Safety of Boeing's MAX 8 in question after Ethiopian Airlines plane crashes, killing 157

By Duncan Miriri, Maggie Fick and Aaron Maasho

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I will not set foot on the 737 Max 8 until Boeing does the right thing: recalls all of their (likely) fatally flawed planes, figures out what the h--- is going on, and then fixes the problem. They require major oversight right now.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The default assumption by airline makers is that the cause is pilot error. Without exception, that is their starting point.

Airlines, of course, tend to want to believe that perhaps it is mechanical in nature, rather than it being something their staff caused.

The regulators responsible for investigating crashes tend to be conflicted. And that includes the NTSB.

I will say this. If history is any indication, Boeing will bend over backwards to find anything other than the aircraft to blame. Anything. So, hopefully the investigators let the investigation take its natural course, rather than succumbing to the tremendous pressure Boeing can bring to bear on things.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Wikipedia on reaction to the Lion Air crash:

On 6 November, The Wall Street Journal reported that Boeing and the FAA, on the basis of preliminary information gathered in the investigation, were planning to publish warnings about erroneous angle of attack indications on cockpit instrument displays of the 737 MAX in response to the Lion Air accident. The report stated based on preliminary findings; it is believed a malfunction in the AoA sensors could lead the on-board computer to believe that the aircraft is stalling, causing it to automatically initiate a dive. The Federal Aviation Administration urged all airlines operating Boeing 737 MAX 8s to heed the warnings. In response to the news of the faulty AoA sensor and the operation of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), a stall protection system, the FAA issued an emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) requiring that amended operating limitations and procedures relating to erroneous data from an AoA sensor be inserted into the aircraft flight manual of each 737 MAX aircraft.

During difference training, pilots of American Airlines and Southwest Airlines converting from earlier Boeing 737 Next Generation models to the 737 MAX were not informed of the MCAS linked to the fatal crash, leaving them concerned that they were possibly untrained with respect to other differences. In November 2018, Aviation Week reviewed the 737 MAX flight crew operations manual and found that it did not mention the MCAS. American Airlines' Allied Pilots Association and Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association were also caught unaware. The Wall Street Journal reported that Boeing had "decided against disclosing more details to cockpit crews due to concerns about inundating average pilots with too much information".

The CFM International LEAP engines of the 737 MAX have a higher bypass ratio and have a larger nacelle than the engines of previous Boeing 737 models, so the engines are placed higher and further forward in relation to the wing than on previous models. This destabilises the aircraft in pitch at higher angles of attack; to deal with this the MCAS flight control augmentation system is fitted to the 737 MAX. Former Boeing engineers expressed the opinion that a nose down command triggered by a sensor single point of failure is a design flaw if the crew is not prepared, and the FAA was evaluating a fix of the possible flaw and investigating whether the pilots' transition training is adequate.

On 15 November, the US Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the largest pilots' union, representing 61,000 pilots, urged the FAA and NTSB to ensure pilots receive all relevant information addressing a "potential, significant aviation system safety deficiency".

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Data and voice recovers must be recovered and analyzed before any factual information is available. Meanwhile, it’s strictly speculation.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm also wondering about the quality and training of pilots.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The dead included Kenyan, Ethiopian, American, Canadian, French, Chinese, Egyptian, Swedish, British, Dutch, Indian, Slovakian, Austrian, Swedish, Russian, Moroccan, Spanish, Polish, and Israeli citizens.

And Irishman Michael Ryan of Country Clare. Rip to all the victims of this tragedy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


2 ( +2 / -0 )'s true, the writers of this article are the one's "calling" this airplanes safety into question. Are they professionals? Do they have the expertise and knowledge to make a call like this?

Or is it they are just trying to stir the pot and look for someone to point fingers at? yellow journalism anyone?

Good questions.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

All four of the last major airline crashes have been Boeings.

Instead of building a clean sheet design, Boeing have retrofitted the 737 to such an extent it’s now a modern day Comet. De Havilland at least had the excuse hathey were right at the bleeding edge of then state-of-the-art jet tech - what’s Boeing’s excuse?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The world wants answers, quickly.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I wonder if this was another case of lack of adequate training on the new flight system that was the cause of the Java crash?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

for now it looks as the plane programing fault. If this pilot and co pilot had several takeoffs and landings of the same model it is unlikely they caused the crash. If the pilots are not properly informed of the possible surprise malfunction of the robotics on the plane there is very little they can be expected to do to bypass the faulty system.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

China have grounded their 737 Max 8s.

It will be interesting to see where we go from here, especially as this Max 8 aircraft is certified with these newly-positioned engines, MCAS controlling the subsequent aerodynamics.

On such things hinge the rise and fall of empires.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The dead included 8 Italians, one of them worked for an Onu program.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Chip Star got it in one word.

Let us hope that for lessons to be learned (of benefit to us all) 1. there will be a dispassionate inquiry, and 2. that the resulting directive will go as far back as necessary 3. to present a solid plan 4. that will bring all concerned parties back on board.

If for example the MCAS is at fault, and the decision is 'enough of the endless software fixes', then make the right decision: rip it out for goodness sake and start again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

China bans, America allows. Next flight I take, airplane type will be most important. I flew a tiger air flight recently on this jet, it was very nice. But, you never know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )'s true, the writers of this article are the one's "calling" this airplanes safety into question. Are they professionals? Do they have the expertise and knowledge to make a call like this?

Or is it they are just trying to stir the pot and look for someone to point fingers at? yellow journalism anyone?

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

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