In a statement released by Boeing on the preliminary findings of an investigation into the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, CEO Dennis Muilenburg pledged to “earn and re-earn that trust and confidence from our customers and the flying public.”
On March 10, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft crashed near the town of Bishoftu six minutes after taking off. All 157 people on board were killed.
The investigation confirmed that a Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) function was activated during the flight, as was the case during the Lion Air Flight 610 crash this past October in which all the passengers on board were also killed.
Both planes had an automated system that pushed the nose down when sensor readings detected danger of an aerodynamic stall, but it now appears that sensors malfunctioned on both planes. A total of 346 people were killed on both flights.
Boeing says in the statement that it will issue a software update to its 737 MAX fleet worldwide to eliminate the possibility of an unintended MCAS evacuation in the future. Training materials will also be issued to pilots in the wake of the accidents. Upon certifying the update, flight crews will now have the ability to override MCAS and manually control the airplane.
“We’re taking a comprehensive, disciplined approach, and taking the time, to get the software update right. We’re nearing completion and anticipate its certification and implementation on the 737 MAX fleet worldwide in the weeks ahead. We regret the impact the grounding has had on our airline customers and their passengers,” the statement read.
Muilenburg, Boeing’s CEO, also issued a letter alongside the results of the preliminary report, calling these incidents the “most heart wrenching time in my career.”
The FAA must certify that the Boeing 737 MAX is safe before it can fly again. The agency said in a statement that the investigation is still in its early stages.
“As we learn more about the accident and findings become available, we will take appropriate action,” the agency said.
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