A report by CNN has indicted aircraft manufacturer, Boeing Co of complicity in the two crashes involving its new 737 Max models.
In the report, it said the company was aware of a fault on its 737 Max models long before the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes that claimed the lives of many passengers and crew members.
The report stated that engineers had earlier identified a problem with one of the systems on the 737 Max, but chose to ignore it.
According to the report, if the level of effort invested after the Ethiopian Airlines crash was the same after the Lion Air crash, perhaps Boeing‘s aircraft would have been grounded worldwide to detect the fault and fix the problem. Unfortunately, both Boeing and FAA didn’t interfere.
In 2017, the 737 Max display system software did not correctly meet the AOA Disagree alert requirements. This discovery was made by Boeing engineers after 737 Max deliveries had already begun.
Reacting to the report, Boeing said the senior leadership of the company and the Federal Aviation Administration were only aware of the faulty system (MCAS) after the Lion Air crash. Yet, both parties did not intervene in the fleet’s operations until the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March 2019.
The aircraft manufacturer concluded that the alert function was not necessary for the safe operation of the air-plane. It did not, however, flight-test what would happen to the MCAS system if the single AOA sensor failed.
Boeing‘s engineers didn’t immediately fix the problem, stating that the then functionality of the plane was acceptable until the next planned display system software update.
Boeing‘s original software design was criticised by the company’s former engineers and aviation analysts, for relying on data from a single AOA sensor, claiming that those devices are vulnerable to defects.
All 737 Max models will now have an operable alert system, Boeing said, adding that it will also come with an optional angle of attack indicator. While customers with the already delivered 737 Max planes will be able to activate the alert.