China Grounds 737 MAXs; Cayman and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely

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China Grounds 737 MAXs; Cayman and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely

Unread post by bimjim » Mon Mar 11, 2019

https://airwaysmag.com/industry/report- ... -737-maxs/

China Grounds 737 MAXs Countrywide; Cayman Airways and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely
Benjamin Bearup

MIAMI

The government of China has asked all Chinese airlines to suspend all flights operated by the Boeing 737 MAX. The news was first reported by Caijing Magazine.

The news comes less than 24 hours after Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed on departure from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. The flight, operated by a recently delivered Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, is the second 737 MAX aircraft to crash in recent months.

"Vice-Chief of CAAC Li Jian said today: It is a hard decision to ground all 737 MAX in China and it is unrelated to China-US trade dispute. We have consulted with Boeing and FAA before making the decision and we are working with them closely to solve the issue."

"China Eastern Chairman Liu Shaoyong said today to reporters: both China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines are grounding Boeing 737 MAX indefinitely until Boeing promises safety of 737max and the accident is unrelated to aircraft system."

Cayman Airways, who operates a fleet of two 737 MAX 8 aircraft, announced that it has suspended 737 MAX flights indefinitely. In a statement, Cayman’s CEO Fabian Whorms said: “While the cause of this sad loss is undetermined at this time, we stand by our commitment to putting the safety of our passengers and crew first by maintaining complete and undoubtable safe operations, and as such, we have taken the decision to suspend operations of both our new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, effective from Monday March 11, 2019, until more information is received.”

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Re: China Grounds 737 MAXs; Cayman and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely

Unread post by bimjim » Mon Mar 11, 2019

https://www.yahoo.com/news/no-survivors ... 08493.html

No survivors as Ethiopian Airlines crashes with 157 aboard
AFP - Chris STEIN
March 10, 2019

Bishoftu (Ethiopia)

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 crashed Sunday morning en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew on board, state media reported as African leaders offered condolences.

"We hereby confirm that our scheduled flight ET 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in accident today," the airline said in a statement, later confirming a report by Ethiopia's FANA Broadcasting Corp that there were no survivors.

"It is believed that there were 149 passengers and eight crew on board the flight," it said.

The airline has not provided information on passengers' nationalities but there are reports people from 33 countries were on board. The crash came on the eve of a major, annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme opening in Nairobi.

State-owned Ethiopian Airlines, Africa's largest carrier, said the plane had taken off at 8:38 am (0538 GMT) from Bole International Airport and "lost contact" six minutes later near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometres (37 miles) southeast of Addis Ababa by road.

The weather in the capital, according to an AFP reporter, was clear when the brand-new Boeing plane, delivered to Ethiopia last year, plane took off.

The Boeing came down near the village of Tulu Fara outside Bishoftu.

An AFP reporter said there was a massive crater at the crash site, with belongings and airplane parts scattered widely.

Rescue crews were retrieving human remains from the wreckage.

Police and troops were on the scene, as well as a crash investigation team from Ethiopia's civil aviation agency.

In the Kenyan capital, family members, friends, and colleagues of passengers were frantically waiting for news at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

"I am still hoping that all is fine, because I have been waiting for my sister since morning and we have not been told anything," Peter Kimani told AFP in the arrivals lounge over an hour after the plane was scheduled to land at 10:25 am local time.

His sister is a nurse who he said had gone to Congo. "She travels a lot on missions."

"We are still expecting our loved one from Addis... we have just received news that there is a plane that has crashed. We can only hope that she is not on that flight."

- Hoping for the best -

Among those waiting, Khalid Ali Abdulrahman received happy news about his son, who works in Dubai.

"I arrived here shortly after 10:00 am and as I waited, a security person approached me and asked me which flight are you waiting for. I answered him quickly because I wanted him to direct me to the arrivals, so I told him Ethiopia, and then he said: 'Sorry, that one has crashed'."

"I was shocked, but shortly after, my son contacted me and told me he is still in Addis and did not board that flight, he is waiting for the second one which has been delayed," Khalid told AFP.

"I am waiting for my colleague, I just hope for the best," added Hannah, a Chinese national.

African Union commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat said he had learnt of the crash "with utter shock and immense sadness.

"Our prayers are with the families of the passengers + crew as authorities search for survivors. I also express our full solidarity with the Govt & people of Ethiopia," he said on Twitter.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office tweeted it "would like to express its deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones."

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta said he was "saddened" by the news, adding: "My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board."

Mahboub Maalim, executive secretary of the IGAD East African bloc, said the region and the world were in mourning.

"I cannot seem to find words comforting enough to the families and friends of those who might have lost their lives in this tragedy," he said in a statement.

For its part, the plane's maker, US giant company Boeing, said it was "aware" of the accident "and is closely monitoring the situation."

Ethiopian Airlines said it would send staff to the accident scene to "do everything possible to assist the emergency services."

It would also set up a passenger information centre and a dedicated telephone number for family and friends of people who may have been on the flight, while Kenya's transport minister said officials would meet and council loved ones waiting at JKIA.

The Boeing 737-800MAX is the same type of plane as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed last October, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

The last major accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was a Boeing 737-800 that exploded after taking off from Lebanon in 2010, killing 83 passengers and seven crew.

According to reports, Boeing delivered the plane to Ethiopian Airlines last November.

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Re: China Grounds 737 MAXs; Cayman and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely

Unread post by bimjim » Mon Mar 11, 2019

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/11/worl ... iopia.html

Ethiopian Airline Crash Updates: Data and Voice Recorders Recovered
The New York Times
March 11, 2019

• The newest version of Boeing’s most popular jet is under intensified scrutiny after the deadly crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on Sunday, leading 22 airlines around the world to ground their 737 Max 8 planes. But at least 12 other carriers, including American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, which are heavy users of the Max 8, continued to fly them on Monday.

• Investigators have not determined the cause of the crash, but the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder have both been recovered, Ethiopian Airlines said. Some circumstances of the crash were similar to one in October in Indonesia that killed 189 people.

• Aviation experts expressed surprise at the vast disparity in experience in the two-person cockpit crew. Ethiopian Airlines said the pilot of Flight 302 had 8,000 hours of flying time but the co-pilot had just 200.

• The pilot sent out a distress call before the crash, which killed all 157 people aboard. The victims were from more than 35 countries and included at least 22 employees of United Nations-affiliated agencies.

• The questions go to the heart of Boeing’s business: The 737 Max is its best-selling model. Boeing shares fell more than 12 percent in early trading on Monday.

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Re: China Grounds 737 MAXs; Cayman and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely

Unread post by bimjim » Mon Mar 11, 2019

https://caribbeannewsservice.com/now/ca ... nes-crash/

Cayman Airways grounds 737 Max-8 planes following Ethiopian Airlines crash
Mar 10, 2019

Cayman Airways has suspended operation of its two new Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.

The action comes on the heels of the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crash on Sunday morning that killed all 157 people onboard.

It was the second crash in six months involving Boeing's new model. There is no confirmation that the two tragedies are connected.

In a statement late Sunday evening Cayman Airways CEO Fabian Whorms said the decision to suspend use of the airplanes takes effect on Monday, March 11.

"While the cause of this sad loss is undetermined at this time, we stand by our commitment to putting the safety of our passengers and crew first by maintaining complete and undoubtable safe operations," he said.

The suspension of the 737 Max 8 planes will remain in place, "until more information is received," said Mr. Whorms.

On Thursday, March 7, Cayman Airways received its second Max 8.

Whorms said, "Cayman Airways is currently working in coordination with both the Boeing Corporation and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) to monitor the investigation into Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302."

In that flight, the 737 Max 8 plane crashed soon after taking off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia en route to Nairobi, Kenya.

Last October, a Lion Air flight that went down over the Java Sea killing all 189 people on board.
Whorms said, "All prudent and necessary actions required for the safe operation of our Max 8’s will be accomplished before the aircraft are returned to service."

