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Boeing investigation reveals additional 737 Max concerns

By Hugh Wilson

Internal audit of grounded planes finds potential issues with wiring and engine parts

An audit carried out as part of the work to return the Boeing 737 Max aircraft to service has revealed new causes for concern, the New York Times reports.

The entire fleet of around 800 Boeing Max planes has been grounded since two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019 killed 346 people.

While software flaws played a part in those incidents, an internal audit completed at the request of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has found possible issues with the planes' wiring and engines.

The audit found that bundles of wiring that control the plane’s tail could be too close together, potentially causing a short circuit. The company is currently investigating whether that scenario could happen in flight, and whether or not to separate the bundles using a relatively simple fix.

A senior Boeing engineer told the newspaper that finding issues of this kind was not uncommon regardless of aircraft or manufacturer.

In addition, the plane’s engine manufacturer has found a possible weakness in one component that could make it shatter, though the possibility is considered remote. Another issue that left the engines vulnerable to lightning strikes is in the process of being resolved.

Boeing has reportedly created a fix for the original software problem, and is awaiting approval from aviation authorities.

While the 737 Max’s return to the skies is taking longer than originally expected, Boeing still hopes to resume commercial flights in the spring. A certification test flight may take place as early as this month.

Boeing’s share price has slumped 21 per cent since the Max’s grounding, and the company fired its chief executive in December.

FURTHER READING: Boeing fires its CEO over the 737 MAX scandal

FURTHER READING: Boeing stock drops as 737 Max production is suspended

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