Unearthing the 32-Year Mystery of Crashed Eastern Airlines Flight 980 By Jeffrey Cook, David Kerley, Whitney Lloyd, Nathan Luna And Jason Kurtis, Dec 15, 2016, 4:30 AM ET


Dan Futrell/Isaac Stoner. The two young men are no strangers to adventure. Memorabilia from their physical accomplishments adorn one of the men's small Boston apartment. From handmade signs of support for a recent marathon to photos from a New Year’s hike to a Maine mountaintop, dog in tow. But the evidence of a not-long-past journey remains fresh around the home. A small silver-handled shovel leans against the drywall in the corner, and a beautiful multicolored runner with flowing South American prints lines the modest dining room table.  The apartment’s souvenirs are remarkable, but what lies in an unassuming cardboard box is where history, tragedy, mystery and extraordinary physical feats intertwine into a story that must be seen to be believed.


Dan Futrell/Isaac Stoner found pieces of what appear to be aircraft debris strewn across the side of the mountain. Dan Futrell, 33, and Isaac Stoner, 31, are, at first look, regular young professionals. But dig a little deeper and the lives of two extraordinary Bostonians begin to surface. A peek at Futrell’s resume evokes a vision of someone who could run for public office. The clean-cut, Army Ranger–qualified, decorated Iraq War veteran turned in his rifle for a desk job. The graduate of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, also holds a seat on the Somerville School Committee just outside Boston.  He recently worked for a company aggregating data from the internet.  Stoner is a biotechnologist by way of the Brown University sailing team and the MIT Sloan School of Management, also in Cambridge.


Futrell pointed out a prominently mounted 2-foot-tall trophy memorializing a second place finish in a local 5K run. He otherwise wouldn’t be so quick to brag about such a result, except that Stoner finished two places behind him. Like a pair of brothers, everything is a competition in the life of these suburban Boston close friends and former roommates. Futrell and Stoner have spent the past few years in a constant search for ways to physically and mentally push each other to the limit. A recent trip to a summit in Bolivia became the pinnacle of that.  Their journey began in 2015 where many quests for answers did.


Wikipedia: The mystery of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 took them to a page of the then-19 unrecovered flight recorders in the history of worldwide aviation. One of them stood out for the adventurers. Eastern Airlines Flight 980. The reason? Inaccessible crash site.


“Isaac and I looked at that and said, 'Come on, people have been to the moon. People have been to the top of Everest. What does ‘inaccessible’ mean?” Futrell said. A year later, Futrell would find the answer to his question. 


On New Year’s Day 1985, Eastern Airlines Flight 980 was on its way from Asuncion, Paraguay, to Miami. The flight was scheduled to stop first in La Paz, the legislative capital of Bolivia, then Guayaquil, Ecuador, before a final leg to the United States. The airport serving La Paz, known as El Alto, is the highest international airport in the world. The runway is perched at just over 13,000 feet above sea level.


Skyscraping mountains surround the airport, and pilots need a special certification to land there. “It’s basically a slam dunk,” ABC News consultant and former National Transportation Safety Board official Tom Haueter said. “You have to come in from high altitude, quickly descend down to the airport. This is not your typical airport approach at all.” El Alto did not have radar, and regular cloud cover made the approach all the more challenging.


In 1985, if pilots were unable to spot the visual cues to the airport, they were effectively flying blind. On the night of the ill-fated flight, the pilots of Eastern Airlines Flight 980 faced a cloudy night with thunderstorms in the area. Bolivian air traffic controllers cleared the Boeing 727 to descend to 18,000 feet on its approach to La Paz. That was the last communication with the doomed flight. What Bolivian controllers did not know was that the flight was several miles off course. The plane crashed into the south side of the 21,000-foot Mount Illimani at an elevation of 19,600 feet, killing all 29 people on board, including eight Americans, one of whom was the wife of the ambassador to Paraguay. The accident was, at the time, the highest-elevation plane crash in the world. It was so high that rescue helicopters could not reach the site. It had to be accessed by foot. An international effort to recover the plane, its passengers and the flight recorders began immediately.


The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board assisted the Bolivians in the investigation, but no one could make it to the crash site for days. When some climbers did get to the site, they were unable to remain long at the extreme altitude, and their search for clues was fruitless. An expedition was sent later that year in another attempt to locate the flight recorders, according to Federal Aviation Administration documents. Investigators reached the accident site, but poor conditions and altitude sickness forced the team to turn back without recovering the recorders. The investigation then came to a halt, with no definitive cause for the crash determined. At least three private searches were mounted but came up empty-handed as well.


Futrell and Stoner had some impressive physical feats under their belts, but they had not tried to climb to such an altitude, never mind remain there for days.

Dan Futrell/Isaac Stoner

 

Dan and Isaac scaled Mt. Illimani after reading about the missing black boxes on Wikipedia. They got in contact with family members of the victims and those who had spent much of their lives looking for answers. Stacey Greer was among them. Her father, Mark Bird, was the engineer and second officer aboard Eastern Airlines Flight 980. He wasn’t even supposed to be on the plane that day; another crew member had fallen ill, and Bird replaced him, Greer said. Greer, who was only 2 at the time of the crash, connected with Futrell and Stoner in April this year after author and former Eastern Airlines pilot George Jehn spotted Futrell and Stoner's blog.


Jehn’s book, “Final Destination: Disaster: What Really Happened to Eastern Airlines,” is packed with research, theories and questions about the circumstances of the flight. From questioning why the route existed in the first place to why the recovery effort was fruitless, the book examines the mystery of Eastern Airlines Flight 980.


Futrell and Stoner began training to attempt to find answers to the mystery. By day they ran, often with packs strapped to their backs as they endured the steps at the Harvard football stadium.  They rented an altitude tent in which they would alternate sleeping before their departure to recreate the atmospheric conditions they would be facing atop Mount Illimani. By the time they left for Bolivia in mid-May of this year, they were sleeping at the equivalent of 16,000 feet in their basement. Just days after arriving in La Paz, they were climbing Illimani with a guide, a cook and a journalist from Outside magazine, Peter Frick-Wright.


Dan and Isaac scaled Mt. Illimani after reading about the missing black boxes on Wikipedia.The first sign of the crash they found on their two-week trip was a life jacket at an abandoned mine. Someone had apparently carried it from the debris field down to the mine. “That’s the first time where it was kind of real,” Futrell said. The next day, they were off to the debris field, heading straight toward the summit. Futrell and Stoner knew their mission was a difficult if not impossible one. So they prepared themselves for the reality of their operation. “So we kind of outlined minor wins along the way,” Stoner said. “The first was just getting to the debris field, seeing that there were plane parts there.” As soon as they reached the crest of a moraine on their path to the debris field, they spotted a landing-gear wheel. The first win, at 16,000 feet. They were in the right place, but the debris field was larger than they anticipated. They had a plan to carefully cover the field in a grid, but now the plan was off. There were plane parts everywhere, scattered over about a square mile, they estimated.


