Monday, 6 May 2019

Boeing knew a year before the 737 Max crashes that there was a problem......

The US planemaker, Boeing has admitted that it had knowledge of one of the issues with its Boeing 737 max jets a full year before the Lion Air crash that killed 189 people and the Ethiopian disaster that took the lives of 157 people. And yet it did nothing about it.

Boeing says the company had inadvertently made an alarm feature optional instead of a standard feature on the troubled jets but insisted it did not jeopardise the safe operation of the aircraft. 

The special feature concerned is the Angle of Attack (AOA) Disagree alert which activates, informing pilots that two different sensors were reporting conflicting information. Boeing now says had intended to offer the feature as standard equipment, yet claim it did not realise until deliveries had begun that it was only available if airlines purchased the alarm as an optional extra. 

The US firm has repeated that the software problem "did not adversely impact aeroplane safety or operation". However,  the US Federal Aviation Administration informed the media that Boeing had not informed it of the software issue until November 2018, a month after the Lion Air disaster.  The issue was low risk, the FAA said, but advised the firm could have helped to "eliminate possible confusion" by informing them earlier.

The flight angle of attack has been found to be a key factor in both crashes because of the wrong information being fed into the aircrafts Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), the special new anti-stall system which had to be introduced to the 737 Max 8 and Max 9 mitigate the effects of having the larger more fuel efficient engines in a slightly different place on the wings.  

Boeing has been redesigning and further developing new MCAS software and conducting test flights in a bid to get the 737 Max aircraft back in the air, following worldwide grounding of the type by aviation safety boards around the world. The last major safety board to ground the jets was the US FAA.

Many in the industry find it hard to believe this latest announcement from Boeing that it didn't realise the alarm was not being fitted as standard and only added if a customer airline ordered it - and paid extra for it. "Everything down to the last screw and rivet is costed, recorded and accounted for, so it is unfeasible they didn't know." a UK air crash investigator told us on Monday.   

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