This software supply chain flaw killed 346 people
- Oct 18, 2021 12:49 am GMT
I have been following the saga of the 737 Max with fear and loathing since it started. As you probably remember, the story became public with a crash in Indonesia in October 2018, that killed 189 people. As this NY Times article from last November says, Boeing “quickly diagnosed the problem: faulty software. The company immediately promised to fix the code, reminded pilots how to handle a potential malfunction and insisted the Max was safe.” But they didn’t ground the plane worldwide, and the FAA didn’t force them to.
When a second 737 Max crashed five months later in Ethiopia – costing 157 more lives – the FAA finally ordered the planes to be grounded. Since both crashes happened shortly after takeoff and were preceded by a stall caused by the nose of the plane being pushed down against the pilots’ will, attention had immediately focused on the software that caused this to happen, called MCAS. In both crashes, the pilots fought mightily with the software, repeatedly pulling the nose up after it had pointed down. But MCAS won the battle in both cases.
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