Ethiopian Officials Pin Blame On Boeing, Initial Crash Findings Released

by Chris Dong

Ethiopian officials have released preliminary findings about what happened to Ethiopian Airlines 302, the Boeing 737 MAX that crashed shortly after takeoff last month, killing 157. During a press conference in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian Transport Ministry talked about the findings. It is not clear whether the written version of the initial report will be made public.

The Highlights:

  • The plane was airworthy and had a valid certificate to fly.
  • Pilots were found to be capable.
  • Pilots followed protocol and fully complied with emergency procedures.

During the press conference, Ethiopian Transportation Minister Dagmawit Moges said that the ET302 experienced “repetitive uncommanded aircraft nose-down conditions” and recommended that Boeing review flight control systems to make sure that fixes are “adequately addressed” before returning the 737 MAX fleet into service.

The software in question revolves around the Angle of Attack sensor and the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), two components that work hand in hand to detect when the plane is pointing up at a dangerous angle and assist by pushing down the nose of a the plane to prevent a stall.

The Upshot

The statements from officials clearly put the aircraft manufacturer on the spot — with Ethiopian holding its ground against Boeing and its software. The crash of ET 302 eventually led to the grounding of all 737 MAX aircraft worldwide.

And while the initial findings don’t reveal exactly what happened (and they aren’t supposed to), I think its notable that Ethiopian fully stands by its pilots. With the report released, there is now added pressure on Boeing and their processes.

It looks like Ethiopian is attempting to uphold its reputation for safety and putting the ball back in Boeing’s court.

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