Max 737 Safety Features Questioned

FAA logo

CBJ — The problems for Boeing after the top U.S. Transportation Secretary questioned why the company did not require safety features on its 737 MAX that might have prevented two recent crashes.

The query comes just prior to a much-anticipated Senate hearing about the airplane.

“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,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said.

Boeing has confirmed it will make standard a safety feature on its now grounded 737 MAX that might have warned earlier of problems that possibly played a role in the crashes of Ethiopian and Indonesian planes that killed almost 350 people.

There have been reports that the software is set to a lower takeoff angle of ascent than pilots are accustomed to. However, when pilots try to override the system for what they believe is a corrected angle, the software allegedly counters that move by again lowering the angle, resulting in an unnerving oscillating motion as the aircraft attempts to gain enough thrust to elevate.

The FAA is reviewing the software upgrade and plans to mandate it by next month, which is now just days away.  However, the FAA has made it clear it will not agree to unground the planes until it has more details about what led to the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash. A similar crash occurred on an Indonesian Airliner in October. Investigators are looking into all possibilities, including human error, mechanical error, software error or the combination of the three.