Boeing wished to postpone repair on 737 Max security alert, state legislators

Boeing wanted to delay fix on 737 Max safety alert, say lawmakers

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Boeing prepared to postpone a repair for an important cockpit caution light on its now-grounded Max 737 airliner, leaders of a congressional committee stated Friday, however then sped up the timeline late in 2015 after the very first of 2 fatal crashes that eliminated 346 individuals.

In a letter to Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration and a Boeing subcontractor, Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) stated they’d gotten info recommending that although the airplane maker understood the security alert wasn’t working when it started 737 Max shipment in 2017, it chose to wait till 2020 to carry out a repair. The caution light informs flight teams when an angle-of-attack sensing unit is providing incorrect readings. The malfunctioning sensing unit was connected to both the Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March. 

As part of a continuous examination of the crashes by the House transport committee, which DeFazio chairs, the legislators are asking Boeing to reveal when the business understood the light was faulty and when it notified airline companies. 

“An important part of the Committee’s investigation is finding out what Boeing knew, when the company knew it and who it informed,” Larsen, chair of the House subcommittee on air travel, stated in a declaration. “I have questions about the decision to not deem the AOA Disagree alert as safety critical and I am concerned it took Boeing so long to report this defective feature to the FAA and its customers.”

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Boeing admitted in April that the alert was not operating on all Max 737 aircraft, but a few days later said that the absence of such an alert didn’t adversely affect airplane safety or operation. In response to the DeFazio and Larsen letter, a Boeing spokesman on Friday reiterated that finding in a statement to CNET.

“Based on the safety review, the update was scheduled for the MAX 10 rollout in 2020,” the statement said. “We fell short in the implementation of the AoA Disagree alert and are taking steps to address these issues so they do not occur again.”

When the Max returns to service, the safety alert will be included as a standard feature on all aircraft delivered. Prior to the Lion Air crash, though, it was sold as part of an optional package of equipment, a package that Lion Air didn’t purchase for its planes.

The 737 Max has now been grounded for almost three months, dragging down Boeing’s earnings and reputation as it heads into the Paris Air Show later this month. Though the company says a software update to the Max’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System is complete, there’s still no timeline for the airliner to carry passengers again.

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