Published: Sat, April 06, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Ethiopian Airlines Crash: Pilots not to blame

Ethiopian Airlines Crash: Pilots not to blame

Samya Stumo who died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu.

In both cases, preliminary findings showed the pilots had wrestled with the anti-stall system, known as MCAS, which caused the planes to nose-dive repeatedly. "It's our responsibility to eliminate this risk - we own it, and we know how to do it".

Meanwhile, according to an initial report by Ethiopian investigators, the 737 MAX was having problems just two minutes after takeoff. The Lion Air flight crashed last November when a faulty sensor on the plane's fuselage triggered the MCAS, sending the plane into an irreversible descent into the Java Sea, killing 189 people.

After requesting a return to their departing airport, the pilots managed to turn the plane around but it dove yet again, and this time the angle was too severe for the pilots to control, ultimately leading to the crash and the deaths of all 157 people on board.

A new 33-page report released today indicates the pilots turned off the power to the horizontal stabiliser system approximately two minutes and 35 seconds into the flight.

Contrary to the report of preliminary investigation by the Ethiopian authority, excess speed by the pilot and hasty command have been identified as possible factors responsible for the crash of Ethiopian Boeing Max 737 jet.

The 737 - the world's most popular aircraft - remains grounded around the world, with both crashes under scrutiny by regulators and safety experts.

Boeing said it is still working with the FAA and regulatory agencies to develop and certify a software update created to keep the system from being activated unintentionally, along with additional training for pilots.

The spokesman, Charles Bickers, said the latest issue is not part of flight-control software that Boeing has been working to upgrade for months.

Some took issue with Ethiopia's transport minister, saying the Ethiopian Airlines pilots had actually failed to properly follow the procedures. At the same time, pilots will always be able to override MCAS and control the aircraft manually, Boeing says.

Starting mid-April, production will be cut to 42 airplanes per month from 52, the company said on Friday, but Boeing said that it does not plan any layoffs due to the reduction in output. "This is territory we are going to see more of", Hart said.

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"We remain confident in the fundamental safety of the 737 MAX". He flew 207 of those hours on 737s, including 56 hours on Max jets.

The lawsuit alleges that decisions by Boeing leaders contributed to the crash and "demonstrate Boeing's conscious disregard for the lives of others", including designing an aircraft with a flight-control system that is "susceptible to catastrophic failure" in the event of a single defective sensor made by Rosemount Aerospace. "This is causing us a great deal of pain".

The family also filed a claim against the Federal Aviation Administration.

The disaster generated safety concerns with countries including Mexico, South Africa, China and Brazil grounding their Max 737 jets. That helped boost Boeing's shares 2.9 per cent to US$395.86 at the close in NY, paring the decline since last month's crash to 6.3 per cent.

Muilenburg also said Thursday that the company was "sorry for the lives lost" in the 737 Max crashes. For reasons that haven't been explained, they didn't try to also trim the plane using switches on their control yokes.

The FAA, which must certify the 737 Max is safe before it can go back into the air, said in a statement that the investigation is still in its early stages.

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