Thursday, 4 April 2019

Ethiopian Airlines pilots followed proper procedures according to crash report of 737 Max 8

The Ethiopian Airlines pilots followed proper procedures when their Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft repeatedly nosedived just prior to the crash on March 10th that claimed the lives of all 157 on board, the official preliminary report says.

The Ethiopian Minister of Transport, Dagmawit Moges (Pictured left), announced the reports finding at a press conference on Thursday, April 4th, advising  "The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft,".   

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa's Bole airport, it was the second deadly crash of a 737 Max 8 in the space of just 5 months. The previous disaster took place ion October of last year when a Lion Air 737 Max 8 aircraft. operating flight  JT610 came down in the sea just off Indonesia with the loss of 189 people on board. There were striking similarities between the two crashes which lead to a grounding of the 737 Max 8, first by individual countries air safety authorities, then regional ones, the last authority to ground the aircraft type were the US regulators. 

In common with international air crash investigation procedures, preliminary reports do not attribute blame, however, the Ethiopian report did suggest that Boeing review the aircraft control system, "Since repetitive uncommanded aircraft nose down conditions are noticed ... it is recommended that the aircraft control system shall be reviewed by the manufacturer,"  Moges said.  The report also says aviation authorities should confirm the problem had been solved before allowing the 737 Max back into the air.

This preliminary report didn't give full details or in-depth analysis of the flight, which is standard procedure for aviation air accident investigation authorities around the world. The full analysis of the flight will be contained in the full accident report, which is expected to be released towards the end of this year, or very early next year.  

Ethiopian Airlines, CEO Tewolde GebreMariam, said: "All of us at Ethiopian Airlines are still going through deep mourning for the loss of our loved ones and we would like to express our deep sympathy and condolences for the families, relatives and friends of the victims."

The airline issued a statement, saying the report 'clearly showed that the Ethiopian Airlines Pilots who were commanding Flight ET302 have followed the Boeing recommended and FAA approved emergency procedures to handle the most difficult emergency situation created on the airplane.'  The airline went on that 'it was very unfortunate that they could not recover the airplane from the persistence nose diving.'  GebreMariam said he was "very proud" of the pilots' "high level of professional performance". 

Boeing advised that it would study the report.

The US FAA regulators who passed the 737 Max aircraft safe to fly said, "The preliminary report of the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crash was prepared by the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) to share certain information obtained during the early stages of investigating. The ECAA investigation remains ongoing, with the participation of the FAA and the NTSB. We continue to work towards a full understanding of all aspects of this accident. As we learn more about the accident and findings become available, we will take appropriate action.".

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