Whorms asked for patience from customers as the national flag carrier makes changes to its flight operations.

He said, "some relatively minor, but necessary schedule and capacity changes will be needed over the next few days to manage the flight schedule in instances where the national airline may be short on available aircraft."

The Cayman Airways CEO also extended condolences to those who lost loved ones in the flight 302 crash.

Cayman Airways is the first and only Caribbean airline to have the Max-8 in its fleet.

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Re: China Grounds 737 MAXs; Cayman and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely

Unread post by bimjim » Mon Mar 11, 2019

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47513508

Ethiopian Airlines: 'No survivors' on crashed Boeing 737
10 March 2019

An Ethiopian Airlines jet has crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all on board.

The airline said 149 passengers and eight crew members were on flight ET302 from the Ethiopian capital to Nairobi in Kenya.

It said 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, eight Americans and seven British nationals were among the passengers.

The crash happened at 08:44 local time, six minutes after the months-old Boeing 737 Max-8 took off.

Another plane of the same model was involved in a crash less than five months ago, when a Lion Air flight crashed into the sea near Indonesia with nearly 190 people on board.

Do we know how it happened?

The cause of the disaster is not yet clear. However, the pilot had reported difficulties and had asked to return to Addis Ababa, the airline said.

"At this stage, we cannot rule out anything," Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told reporters at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.

"We cannot also attribute the cause to anything because we will have to comply with the international regulation to wait for the investigation."

Visibility was said to be good but air traffic monitor Flightradar24 reported that the plane's "vertical speed was unstable after take-off".

An eyewitness at the scene told the BBC there was an intense fire as the aircraft hit the ground.

"The blast and the fire were so strong that we couldn't get near it," he said. "Everything is burnt down."

First word of the crash came when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his "deepest condolences" on Twitter.

Recovery operations were under way near the crash site around the town of Bishoftu, which is 60km (37 miles) south-east of the capital.

The plane was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines on 15 November last year. It underwent a "rigorous first check maintenance" on 4 February, the airline tweeted.

Who are the victims?

Mr Gebremariam told the news conference that passengers from more than 30 countries were on board the flight.

He said they included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Italians, eight Chinese, eight Americans, seven Britons, seven French citizens, six Egyptians, five Germans, four Indians and four people from Slovakia.
Media captionSon of Ethiopian Airlines passenger: "I'm still in shock"

Slovak MP Anton Hrnko later confirmed via Facebook that his wife and two children were on the plane.

Three Austrians, three Swedes, three Russians, two Moroccans, two Spaniards, two Poles and two Israelis were also on the flight.

There was also one passenger each from Ireland, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Belgium, Indonesia, Somalia, Norway, Serbia, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.

One person held a UN passport, the airline said. It believed some passengers could have been heading to a session of the UN Environment Assembly which begins in Nairobi on Monday.

A UN source also told Agence France-Presse that "at least a dozen of the victims were affiliated with the UN", and that this may include freelance translators.

World Food Programme executive director David Beasley said seven members of agency staff had died in the crash.

The WFP family mourns today -- @WFP staff were among those aboard the Ethiopian Airlines flight. We will do all that is humanly possible to help the families at this painful time. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Among them was engineer Michael Ryan, a father of two, from Cork, Ireland. Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar said Mr Ryan had been "doing life-changing work in Africa".

One of the Canadian victims was named as Prof Pius Adesanmi, an expert in African studies at Carleton University in Ottawa.

The pilot was named as Senior Captain Yared Getachew who had a "commendable performance" with more than 8,000 hours in the air, the airline said.

The plane's First Officer Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur had 200 flight hours, it added.


What reaction has there been?

Ethiopia has declared Monday a national day of mourning.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said he was "deeply saddened" to hear of the crash, adding: "We join the international community in mourning the loss of so many lives."

UK PM Theresa May tweeted her condolences:
“I was deeply saddened to hear of the devastating loss of life following the plane crash in Ethiopia. At this very difficult time my thoughts are with the families and friends of the British citizens on board and all those affected by this tragic incident.” – PM

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed solidarity with the people of Ethiopia and Kenya, tweeting: "We share their sorrow."

António Guterres, the UN secretary-general, also tweeted about the crash.
Deeply saddened by the news this morning of the plane crash in Ethiopia, claiming the lives of all on board. My heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims — including our own @UN staff — who perished in this tragedy.

African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat expressed "utter shock and immense sadness" while Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said he was "saddened".

Mahboub Maalim, executive secretary of the East African bloc Igad, said the region was in mourning.

"I cannot seem to find words comforting enough to the families and friends of those who might have lost their lives in this tragedy," he said in a statement.

What do we know about the plane?

The 737 Max-8 aircraft is relatively new to the skies, having only been in commercial use since 2017.

Boeing said it was "deeply saddened" by the crash and offered to send a team to provide technical assistance.

Following the Lion Air crash last October, investigators said the pilots had appeared to struggle with an automated system designed to keep the plane from stalling - a new feature of the Boeing 737 Max.

The anti-stalling system repeatedly forced the plane's nose down, despite efforts by pilots to correct this, findings suggest.
There is no suggestion that the Ethiopian Airlines jet suffered similar issues on Sunday.
What about the airline's safety record?

Ethiopian Airlines flies to many destinations in Africa, making it a popular carrier in a continent where many airlines fly only from their home country to destinations outside Africa.

It has a good reputation for safety, although in 2010 one of the company's aeroplanes crashed in the Mediterranean Sea shortly after leaving Beirut.

The incident killed 90 people on board.

The airline's highest fatalities prior to this came in a November 1996 crash during a hijacking on a flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi.

One of the plane's engines stopped when the fuel ran out and although pilots attempted an emergency water landing, they hit a coral reef in the Indian Ocean and 123 of the 175 people on board were killed.

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Re: China Grounds 737 MAXs; Cayman and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely

Unread post by bimjim » Tue Mar 12, 2019

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... crash.html

Doomed Ethiopian Boeing jet 'had smoke pouring from the rear' before 'crashing with a loud boom as luggage and clothes came burning down', killing all 157 on board, witness says
- A witness said he saw the Ethiopian Airlines plane 'swerving and dipping' before crashing near Addis
- Airlines in China, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 jets over safety concerns
- Experts have highlighted the similarities between Sunday's crash and last year's Lion Air disaster in Indonesia
- Rescuers in Ethiopia said they had recovered the aircraft's black box as the country held a day of mourning
- The number of British victims was revised up to nine as it emerged some of them held dual nationality
Julian Robinson and Zoie O'brien and Tim Stickings For Mailonline and Afp
11 March 2019

The doomed Ethiopian Airlines jet 'had smoke pouring from the rear' before coming down 'with a loud boom' in a crash which killed 157 people, a witness has said.

Gebeyehu Fikadu said he saw flight ET302 'swerving and dipping' while 'luggage and clothes came burning down' when it crashed within minutes of take-off from Addis Ababa on Sunday morning.

All 149 passengers and eight crew members on board the Nairobi-bound plane died in the disaster - the second involving a 737 MAX 8 in just five months.

Last October, the same model of plane, operated by Lion Air, crashed in Indonesia, killing 189 people, and experts have highlighted the similarities between the two tragedies.

The Boeing aircraft have been grounded in Indonesia, China and Mexico while U.S. officials said they would take 'immediate action' if they found safety flaws in the planes. Ethiopian Airlines, Cayman Airways and a private South African carrier have also taken the jets out of service.

As Ethiopia marked a day of mourning and the search for remains entered a second day, rescuers said they had recovered the aircraft's black box which is expected to shed light on the cause of the crash.

In addition the number of British victims was revised up to nine on Monday after the Foreign Office discovered that some of them were dual nationals.

Crash witness Gebeyehu Fikadu, 25, told CNN he was collecting firewood nearby when he saw the plane 'swerving'.

He said: 'I was in the mountain nearby when I saw the plane reach the mountain before turning around with a lot of smoke coming from the back and then crashed at this site.

'It crashed with a large boom. When it crashed luggage and clothes came burning down.

'Before it crashed the plane was swerving and dipping with a lot of smoke coming from the back and also making a very loud unpleasant sound before hitting the ground.'

Another witness, Tegegn Dechasa, told AFP 'the plane was already on fire when it crashed to the ground. The crash caused a big explosion.'

Malka Galato, the farmer whose land the plane crashed on, told Reuters he saw small items that looked like paper coming from the plane.

The jet was making a strange noise and made a sudden turn just before it crashed, he said.

Another farmer Sisay Gemechu, added: 'The plane seemed to be aiming to land at a nearby level open field, but crashed before reaching there.'

Boeing said on Monday morning there was no need to issue new guidance to operators of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft based on investigations so far.

But shares in Boeing Co slid nearly 10 per cent in early trading on Monday in one of the firm's worst days on the stock market since 9/11.

The firm had recovered about half its losses by the close of the trading day.

Airlines in Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Indonesia, South Africa, Mexico and other countries said they were suspending operations of their 737 MAX 8 fleets. Pilots from Argentina's Aerolinas Argentinas have refused to fly the aircraft.

According to flight tracking websites, the 'brand new' jet took off at about 8.39am but crashed minutes later having climbed to 8,600ft and reached a ground speed of 383 knots (441mph).

Data revealed the plane's vertical speed - the rate of climb or descent - was 'unstable' and varied from 2,624 feet per minute to minus 1,216 within minutes of take off.

The airline's CEO said the pilot, who had 8,000 hours of flying experience, reported 'difficulties' and had asked for clearance to return to Addis Ababa before the crash.

The MAX 8 is the latest version of the best-selling commercial jet in history and is operated by scores of airlines around the world - including in the UK.

Boeing says it has taken more than 4,700 orders for the single-aisle family of planes which can carry up to 230 passengers.

U.S. aviation officials had issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive warning that pilots of Boeing 737-8 and 737-9 planes 'could have difficulty controlling the airplane' because of a problem with one of its systems.

A faulty sensor could cause 'excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain', the Federal Aviation Administration had warned.

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Re: China Grounds 737 MAXs; Cayman and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Mar 13, 2019

https://www.mro-network.com/airlines/fa ... groundings

FAA Stays Course With Planned MAX Changes, No Groundings
Sean Broderick
Mar 13, 2019

The U.S. FAA is pressing on with planned changes to Boeing 737 MAX aircraft stemming from the October 2018 Lion Air Flight JT610 accident, but has not seen evidence from the recent Ethiopian Airlines MAX 8 accident to take additional steps, such as the precautionary groundings around the globe.

The changes, in the works for months, are being fast-tracked and rolled out on Boeing MAX family aircraft in the coming weeks. Certification flights are thought to be currently underway, using the company's initial 737 MAX 7 model, and FAA plans to have an airworthiness directive mandating the upgrades out by April.

Boeing says the changes include updates to its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law that is under scrutiny in the investigation of the Lion Air Flight 610 (JT610) accident. But the changes go beyond MCAS into the flight control system, and will also affect pilot displays, operations manuals and crew training.

"The enhanced flight control law incorporates angle of attack (AOA) inputs, limits stabilizer trim commands in response to an erroneous angle of attack reading and provides a limit to the stabilizer command in order to retain elevator authority," Boeing said.

FAA viewed the changes as sufficient to correct the issues uncovered in the JT610 probe, and has seen no evidence from the March 10 Ethiopian accident to sway its thinking. There is little evidence to go on, as readouts of the digital flight data and cockpit voice recorders was still in process.

"Following the accident of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing Model 737-8 airplane on March 10, 2019, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as the accredited representative, and the FAA as Technical Advisors, are supporting the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau," FAA said in a March 11 Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community. "The FAA has dispatched personnel to support the investigative authorities in determining the circumstances of this event. All data will be closely examined during this investigation, and the FAA will take appropriate action if the data indicates the need to do so."

FAA's notification emphasized actions taken after JT610, which went down in the Java Sea shortly after takeoff as its crew battled with, among other issues, erroneous data from angle-of-attack (AOA) sensors. Among them: Boeing's plans to modify the 737 MAX FCS, which incorporates MCAS.

MCAS provides automatic nose-down inputs to assist pilots in certain manual, flaps-up flying scenarios, "especially at slow airspeeds and high AOA," Boeing explained in an operators' bulletin issued last November. The MAX’s larger CFM Leap-1B engines create more lift at high angles of attack than the CFM56-7B used on the 737 Next Generation. MCAS was added as a certification requirement to help mitigate this.

MCAS is fed by a single AOA sensor—something that is expected to change as part of Boeing's update. Erroneous data can trigger it, and pilots are supposed to follow a memorized checklist to override it. But the system's reaction in certain error modes may be confusing pilots, and its being looked at in the JT610 investigation.

"In the event of erroneous AOA data, the pitch trim system can trim the stabilizer nose down in increments lasting up to 10 seconds," Boeing explained to operators in a bulletin issued last November, following the JT610 accident. "The nose down stabilizer trim movement can be stopped and reversed with the use of the electric stabilizer trim switches but may restart 5 sec. after the electric stabilizer trim switches are released. Repetitive cycles of uncommanded nose down stabilizer continue to occur unless the stabilizer trim system is deactivated."

Among the theories being considered by JT610 investigators: the aircraft's crew did not fully understand what was happening to its aircraft, and attempted to counteract MCAS with the trim switches, instead of deactivating it with a cutout switch.

Operators and regulators around the world, concerned that MCAS is not well enough understood and is too susceptible to faulty sensor data, have taken the extraordinary step of grounding MAX aircraft without direct evidence of a safety issue. FAA has so far relied on that lack of evidence to justify its decision to keep them flying.

Even if MCAS is considered too risky to be used in service, regulators have at least one option beyond grounding aircraft, a former regulatory official told Aviation Daily. "If MCAS is the problem, disconnect it," the official said. "Establish revised operational limitations that reflect MCAS's unavailability, such as not flying below certain airspeeds, and mandate them until the issue is resolved. There's no need to ground the aircraft."

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Re: China Grounds 737 MAXs; Cayman and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Mar 13, 2019

https://aviationweek.com/commercial-avi ... pian-crash

More Countries Suspend Boeing 737 MAX Flights In Wake Of Ethiopian Crash
Mar 13, 2019
Sean Broderick, Adrian Schofield and Jens Flottau | Aviation Daily

Boeing Anticipates New 737 MAX Software Deployment 'In Coming Weeks'
FAA: No Justification Yet For New 737 MAX Actions



Updated 0900 UTC, Mar. 13, 2019

Airlines and regulators in several more Asia-Pacific nations have suspended operations of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft following the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10.

The latest countries affected by suspensions are Fiji, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, South Korea and Thailand. Already on this list are other countries in the region including Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

India is a particularly significant addition to the list of countries temporarily halting MAX operations, as it has two domestic airlines with these aircraft in their fleets. SpiceJet has 13 737-8s, and Jet Airways has five. However, Jet’s were believed to be already grounded due to lease payment defaults.

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) grounded the 737 MAX aircraft on March 13. It also stated that no MAX aircraft would be allowed to transit Indian airspace after 4p.m local time (10.30 a.m. UTC). The deadline is intended to allow aircraft to be positioned at maintenance facilities and for international flights to reach their destinations, the DGCA said.

South Korea’s Eastar Jet is the only operator of 737 MAX aircraft in that country. The airline on March 12 agreed to suspend operations of its two 737-8s after consultation with South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT). The suspension is effective from March 13. MOLIT had previously asked the carrier to conduct extra inspections and monitoring on MAX aircraft.

Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department said on March 13 that all 737 MAX operations “into, out of and over” its territory will be prohibited from 6p.m. local time. Two airlines fly 737 MAX aircraft into Hong Kong – SpiceJet and Russia’s Globus Airlines. Both carriers have told CAD they will continue service into Hong Kong with other aircraft types.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced it would suspend the operations of the three 737-9s operated by LCC Thai Lion Air. The suspension will begin from midnight on March 13 to allow the aircraft to be positioned in the right airport, and will run through March 20. Most other aviation authorities have not set end dates for their suspensions.

Fiji Airways and Fiji’s Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) have decided to temporarily ground the airline’s two 737-8s “until more information is known” about the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, according to a joint statement. Fiji Airways began operating 737-8s in December 2018.

The wording of the joint statement indicates that the airline and CAAF have taken this action reluctantly. Fiji Airways and CAAF stressed they “continue to have full confidence in the airworthiness of the Boeing 737 MAX.” The aircraft has “proven to be reliable and efficient, and continuous flight data monitoring has not identified any issues that would give rise to a cause for concern.”

Despite this, the temporary grounding was decided “out of deference to the position taken by [other] regulators in our region, and in response to the concerns expressed by the general public.” The decision will be reviewed in light of any new information, the statement said.

Fiji Airways operates its 737-8 to Australia and New Zealand, and both these countries have suspended all MAX operations even though no airlines based there have MAX aircraft in their fleets. Fiji Airways is the only carrier flying 737 MAXs to New Zealand, and the country’s Civil Aviation Authority issued the suspension on March 13 after taking into consideration “the level of uncertainty regarding the cause of the recent Ethiopian Airlines accident plus [CAA’s] review of the aircraft design.”



Updated 19:05 UTC, Mar. 12, 2019

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) decided Mar. 12 to suspend all Boeing 737 MAX flight operations in Europe until further notice.

EASA said in a statement that it has issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) mandating the suspension “as a precautionary measure” and “following the tragic accident of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302.” The agency also issued a safety directive suspending all 737 MAX operations by non-European airlines into and out of the region. Both decisions became effective at 19:00 UTC Mar. 12.

The agency said it is “continuously analyzing the data as it becomes available. The accident investigation is currently ongoing, and it is too early to draw any conclusions as to the cause of the accident.” EASA was referring to the Mar. 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 near Addis Ababa in which all 157 on board were killed. The cockpit voice and flight data recorders have been recovered from the crash site, but data analysis is still pending.

On Oct. 29, 2018, a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 crashed off the Indonesian coast. Early investigation results appear to show the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS), introduced on the MAX, has played a role in the chain of events.

The EASA decision was preceded by individual European Union member states which decided earlier on Mar. 12 to ban 737 MAX operations. The UK went first, followed by Germany and France. Industry sources report serious behind-the-scenes disputes about the unilateral decision by the UK, which appears to have triggered reaction by other countries. Several more followed, including Ireland, Austria and Switzerland.

EASA and FAA typically coordinate action closely, but differ in their reaction to the two Boeing accidents.

In the UK, "the UK Civil Aviation Authority [CAA] has been closely monitoring the situation,” CAA said in a statement. “However, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace.” The CAA added that it remained “in close contact with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and industry regulators globally.”

Germany’s decision was initially announced by Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer in a TV interview and later confirmed by the ministry. German air traffic control provider DFS said the MAX ban in the country was foreseen to last three months. French authority DGAC pointed out that no French airlines operate the MAX, but it would close its airspace for the type as a precaution until further notice.

Before the European authorities Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and China had banned the aircraft. Individual airlines also decided to stop flying the MAX, including Aeromexico, Gol, Icelandair, Ethiopian and Norwegian.

As a reaction, Boeing stated that safety was its “number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets. We’ll continue to engage with them to ensure they have the information needed to have confidence in operating their fleets. The United States Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”

Airlines were suffering a substantial capacity and network impact as a result of the groundings. In Europe, Norwegian was most affected with a fleet of 18 aircraft that it can no longer operate for now. The airline said it is working on reallocating other aircraft on MAX routes, re-booking passengers and combining flights to minimize the impact. All aircraft that were airborne at the time of the decision were to continue to their destination or home base.

Turkish Airlines and TUI, which both have twelve MAXs in service, are also large MAX operators in the region.

FAA stated Mar. 11 that “this investigation has just begun and to date we have not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions.” The authority issued a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC).



Updated 16:30 UTC, Mar. 12, 2019

Pressure on FAA and Boeing is mounting after several European countries—including the UK, France, Germany and Ireland—announced Mar. 12 their decision to ban all Boeing 737 MAX flight operations until further notice.

"The UK Civil Aviation Authority [CAA] has been closely monitoring the situation,” the CAA said in a statement. “However, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace.” The CAA added that it remained “in close contact with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and industry regulators globally.”

Germany’s decision was initially announced by Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer in a TV interview and later confirmed by the ministry. French authority DGAC pointed out that no French airlines operate the MAX, but it would close its airspace for the type as a precaution until further notice.

EASA said it was analyzing the situation and was preparing a decision later in the day.

The moves came in the immediate aftermath of the Mar. 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in which all 157 people on board were killed. The cockpit voice and flight data recorders have been recovered from the crash site, but data analysis is still pending.

Before the European authorities, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and China had banned the aircraft. Individual airlines also decided to stop flying the MAX, including Aeromexico, Aerolineas Argentinas, Gol, Icelandair, Ethiopian and Norwegian.

As a reaction, Boeing stated Mar. 12 that safety was its “number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets. We’ll continue to engage with them to ensure they have the information needed to have confidence in operating their fleets. The United States Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”



Updated 15:00 UTC, Mar. 12, 2019

Malaysia joined Singapore Mar. 12 as the latest Southeast Asia country to suspend all Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights in and out of the country. “The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia with immediate effect is suspending the operations of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft flying to or from Malaysia and transiting in Malaysia until further notice,” Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia CEO Ahmad Nizar Zolfakar said in a statement.

None of Malaysia’s airlines flies the narrowbody, however, according to Nikkei Asian Review. Malaysia Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali urged the country’s sovereign wealth fund, Khazanah, to "revisit" the agreement to purchase 25 737 MAX 8s for Malaysia Airlines.

While Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) ordered the grounding of the country’s 737 MAX 8, it did not prevent other operators from flying in or out of its airspace like restrictions imposed by Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. This restriction meant that LCC Thai Lion Air would not be able to operate its 737 MAX 9 south of Thailand, as the Kingdom’s regulator has not imposed any restrictions at press time.



Updated 09:30 UTC, Mar. 12, 2019

Australia has followed other countries by temporarily suspending Boeing 737 MAX flights, with Fiji Airways the main carrier affected by the decision.

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said the suspension affects all flights into and out of Australia. While no Australian airlines operate MAXs, two foreign carriers – SilkAir and Fiji Airways – fly these aircraft on Australian routes. However, SilkAir’s MAX operations have already been suspended by a similar directive from Singapore authorities.

CASA said it is “working with Fiji Airways to minimize any disruptions and with regulators in Fiji and Singapore.” The Fijian carrier has two 737 MAX aircraft, and these will be replaced on Australian routes by other aircraft types, according to CASA.

The suspension is “in the best interests of safety” and was made “in light of the two recent fatal accidents,” said CASA CEO Shane Carmody. “This is a temporary suspension while we wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 MAX.”

CASA will continue to monitor the situation, and the suspension “will be reviewed as relevant safety information becomes available” from Boeing, the FAA, and accident investigators.



Updated 03:00 UTC, Mar. 12, 2019

Singapore has become the latest country to temporarily suspend operations involving Boeing 737 MAX variants.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said the suspension will take effect from 2 p.m. local time (GMT +8) on March 12. It is halting all operations of the type in and out of Singapore, “in light of two fatal accidents involving Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in less than five months.”

Currently, Singapore Airline’s (SIA) regional arm Silkair is operating six 737-8s, alongside 737-800s. The day before the CAAS decision, SIA had said it was “closely monitoring the situation” regarding the 737-8s.

Other airlines flying the 737-8 into Singapore include China Southern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Shandong Airlines and Thai Lion Air.

