Ethiopia Recovers Boeing Jet’s Data and Voice Recorders


• The latest model of Boeing’s hottest jet is beneath intensified scrutiny after the lethal crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on Sunday, main 22 airways world wide to floor their 737 Max eight planes. But at the least 12 different carriers, together with American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, that are heavy customers of the Max eight, continued to fly them on Monday.

• Investigators haven’t decided the reason for the crash, however the flight information recorder and the cockpit voice recorder have each been recovered, Ethiopian Airlines mentioned. Some circumstances of the crash have been just like one in October in Indonesia that killed 189 folks.

• Aviation consultants expressed shock on the huge disparity in expertise within the two-person cockpit crew. Ethiopian Airlines mentioned the pilot of Flight 302 had eight,000 hours of flying time however the co-pilot had simply 200.

• The questions go to the center of Boeing’s enterprise: The 737 Max is its best-selling mannequin. Boeing shares fell more than 12 percent in early trading on Monday.

Indonesian and American aviation authorities have raised the possibility that Flight 610’s crash was caused by automated anti-stall software in the Max 8 model that may have been erroneously activated by incorrect flight data.

The announcement in Indonesia came after the Chinese aviation regulator said that it had notified Chinese air carriers they had until 6 p.m. local time to take the planes out of service.

China’s main airlines are among the biggest users so far of the new Boeing jets, having taken delivery of most of the planes they have ordered. By contrast, many other carriers, often in slower-growing markets than China’s, have taken delivery of only a small fraction of their orders for the Boeing 737 Max 8.

China’s aviation sector could benefit from the tragedies in Ethiopia and Indonesia. A government-owned company has developed an alternative to the Boeing 737, called the Comac C919, but has so far struggled to find major buyers outside China. Airlines have expressed concerns about fuel efficiency and safety issues, including how willing Chinese regulators would be to share information about accidents.

In what could hasten the determination of what caused the crash, the flight data and cockpit voice recorders of Flight 302 were recovered, Ethiopian Airlines said on Monday.

The two recorders will need to be taken to a specialized center to read their data, said Lynnette Dray, an aviation expert and senior research associate at University College London.

“If the boxes are intact, then they will be able to take the data off them and look at it immediately,” Dr. Dray said.

But if they are dented or burned, the data might not be easily extractable.

“They might need to decontaminate them, or adjust smoke components first,” she said.

Dr. Dray said the two recorders would be treated slightly differently. Some of the flight data, which generally includes information about speed, air pressure and other details, might already be known to investigators. But the cockpit voice recorder, which captures anything that might have been said or heard by the captain and co-pilot, can be more revealing — and more sensitive, Dr. Dray said.

Usually, a committee is assembled to review the recordings, she said, and both sets of data will most likely be cited in a final report about what went wrong. But the two recorders are just part of the evidence. “This is just one strand of the investigation — there are lots of strands,” Dr. Dray said. It could be more than a year before the final report is released, she added.

At least 22 airlines around the world have grounded their 737 Max 8 planes, many in China. At least 12 other carriers were continuing to fly them on Monday.

Ethiopian Airlines officials said on Monday they would ground all Boeing 737 Max planes in their country following the crash on Sunday of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

The airline has five Boeing 737 Max planes in its fleet, but it was unclear how many are model 8 jets.

The plane that crashed was flying between Addis Ababa and Nairobi, Kenya.

Also on Monday, Cayman Airways said it was temporarily grounding its two Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.

United Nations official said Monday that at least 22 of the organization’s staff members had died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash a day earlier, among the 157 people killed en route to Nairobi.

Addressing delegates at the opening of the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, the official, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, cited “initial information” for the figure and said the final numbers and details had not been released by the airline.

Ms. Sharif added that nationals of more than 30 countries had been on the airplane, including from Kenya, Canada, Ethiopia, China, the United States and Britain.

“I want to assure you all that as the day and week unfold, and the world’s global environmental leaders meet to discuss the future of our planet, we will not forget this tragedy,” she said.

More than 4,700 ministers, business leaders, senior United Nations officials and heads of state — including President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Emmanuel Macron of France — are expected to gather this week in Nairobi for the environment meeting, where they will discuss plans to contend with climate change and to create more sustainable societies.

Thousands of delegates at the meeting on Monday observed a moment of silence to remember the victims of the crash, and the United Nations flag at its office in Nairobi flew at half-staff.

An eyewitness described watching Flight 302 “swerving and dipping” before crashing outside Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Ethiopian Airlines said after the crash that the pilot of Flight 302, Yared Getachew, had 8,000 hours of flying time, but aviation experts were drawn to the paucity of experience on the part of someone else in the cockpit: the co-pilot, Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur, who had just 200 hours.

Peter Marosszeky, a former executive and aircraft engineer at Qantas Airways, Pan Am and American Airlines who has advised Boeing on its 747 and 777 programs, said that pilots and co-pilots of large commercial aircraft should have thousands of hours of flight time.

“The 200 is obviously ridiculously low,” Mr. Marosszeky said. He noted that in Australia, where he now lives and works as an aviation consultant, the minimum experience to obtain an unrestricted flying license for a small personal plane is 155 hours of flight time.

Mr. Marosszeky acknowledged that the number of hours of flying time that a pilot or co-pilot has logged is often not the most important variable. What really counts, he said, is the extent to which a pilot or co-pilot is trained on the plane he or she is operating.

“There have been cases where the pilot has 20,000 hours, and he crashed the airplane because he wasn’t trained properly,” Mr. Marosszeky said.

Several airlines indicated on Monday that they would not ground their Boeing 737 Max jets, or, in some cases, had no plans to cancel orders.

SpiceJet, a low-cost Indian airline, said that it will continue flying the planes while it awaits guidance from Indian air safety regulators.

The airline has 13 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes it uses for international and domestic flights and has more than 100 on order.

Jet Airways, another Indian carrier, said that it had five Max 8 models in its fleet but that it was not currently flying any of them. The airline is in severe financial distress, and at least one-third of its aircraft have been grounded because of lack of funds or repossession by lessors.

In South Korea, Eastar Jet, which operates two Max 8 planes, said it had no plans to ground the jets.

Fiji Airways said it would keep flying its two Max 8 planes and had full confidence in their airworthiness. Comair, a South African airline, said it would continue to fly its one Max 8, and FlyDubai said it would continue to operate its 11 Max 8 planes.

And SilkAir, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, said that it would keep its six 737 Max 8 planes in the air.

Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst at the Teal Group, cautioned against reading too much into the immediate reaction in Boeing’s shares. “I’ve learned from bitter experience not to look at the stock prices in the aftermath of a crash,” he said. “It’s just all over the place.” Mr. Aboulafia also predicted that any pullback was likely to be a short dip, given the company’s recent strength.

At the close of trading on Friday, Boeing was valued at nearly $239 billion, with a stock price above $422 a share. The company, which employs about 150,000 people, took in just over $100 billion in 2018, with profit for the year topping $10 billion.



Source link Nytimes.com

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