Boeing Co told the U.S. Aviation Administration that it did not believe it would need to disconnect or move bundles of wires on its grounded 737 MAX jetliner, which regulators had warned could short circuit with catastrophic consequences, the said Matter familiar to people on Friday with.
The FAA confirmed on Friday that it had received a wiring problem from the planner.
The FAA will "rigorously evaluate Boeing's proposal to resolve a recently discovered wiring problem with the 737 MAX. The manufacturer must demonstrate compliance with all certification standards," the agency said.
The U.S. aircraft manufacturer and the FAA first announced in early January that they were investigating a wiring problem that could cause a short circuit on the 737 MAX and, under certain circumstances, could cause a crash if the pilots did not respond in time.
A Boeing spokesman referred all wiring questions to the FAA, saying the agency would make the final decision and the company would answer questions from the FAA.
The Boeing 737 MAX was discontinued worldwide last March after two accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people within five months.
Boeing has spent months updating the stall prevention software known as MCAS, which has been linked to both crashes. However, new problems have emerged that complicate regulatory efforts to re-approve the aircraft.
Given the intensive testing of the 737 MAX, Boeing will certainly have questions as to whether the MCAS system makes it difficult for pilots to respond in the event of a short circuit.
There are more than a dozen different locations on the 737 MAX where the wire bundles may be too close together. Most of the locations are located under the cockpit in an electrical shaft.
If the bundles pose a potential hazard, regulations typically require the bundles to be separated or a physical barrier added.
In discussions with the FAA, Boeing found that the same wiring bundles are in the 737 NG, which has been in operation since 1997 and recorded 205 million flight hours with no wiring problems.
After the fall of the Swiss Air 111 in 1998, new safety rules for the cabling were passed.
A company employee told Reuters last month that Boeing had been working on a design that would separate the cable bundles if necessary. Moving the packages, however, could lead to further delays in the MAX's return, and Reuters reported Thursday that an important test flight for certification was not expected until April or later.
Three US airlines pushed back the resumption of 737 MAX flights this week from June through August or later. Boeing has estimated that US officials will lift a safety ban on the aircraft in the middle of the year.
It is unclear whether the European Union's Aviation Safety Agency will require the MAX cable bundles to be separated. A spokeswoman for the agency said on Thursday that regulators were waiting for "additional information from Boeing."
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