Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones on the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 that crashed on its way to Nairobi on the 10th of March 2019 six minutes after take off. This is an unusual occurrence in Ethiopian Airline’s history because the last time the Airline crashed was in 2010. Ethiopian Airline is known as Africa’s 1 in terms of its commitment to safety and maintenance.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 that was barely six months old was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in November 2018. The airplane, a modernized version of the iconic 737 series is also said to be the fastest selling airplane of modern times and can boast of being included in the line of the world’s major airlines. Sadly, barely 2 years after its release into the market, it has been involved in two major accidents with some speculating that its the same system issue. Until the Voice Recorder has been analyzed we will not be able to ascertain whether it is indeed the same issue.
A Lion Air flight 610 a Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed into the Java Sea in October 2018 shocking the world. The automatic system, designed to assist the pilot with automatic nose dipping should speed decrease for any reason was attributed as the cause for the Lion Air crash.
As a result, we have been lead to ask Boeing a few questions:
Why would an aircraft reduce speed for any reason on its own without pilot intervention?
Are we perhaps in the bid to modernize everything and make easier to fly for pilots compromising safety and the importance of adequate training and manual intervention?
Is it possible that the system may have been hacked and this is the new modus operandi for vicious individuals?
Tragically in both the Ethiopian and Lion Air crashes, none of the passengers or crew members have survived to tell the tale. I can just imagine how terrifying the passengers must have felt almost like the worst roller coaster ride of life but with only one result, death.
I watched a video on Youtube last night that showed in Simulation software what happened to the airplane and to be honest till the very end I was shaken and disturbed until the very end but immediately after I also remember seeing the American Airlines DC-10 incident on Flight 96 and the controversy surrounding the cargo hold door that burst out in mid-air damaging crucial lines of control of the aircraft. In this case the pilots because of their sheer passion for piloting and training were able to manually control the aircraft and land it safely in Windsor, Canada.
What happened to the DC 10 was a manufacturer flaw but it was pilot experience and professionalism that changed the story from Tragic to Heroic. We have also seen the same in New York when US Airways flight 1549 landing in the Hudson River.
This leads me to ask Boeing and perhaps Ethiopian Airlines additional questions:
Why was it not disclosed to the clients at the time of purchase? During the advertisement rush.
Is it possible that malicious organizations have found a way to hack these objects from sitting inside the plane or have they also found a way to do it from the ground via satellite communications?
Are your training methods adequate enough to prepare airline pilots for real-world scenarios and weather issues?
At Five Star Travel, one can clearly see that we are going to have to as an industry go back to our reliance on adequate pilot training and their ability to rescue dire situations. It is no longer enough to discount the value of a well trained pilot. We should not just rely on the hours alone and computerized processes but more on their ability to fly an airline safely and their ability to rescue the aircraft with little or no system help.
Creating lifelike scenarios will ensure that the pilot industry is not just filling seats and logging time but also keeping their own fatigue in mind when fulfilling schedules.