Pilots of Boeing 737 MAX followed procedures before crash, Ethiopia says

Pilots of Boeing 737 MAX followed procedures before crash, Ethiopia says

The design of the 737 Max is based on a previous version of Boeing's best-selling 737 model - with the addition of newly designed engines.

Ethiopian Airlines pilots followed proper guidance in the fatal crash of a Boeing MAX 8 airplane last month, Ethiopians minister of transport Dagmawit Moges said on Thursday as she delivered the first official report on the disaster.

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

The initial report, unveiled by Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges, cast further doubt on the system controlling the Boeing 737 MAX 8 model, which has been grounded worldwide for nearly a month.

In a statement Thursday, Ethiopian Airlines said its pilots followed Boeing instructions.

The two crashes killed a combined 346 people and led to Max 8 being grounded in dozens of countries across the world, including the United States.

"All of us feel the vast gravity of these events across our company and recognize the devastation of the families and friends of the loved ones who perished", he said.

The FAA has come under criticism for delegating some of its certification responsibilities to Boeing and other manufacturers. Muilenberg promised that when the 737 MAX is cleared to fly again, it will be one of the safest aircraft ever built. If the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, engages while a plane is taking off, it can be catastrophic. The software update, Boeing said in the statement, adds layers of protection and will stop erroneous data from activating the system.

"It's not completely clear that Boeing was completely right that you could just turn it off and fly the plane manually", Aboulafia said.

The Ethiopian officials did not say whether the MCAS system activated because of a faulty sensor that measures the plane's angle relative to the wind. The Wall Street Journal reports details of the flight crew's action were revealed by the plane's data recorder. Incorrectly sensing a stall, the aircraft's system tried to force the nose down four separate times during the flight, in the end overpowering the flight crew's ability to keep the airplane climbing.

"The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft", Dagmawit told a news conference in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Family members of crash victims said they were unsettled by the report's findings. "It is so sad to learn that our loved ones would have been spared if this problem was detected on time". That will be addressed in the final report, she said.

Lawyers for Stumo's family have also filed a federal tort claim against the FAA over the Ethiopian crash.

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

The review comes two days after the FAA and Boeing signalled that the planes may be grounded for longer than previously thought. She added that an global team investigating the crash includes the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S., France's BEA and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

Senator Roger Wicker, a Republican, said in a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration that the FAA may have been notified about the training and certification concerns as early as August 2018 - before the Indonesia crash - citing information from the whistleblowers and documents. Air travelers have been forced to reschedule canceled flights and airlines are losing money while their new planes remain parked on the ground until further notice.

Ethiopian investigators did not blame anyone for the crash, stressing the importance of global rules requiring civil probes to focus on recommendations for safer flight.

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