Boeing to temporarily reduce 737 MAX production

Saul Bowman
April 6, 2019

Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg apologized Thursday for the 346 lives lost in crashes of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in Indonesia and Ethiopia, according to a letter made public on the company's website.

The is similar to what has been reported following the crash of Lion Air flight 610 in October past year, also involving a Boeing 737 Max.

Boeing is continuing to work on a fix for the flight-control systems on the MAX 8 planes.

After several days of blame game between Ethiopian Airlines and giant aircraft manufacturer Boeing over the plane crash that claimed 157 lives, the latter has finally apologised to the families that lost their loved ones in the tragic accident. Thursday's revelations raise questions about repeated assertions by Boeing and USA regulators that pilots could regain control in some emergencies by following steps that include turning off an anti-stall system designed specifically for the Max, known by its acronym, MCAS. "We own it and we know how to do it", Muilenburg said in his statement. "This again is the case here, and we know we can break one of those chain links in these two accidents". The crash, which took place on March 10, marked the second fatal crash of a almost brand-new Boeing 737 Max airliner since October and precipitated the grounding of the global 737 Max fleet.

Embattled US aviation giant Boeing on Thursday insisted on the "fundamental safety" of its 737 MAX aircraft but pledged to take all necessary steps to ensure the jets' airworthiness.

Following a procedure that Boeing reiterated after the Lion Air crash, the Ethiopian pilots flipped two switches and disconnected the anti-stall system, then tried to regain control.

Muilenburg said after the Lion Air accident in October, Boeing had teams of top engineers and technical experts, who worked in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration and the company's customers to finalize and implement a software update.

"This accident was not survivable", the report read.

Boeing is temporarily cutting production of its best-selling 737 airliner in the continuing fall-out from crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

Mr Muilenburg, in his statement, noted that full details of what happened in the two accidents will be issued by the government authorities in the final reports very soon.

They are also probing the role of a flight-control system called MCAS, which under some circumstances could automatically turn the plane's nose down to prevent an aerodynamic stall.

According to the report, readings from the plane's flight data recorder shows that faulty readings from a malfunctioning angle-of-attack (AOA) sensor triggered the Boeing 737 Max's Maneuvering Characteristic Augmentation System (MCAS), which is created to automatically push the nose of the plane downward.

The Max is Boeing's newest version of its workhorse single-aisle jetliner, the 737, which dates to the 1960s.

According to report AFP saw, the nose of the plane pointed down four times without pilot input.

The realisation of a second software problem explains why the timeline that Boeing projected publicly last week for getting hundreds of the aircraft airborne again has slipped, the officials said.

The Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has released its first preliminary report into the accident of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, which crashed shortly after take off from Addis Ababa on March 10th. They asked to return to the Addis Ababa airport, but were continuing to struggle getting the plane to gain altitude. Other pilots said the flight crew's actions were understandable given the chaotic situation.

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