A new issue has surfaced with the Boeing 737 Max’s in-flight control chip. This means that the plane could be grounded until later this year.
A Boeing official stated in an interview that this new chip failure is the latest reason the plane is having trouble in its recertification procedure. This failure results in an autonomous movement in a panel that is located on the tail of the aircraft. This movement points the nose of the plane downward. Emergency tests have been carried out to fix the issue; however, all these tests have done is show that pilots are taking longer than expected to solve the problem in practice.
This problem is completely different from the existing one that caused the initial ban of the aircraft. That problem was with it’s MCAS system that allowed for automated flight control. Boeing is adamant that said issue can be corrected through implementation of a software fix.
After that software fix is implemented, it is estimated that a two-month period needs to pass before the planes can fly again. This is because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) needs this time to complete recertification of the planes. Additionally, Boeing needs to then come to an agreement with both pilot unions and airlines on the amount of extra training that needs to be provided for pilots. Airlines also need to be given time to complete their own maintenance checks before the planes are allowed.
Lynn Lunsford, FAA spokesman decided not to comment on the specifics of the timeline for the aircraft’s recertification to be complete. He even stated that the company has “steadfastly” decided to stay away from giving concrete timelines.
The entire global fleet of Boeing 737 Max’s was grounded in March after two fatal crashes. The source of these was determined to be the malfunctioning MCAS system. A total of 346 persons were killed across both crashes.