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In Paris, Boeing's CEO admits errors in communications security errors: NPR



Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg speaks during a press conference following the annual general meeting in Chicago on April 29.

Jim Young-Pool / Getty Images


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Jim Young-Pool / Getty Images

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg speaks during a press conference following the annual general meeting in Chicago on April 29.

Jim Young-Pool / Getty Images

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg says the company should have been more transparent with regulators and the public as Boeing discovered a safety light did not work as the design.

Muilenburg commented on journalists ahead of the Paris Air Show, said Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe to the NPR.

"We were obviously insufficient in implementing the AOA's heterogeneous warning, and we should clearly have communicated better with our regulators and airlines," Johndroe said in an interview by telephone from Paris.

Boeing's 737 MAX plan has been grounded worldwide since the second of two crashes that killed 346 people. In both the Lion Air flight in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines flight in March 2019, pilots struggled to overcome a software program called MCAS, which drove the noses of the planes down. Now Boeing is working on a software update that allows pilots to manage their aircraft more easily.

The deadly crashes and the ongoing founding of its fastest selling aircraft have cast a shadow over Boeing's appearance at the Paris Air Show, which runs on June 17 – 23.

"The company's presence and activities on the show will show its commitment to innovation, industry partnerships and security," Boeing said.

Both American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have extended 737 MAX flight cancellations in early September. Previously, both airlines had planned to resume flights in August. American says that about 115 aircraft will be canceled daily, and Southwest says that approx. 100 flights will be removed from their daily schedule.

In his remarks, Muilenburg referred to a security feature associated with sensors that feed into the MCAS software. The software will trigger when the aircraft flies at an angle that can make a stall likely. Boeing developed a warning light to warn pilots as the two "angles of attack" did not agree, which could mean that MCAS would be triggered incorrectly. The light should be standard on all versions of MAX; But in practice, it only worked on aircraft with other security features that the airlines bought for extra costs.

NPRs Laurel Wamsley reported that Boeing knew that AOA disagreement alerted before the Lion Air crash.

Muilenburg admitted that engineers learned in 2017 that the warning light did not work as intended, and he said he was "disappointed". Boeing did not work to make the information more public. The Wall Street Journal Reports .

Spokesman for Federal Aviation Administration Lynn Lunsford told NPR his office is working with Boeing throughout the software improvement test.

"We have not set a date for the certification flight," wrote Lunsford in an email.


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