Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Boeing pilot training ‘inadequate’, says ethiopia report



Boeing pilot training ‘inadequate’, says ethiopia report

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The 2019 crash of the Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 MAX six minutes after takeoff killed all 157 people on board. AFP

Boeing pilot training ‘inadequate’, says ethiopia report

Ethiopia's probe of last year’s Ethiopian Airlines crash found that Boeing did not provide sufficient pilot training for the 737 MAX and that crucial flight software was flawed, according to an interim report published on Monday.

The crash of the Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 MAX six minutes after takeoff on March 10, last year, killed all 157 people on board, triggering the global grounding of the MAX and the worst crisis in Boeing’s history.

It followed the October 2018 crash of a 737 MAX operated by Lion Air in Indonesia, which killed 189 people when it crashed moments after leaving Jakarta airport.

Both accidents saw uncontrolled drops in the aircraft’s nose in the moments before the planes crashed, which investigators have blamed on the model’s anti-stall flight system, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS.

A preliminary report by Ethiopian investigators released last April said the crew of Flight 302 repeatedly followed procedures recommended by Boeing but were unable to regain control of the jet.

The new interim report published on Monday says that the design of the MCAS system “made it vulnerable to undesirable activation”. Specifically the report points to the fact that the system could be activated by a single angle-of-attack sensor reading.

’Keep with me’

Those indicators measure the plane’s angle vis-a-vis oncoming air to warn of impending stalls.

The report also states that training provided by Boeing on the 737 MAX “was found to be inadequate”.

The report offers a detailed rundown of the chain of events that led to the crash, starting with an “erroneous” left angle-of-attack reading “shortly after liftoff”.

The reading activated the MCAS system, prompting the plane to nose downward multiple times, something the pilot and first officer tried in vain to correct.

The report includes details of the final exchanges between Capt Yared Getachew and First Officer Ahmednur Mohammed, including Yared imploring Ahmednur to “keep with me” as Ahmednur struggled to get control of the aircraft.

At one point Yared urged Ahmedur to “pull with me” as both men applied force to the control column.

The final readings of the flight indicate it was moving as fast as 500 knots (more than 900kph) and descending at a rate of greater than 33,000 feet per minute, the report said.

The plane crashed in a field southeast of Addis Ababa, leaving a crater 10m deep “with a hole of about 28m width and 40m length”, the report said.

Plane fragments were found hundreds of metres away, it said.

Boeing officials “look forward to reviewing the full details and formal recommendations that will be included in the final report” from Ethiopian investigators, Gordon Johndroe, Boeing’s vice president for media relations, said in a statement on Monday.

Last week a US congressional committee said Boeing made missteps and withheld information about the 737 MAX and that federal regulators failed to provide proper oversight, resulting in a “fundamentally flawed” aircraft.

After Ethiopia’s preliminary report was released last April, Boeing executives insisted on the “fundamental safety” of the 737 MAX but pledged to take all necessary steps to ensure the jets’ airworthiness.

In an interview last week with The New York Times, Boeing CEO David Calhoun suggested the pilots’ actions were a factor in the 737 MAX crashes, saying pilots in Indonesia and Ethiopia “don’t have anywhere near the experience that they have here in the US”.

But he declined to answer when asked directly whether American pilots could have handled an MCAS malfunction.

The Ethiopian report recommends that training simulators need to be capable of simulating scenarios in which the sensors fail.

The report was released one day before the first anniversary of the crash.

Relatives of many of the victims, who hailed from more than 30 countries, have flown to Ethiopia and are expected to attend a memorial ceremony at the crash site on Tuesday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration