Boeing Max fleet has second software issue

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Boeing has uncovered an additional software issue with the Max fleet apart from a faulty sensor that led to two recent crashes involving the planes.

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The Chicago-based manufacturer on Thursday said a separate issue with the so-called "point of attack" sensor -- which tracks lift at takeoff to prevent stalling -- led to the recent Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes, according to a preliminary report from the Ethiopian government.

The malfunction on the Max fleet, an update to Boeing's popular 737 jet, initiated the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which caused the planes to automatically veer down despite pilot attempts to adjust the angle.

"We’re making progress on the software update that will prevent future accidents," a company spokesman said in a statement. "As part of this process, we have identified an aspect of the software, unrelated to MCAS, that will also be addressed as part of this software update.

"We are taking steps to thoroughly address this relatively minor issue and already have the solution in work to do that," he added.

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Boeing is expected to submit the software update to the FAA in the coming weeks. The timeline was delayed to ensure the company has “identified and appropriately addressed all pertinent issues,” the agency said earlier this week.

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"We're taking a comprehensive, disciplined approach, and taking the time, to get the software update right. We're nearing completion and anticipate its certification and implementation on the 737 MAX fleet worldwide in the weeks ahead. We regret the impact the grounding has had on our airline customers and their passengers," CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement.

Last month, Boeing demonstrated the software patch to pilots and regulators.

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The Justice Department has reportedly opened a criminal investigation into the federal approval process for the Max fleet. The Department of Transportation is also reviewing the FAA certification process for the planes.