Turbulence Ahead? FAA Probes Boeing’s Latest 737 Max Model
Turbulence Ahead? FAA Probes Boeing's Latest 737 Max Model - Scrutiny Continues for Boeing's Troubled Jetliner
The saga of Boeing's beleaguered 737 Max aircraft continues, as new questions emerge about the jetliner's safety and reliability. The Max has been under intense scrutiny since two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019 killed 346 people. The crashes were blamed in part on flight control software known as MCAS, which Boeing has been working to overhaul ever since.
Just when it seemed the Max was ready to return to the skies, new issues have prompted an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Multiple U.S. airlines reported encountering problems with the automated system that helps stabilize the plane, known as the stick shaker. This system warns pilots of an impending aerodynamic stall by shaking the control column and sounding audible alerts. However, the stick shaker on some Max planes has been activating when there was no risk of a stall, creating confusion in the cockpit.
This glitch forced dozens of Max planes to turn back to airports and be taken out of service for inspection. For airlines banking on the updated Max to boost their fleets, each grounding leads to more canceled flights and frustrated passengers. after clearing the Max to fly again in late 2020, the FAA said it would scrutinize all technical issues and take "appropriate action" if a problem is found.
Analysts say these latest woes deal a blow to Boeing's claims that the revamped Max is now one of the safest planes in the sky. "Boeing keeps saying that, but the Max cannot seem to fly reliably," said one industry expert. The plane maker had promised airlines that the software fixes would prevent the issues that led to the devastating crashes. However, ongoing glitches imply that deep problems still lurk within the Max's complex systems.
Some experts are questioning whether Boeing is doing enough testing on the planes before they enter service. They argue that software issues are extremely difficult to catch on the ground. These flaws tend to only reveal themselves once the planes are flying regularly with hundreds of passengers on board. Aerospace engineers say Boeing needs more stringent safeguards and quality control across its manufacturing and design processes. Only then can public trust be restored in the company and its beleaguered jetliner.