Dan Futrell/Isaac Stoner They found pieces of what appear to be aircraft debris strewn across the side of the mountain.


They found pieces of what appear to be aircraft debris strewn across the side of the mountain. Along with plane parts, human remains were constant finds during their days on Mount Illimani.  The weight of the discovery is evident on the faces of the two former roommates when they speak of it, even months after their return. Their decision about what to do with the remains is evidently not one they took lightly. Futrell and Stoner decided to bury the remains and mark each one with GPS coordinates in case family members wanted to locate them. They spent four days searching the area, finding various plane parts and human remains but no sure sign of the flight recorders. They held on to hope that they would discover an intact black box.


Soon Futrell found a damaged spool of tape. It appeared to be the same kind of tape that would have been in a black box used in the 1980s. He knew it could be important. Another win but not confirmation. On their last day, just below 17,000 feet, Stoner flipped over a piece of metal with a bundle of wires. On that bundle was a strap reading “CKPT VO RCDR.”


Dan and Isaac's "eureka" moment came when they found what they believe to be cockpit voice recorder from the doomed plane.Stoner said it was a surreal moment. “We're standing there on this beautiful mountainside holding this thing that we come a long way to find, that people had claimed had been stolen or hidden, and there it was,” he said. But there was no jumping up and down. No high-fiving. A calm washed over Futrell and Stoner. The significance of what they had done began to sink it, but they were disappointed that it wasn’t more intact. They wanted to make sure the remnants of this black box got in the right hands. In a cardboard box, they packed up about six pieces of metal and the tape and returned to the United States. Futrell and Stoner contacted an official at the NTSB, who said the agency was excited to hear about their findings but its hands were tied.


International regulations prohibit them from touching the tapes without the consent of the Bolivian government.  So Futrell and Stoner’s new mission was to get the green light from the Bolivians.  For months they called, emailed and wrote certified letters to the Bolivian Embassy in Washington, D.C., hoping to get such a decision. Their inquiries went unanswered. Capt. Edgar Chavez, the operations inspector at the General Directorate of Civil Aviation of Bolivia, told ABC News over the phone Dec. 1 that the Bolivian government intended to allow the NTSB to look at the tapes. He was unable to say when that would occur, however, adding that his agency was “still working on the paperwork.” He confirmed the authenticity of an email that Bolivian aviation officials sent to Futrell and Stoner, saying the Bolivians will hand the investigation over to the NTSB. Chavez has not responded to follow-up calls and emails from ABC News requesting an update or another interview.


ABC News also called, emailed and sent certified letters to the Bolivian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Bolivian office at the United Nations in New York City. Bolivian authorities did not respond to questions or a request for an interview. The Bolivians still hold jurisdiction over the investigation into Flight 980, and the NTSB is referring all questions to its Bolivian counterpart. “I think anybody at the NTSB wants to know now what happened to this airplane,” said ABC News’ Haueter. “It was a big mystery then. It still is, and one thing we don't like, as aviation safety people, is not having closure on something.”


 Meanwhile,  Futrell and Stoner have returned to their daily lives. They have moved in with their respective girlfriends, with Futrell remaining in the same apartment where the journey of their lives began. The black box, containing possible answers to a nearly 32-year-old mystery, remains in the unassuming suburban Boston home, untouched by a single aviation expert. As for the unusual former roommates, they are in search of their next adventure and are hoping this one ends before the next one begins. ABC News’ Erin Dooley contributed to this report.

Boeing 737 MAX: FAA To Meet With Multi-Nation Certification Board April 22, 2019 Airway News Article Written by Leila Chaibi, James Field & Jamie Clarke


Photo: Joe G Walker



MIAMI — The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is set to meet with a panel of multi-nation aviation delegates to assess the re-certification of the Boeing 737 MAX flight control software. Scheduled to meet on April 29, the expected 90-day process of the international “Joint Authorities Technical Review” (JATR) panel is tasked with deliberating on the comprehensive safety analysis of the aircraft. This development comes following a test flight of a 737 MAX plane with an updated Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), carried out by the FAA on Tuesday. The assessment will “evaluate aspects of the 737 MAX automated flight-control system, including its design and pilot’s interaction with the system,” said the FAA, in hopes of alleviating future problematic issues with automation and pilot-error or training.


The Boeing 737 MAX anti-stall software and pilot actions linked to two fatal crashes in Indonesia last October and Ethiopia last month, spurred the grounding of the aerospace firm’s all-time best-selling jets in over 60 countries. This has prompted a regulatory and logistical nightmare worldwide for both manufacturer and consumers alike. Heading up the review panel, which includes experts from the FAA, NASA and civil aviation dignitaries from China, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Canada, the EU and the United Arab Emirates former chair of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, Christopher Hart. Hart said the international review is in response “to the growing need for globalization … because these airplanes are all over the place” and to the need for a “uniform response,” reports Reuters.


An Busy Month for Boeing

Vowing to make the 737 MAX “one of the safest planes to ever fly” is Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg, as it inches closer to the final steps in re-certification and revitalization of the Boeing MAX brand. On Tuesday 16 April, Boeing carried out a test flight with an updated MCAS System which was widely considered as a key milestone into getting the 737 MAX aircraft re-certified. The FAA and other international aviation authorities have been in direct contact with Boeing and have been liaising between each other to analyze Boeing’s progress in fixing the MAX’s MCAS System. In the wake of the two recent crashes of the 737 MAX aircraft, two U.S. Senators, Susan Collins, and Jack Reed, have written a letter to the Inspector General of the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) to audit the re-certification process that is being carried out by the FAA. In the letter, the two Senators requested that the audit examines the approval process of the MCAS System, pilot training requirements for MCAS and how Boeing has communicated new aircraft features such as MCAS to its customers. Since this letter, there have been multiple hearings between the FAA and US DOT, to which in one, the acting head of the FAA, Daniel K. Elwell has defended the FAA stating that the agencies certification practices are “extensive and well-established.”


Following the 90-day analysis that the JATR are due to carry out, all aviation governing bodies should then come to an agreement as to whether the fixes that Boeing have done to the MCAS deem the 737 MAX safe to fly again or if more work still needs to be done. This analysis will cover the fixes that Boeing is implementing and how Boeing communicate new aircraft features to customer airlines. With the investigations into both Lion Air and Ethiopian crashes still ongoing, it is the regulator’s duty to ensure that the re-certification is thorough, comprehensive, and guarantees the safe operation of the aircraft type in the future.


