The Federal Aviation Administration is convening a panel of outside experts from the Air Force, NASA and a Transportation Department center to review Boeing’s software fixes for the grounded 737 MAX.
The agency announced the new Technical Advisory Board in a statement on Tuesday. The panel’s recommendations will “directly inform the FAA’s decision concerning the 737 MAX fleet’s safe return to service,” the agency said.
The plane was grounded on March 10 after the second fatal accident in less than five months claimed a total of 346 lives. Boeing designed the plane with a system that automatically forced down the nose in some circumstances and malfunctions on both flights caused it to repeatedly dive until pilots lost control.
The manufacturer is changing the software to make it less likely to fail and to limit how far it can drive down the nose. Boeing and the FAA have been working closely on the software fix, but the Chicago-based planemaker hasn’t completed its work.
The new panel is separate from two other existing reviews created by FAA. The DOT’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Massachusetts is participating.