Boeing

Letter from Dennis Muilenburg to airlines, passengers and the aviation community:

We know lives depend on the work we do, and our teams embrace that responsibility with a deep sense of commitment every day. Our purpose at Boeing is to bring family, friends and loved ones together with our commercial airplanes—safely. The tragic losses of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610 affect us all, uniting people and nations in shared grief for all those in mourning. Our hearts are heavy, and we continue to extend our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of the passengers and crew on board.

Safety is at the core of who we are at Boeing, and ensuring safe and reliable travel on our airplanes is an enduring value and our absolute commitment to everyone. This overarching focus on safety spans and binds together our entire global aerospace industry and communities. We’re united with our airline customers, international regulators and government authorities in our efforts to support the most recent investigation, understand the facts of what happened and help prevent future tragedies. Based on facts from the Lion Air Flight 610 accident and emerging data as it becomes available from the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accident, we’re taking actions to fully ensure the safety of the 737 MAX. We also understand and regret the challenges for our customers and the flying public caused by the fleet’s grounding.

Work is progressing thoroughly and rapidly to learn more about the Ethiopian Airlines accident and understand the information from the airplane’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders. Our team is on-site with investigators to support the investigation and provide technical expertise. The Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau will determine when and how it’s appropriate to release additional details.

Boeing has been in the business of aviation safety for more than 100 years, and we’ll continue providing the best products, training and support to our global airline customers and pilots. This is an ongoing and relentless commitment to make safe airplanes even safer. Soon we’ll release a software update and related pilot training for the 737 MAX that will address concerns discovered in the aftermath of the Lion Air Flight 610 accident. We’ve been working in full cooperation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board on all issues relating to both the Lion Air and the Ethiopian Airlines accidents since the Lion Air accident occurred in October last year.

Our entire team is devoted to the quality and safety of the aircraft we design, produce and support. I’ve dedicated my entire career to Boeing, working shoulder to shoulder with our amazing people and customers for more than three decades, and I personally share their deep sense of commitment. Recently, I spent time with our team members at our 737 production facility in Renton, Wash., and once again saw firsthand the pride our people feel in their work and the pain we’re all experiencing in light of these tragedies. The importance of our work demands the utmost integrity and excellence—that’s what I see in our team, and we’ll never rest in pursuit of it.  

Our mission is to connect people and nations, protect freedom, explore our world and the vastness of space, and inspire the next generation of aerospace dreamers and doers—and we’ll fulfill that mission only by upholding and living our values. That’s what safety means to us. Together, we’ll keep working to earn and keep the trust people have placed in Boeing.

Dennis

Dennis Muilenburg
Chairman, President and CEO
The Boeing Company

Statement on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Accident Investigation

March 17, 2019 – Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg issued the following statement regarding the report from Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges today.

First and foremost, our deepest sympathies are with the families and loved ones of those onboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

Boeing continues to support the investigation, and is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available. Safety is our highest priority as we design, build and support our airplanes.  As part of our standard practice following any accident, we examine our aircraft design and operation, and when appropriate, institute product updates to further improve safety.  While investigators continue to work to establish definitive conclusions, Boeing is finalizing its development of a previously-announced software update and pilot training revision that will address the MCAS flight control law's behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs.  We also continue to provide technical assistance at the request of and under the direction of the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. Accredited Representative working with Ethiopian investigators.

In accordance with international protocol, all inquiries about the ongoing accident investigation must be directed to the investigating authorities.

READ: Boeing Supports Action to Temporarily Ground 737 MAX Operations

Additional Updates

Limitations During Investigations

Why doesn't Boeing release more information about accidents?

The release of information during an investigation is done at the discretion of the investigating authorities. Boeing and other parties to the investigation are not authorized to release information from the accident investigation on their own. This international protocol helps ensure the integrity of the careful and well-established process used to determine the facts and reach conclusions.

While Boeing can't discuss active investigations, there are some topics we can discuss and will share on this website.

