Preliminary Report Says Ethiopian Airlines Pilots Followed Boeing's Approved Emergency Procedures

06 April, 2019, 06:47 | Author: Emmett Rice
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The crew of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 followed procedures from Boeing but could not stop the plane from repeatedly nose-diving and ultimately crashing last month, killing all 157 people on board, Ethiopian officials said on Thursday.

The initial report, unveiled by Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges, cast further doubt on the system controlling the Boeing 737 MAX 8 model, which has been grounded worldwide for nearly a month.

"Aviation authorities shall verify that the review of the aircraft flight control system has been adequately addressed by the manufacturer before the release of the aircraft for operations".

The statement did not say if the FAA would review the Max's flight control system as recommended by Ethiopian investigators, and FAA spokesman Greg Martin would not comment beyond the statement. Similarly, in October previous year, a Boeing 737 MAX Lion Air flight crashed in Indonesia, claiming the lives of all 181 people on board.

But it did suggest Boeing needed to review the aircraft control system and added aviation authorities should confirm the problem had been solved before allowing the 737 Max back into the air.

However, it wasn't clear whether the Ethiopian pilots followed Boeing's recommendations to the letter in dealing with the system repeatedly pointing the nose down.

The problems are similar to those reported on the Indonesian Lion Air flight that crashed last October.

Thursday's complaint accuses Boeing of putting "profits over safety" and said the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration must also be held accountable for certifying the 737 MAX.

Underlining that the pilots had implemented all the "right procedures" before the crash, Dagmawit said the plane had gone out of control because of its maneuvering (MCAS) system that set it on autopilot and caused it to nosedive.

In the case of the Ethiopian Airlines flight, the plane is said to have nosedived several times before the crash.

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According to the sources, the crew did not try to electronically pull the nose up before following Boeing's emergency procedures of cutting power to the horizontal stabilizer on the rear of the plane.

- The preliminary report into the Ethiopian disaster, published on April 4, showed a key sensor was wrecked, possibly by a bird strike.

- The U.S. Transportation Department's inspector general plans to audit the FAA's certification of the jet, an official with the office said on March 19.

"Understanding the circumstances that contributed to the Ethiopian accident is critical to ensuring safe flight", Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Kevin McAllister said in a statement.

Ethiopia is due to release its first report on Thursday.

The investigation has now turned toward how MCAS was initially disabled by pilots following an emergency checklist procedure but then appeared to repeatedly start working again before the jet plunged to the ground, the people said.

Following the press conference, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said in a statement that he's "very proud" of the pilots for their "high level of professional performance".

All Boeing Max jets remain grounded worldwide.

The planemaker says the upgrades are not an admission that MCAS caused the crashes.

A person with knowledge of the aircraft said the system can not reactivate itself unless prompted by pilots.

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