What’s Ahead For Boeing and the 737 MAX Program?

It seems clear that looking at the progress Boeing have made into resolving the MCAS issues on the 737 MAX family aircraft, we would expect the plane to return to the skies towards the end of summer 2019 with deliveries resuming at a reduced rate at the end of the year. In the meantime, Boeing seems to have lost customer trust and faith in the 737 MAX program with multiple airlines pondering the potential cancellation of their orders over the concerns of the safety of the aircraft.

One Of Our Guest Host


When Margrét Halldórsdóttir was a girl in the sixties, career paths were more strictly prescribed than they are today. That was the case even in Iceland, one of the world’s most feminist countries – the first nation to elect a woman president and the first openly gay prime minister. Limited choices made no difference to young Margrét who knew from an early age she wanted to be a flight attendant, a nurse and a mother. Achieving all three, Margret, now 67, went further; she wove these separate jobs together creating a notable tapestry of work/family/community.


On Monday, April 29th on a flight from Copenhagen to Reykjavik, Margrét Halldorsdottir will work as a flight attendant for the last time, capping a 36-year career with Icelandair. “I’m thankful and grateful for the time I had,” Margrét told me. “It’s not an easy job. It’s a hard job working with full plane and flying during the night. Flights to the USA always mean a night flight back to Iceland and with the time difference it’s tough sometimes.”


The day after Easter Sunday, Margrét took that red-eye from Newark, this time as a passenger with three of her four daughters, four grandchildren and one son-in-law as her travel companions having worked the inbound flight the day before. Her flight home with family in tow was bound to evoke memories of 2014 when she and three of her four daughters who were flight attendants at the time made up the entire cabin crew on Icelandair Flight 623 to Newark. No announcement was made and passengers were likely unaware of the mother/3-daughter team. Even with her years of seniority, Margrét wasn’t bossy with the girls, Elisabet, Rebekka and Margrét. They didn’t tell mom what to do either. “We just respected each other,” she told me.


In 2016, I featured Margrét in a story for The New York Times about Icelandair’s “Buddy” program which pairs airline employees with passengers who want an insider’s view of the country. From the moment she and her husband Gunnar Magnússon picked me up in the morning, I felt I was with old friends. But Margrét had many news-making adventures. She worked the Icelandair charter flight that brought Pope John Paul II from Norway to Iceland in 1989. In January 2005, she packed her nursing cap along with her flight attendant hat and joined other medical personnel on a humanitarian relief flight to Thailand after the December tsunami. Still, many experiences were private – like the time she held the hand and comforted a passenger flying to a parent’s funeral.

 

On her off-days, Margrét worked at the local hospital. And for five years she taught first aid to flight attendants during their recurrent training. She is always ready to tip either hat (Icelandair pillbox or nurse’s cap) to Ellen Church, the registered nurse who in 1930 became the world’s first stewardess.


Read more about her in Skygirls by Bruce McAllister and Stephan Wilkinson. Margrét’s 1972 nursing school class portrait and the 1981 photo of her on the cover of the inflight magazine of Eagle Air, where she held her first flight attendant job, show a smiling spirited young woman, ready to share her sunny disposition with the world. Decades later both the smile and the good intentions remain.  Her retirement calendar includes part-time shifts as a hospital nurse more golf with Gunnar and more time with her children and six grandchildren.


As we wrapped up our conversation the other night, I couldn’t help but note how a woman faced with the limited career choices of her time, had been able to accomplish so much; pursuing multiple paths while bringing them together in her own unique way. All the while she was a role model for her four daughters and who knows how many others. It doesn’t get more feminist than that.

Boeing Details Its Fix For The 737 MAX

(but defends the original design.) 

Seattle News Updated March 27, 2019 By Dominic Gates


Mike Sinnett, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ vice president of product strategy and development, talks about the loss of the two... (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)  Boeing on Wednesday mounted an effort to win back the trust of airlines, safety regulators and the flying public and get its 737 MAX back in the air. The company described detailed changes to the jet’s flight-control software and what its engineers have been doing since the recent fatal crashes of two airplanes. While declaring that will make the system “more robust,” it denied the changes mean the original design was inadequate.


At a news conference at Boeing’s airline customer facility in Renton, Mike Sinnett, vice president of product strategy and development, presented the details of the planned software update. As expected, the changes to the suspect flight-control system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, mean that it will be activated by input from two sensors instead of a single one; that it will operate only once, not multiple times, if the sensor reading remains stuck at a high value; and the power of the system will be limited so that the pilot can always pull back on the control column with enough force to counteract any automatic nose-down movement MCAS causes. Boeing will also introduce training for pilots on the changes to the MCAS system.


This training, which Sinnett said is “provisionally approved,” will consist of about a half-hour of computer-based training. He said that since the MAX will handle exactly the same as the older model 737, no simulator training will be required. Boeing clearly hopes that the grounding can be lifted quickly. The company said it will take only a day to deploy the software once it is approved by safety regulators and that upgrading a specific airplane will take “an hour or so.” However, it’s up to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and foreign regulators to determine when the plane will be allowed to return to service. Several countries have said they plan to do their own certification rather than follow the FAA’s lead. Then, each airline operator will have to run its flight crews through the new MCAS training. In a separate part of the news conference, Boeing answered questions from reporters on condition that the person speaking not be named.


In the Lion Air crash last October, black-box data released in the preliminary investigation show that MCAS was triggered by a single faulty sensor and repeatedly pushed the nose of the jet down as the pilots struggled to pull it back up before losing control. Initial indications that the Ethiopian Airlines crash this month might also involve MCAS were enough for regulators around the world to order the fleet grounded.  “One-off occurrences happen, like the accidents we have just experienced, and cause us to always go back and question our basic assumptions and look at our design processes,” Boeing said in answer to questioning about why the change has been made. “Every time something happens we learn from it,” Boeing said. “We do not know the ultimate cause of the accidents. MCAS is just one independent link in the chain. We can make that more robust.” “As tragic as this is — and these two accidents are terribly tragic, and we understand the gravity of that — we do learn from it,” Boeing said. The company said it has conducted audits on all the MAX systems since the accident, taking a close look at the system safety assessments, including analyses of different possible failure modes and the hazard each would cause, and “uncovered nothing that concerns us.” “The process we follow with the regulators and with the (airplane) designs has continued to lead to safer and safer airplanes,” Boeing said. “We can question our assumptions, but in general the process has worked and continues to work and we see no reason to overhaul the process.”