 

Software Enhancement

Boeing Statement on 737 MAX Software Enhancement

March 11, 2019 - The Boeing Company is deeply saddened by the loss of Lion Air Flight 610, which has weighed heavily on the entire Boeing team, and we extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families and loved ones of those onboard.

Safety is a core value for everyone at Boeing and the safety of our airplanes, our customers’ passengers and their crews is always our top priority. The 737 MAX is a safe airplane that was designed, built and supported by our skilled employees who approach their work with the utmost integrity.

For the past several months and in the aftermath of Lion Air Flight 610, Boeing has been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer. This includes updates to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law, pilot displays, operation manuals and crew training. The enhanced flight control law incorporates angle of attack (AOA) inputs, limits stabilizer trim commands in response to an erroneous angle of attack reading, and provides a limit to the stabilizer command in order to retain elevator authority.

Boeing has been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on development, planning and certification of the software enhancement, and it will be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks. The update also incorporates feedback received from our customers.

The FAA says it anticipates mandating this software enhancement with an Airworthiness Directive (AD) no later than April. We have worked with the FAA in development of this software enhancement.

It is important to note that the FAA is not mandating any further action at this time, and the required actions in AD2018-23.51 continue to be appropriate.

A pitch augmentation control law (MCAS) was implemented on the 737 MAX to improve aircraft handling characteristics and decrease pitch-up tendency at elevated angles of attack. It was put through flight testing as part of the certification process prior to the airplane entering service. MCAS does not control the airplane in normal flight; it improves the behavior of the airplane in a non-normal part of the operating envelope.

Boeing’s 737 MAX Flight Crew Operations Manual (FCOM) already outlines an existing procedure to safely handle the unlikely event of erroneous data coming from an angle of attack (AOA) sensor. The pilot will always be able to override the flight control law using electric trim or manual trim. In addition, it can be controlled through the use of the existing runaway stabilizer procedure as reinforced in the Operations Manual Bulletin (OMB) issued on Nov. 6, 2018.

Additionally, we would like to express our deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. A Boeing technical team is at the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. It is still early in the investigation, as we seek to understand the cause of the accident.

737 MAX Flight Deck Displays - New

Statement from John Hamilton, Chief Engineer, Boeing Commercial Airplanes on 737 MAX Flight Deck Displays

All primary flight information required to safely and efficiently operate the 737 MAX is included on the baseline primary flight display. Crew procedures and training for safe and efficient operation of the airplane are focused around airplane roll and pitch attitude, altitude, heading and vertical speed, all of which are integrated on the primary flight display. All 737 MAX airplanes display this data in a way that is consistent with pilot training and the fundamental instrument scan pattern that pilots are trained to use.

The AOA (angle of attack) indicator1 provides supplementary information to the flight crew. The AOA disagree alert2 provides additional context for understanding the possible cause of air speed and altitude differences between the pilot’s and first officer’s displays. Information for these features is provided by the AOA sensors3.

There are no pilot actions or procedures during flight which require knowledge of angle of attack4.


1Angle of Attack Indicator – a software-based information feature that provides angle of attack data to the flight crew through the primary flight displays.

2Angle of Attack Disagree Alert – a software-based information feature that alerts flight crews when data from left and right angle of attack sensors disagree. This can provide pilots insight into air data disagreements and prompts a maintenance logbook entry.

3Angle of Attack Sensor – hardware on the outside of the airplane that measures and provides angle of attack information to onboard computers; also referred to as an AOA vane.

4Angle of Attack – the difference between the pitch angle (nose direction) of the airplane and the angle of the oncoming wind.

 

Statement from Boeing on Training Informational Sessions - New

Boeing will host more than 200 airline pilots, technical leaders and regulators in Renton this Wednesday for an informational session. This is part of our ongoing effort to share more details about our plan for supporting the safe return of the 737 MAX to commercial service. We had a productive session this past Saturday and plan to reach all current and many future MAX operators and their home regulators. At the same time, we continue to work closely with our customers and regulators on software and training updates for the 737 MAX. Boeing is paying for the development of these updates.

About the Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing's newest family of single-aisle airplanes is the 737 MAX.

For more information, visit www.boeing.com/commercial/737max.