Preliminary Findings of Ethiopian and Lion Airlines Crash Show MCAS-Related Error

Preliminary Findings of Ethiopian and Lion Airlines Crash Show MCAS-related Error
Editorial Credit: ShutterStock

Boeing announced April 4 in the preliminary findings of the report for the recent Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash and in the report for the Lion Air Flight 610 crash, on both aircraft, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information.

Preliminary Findings of Ethiopian and Lion Airlines Crash Show MCAS-related Error
Editorial Credit: ShutterStock

“From the days immediately following the Lion Air accident, we’ve had teams of our top engineers and technical experts working tirelessly in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration and our customers to finalize and implement a software update that will ensure accidents like that of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 never happen again,” said Dennis Muilenburg, chairman, president and CEO of the Boeing Company. “We’re taking a comprehensive, disciplined approach, and taking the time, to get the software update right. We’re nearing completion and anticipate its certification and implementation on the 737 MAX fleet worldwide in the weeks ahead. We regret the impact the grounding has had on our airline customers and their passengers.”

Boeing states that the software update will be implemented along with training and additional educational materials will be available for pilots. The company believes these measures will eliminate the possibility of “unintended MCAS activation and prevent an MCAS-related accident from ever happening again.

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Department of Justice is currently probing the way Boeing was regulated by the FAA and the approval of 737 Max aircraft.

“The anti-stall system may have been involved in the Oct. 29 crash of a Lion Air jet off of Indonesia that killed 189 people,” AP reported. “It’s also under scrutiny in the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet that killed 157.”

Boeing still states that the 737 Max is safe.

“We at Boeing take the responsibility to build and deliver airplanes to our airline customers and to the flying public that are safe to fly, and can be safely flown by every single one of the professional and dedicated pilots all around the world,” Muilenburg said. “This is what we do at Boeing. We remain confident in the fundamental safety of the 737 MAX. All who fly on it—the passengers, flight attendants and pilots, including our own families and friends—deserve our best. When the MAX returns to the skies with the software changes to the MCAS function, it will be among the safest airplanes ever to fly.”

AP reported that investigators are currently looking into the Indonesian crash to determine if the software “automatically pushed the plane’s nose down repeatedly, and whether the Lion Air pilots knew how to solve that problem. According to the AP’s report, Ethiopian Airlines stated its pilots received special training on the software.


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