Boeing 737 Max makes emergency landing in Orlando

Embattled aviation giant Boeing pledged Wednesday to do all it can to prevent crashes like the two that killed almost 350 people in recent months, as it unveiled a fix to the flight software of its grounded 737 MAX aircraft.

The airline and the FAA said the plane had a problem with one of its engines, not the flight-control software.

The 737 Max line's Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) has an anti-stalling system which is now believed to have sent two prior flights - a Lion Air flight that crashed in October 2018, killing 189, and an Ethopian Airlines crash this month that killed 157) - into nose dives.

The crew declared an emergency after taking off from Orlando International Airport on Tuesday and returned to the airport safely.

Icelandair is officially blaming "commercial reasons" for its decision to cancel service from Cleveland and Halifax, although a spokesperson confirmed that the "situation" with Boeing's 737 Max 8 aircraft "played a role" in the decision.

The US government followed almost every other country in the world this month by ordering all Max 8 planes grounded after 157 people died in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8.

The automated system, known as MCAS, is also the focal point of the probe into the Ethiopian Airlines crash involving the same Boeing 737 Max model earlier this month.

The Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System software is created to prevent stalling by angling the plane downward.

UNITED STATES - MARCH 26: Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao arrives for the Senate Appropriations Committee Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the proposed Transportation Department budget for FY2020 on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.


The Transportation Department watchdog has previously raised questions about the FAA's certification of Boeing planes and the seemingly close relationship between some agency managers and Boeing.

While Boeing's software fix appears close to approval by FAA, regulators and the company still need to convince ordinary passengers that it's safe, said Mark Gerchick, a Washington lawyer who previously served as the FAA's general counsel. Southwest Airlines Flight 8701 took off as normal at around 3pm, but just minutes into the flight, the pilots reported a problem.

The stall-prevention software is also under scrutiny in a second deadly crash this month in Ethiopia.

Two hundred people from airlines around the world were in Renton on Wednesday to see Boeing's software fix for the 737 MAX.

At the heart of the controversy surrounding the 737 Max is MCAS, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System. The system might have automatically taken control during the Indonesia and Ethiopia air crashes.

After analyzing the Ethiopian Airlines flight's recovered black box, the Ethiopian Transport Ministry said the crash had "clear similarities" with the Lion Air flight.

As they battled the uncooperative and diving plane previous year, the pilots on the doomed Lion Air flight attempted a routine maneuver to try and stabilize the plane by triggering a switch near the steering wheel approximately three dozen times, according to a report by Indonesian investigators.

Boeing executive Sinnett told reporters the software had been through extensive testing, including flights with US Federal Aviation Administration regulators. The airline has not decided whether to cancel that order.


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