Boeing is going all out to reassure pilots and customers, as well as staff, that everything’s going to be OK despite the Lion Air 737 MAX 8 crash that claimed 189 lives a month ago.
It’s still not conclusively clear what caused the Indonesian crash, but the model recently received an update to its automated safety system that was not communicated to pilots. Investigators said this week that the Lion Air flight’s pilots had struggled to control the aircraft shortly before the crash, due to faulty airspeed sensor information causing the anti-stall system to push down the jet’s nose.
The Washington Post reported Thursday on an internal memo sent to Boeing staff last week by CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who said: “Regardless of the outcome, we’re going to learn from this accident and continue to improve our safety record.”
Muilenburg insisted the 737 was a safe plane. “Every day, millions of people rely on our commercial airplanes to crisscross the globe safely and reliably,” he wrote, per the report. “When that doesn’t happen, for any reason, we take it seriously.”
According to that report, this sort of “urgent” meeting between plane manufacturers and pilots is highly unusual, but it was appreciated by the pilots.
“Our pilots are well trained and understand how to fly the MAX, understand how to deal with unusual situations that are on board,” said Southwest Airlines Pilots Association spokesman Mike Trevino. “However, more information is a good thing in our view, so having information about the systems on board certainly is beneficial to pilot awareness.”
According to another report, this time from Reuters, Boeing is planning to release a software update for the 737 MAX in the next six to eight weeks, in order to deal with the sort of problem that took place on the ill-fated Lion Air flight.
The update would reportedly make it possible for pilots to safely disable the anti-stall function by adjusting settings in the opposite direction.