Why didn’t Boeing prevent the Boeing MAX 8 Crash of Ethiopian Airlines?

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A first result is out after the black box of ET 302 was examined by French aviation experts at  France’s BEA air safety agency. 157 passengers died in the Ethiopian Airlines Crash on a brand new Boeing 787 MAX earlier this month. According to the first BEA result, the reason for the deadly crash is almost identical with another Boeing MAX 8 crash in Indonesia operated by Lion Air.

This is sad news but also confirmation Ethiopian Airlines, a Star Alliance Member carrier may not be blamed.

Operating in a global world and being based in a developing country is always a challenge and often results in a perception problem. However, nothing is third world when it comes to the operation of Ethiopian Airlines.

eTurboNews visited the state of the art training facility at the airlines headquarter in Addis Ababa less than a year ago. According to eTN, this carrier did Africa proud and elevated the continent to compete with the world when it comes to running a state of the art aviation company.

The Pilot Training School of the airline has trained pilots from over 52 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe for 50 years.

With its over six decades of existence, the training division of the airline, Ethiopian Aviation Academy, ICAO designated center of excellence, is a world-class Aviation Training Center equipped with state-of-the-art and best in class training equipment and technology offering a full range of Aviation Training Programs.

There is no tolerance when it comes to safety flaws Ethiopian Airlines.

After the deadly accident this month Ethiopian Airlines again took a lead in the world banning the operation of the Boeing Max 8 immediately, while it took regulators in the United States a week to follow.

One-third of Boeing’s profit is based on pending sales and production of the Boeing Max. Some experts say Boeing pushed U.S. regulator to delay the grounding of this aircraft knowing well with a massive backlog of more than 4,700 orders for this aircraft it would possible eat 1/3 of the companies profit.

U.S. president Trump knew this as well having presided over the signing of a massive order of this aircraft type in Vietnam recently.

It appears to become official. Analysis by French aviation authorities of the data from the black boxes of the crashed Ethiopian Airliner showed ‘clear similarities’ with the October’s Lion Air crash in Indonesia. A spokesman for the Ethiopian Transport Ministry said this today.

First introduced in West Germany as a short-hop commuter jet in the early Cold War, the Boeing 737-100  known as the City Jet had folding metal stairs attached to the fuselage that passengers climbed to board before airports had jetways. Ground crews hand-lifted heavy luggage into the cargo holds in those days, long before motorized belt loaders were widely available.

That low-to-the-ground design was a plus in 1968, but it has proved to be a constraint that engineers modernizing the 737 have had to work around ever since. The compromises required to push forward a more fuel-efficient version of the plane — with larger engines and altered aerodynamics — led to the complex flight control software system that is now under investigation in two fatal crashes over the last five months.

The crisis comes after 50 years of remarkable success in making the 737 a profitable plane.

But the decision to continue modernizing the jet, rather than starting at some point with a clean design, resulted in engineering challenges that created unforeseen risks.

Today’s 737 is a substantially different system from the original. Boeing strengthened its wings, developed new assembly technologies and put in modern cockpit electronics. The changes allowed the 737 to outlive both the Boeing 757 and 767, which were developed decades later and then retired.

Over the years, the FAA has implemented new and tougher design requirements, but a derivative gets many of the designs grandfathered.

Robert Ditchey is an experienced Expert Witness in aviation litigation, having served as an expert witness for more than forty-five different law firms and more than fifty different cases.  His areas of expertise as a witness cover a wide area, including maintenance, aircraft accident analysis, aircraft design, pilot issues, Federal airline regulations, and cabin crew activities.

According to Mr. Ditchey it is cheaper and easier to do a derivative than a new aircraft and it is easier to certificate it.

Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg issued the following statement regarding the report from Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges today.

First and foremost, our deepest sympathies are with the families and loved ones of those onboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

Boeing continues to support the investigation and is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available. Safety is our highest priority as we design, build and support our airplanes.

As part of our standard practice following any accident, we examine our aircraft design and operation, and when appropriate, institute product updates to further improve safety.  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.

We also continue to provide technical assistance at the request of and under the direction of the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. Accredited Representative working with Ethiopian investigators.

In accordance with international protocol, all inquiries about the ongoing accident investigation must be directed to the investigating authorities.

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