Ethiopia urges Boeing to review controls, backs pilots

Posted by News Express | 4 April 2019 | 813 times

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Ethiopia urged Boeing to review its flight control technology and said pilots of state carrier Ethiopian Airlines had carried out proper procedures in the first public findings on the crash of a 737 MAX jet that killed 157 people.

The doomed flight repeatedly nosedived as the pilots battled to control the nearly full aircraft before it crashed six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa in clear conditions, Ethiopian authorities said on Thursday.

“The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft,” Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges told a news conference, presenting the outlines of a preliminary report.

The government did not immediately publish the report, which foreign experts say could provide a nuanced view of what went on inside the cockpit and computers of flight 302, but gave a broad-brush view, targeting Boeing and U.S. regulators.

The report is expected to be published by Friday.

Boeing’s top-selling aircraft has been grounded worldwide since the March 10 disaster, which came just five months after a Lion Air 737 MAX crash in Indonesia that killed 189. An initial report into that accident also raised questions about the jet’s software, as well as training and maintenance.

Families of the victims, regulators and travelers around the world have been waiting for signs of whether the two crashes are linked, and the extent to which Boeing technology and the actions of the Ethiopian Airlines pilots played a role.

Ethiopian investigators did not blame anyone for the crash, stressing the importance of international rules requiring civil probes to focus on recommendations for safer flight. Nor did they give a detailed analysis of the flight, which is expected to take several months before a final report due within a year.

But in a clear indication of where Ethiopian investigators are directing the attention of regulators, they cleared the pilots of using incorrect procedures and issued two safety recommendations focused on the recently introduced aircraft.

They suggested that Boeing review the controllability of the 737 MAX systems and that aviation authorities confirm any changes before allowing that model of plane back into the air.

“Since repetitive uncommanded aircraft nose down conditions are noticed ... it is recommended that the aircraft control system shall be reviewed by the manufacturer,” Dagmawit said.

The nose-down commands were issued by Boeing’s so-called MCAS software. The preliminary report into the Lion Air disaster suggested pilots lost control after grappling with MCAS, a new automated anti-stall feature that repeatedly lowered the nose of the aircraft based on faulty data from a sensor.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which has come under fire over the way it decided to certify the plane and its MCAS software, cautioned the investigation had not yet concluded.

“We continue to work toward a full understanding of all aspects of this accident. As we learn more about the accident and findings become available, we will take appropriate action,” the U.S. agency said in a statement.

Boeing said it would study the report once it was released. Its shares rose 2.4 percent. (Reuters)

Ethiopian transport minister Dagmawit Moges addresses a news conference on the preliminary report to the Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 plane crash in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri 


Source: News Express

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