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China Grounds All Boeing 737 MAX 8 Airliners

PostPosted: March 11th, 2019, 3:57 am
by toucana
ET-AVJ The Ethiopian Airlines plane involved

China has become the first country to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 airliners after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed just six minutes after take-off at the weekend killing all 157 passengers and crew onboard.

The crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on Sunday morning just after take off from Addis Abbaba airport en route to Nairobi was the second such crash of this brand new model of jet in just six months.

Last October an almost identical Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air went down over the Java sea in late October killing all 189 people on board. That crash also happened soon after take-off, and the FDR and CVR recorders when recovered indicated that the pilots had lost control of the aircraft after the auto-trim system in the flight control software system ran amok.

"It's highly suspicious," said Mary Schiavo, a CNN aviation analyst and the former Inspector General of the U.S. Transportation Department. "Here we have a brand-new aircraft that's gone down twice in a year. That rings alarm bells in the aviation industry, because that just doesn't happen."

Adding to concerns are some similarities between the two flights. Both were operated by well-known airlines with strong safety records.

At the root of October's Lion Air crash was a new safety system installed in the MAX 8 plane, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), that automatically pulls the plane's nose down if data suggests it is at risk.

In that flight, the system was responding to faulty data that suggested the nose was tilted at a higher angle than it was, indicating the plane was at risk of stalling.

The pilots subsequently engaged in a futile tug-of-war with the plane's automatic systems, trying to reverse a nosedive that should not be triggered so soon after takeoff. Boeing has argued that pilots should have identified the system was in operation, and turned it off.

"All pilots should have been trained on that function after Lion Air," Schiavo added. "Boeing did something very unusual for any manufacturer -- it sent out an emergency bulletin and told all airlines to make sure they trained the pilots in the shut-off procedure."

"This is one of the things that should never be happening after takeoff," Schiavo said.

Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Authority have so far refused to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet citing its “stellar safety record”, but if the latest Ethiopian Airlines crash turns out to have been yet another disaster caused by a faulty AOA (angle of attack) sensor and a defective flight control software installation, then they will have little choice.

This is already reminiscent of the sad precedent of the de Havilland Comet jet airliner disasters of the 1950s when the Comet, the world’s first modern jet airliner had to be grounded after three of the brand new planes mysteriously disintegrated in mid-flight with the loss of all on board within less than a year.

The fault in that instance turned out to be a structural weakness in the fuselage associated with the use of square-shaped window frames.

Re: China Grounds All Boeing 737 MAX 8 Airliners

PostPosted: March 12th, 2019, 12:13 pm
by toucana
Australia, Brazil, Norway and the UK are the latest countries to have grounded and banned Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliners from entering their airspace.

These developments came after the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde GebreMariam told CNN that the pilots of the airplane that crashed had reported having 'flight control problems' shortly before the plane came down. The CEO said that the pilots has recently had the extra training recommended by Boeing after the Lion Air disaster in October 2018.

The ban on flying 737 MAX 8 airliners imposed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) earlier today meant that a number of flights, including two from Turkey, were forced to turn back in mid-air after British airspace was closed to them.

Re: China Grounds All Boeing 737 MAX 8 Airliners

PostPosted: March 12th, 2019, 1:12 pm
by PaulN
Interesting that a couple of crashes, killing hundreds of people, can be described by some corporate tool as a "stellar safety record." I think stellar is a word you need to drop, once hundreds have died.

Re: China Grounds All Boeing 737 MAX 8 Airliners

PostPosted: March 13th, 2019, 3:26 am
by toucana
An article by aviation writer Jeff Wise published by Slate yesterday offers a useful overview of the commercial and technical history of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliner.

Re: China Grounds All Boeing 737 MAX 8 Airliners

PostPosted: March 13th, 2019, 10:40 am
by TheVat ... y-software

So odd that Boeing doesn't seem to grasp that this conduct hurts their business profile. Even sociopaths usually have the ability to make decisions that favor their self-preservation.

Re: China Grounds All Boeing 737 MAX 8 Airliners

PostPosted: March 13th, 2019, 12:48 pm
by Serpent

Re: China Grounds All Boeing 737 MAX 8 Airliners

PostPosted: March 13th, 2019, 2:53 pm
by toucana
President Trump has now ordered the grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliners within US airspace following Sunday's deadly air crash in Ethiopia in which 157 died.

Mr Trump said: "We are going to be issuing an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9 and planes associated with that line."

The president said any Boeing currently in the air will go to its destination and then be grounded.

Re: China Grounds All Boeing 737 MAX 8 Airliners

PostPosted: March 17th, 2019, 1:35 pm
by toucana
Reuters report that information from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) for flight ET302 has been successfully downloaded at the BEA (Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses ) in France, and was passed on to the Ethiopian authorities.

Breaking news sources quote the Ethiopian Transport Minister as saying that “There are clear similarities between the Lion Air jet crash last October, and the Ethiopian Airways crash exactly a week ago”.

It had already become known from a variety of sources that the belated decision by both Canada and the USA to ground the entire fleet of Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliners several days ago was based on two other sources of profoundly worrying information that also indicated strong similarities between the two incidents.

One was the tracking data from a new and still experimental radar system called ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance - B system) which confirmed the altimetric data of flight ET302 in some detail, and the other was the discovery by rescue teams examining the wreckage of the Ethiopian plane who found that the screw-jack for the vertical stabiliser control surface was in the fully-wound down position, just as was the case in the Lion Air jet crash in the Java Sea.

Investigators will now focus on claims that both crashes were caused when a faulty AOA (angle of attack) sensor gave corrupt data inputs to the flight control software suggesting that the plane was in a deep stall, and that the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) repeatedly overrode the pilot’s control column inputs, and put the plane into a nose-down ‘uncontrolled flight into terrain’.