The Analysis report of the data from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) of an Ethiopian 737MAX flight ET320 that crashed on 10 March, showed “clear similarities” with an earlier crash of the Lion Air flight JT610 that crashed last October. a spokesperson for the Ethiopian Transport Ministry has confirmed.
(BEA) Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses of France, which analysed the FDR said, “the data contained in the FDR were successfully uploaded and delivered to the Ethiopian investigation team.”
Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges told journalists “Clear similarities were noted between Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610, which would be the subject of further study during the investigation,”… and that a preliminary report would be released within 30 days.
In respond, Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement “…While investigators continue to work to establish definitive conclusions, Boeing is finalizing its development of a previously-announced software update and pilot training revision that will address the MCAS flight control law’s behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs…”
Ethiopian Flight ET302
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 with 149 passengers and 8 crew on flight ET302, took off at 08:38 AM. As soon as the flight ET302 took off, the captain of the aircraft reported an issue with the aircraft, and subsequently requested permission to return to Addis Ababa Airport.
As ATC allowed the aircraft to return, at 08:44 airplane completely disappeared from radars. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 had crashed near the town of Bishoftu, around 60 kilometers from Addis Ababa. The captain and the first officer had 8000 and 200 flight hours respectively.
Lion Air flight JT610
The Lion Air Boeing 737MAX8, took off from Jakarta airport at 23:20 GMT on 28 October.(29 local date).
At 23:21 co-pilot asks ATC to confirm the plane’s altitude, and flags a “flight control problem”.
23:22, The plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) pushes the plane’s nose down for 10 seconds. The flight crew correct this by manually pitching the nose up.
Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) is an automated safety feature on the 737 Max 8 designed to prevent the plane from entering into a stall, or losing lift.
23:22 – The co-pilot asks for the aircraft’s ground speed as shown on radar display.
23:25 – The MCAS again pitch down the nose, and crew correct manually. This sequence continues for the rest of the flight.
23:29 – The air traffic controller notices that the flight appears to be descending, while the co-pilot reporting flight control problem and flying the plane manually.
23:30 – The crew requested land and ATC prepare to land back on runway 25L.
23:31 – The crew say they cannot determine the altitude of the plane, because all the aircraft instruments are indicating different altitudes. They ask the arrivals controller to block the air space 3,000 ft above and below them so they can avoid other traffic. The controller approves this request.
23:31 – Airplane disappeared from radars…
The Captain had over 6,000 flying hours, while his second-in-command had more than 5,100 hours.
In both cases, flight tracking data showed the aircraft’s altitude had fluctuated sharply, as the planes seemed to experience erratic climbs and descents.