Rising Concern Over The Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft After Second Crash In 6 Months

Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 crashed shortly after takeoff yesterday. This was the second Boeing 737 MAX crash within 6 months. Just last October, one of Lion Air’s Boeing 737 MAX 8s also crashed shortly after takeoff. These two Boeing 737 MAX accidents within a relatively short period of time have definitely left us wondering about potential safety issues with the aircraft.

What are the details?

As Simple Flying reported, Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 was enroute from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADD) to Nairobi, Kenya (NBO). Just six minutes after takeoff, the aircraft crashed near the town of Bishoftu. There were 149 passengers and eight crew members onboard the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Sadly, there were no survivors.

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777
Ethiopian Airlines is the flag carrier of Ethiopia and a member of the Star Alliance. Photo: Wikimedia.

At this time, we do not know what happened to the aircraft. Nonetheless, according to BBC, ‘visibility was said to be good’ but air traffic monitor Flightradar24 reported that the plane’s ‘vertical speed was unstable after take-off’.

Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of the aircraft, registration number ET-EVJ, last November and performed a detailed maintenance inspection in February.

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Lion Air Flight 610

Last October Lion Air Flight 610 from Jakarta, Indonesia (CGK) to Pangkal Pinang City, Indonesia (PGK) crashed into the Java Sea 12 minutes after takeoff. The aircraft was delivered to Lion Air in August of 2018 and had barely flown 800 hours.

Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8
Lion Air currently operates 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Photo: Wikimedia.

Nevertheless, there have been reports that the aircraft had experienced technical difficulties in the days before the crash. The aircraft was returned to service anyway.

Before the crash, the pilots experienced problems with the anti-stall system which caused the nose of the aircraft to dip uncontrollably. Based on the data obtained from the flight recorders, the pilots tried to correct the problem by pointing the nose up, but the system continued to force the nose down. This happened more than 20 times during the 12-minute flight.

Boeing issued an Operations Manual Bulletin (OMB) in response to the crash. According to a statement released by Boeing, the OMB directs ‘operators to existing flight crew procedures to address circumstances where there is erroneous input from an AOA [angle-of-attack] sensor’.

Did both aircraft experience the same issues?

At this time, we just don’t know. What we do know is that both aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff. There is no indication that the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft experienced technical difficulties in the days before the accident.

Boeing 737 MAX 8
The Boeing 737 MAX features the latest technology. Photo: Wikimedia.

The Boeing Company is sending a team to the crash site to provide technical assistance to the NTSB. Hopefully, we will have a better idea of what caused the Ethiopian Airlines crash soon. Simple Flying will provide more information as it becomes available.

What do you think? Did both aircraft experience the same issues?

10 comments
  1. After the first crash, Boeing should have done more.
    Now lives are lost and nothing they do now can be justified!

  2. I would imagine there must be some link between the lion air and the Ethiopian crash, both crashed shortly after takeoff and both were new planes with low flying hours. All 737 max 8’s should be grounded until its known if there’s a link between the two crashes. I would imagine a lot of people will refuse to fly on this model until they can reassure passengers of their safety.

  3. Based on the data obtained from the flight recorders, the pilots tried to correct the problem by pointing the nose up, but the system continued to force the nose down. This happened more than 20 times during the 12-minute flight.

    Before the crash, the pilots experienced problems with the anti-stall system which caused the nose of the aircraft to dip uncontrollably.

    Flightradar24 reported that the plane’s ‘vertical speed was unstable after take-off

    this is writen above, its part of the report, but, its very clear that the automatic nose attitude control is out of control, this is a sensor or the whole system error, what i see is that the more they take responsibility and direct control on the flyght to the crew, the more we aproach “skynet” remember Terminator, AI, artificial inteligence ….

  4. As reported here: https://www.9news.com.au/2019/03/12/09/16/news-world-man-missed-doomed-ethiopian-airlines-flight-by-minutes

    “A doomed Ethiopian Airlines plane rattled and billowed smoke as it swerved above a field of panicked cows before it crashed, killing all 157 people on board, according to witnesses.

    Flight 302 took off from the Ethiopian capital on Sunday morning bound for Nairobi but crashed six minutes later.

    Half a dozen witnesses interviewed by Reuters in the farmland where the Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliner came down reported smoke billowing out behind, while four of them also described a loud sound.”

    We don’t have enough info to know what this means, but it raises questions regarding the similarities of these crashes. Did a fire or explosion bring doen the plane? We don’t know. Did the fire result from structural failure due to aerodynamic forces from some other issue? We don’t know.

    My point is let’s not rush to judgement…we know next to nothing at this point.

  5. DFDR (digital flight data recorder) and CVR (cockpit voice recorder ) of ET302 have been recovered from the crash site as per bbc news. Best is to wait for the investigations to come out .
    Until then all 737 max 8 should be grounded , 2 major accidents in 6 months is unquestionably distressful. There are airliners which are still keeping their 737 max operations intact but think about the passengers and the crew who have to comply with these company rules .
    My prayers with the families who lost their loved ones.

    1. I agree. And since the pilots were black all black pilots should be grounded until a complete and thorough investigation clears them.

  6. why did boeing, FAA, Lion air company and Indonesia regarding the first accident in october still have no conclusions about the cause of the accident? now with this new accident they will do there job faster, now we will have hundreds of new airplanes grounded and people with fear and avoiding the Max. it looks to me that Lion Air has a low reputation and since, nobody did pay attention to the accident, and nobody thought it might be a boeing design problem or mistake.

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