Boeing’s troubled 737 Max is a step closer to flying again after regulators provisionally approved an update to software linked to 2 crashes

American civil aviation and Boeing investigators search through the debris at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March 2019.

caption
American civil aviation and Boeing investigators search through the debris at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March 2019.
source
REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

  • Boeing’s 737 Max planes just took a big step towards being allowed to return to the skies.
  • A Federal Aviation Administration panel said the software update for the plane and its plans for training pilots to fly in the aircraft is “operationally suitable.”
  • Boeing was under pressure to fix the planes’ automated MCAS anti-stall software system, which was found to have misfired in two fatal plane crashes.
  • The planes are grounded around the world, and will remain so until the FAA formally approves the new software and pilot training.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

The Federal Aviation Administration just took a major step in letting Boeing 737 Max jets return to the skies after its involvement in two fatal crashes in five months.

An FAA panel found on Tuesday that a software update for the plane, and Boeing’s plans for training pilots to fly in the aircraft, are both “operationally suitable.”

The aircraft has been grounded around the world since a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash in March, which followed a fatal Lion Air crash in October 2018. Just under 350 people were killed in the crashes.

Read more: Boeing’s problems are mounting and things are going to get worse before they get better

The FAA said that it would not allow the planes to fly until it approved the software updates and pilot training systems. The FAA still needs to approve these changes once Boeing formally submits them.

Boeing 737 Max planes are grounded around the world until the FAA approves its software fix.

caption
Boeing 737 Max planes are grounded around the world until the FAA approves its software fix.
source
REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

But the findings Tuesday’s draft report from the Flight Standardization Board (FSB), which was appointed by the FAA, are good news for Boeing, which has pledged to win back the flying public’s trust.

The manufacturer was under pressure to address flaws with the 737 Max’s automated MCAS anti-stall software system, which was found to have misfired in the preliminary reports from separate investigations into both the crashes.

Airlines have cancelled flights into the summer due to the grounding of the planes, which are now clogging up storage lots.

Read more: Boeing can’t deliver the 737 Max to customers, and now the planes are clogging up its storage lots.

The FSB panel said that it examined Boeing’s software update for “training and checking differences determination” and said: “The MCAS system was found to be operationally suitable.”

The report said that the pilots required training on the MCAS system, but said that training did not need to take place in a simulator.