Ethiopia urges Boeing to review controls, backs pilots

Ethiopia urges Boeing to review controls, backs pilots

The pilots of a doomed Ethiopian Airlines jet followed all of Boeing's recommended procedures when the plane started to nose dive but still couldn't save it, according to findings from a preliminary report released Thursday by the Ethiopian government.

The preliminary report contains flight data recorder information indicating the airplane had an erroneous angle of attack sensor input that activated the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) function during the flight, as it had during the Lion Air 610 flight.

"The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft", Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges told a news conference, presenting the outlines of a preliminary report.

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

"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", she added.

The United Arab Emirates will make its own checks on any fixes for the Boeing 737 MAX before permitting the grounded jet to resume flying in its airspace, a senior aviation regulatory official said on Wednesday.

The pilots on board Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 battled the plane's automated trim system for almost the entire duration of the 6-minute flight, according to a preliminary report obtained by CNN Thursday.

Citizens from over 30 countries were on board.

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The MAX fleet remains grounded worldwide following October's Lion Air accident and last month's Ethiopian Airlines crash.

They also requested records from Peter Lemme, who worked for Boeing as a flight controls engineer from 1981 to 1997, long before the MAX was in development. The 29-year-old captain had more than 8,000 flight hours overall, including more than 1,400 on older 737s, the report said.

The New York Times quoted Dagmawit as saying pilots turned MCAS off and on, which is not the step recommended in published Boeing procedures telling crew to leave it off once disabled, though there is growing debate among safety experts about what unstable conditions may have prompted such an unusual step. "It looks like the plane might have been in a position where it was very hard to recover even after they turned off the MCAS system".

Following a previous Ethiopian Airlines accident off Beirut in 2010, Addis Ababa authorities rejected the conclusions of a Lebanese investigation citing pilot error and suggested the aircraft had exploded in a possible act of sabotage. "It seems likely they've got more things going on at once in a shorter time period".

Stumo, originally from MA, is the niece of consumer activist Ralph Nader, who called for a boycott of the 737 MAX on Thursday.

Nader called on consumers to boycott the MAX 8 and blasted the FAA for delegating so much responsibility in certifying the plane was safe to Boeing. The FAA has said it will review the software before allowing the Max to fly again. "If we don't end the cozy relationship between the patsy FAA. and the Boeing Company, 5,000 of these fatally flawed planes will be in the air all over the world with millions of passengers". Criminal investigatorsin the Justice Department have sought information from Boeing on safety and certification procedures, including training manuals for pilots, along with how the company marketed the new aircraft. Investigations are also looking at the role of the Federal Aviation Administration in the USA, which certified the Max in 2017, declined to ground it after the first deadly crash in October.

Typically, a preliminary report from air crash investigators doesn't seek to find fault.

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