Ethiopia’s transport minister Dagmawit Moges on Sunday said that the black box data of Ethiopian Airlines indicated “clear similarities” between the crash that took place last week and Lion Air which crashed in Indonesia last year.
Moges said that the condition of “black boxes” (flight data recorder) was good and enough data had been recovered. She said that the Ethiopian transport ministry’s Accident Investigation Bureau will release a preliminary report in 30 days on the fate of Flight 302 at the time of the crash.
“During the investigation of the FDR (flight data recorder), clear similarities were noted between Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610, which will be the subject of further investigation,” Moges was quoted by The Washington Post as saying.
Initial data from the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines jet showed an erratic flight course when the plane was in the air for about six minutes before it crashed into a field just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital on March 10, killing all 157 passengers on board.
Satellite information revealed that the plane had been ascending and descending at times while flying at speeds beyond what was mandated during the normal takeoff procedure.
The pilot of the ill-fated jet Yared Getachew was considered very experienced with more than 8,000 hours of flying time.
On Thursday, Ethiopian investigators took the voice and data recorders to France, where they were being investigated by the Bureau of Inquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety.
Moges had informed that the US National Transportation Safety Board was also involved in the analysis procedure of the black box.
According to a preliminary report, the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 was blamed due to erroneous data from a sensor which was causing the plane’s new automated stabiliser system to push the aircraft’s nose down.
The pilots of the ill-fated jet tried hard to pull the plane up but kept on descending before it ultimately plunged into the Java Sea, killing all 189 passengers on board in October last year.
Meanwhile, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said on Sunday that the US-based aircraft manufacturer was finalising a software update and pilot training linked to the MCAS anti-stalling feature, in the wake of deadly crashes involving two of its 737 MAX jets.
“Boeing is finalising its development of a previously-announced software update and pilot training revision that will address the MCAS flight control law’s behaviour in response to erroneous sensor inputs. We also continue to provide technical assistance at the request of and under the direction of the National Transportation Safety Board, the US Accredited Representative working with Ethiopian investigators,” Muilenburg said in a statement.
Underlining that safety is Boeing’s “highest priority” while designing and building aircraft, Muilenburg stated: “As part of our standard practice following any accident, we examine our aircraft design and operation, and when appropriate, institute product updates to further improve safety. While investigators continue to work to establish definitive conclusions.”
“In accordance with international protocol, all inquiries about the ongoing accident investigation must be directed to the investigating authorities,” he added.
Boeing had announced on Thursday that it has paused deliveries of its 737 MAX planes after the jet model was grounded across the world in the wake of the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash involving one of its planes.
While no time frame was announced on when the deliveries might resume, the production of the 737 MAX jets will still continue.
The decision came after the 737 MAX aircraft were grounded and banned from airspace of several countries, including the US, Canada, Singapore, UK, Ireland, France, India, Egypt, Japan and the Netherlands.
In a statement, Boeing had said that it remains confident in the safety of the jets, but that it recommended the shutdown itself “out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety.”