737-family is safe - Boeing vice president

The Boeing 737 and 737-family is safe, Mike Sinnett, vice president of product development at Boeing, said during a phone briefing on Wednesday.

The aim of the briefing was to provide an update on 737 MAX software and training. It was made clear from the start that no questions related to the recent fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 would be answered.

About 371 MAX 8 aircraft have been grounded world-wide since, pending the outcome of investigations.

'Continually learning'

"We are all deeply affected by the loss of those in the Ethiopian Airlines accident. Safety is at the core of all we do. Our industry is continually learning, and air travel has been getting safer and safer," said Sinnett.

"We will do all we can to ensure accidents like these do not happen again. We want to restore faith in the industry and reaffirm the trust of the public."

On Wednesday Boeing will also brief about 200 pilots from all over the world via a live link to a flight simulator to demonstrate the behaviour of current and prior software used on the MAX 8.

"The emphasis will be on dialogue and feedback from them," said Sinnett.

He said Boeing has already gone through several flight tests with the revised software over the past couple of weeks.

"We will continue to engage with regulatory agencies around the world to get feedback," he said.

"Boeing has built its reputation by holding fast to values of safety. The updates give us complete confidence in the safety and competence of the airplane."

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law was designed and certified for the 737 MAX to enhance the pitch stability of the airplane – so that it feels and flies like other 737s, according to Boeing.

MCAS is designed to activate in manual flight, with the airplane's flaps up, at an elevated angle of attack (AOA).

Boeing has developed an MCAS software update to provide additional layers of protection if the AOA sensors provide erroneous data.

According to Boeing, the software was put through hundreds of hours of analysis, laboratory testing, verification in a simulator and two test flights.

Boeing said it continues to work with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other regulatory agencies on the certification of the software update.

To earn a Boeing 737 type rating, pilots must complete 21 or more days of instructor-led academics and simulator training.

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