It seems that the situation with the 737 MAX returning to service just keeps getting worse.
The Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded globally since March, following the crash of two 737 MAXs just months apart. Boeing has been working on a software fix that they hope will get the plane back in the air.
Then in late June FAA pilots uncovered a data processing issue impacting their ability to perform the procedure for counteracting “runaway stabiliser.” This is the method by which pilots are supposed to respond to erroneous activation of the MCAS, which is the software that activated prior to two Boeing 737 MAX crashes.
Boeing stated that it would take until at least September to fix the newly discovered issue, and then there would be at least several more weeks of testing. At this point it seems unlikely that the plane will fly before the end of the year.
Well, there’s now yet another issue with the 737 MAX.
Specifically, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency has sent their list to both the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing of the five major requirements it wants Boeing to address before they will allow the plane to return to service in Europe. Per Bloomberg:
EASA’s checklist includes a number of issues that have been disclosed: the potential difficulty pilots have in turning the jet’s manual trim wheel, the unreliability of the Max’s angle of attack sensors, inadequate training procedures, and a software issue flagged just last week by the FAA pertaining to a lagging microprocessor. But the agency also listed a previously unreported concern: the autopilot failing to disengage in certain emergencies.
The autopilot failing to disengage in certain emergencies is a new issue that hadn’t been addressed before. Only time will tell how big of an issue this is, though it sure doesn’t sound like good news.