Addis Ababa: The crew of the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed last month killing 157 people, repeatedly followed procedures recommended by Boeing, but were unable to regain control of the jet, according the investigators’ report released Thursday.
The initial report, unveiled by Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges, cast further doubt on the system controlling the Boeing 737 MAX 8 model, which has been grounded worldwide for almost a month now.
“The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer, but was not able to control the aircraft,” said Dagmawit Moges, unveiling results of the preliminary probe into the crash.
The report recommends ‘the aircraft flight control system shall be reviewed by the manufacturer’, she said. “Aviation authorities shall verify that the review of the aircraft flight control system has been adequately addressed by the manufacturer before the release of the aircraft for operations,” added the minister.
The release of the report came after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a review of the certification of the automated flight control system on the 737 MAX. Boeing said it is reviewing the report.
Scrutiny has focused on an anti-stall system, developed specifically for the latest versions of the planes, that has given pilots problems. Dagmawit did not make specific reference to the automatic anti-stalling system, but did mention a ‘repetitive nose-down’ movement of the aircraft.
Dagmawit did not give details of what happened in the cockpit during the fateful final minutes of the flight, but said takeoff ‘appeared very normal’ and that all the crew had the requisite qualifications to operate the jet.
The head of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde GebreMariam said he was proud of the efforts of the pilots in trying to stop their jet from crashing. “We are very proud of our pilots’ compliances to follow the emergency procedures, and high level of professional performances in such extremely difficult situations,” he said in a statement.
“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,” GebreMariam added.