On the heels of the latest airplane crash from Ethiopian Airlines, Chinese carriers and some other airlines around the world have suspended the use of their Boeing 737 MAX 8 units.
With two plane crashes in the last five months involving the particular airplane model, investigations are underway as to what happened in the latest crash in Ethiopia.
China’s aviation authority suspended use of all the airplane model in question, which translates to more than a quarter of the country’s fleet. With almost 100 planes grounded, the future of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 is slowly becoming unclear.
What happened with the Ethiopian plane crash?
One of Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737 MAX 8’s on the way to Nairobi figured in a crash last March 11, which happened just a few minutes after the plane took off. All 157 passengers and crew on the flight were killed. The carrier then had to ground all its planes as investigation and recovery efforts continue.
The flight, which was ET302, was carrying some Chinese passengers.
What happened with the first crash?
Before Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed, there was the airplane crash in Jakarta, Indonesia five months ago. According to reports, the crash in OCtober 2018 happened just thirteen minutes from the flight’s takeoff, and had killed more people, 189 in total.
The plane was from Lion Air’s fleet, one of Indonesia’s budget airlines.
In a report from the BBC, the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee indicated that Lion Air flight 610 experienced “erroneous input” from one of its sensors designed to alert pilots if the airplane is at risk of stalling. But this is not the complete conclusion of the investigation.
The same report said that a directive was issued by the United States Federal Aviation Authority about the plane model and its sensors, and that the Indonesian pilots and crews did not get a similar directive.
When the Chinese aviation regulator found out about the crash, it had immediately grounded all of its flights which used that particular airplane. They are now waiting for the results of investigations into the latest crash, as well as reports from Boeing and the United States Federal Aviation Authority.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China said, “Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity.” This particular government body has zero tolerance when it comes to safety compromises, so it had grounded the planes at 6:00 pm of that same day.
While the Chinese carriers have been told to stop the use of the planes, the United States has not suspended their use of the same model, as they have a great record in their use in the United States. The investigation of the Ethiopian crash is still ongoing, and the world is waiting for answers.
What is different with this plane model?
According to a report from the BBC, this particular model differs from previous ones with the “engine is a bit further forward and a bit higher in relation to the wing, compared to the previous version of the plane. That affects the balance of the plane.”
The investigation is still ongoing for both plane crashes.