Ethiopia's Ministry of Transport says pilots followed proper procedures when their Boeing MAX 8 airplane repeatedly nosedived before a March 10 crash that killed 157 people. They also recommended that aviation officials verify issues have been adequately addressed before allowing the planes to fly again.
The MCAS system is meant to compensate for this by overriding the pilot and forcing the plane's nose down, if data from an "angle of attack" (AOA) - sensor indicates the jet's nose is too high. It was the second crash of a 737 Max within five months, following a Lion Air crash in Indonesia.
The manufacturer is working on an update to the manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system, which has been implicated in the crashes. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our valued customers, the travelling public, themedia and Global aviation professionals for the remarkably high level of vote of confidences and strong support that you have been giving us starting from the day of this tragic accident.
- USA lawmakers said on March 14 the 737 MAX could be grounded for weeks to upgrade software in every plane.
The Federal Aviation Administration, which has come under fire over the way it chose to certify the plane and its MCAS software, cautioned the investigation had not yet concluded.
Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges said it was too soon to say if there was a problem with the aircraft, but urged Boeing to review its advice.
- A final report by Ethiopian authorities aided by air-safety experts from the United States and Europe is due to be published within a year.
"Despite their hard work and full compliance with the emergency procedures, it was very unfortunate that they could not recover the airplane from the persistence of nose diving", it said in a statement.
Boeing and the FAA both said they continue to study the reports.
The details underscore the focus on MCAS, a new software feature installed on the fourth generation of the 737, the world's best-selling commercial aircraft family. The Transportation Department's inspector general is reviewing the FAA's process for approving the airworthiness of new jets and aiding a Justice Department criminal probe. Other countries may ground the planes even longer.
The pilots initially followed Boeing's emergency steps by disconnecting the MCAS system, but for an unknown reason, they turned the system back on, an official familiar with the crash investigation told The Associated Press on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because investigators had not yet released their preliminary report.
A directive issued after the Indonesian crash instructed pilots to use cut-out switches to disengage the system in the event of problems and leave it switched off. The plane appeared "very normal" on takeoff and then suffered "repetitive uncommanded nose-down".
Passengers included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians and eight Americans.
Little more was disclosed at the short news conference, which was conducted mostly in Amharic and partly in English, and was broadcast live on the national TV channel and the internet.
In a statement today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the formation of an global task force composed of experts from the FAA, NASA, and regulatory agencies from around the world who will review the proposed software update for the embattled Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.