Boeing has completed the final test fight for the updated software of the Boeing 737 Max, paving the way for a certification effort.
Nonetheless, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg gave no timeframes for certification in a video posted on Twitter. He says that the aircraft manufacturer is “making steady progress towards certification”.
Muilenburg adds that test pilots have completed 120 test flights using the updated manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) software, which has been implicated into two recent 737 Max crashes.
This amounts to more than 203 hours of air time, Muilenburg says.
He adds that more than 85% of the 737 Max’s customers worldwide have had exposure to the updated software through a series of simulator sessions.
The Boeing chief was himself on another 737 Max demonstration flight, where he “saw first-hand this software in its final form, operating as designed across a range of flight conditions”.
Muilenburg’s comments came a day after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) updated pilot training standards to ensure that 737 Max pilots understand MCAS.
The FAA’s flight standardisation board has also found the modified MCAS system to be “operationally suitable” following an evaluation.
Investigations into two recent fatal 737 Max crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia have focused on the MCAS software, implicating it as a contributory factor to the crashes.
A preliminary investigation report into the 10 March crash of an Ethiopian 737 Max 8 said the aircraft crashed after flight control software pushed the aircraft’s nose down. The pilots followed procedures laid out by Boeing and the FAA to address such a scenario, officials said.
Five months earlier, a Lion Air 737 Max 8 crashed following similar circumstances. The 737 Max remains grounded around the world, while regulatory approval is still being sought.