ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopian Airlines pilots followed proper procedures when their Boeing MAX 8 airplane repeatedly nosedived before a March 10 crash that killed 157 people, Ethiopia’s minister of transport said on Thursday as she delivered the first official report on the disaster.
“The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft,” Dagmawit Moges told a news conference in the capital, Addis Ababa.
She recommended that Boeing review the aircraft control system and aviation authorities confirm the problem had been solved before allowing that model of plane back into the air. It was grounded globally following the crash, which was the second deadly accident in six months involving the new model.
“Since repetitive uncommanded aircraft nose down conditions are noticed ... it is recommended that the aircraft control system shall be reviewed by the manufacturer,” she said.
“Aviation authorities shall verify that the review of the aircraft flight control system has been adequately addressed by the manufacturer before the release of the aircraft for operations.”
However, the report could spark a debate with Boeing about how crew responded to problems triggered by faulty data from an airflow sensor, particularly over whether they steadied the plane before turning key software off.
Boeing said it would study the report.
Families of the victims, regulators and travelers around the world are waiting for clues to the accident after the new Boeing jet crashed six minutes after take-off.
A Lion Air 737 MAX 8 crashed just five months earlier in Indonesia killing all 189 aboard.
The preliminary report into the Lion Air disaster said the pilots lost control after grappling with the plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software, a new automated anti-stall feature that repeatedly lowered the nose of the aircraft based on faulty data from a sensor.
Boeing said on Wednesday it had successfully tested an update of the MCAS software designed to reduce its authority and make it easier for pilots to handle.
UAE joins review panel on Boeing 737 MAX
The UAE has accepted an invitation to join the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) review panel on the Boeing 737 MAX, a senior official told Reuters on Thursday.
The invitation has been received and the UAE has agreed to join, said Ismael al Blooshi, assistant director, safety affairs at the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).