Ethiopian Crash: Preliminary Report Casts Further Doubt on MCAS Control

Ethiopian-ReportApril 4, 2019 ( -- A preliminary report on the Ethiopian Airline crash has established the flight crew followed all the correct safety procedures provided by the manufacturer and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, but they couldn’t control the ill-fated plane. This has cast further doubt on the system controlling the Boeing 737 MAX 8 model.

A preliminary report has been released today by Ethiopia’s Transport Minister Dagmawitt Moges. The pilots of the jet that crashed last month killing 157 on board were unable to recover from a persistent nosedive. The report recommended a review the flight control system.

The minister said: “Aviation authorities shall verify that a review of the aircraft flight control system has been adequately addressed by the manufacturer before it can be released for operations.”

The findings will definitely pile more pressure on Boeing to prove that the B 737 MAX8 model is safe after two of its planes were involved in accidents in a span of six months. The model is currently grounded globally.

The findings are bad news for Boeing because in essence, the pilots can’t be blamed for the tragedy. The report places the manufacturer in a precarious position as its systems and processes will continue to be subject to scrutiny.

Focus on the so-called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS):

At the press briefing, the officials didn’t touch on the MCAS that pushes the plane’s nose down, which also played a role in the Lion Air crash.

The B 737 MAX 8 model is the fourth generation of Boeing’s best-selling commercial plane and has a computerized anti-stall system that can push the plane’s nose.

The report comes when the FAA announced it was reviewing the certification of the automated flight control system on the B 737 model.

Though the minister didn’t make any reference to the automatic anti-stalling system, she did mention the plane experienced a repetitive nosedive. The system is designed to lower the plane’s nose if it detects a loss in airspeed or a stall.

After the Lion Air accident, Boeing issued a circular reminding operators about the emergency procedures to override the anti-stall system.

Though she did not give specific details regarding what transpired in the cockpit during the final minutes before the fatal crash, the minister said: “The plane appeared very normal on takeoff and then suffered repetitive nose-down.”  She also said all the crew had all the necessary qualifications to fly the plane.

The investigations led by Ethiopian, European and U.S. experts have pitted Boeing, a global airplane manufacturer, against a successful modern African carrier. Most notable was the minister’s statement that there weren’t dissenting voices among the team of investigators who delivered the preliminary findings.

The head of the air accident investigation bureau, Amdiye Ayalew, said the full probe should take a year, but in their preliminary findings, there had been no evidence of “foreign object damage” to the plane.

“Within this one year, we’ll analyze whether other problems are existing on this aircraft,” said Ayalew.

Tewolde Gebremariam, the airline’s chief executive officer said he was proud of the pilot’s efforts in trying to stop the airplane from crashing.

His statement reads in part “we are very proud of our pilot’s compliances to follow the emergency procedures and high level of professional performances in such extremely difficult situations.”

The state-owned carrier, which is also the continent’s leading airline, has transformed the capital into a notable hub, feeding global travelers into many African cities. Ahead of the preliminary report, some Ethiopians expressed pride in the carrier and were convinced any blame would lie with the manufacturer.

Boeing are still going through the report, and are yet to respond to these findings.

By Solomon O. for Ezega News



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