for 18.6 inch wide seats in coach. The A220 has 18.6 inch wide seats in coach. The 737 has 17 inch.

Chris

The narrow fuselage is one of the ways Boeing keep the cost down, they will never give up that advantage. Airbus is more comfortable for me but people are different sizes in different areas!

John

Maybe Boeing should not have dissed the A220 in the first place, then they could have bought into it with Bombardier instead of Embraer? Karma sucks for some.

Chris Parker

The problems just keep coming…
I think it would be better to re-run the whole certification from scratch and this time do it properly.

Alan

This is the last straw, first MCAS, then faulty parts, then lying and cheating, now this. Boeing, the 737 MAX has lost the weakened trust

Lastmate

I don’t know about anyone else but I would think if the MAX is never permitted to fly again Boeing would be absolutely done. I assume they would have to refund the carriers that have purchased aircraft and have to of course pay for dismantling (scrapping) every aircraft built….

John

Trump would bail them out. The old “too big to fail” syndrome.

Chris

The FAA etc may have a long list of things to check on the 737 MAX that Boeing appear to have stuffed up and have to fix (and their compulsory audit reviews just found another problem #20)….. 1. Larger engines repositioned forward leading to questionable stability in the full flight envelope not countered by other physical characteristics, airflow tweaks or much better fail-safe software. (Resulted from reluctance to lengthen the landing gear, which would have required fuselage redesign and a new certification of the aircraft.) 2. Terrible unintended consequences from MCAS software that was not fail-safe and not fit for… Read more »

Muthukumar Thyagarajan

@Chris : I still can’t understand the logic behind the lack of MCAS visual annunciation whilst it is changing the pitch attitude of an airplane without a pilot input. This led to the utter confusion and pilots inability to decide what is causing the pitch trim to move so fast… In the case of autopilot and autothrottle – the mode annunciation is mandatory on PFD, and why hasn’t it been made mandatory for a backup system operation ?… These are the perils of grandfathering 1960’s certifications standards.

Chris

Too true. I think clear and prominent indication of the position of such control surfaces should be mandatory. The indication of AOA disagree should have been mandatory. AOA out of range should have been handled. The indication of current pitch setting should be something more than a mark on the manual trim wheel. The fact that the “systems” are detecting anomalies and significantly changing crucial control surfaces should be clearly shown. When systems degrade it should be clearly shown. Instead it seems like Boeing expected the pilots would “see and feel” what was going on, in amongst the other somewhat… Read more »

John

Wow, this story just keeps getting worse for Boeing. If the systems that monitor others doesn’t work correctly then this seems to be another safety hazard? They sure have flubbed this one.

David

I begin to wonder how long it will take Boeing to recover from their fall from grace, and that’s being kind. Seems to me it could go either way as far as the flying public go. They might accept that the MAX is the most tested approved plane in the world. On the other hand they might feel that the build quality is never going to be back tracked on all the existing 787 MAX, about 400 of which have been lying around half finished in various car parks! We read of wing attachment worries, lightning conduction issues, now more… Read more »

David

I have a feeling that if there were only (say) one hundred MAXs involved the aircraft would be scrapped. As it is such a solution, deserved or not, is economically too big a disaster with massive widespread implications.
I still, with my limited knowledge, fail to see the merit in putting bigger engines on an old design, having to move their position, and then restoring flight characteristics with, wait for it, SOFTWARE. And so to mask an inherent design problem, to avoid pilot training, and keep it a secret!!! The aviation industry, the flying public deserve better.

David Svarrer

It is utterly and expressly wrong to state that the crashes happened due to that the pilots did not know MCAS. The crashes happened due to that a single faulty sensor reported to flight computer that the aircraft was stalling, and the MCAS then tried to correct and overrule the pilots maneuvering. As the planes were not stalling but on normal climb or normal horizontal path the effect was forcing the nose net down, overruling the pilots frantic efforts to keep the plane on course. The pilots did know about the MCAS, but even switching it off did not work,… Read more »

Joanna Bailey

Point taken, you’re quite right. I have changed the wording in the article.

phil

maybe to give some confidence to the public Trump and his cronies should stop swanning around in Air Force 1 and get a brand new Max.

MAK

even if they are finally able to ‘tweak’ the system & get the FAA certification the hangover from the adverse publicity of the past year + will not go away too soon – the discerning public is likely to remain apprehensive. But for Boeing it’s a tough call: ‘can’t swallow it, nor spit it out’…………starting from scratch on a new innovative design for introduction into operation a decade hence will, without doubt, open the present lost markets/clients and recapture the airlines’ confidence once more. For the immediate future it is unlikely that interest in A320/A321 series is going to be… Read more »

Gerry S

@Phil: Better yet. Get a used Tupolev.

Brad

How long does it take to design a new aircraft? And bring to production? That’s what Boing does best. They should be drafting & designing the next generation of aircraft. They should already have a small team working on it.