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June 18, 2024
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Media stories indicate that the FAA has uncovered additional issues on the 737 MAX related to flight control computer software and potentially hardware that will need to be addressed.  This could further delay the MAX, and Southwest Airlines has now cancelled flights into October, 2019, while privately indicating a longer possible delay to employees.

Analysis

Our sources indicate that the problem is more serious than initially thought, and that it is unlikely that Boeing will be able to solve the problems with a simple software fix.  Our regulatory agency source indicates that the computer chip in the flight control computer has inadequate capacity and tends to overheat in certain situations, which could interrupt certain flight control computer commands that could place an aircraft in jeopardy resulting in little time for a pilot to react.  While this is an extreme situation and has not, to our knowledge, happened in MAX operations, it nonetheless represents a risk that needs to be addressed.  The processor itself is an old Intel 20286 dating from the early 1980s – similar in speed and capability (or lack therof) to the first IBM PCs, for those readers old enough to remember them.

Media stories indicate that the FAA has uncovered additional issues on the 737 MAX related to flight control computer software and potentially hardware that will need to be addressed.  This could further delay the MAX, and Southwest Airlines has now cancelled flights into October, 2019, while privately indicating a longer possible delay to employees.


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author avatar
Ernest Arvai
President AirInsight Group LLC