Boeing reportedly sold the 737 Max planes that crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia without two safety features that the US aircraft manufacturer offers airlines for an additional cost.
Well, it is still not clear what caused Lion Air flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 to crash, but investigators have said flight data showed clear similarities between the two incidents.
The two safety features in question were an “angle of attack indicator” and an “angle of attack disagree light”, both of which were not included in the aircraft by Boeing as standard safety features, according to a report in the New York Times.
Reports on Thursday night suggested that Boeing will make at lelast one of the safety features – an indicator light – standard on the 737 Max 8 aircraft, according to unnamed officials cited by Associated Press.
It is up to airlines to decide whether to pay for upgrades to a standard plane – a practice that is common among aircraft manufacturers and allows them to charge extra, often for aesthetic features relating to seating or lighting, but for other features relevant to the operation of planes, too.
Regulators do not require airlines to buy optional extras, and many low-cost carriers opt not to.
Investigators are looking into whether faulty data from sensors on the Lion Air plane may have caused a new software system, known as the manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system (MCAS), to malfunction.
MCAS takes readings from two angle of attack sensors to determine how much the plane’s nose is pointing up or down. If the software detects the nose is pointing up at a dangerous angle it has the ability to automatically push the nose down in an attempt to stop the plane stalling.
One of the optional extras the angle of attack indicator displays the readings of the two sensors, and the other,the disagree light is an alert that activates if those sensors do not agree.
Boeing has told airlines that it expects to have new software ready by the end of the month, and it is understood that the disagree light will become a standard feature on all new 737 Max planes.
The angle of attack indicator will remain an optional extra that airlines can buy, according to the New York Times report