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Two Fatal Crashes: Should We Still Be Flying the 737 Max?

Two Fatal Crashes: Should We Still Be Flying the 737 Max?
Jackie Reddy

A Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa crashed on Sunday morning shortly after it took off from ADD. All 157 persons on board were killed. Following the crash of Lion Air Flight 610, this is the second fatal incident involving a Boeing 737 MAX 8 to take place within six months.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed shortly after its departure from the Ethiopian capital on Sunday morning, killing all 157 persons onboard, CNN reports. The plane, a Boeing 737 MAX 8, had requested permission to return to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) after technical problems were reported early in its flight.

This is the second fatal incident involving a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet to take place within the span of six months. In October of 2018, a Lion Air flight crashed into the Java Sea, an incident which resulted in the deaths of all 189 persons onboard.

Both incidents are currently being investigated by aviation authorities, but as a consequence of the crash of ET302, some carriers – as well as China’s aviation authorities – have publicly said that they will be halting the use of the 737 MAX 8 amid safety concerns.

Ethiopian and Cayman Airways have both confirmed that they have grounded their fleets of this type of craft. Offering its comments to the outlet, China’s aviation authority said, “Given in both air crashes, the aircrafts were newly delivered Boeing 737 MAX 8, and both accidents occurred during the take-off, they share certain similarities.”

It also added that it would be following up its concerns with both aircraft manufacturer Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before allowing this type of craft to operate again. These are the airlines still flying Boeing 737 MAX 8s:

  • American Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Norwegian Airlines
  • TUI Airways
  • Silk Air
  • Fiji Airways
  • Icelandair
  • Flydubai
  • WestJet
  • GOL Linhas Aéreas

An investigation into the crash of ET302 by both Kenyan and Ethiopian authorities is underway and it is reported the flight’s black box has been located.

During a press conference on Sunday, Tewolde GebreMariam, the carrier’s CEO, offered his comments, which were quoted by the outlet. “As it is a fresh incident, we have not been able to determine the cause. As I said, it is a brand new airplane with no technical remarks, flown by a senior pilot and there is no cause that we can attribute at this time,” he said.

According to the BBC, the pilot has been publicly named as Yared Getachew, who was a senior pilot with Ethiopian.

The 157 persons onboard came from an array of nations, with Ethiopia, Kenya, China, Italy, Canada and the United States all confirming that their citizens were among the victims of the crash.

[Source: Flickr/ Alan Wilson]

View Comments (6)

6 Comments

  1. Resurrection

    March 11, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    Air Canada should be added to that list, with 24 of them.

  2. Tailgater

    March 12, 2019 at 8:22 am

    I don’t think that I want to fly on this plane with Boeing’s new “safety” feature. But, there’s a report of smoke on the latest incident so maybe it’s not Boeing’s fault.

  3. FullFare

    March 12, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    The common thread of the LionAir and Ethiopian flights, aside from being 737-8MAX, was that both were heavily loaded and lost control in the ascending stages of flight. The MCAS system was instituted to safeguard against a too-much nose-up possibility that designers knew could happen because of the location of the large engines (designed to save fuel) on the wings. Take-off = the most vulnerable time.

    That said, if a pitot-type tube malfunction could cause the havoc of the software forcing the nose down, one would hope that throwing the dis-connect switch on the elevator runaway would be the remedy. Boeing said it assumed all pilots would know that and be competent to flip the switch (shown multiple times on Flyertalk).

    It breaks one’s heart to know that a simple flip of a switch, right next to the pilots, could have been the remedy. But did the LionAir pilots know that, or were they truly versed in that maneuver? Same thing with the Ethiopian. All the US carriers’ pilots are adamant that they know this stuff and all pilots should have.

    Still, what if flipping the switch were no help? What if there were too much weight in the back of the heavily loaded plane that even the MCAS could not help? Were the fuel efficient engine placements truly worth it? Lot of lives on these money-saving aircrafts. Still need the data on the Ethiopian plane, though, and badly.

  4. laperk1028

    March 13, 2019 at 8:14 am

    I know Boeing employees who would not fly on it until a thorough grounding & investigation. WHY is Boeing doubling-down and not grounding these planes for even a few days? WHY are American & Southwest telling me I have to fly whatever plane they give me including the Max, but their flight attendants don’t have to fly it if they feel unsafe? Very strange.

  5. PapaJack

    March 13, 2019 at 8:33 am

    SouthWest has the majority of the planes in operation globally and they are still flying as are American here in the US. At some point, people need to stand up to the airlines and say, no more. This is a money and politically based decision.

  6. Bretteee

    March 17, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    A student pilot with only 200 hours? Ethiopian are growing too fast. It’s clear. And they had incompetent pilots in the 2010 crash from Beirut.

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