For the first time, Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of Boeing, acknowledged that bad data that fed into an automated flight system on the popular 737 jets of the company played a role in the two crashes that killed a total of 346 people after aviation officials of Ethiopia said that their investigation discovered that there was no pilot error in a crash that happened in Addis Ababa on the 10th of March.
In a statement and video that was posted to the Twitter account of the company today, Muilenberg stated: “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 Ethiopian plane crashed six minutes after its takeoff from Addis Ababa. It followed a similar flight pattern as a Lion Air flight that went down in the Java Sea of Indonesia and killed all of its 189 passengers and crew last October. The pilots of both planes seem to have experienced trouble regaining the control of the aircraft following an automated flight control system called MCAS that pushed the nose of the jets down to keep them from stalling.
At a news conference earlier today, Dagmawit Moges, the Ethiopian Transport Minister, stated: “The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft.”
The investigators discovered that the pilots on the Ethiopian flight turned the anti-stall system off and back on again in an attempt to regain control of the plane, casting doubt on assertions of Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration that the crash may have been avoided if the pilots simply followed established safety procedures.
Moges did not specifically blame the MCAS software. However, she said that it must be reviewed before the planes, which have been grounded since mid-March, are allowed to fly again.
Dagmawit stated: “Since repetitive uncommanded aircraft nose-down conditions are noticed … it is recommended that the aircraft control system shall be reviewed by the manufacturer.” . She also said that the aviation authority must ensure that the flight control system of the jet is reviewed by Boeing before the jets are allowed to fly again.
Muilenberg said that the pilots say that the false activation of the MCAS function, as what has happened in the Ethiopian crash, “can add to what is already a high workload environment.”
Muilenburg stated: “It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it and we know how to do it.”
He also said: “We’re deeply saddened by and are sorry for the pain these accidents have caused worldwide.”
The firm is taking a “comprehensive” and “disciplined” approach to getting the software update right. Boeing is anticipating its certification and implementation “in the weeks ahead.” the Boeing CEO said that the company remains confident in the fundamental safety of the 737 Max, which have been grounded since mid-March.
He stated: “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.”