Watch the video to find out what the aviation expert thinks about the Boeing 737 Max 8.
Video Credit: Nine News Australia
Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jets have come under intense scrutiny lately and not in a good way. Two deadly crashes in less than six months will do that.
The first was a Lion Air flight that slammed into the Java Sea in October and the second one happened on Sunday when an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed shortly after take-off in Addis Ababa. Both accidents claimed a total of 338 lives.
In response, Indonesia and China have grounded all their Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft pending the results of an investigation. Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways have also followed suit while Singapore Airlines, whose affiliate Silk Air flies the aircraft on routes between Singapore, Cairns, and Darwin, is monitoring the situation closely.
“Safety is our top priority and we are currently monitoring the situation closely,” a spokesperson from Singapore Airlines told ABC.
Officials in the US have vowed to take “immediate action” if any safety flaws were found in the planes.
But in the wake of the two deadly accidents and the expected reactions of several airlines that operate the airplane type, one Australian aviation expert is baffled why Virgin Australia still ordered a fleet of 30 Max 8 planes that are set to arrive in November.
Strategic Aviation Solutions Chairman Neil Hansford said he “certainly would not” fly on the Max 8 after the two crashes.
He claimed that Boeing could be more forthcoming on information about the plane’s new anti-stall device, called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System.
“The MCAS takes the control of the aircraft off the pilot if it thinks the plane is going to stall,” Hansford told the Daily Telegraph.
According to him, the Boeing manual briefly mentions the MCAS at the back but provides on detailed instructions.
Hansford believes that the plane had “unstable vertical speed” caused by the pilot fighting against the plane’s internal computer.
“There are two switches to turn it off but clearly the pilot did not know where they were,” he said.
But Virgin Independent Pilots Association president Captain John Lyons maintains that Virgin pilots had “utmost confidence” in the Boeing 737.
And to be fair, SilkAir and Fiji Airways, who both operate the Max 8, have said that they will continue to operate the plane.
In the meantime, a witness claimed to have seen “smoke pouring from the rear” of the Ethiopian Airlines jet that was bound for Nairobi.
Gebeyehu Fikadu said he witnessed flight ET302 “swerving and dipping” while “luggage and clothes came burning down” before it went down minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa. The crash killed all 157 passengers and crew members.
Experts have noted the “similarities” between the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes.
Rescuers have managed to retrieve the black box of the ill-fated aircraft and experts hope to shed light on what caused the crash.
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