An analysis of black box data found similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and that of the Lion Air flight in Indonesia in October.
Rabat – The Ethiopian transport minister, Dagmawit Moges, said on Sunday, March 17, that investigators have recovered all relevant data from the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 black boxes.
According to Moges, a preliminary analysis of the data found that there were “clear similarities” with the Lion Air Flight 610 which crashed in Indonesia last October.
Journalists repeatedly questioned the minister, but she did not specify what the exact similarities between the crashes were. Moges simply said that the flights would be “subject to further investigation” and a report on the crash will be published in 30 days.
The Ethiopian Airlines crash is the second accident involving a Boeing 737 MAX 8 in less than six months.
In October, Lion Air Flight 610 went down over the Java Sea just 13 minutes after take-off. All 189 people on board died.
While Boeing officials said that they continue to have “full confidence” in the safety of their planes, the company still recommended that the global fleet of 737 MAXes be grounded until the investigation is complete.
Morocco was one of the first countries to ground its 737 MAX 8s in the day following the crash in Ethiopia on March 10. Other countries and airlines then followed suit.
In both flights, pilots experienced erratic altitude changes and reported flight control problems just before crashing. Investigators of the Lion Air crash suspect that an attack sensor transmitted incorrect data to the plane, triggering automated flight software called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).
MCAS likely forced the nose of the plane down, explaining why data from the crash reports that the pilots manually corrected an “automatic aircraft nose down” a number of times before the plane crashed into the sea.
A Seattle Times report published on Sunday found that the safety analysis Boeing gave to the US Federal Aviation Administration regarding the MCAS system has “several crucial flaws.”
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg issued a statement that the company’s top priority is safety and thus will be “finalizing its development of a previously-announced software update and pilot training revision that will address the MCAS flight control law’s behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs.”