THE FINAL report into the Boeing 737 Max air crash in October last year, in which 189 people lost their lives, was published yesterday by Indonesian investigators.
It is a damning report which exposes a series of failures which led to the crash. The investigators released the report at a press conference where the families of those who died were present.
After the crash, Boeing refused to accept that urgent changes to the MCAS system were needed to be made. The aircraft’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, software is designed to help prevent the 737 Max from stalling.
Instead of tackling the issue, Boeing told pilots that it was ‘unclear’ whether the anti-stall system was the sole cause of the crash, implying that pilot error was to blame – and no changes were made.
Following a second fatal crash in Ethiopia caused by identical loss of control by pilots which killed all 346 people on board, Boeing still denied responsibility and claimed that pilot error played a role.
This new report proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt that Boeing bears some responsibility for the crash. The 353-page report, lists a litany of errors, nine in total.
- There were problems with MCAS.
- There were incorrect assumptions about how the MCAS control system would behave and the ‘deficiencies’ had been highlighted during training.
- 31 pages were missing from the plane’s maintenance log.
- A crucial sensor, which had been bought from a repair shop in Florida, had not been properly tested.
- The jet should have been grounded after an earlier fault.
- One of the pilots was unfamiliar with procedures. The first officer, who performed poorly in training, had struggled to run through a list of procedures that he should have had memorised.
- Mechanical and design problems were key factors in the crash.
- Issues with the aircraft’s new flight control system contributed to the disaster.
- The aircraft, only in use for two months, had problems on its last four flights, including one the day before its fatal accident.
Indonesian air accident investigator Nurcahyo Utomo told reporters at a news conference, ‘From what we know, there are nine things that contributed to this accident. If one of the nine hadn’t occurred, maybe the accident wouldn’t have occurred.’
But at the heart of that chain was MCAS – a control system that the pilots didn’t know about, and which was vulnerable to a single sensor failure.
The software reacts when sensors in the nose of the aircraft show the jet is climbing at too steep an angle, which can cause a plane to stall.
This means that it would force the nose down at a far deeper angle than the pilots would ever do, and no matter how far the pilots pulled the controls back, there is nothing they could do to stop the plane going into a dive. And this is what happened when the jet 737 Max 8 plunged into the Java Sea just 13 minutes after its takeoff on October 29, 2018.
Boeing and regulators allowed the system to be designed in this way. The fact that they did not even change it after the Lion Air crash, leading to a further disaster, means that it is Boeing that will bear the greatest share of responsibility.
Boeing’s profits have more than halved to $895m (£687m) in the third quarter and the firm said it would cut production of its 787 Dreamliner, blaming ‘trade uncertainties’.
The report concludes that Boeing should have grounded the entire fleet after the first crash, and that doing so may have prevented the second crash. The bosses of Boeing must be brought to justice!
Under capitalism, the drive for profit rules supreme, not just in the USA but throughout the capitalist world. It is the entire capitalist system that has to go.
The only way to make air travel safe is for US workers to break with the Republican and Democrat two-party system of capitalist rule to go forward to a workers government that will nationalise Boeing and the other great monopolies to bring in socialism. In fact, this is the main task for the working class throughout the capitalist world!