Second brand-new Boeing 737 Max crash in 5 months raises questions, 346 dead

Second brand-new Boeing 737 Max crash in 5 months raises questions, 346 dead
Second brand-new Boeing 737 Max crash in 5 months raises questions, 346 dead

The integrity of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft come under question following the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on Sunday. The flight crashed just 12 minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa airport. See Details of Crash here

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 was operating on a new aircraft. The 737 Max 8 was delivered to the airline on 15 November 2018, and had spent just about 4 months in service.

This is the second fatal crash involving a Max 8 in 5 months. In October, Lion Air Flight JT610 crashed into the sea off Jakarta, killing all 189 on board. On October 29, Lion Air Flight JT610 plunged into the Java Sea just 13 minutes after taking off. All 189 on board were killed in the tragic crash. The aircraft in operation was a Boeing 737 Max 8, delivered to the airline just two months earlier. Boeing would later admit that there was a problem with one of the sensors.

The MAX versions of the 737s are touted for their LEAP jet engines which Boeing says “redefine the future of efficient and environmentally friendly air travel.” Boeing says the 737 MAX jets are 10% to 12% more efficient that their predecessors.

The 737 Max 8 has an advanced anti-stall feature, to prevent the aircraft from entering a “stall” if the pilots accidentally raise the nose too high. In the case of the Lion Air flight, the sensor guiding this system was sending erroneous data. And investigations so far suggest that the anti-stall system may have pushed the aircraft down when it was flying level.

Following the incident, Boeing said that the malfunctioning sensor on the MAX 8 could “cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane,” leading to “possible impact with terrain”. Not only is this a serious problem, but several pilots and airlines would also later complain that they were not even aware of the risks associated with the feature. Boeing maintains the aircraft is safe.

Today crash will stoke concerns about the safety of the 737 Max, the upgraded model of the popular narrow-body, which started service less than two years ago.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment regarding the model, but have released a statement saying it is “deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew.” It added that a “Boeing technical team is prepared to provide technical assistance at the request and under the direction of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.”

But until an investigation is launched, it is difficult to determine whether the disaster was the result of a failure in the aircraft, human error, or another factor.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team of four to assist in the investigation, spokesman Eric Weiss said in an email. Boeing said it was ready to provide technical help.

As of January 31, 2019, Boeing had 5,011 firm orders from 79 identified customers for the 737 MAX, and the top three identified airline customers for the 737 MAX are: Southwest Airlines with 280 orders, Flydubai with 251 orders, and Lion Air with 201 orders.

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