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After two similar fatal crashes involving the Boeing 737 MAX 8, the plane manufacturer is planning to roll out a software upgrade on the aircraft model.
This weekend, American Airlines pilots plan to test a software update to the MAX’s system, called MCAS, in a simulator at the Boeing facility where the MAX is built, according to a Reuters report. Some investigators believe a system on the plane that automatically kicks in to tip the aircraft nose downward to prevent a stall was behind the two crashes.
The two accidents, one on Lion Air in October, the other on Ethiopian Airlines earlier in March, have a collective death toll of 346 people. All Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have been grounded following the March 10 crash on Ethiopian Airlines.
“This airplane can be a safe airplane, and there have been great strides on getting a fix in the works, but I’ll have a better feel after we can test it out,” Mike Michaelis, safety committee chairman of the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing American’s pilots, told Reuters.
TPG reached out to the APA for more information, but did not receive a response.
One pilot from the APA and one from American’s management team will reportedly test the new software in Boeing’s simulator in Renton, Washington. American operates 24 MAX 8 planes, the second largest MAX fleet in the US, behind Southwest’s 34.
American did not comment on the software test, instead saying that the airline “is working in close coordination with our union partners, the Department of Transportation, FAA, National Transportation Safety Board, Boeing and other regulatory authorities.”
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