Lion Air plane crash

Boeing delays 737 Max return date to July

Boeing plans

Boeing has said it doesn't expect its 737 Max plane to return to the skies before the summer, which is longer than initially expected.

The jet has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes, which together killed 346 people.

Boeing has been working on fixes to try to get the 737 Max planes back up and running.

But the company has struggled to convince regulators that the planes are safe to fly.

It previously said it expected the planes to be cleared for approval before the end of 2019. But in December, Boeing announced plans to halt production of the aircraft and last week, it confirmed it had found a new problem in the software.

Read more on that story here.

What Boeing employees really thought about the 737 Max

Staggered by the internal documents that have emerged from Boeing about the 737 Max?

Here's a screenshot - courtesy of Reuters reporter David Shepardson - from messages between Boeing employees, one of whom says the plane is "designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys".

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Boeing's battle over MCAS

Yet more deeply troubling revelations from the internal documents Boeing handed over to the US government investigating the grounded 737 Max aircraft.

Unlike its other models, Boeing's 737 Max features software called the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) which is designed to stop the plane from stalling and can force the nose of the jet lower.

How the MCAS system works

This internal message from a Boeing employee shows their concern that MCAS might be seen as a new function and would therefore require pilots to be trained on simulators and certified to fly the 737 Max.

Internal Boeing documentation

It can be very expensive to train pilots on simulators, the cost of which may have put airlines off from buying Boeing's new jet.

Instead, pilots who were certified to fly Boeing 737 NG took a short course on an iPad to gain familiarity with the Max.

MCAS was found to be a factor in two crashes within five months which killed 346 people.

Boeing pilots argued against 737 Max simulator training

The Lion Air crash in October 2018, on board a Boeing 737 Max, claimed 189 lives
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The Lion Air crash in October 2018, on board a Boeing 737 Max, claimed 189 lives

The Lion Air crash in October 2018 - which killed all 189 on board - was the first involving a Boeing 737 Max.

Internal messages by Boeing staff reveal disparaging remarks about the airline.

The Seattle Times reports that in June 2017 two Boeing pilots conversed about how an airline in the Lion Air Group was asking for a flight simulator to train its pilots on the Max.

One pilot wrote: "Maybe because of their own stupidity. I’m scrambling to figure out how to unscrew this now! Idiots”

The other responded: “WHAT THE F%$&!!!!. But their sister airline is already flying it!”

The Seattle Times reports that these two pilots were working on flight simulators and determining the training needed for pilots to move from previous 737 models to the Max.

One wrote, in an email to Jakarta, Indonesia, headquarters of Lion Air: “There is absolutely no reason to require your pilots to require a MAX simulator to begin flying the MAX.

“Boeing does not understand what is to be gained.”