Here's What Boeing Has to Change to Fly the 737 Max Again, According to the FAA

The plane has been grounded since March 2019.

The Federal Aviation Administration laid out a series of safety fixes this week for the Boeing 737 Max in order to get the beleaguered plane flying again, according to the agency.

The FAA’s proposed rule changes include requiring the installation of new flight control computer software and completing an angle of attack sensor system test. The FAA will also require the planes’ MCAS (the anti-stall software involved in both crashes) to be linked to two sensors instead of just one, according to The Associated Press, and make it less powerful so pilots can respond if it erroneously pushes the plane’s nose down.

The directive follows an 18-month review and comes after Boeing and the FAA completed test flights of the 737 Max last month.

“We’re continuing to make steady progress towards the safe return to service, working closely with the FAA and other global regulators,” Boeing spokesman Bernard Choi told the AP. “While we still have a lot of work in front of us, this is an important milestone in the certification process.”

The proposed rules will now be published in the Federal Register, according to the FAA, and the public will receive 45 days to comment.

Boeing aircraft flying above a field
Stephen Brashear/Stringer via Getty

Boeing officials told The AP they hope to get regulatory approval to start delivering orders of completed planes in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The plane has been grounded since March 2019 following two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people. In October 2018, a Lion Air jet crashed into the Java Sea off Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board. And then in March 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed, killing 157 people.

When the planes do finally hit the skies again, U.S. carriers who fly the 737 Max (American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines) have vowed to conduct demonstration flights to reassure customers it’s safe to fly.

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