Published: Sat, April 06, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Crash report: Ethiopian Airlines crew followed procedures

Crash report: Ethiopian Airlines crew followed procedures

It was the second crash involving a similar Boeing plane in five months after the same jet model crashed in Indonesia, claiming 189 lives. All 346 people on the two planes were killed.

The system pushes the 737 Max's nose down when it determines that the aircraft is about to stall.

That connection came into sharper focus as sources close to the Ethiopian Airlines crash investigation tell ABC News that a foreign object may have damaged the angle-of-attack sensor on the aircraft, causing it to feed bad data to the MCAS which caused it to engage.

In its statement, shared on Twitter, the airlines said that according to the preliminary report, the pilots commanding flight ET302 followed emergency procedures recommended by Boeing and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to handle the situation.

The release of the report is based on wreckage retrieved from the crash site, including the jet's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, which were taken to Paris for analysis. The 737 Max family of aircraft has since been grounded, affecting more than 300 planes, BBC News reported.

French and American investigators are assisting in the Ethiopian probe and at the center of it is an automated anti-stall safety system on the Max and its possible link to issues in the Ethiopian flight and a Lion Air crash in 2018. Boeing is working on improvements to the MCAS software that would make it less aggressive in pointing the nose down and easier for pilots to disable.

The software in question is called the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) - software created to help prevent the 737 Max from stalling.

Boeing declined to comment pending its review of the report.

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She also said her agency will recommend that aviation authorities verify that Boeing has "adequately addressed" flight control issues "before release of the aircraft to operations".

What also isn't clear is whether the Ethiopian pilots followed Boeing's recommendations to the letter in dealing with the system repeatedly pointing the nose down.

One of the biggest questions investigators will look at is why, if the pilots followed Boeing's standard procedures to circumvent the flight control system, the incident ended in a crash.

But the FAA, which faced harsh questioning last week at a congressional hearing regarding its oversight of Boeing, said it expected the plane maker to submit the proposed fix "over the coming weeks" after it undertakes additional work.

She said the report recommends "the aircraft flight control system shall be reviewed by the manufacturer". "It is so sad to learn that our loved ones would have been spared if this problem was detected on time". "I've never seen so little information in a report".

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 parked at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The complaint, which also names Ethiopian Airlines and parts maker Rosemount Aerospace as defendants, is alleging negligence and civil conspiracy, among other charges.

"Those planes should never fly again", Nader said.

The MCAS is believed to have been a key factor in both 737 Max crashes.

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