Boeing to cut 737 MAX production rate amid growing safety concerns

First preliminary report of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 released

Boeing is cutting production of its grounded Max airliner this month to focus on fixing flight-control software and getting the planes back in the air.

This is the first time Boeing has publicly acknowledged that the malfunctioning MCAS led to the accidents.

The MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) is suspected of being responsible both for the Ethiopian Airlines crash and one of a 737 MAX operated by Indonesian airline Lion Air in October past year, in which all 189 passengers and crew were killed.

"We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 MAX accidents", Muilenburg said in the statement, adding that a software update is expected to be finished and certified in the coming weeks.

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.

He said that the full details of what happened in both Lion Air and Ethiopian accidents would be issued by the government authorities in the final reports.

Transport minister Dagmawit Moges urged Boeing to review its aircraft control systems.

Each revelation about the disasters, which together killed more than 300 people, deepens Boeing's plight while piling ever greater responsibility on political leaders to respond to a drama that's testing global confidence in American aviation.




The aircraft manufacturer has said it will introduce a software update for the MCAS in a bid to resolve the sensor problems.

"The preliminary report contains flight data recorder information indicating the airplane had an erroneous angle of attack sensor input that activated the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) function during the flight, as it had during the Lion Air 610 flight", Boeing said.

"The history of our industry shows most accidents are caused by a chain of events", Muilenburg says.

Pilots of each plane struggled in vain to regain control over the automated system.

The proper response to MCAS emergencies, Leeham Co analyst Bjorn Fehrm said, is to correct the unsafe nose-down "trim" using electronic thumb switches, then turn off MCAS and trim manually with the wheel. But amid a chorus of confusing alarms, they also made a critical oversight as they struggled for control, according to three pilots with experience in accident investigations: They left the engines set almost to maximum. "This again is the case here, and we know we can break one of those chain links in these two accidents". Since the Lion Air crash, the manufacturer has had teams of engineers and technical experts working with the U.S. Had this problem been addressed sooner, the 157 people aboard the Ethiopia Airlines plane would likely still have their lives.

"I think everyone involved in this program is going to feel a bit skittish after these tragedies", Aboulafia said.

"Those planes should never fly again" and consumers should boycott the jets, Nader said, speaking remotely by telephone during a press conference at the Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, where Stumo's parents also spoke.

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