Mar 27, 2019

Boeing unveils software updates to embattled 737 MAX jet

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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World coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases top 1 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Novel coronavirus infections have hit the 1 million mark after "near exponential growth" that's reached "almost every country," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday.

The big picture: The global death toll exceeded 50,000 on Thursday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported nearly 14,000 deaths. Governments around the world have introduced public health and economic measures to try and curb the impact of the virus.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 11 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 1,007,997 — Total deaths: 52,771 — Total recoveries: 210,055Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 236,339 — Total deaths: 5,648 — Total recoveries: 8,861Map.
  3. 2020 update: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus.
  4. Jobs latest: The coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state
  5. Public health latest: FDA allows blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Judge declines to delay Wisconsin April 7 primary, extends absentee deadline

Photo: Darren Hauck/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday declined to delay Wisconsin's April 7 primary election, saying he doesn't have the authority to do so.

Why it matters: Wisconsin is the only state scheduled to vote next Tuesday that has not yet delayed its primary.