Ethiopian Airlines Crash Updates: Pilots in U.S. Had Raised Concerns About Boeing 737 Max 8

By The New York Times |

  • At least two pilots, flying United States routes on the same model of Boeing jet involved in two recent crashes, filed incident reports with the federal government that raised concerns about safety and criticized a lack of training on the new plane, the Boeing 737 Max 8.
  • Much of the world, including the European Union, China and India — but not the United States — has banned flights of the Boeing 737 Max 8 since a crash on Sunday in Ethiopia killed more than 150 people, the second such crash in the past six months.
  • The Canadian carrier Sunwing became the first airline in Canada or the United States to suspend operations of the plane, though it said it had not done so for safety reasons.
  • Investigators are still waiting for information from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302’s voice and data recorders, which were recovered from the crash site on Monday. The airline’s chief executive, interviewed by CNN, said the pilots had told air traffic control they were having “flight control problems.”

At least two pilots who flew Boeing 737 Max 8 planes on routes in the United States had raised concerns in November about the noses of their planes suddenly dipping after engaging autopilot, according to a federal government database of incident reports.

The problems the pilots experienced appeared similar to those preceding the October crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, in which 189 people were killed. The cause of that crash remains under investigation, but it is believed that inaccurate readings fed into the Max 8’s computerized system may have made the plane enter a sudden, automatic descent.

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