By Jad J. Stepp, In Aviation Accidents, 0 Comments

The safety of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane is under the microscope after a fatal aviation disaster in Ethiopia this week. The same type of plane crashed under similar, unusual circumstances in Indonesia in October, not quite six months ago. The news of the Ethiopian crash on March 10th, 2019 has prompted nations across the globe to ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8s for the time being.

Boeing has reportedly acknowledged and approved the worldwide decision to ground its 737 MAX 8 airplanes. The company has stated it always puts safety as its top priority. It has not accepted any liability for the crashes, nor has it stated the crashes could actually have been caused by a defect with the airplane model, which was only put into passenger service two years ago.

Based on recent reports, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 began to accelerate at an abnormal, dangerous rate only a minute or so after it took off from an airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The pilot reportedly requested a return vector for a safe landing back at the airport around three minutes into the flight. At that time, air traffic controllers noted the plane was still accelerating abnormally and fluctuated its altitude up and down rapidly, sometimes dipping and rising hundreds of feet in just a matter of seconds. It is believed that around the five-minute mark of the flight, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed southeast of Addis Ababa, killing all 157 aboard.

Black-box reports from the Indonesian crash in October show similar abnormal aircraft behavior. This link suggests a common error or defect with the Boeing 737 MAX 8. However, investigators have been cautious to point a finger directly at Boeing, given how little time has elapsed since the crash. It is possible but unlikely that unknown circumstances contributed.

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