It has been confirmed that investigators have determined the automatic anti-stall system as activated before the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet crash.
This initial determination is based on information from the aircraft’s data and voice recorders, which shows that the malfunctioning automated system may be responsible for the deadly March 10 crash.
This preliminary determination was made known during a briefing at the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) yesterday. It is also known that the auto anti-stall system was activated on the Indonesian Lion Air 737 Max jet crash.
The preliminary findings could be revised, but right now they point to the system, called MCAS (or Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) as the potential cause of both crashes. Regulators say the Ethiopian Airlines Max jet followed a similar flight path to the Lion Air flight, including erratic climbs and descents before crashing minutes after takeoff.
The MCAS system is designed to automatically point the nose of the jets down if it senses potential for a loss of lift, or aerodynamic stall. Aircraft can lose lift from the wings and fall from the sky if the nose points too high. The system also makes the Max fly similarly to older generations of Boeing’s 737, negating the need for a lot of added pilot training.
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Boeing is working on a software update to the auto anti-stall system so that the nose will point down only once instead of around 21 times as happened in the Lion Air crash making it easier for pilots to override it.
Ethiopian officials are expected to release their preliminary report soon.
The 737 Max 8 has been grounded worldwide due to the crashes as Boeing works on an update to its software to make the planes safer.