Reporters asked whether increased cockpit automation, combined with pilots around the world becoming less familiar with manual flying techniques, is introducing new hazards that the industry needs to address. Boeing countered that the recent history of aviation safety has been stellar and does not indicate “any systemic failure in how the world designs, builds and tests airplanes and trains flight crews.” Boeing said the original design of MCAS as dependent on a single sensor complies with industry practice, which allows such single points of failure provided corrective action “can be quickly performed by a trained pilot using established procedures.” Boeing points out that MCAS can be countered by the pilots and, if all else fails, can be turned off by flipping two cutoff switches. Boeing has been conducting flight tests of the MCAS software fix over the past two weeks, since just before the worldwide fleet was grounded.


The company said getting the software fix out and presenting it to the world “took until now because we wanted to get it right. Rushing it is the wrong thing to do.”Sinnett defended the original certification of the airplane and of MCAS, which was described by air safety engineers as seriously flawed in a Seattle Times story this month. He said the 737 MAX builds on the “tremendous history of safety” of the 737 program. Boeing is introducing the proposed software changes because aviation is “an industry that is continuously learning” from airplane accidents. This Boeing 737 MAX nose section shows the AOA sensor just above the number 7521 on a plane being worked on in the Boeing 737 factory in Renton on Wednesday. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)  “The rigor and thoroughness of the design and testing that went into the MAX gives us complete confidence that the changes we are making would address any of these accidents,” Sinnett said. Meanwhile, more than 200 airline pilots, officials and safety regulators gathered at the 737 assembly plant nearby for briefings and sessions testing the new software upgrade in a MAX simulator. Attendees could watch Boeing pilots sitting in a simulator, and talk to them at the same time, so that they could request simulated flights with specific scenarios. American, Southwest and United, the three U.S. airline operators of the MAX, sent representatives to Boeing’s software-fix rollout, as did Alaska Airlines, which is due to take delivery of the MAX this year. Southwest, the biggest customer for the 737, issued a statement saying it was “encouraged by Boeing’s proposal,” adding that it “appears to add yet another level of safety.” 


Jason Goldberg, a 737 captain with American and a spokesman for the American Pilots’ Association, said his union sent pilots to Boeing’s first information session in Renton on Saturday and to follow-up meetings this week in which they got the chance to fly a 737 MAX simulator to test various emergency scenarios with both the original and the updated MCAS software.  “We are optimistic with the progress, but cautious,” he said. The pilots union “would be happy to get the MAX flying again, but we don’t want to see the process fast-tracked or rushed,” he added. “The fix should be carefully vetted by the regulatory agencies.”

FAA Had Initial Version Of Boeing’s Proposed Software Fix Seven Weeks Before The Ethiopian Crash, Updated March 26, 2019 At 2:10 PM By Dominic Gates, Steve Miletich, and Mike Baker Boeing & Aerospace


Acting Federal Aviation Administration chief Daniel Elwell will tell a Senate hearing Wednesday that “Boeing submitted … to the FAA for certification” its proposed flight-control software enhancement for the 737 MAX on Jan. 21, according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by The Seattle Times.hat’s nearly seven weeks before the fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that killed 157 people. Elwell’s testimony says “the FAA’s ongoing review of this software installation and training is an agency priority.” Yet the revelation that the agency had at least an early version of Boeing’s software patch in January is sure to raise the question of whether it could have been approved and deployed to the worldwide MAX fleet earlier, before the Ethiopian accident.  Boeing’s software update is intended to address flaws in a new flight-control system, called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), that Boeing introduced on the MAX. That system is suspected of causing the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in October, in which 189 people died, with indications that it may also have played a role in the Ethiopian crash this month.


Clearly, great care must go into the assessment of any change to an airplane system to ensure it’s safe and doesn’t inadvertently cause new problems. Elwell will testify that since January the FAA has been doing intensive testing of the updated Boeing system, according to his prepared remarks. “To date, the FAA has tested this enhancement to the 737 MAX flight control system in both the simulator and the aircraft. The testing, which was conducted by FAA flight test engineers and flight test pilots, included aerodynamic stall situations and recovery procedures,” he’ll testify. FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said that testing was done “with prototypes and early versions” of Boeing’s software update. He said the safety agency is expecting to get only this week from Boeing “the service-ready product for evaluation.”


New light on MCAS safety: Elwell’s statement to the Senate subcommittee on aviation also addresses the FAA’s original certification of the 737 MAX in 2017, which as The Seattle Times reported has drawn criticism from some of the agency’s own technical staff for having delegated too much of the system evaluations to Boeing itself and providing FAA staff insufficient time for proper review of those evaluations. In particular, the scrutiny of the new MCAS system during certification appears with hindsight to have been inadequate. Yet Elwell will testify that “FAA engineers and flight test pilots were involved in the MCAS operational evaluation flight test. The certification process was detailed and thorough.” However, he adds in his written testimony, “but, as is the case with newly certified products, time yields more data to be applied for continued analysis and improvement.” “As we obtain pertinent information, identify potential risk, or learn of a system failure, we analyze it, we find ways to mitigate the risk, and we require operators to implement the mitigation,” Elwell’s testimony states. “That is what has happened in the case of the 737 MAX.”

Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras By Hiroko Tabuchi and David Gelles March 21, 2019


Standard 737 Max planes are not equipped with a so-called angle of attack indicator or an angle of attack disagree light. The indicator will continue to cost airlines extra, but the light won’t. uth Fremson/The New York Times

 

·  ·  ·  As the pilots of the doomed Boeing jets in Ethiopia and Indonesia fought to control their planes, they lacked two notable safety features in their cockpits. One reason: Boeing charged extra for them.


For Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers, the practice of charging to upgrade a standard plane can be lucrative. Top airlines around the world must pay handsomely to have the jets they order fitted with customized add-ons. Sometimes these optional features involve aesthetics or comfort, like premium seating, fancy lighting or extra bathrooms. But other features involve communication, navigation or safety systems, and are more fundamental to the plane’s operations. Now, in the wake of the two deadly crashes involving the same jet model, Boeing will make one of those safety features standard as part of a fix to get the planes in the air again. It is not yet known what caused the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10 and Lion Air Flight 610 five months earlier, both after erratic takeoffs. But investigators are looking at whether a new software system added to avoid stalls in Boeing’s 737 Max series may have been partly to blame.


