Ethiopian Airlines Crash

Carter Genslak, Staff Writer

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On Sunday March 10, 2019, nine minutes after takeoff, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu. The flight was carrying 157 people which included 35 different nationalities and eight of them being American. There were no survivors, they all perished on impact.

One minute into the flight the pilot made a distress call stating a flight control problem but he continued the flight anyway.  Around three minutes into the flight the aircraft accelerated beyond safety and the pilot requested to return. However, that flight never made it back; it disappeared from radar and crashed six minutes after takeoff. The aircraft reached 9,000 feet and the flight tracking data showed that the altitude and rate of climb was fluctuating, which is not normal.

Witnesses said they saw a trail of white smoke and heard loud noises prior to the crash.

On March 11th, 2019 the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder were found and the French Aviation Accident Investigation Agency announced that it would analyze the flight recorders from the flight. They received the flight recorders on March 14th and on the 17th of March Ethiopia’s transport minister announced that “the black box has been found in a good condition that enabled us to extract almost all the data inside”. The data retrieved from the flight data recorder was very similar with that of the Lion Air Flight 610 which crashed off Indonesia in October of 2018. Investigators discovered the jackscrew which controls the pitch angle of the horizontal stabilizer was in a full nose down position.

Experts believe that the new automated system in Boeing’s MAX fleet was put in to stop stalling by dipping the nose; this may have been the reason for both crashes. The pilots were unable to override it and the jets went down.  The Boeing 737 Max 8 was a new model, unveiled about two years ago. There are about 350 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in operation worldwide, according to the FAA. The 737 Max is the fastest selling plane in the company’s history and they had about 5,000 orders from more than 100 customers worldwide, according to Boeing’s website.

On Wednesday, March 13th, just days after the crash Donald Trump stated “All 737 Max jets in the US would now be grounded and “the safety of the American people and others was of “paramount concern” and they [Boeing] have to find the problem … and they will find it.” The United States is just one of a dozen other countries that have put the safety of their people first by restricting those planes from flying.