FAA says planes’ crashes sim­i­lar

Trump or­ders US to join global ground­ing of Boe­ing 737 MAX

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - John Ba­con

The flight path data of two Boe­ing 737 MAX 8 planes that crashed showed sim­i­lar­i­ties, the FAA said Wed­nes­day as the United States be­came the last na­tion to ground the pop­u­lar planes world­wide.

The Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued an emer­gency or­der three days af­ter an Ethiopian Air­lines Boe­ing 737 MAX 8 crash that killed all 157 on board.

“The FAA is or­der­ing the tem­po­rary ground­ing of Boe­ing 737 MAX air­craft oper­ated by U.S. air­lines or in U.S. ter­ri­tory. The agency made this de­ci­sion as a re­sult of the data gath­er­ing process and new ev­i­dence col­lected at the site and an­a­lyzed to­day.

“This ev­i­dence, to­gether with newly refined satel­lite data avail­able to FAA this morn­ing, led to this de­ci­sion,” the FAA said.

Daniel El­well, act­ing head of the FAA, said the data linked the be­hav­ior and flight path of the Ethiopian Air­line jet to data from the crash of a Lion Air jet in Oc­to­ber. “Ev­i­dence we found on the ground made it even more likely that the flight path was very close to Lion Air’s,” El­well said Wed­nes­day.

Be­fore the FAA an­nounce­ment, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is­sued an emer­gency or­der halt­ing flights of the MAX 8 and MAX 9.

The United States had been un­der pres­sure to join na­tions world­wide in ground­ing the planes af­ter con­cerns mounted that the Ethiopian crash was sim­i­lar to one in Oc­to­ber. Wed­nes­day, Canada joined the list of coun­tries that halted the flights.

Trump said planes in the air would com­plete their flights but no more would take off.

Boe­ing said it sup­ported the move. “Boe­ing has de­ter­mined – out of an abun­dance of cau­tion and in or­der to re­as­sure the flying pub­lic of the air­craft’s safety – to rec­om­mend to the FAA the tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion of op­er­a­tions of the en­tire global fleet of all 371 MAX air­craft,” Boe­ing said in a state­ment.

The MAX fleet be­gan flying two years ago and in­cludes 74 do­mes­tic planes.

Air­lines have or­dered more than 4,500 of the jet­lin­ers, the new­est ver­sion of the 737 and best-sell­ing air­liner ever.

Cana­dian Trans­port Min­is­ter Marc Garneau cited newly ob­tained satel­lite data that he said show a pos­si­ble sim­i­lar­ity to the Ethiopian crash and the Lion Air crash. “This is not con­clu­sive, but it is some­thing that points in that di­rec­tion,” Garneau said.

At least one air­line wants com­pen­sa­tion from Boe­ing for the cost of park­ing the jets. Nor­we­gian Air Shut­tles spokes­woman Tonje Naess said the car­rier, which flies 18 of the planes, should not face “any finan­cial bur­den for a brand new air­craft that will not to be used.”

The FAA stood by the safety of the Boe­ing 737 MAX on Tues­day.

In the USA, South­west and Amer­i­can fly the plane, and both ex­pressed confidence in their fleets.

The MAX 8 that crashed Sun­day was 4 months old and min­utes into a Nairobi-bound flight from Ad­dis Ababa when it slammed into a field. In Oc­to­ber, a Lion Air plane of the same model crashed into the Java Sea min­utes af­ter de­part­ing from Jakarta, In­done­sia. None of the

189 pas­sen­gers and crew sur­vived.

Both flights crashed af­ter dras­tic speed fluc­tu­a­tions dur­ing as­cent. Both pi­lots made ill-fated efforts to re­turn to their air­port of ori­gin af­ter take­off. The FAA said it ex­pects to re­quire Boe­ing to com­plete MAX 8 flight con­trol sys­tem en­hance­ments – prompted by the Lion Air crash – by month’s end.

The plane in­volved in Sun­day’s crash was de­liv­ered to the air­line in Novem­ber, had flown 1,200 hours and had un­der­gone a main­te­nance check Feb. 4. The pi­lot, who had more than 8,000 hours of flight ex­pe­ri­ence, had is­sued a dis­tress call and tried to re­turn to the air­port.

The black box voice and data recorders were found, and air­line CEO Te­wolde Ge­bre­Mariam told CNN the pi­lots told air traf­fic con­trol they were hav­ing “flight con­trol prob­lems.”

Ethiopian Air­lines spokesman As­rat Be­gashaw said the equip­ment will be shipped to an undis­closed Euro­pean coun­try for anal­y­sis.


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