Faulty data from sensors on the Lion Air plane may have caused the system, known as MCAS, to malfunction, authorities investigating that crash suspect. Federal prosecutors are investigating the development of the Boeing 737 Max jet, according to a person briefed on the matter. As part of the federal investigation, the F.B.I. is also supporting the Department of Transportation’s inspector general in its inquiry, said another person with knowledge of the matter.


The Justice Department said that it does not confirm or deny the existence of any investigations. Boeing declined to comment on the inquiry.

Boeing Had Too Much Sway in Vetting Own Jets,

FAA Was Told By Peter Robison and Alan Levin, 

March 18, 2019, 5:22 AM EDT


  • Company engineers cleared equipment at center of crash probe
  • Shares drop as U.S. agency examines certification of 737 Max
  • Boeing 737 Max Safety Certification Process Called Into Question

The FAA’s approval of Boeing’s 737 Max range is being investigated, according to the WSJ, Derek Wallbank reports.  FAA employees warned as early as seven years ago that Boeing Co. had too much sway over safety approvals of new aircraft, prompting an investigation by Department of Transportation auditors who confirmed the agency hadn’t done enough to “hold Boeing accountable.” The 2012 investigation also found that discord over Boeing’s treatment had created a “negative work environment” among Federal Aviation Administration employees who approve new and modified aircraft designs, with many of them saying they’d faced retaliation for speaking up. Their concerns pre-dated the 737 Max development. On Sunday night, a person familiar with the 737 Max said the Transportation Department’s Inspector General was examining the plane’s design certification before the second of two deadly crashes of the almost brand-new aircraft. Earlier Sunday, Ethiopia’s transport minister said flight-data recorders show “clear similarities” between the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10 and Lion Air Flight 610 last October.


Software Fix


Boeing told the newspaper in a statement that the FAA had reviewed the company’s data and concluded the aircraft “met all certification and regulatory requirements.” The company, which is based in Chicago but designs and builds commercial jets in the Seattle area, said there are “some significant mischaracterizations” in the engineers’ comments. In a separate statement Sunday, Muilenburg reiterated the company’s sympathies for the affected families and support for the investigation into the flight-control system, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System. “While investigators continue to work to establish definitive conclusions, Boeing is finalizing its development of a previously announced software update and pilot training revision that will address the MCAS flight-control law’s behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs,” Muilenburg said.


The newspaper also quoted unnamed FAA technical experts who said managers prodded them to speed up the certification process as development of the Max was nine months behind that of rival Airbus SE’s A320neo. The FAA has let technical experts at aircraft makers act as its representatives to perform certain tests and approve some parts for decades. The FAA expanded the scope of that program in 2005 to address concerns about adequately keeping pace with its workload. Known as Organization Designation Authorization, or ODA, it let Boeing and other manufacturers choose the employees who approve design work on the agency’s behalf. Previously, the FAA approved each appointment. Under the new approach, which was fully implemented in 2009, the ODA representatives are still under U.S. legal requirements and the FAA has the authority to oversee them and request that their management be changed.


Anonymous Faxes


In 2012, a special investigator of the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Transportation sent a memo to the FAA’s audit chief warning him of concerns voiced by agency employees about the new process. Some allegations were made in anonymous faxes sent to the inspector general’s office, and the office followed up by interviewing employees in the FAA’s Transport Airplane Directorate. “Our investigation substantiated employee allegations that TAD and FAA headquarters managers have not always supported TAD employee efforts to hold Boeing accountable and this has created a negative atmosphere within the TAD,” according to the June 22, 2012, report sent to the FAA. (The memo was made available later in a public records request and appears now on a website operated by governmentattic.org, which warehouses government documents.


A spokesman for the inspector general’s office confirmed its authenticity.) The employees told the investigators that managers had overturned a recommendation by staff to remove the administrator Boeing had chosen for the program and “had not adequately addressed employees’ concerns” about potential conflicts of interest, the memo said. The employees, it said, viewed this as evidence of management having “too close a relationship with Boeing officials.” Despite those concerns, as well as others raised in a subsequent report by the inspector general, Congress has embraced the program as a way to improve the FAA’s efficiency. President Donald Trump signed into law a change on Oct. 5. It allows manufacturers to request that the FAA eliminate limitations on how company representatives certify “low and medium risk” items, giving them even more authority over their own products. The agency doesn’t have the budget to do every test, and “the use of designees is absolutely necessary,” said Steve Wallace, the former head of accident investigations at the FAA. “For the most part, it works extremely well. There is a very high degree of integrity in the system.”


Dreamliner Fires


But the program was also at issue in the FAA’s 2013 grounding of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner after two fires of battery packs. Boeing’s designated engineering representatives oversaw tests of the battery packs. A 2015 report by the Department of Transportation’s inspector general, requested by U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio, found the FAA lacked “an effective staffing model” and “risk-based oversight process” over the ODA program. DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, now heads the House transportation and infrastructure committee, and has said he will conduct a “rigorous investigation” to make sure the FAA is protecting safety. Hall, the former NTSB chairman, said the agency’s move to shift power to the manufacturers contributed to the unusual situation in which two of Boeing’s newly introduced aircraft were grounded in a period of six years. Before the Dreamliner, the FAA hadn’t grounded a model since 1979. “When I was chairman of the NTSB, my single most important job was who we hired,” Hall said. “Do we have in the federal government the level of funding and expertise we need? Are we attracting the kind of young, smart minds that continue to uphold our reputation in the aviation area?”


As the investigation continues, mourners marched in the hundreds past the Library of Parliament in Addis Ababa to Selassie Cathedral for a funeral service Sunday, wearing black or the sea-green uniforms of Ethiopian Airlines and carrying photos of the dead. After a priest read the victims’ names aloud, people carried empty coffins from the cathedral to a graveyard. All that was heard was sobbing, wailing and chanting. — With assistance by Margaret Newkirk, Nizar Manek, Michael Sasso, and Rita Devlin

AA Pilot Testing Software

 

FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson


Faulty data from sensors on the Lion Air plane may have caused the system, known as MCAS, to malfunction, authorities investigating that crash suspect.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - American Airlines pilots will test Boeing Co’s 737 MAX software fix on simulators this weekend, the pilots’ union told Reuters on Thursday, a key step in restoring confidence in the jet after two fatal crashes.Boeing has been working on a software upgrade for an anti-stall system and pilot displays on its fastest-selling jetliner in the wake of the deadly Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October. Similarities between the flight path in the Lion Air incident and a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 have raised fresh questions about the system. The two crashes killed a total of 346 people.


