Boeing Co. said it is finalizing a software update to address concerns relating to a flight control feature for its 737 MAX jets after preliminary data reportedly showed clear similarities between the March 10 crash of a 737 MAX 8 aircraft and another fatal crash less than five months ago involving the same model.
Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges said March 17 that flight tracking data from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed March 10 shortly after takeoff in Addis Ababa, and Lion Air Flight 610, which crashed into the sea minutes after taking off from Jakarta on Oct. 29, 2018, showed sharp fluctuations in both aircraft, BBC News reported. A preliminary report of the investigation into the Ethiopian Airlines crash will be released in 30 days, Moges reportedly added.
Investigators of the Lion Air incident had previously found that the pilots fought with the 737 MAX 8's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, for control of the plane before it crashed, the BBC reported. The flight control system reportedly pushed the plane's nose downward several times despite the pilots' efforts to point it higher.
Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said following Moges' statement that the aircraft manufacturer is finalizing work on a software update and pilot training revision to address MCAS' response to "erroneous sensor inputs." The company also continues to work with authorities regarding the investigation into the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Transportation Department has launched an investigation into the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's process to approve Boeing's MCAS flight control system following the Lion Air crash, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The FAA and Boeing have reportedly said the 737 MAX jets were certified in line with the agency's standards.