You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

U.S. lawmakers say Boeing 737 MAX 8 grounded for at least 'weeks'

Reuters logo Reuters 3/14/2019 David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, March 14 (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers said after a briefing with the acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday that Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 planes will remain grounded for "weeks" at a minimum, until a software upgrade could be tested and installed in all of the planes.

FAA Administrator Dan Elwell told reporters on Wednesday the software update will be ready within a couple of months after regulators around the world grounded the plane following a second fatal crash in the 737 MAX 8 since October.

The FAA said Monday it planned to require the upgrade it termed "design changes" by April. An FAA spokesman confirmed Thursday that the FAA will not unground the airplanes until the software patch is approved and installed.  

Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington, U.S., March 11, 2019. REUTERS/David Ryder © Reuters Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington, U.S., March 11, 2019. REUTERS/David Ryder

Boeing and the FAA did not immediately comment. Representative Rick Larsen said after the briefing the software upgrade would take a few weeks to complete and installing on all aircraft would take "at least through April." He said additional training would also have to take place.

Representative Peter DeFazio, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the software upgrade will result in the airplanes behaving more like older versions of the 737.

The upgrade will revise an automated protection system called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS, which come under scrutiny in October's fatal Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

"After the pilot has tried to correct, the MCAS is going to not keep repeating itself, which is what it does now. It keep triggering automatically and the pilot has to do it again," DeFazio said, unless it is manually disengaged by the pilot. "It will essentially shut itself off."

The upgrade will address if there is a disagreement between censors, DeFazio said.

Lawmakers noted that there have been no confirmed incidents in 50,000 North America flights with the 737 MAX 8 and questioned if training by carriers abroad was an issue.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Reuters

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon