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Boeing not to stop 737 Max production even as new bugs come to light

April 7, 2019
CHICAGO: The Boeing company has detected yet another glitch after its sensor system failure led to the Ethiopian air crash killing all 157 on board, a second similar crash after the Indonesian Lion Air mishap that too killed all 189 on board when the 737 Max 8 plunged into the sea soon after takeoff.

Even as the company claims it is fixing the MCAS softawre and the new glitches, the old aerodynamic design and the modern engine mismatch remains to be addressed, engineers have pointed out.

The company instead of stopping production has just reduced output to 42 planes from 52 planes a month, according to a company statement on Friday, quoted by news agency AP.

Boeing had delivered more than 370 Max 8 to 47 customers till February, 2019. There are about 5,000 pending orders for 737 Max airplanes from 107 customers.

Earlier, CEO Dennis Muilenburg issued a video statement on Thursday, saying, "We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 accidents and are relentlessly focused on safety to ensure tragedies like this never happen again.

"As pilots have told us, erroneous activation of the MCAS function can add to what is already a high workload environment. It's our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it and we know how to do it."

The Boeing company is introducing updates for the anti-stall software where the pilots will have the option to take manual control when nenessary.

The MCAS (Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System) anti-stall system was erroneously activated in both the Ethiopian and Indonesian air crashes, he admitted. Pilots can switch off the MCAS system that got activated on wrong signals from sensors, but when it is back in position the nose-diving process recurs, plunging the pilot into a situation of helplessness. This is what happened.

Meanwhile, an inquiry by the Ethiopian authorities concluded that the pilots followed the procedures but it was a glitch in the plane's new software that led to the crash. Their report said they "repeatedly" followed the procedures recommended by Boeing. The pilots were not able to control the aircraft, Ethiopian transport minister Dagmawit Moges said.

The plane did not recover from nose-diving as the anti-stall system malfunctioned. The Lion Air of Indonesia also faced similar problems soon after takeoff and crashed into the sea killing 189 people last year.

Pilot Yared Getachew's father Dr Getachew Tessema lamented that the Boeing company took so long to apologise for their mistake. They should have withdrawn all 737 Max after the Indonesian crash, he said.

"To the last minute they struggled as much as they could but unfortunately they were not able to stop it. I don't regret that he was a pilot. He died in the course of his duty," he told BBC.

Why the company did not stop the 737 Max flying after the Indonesian crash, the grieving father asks.

READ: Boeing statements

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