Ethiopia crash investigation needs 'considerable' time: minister

Erika Holt
March 17, 2019

The MCAS is a system of safety sensors and software that Boeing designed for its 737 Max to prevent the aircraft from entering into a stall, flaps-retracted, low-speed, nose-up flight. Blue plastic sheeting covered the wreckage of the plane.

It could be a lengthy grounding for the 34 Southwest and 24 American Max 8s at Dallas Love Field Airport. Similarities between the flight path in the Lion Air incident and Sunday›s Ethiopian Airlines crash have raised fresh questions about the system. "We are making all the necessary efforts to identify the cause of the accident", Ethiopian Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges told reporters in Addis Ababa.

No more than two minutes later, the air traffic controller was in communication with other aircraft when the voice from Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 interrupted, saying "break, break" - signalling that other nonurgent communications should cease. Already, some investigative information has leaked.

However, he added, because the company is readying an update to its flight-control software, "we don't see meaningful long term risk".

Kent Krause is an attorney who specializes in aviation issues. Others carriers say it's too early for them to say whether they will because they can not yet estimate lost revenue and extra costs. The accident came about five months after a deadly crash of another 737 MAX 8, owned by Indonesian carrier Lion Air, that was flying out of Jakarta in October. The plane's nose was suddenly pointing down. It's something evidence in the Ethiopian crash also points to.

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There are steps a pilot can take if the MCAS turns on in error. 'Boeing is an incredible company they are working very very hard right now, and hopefully they'll very quickly come up with the answer, but until they do the planes are grounded'.

That's as Indonesia's Lion Air firms up moves to drop a $22 billion order for the 737 in favour of the Airbus jet, according to a person with knowledge of the plan. USA pilot unions said their pilots were aware of the software issue and knew how to overcome it.

Norwegian Air CEO Bjorn Kjos has said his airline will seek compensation from Boeing. "And I would put it on the airlines at this juncture to have better trained and better explained to the pilots get them the training they need so that this problem didn't occur again".

Men unload a case from a diplomatic auto from the Ethiopian Embassy outside the headquarters of France's BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, March 14, 2019.

Boeing won't comment on the time it has taken engineers to finish the work, but Diehl and industry officials familiar with the situation say it isn't as easy as upgrading an iPhone.

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