737 MAX software upgrade to be tested in simulator by new FAA chief

New Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Stephen Dickson is heading to Seattle this week to visit Boeing and fly in a Boeing 737 simulator. The simulator will incorporate Boeing’s latest software
‘fix’ which will receive input from both angle-of-attack sensors in the 737 MAX’s MCAS anti-stall system.

However, this is not part of any certification process which will be required by Boeing before the beleaguered aircraft can once again take to the skies. Neither the FAA nor Boeing have yet given any clear timeline for the likelihood of such an event. According to Reuters news agency, Boeing has said it planned to conduct a certification test flight in the “September time frame” but Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg did not give a specific date when asked last week. In addition to the simulator flight, Dickinson will also be meeting with the FAA aircraft certification team based in Seattle.

Separately, Boeing has recently declined an invitation to testify at a House Transportation Committee hearing. “Boeing is working diligently and transparently with committees in both the House (of Representatives) and the Senate to ensure that proper information is being shared and we will continue to do so,” the company made clear in an e-mailed statement. It was reported last month that the committee review would find the company needs to reorganize its engineering reporting lines company-wide and ensure higher ranking officials, including its CEO, get faster feedback about potential safety concerns from lower levels of the company.

Federal prosecutors aided by the FBI, the Department of Transportation’s inspector general and a number of blue-ribbon panels are investigating the 737 MAX as well as how the FAA certifies new aircraft.

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