Mea culpa....

I am still in shock concerning the ill fated Ethiopian flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi that crashed last Sunday shortly after take off. Air travel is currently considered the safest form of travel but accidents do happen! However two crashes within 6 months involving the same plane model raises questions (and eyebrows).

My condolences to the families, friends and coworkers of all the deceased crew members and passengers! I cannot imagine what they are going through right now and having to bury empty coffins is simply heartbreaking. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time. May the good Lord grant you comfort and may their souls through the mercy of God rest in peace!

I have been reading about the crash extensively and while we cannot judge exactly what happened since the investigation is ongoing, i am appalled by the first reactions of Boeing, the FAA and the American carriers to this tragedy. They seemed nonchalant in stating that the Boeing 737 Max 8 is safe and has no security issues! The new Boeing Max 8 model is fitted with the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) which is an automated safety feature on the 737 Max 8 designed to prevent the plane from entering into a stall, or losing lift. In the Lion Air Crash, this system was said to be a contributing factor to the crash as the pilots struggled to control the plane as this system pushes down the nose of the plane when it senses (in this case erroneously), that the plane is going to stall! One of the pilots in an anonymous plane log actually called the manual of this new model criminally insufficient!

Boeing only shed more light on this after the first crash of this model in October on Lion Air! The Captain on the Ethiopian flight (Yared Getachew) was a seasoned pilot and detected there was a problem early into the flight. He is said to have requested to climb to a higher altitude (to avoid the mountains) as the plane moved erratically at a much higher speed than the normal and even requested to turn back and was given clearance to return. As he tried to turn back, the plane was lost from radar tracking and crashed shortly after!

Air travel is sensitive especially when it comes to safety as accidents are almost always 100% fatal! In my opinion, Boeing and the FAA should have been more careful before putting this model in the air and they should have had the humility to acknowledge that there could be a safety issue. They also should have trained all pilots and given exhaustive documentation about this new MCAS system before the Lion Air incident as it was a factor in that crash. All i can say is shame on them and lets hope they learn from this and do better in the future!


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