“CAAS has been in regular contact with SilkAir on its MAX operations since last year, and has been satisfied that it has been taking appropriate measures to comply with the necessary safety requirements,” said the CAAS statement.

“CAAS will gather more information and review the safety risk associated with the continued operation of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore.” The regulator said it is in close communication with FAA, other regional regulators and Boeing.



Updated 16:30 UTC, Mar. 11, 2019

South Africa's Comair is removing its lone Boeing 737-8 MAX-family aircraft from its schedule, adding to a list of airlines that are parking Boeing's newest single-aisle model until more is known about the Mar. 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737-8.

"Comair has decided to remove its 737 MAX from its flight schedule, although neither regulatory authorities nor the manufacturer has required it to do so," said Wrenelle Stander, executive director of Comair’s airline division. "While Comair has done extensive preparatory work prior to the introduction of the first 737 MAX into its fleet and remains confident in the inherent safety of the aircraft, it has decided temporarily not to schedule the aircraft while it consults with other operators, Boeing and technical experts."

Comair took delivery of its first 737-8 on Feb. 27 and put it into service shortly after. The airline is slated to accept another one this month. It has ordered a total of eight 737 MAX aircraft, and will fly them under its British Airways-branded airline operation. The first sub-Saharan operator to take delivery of a 737 MAX-family model, it also operates 737-400s—which are being replaced by the newest models—and 737-800s.

Investigators are just beginning the probe into the crash of Ethiopian ET302, which went down six minutes into a scheduled flight to Addis Ababa. Of particular interest will be any links to the October 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610. In both accidents, nearly-new 737-8 went down minutes after departure, and following distress calls from their flight crews.

While the investigation has not turned up any definitive links between the two accident sequences, Comair and others have taken the unusual step of grounding the affected fleet until more is understood.



Updated 15:00 UTC, Mar. 11, 2019

China, Indonesia, Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways have temporarily grounded the Boeing 737 MAX 8 following a second crash of the type in less than six months.

An Ethiopian Airlines MAX 8, operating as ET302, crashed Mar. 10 six minutes after departing Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. All 157 passengers and crew were killed. The flight data recorder and cockpit data recorder have both been recovered, according to Ethiopian Airlines.

The MAX was already under scrutiny by Indonesian authorities following the crash of Lion Air JT610 on Oct. 29 in which all 189 people were killed. There has been no indication so far that the two crashes are linked.

Nevertheless, the Indonesian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) late on Mar. 11 said MAX 8s operated by Indonesian airlines would be grounded while additional inspections were carried out. Inspections are to begin as soon as Mar. 12, the DGCA said.

Two Indonesian carriers operate MAX 8s. Lion Air has 10 in its fleet, and Garuda Indonesia has one, according to the DGCA notice. Both carriers have more on order.

The Indonesian DGCA stressed that Boeing and the FAA have said they will advise if any further steps become necessary.

Authorities in China had already moved to ground MAX 8s operated by their carriers, and Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways have done the same with their MAX fleets. Other countries and airlines operating MAX 8s are taking a wait-and-see approach. For example, Singapore’s SilkAir said it was “monitoring the situation closely,” although there has been no change to its current operations – including scheduled MAX flights to China.

Cayman Airways pulled its two MAX 8s from service, with president and CEO Fabian Whorms saying "while the cause of this sad loss is undetermined at this time, we stand by our commitment to putting the safety of our passengers and crew first by maintaining complete and undoubtable safe operations, and as such, we have taken the decision to suspend operations of both our new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, effective from Monday, Mar. 11, 2019, until more information is received.”

Cayman’s second MAX was delivered just a week ago.

Cayman has taken delivery of two MAX 8s—one in November and one last week.

More than 70 MAX 8s are in service with Chinese airlines that include Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, and Hainan Airlines.

The Indonesia JT610 investigation is focusing on the roles of erroneous sensor data, a new flight-control law—the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) that was added to the 737 MAX family design to avoid stall—and how the Lion Air crew responded to what they faced.

Information released by Indonesian investigators show JT610's flight crew struggled to keep the MAX 8s nose up, apparently working to counter MCAS, which was automatically pushing the nose down in response to the erroneous data. A procedure that would override MCAS was apparently not followed by the JT610 crew, though it is unclear how much they understood about the failure sequence. The aircraft crashed into the Java Sea.

In the days after the Lion Air accident, Boeing issued messages to operators expanding on MCAS, and reiterating that the procedure for overriding automatic, repeated, nosedown inputs, remained unchanged from previous 737 models. FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive requiring MAX operators to update their flight manuals with Boeing's MCAS information. Boeing's messages and the mandate did not require any new training or changes to the system.

As of Monday morning, No U.S. airline had indicated it would pull MAX 8s from service. U.S. operators include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. Worldwide, airlines have taken delivery of about 350 MAX 8s, and about 100 of them are affected by voluntary groundings.

However, U.S. Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) president Sara Nelson has formally requested FAA to conduct an investigation into the 737 MAX.

“Crew and passengers are expressing concern about the 737 MAX 8 following a second crash, with similar characteristics to the Lion Air Flight 610 (JT610) crash," Nelson said in a Mar. 11 statement. "While it is important that we not draw conclusions without all of the facts, in the wake of a second accident, regulators, manufacturers, and airlines must take steps to address concerns immediately. AFA is formally requesting the FAA conduct an investigation into the 737 MAX.”

Boeing, FAA and the NTSB are among those participating in both accident investigations.

Boeing has booked more than 5,100 orders for 737 MAX-family aircraft; the first MAX 8 entered service in May 2017.



Updated 14:45 UTC Mar. 11, 2019

Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) President Sara Nelson, while cautioning that it is too early to draw "conclusions without all the facts" from the Mar. 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737-8, is "formally requesting" that the U.S. FAA conduct "an investigation into the 737 Max" in light of two accidents in five months involving the model.

“Crew and passengers are expressing concern about the 737 MAX 8 following a second crash, with similar characteristics to the Lion Air Flight 610 [JT610] crash," Nelson said in a Mar. 11 statement. "While it is important that we not draw conclusions without all of the facts, in the wake of a second accident, regulators, manufacturers, and airlines must take steps to address concerns immediately. AFA is formally requesting the FAA conduct an investigation into the 737 MAX.”

AFA represents nearly 50,000 flight attendants and is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Airlines represented include United Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

Nelson's call comes following groundings ordered by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and multiple airlines, including Ethiopian. No U.S. airline has said it will pull 737-8s from service. U.S. operators include Alaska, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United. Worldwide, airlines have taken delivery of about 350 737-8s, and about 100 of them are affected by voluntary groundings.

Investigators recovered the flight data and cockpit voice recorders from the Ethiopian Flight ET302 accident site near Addis Ababa just hours before Nelson's call for a probe into the aircraft type. Groundings are being taken in a precautionary move while investigators work to identify a basic chain of events in the Ethiopian accident and compare it to what is known about the October 2018 crash of JT610, a Lion Air 737-8.

Both accidents occurred shortly after takeoff in good weather, including distress calls from pilots, and ended with the aircraft descending at a rapid speed. So far, however, no links have been made tying the two accidents together that suggest the newest 737 poses a safety risk.

Following the Lion Air accident, Boeing and FAA reviewed some 737-8 flight-control systems and issued one mandatory directive calling attention to certain procedures for handling automatic nose-down inputs that the Max can make during manual flight. No changes to the aircraft, its operation, or training were ordered.

Boeing, FAA and the NTSB are among those participating in both accident investigations.



Updated 1230 UTC Mar. 11, 2019

Airline operators are temporarily grounding Boeing 737 MAX 8s following the fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 on Mar. 10.

Flight ET302 crashed six minutes after departing Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. All 157 passengers and crew were killed. The flight data recorder and cockpit data recorder have both been recovered, according to Ethiopian Airlines.

Following earlier decisions by Ethiopian Airlines, Cayman Airways, all Chinese carriers and Royal Air Maroc to ground their fleets, the Indonesian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) late on Mar. 11 said 737 MAX 8s operated by Indonesian airlines would be grounded while additional inspections are carried out. Inspections are to begin as soon as Mar.12, the DGCA said.

