Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg says company understands 'lives depend' on plane safety

Saul Bowman
March 21, 2019

The pilot knew how to override the automated system.

Boeing chief comments came after U.S. federal prosecutors and regulators opened an inquiry into the plane's development process.

Investigators continue to examine the black box data recorder from the most recent crash.

The report carried by Reuters said that the problem with the angle of attack sensor started just after take-off when the first officer reported a "flight control problem" to air traffic control.

Boeing was sued on Wednesday in federal court in Chicago by the estate of one of the Lion Air crash victims in which the plaintiffs referred to the Ethiopian crash to support a wrongful death claim against the company. A crew that flew the same plane the evening before had the same problem with the plane's nose.

FILE PHOTO: A seal is seen on Garuda Indonesia's Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane parked at the Garuda Maintenance Facility AeroAsia, at Soekarno-Hatta International airport near Jakarta, Indonesia, March 13, 2019.

The pilots of a doomed Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX scrambled through a handbook to understand why the jet was lurching downwards in the final minutes before it hit the water killing all 189 people on board, three people with knowledge of the cockpit voice recorder contents said.

The report said the MCAS system was responding to incorrect data transmitted by an AOA sensor.

"Of course, when that software change is ready, which is in a number of weeks, we will, in Canada, even if it's certified by the FAA, we will do our own certification", Transportation Minister Marc Garneau said.

An Indonesian forensic police officer takes samples from recovered belongings of the passangers of the crashed Lion Air flight JT610 a year ago. "We can't provide additional comment at this stage due the ongoing investigation on the accident", Lion Air spokesman Danang Prihantoro told Bloomberg. None of the 157 on board survived.

The detail could explain how some pilots of the now-controversial 737 MAX planes were able to avoid disaster and others lost control and crashed.

Development of the 737 MAX began in 2011 after the launch by its main rival of the Airbus A320neo. But the investigation is ongoing.

Similarly to what occurred a day later, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 also ended up being automatically pitched nose down, but the flight crew shut down the MCAS (the anti-stall system) and continued the flight manually, landing "without incident".

The FAA is accused of letting Boeing conduct numerous critical safety checks itself, while Boeing allegedly cut corners to rush the plane to market ahead of competitor Airbus' hot new model. They are still down more than 11 per cent since the crash in Ethiopia on March 10, wiping out over US$25 billion from its market share. "It is also important to note that the Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information now available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators".

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