Boeing finds new flaw on grounded 737 MAX jet

The airspace giant Boeing has detected a new software issue while testing the 737 MAX airliner, as the company struggles to lift the ban on the grounded jet. The plane was taken out of service over deadly crashes.

The troubled 737 MAX passenger plane has a software fault that causes an indicator light to light up at the wrong time, Boeing said on Thursday. The new plane model, set to be a centerpiece in Boeing’s lineup, had been grounded in March 2019 following twin crashes that claimed 346 lives.

The light is linked with the “stabilizer trim system,” which adjusts the stabilizers at the tail of the plane.

“We are incorporating a change to the 737 MAX software prior to the fleet returning to service to ensure that this indicator light only illuminates as intended,” the company said on Thursday.

However, they said the latest issue would most likely not affect the timeline for returning the plane to service.  The company aims to have the ban lifted by mid-2020.

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Boeing ‘made some mistakes’

After flights operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air and Ethiopia Airlines crashed in 2018 and 2019, experts linked the crashes to the jet’s MCAS anti-stall system. The emergency program overrides the pilot’s control to automatically push the nose of the narrow-body jet down and put it into a dive.

When questioned by US lawmakers in October 2019, Boeing CEO at the time, Dennis Muilenburg, admitted that the company “made some mistakes.”

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‘Clowns’ and ‘monkeys’

Boeing has been hounded by controversy over the fatal crashes and the subsequent fallout. Last month, US officials published communications between Boeing employees, with one of the employees saying that the new 737 MAX was “designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys.”

Just days later, Boeing announced it had detected a software issue linked with the aircraft’s monitoring systems. It was not immediately clear if this problem was linked to the indicator light.

The Boeing 737 fiasco has crippled the company’s earnings, with the aviation giant posting a net loss of $636 million (€579 million) in 2019, compared to some $10.5 billion in profits during the year before.