Preliminary Report on Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX Released

Boeing 737 MAX
Boeing 737 MAX. Courtesy of Australian Aviation

The preliminary report on the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 was released today. The crash, which killed all 157 aboard, occurred six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on March 10, 2019.

The entire 33-page report can be found on FlightRadar24’s blog. Below are the initial findings:

  • Aircraft had a valid airworthiness certificate
  • Crew obtained the license and qualification to conduct the flight
  • The takeoff roll appeared normal, including normal values of left and right angle of attack sensor (AOA)
  • Shortly after takeoff, the value of the left AOA deviated from the right and reached 74.5 degrees while the right AOA value was 15.3 degrees. The stick shaker activated and remained active until the end of the flight
  • After autopilot was engaged, amplitude roll and rudder oscillations began, along with lateral acceleration. The oscillations continued after autopilot was disengaged.
  • Once the autopilot was disengaged, the aircraft performed four nose down conditions without pilot input. The crew tried used trim to counter the nose down condition.
  • The crew performed the runaway stabilizer checklist and put stab trim cutout switch to cutout and confirmed that the manual trim operation was not working.

The occurrences during the doomed flight are the same as Lion Air 610, which crashed late last year. The pilots performed every action to recover the aircraft. Ethiopian Airlines released the following statement:

Tewolde GebreMariam Group CEO said, “All of us at Ethiopian Airlines are still going through deep mourning for the loss of our loved ones and we would like to express our deep sympathy and condolences for the families, relatives and friends of the victims. Meanwhile, we are very proud of our pilots’ compliances to follow the emergency procedures and high level of professional performances in such extremely difficult situations”.

Boeing released a statement as well:

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg stated, “We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 MAX accidents. These tragedies continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and minds, and we extend our sympathies to the loved ones of the passengers and crew on board Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. All of us feel the immense gravity of these events across our company and recognize the devastation of the families and friends of the loved ones who perished”.

All of the Boeing manufactured 737 MAX aircraft have remained grounded while a solution for the AOA system is worked.

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