Workers stand under the wing of a Boeing 737 MAX airplane at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton, Washington. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Boeing on Wednesday met with "more than 200 airline pilots, technical leaders and government regulators" to unveil new fixes to the MCAS software system for its 737 MAX series jet, following new scrutiny and investigations into what caused 2 MAX 8s to crash in less than 6 months, killing a total of 346 people.

Catch up quick: The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) is an automated system Boeing installed to prevent the aircraft from stalling (losing lift) by pushing the plane's nose down in particular circumstances. A malfunction with this system, where it appeared to activate based on faulty readings from a flight sensor, is the suspected cause of both crashes.

Details of the updates, per Boeing's website:

  • The MCAS will now compare inputs from both angle-of-attack (AOA) sensors. If the sensors disagree by 5.5 degrees or more with the flaps retracted, MCAS will not activate. An indicator on the flight deck display will alert the pilots.
  • If MCAS is activated in non-normal conditions, it will only provide one input for each elevated AOA event. There are no known or envisioned failure conditions where MCAS will provide multiple inputs.
  • MCAS can never command more stabilizer input than can be counteracted by the flight crew pulling back on the column. The pilots will continue to always have the ability to override MCAS and manually control the airplane.

What's next: Boeing plans to send the software updates and new plans for pilot training to the Federal Aviation Administration for review by the end of this week, according to CNBC.

  • Reality check: The new updates are nowhere near close to getting certified, given there numerous ongoing investigations by multiple U.S. and international agencies.
  • The FAA itself is currently under scrutiny for not grounding the 737 MAX jets faster and for delegating certification activities to Boeing.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the Boeing 737 MAX crashes

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Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
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Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m. EST: 32,062,182 — Total deaths: 979,701 — Total recoveries: 22,057,268Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m EST: 6,967,103 — Total deaths: 202,558 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  5. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  6. Sports: Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  7. Science: During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.

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