Ethiopia crash pilot had control problems, black boxes bound for Europe

Darnell Taylor
March 14, 2019

The world's biggest planemaker is facing its most serious crisis in years, as the decades-old 737 program, one of its most reliable sources of cash and profits, takes a severe blow to its prestige.

A U.S. official said the FAA was aware of the satellite data Mr Garneau had cited but called it inconclusive.

The last fleet-wide grounding by the FAA occurred on January 17, 2013, when it ordered a halt to revenue flights by Boeing's then-new model, the mostly composite 787, after a lithium-ion batteries on the plane overheated. It grounded the 787 Dreamliner in 2013 because of problems with smoking batteries. In July, American has planned to fly about 1.5 percent of capacity with Max jets, while United had scheduled 2 percent.

Southwest has not released details on how it plans to back fill for the Max, but the company said they will use "every available aircraft in our fleet to meet our customers' expectations during the busy spring travel season".

The FAA notified airlines minutes before Trump made the announcement.

Airline pilots on at least two US -flown Boeing 737 Max 8 planes had reported that the automated system caused the aircraft's nose to tilt down sharply and suddenly after take-off.

Shares of Southwest fell 0.4 percent.

Trump said Wednesday that the FAA would be making the announcement soon to ground the planes.

Investigators later found that the batteries had a design flaw and that it should not have been certified by the FAA.

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Grounded Air Canada Boeing 737 Max 8 planes sit idle at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), in Richmond, BC., March 13, 2019.

"Boeing has determined - out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft's safety - to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft".

The regulators' decision has been prompted in part by an eerie similarity between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and last October's Lion Air disaster in the Java Sea, which killed 189 people. Although there is no proof of any link, the twin disasters have spooked passengers.

Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. confirmed Wednesday they were in the process of grounding their Max 8s.

All three will need to cancel or delay flights, especially short term, before they're able to make changes to which aircraft they fly on what routes.

Transport Canada has issued a safety notice restricting commercial use of the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft following the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 over the weekend. "Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action", Acing FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell said in a statement.

Aireon's space-based system can monitor data from aircraft equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) transponders. The emergency order will ground 24 of American Airlines' planes.

An Ethiopian Airlines spokesman says the "black box" from the crashed Boeing jet will be sent overseas for analysis but no country has been chosen.

In November, two incidents were reported to the NASA-run Aviation Safety Reporting Database that involved problems in controlling the 737 MAX at low altitude just after take-off with autopilot engaged, according to documents first published by the Dallas Morning News and verified by Reuters. He isn't sure when he will return home but said he chose to look on the bright side.

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