Boeing to stop charging for safety feature on 737 Max models: report

Boeing to stop charging for safety feature on 737 Max models: report
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Boeing is reportedly making a safety feature a new standard part of its 737 Max series of planes as it assesses its aircraft in the wake of two recent deadly crashes.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Boeing will make the "disagree light" a standard feature of its planes.

A 737 Max 8 jet crashed after takeoff in Ethiopia last week, killing everyone on board. Five months earlier, a Lion Air flight — also a 737 Max 8 plane — crashed after taking off from Indonesia.

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The disagree light is activated if sensors related to the planes' software system, known as the MCAS, are at odds with one another, according to the Times. 

The two "angle of attack" sensors are vanelike devices that show how much a plane's nose is pointing up or down relative to oncoming air, according to the Times. The MCAS system is supposed to detect if a plane is pointing up at a dangerous angle and correct it to prevent the plane from stalling.

The disagree light will now be a standard part of the plane, according to the Times. The light could be helpful to pilots since it might allow them to detect an incorrect reading.  

The safety feature had previously been optional. Because it was just optional, it is possible that some airlines might have chosen to not include it in order to cut the costs of buying the planes, the Times reported.

It is not clear why either of the two 737 Max 8 planes crashed, though the MCAS software system has come under heavy scrutiny. Boeing is updating that system.

Another safety feature, known as the angle of attack indicator, displays the readings of the two angle of attack sensors. The angle of attack indicator will be an optional product that those purchasing planes from Boeing can choose to include.

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Neither the angle of attack indicator nor the disagree light were required to be included in planes by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the Times.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement this week that the company is committed to the investigations of the crashes.

"Safety is at the core of who we are at Boeing, and ensuring safe and reliable travel on our airplanes is an enduring value and our absolute commitment to everyone," he said.

The U.S. and numerous other countries have grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 planes pending investigations into the recent crashes.

CORRECTION: Investigators are looking into whether the MCAS software system on Boeing's 737 Max 8 series may have been partly to blame for a crash. An earlier version of this story included incorrect information.

--Updated at 10:16 a.m.