Boeing 737 MAX- What Happened



Boeing 737 Max

Michael Castellanos, Staff Writer

It is the most technologically advanced airplane Boeing has ever produced.

A lot of airlines around the world have ordered this new plane. But in the past year, it has already been in 2 fatal crashes. The first one, a Lion Air crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia, into the ocean, in October, 2018. And the second, an Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This crashed happened in March, 2019. Both of these crashes are currently being investigated and both of these crashes are very similar to each other.

After the March crash, every airline around the world started grounding their MAX planes they had on their fleet. And as a temporary replacement, they brought back the predecessor of the MAX 8, the Boeing 737-800. And Boeing has lost millions of dollars because of the grounded planes.

But the 737 MAX had something different than the older planes. Since the engines were bigger and were placed above the wing, this had a side effect. When the plane was in full thrust, like during takeoff, the nose of the plane would pitch up steeper, which could cause a stall. That’s why Boeing installed a software in the plane which automatically pushed the nose down if it was pitching too steep. The system is called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS. But Boeing didn’t highlight the new MCAS system as the plane was being sold. They said this plane was exactly like the old ones. And many pilots only got a 2 hour iPad course before entering the cockpit of the plane and the training material didn’t mention the MCAS software.

Investigators believe that this was the cause of both crashes. And Boeing is planning on updating the MCAS software to make it less aggressive. They want to also increase pilot training on how to turn the system off. Investigators also believe that Boeing rushed the plane to get it in service as quickly as possible, so that they didn’t lose to their biggest competitor, Airbus, who was also making a technologically advanced version of their popular plane, the A320, called the A320neo.

As of May 2019, the entire line of MAX aircraft is still grounded, and is expected to stay grounded until July. Hopefully after this software update, this kind of crash to the MAX will never happen again.