Trying to land on some runways causes the Boeing 737's control screens to go black

The Boeing 737 Next Generation has a gnarly bug: on instrument approach to seven specific runways, the six cockpit display units used to guide the pilots to their landing go suddenly black and they remain black until the pilots choose a different runway to land on.

The FAA has ordered Boeing to fix its software.

The seven affected runways are: Pine Bluffs, WY; Wayne County, OH; Chippewa County, MI; Cavern City, NM; Barrow, AK; La Mina, La Guajira, Colombia; and Cheddi Jagan, Georgetown, Guyana.

Yesterday, a 737-800 crashed on a flight from Iran to Ukraine, killing 167 passengers and nine crew members.

Boeing's 737 Max has been plagued by software errors that have led to the aircraft being grounded around the world. A whistleblower claims that the Boeing 787s are also unsafe due to negligence and fraud by the company.

The FAA received reports earlier this year of three incidents of display electronic unit (DEU) software errors on Model 737 NG airplanes flying into runway PABR in Barrow, Alaska. All six display units (DUs) blanked with a selected instrument approach to a runway with a 270-degree true heading, and all six DUs stayed blank until a different runway was selected. The Integrated Standby Flight Display (ISFD) and Heads-Up-Display (HUD) remained operational during this failure of the primary flight displays. The investigation has traced the behavior to a combination of common display system (CDS) block point (BP) 15 software in the DEUs and U12 or later software in the flight management computer (FMC). The investigation revealed that the problem occurs when thiscombination of software is installed and a susceptible runway with a 270-degree true heading is selected for instrument approach. Not all runways with a 270-degree true heading are susceptible; only seven runways worldwide, as identified in this AD, have latitude and longitude values that cause the blanking behavior. If CDS BP15 software and FMC U12 or later software are installed, all six DUs can blank when a susceptible runway with a 270-degree true heading is selected. The FAA has confirmed that the faulty version of DEU software has already been removed from all airplanes conducting scheduled airline service into the affected airports. This AD is intended to address unscheduled diversions and Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) flights into the affected airports. This condition, if not addressed, could prevent continued safe flight and landing.

Blackout Bug: Boeing 737 cockpit screens go blank if pilots land on specific runways [Gareth Corfield/The Register]

(via Dan Hon)

(Image: Mareklug, CC BY-SA, modified)