New Details Emerge on the Boeing 737 Max Crash. Pilots of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 were unable to prevent the plane from nosediving, an initial report of the crash has found. The tragic accident, which killed all 150 people on board, marks the second crash for the plane model. Another Max 8 crashed last October in Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board.
The captain and first officer both followed the safety protocols recommend by Boeing, but they were unable to prevent the aircraft from making a fatal dive shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa in March.
Aviation authorities have grounded the entire fleet of 737 Max aircrafts after the two devastating crashes in just five months.
Six minutes after take-off, the plane crashed just 30 miles southeast of the airport. The impact was so great that both of the plane’s engines were buried at 32ft in a crater spanning 40m long and 28m wide.
According to the preliminary report, the plane’s take-off appeared to be normal. But shortly after take-off, two of the sensors that measure the angle of the flight began to record different readings. The discrepancies in the readings triggered the plane’s automated safety system, which repeatedly pushes the plane’s nose down.
The report suggests that the pilots took steps to disengage the system, but they were unable to prevent the nosedive despite trying to manually steady the plane.
The 737 Max 8 is the fastest-selling model in Boeing’s history, with 100 different operators ordering more than 45,000 of them.
The line was launched in 2011, but did not perform its first flight until January 2016. The new series received its FAA certification in March 2017.
Who’s to Blame?
It’s important to note that the report does not attribute blame for the crash. However, a timeline of the crash shows that the pilots were having difficulties with the automated safety system, which is known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).
The MCAS is designed to prevent stalling when making steep turns while the plane is under manual control. It works by pushing the plane’s nose downward.
Pilots can temporarily disengage the system, but it will reactivate if false readings continue. Essentially, the false readings make the MCAS believe that the plane is flying at too steep of an angle. The nose is pushed downward to prevent stalling, which could make the plane drop.
False readings can cause the MCAS to engage and push the nose downward even when nothing is wrong.
Boeing has accepted liability for both crashes, which could potentially leave the company open to billions of dollars in legal liabilities.
“There are complex rules that govern where lawsuits against airlines can be filed, and under an international treaty, damages from airlines for families of victims of crashes on international flights are capped at about $170,000,” says Cogan & Power, P.C..
Boeing’s liability is estimated to be at least $1 billion.
The company said in a statement that they will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau.