Ethiopian collapse: investigators at work, Boeing rushes to find solutions


Before knowing the causes of the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX, the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing was rushing to modify the anti-stall system of its aircraft, suspected of having played a role in the tragedy of flight ET 302 and already implicated in the drama of the Indonesian airline Lion Air at the end of October.

Boeing is expected to modify the flight stabilization system designed to prevent the aircraft from stalling, known as the "MCAS" (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) in ten days, reported in the Lion Air 737 MAX 8 accident. who made 189 deaths, told AFP on Friday two sources close to the case.

These sources said he did not foresee the causes of the Ethiopian Airlines accident that killed 157 people on Sunday.

The black boxes of the Ethiopian company are deciphered and analyzed by French investigators near Paris, to try to clarify the causes of the tragedy whose similarities with the Lion Air accident have led the authorities all over the world to nail the earth to the ground. Entire fleet of 737 MAX.

The American aircraft manufacturer had started developing a solution for the MCAS after the Lion Air accident, explaining one of the sources to AFP. It would be ready and the change would take about two hours per device, he added.

Contacted by AFP, Boeing declined to comment.

– Very damaged data logger –

Boeing held a conference call on Thursday with at least three 737 MAX customer companies and gave them the solution, the second source said. He should inform other companies' customers early next week, he said.

The Ethiopian delegation led by the head of the Accident Investigation Bureau arrived on Friday at the French Investigation and Analysis Office (BEA) to begin the investigation process.

For now, nothing has filtered over the precious contents of the two black boxes that were damaged during the impact on the ground. One (Flight Data Recorder, FDR) contains all the flight parameters, the other (CVR, Cockpit Voice Recorder), conversations and alarms in the cockpit.

In total, ten people from the BEA are mobilized. The work on the FDR could last until Saturday, tweeting the BEA, located near Paris and known for its expertise in investigating aircraft accidents.

The Ethiopian authorities have asked him to investigate the accident, because they are unable to examine these boxes.

Made by American L3 technologies, these come from a new technology, like the aircraft they equip.

The photo published by BEA on Twitter shows a particularly damaged FDR. But these recorders are designed to withstand extreme shocks. This "does not bode well for the integrity of the data they contain," said a former BEA official.

And if the data has been partially deleted, BEA could contact the box manufacturer to reconstruct all or part of it.

The US agency responsible for transport safety (NTSB) has sent three investigators to France to participate in the work, a usual procedure as it is an American manufacturer.

And, to make the process transparent and prevent future challenges, France and Ethiopia signed an agreement on Friday to "formalize the work done on the recorders".

Due to the flight ban, Boeing suspended deliveries of the 737 MAX and continued production at an unchanged rate of 52 per month.

– Panic –

The US Aviation Agency (FAA) ordered Wednesday to temporarily stop "Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 in the United States, in the wake of aviation safety authorities worldwide.

Washington therefore justified this choice by collecting "new satellite data" provided by Canada, showing similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines accident and that of Lion Air, citing the trajectory of planes and accidents occurred a few minutes after take-off.

The New York Times reported Thursday evening that Ethiopian Airlines' Boeing 737 MAX pilot had encountered an emergency immediately after take-off, asking for a "panicked voice" to return as the speed of the plane was increasing dangerously.

"Pause, pause, request to return home," said the commander to the air traffic controllers as he tried to avoid two other planes approaching the airport, according to the US newspaper which is based on the statements of a person having had access to exchanges between crew and controllers.

The emergency expression "pause, pause" indicates that the crew is facing an emergency situation that the pilots cannot manage.


By Delphine TOUITOU with Luc OLINGA in New York and Djallal MALTI in Paris (AFP)


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