Thursday, March 14, 2019

Odds stacked against Boeing on Ethiopian Airlines crash

The arduous affair of air crash investigation commences in Ethiopia - a pursuit to find the cause of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 320 departing Addis Ababa for Nairobi.

Long and tedious are the hours of combing through minuscule debris and piecing together wreckage like a jigsaw puzzle to recreate the accident. Months and probably years shall pass before a verdict of determination emerges from the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority.

At hand is a case of two new B737 MAX 8 aircraft crashing six months apart, and the public jury decries safety of the plane. What are the odds of a coincidence vis-à-vis manufacturer cause?

The peculiar similarities in the Indonesian and Ethiopian cases portends trouble for Boeing - both aircrafts were of the 737 MAX 8 model; both crashed just minutes after take-off; both struggled to gain altitude; and both appeared to ascend and descend several times before crashing.
It has been revealed that redesigning the 737 to produce the cost-effective 737 MAX 8 brought about considerable aerodynamic challenges, prompting the manufacturer to introduce a self-correcting mechanism. However, this wasn’t revealed in the original pilot training manual that accompanies every aircraft sold. And though Boeing eventually sent a secular to all airlines operating the MAX 8 with a recommendation for proper training of pilots on the new dynamics, two aircrafts crashing in such a short span has seriously damaged the reputation of the Boeing 737 MAX 8.
With several MAX 8 aircrafts grounded around the world, it does not help that by the time the Ethiopian Airlines plane went down Boing was close to conducting a software upgrade that would eliminate the challenges relating to the model's self-correcting anti-stall mechanism.
14/03/19 Chris Orwa/Daily Nation