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Ethiopian Airlines crew followed all procedures from Boeing – crash report

The Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashed on March 10 shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa.

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 (Mulugeta Ayene/AP)
An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 (Mulugeta Ayene/AP)

The crew of the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed shortly after take-off last month performed all of the procedures recommended by Boeing when the plane started to nose dive but could not save it, according to a preliminary report released by Ethiopia’s government.

The report was based on data from the recorders of the Boeing 737 Max 8 Boeing declined to comment pending its review of the report.

The Max 8 has been under scrutiny since a Lion Air flight crashed off the coast of Indonesia under similar circumstances in October.

The Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed just after taking off from Addis Ababa on March 10, killing all 157 on board.

The pilots initially followed Boeing’s emergency steps by disconnecting the MCAS system, but for an unknown reason, they turned the system back on, an official familiar with the crash investigation told The Associated Press.

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(PA Graphics)

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because at the time, Ethiopian investigators had not released their preliminary report.

Boeing’s procedures instruct pilots to leave the MCAS system disconnected and continue flying manually for the rest of the flight.

Ethiopian investigators did not address that issue at the news conference, saying only that the pilots had done what they were supposed to.

At a news conference, Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges said the Ethiopian Airlines crew “performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft.”

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.

However, Moges told The New York Times after the press conference that the pilots turned MCAS on and off, but she couldn’t say how many times. That will be addressed in the final report, she said.

The Max has been grounded worldwide pending a software fix that Boeing is rolling out, which still needs approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators.

The family of a 24-year-old American passenger on the Ethiopian jet has sued Boeing in Chicago.

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Samya Stumo’s family is filing against Boeing (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

The complaint is alleging negligence and civil conspiracy among other charges.

The American who was killed, Samya Stumo, is the great niece of consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

“Blinded by its greed, Boeing haphazardly rushed the 737 MAX8 to market” and “actively concealed the nature of the automated system defects,” the lawsuit alleges, demonstrating a “conscious disregard for the lives of others.”

“You’ve let us down. You’ve killed people when you’ve let us down,” said Adnaan Stumo, the victim’s brother, addressing Boeing during a press conference in Chicago.

Boeing is facing several other suits, including seven filed in Chicago earlier by one law firm alone claiming the flight-control system was defective and that Boeing failed to warn airlines about it or fully train pilots.

The Max 8 has been under scrutiny since a Lion Air flight crashed off the coast of Indonesia under similar circumstances in October.

Ethiopian investigators did not specifically mention the MCAS, but recommended that Boeing review “the aircraft flight control system related to the flight controllability”.

They also recommended that aviation officials verify issues have been adequately addressed before allowing the planes to fly again.

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A worker enters a Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane (Ted S. Warren/AP)

The report said air speed and altitude values on the left side of the 737 Max conflicted with data from the right sensor, causing flight control problems.

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

Investigators found that software on the plane took readings from the sensor and pointed the nose down.

Thursday’s revelations raise questions about repeated assertions by Boeing and US regulators that pilots could regain control in some emergencies by following steps that include turning off an anti-stall system designed specifically for the Max, known by its acronym, MCAS.

Boeing is the focus of investigations by the US Justice Department, the Transportation Department’s inspector general, and congressional committees.

Investigations are also looking at the role of the Federal Aviation Administration in the US, which certified the Max in 2017 and declined to ground it after the first deadly crash in October.

The FAA said in a statement that it is continuing to work toward a full understanding of what happened and will take appropriate action as findings become available.

PA

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