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Did the Government Shutdown Delay the 737 MAX 8 Fix?

Did the Government Shutdown Delay the 737 MAX 8 Fix?
Jackie Reddy

An investigation into the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 is underway. Similarities between this incident and the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 have been noted and it’s now suggested that software fixes for the 737 MAX 8 ordered after the crash of JT610 were halted by the government shutdown.

The cause of the fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 is not yet known, but with multiple countries and aviation regulators actively banning the operation of Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets, fresh concerns continue to be raised about the incident.

The similarities between the crash of ET302 and Lion Air Flight 610 have been widely reported in the global media. Citing information from aviation monitoring website FlightRadar24, Quartz explains that, “Both planes—new versions of the Boeing aircraft—took erratic up-and-down journeys marked by “unstable vertical speed” before taking fatal dives minutes after takeoff.”

The outlet further states that, following the crash of JT610, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advised that this craft featured an “unsafe condition”. It also advised that crews should be provided with “with runaway horizontal stabilizer trim procedures to follow under certain conditions.”

In order to fully fix the problem, a software update was ordered. This was expected to be implemented by January, but as The Wall Street Journal reported last month, the fix was pushed to April because of “engineering and regulatory complications” as well as “differences of opinion” and the partial shutdown of the U.S. government.

During the course of the shutdown, widespread concerns were voiced over how it would impact safety within the aviation industry.

Despite this speculation, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the world’s largest pilot union, offered its comments on the crash of ET302 in an official statement.

“The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) is saddened by the loss of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Our deepest condolences are with the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew members who lost their lives in this tragic event,” the body stated.

However, it added that “As the various parties responsible for the investigation begin their work, we caution against speculation about what may have caused the accident.”

[Image Source: Pixabay]

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1 Comment

  1. Lew1

    March 13, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    A software update is not going to fix this problem. The 737Max has some major design flaws. The MAX engine is larger, but the landing gear design was unchanged and gave insufficient ground clearance, so the engine is placed further ahead of the wing. Rather than redesign the landing gear to improve engine clearance, the engine was moved forward. This changes CG(center of gravity) which impacts handling and stall characteristics. A software update is probably not going to fix this problem.

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