m3n4.net April 21, 2019

Boeing has launched fixes for its 737 Max plane

28 March 2019, 01:01 | Tara Lloyd

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Regulators say the Ethiopian Airlines Max jet followed a similar flight path, including erratic climbs and descents before crashing minutes after takeoff, and those similarities were an important part of their decision to ground the roughly 370 Max 8 planes around the world.

Aviation officials in several countries grounded the Max after the plane's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, caused a Lion Air jet to repeatedly dive on Oct 29 until pilots lost control and it crashed.

The crew declared an emergency after taking off from Orlando International Airport at around 2:50pm local time, and returned to the airport safely.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft has been under scrutiny following two fatal plane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that showed similarities in flight data, bolstering fears that the cause of the crash may have been due an automatic flight control system unique to the 737 Max 8.

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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grounded the 737 MAX following the two crashes but has allowed airlines to conduct flights without passengers to move planes to other airports.

It added that "as a precautionary measure" it was suspending all flight operations of all Boeing Model 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX planes in Europe. Just two people were on board. Two of the jets have crashed in the past six months in Indonesia and Ethiopia with deadly consequences, and investigators are examining the role of flight control software that Boeing created to prevent aerodynamic stalls.

Swirling in the background are a probe by federal prosecutors and Congressional hearings, which start Wednesday at 15:00 in Washington before the Senate's Subcommittee on Aviation and Space.

Investigators in Indonesia blamed a malfunctioning sensor for feeding incorrect data to the system in the Lion Air crash, leading the pilots to fight the automatic software as it continued to push the nose of the plane towards the ocean below.

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The FAA - which delegates some certification procedures to Boeing, including for parts of the MAX - was "directly involved" in the safety review of the MCAS, Elwell said. The plane was sent to a maintenance hangar after it landed.

"The traveling public needs assurances that the FAA will only recertify the aircraft for flight if and when the FAA, outside safety and technical experts, and pilots agree the aircraft is safe to fly", DeFazio (D-Ore.) said. The Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 killed 157 people. On Tuesday, Transportation Department Inspector General Calvin Scovel said the FAA intends to significantly change its oversight approach by July.

As they battled the uncooperative and diving plane a year ago, the pilots on the doomed Lion Air flight attempted a routine maneuver to try and stabilize the plane by triggering a switch near the steering wheel approximately three dozen times, according to a report by Indonesian investigators. Most other major global regulators took the step a day or two after the March 10 Ethiopian crash.

Southwest Airlines, which is based in Dallas, is the single largest operator of the Boeing 737 Max.

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A joint investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, France's aviation investigative authority BEA and Ethiopia's Transport Ministry is expected to release a preliminary report into the Ethiopian crash this week.

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