American is the second-largest U.S. operator of the MAX in the United States with 24 jets, behind Southwest Airlines with 34. “This airplane can be a safe airplane, and there have been great strides on getting a fix in the works, but I’ll have a better feel after we can test it out,” said Mike Michaelis, safety committee chairman of the Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents American Airlines pilots. Michaelis said one APA pilot and one pilot from American’s management team would test the software fix in Renton, Washington, where Boeing builds the MAX and has two simulators.  “We have been engaging with all 737 MAX operators and we are continuing to schedule meetings to share information about our plans for supporting the 737 MAX fleet,” Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman said.


MAX jets were grounded worldwide in the wake of the Ethiopian crash. Boeing has indicated it would deploy the software update by April or sooner, though it was unclear how long it would take to get the jets flying again. Pilots must complete FAA-approved computer-based training on the changes, followed by a mandatory test, and some pilots have said more may be needed. After Lion Air, American pilots met with Boeing executives in Fort Worth, Texas and demanded to know why the manufacturer had not told them about the new system, known as MCAS. They also questioned whether a 56-minute iPad course on the MAX had been sufficient. MAX simulator training is not required, partly because few simulators exist. Southwest and American expect to receive MAX simulators later this year.


The main simulator producer, Canada’s CAE Inc, said it has delivered nine of the simulators, which are now in high demand but take about a year to build. CAE expects to deliver 20 more in 2019.  “When it comes to safety issues, it has to be a full-course meal, nothing a la carte,” said Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the American Airlines pilots’ union and a 737 pilot.

An Amazon Airplane Crashed in February, Killing all 3
People on Board.


Weeks earlier, several pilots said they thought an accident was inevitable. By Rachel Premack, Mar. 21, 2019, 9:00 AM, Amazon Air. Hollis Johnson/Samantha Lee/Business Insider

  • An Amazon Air plane called CustomAir Obsession crashed on February 23, killing all three people on board. The cause of the crash remains unknown.
  • In conversations with Business Insider before the crash, several pilots who fly planes for Amazon Air said they thought an accident was inevitable.
  • These planes aren't owned by Amazon, and the people maintaining and flying these jumbo jets aren't Amazon employees. They're employees of Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and their subsidiaries.
  • Business Insider spoke with 13 pilots who work or have worked for Air Transport Services Group and Atlas Air Worldwide and fly or have flown planes for Amazon Air.
  • The rapid growth of Amazon's air-cargo empire, coupled with low pay, has led to inexperienced pilots in the cockpit, veteran pilots said, adding that it could lead to safety problems.
  • Union leaders emphasized in a statement after the crash that any safety concerns cited by some pilots should not be conflated with the causes of the February 23 accident, which is still under investigation.

An Amazon Air plane called CustomAir Obsession crashed on February 23. All three people on board were killed. The Boeing 767 cargo jet, operated by Atlas Air and contracted by Amazon, had been approaching Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The cause of the crash is still unknown.


In conversations with Business Insider in the weeks before the crash, several pilots who fly planes for Amazon Air said they thought an accident was inevitable. The rapid growth of Amazon's air-cargo empire, coupled with the low pay, had led to inexperienced pilots taking to the skies, veteran pilots said.

Business Insider had interviewed 13 current and former pilots who worked with third-party airfreight companies that fly Amazon Air-branded planes. The pilots worked for subsidiaries of Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings. All are based in the US and fly both domestically and internationally.


These airline companies provide Amazon with leasing, staffing, maintenance, and insurance. The pilot groups who work with Amazon are ABX Air, Air Transport International (ATI), and Atlas Air. ABX and ATI are owned by ATSG, and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings owns Atlas Air. The pilots described difficulties in attracting experienced pilots, training they considered shoddy, experience with fatigue, plummeting morale, and pay that's considerably lower than at other cargo carriers. Of the pilots Business Insider spoke with, six worked at Atlas Air and seven worked at ATSG's ABX. All these pilots are in the Teamsters Local Union 1224.

Federal Investigators Reportedly Suspect That Pilot Error Played A Role In The Fatal Amazon Air Cargo Crash

Atlas Air Flight 3591 black box. 

  • The Wall Street Journal reported that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is suspecting pilot error in the Atlas Air Flight 3591, which crashed on February 23 in Texas, killing all three on board.
  • The plane was carrying US Postal Service and Amazon cargo.
  • Several pilots told Business Insider that the pilot's actions that the NTSB reported happening were unusual.

Inspectors with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) suspect that pilot error — not aircraft malfunctions — led to the deadly Atlas Air crash on February 23, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. All three people on board died in the crash.


The NTSB said on March 5 that the Boeing 767-300 cargo jet entered some turbulence shortly before the plane's crash landing. Then, the engines increased to maximum thrust, after which the airplane pitch turned slightly up. That "startled the cockpit crew," The Journal reported, citing several sources familiar with the details. The crew then tried to push the nose of the plane down. At a 49-degree angle, this caused an unusually steep descent, The Journal reported.


The NTSB said the plane accelerated to 495 mph as it dropped. The crew pulled the plane up to a 20-degree angle. Ultimately, in the last 18 seconds of the plane's descent, the crew lost control of the plane, the NTSB said. The plane then nosedived into a muddy bay some 30 miles southeast of Houston George Bush International Airport. An NTSB spokesman told The Associated Press that the agency is still investigating why the plane underwent a sharp change in pitch.


Read more: Pilots likely lost control of the plane carrying Amazon cargo before the crash killed all 3 on board, according to an initial review of the cockpit recording

Pilots told Business Insider that the actions taken during the flight were "perplexing" and not akin to typical flight maneuvers.


"I can't imagine," a pilot and former aviation-safety officer in the US military told Business Insider. "It sounds so off to me — totally counter to my instincts and training. I'd kick the autopilot and auto throttles off pretty darn fast."  "Obviously, going 49 degrees nose down is beyond a radical move," Todd Curtis, a former Boeing safety engineer who runs AirSafe.com, told The Associated Press. "That's not something an airplane should be doing, especially at that altitude." Robert Sumwalt, the NTSB's chairman, predicted it would take more than a year of work to determine the cause of the crash, Flying magazine reported."This seems to be very much a mystery," Sumwalt said, according to the magazine. "But the NTSB has 52 years of experience solving such mysteries, and I'm confident we will get to the bottom of this. "Atlas Air pilots Capt. Ricky Blakely and First Officer Conrad Jules Aska, as well as Mesa Airlines Capt. Sean Archuleta, who was riding in the jump seat, died in the crash.


"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected," Bill Flynn, Atlas Air's CEO, said in a statement on February 24. "This is a sad time for all of us. Our team continues to work closely with the NTSB, the FAA and local authorities on the ground in Houston. We would like to commend the efforts of all of the first responders. We sincerely appreciate their efforts and support in the investigation."






