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SpiceJet to attend Boeing fix session

The session is part of a plan to reach out to all current and many future 737 MAX operators
SpiceJet confirmed it has got the invite from Boeing to attend a session at Renton, Washington, on Wednesday.
SpiceJet confirmed it has got the invite from Boeing to attend a session at Renton, Washington, on Wednesday.
(Shutterstock)

Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 25.03.19, 08:37 PM

 Boeing, which is due to release a software patch for an anti-stall system in the B737 MAX planes, has invited SpiceJet and other global airlines and regulators to meet it for a session on the steps taken before putting the planes back to commercial use.

SpiceJet confirmed it has got the invite from Boeing. But India’s Director General of Civil Aviation said it had not yet received any such invite.

“We have got the invite from Boeing for the informational session….we are sending out senior representatives for the meeting,” a SpiceJet spokesperson said.

The session at Renton, Washington, on Wednesday is part of a plan to reach out to all current and many future 737 MAX operators and their home regulators to discuss software and training updates for the jet, Boeing said in a statement.

However, officials at the DGCA said they were not aware of any such session. When asked whether any Indian carrier had been invited for the event, the official said, “that’s between them”.

Jet Airways did not state if it had been invited or not by the US manufacturer.

Two of India’s biggest airlines, SpiceJet and Jet Airways, have so far taken delivery of 18 B737 Max 8 planes. Five of the planes, which were part of Jet Airways’ fleet, had been grounded by lessors for the non-payment of dues. The regulator has grounded the remaining planes on safety considerations.

The two carriers are awaiting the delivery of a total of 362 Boeing 737 Max planes, which are slated to be delivered over the next decade, according to airline executives.

According to reports, on Saturday, pilots from the three American carriers that fly the Boeing 737 MAX planes tested software changes developed by the company to a key stabilisation system.

The changes are intended to decrease the chances of triggering the Manoeuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which is believed to have played a role in the two crashes in the past five months.

The updated software designed by Boeing uses input from two sensors on the nose of the plane, instead of one, and is designed to not trigger the MCAS system repeatedly, which is believed to have pitched the Lion Air plane’s nose down so sharply that the pilots’ attempts to regain control were futile.

Flight simulators

In addition to reviewing the proposed modifications to the new anti-stall software and cockpit displays, pilots from five airlines strapped into flight simulators to see how they would have handled the situation that is believed to have brought down Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, according to two people briefed on the meeting.

In each case, the pilots using the simulators were able to land the plane safely.

Saturday’s session included representatives from American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines — the three American carriers that fly the Max — as well as from two non-US airlines, Copa Airlines and Fly Dubai. 

In addition to reviewing the proposed modifications to the new anti-stall software and cockpit displays, pilots from five airlines strapped into flight simulators to see how they would have handled the situation that is believed to have brought down Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, according to two people briefed on the meeting.

In each case, the pilots using the simulators were able to land the plane safely.

Saturday’s session included representatives from American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines — the three American carriers that fly the Max — as well as from two non-US airlines, Copa Airlines and Fly Dubai. 



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