The preliminary report into the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max crash is released by the Ethiopian government on Thursday. According to the 33-page report, The pilots on board Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 battled the plane’s automated flight control systems for almost the entire duration of the six-minute flight
The problems on board the Ethiopian Airlines jet mirror those encountered on the doomed Lion Air Flight 610 — which operated the same 737 Max 8 model and crashed in October. Boeing acknowledged that an erroneous angle-of-attack sensor triggered the plane’s anti-stall software system, known as MCAS. It’s designed to prevent stalls by automatically pointing the nose down if it detects the aircraft is climbing too sharply.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg apologized on Thursday for the two 737 Max 8 jet crashes that killed 360 people within five months.
In a video statement posted to Twitter, Muilenburg said the manufacturer assumes responsibility for the two fatal crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, both of which took place on the manufacturer’s highly popular airliners.
“We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 accidents and are relentlessly focused on safety to ensure tragedies like this never happen again,” the tweet read.
We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 accidents and are relentlessly focused on safety to ensure tragedies like this never happen again.
— Dennis A. Muilenburg (@BoeingCEO) April 4, 2019
Muilenburg promised Boeing would issue a software update for its 737 Max 8 and 9 fleet, which has been grounded internationally following the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10.
Muilenburg maintains that a software update that will rectify the MCAS issue will be ready within the coming weeks.
He said in the statement:
We remain confident in the fundamental safety of the 737 MAX. All who fly on it—the passengers, flight attendants, and pilots, including our own families and friends—deserve our best. When the MAX returns to the skies with the software changes to the MCAS function, it will be among the safest airplanes ever to fly.
Hopefully, this is the last statement of this type he’ll have to make.
The full details of what happened in the two accidents will be issued by the government authorities in the final reports, but, with the release of the preliminary report of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accident investigation, it’s apparent that in both flights the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information.
The history of our industry shows most accidents are caused by a chain of events. This again is the case here, and we know we can break one of those chain links in these two accidents. As pilots have told us, erroneous activation of the MCAS function can add to what is already a high workload environment. It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it and we know how to do it.
From the days immediately following the Lion Air accident, we’ve had teams of our top engineers and technical experts working tirelessly in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration and our customers to finalize and implement a software update that will ensure accidents like that of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 never happen again.
We’re taking a comprehensive, disciplined approach, and taking the time, to get the software update right. We’re nearing completion and anticipate its certification and implementation on the 737 MAX fleet worldwide in the weeks ahead. We regret the impact the grounding has had on our airline customers and their passengers.
This update, along with the associated training and additional educational materials that pilots want in the wake of these accidents, will eliminate the possibility of unintended MCAS activation and prevent an MCAS-related accident from ever happening again.
We at Boeing take the responsibility to build and deliver airplanes to our airline customers and to the flying public that are safe to fly and can be safely flown by every single one of the professional and dedicated pilots all around the world. This is what we do at Boeing.
We remain confident in the fundamental safety of the 737 MAX. All who fly on it—the passengers, flight attendants and pilots, including our own families and friends—deserve our best. When the MAX returns to the skies with the software changes to the MCAS function, it will be among the safest airplanes ever to fly.
We’ve always been relentlessly focused on safety and always will be. It’s at the very core of who we are at Boeing. And we know we can always be better. Our team is determined to keep improving on safety in partnership with the global aerospace industry and the broader community. It’s this shared sense of responsibility for the safety of flight that spans and binds us all together.
I cannot remember a more heart-wrenching time in my career with this great company. When I started at Boeing more than three decades ago, our amazing people inspired me. I see how they dedicate their lives and extraordinary talents to connect, protect, explore and inspire the world — safely. And that purpose and mission has only grown stronger over the years.
We know lives depend on the work we do and that demands the utmost integrity and excellence in how we do it. With a deep sense of duty, we embrace the responsibility of designing, building and supporting the safest airplanes in the skies. We know every person who steps aboard one of our airplanes places their trust in us.
Together, we’ll do everything possible to earn and re-earn that trust and confidence from our customers and the flying public in the weeks and months ahead.
Again, we’re deeply saddened by and are sorry for the pain these accidents have caused worldwide. Everyone affected has our deepest sympathies.
A preliminary report said pilots followed Boeing’s recommended safety protocol, but still failed to avoid the crash, which killed all 157 people onboard. The Lion Air flight crashed last November when a faulty sensor on the plane’s fuselage triggered the MCAS, sending the plane into an irreversible descent into the Java Sea, killing 189 people.
Both flights crashed minutes after takeoff when an automated safety feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) was triggered erroneously, sending each aircraft into a fatal nosedive. The MCAS system is meant to activate in the event of a plane stalling, and automatically tilts a plane’s nose downward.