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25 Jun 2020 - Boeing asked by regulators to consider further design enhancements to the MAX

EASA and Transport Canada are requesting “design enhancements” to the MAX beyond the fixing of MCAS. These will not require action before it is reintroduced into service, but probably within a couple of years. The requested changes are:

The MAXs two AoA probes

Since the MAX has only two AoA probes, the FCCs do not know which one to trust in the event that one misbehaves. It is probably significant that this concern is raised by EASA and the Airbus has three AoA probes (because the A320 is more FBW than a 737). EASA is not necessarily insisting upon a third probe but a suggestion would be creating a synthetic sensor which computes AoA data from a variety of other existing sources on the aircraft. Boeing already uses synthetic airspeed on the 787 so this is achievable, albeit expensive and time-consuming.

Confusing Multiple Warnings

In both MAX accidents multiple warnings were generated as a result of a single AoA fault. EASA believe that this is unsatisfactory. It is possible that EASA are again comparing the 737 with the A320 and its ECAM system which tries to prioritise multiple failures to assist the crew but how this can be achieved with a master caution system is hard to know.

The Stick Shaker

In both MAX accidents the stick shaker and clacker were vibrating and sounding throughout the entire flight from unstick to impact. Transport Canada are requesting a way to silence these warnings, either by pulling circuit breakers or an inhibitor, if the crew consider them to be erroneous. This would reduce noise and stress levels in the flightdeck thereby making the situation easier to handle.

The FAAs view is that Boeing must address these concerns.
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*** Updated 18 Apr 2020 ***

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