Outsourcing Safety

At least a portion of the flight-control software suspected in the 737 Max crashes was certified by one or more Boeing employees who worked in the outsourcing arrangement, according to one person familiar with the work who wasn’t authorized to speak about the matter. The Wall Street Journal first reported the inspector general’s latest inquiry. The watchdog is trying to assess whether the FAA used appropriate design standards and engineering analysis in approving the 737 Max’s anti-stall system, the newspaper said. Both Boeing and the Transportation Department declined to comment about that inquiry. In a statement on Sunday, the agency said its “aircraft certification processes are well established and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs,” adding that the “737 Max certification program followed the FAA’s standard certification process.”


The Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed minutes after it took off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board. The accident prompted most of the world to ground Boeing’s 737 Max 8 aircraft on safety concerns, coming on the heels of the October crash of a Max 8 operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air that killed 189 people. Much of the attention focused on a flight-control system that can automatically push a plane into a catastrophic nose dive if it malfunctions and pilots don’t react properly. In one of the most detailed descriptions yet of the relationship between Boeing and the FAA during the 737 Max’s certification, the Seattle Times quoted unnamed engineers who said the planemaker had understated the power of the flight-control software in a System Safety Analysis submitted to the FAA. The newspaper said the analysis also failed to account for how the system could reset itself each time a pilot responded -- in essence, gradually ratcheting the horizontal stabilizer into a dive position.

Software Fix

Boeing told the newspaper in a statement that the FAA had reviewed the company’s data and concluded the aircraft “met all certification and regulatory requirements.” The company, which is based in Chicago but designs and builds commercial jets in the Seattle area, said there are “some significant mischaracterizations” in the engineers’ comments. In a separate statement Sunday, Muilenburg reiterated the company’s sympathies for the affected families and support for the investigation into the flight-control system, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System. “While investigators continue to work to establish definitive conclusions, Boeing is finalizing its development of a previously announced software update and pilot training revision that will address the MCAS flight-control law’s behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs,” Muilenburg said.

The newspaper also quoted unnamed FAA technical experts who said managers prodded them to speed up the certification process as development of the Max was nine months behind that of rival Airbus SE’s A320neo. The FAA has let technical experts at aircraft makers act as its representatives to perform certain tests and approve some parts for decades. The FAA expanded the scope of that program in 2005 to address concerns about adequately keeping pace with its workload. Known as Organization Designation Authorization, or ODA, it let Boeing and other manufacturers choose the employees who approve design work on the agency’s behalf. Previously, the FAA approved each appointment. Under the new approach, which was fully implemented in 2009, the ODA representatives are still under U.S. legal requirements and the FAA has the authority to oversee them and request that their management be changed.


Anonymous Faxes

In 2012, a special investigator of the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Transportation sent a memo to the FAA’s audit chief warning him of concerns voiced by agency employees about the new process. Some allegations were made in anonymous faxes sent to the inspector general’s office, and the office followed up by interviewing employees in the FAA’s Transport Airplane Directorate. “Our investigation substantiated employee allegations that TAD and FAA headquarters managers have not always supported TAD employee efforts to hold Boeing accountable and this has created a negative atmosphere within the TAD,” according to the June 22, 2012, report sent to the FAA. (The memo was made available later in a public records request and appears now on a website operated by

governmentattic.org, which warehouses government documents. A spokesman for the inspector general’s office confirmed its authenticity.) The employees told the investigators that managers had overturned a recommendation by staff to remove the administrator Boeing had chosen for the program and “had not adequately addressed employees’ concerns” about potential conflicts of interest, the memo said. The employees, it said, viewed this as evidence of management having “too close a relationship with Boeing officials.” Despite those concerns, as well as others raised in a subsequent report by the inspector general, Congress has embraced the program as a way to improve the FAA’s efficiency. President Donald Trump signed into law a change on Oct. 5. It allows manufacturers to request that the FAA eliminate limitations on how company representatives certify “low and medium risk” items, giving them even more authority over their own products. The agency doesn’t have the budget to do every test, and “the use of designees is absolutely necessary,” said Steve Wallace, the former head of accident investigations at the FAA. “For the most part, it works extremely well. There is a very high degree of integrity in the system.”


Dreamliner Fires: But the program was also at issue in the FAA’s 2013 grounding of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner after two fires of battery packs. Boeing’s designated engineering representatives oversaw tests of the battery packs. A 2015 report by the Department of Transportation’s inspector general, requested by U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio, found the FAA lacked “an effective staffing model” and “risk-based oversight process” over the ODA program. DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, now heads the House transportation and infrastructure committee, and has said he will conduct a “rigorous investigation” to make sure the FAA is protecting safety. Hall, the former NTSB chairman, said the agency’s move to shift power to the manufacturers contributed to the unusual situation in which two of Boeing’s newly introduced aircraft were grounded in a period of six years. Before the Dreamliner, the FAA hadn’t grounded a model since 1979. “When I was chairman of the NTSB, my single most important job was who we hired,” Hall said. “Do we have in the federal government the level of funding and expertise we need? Are we attracting the kind of young, smart minds that continue to uphold our reputation in the aviation area?” As the investigation continues, mourners marched in the hundreds past the Library of Parliament in Addis Ababa to Selassie Cathedral for a funeral service Sunday, wearing black or the sea-green uniforms of Ethiopian Airlines and carrying photos of the dead. After a priest read the victims’ names aloud, people carried empty coffins from the cathedral to a graveyard. All that was heard was sobbing, wailing and chanting. — With assistance by Margaret Newkirk, Nizar Manek, Michael Sasso, and Rita Devlin

Flawed Analysis, Failed Oversight: How Boeing and FAA Certified

The Suspect 737 MAX

Flight Control System.

By Dominic Gates, Seattle Times Aerospace Reporter Originally published March 17, 2019 6:00 am


Federal Aviation Administration managers pushed its engineers to delegate wide responsibility for assessing the safety of the 737 MAX to Boeing itself. But safety engineers familiar with the documents shared details that show the analysis included crucial flaws. As Boeing hustled in 2015 to catch up to Airbus and certify its new 737 MAX, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) managers pushed the agency’s safety engineers to delegate safety assessments to Boeing itself, and to speedily approve the resulting analysis. But the original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA for a new flight control system on the MAX — a report used to certify the plane as safe to fly — had several crucial flaws. That flight control system, called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), is now under scrutiny after two crashes of the jet in less than five months resulted in Wednesday’s FAA order to ground the plane.  Current and former engineers directly involved with the evaluations or familiar with the document shared details of Boeing’s “System Safety Analysis” of MCAS, which The Seattle Times confirmed.


