Visit our new website:

Regulators challenge Boeing to prove its Max jets are safe

  • Fri, 15 Mar 2019 13:20
Fri, 2019-03-15 04:07

NEW YORK: Aviation regulators worldwide laid down a stark challenge for Boeing to prove that its grounded 737 Max jets are safe to fly amid suspicions that faulty software might have contributed to two crashes that killed 346 people in less than six months.
In a key step toward unearthing the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, flight recorders from the shattered plane arrived Thursday in France for analysis, although the agency in charge of the review said it was unclear whether the data could be retrieved. The decision to send the recorders to France was seen as a rebuke to the United States, which held out longer than most other countries in grounding the jets.
Boeing executives announced that they had paused delivery of the Max, although the company planned to continue building the jets while it weighs the effect of the grounding on production.
In Addis Ababa, about 200 angry family members of crash victims left a briefing with Ethiopian Airlines officials, saying that the carrier has not given them adequate information. Officials said they have opened a call-in center that is available 18 hours a day to respond to questions. There were 157 people from 35 countries who died in the crash.
The US Federal Aviation Administration grounded the planes Wednesday, saying regulators had new satellite evidence that showed the movements of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 were similar to those of Lion Air Flight 610. That flight crashed into the Java Sea off Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.
The Max jets are likely to be idle for weeks while Boeing tries to assure regulators around the world that the planes are safe.
At a minimum, aviation experts say, the plane maker will need to finish updating software that might have played a role in the Lion Air crash. Regulators will wait for more definitive evidence of what caused both crashes. Some industry officials think the plane maker and US regulators may be forced to answer questions about the plane’s design.
Boeing said it supports the grounding of its planes as a precautionary step, while reiterating its “full confidence” in the safety of the 737 Max. The company has previously characterized the software upgrades as an effort to make a safe plane even safer. Engineers are making changes to the system designed to prevent an aerodynamic stall if sensors detect that the jet’s nose is pointed too high and its speed is too slow.
Satellite-based data showed that both the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air planes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft. Both crews tried to return to the airport but crashed, killing everyone on board.
How long the planes stay grounded depends largely on what investigators find on the cockpit voice and flight data recorders, said Peter Goelz, a former managing director for the National Transportation Safety Board.
If the recorders indicate a manufacturing problem or a software glitch in the anti-stall system, the planes could stay on the tarmac for a long time. But if the crash was caused by pilot error, then the problem could be corrected by training, and the grounding could be short, Goelz said.
Ethiopian Airlines says its pilots received special training on how to deal with the Max’s anti-stall software.
The French air accident investigation authority, known by its acronym BEA, said Thursday that it will handle the analysis of the flight recorders, often referred to as a plane’s black boxes. The US National Transportation Safety Board sent three investigators to help.
Ethiopian investigators likely avoided sending the data to the US because the FAA certified the airworthiness of the Max and has a relationship with manufacturer Boeing, said Goelz, who is now an aviation consultant.
“I think Ethiopia wanted to choose an investigative partner that clearly didn’t have a dog in the fight,” Goelz said.
Key congressmen say they will investigate why the FAA approved the Max without requiring more training for pilots.
At the crash scene in Hejere, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Addis Ababa, growing numbers of family members arrived, some wailing or beating their chests as a bulldozer navigated piles of debris. Blue plastic sheeting covered the wreckage of the plane.
Moshi Biton, brother of Israeli victim Shimon Daniel Re’em Biton, asked Ethiopia’s prime minister to allow Israeli investigators to help recover remains. Two Israelis were killed in the crash, and members of an emergency response team from the country said they are frustrated because they have not been able to access the crash site.
“Big families, a lot of people and the full Israeli nation is waiting for these remains, and we will not go out of Ethiopia until we find the remains to bury them,” Biton said.
The Max is the latest upgrade to the Boeing 737, which has been flying since the late 1960s. Because its engines were larger and heavier than on previous 737s, they were placed higher and farther forward on the wings. That created concern that the plane might be slightly more prone to an aerodynamic stall if not flown properly, so Boeing developed software to prevent that.
Investigators looking into the Indonesian crash are examining whether the software automatically pushed the plane’s nose down repeatedly, and whether the Lion Air pilots knew how to solve that problem by throwing toggle switches and canceling the automated nose-down commands.
The grounding was expected to cause minimal disruption for travelers, in part because the Max is so new that that it accounts for a small percentage of flights.
In the US, Southwest is likely to be most affected. The airline, which has 34 of the 72 US-based Max planes that were in operation, canceled 39 flights Thursday due to the grounding.

Main category: 
Ethiopian Airlines says ‘has flown’ black boxes of crashed Boeing to Paris Boeing faces crisis with worldwide grounding of 737 MAX jetliners World


US Weekly

Related Stories

Ethiopian Airlines says ‘has flown’ black boxes of crashed Boeing to Paris
  • Thu, 14 Mar 2019 21:25

Author: ReutersID: 1552542643222226200Thu, 2019-03-14 05:47 ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopian Airlines said Thursday that the black box flight recorde...

Boeing faces crisis with worldwide grounding of 737 MAX jetliners
  • Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:56

Thu, 2019-03-14 04:26 WASHINGTON: The US grounded Boeing Co’s money-spinning 737 MAX aircraft on Wednesday over safety fears after an Ethiopian Air...

Lebanese president pledges safe return of Syrian refugees
  • Wed, 27 Feb 2019 15:31

Author: Tue, 2019-02-26 23:43 BEIRUT: Lebanese President Michel Aoun pledged the safe return of Syrian refugees, with the European Union (EU) c...

Russia tells Turkey to get Assad’s ‘green light’ for safe zone in Syria
  • Fri, 15 Feb 2019 09:29

Thu, 2019-02-14 21:47 ANKARA: Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted on Thursday a key summit on Syria with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a...

Erdogan: No satisfactory plan yet with US on north Syria safe zone
  • Wed, 06 Feb 2019 00:58

Author: ReutersID: 1549362752704521500Tue, 2019-02-05 10:13 ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he had not yet seen an acceptab...

US-led jets attack Syrian army position: media
  • Sun, 03 Feb 2019 18:05

Author: ReutersID: 1549180425759137200Sun, 2019-02-03 07:50 BEIRUT: Syrian state media, citing a military source, said US-led jets attacked...

Erdogan: Turkey will not allow Syria safe zone that will turn into ‘swamp’
  • Tue, 22 Jan 2019 01:21

Author: ReutersID: 1548074322484206500Mon, 2019-01-21 12:25 ANKARA: Turkey will never allow the implementation of a safe zone in Syria that...

Ex-FBI head Comey drops challenge to US House panel subpoena
  • Mon, 03 Dec 2018 06:06

Author: ReutersID: 1543773517276592000Sun, 2018-12-02 22:54 WASHINGTON: Former FBI Director James Comey on Sunday withdrew his bid to quash...

Buber picks up the taxi challenge on the streets of Kabul
  • Sat, 17 Nov 2018 22:03

Author: Zaynab KhojjiID: 1542464889968696900Sat, 2018-11-17 17:25 KABUL: Booking a ride that picks you up from your doorstep has been a dre...

EU warns Italy, Isle of Man over yachts, private jets tax breaks
  • Sat, 10 Nov 2018 14:35

Author: ReutersID: 1541803872535209100Thu, 2018-11-08 15:34 BRUSSELS: Italy and the Isle of Man found themselves in the European Commission...

Challenge Lines by Michael Taylor
  • Sat, 29 Sep 2018 15:19

Challenge Lines by Michael Taylor My entry for this months challenge - Lines. Taken with my mobile phone while out playing golf.....