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Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crash findings released

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Ethiopian aviation authorities discussed a preliminary report on the Ethiopian Airlines crash at a press conference Thursday, concluding that the pilots did everything they were trained to do to regain control of the plane.

The main takeaways are as follows:

Software may have played a role in the crash: The automated anti-stall software called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) is under suspicion.
No sign yet of a problem with the sensor: Although it doesn't rule out a possibly faulty sensor, a top Ethiopian accident investigator said Thursday they have not identified any damage to the aircraft's sensors that could have contributed to the crash.
MCAS training didn't appear to help prevent the crash: Overall, Ethiopian aviation authorities are making it clear that pilot error does not appear to be an issue in the crash and the pressure is now on Boeing to ensure the 737 Max is safe.

9:10 a.m. ET, April 4, 2019
Aviation expert: The FAA has blown its reputation
CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo has criticized the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its oversight of Boeing.

The FAA has come in for criticism for its role in approving the Boeing 737 Max aircraft that were involved in fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Schiavo questioned the quality of the FAA's oversight of Boeing and claimed that the administration's previous reputation for excellence has been tarnished.

"The FAA has finally blown that image," said Schiavo.
There should be triple redundancy for different systems to ensure safety, said Schiavo, but the MCAS software systems aboard both crashed Max 8s were fed by only one angle of attack (AOA) sensor.

Schiavo claims this reliance on just one sensor begs the question as to why Boeing didn't originally build the planes with two AOA sensors, and why the FAA did not require it.

Another issue with the 737 Max is its tendency to point slightly upward due to the use of larger engines which altered its aerodynamics compared to previous 737s.

Boeing tried to remedy this using the MCAS software, but Schiavo questioned why the FAA approved a software fix for the issue.

"Why was MCAS put in to solve what looks like a center of gravity problem, a pitch up problem?" she said.


8:33 a.m. ET, April 4, 2019
'The onus is on Boeing' -- Quest
During a press conference Thursday, Ethiopian investigators looking into the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March said the pilots were qualified and operated the plane as Boeing intended, even down to trying to override an anti-stall software known as MCAS.

CNN anchor and aviation expert Richard Quest believes that Boeing is under pressure following the press conference, despite its excellent reputation.

"The focus does turn firmly, fairly and squarely onto Boeing," said Quest.

Boeing has a superb reputation, he added, but the MCAS system was an "operating force" in both the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes and the company has to "restore confidence in their planes."

"The onus is on Boeing."


7:46 a.m. ET, April 4, 2019
Still no sign of a published report
Hours after this morning's press conference there has still been no news on when the preliminary crash report on the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people in March will be published.

"Boeing will be reviewing the published report as it is released," said company spokesman Peter Pedraza on Thursday.

The Ethiopian Accident Information Bureau told CNN it had given the report to Boeing on Monday.

In an earlier press conference on Thursday, Ethiopian investigators announced the findings of the preliminary report, but it has not yet been published.

At the time CNN anchor and aviation expert Richard Quest described the move as "unusual."

"We are slightly taking their word for what they are saying is in the report," Quest said.

 

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane is pictured outside the company's factory on March 22, 2019 in Renton, Washington. 

 

CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Brien believes the 737 Max fleet should have been grounded before the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

O'Brien said there was enough information for Boeing to ground the planes in the aftermath of the Lion Air accident, also involving a 737 Max 8 jet, in October 2018.

That plane crashed into the sea off Indonesia shortly after take off, killing 189 people, and some similarities have been discovered with the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

"Why wasn't the aircraft grounded then?" he asked.

 

Source https://edition.cnn.com/africa/live-news/ethiopian-airlines-black-box-report/index.html

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