Most Read Business Stories


The safety analysis:

  • Understated the power of the new flight control system, which was designed to swivel the horizontal tail to push the nose of the plane down to avert a stall. When the planes later entered service, MCAS was capable of moving the tail more than four times farther than was stated in the initial safety analysis document.
  • Failed to account for how the system could reset itself each time a pilot responded, thereby missing the potential impact of the system repeatedly pushing the airplane’s nose downward.
  • Assessed a failure of the system as one level below “catastrophic.” But even that “hazardous” danger level should have precluded activation of the system based on input from a single sensor — and yet that’s how it was designed.


The people who spoke to The Seattle Times and shared details of the safety analysis all spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their jobs at the FAA and other aviation organizations. Both Boeing and the FAA were informed of the specifics of this story and were asked for responses 11 days ago, before the second crash of a 737 MAX last Sunday. Late Friday, the FAA said it followed its standard certification process on the MAX. Citing a busy week, a spokesman said the agency was “unable to delve into any detailed inquiries.” Boeing responded Saturday with a statement that “the FAA considered the final configuration and operating parameters of MCAS during MAX certification, and concluded that it met all certification and regulatory requirements.” Adding that it is “unable to comment … because of the ongoing investigation” into the crashes, Boeing did not respond directly to the detailed description of the flaws in MCAS certification, beyond saying that “there are some significant mischaracterizations.” Several technical experts inside the FAA said October’s Lion Air crash, where the MCAS has been clearly implicated by investigators in Indonesia, is only the latest indicator that the agency’s delegation of airplane certification has gone too far, and that it’s inappropriate for Boeing employees to have so much authority over safety analyses of Boeing jets.  “We need to make sure the FAA is much more engaged in failure assessments and the assumptions that go into them,” said one FAA safety engineer.


Certifying a new flight control system: Going against a long Boeing tradition of giving the pilot complete control of the aircraft, the MAX’s new MCAS automatic flight control system was designed to act in the background, without pilot input.  It was needed because the MAX’s much larger engines had to be placed farther forward on the wing, changing the airframe’s aerodynamic lift. Designed to activate automatically only in the extreme flight situation of a high-speed stall, this extra kick downward of the nose would make the plane feel the same to a pilot as the older-model 737s.


Boeing engineers authorized to work on behalf of the FAA developed the System Safety Analysis for MCAS, a document which in turn was shared with foreign air-safety regulators in Europe, Canada and  elsewhere in the world. The document, “developed to ensure the safe operation of the 737 MAX,” concluded that the system complied with all applicable FAA regulations. Yet black box data retrieved after the Lion Air crash indicates that a single faulty sensor — a vane on the outside of the fuselage that measures the plane’s “angle of attack,” the angle between the airflow and the wing — triggered MCAS multiple times during the deadly flight, initiating a tug of war as the system repeatedly pushed the nose of the plane down and the pilots wrestled with the controls to pull it back up, before the final crash. On Wednesday, when announcing the grounding of the 737 MAX, the FAA cited similarities in the flight trajectory of the Lion Air flight and the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 last Sunday.


Investigators also found the Ethiopian plane’s jackscrew, a part that moves the horizontal tail of the aircraft, and it indicated that the jet’s horizontal tail was in an unusual position — with MCAS as one possible reason for that. Investigators are working to determine if MCAS could be the cause of both crashes. More:

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/failed-certification-faa-missed-safety-issues-in-the-737-max-system-implicated-in-the-lion-air-crash/


Video :Ethiopian 737-8 Max UPDATE 15 March 2019 - Click Here:


_______________________________________

No survivors after Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi crashes shortly after takeoff March 10, 2019, 4:53 AM EDT / Updated March 10, 2019, 9:02 AM EDT By Yuliya Talmazan and Associated Press


The Boeing 737 is believed to have crashed early on Sunday with 149 passengers and eight crew members aboard, the airline said. Ethiopian Airlines plane crashes shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 on board . An Ethiopian Airlines flight carrying 157 people crashed shortly after takeoff Sunday morning from Addis Ababa.

The airline confirmed there were no survivors among what it believed were 149 passengers and eight crew members who were destined for the Kenyan capital Nairobi. Eight Americans were among the dead, the Ethiopian Airlines CEO and Kenya's transport minister said. The airline's CEO expressed his "profound sympathy and condolences to the families and loved ones of passengers and crew who lost their lives in this tragic accident" in a Facebook statement.

 

A statement by the Ethiopian prime minister's office on Sunday offered its "deepest condolences" to the families of those on board.Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta also tweeted that he was saddened by the news of the crash.  "My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board," Kenyatta said. Authorities earlier said 32 Kenyans and nine Ethiopians were killed. They later confirmed the plane was carrying passengers from more than 30 countries. Those include 18 Canadians; eight each from China, the United States and Italy and seven each from France and Britain. There were no immediate details on what caused the crash of the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane, which was new and had been delivered to the airline in November, but Swedish flight-tracking website flightradar24 said the plane "had unstable vertical speed" after take-off. People look at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines crash near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, on March 10, 2019.Tiksa Negeri / Reuters


Boeing said in a statement that a technical team is prepared to provide assistance to Ethiopian Airlines at the request and under the direction of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. "Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302," it said. "We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team." The NTSB later said it would send four people to assist in the aftermath of the crash. In October, another Boeing 737 Max 8 plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, killing all 189 people on board. The Addis Ababa-Nairobi route links East Africa's two largest economic powers and is popular with tourists making their way to safari and other destinations. Sunburned travelers and tour groups crowd the Addis Ababa airport's waiting areas, along with businessmen from China and elsewhere.


At the airport in Nairobi, worried families gathered. "I came to the airport to receive my brother but I have been told there is a problem," Agnes Muilu said. "I just pray that he is safe or he was not on it." Family members of victims react to the news of a plane crash in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 10, 2019.Mulugeta Ayene / APThe last deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was in 2010, when the plane crashed minutes after takeoff from Beirut, killing all 90 people on board. The state-owned airline, widely considered the best-managed airline in Africa, calls itself Africa's largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.Sunday's crash comes as the country's reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to open up the airline and other sectors to foreign investment in a major transformation of the state-centered economy. Ethiopian Airlines has been expanding assertively, recently opening a route to Moscow and in January inaugurating a new passenger terminal in Addis Ababa to triple capacity. Speaking at the inauguration, the prime minister challenged the airline to build a new "Airport City" terminal in Bishoftu — where Sunday's crash occurred.

 

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