Two Indonesian carriers operate 737 MAX 8s. Lion Air has 10 in its fleet, and Garuda Indonesia has one, according to the DGCA notice. Both carriers have more on order.

Boeing 737 MAX 8s have already received extra scrutiny by Indonesian authorities following the crash of Lion Air JT610 on Oct. 29. There has been no indication so far that the two crashes are linked.

The Indonesian DGCA stressed that Boeing and the FAA have said they will advise if any further steps become necessary.

Boeing has booked more than 5,100 orders for 737 MAX-family aircraft and delivered about 350. The first 737 MAX 8 entered service in May 2017.



Updated 0600 UTC Mar. 11, 2019

Operators Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways, as well as all Chinese carriers have grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8s until more is known about the Mar. 10 Ethiopian accident in Addis Ababa—the second fatal accident involving the aircraft type in less than five months.

Ethiopian's decision to ground its four remaining 737 MAX 8s came about 23 hr. after Flight ET302, a three-month-old 737 MAX 8, crashed six minutes after departing Bole International Airport early Mar. 10 Addis Ababa time.

"Ethiopian Airlines has decided to ground all B-737-8 MAX fleet effective yesterday March 10, 2019 until further notice," the airline said Mar. 11. "Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution."

China's groundings come via a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) order issued Mar. 11 "requesting domestic transportation airlines to suspend the commercial operation" of 737-8s by 6p.m. CAAC cited "the management principle of zero tolerance for safety hazards and strict control of safety risks" in making the move, adding that both 737-8 accidents occurred "in the take-off phase" and "have certain similarities."

CAAC said it "will contact the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing Company" and clear airlines to resume 737 MAX 8 operations "after confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety."

More than 90 737 MAX 8s are in service with Chinese operators, including Air China, China Eastern, China Southern and Hainan Airlines.

Cayman Airways President and CEO Fabian Whorms said the carrier "stands by our commitment to putting the safety of our passengers and crew first by maintaining complete and undoubtable safe operations, and as such, we have taken the decision to suspend operations of both our new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, effective from Monday, March 11, 2019, until more information is received."

Cayman has taken delivery of two 737 MAX 8s—one in November and one last week. Its fleet also includes three 737-300s, Aviation Week's Fleet Discovery shows.

"We offer our valued customers our continued assurance that all prudent and necessary actions required for the safe operation of our MAX 8s will be accomplished before the aircraft are returned to service," he said, adding that "some relatively minor, but necessary schedule and capacity changes will be needed over the next few days to manage the flight schedule."

Other operators of 737 MAX 8s are holding off grounding aircraft. Singapore-based SilkAir said it is "monitoring the situation closely" regarding the 737 MAX 8s, but for now the aircraft will continue to operate as scheduled, including on flights to China.

Ethiopian Flight ET302 crashed about 6 min. into a scheduled flight to Nairobi. The flight crew requested a return to Addis Ababa, but the aircraft disappeared from radar soon after. All 149 passengers and eight crew were killed.

The accident is the second of a newly delivered 737 MAX 8 in just more than four months. The first, Lion Air Flight 610 (JT610), took place on Oct. 29, 2018, near Jakarta, Indonesia, and killed all 189 people on board.

The Ethiopian accident probe is just beginning, and there is no evidence linking the two 737 MAX 8 accidents.

The JT610 investigation is focusing on the roles of erroneous sensor data, a new flight-control law—the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that was added to the 737 MAX family design to help the aircraft handle like 737NGs—and how the Lion Air crew responded to what they faced.

Information released by Indonesian investigators show JT610's flight crew struggled to keep the 737 MAX 8's nose up, apparently working to counter MCAS, which was automatically pushing the nose down in response to the erroneous data. A procedure that would over-ride MCAS was apparently not followed by the JT610 crew, although it is unclear how much they understood about the failure sequence. The aircraft dove into the Java Sea.

In the days after the Lion Air accident, Boeing issued messages to operators expanding on MCAS, and reiterating that the procedure for overriding automatic, repeated, nose-down inputs remained unchanged from previous 737 models. The FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive requiring MAX operators to update their flight manuals with Boeing's MCAS information. Boeing's messages and the mandate did not call for any new training or changes to the system itself.

Boeing did not respond to a request for comment.

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Re: China Grounds 737 MAXs; Cayman and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Mar 14, 2019

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/13/70293689 ... wasnt-alon

FAA Grounds Boeing 737 Max Planes In U.S., Pending Investigation
March 13, 2019

The Federal Aviation Administration says it is temporarily grounding all Boeing 737 Max aircraft operated by U.S. airlines or in U.S. territory.

The announcement Wednesday afternoon follows decisions by many other countries to ground the planes after 157 people died in Sunday's crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8.

"The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft's flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders," the FAA said in a statement. "The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today. This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA this morning, led to this decision."

The flight recorders from Flight 302 were being flown to France on Wednesday night, FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell said. The data from the boxes has not yet been pulled out by investigators.

"Ethiopia has the capability to read boxes, but these are too damaged," Elwell said. "There is special equipment that is capable of reading data off damaged boxes, and we're going to get the boxes to a country where that can be done as soon as possible."

The emergency order is effective immediately. Any Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 planes that were in flight when the order was issued "may proceed to and complete their soonest planned landing" — but they were not permitted to take off again. The order remains in effect until the FAA rescinds or modifies it.

The FAA says it made the decision on the basis of new information it discovered in the course of investigating wreckage from the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. The agency says there are 74 Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 planes registered in the U.S., and 387 worldwide.

In a statement Wednesday, Boeing said it "continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX."

"However, after consultation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and aviation authorities and its customers around the world, 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."

For days, the FAA had said the planes are safe to fly. Major U.S. airlines such as Southwest also expressed confidence in the plane.

Southwest said in a statement following the order that it has removed its 34 Max 8s from service, noting that the aircraft account for less than 5 percent of its daily flights. The airline said that while it remains confident in the planes, it supported the actions of the FAA and other regulators that are investigating the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

American Airlines said it had been informed earlier Wednesday that the entire Boeing 737 Max fleet would be grounded. The emergency order will affect 14 of the airline's planes, which account for about 40 flights a day.

The FAA said Monday that it would require Boeing to improve how the 737 Max flight control systems work, along with other design changes.

After Sunday's crash, Ethiopian Airlines grounded its four remaining 737 Max 8 planes. Dozens of countries, including Germany and China, also grounded their airlines' 737 Max 8s. In some places, such as India, Australia and the European Union, aviation authorities have banned the entire 737 Max family of planes from their airspace.

Canada took action Wednesday, with Transport Minister Marc Garneau announcing restrictions barring "any air operator, both domestic and foreign," from flying the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 through Canadian airspace. Air Canada has taken delivery of 23 of the 737 Max planes, according to Boeing.

Despite previous reassurances in the U.S. about safety, concerns have continued to mount.

Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, told NPR on Wednesday morning that he was beginning to be concerned about the safety of the 737 Max 8.

"Yesterday was the first time I started to really have concerns myself, because I've worked with the British investigators and regulators," he said. "I've also worked with the German investigators. And I have the highest regard for them. These are not folks that would make haphazard judgments. So, I am concerned that some of the finest regulatory and investigative groups have now called for the grounding."

Goelz said the FAA — which has sent a team of investigators to the crash site in Ethiopia — is "data-driven" and doesn't make decisions on anecdotal evidence. "They really have a close working and regulatory relationship with Boeing," he said.

The U.S. aviation system is essentially governed through cooperative and voluntary relationships between the government and manufacturers, Goelz said. "There are not enough inspectors on the payroll to really have a 'Gotcha!' oversight. So they cooperate very closely. And it's a relationship that encourages the admittance of mistakes, it's a relationship that has given us a very great system. But in times like this, it's a relationship that certainly people question."

