Argentina grounds Boeing 737 Max following fatal Ethiopia crash

19 March, 2019, 00:45 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • A Boeing Max 8 plane

Similarities between the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, confirmed by black box data, have focused attention on an anti-stalling system used in the new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

The United States and many other countries then grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 as it had also been used in the Lion Air crash in October in Indonesia. The investigation comes alongside a Department of Transportation probe into the Federal Aviation Administration's approval process that certified the Boeing plane and its safety and training procedures.

The system determined the position of the plane's nose and would point it down automatically if it considered the angle of attack to be too steep, as a steep angle could lead the aircraft to stall and crash.

Moreover, Russell Lewis, southern bureau chief for NPR News, said on Sunday via "All Things Considered" radio show, that the Boeing 737 Max 8 involved in both accidents feature an anti-stall system created to drive the nose of the plane down when flight control systems detect an issue with low airspeed and this may have caused the aircrafts to plunge.

Black box data recovered from the Lion Air crash indicated the MCAS had reset itself 21 times, repeatedly pushing the plane's nose down.

Investigators are now anxious that the MCAS could have malfunctioned or that pilots didn't have enough training with the new program before it went into use.

The planes in both crashes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft.


"During the investigation of the FDR [flight data recorder], clear similarities were noted between Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610, which will be the subject of further investigation", the Minister reported. Shortly after their takeoffs, both crews tried to return to their respective airports, but crashed.

Investigators are reportedly looking into whether an automatic system called MCAS, which is created to prevent the plane's nose from going upwards, was incorrectly triggered.

Boeing announced last week that it will temporarily halt deliveries of its 737 Max fleet after the aircraft were grounded for an indefinite period globally in the wake of the crash.

Last week's Ethiopian crash sparked the concern of aviation authorities that there may be a design fault with the craft, wiping billions of dollars off Boeing's market value and grounding the planes in countries around the world.

The FAA has said that the Boeing 737 will not fly until a software update can be tested and installed.

USA authorities had called for an update by April and Boeing said it would meet the target.

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