Thursday, March 14, 2019

Flyer safety again to the fore

Flying is no more an exciting journey. The crash of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 killing all 157 on board, has added to the fear that advanced system malfunctions are now the biggest threat. It also set off a startling domino effect, rarely seen in the past. Starting with Canada, 42 countries have grounded 737 Max 8 and 9 flights. India’s DGCA was amongst the last to implement a ban, while America’s FAA, which resolutely stood behind Boeing, pulled the plug on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump said he couldn’t risk having those planes in the air.
The crash data so far indicates that the Ethiopian aircraft pilots reported flight control problems soon after take-off, but the plane crashed before they could return to the airport. Prima facie the new computerised flight control system seems to have malfunctioned. The race to ground the aircraft has also arisen because of a malfunction Indonesia’s Lion Air Max 8 flight suffered in October last. After that crash—it  killed all 189 aboard—pilots’ unions had complained that they had not been warned of a new flight-control system on the Max that could automatically push the plane’s nose down in certain situations.
The mass grounding has landed Boeing in deep waters. Max has been one of its most popular brands, and it has over 4,500 aircraft in the pipeline. Norwegian Air and India’s SpiceJet have already moved for compensation for the losses incurred. More than that, passenger safety has emerged as a critical issue. Earlier, the aviation industry was shaken up due to the problems of the new generation Airbus A320 Neos.
14/03/19 New Indian Express