Those questions include speculation about whether Boeing executives might have tried to influence the Trump administration in an effort to tamp down safety concerns about the 737 Max 8 — the fastest-selling plane in Boeing's history, with more than 5,000 ordered.

The FAA's grounding order affects 737 Max 8s and 9s. Boeing's Max 7 is still being tested and hasn't entered service yet, and the Max 10 is in development.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has spoken directly to Trump about the crash, according to Reuters, which notes that the two men have also spoken several times in the past — including negotiations over the price of the new Air Force One. The news agency also notes that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was a longtime Boeing manager. And Nikki Haley, Trump's former U.N. ambassador, has been nominated to join Boeing's board.

U.S. pilots criticized Boeing in the wake of the disaster in October, in which 189 people died when an Indonesian Lion Air flight crashed. The pilots said the plane-maker had not provided enough information or training about a critical aspect of its new flight control system, as NPR's David Schaper reported in November.

The pilot of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 reported having flight control problems with the Boeing 737 Max 8 in the minutes before it crashed, airline CEO Tewolde GebreMariam says, providing new details about the disaster that killed 157 people on Sunday.

Pilot Yared Getachew, who had more than 8,000 flight hours of experience, "was having difficulties with the flight control" and requested a return to the airport in Addis Ababa, GebreMariam told CNN, citing recordings of communications between the plane and air traffic controllers.

Clearance for an immediate return was granted. But the plane didn't make it back, crashing just six minutes after takeoff and stoking concerns about the Max 8 passenger jet — which was involved in another deadly crash under similar circumstances in Indonesia less than five months ago.

The investigation into the Ethiopian crash is still in its early stages, and experts have warned against drawing conclusions, despite similarities between the two deadly disasters.

In both disasters, flight tracking data shows the pilots struggled to keep their aircrafts' noses up and maintain altitude — an issue that U.S. regulators sought to address late last year, sending an emergency directive for all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 planes and warning of an "unsafe condition" that could lead to "excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain."

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered changes to the planes' flight manuals and procedures in November — and Ethiopian Airlines says it followed those guidelines.

"There was an AD [airworthiness directive] released by Boeing" that was circulated to the airline's pilots, GebreMariam said, referring to the emergency airworthiness directive that came out shortly after the Lion Air crash.

"There was also a briefing on the AD," the CEO said. "So yes, the pilots were well-briefed on the airworthiness directive."

Several U.S. pilots who reported having trouble controlling Boeing 737 Max planes early in their flights used NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System to flag issues they encountered.

"In two cases, pilots flying in the U.S. late last year had their planes pitch down unexpectedly after departures. Both times, the crew disengaged the autopilot and were able to keep flying safely," NPR's Russell Lewis reports. "In a third report, a pilot complained that the Boeing 737 MAX's flight manual was inadequate and 'almost criminally insufficient.' "

On Tuesday, the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines' 15,000 pilots, issued a statement saying the union "remains confident in the Boeing 737 Max and in our members' ability to safely fly it." The group said its pilots "have the necessary training and experience to troubleshoot problems and take decisive actions on the flight deck to protect our passengers and crew."

While the union endorsed the continued use of the 737 Max, it added, "The flying public should also be aware that American Airlines' Boeing 737 Max planes are unique."

"The two dozen 737 Max aircraft in the American Airlines fleet are the only ones equipped with two AOA [Angle of Attack] displays, one for each pilot, providing an extra layer of awareness and warning," the union said.

Those displays could be crucial in avoiding a sudden downward pitch, which Boeing and the FAA have acknowledged as a risk in the airworthiness bulletin that was issued shortly after the crash of Lion Air Flight 610.

The airworthiness directive said Boeing had found that the automated anti-stall system on its 737 Max 8 and Max 9 models can be triggered by a sensor reporting an erroneously high angle of attack — meaning the system believes the nose is too high and the plane is stalling, even though it's not.

The problem presents "a potential for repeated nose-down trim commands," the directive states, noting, "This condition, if not addressed, could cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane" and possibly resulting in a crash.

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Re: China Grounds 737 MAXs; Cayman and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Mar 14, 2019

https://www.dallasnews.com/business/air ... afety-flaw

Several Boeing 737 Max 8 pilots in U.S. complained about suspected safety flaw
Cary Aspinwall Ariana Giorgi Dom DiFurio
2019/03/12

Pilots repeatedly voiced safety concerns about the Boeing 737 Max 8 to federal authorities, with one captain calling the flight manual "inadequate and almost criminally insufficient" several months before Sunday's Ethiopian Air crash that killed 157 people, an investigation by The Dallas Morning News found.

The News found five complaints about the Boeing model in a federal database where pilots can voluntarily report about aviation incidents without fear of repercussions.

The complaints are about the safety mechanism cited in preliminary reports about an October Boeing 737 Max 8 crash in Indonesia that killed 189.

The disclosures found by The News reference problems with an autopilot system, and they all occurred during the ascent after takeoff. Many mentioned the plane suddenly nosing down. While records show these flights occurred in October and November, the airlines the pilots were flying for is redacted from the database.

Records show that a captain who flies the Max 8 complained in November that it was "unconscionable" that the company and federal authorities allowed pilots to fly the planes without adequate training or fully disclosing information about how its systems were different from those on previous 737 models.

The captain's complaint was logged after the FAA released an emergency airworthiness directive about the Boeing 737 Max 8 in response to the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia.

An FAA spokesman said the reports found by The News were filed directly to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which serves as a neutral third party for reporting purposes.

Tuesday evening, the FAA issued a statement from acting Administrator Daniel K. Elwell saying that the agency "continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 MAX."

"Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft. Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action," the statement said.

A federal audit in 2014 said that the FAA does not collect and analyze its voluntary disclosure reporting in a way that would effectively identify national safety risks.

U.S. regulators are mandating that Boeing upgrade the plane's software by April but have so far declined to ground the planes. China, Australia and the European Union have grounded the 737 Max 8, leaving the U.S. and Canada as the only two countries flying a substantial number of the aircraft.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who leads a Senate subcommittee overseeing aviation, said in a statement Tuesday that U.S. authorities should ground the planes.

"Further investigation may reveal that mechanical issues were not the cause, but until that time, our first priority must be the safety of the flying public," the Republican said.

At least 18 carriers — including American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, the two largest U.S. carriers flying the 737 Max 8 — have also declined to ground planes, saying they are confident in the safety and "airworthiness" of their fleets. American has 24 of the planes, and Southwest has 34.

"The United States should be leading the world in aviation safety," said John Samuelsen, president of a union representing transport workers that called Tuesday for the planes to be grounded. "And yet, because of the lust for profit in the American aviation, we're still flying planes that dozens of other countries and airlines have now said need to be grounded."

The complaint from the captain who called into question the 737 Max 8's flight manual ended: "The fact that this airplane requires such jury rigging to fly is a red flag. Now we know the systems employed are error-prone — even if the pilots aren't sure what those systems are, what redundancies are in place and failure modes. I am left to wonder: what else don't I know?"

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, was included on the Max 8 model as a safety mechanism that would automatically correct for a plane entering a stall pattern. If the plane loses lift under its wings during takeoff and the nose begins to point far upward, the system kicks in and automatically pushes the nose down.

After the Lion Air crash, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive that said: "This condition, if not addressed, could cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane, and lead to excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain."

Officials have not yet determined what caused Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to nose-dive into the ground Sunday, but many experts have noted similarities between this week's crash and the one in Indonesia.

A spokesperson for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines told The News that it hasn't received any reports of issues with MCAS from its pilots, "nor do any of our thousands of data points from the aircraft indicate any issues with MCAS."

American Airlines emailed a statement to The News Tuesday night saying that it believes the Max 8 planes are safe, that its pilots are well-trained to fly them, and that the Fort Worth-based company has not "had similar issues regarding an erroneous angle of attack during manual flight."

The FAA issued a statement to The News on Tuesday saying it was "collecting data and keeping in contact with international civil aviation authorities as information becomes available."

