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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said it has found a “potential risk” with the Boeing 737 Max which it says must be rectified before the flight test program can commence.
The Boeing 737 Max is currently grounded worldwide as a result of two fatal accidents linked it’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS.
Boeing has been working on a fix to the solution which centres around the software that controls the system and how it deals with erroneous data.
The Seattle-based company had hoped to begin flight testing of the solution in the next few months but the FAA, which it says it guided by a thorough process not a timeline, says the new problem must be resolved before that happens.
It did not comment on what the problem was but sources have suggested that it was discovered after the aircraft took to long to recover from a stall in a simulation and could be linked to recent rumours that the aircraft is simply ‘running out of processing power’ with all the systems in use.
A need to change the entire processing system could extend the grounding for several months.
In a statement Boeing said: “During the FAA’s review of the 737 MAX software update and recent simulator sessions, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identified an additional requirement that it has asked the company to address through the software changes that the company has been developing for the past eight months.” adding “Boeing agrees with the FAA’s decision and request, and is working on the required software. Addressing this condition will reduce pilot workload by accounting for a potential source of uncommanded stabilizer motion. Boeing will not offer the 737 MAX for certification by the FAA until we have satisfied all requirements for certification of the MAX and its safe return to service.”
In April, Boeing CEO apologised deaths caused by the Boeing 737 Max crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airways.