"Boeing continues to make steady progress on the path to certification, having completed the official engineering test flight of the software — the final technical flight test prior to the certification flight. Overall, our talented test pilots have made 146 737 MAX flights totaling roughly 246 hours of air time with the updated software, and nearly 90 percent of our 50-plus MAX operators around the globe have experienced that software update themselves during one of our simulator sessions," the press service said.
Earlier in the month, Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said that new anti-crash software on 737 Boeing MAX jets had successfully completed trial runs on 120 test flights with a total duration of 230 hours.
US Federal Aviation Administration's flight standardization board examined the company's software update and found it to be "operationally suitable" and recommended that pilots to undergo additional training in the new system.
On Monday, Boeing said in a statement that all the Boeing 737 MAX planes had the disagree alert feature, a safety feature that warns pilots about malfunctioning sensors, stressing that it had not deactivate the disagree alert "intentionally."
The statement came as a response to media reports suggesting that Boeing had deactivated the feature, which had been included as a standard one in its earlier models, without informing carries about this step. The reports stressed that this had been revealed only after a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX bound for Indonesia crashed in October 2018, killing all 189 people on board. US airline Southwest Airlines reportedly said back then that Boeing manuals were inconsistent with reality. The Federal Aviation Administration reportedly wanted to ban new Boeing models from flying, but then dropped the idea.
"We want to provide a response to several news stories yesterday and today reporting on the disagree alert on the 737 MAX. Boeing included the disagree alert as a standard feature on the MAX, although this alert has not been considered a safety feature on airplanes and is not necessary for the safe operation of the airplane. Boeing did not intentionally or otherwise deactivate the disagree alert on its MAX airplanes," the statement read.
The company noted that the feature was linked with the angle of attack indicator, which was optional one, that is why it was not activated on all MAX aircraft. Boeing specified that the feature was not operable unless an airline company decided to activate it on its aircraft.
Two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have crashed over the past six months — one in Indonesia in October 2018 and another in Ethiopia in March. In the wake of the latest crash, aviation authorities and carriers around the world have either grounded all 737 MAX series aircraft or closed their airspace to them.
The investigations into the incidents are underway but experts believe that the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System could be behind the crashes.