"The FAA continuously assesses and oversees the safety performance of U.S. commercial aircraft," the statement said. "If we identify an issue that affects safety, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action."

Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said in a news release Monday night: "We fully support Southwest Airlines' decision to continue flying the MAX and the FAA's findings to date."

Boeing, which posted a record $101 billion in revenue last year, issued a new statement Tuesday saying that no grounding of planes was necessary. "Based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators," the company said.

Samuelsen, of the transport workers union, said it's "unconscionable" that the FAA has not yet grounded the planes in the U.S., given the number of deaths that have occurred.

"This pressure should not be on these pilots to overcome an engineering flaw that Boeing themselves acknowledges," he said.

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Re: China Grounds 737 MAXs; Cayman and Ethiopian Suspend Indefinitely

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Mar 14, 2019

https://www.thedailybeast.com/ethiopian ... law-before

The FAA Let Boeing Get Away With Fatal Flaw Before
Once the world’s benchmark for making flying safer, the agency hasn’t been doing its job for years. This isn’t even the first time it let a dangerous plane fly.
Clive Irving
03.14.19

The fact that it has taken President Trump to override his own government’s transportation officials in order to ground the Boeing 737 MAX-8 is an indication that Boeing and the world’s largest regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, have become too close and too complacent about the role of technology in airline safety.

When Canada, with the world’s third largest fleet of MAX-8s, grounded them the FAA was left starkly alone in refusing to act. The Canadians said they acted because new data on the crash Sunday of Ethiopian Airways Flight 302 appeared to confirm similarities with the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 last October.

That data came from a new satellite-based flight tracking system still in testing that was developed as an answer to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Aireon delivered data on the erratic path taken by the Ethiopian jet that the Canadians decided followed the same pattern seen in the final minutes of the Lion Air flight.

The same data was provided to the FAA but they did not respond to it with the same urgency shown by the Canadian regulator.

A total of 346 people died in the two crashes and both are believed to involve a flaw in flight controls that forced the airplanes into a nosedive.

The widely held idea that the FAA is the gold standard of aviation regulatory agencies is another of those misplaced beliefs in American primacy based on history rather than current reality.

It is true that as the Jet Age was created and grew through a series of brilliant American innovations which set a world standard for the machines that transformed world travel the FAA was an important part of that process.

As each leap in design and technology was taken, the FAA developed the world’s most rigorous rules for ensuring passenger safety. Inevitably there was a mutual learning curve between the regulators and the manufacturers.

That learning curve was driven by the response to crashes. As each flaw was identified and rectified the rate of fatal crashes was steadily reduced over decades until, in 2017, a remarkable level of safety was reached—in that year for the first time there was not one fatal crash involving a commercial flight in the whole world.

Much of this achievement was due to reaching a careful balance between technology and pilots’ skills. It’s often feared that technology has taken over too much from the human factor, a view reflected in Trump’s tweet that “airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly.”

In fact, technology provides pilots with a level of situational awareness and critical alerts that was unimaginable at the start of the Jet Age.

And that is precisely what makes the MAX-8 catastrophes both anomalous and—probably—egregious. Two such serious crashes within months of each other have reversed what seemed to be an endlessly incremental refinement of airline safety regimes.

After the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 last October a highly experienced pilot told me: “Aviation will move on from this accident, but it represents a watershed event for considering what future pilots will be expected to do, and for what they will or will not be assumed to do.”

There is a precursor for the way both the FAA and Boeing have closed ranks to resist grounding a jet with potentially fatal flaws.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was a quantum leap in technology, introducing a new level of efficiency for airlines and a new level of comforts for passengers. And it has delivered: the 787 is now so highly rated by frequent flyers that they choose an airline according to whether it offers a 787.

But when it first went into airline service the 787 was swiftly overtaken by a problem so serious that it was grounded for three months. The problem was in a new technology that used large lithium-ion batteries to power the airplane’s electrical systems.
“FAA inspectors embedded at the Boeing plant in Seattle certified that the 787 was safe to fly.”

Two Japanese airlines, ANA and Japan Airlines, were first adopters of the 787, and both had serious incidents that led to the grounding. In January, 2013, a Japan Airlines 787 parked at a gate at Boston Logan Airport suffered a battery fire that. took almost two hours to quell.

Nine days later an ANA 787 on a Japanese domestic flight had to make a rapid emergency descent when smoke from a battery fire entered the passenger cabin.

Both airlines then grounded their 787s and on the same day the FAA ordered all U.S. airlines flying the 787 to ground them.

Before these incidents the Boeing CEO, James McNerney, said that the 787’s problems were normal for a new airplane. However, both Boeing and the FAA had known years earlier how serious a battery fire could be to the 787.

In 2010 a 787 on a test flight with more than a score of technicians on board suffered a battery failure so severe that the pilots lost the primary flight displays and auto-throttle controls. The jet made an emergency landing at Laredo, Texas. The pilots and technicians made an emergency evacuation on the runway, using slides. “If this had happened at 25,000 feet we might be talking about something much more serious” said one observer.

Nonetheless, FAA inspectors embedded at the Boeing plant in Seattle certified that the 787 was safe to fly.

In 2013, after the grounding, the National Transportation Board began an investigation into the batteries and their installation in the electronics bay.

The batteries were manufactured in Japan by GS Yuasa. The fires were caused by thermal runaways triggered by a short-circuit and were the result of poor quality controls at the Japanese plant. Industry experts warned the NTSB that battery development had moved faster than regulators could keep up with. One said that the battery technology was “very immature.”

Then why had the FAA inspectors not seen the problem? The standards the FAA used to certify the batteries were out of date before they were promulgated.

As a fix Boeing enclosed the batteries in a steel box. At the same time manufacturing of the batteries was put under stricter quality controls.

While the investigation was going on I interviewed the then-chief of the NTSB, Deborah Hersman. The NTSB has always been a strongly independent agency and Hersman was notable for the tough public stance she took about the 787 problems.

She said, “What we are seeing in the 787 investigation really raises questions about the certification process—what people should have known at the time… what did they know in 2007, because we know a lot more now.”

And she issued a warning that resonates today: “The most frustrating thing for our investigators is, if they go into another accident where they know that if their initial recommendations had been implemented this wouldn’t have happened. “

Hersman gave a specific example: the crash of a ValuJet flight in 1996 in the Florida Everglades that killed all 110 people aboard, caused by the explosion of an oxygen cylinder in the cargo hold. The NTSB had previously warned about hazardous materials in cargo bays but had been ignored by the FAA. “After that, we got the response,” said Hersman, “Things that are mandated take a very, very long time to be adopted.”

Another former leader of the NTSB, Peter Goelz, told NPR’s Morning Edition on Wednesday, responding to questions about the FAA’s handling of the MAX-8 crisis, “There are not enough inspectors on the payroll for ‘gotcha’oversight.”

He added that when European regulators grounded the MAX-8 he had such respect for them that it led him for the first time to be concerned about the safety of the MAX-8.

Boeing’s months of stonewalling after the Indonesian crash followed the pattern set during the early months of concerns about the safety of the batteries on the 787. At times it seemed more like an exercise in corporate damage control than a willingness to concede that, at the very least, they had erred in not disclosing to pilots that the airplane had, buried deep inside its avionics software, a problem that could, if not understood, endanger the airplane.

At first the FAA went along with Boeing’s assertion that the Lion Air pilots were to blame because they failed to recognize what was causing the airplane’s controls to force down the nose—a system left out of the flight manual—and failed to resort to flying the airplane manually.

Astonishingly, neither Boeing nor the FAA showed any sense of urgency about grasping and dealing with the airplane’s obvious defects. But eventually the FAA broke from the Boeing line and insisted that pilot training and manuals should be revised to include the suspect system.

Even then the FAA remained in lockstep with Boeing in resisting grounding the airplane until President Trump took the decision himself—bipartisan pressure from lawmakers was eventually more persuasive than a phone call from Boeing chief Dennis Muilenburg who had assured Trump that the airplane was safe.

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