Boeing software update
Boeing announced on Wednesday changes to its 737 MAX planes. The plane manufacturer said that the line of airplanes — the model that crashed both in Indonesia last October and in Ethiopia in March — are now safe to fly, thanks to a fix to a stall-prevention software patch, which investigators believe might have been the cause of both accidents.
In addition, Boeing also said it plans to implement enhanced pilot training. The company has come under fire for what was reportedly suspect training for pilots in a rush to get the 737 MAX on the market. Per The Wall Street Journal, pilots received no training on the stall-prevention program and "saw almost no mention of it in manuals." They also did not learn to fly the model in simulators, because the plan was derivative of an earlier 737. Perhaps most strikingly, pilots received no cockpit warning when a sensor used to trigger the stall-prevention software malfunctioned.
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao also faced questions from congressional committees on Wednesday about Boeing and the 737 MAX, particularly about the Federal Aviation Administration's relationship with Boeing. The New York Times reports that Chao expressed concern about the optional safety features like stall-prevention software.
"It is very questionable, if these were safety-oriented additions, why they were not part of the required template of measures that should go into an airplane," she said.
The Transportation Department's inspector general, Calvin Scovel, announced on Wednesday that his office would conduct an audit of the FAA's certification of the 737 MAX, the Times reports.
Now, Boeing will send the software update to the FAA for certification approval, per CNBC. But if it is approved, it will likely still take time before the planes are back in the air.