Boe­ing omit­ted safe­guards on 737 MAX

The Korea Times - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Boe­ing en­gi­neers work­ing on the 737 MAX pas­sen­ger plane’s flight-con­trol sys­tem omit­ted safe­guards in­cluded in an ear­lier ver­sion of the sys­tem used on a mil­i­tary tanker jet, the Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported on Sun­day, cit­ing peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

The en­gi­neers who cre­ated the Ma­neu­ver­ing Char­ac­ter­is­tics Aug­men­ta­tion Sys­tem (MCAS) flight-con­trol sys­tem more than a decade ago for the mil­i­tary re­fu­el­ing plane de­signed the sys­tem to rely on in­puts from mul­ti­ple sen­sors and with lim­ited power to move air­craft’s nose, the Jour­nal said.

The news­pa­per cited one per­son fa­mil­iar with the de­sign say­ing this ap­proach was taken in or­der to guard against the sys­tem act­ing er­ro­neously or caus­ing a pi­lot to lose con­trol.

In con­trast, the ver­sion of MCAS on the 737 MAX pas­sen­ger plane re­lied on in­put from just one of two sen­sors which mea­sure the an­gle at which the plane’s nose is fly­ing, the news­pa­per said.

Boe­ing’s ex­pected soft­ware fix for its 737 MAX planes will make its MCAS more like the one used on the tanker jet, the Jour­nal said.

Boe­ing did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to Reuters’ re­quest for com­ment out­side reg­u­lar busi­ness hours.

Boe­ing has pre­vi­ously said that er­ro­neous sen­sor data fed to the MCAS sys­tem was a com­mon link in a chain of events lead­ing to the fa­tal crashes of a Lion Air 737 MAX air­liner in In­done­sia in Oc­to­ber 2018 and an Ethiopian Air­lines 737 MAX in March 2019 which killed all 346 peo­ple aboard the two air­craft.

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