Justin Norris | Staff Writer
Ted S. Warren | Associated Press
Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed March 10, killing all passengers and crew, 157 people in total. The flight was headed from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Nairobi, Kenya. According the New York Times’ reporting, the plane accelerated and oscillated wildly shortly after takeoff. Unfortunately, as air traffic control workers were trying to pinpoint the cause of the plane’s malfunctions, the aircraft crashed within minutes of its departure.
This tragedy marks the second Boeing 737 Max jet to crash in the past six months. Lion Air Flight 610 from Jakarta crashed in the Java Sea in October 2018. That flight claimed the lives of 189 persons on board. As a result, all 371 Boeing 737 Max jets flown worldwide have been grounded pending further investigation.
A New York Times story reported that preliminary investigations have found evidence that connects the two incidents. Two people with knowledge of the recovery operations revealed that the Ethiopian Airlines jet’s stabilizers were tilted upwards at the time of the crash, meaning that the plane nosedived into the ground. The observation is consistent with the result of the Lion Air crash in October of last year. This potential breakthrough in evidence hints that both planes’ newly automated system—which was designed to prevent stalling—was faulty. To make matters worse, the Federal Aviation Administration stated that physical evidence has been discovered from the crash, combined with satellite tracking data poses similarities between the fatalities.
Boeing is working on a software update for the 737 Max jet that should debut in April. Despite the Boeing and the FAA’s defense of the safety of the aircraft, the software update will modify aspects related to the automated system that is suggested to have triggered these incidents.
In a CNBC report, the aircraft maker stated that the software update will “make an already safe aircraft even safer.”
Deshaun Diggs, a sophomore aviation major from Nashville, thinks that Boeing should be very careful about how the company handles this sensitive situation.
“I think that Boeing needs to take full responsibility for what happened if they are at fault,” Diggs said. “This situation is going to get worse before it gets better, now that there is new evidence that draws similarities between the two plane crashes. The same type of jet should not malfunction fatally twice in less than half a year, especially not in a similar fashion. Their stock has already dropped 8 percent, and they are going to need strong leadership and transparency to get through this PR crisis.”