According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), another potential risk has been identified in the aircraft during simulator tests. Currently, Boeing is in the process of upgrading the aircraft’s flight control system, which is thought to have caused two fatal crashes, one in Indonesia in October and another in Ethiopia in March.
The FAA tweeted, “On the most recent issue, the FAA’s process is designed to discover and highlight potential risks. The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate.” And although the specifics of the problem are still murky, a source told the BBC, “During simulator testing last week at Boeing, FAA test pilots discovered an issue that affected their ability to quickly and easily follow the required recovery procedures for runaway stabiliser trim (i.e., to stop stabilisers on the aircraft’s tail moving uncontrollably). The issue was traced to how data is being processed by the flight computer.”
It is not clear yet if the new issue can be resolved with a software fix or if it is hardware related, in which case, the grounding may last even longer than expected. According to The Guardian, “United and Southwest have grounded the plane through August.”