The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a directive for Boeing whereby 737 MAX operators must conduct additional inspections of the jet’s automated flight control system. The directive has ensured that instructions released by Boeing in December, which meant planes with more than 6,000 hours of flight time should undergo specific electronic checks, will now become mandatory instructions.
Boeing confirmed that it “fully supports the FAA mandate “requiring functional checks at certain intervals to the digital flight control system, stabilizer trim, and the primary and secondary aisle stand stabilizer.”” The three repetitive inspections will be carried out during existing maintenance programs, the FAA said, “to ensure the continued functioning of certain systems throughout the life of the airplane.”
According to Reuters news agency, the FAA also issued a notice on Wednesday called a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) “to highlight the importance of these inspections to other international regulators and to operators outside the United States.”
The directive has impacted approximately about 72 U.S.-registered airplanes and 389 airplanes worldwide, the FAA said. The FAA said the directive is necessary because a “potential latent failure of a flight control system function” if combined with “unusual flight maneuvers or with another flight control system failure” could result in reduced controllability of the airplane. The FAA also said that all operators of U.S.-registered 737 MAX jets have already included these inspections in their maintenance programs.