On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, President Donald Trump ordered for all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 airplanes to be grounded until further notice. This comes after the fact that on Sunday, March 10, 2019 an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed and killed 157 people just minutes after takeoff. The plane was less than four months old. An investigation is now underway to determine what happened that caused the plane to crash.
On Sunday, March 10, 2019 at 8:38am, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 left Bole Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Roughly six minutes later, the plane crashed in Bishoftu, killing 157 people on board. Minutes before the plane crashed, the captain of the flight reported that there were “flight control problems” making it difficult to maneuver the plane.
A similar problem happened on October 29, 2019, when Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 189 passengers on board with similar aircraft control problems. In fact, Ethiopian Airlines was using the same aircraft, a Boeing 737 Max 8, as Lion Air, and there were some question raised before, and there are even more now. It is noted that some pilots of other Boeing 737 Max aircrafts have “complained of inadequate training on automation-assisted flying systems, unfamiliarity with the controls, anxiety that prompted [the pilots] to engage autopilot earlier than normal, and at least two instances where the plane pitched downward or maneuvered against pilots’ inputs.” Because of this, some pilots have noted that the faulty system could be the “possible cause of flight-control problems”, but do not know for sure.
On March 13, 2019, President Trump followed many nations around the world and grounded the U.S. fleet of Boeing 737 Max airplanes. The U.S. has over 70 of such planes in current use. American and Southwest Airlines, two of the largest carriers in terms of revenue, fleet size, number of destinations and passengers, etc., have 58 Boeing 737 Max airplanes between the two of them. Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have recommended to all countries to ground their fleet of 737 Max airliners until further notice.
Boeing has been working on a software fix since the Lion Air crash, and the most recent accident is expected to prolong the release of the software for a few months. This new software will have to be approved and installed by the FAA in order to unground the aircraft. Boeing has since delayed their deliveries of the aircraft, with many companies cancelling their orders for the aircraft. In fact, airline Garuda Indonesia of Indonesia has considered cancelling their original order of 20, costing Boeing millions. In response to grounding the 737 Max aircrafts, President Trump said, “The safety of the American people, and all people, is our paramount concern.”
Reporter: Myles Witte