Saturday, April 6, 2019
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Bonn, Germany

The crashed Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max hit the ground at 575 mph and left a crater 32 feet deep, horrifying details in an official report reveal (Business Insider)

Continued from Part 2

When it comes to profit over safety, profit usually wins (James Frazee)

A system is corrupt when it is strictly profit-driven, not driven to serve the best interests of its people, but those of multinational corporations (Suzy Kassem)

Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one (Benjamin Franklin)

ne can only imagine how, horrible and gruesome, those passengers in that Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed died. I watched the video of the scene inside the aircraft, minutes before it crashed, and I must say that that was one of the worst things I've seen in my life. Imagine death staring you in the face, and you can't do anything about it anymore. Almost all the passengers, on board, were either praying or crying. Only the elderly ones or the nuns were quite - a false and feigned quietness.

How can one be quiet when he or she knows that death is just a minute away? Business Insider tells us that the crashed Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max plane hit the ground at 575 mph, leaving a crater 32 feet deep and 131 feet long, according to a preliminary report released Thursday, April 4, by the Ethiopian government. The plane reached a speed that exceeded its design limits as the pilots rushed to follow Boeing's emergency procedures to stop the plane from nosediving, Reuters reported.

Apart from Boeing, the Airlines, Lion and Ethiopian Airlines, also erred by not buying those safety features. They were also looking at profit and decided to cut corners at the expense of their passengers' lives. Why didn't these two airlines purchase those safety features? How did they think that they can short cut those safety features without putting the lives of their passengers into jeopardy? The NY Times writes that features involving communication, navigation or safety systems are more fundamental to the plane’s operations, but many airlines, especially low-cost carriers, discount and smaller airlines, like Indonesia's Lion Air, have opted not to buy them — and regulators don’t require them. So, the airlines which declined to purchase these features, even though they were optional because they wanted to maximize profit, helped in killing those passengers.

That's the difference between the airlines operating in the developed world and those operating in the third world countries. Although Boeing has its own hamartia - tragic flaw, here, and even though we blame the plane manufacturer for not making those safety features free and compulsory in their planes, we're also blaming the two airlines for not paying for those expensive add-ons in order to save their passengers' lives. All the airlines operating in the developed world, which are flying Boeing 737 MAX 8 series, paid for those add-ons, because, they value the lives of their passengers, unlike their third world counterparts which only want to maximize profit out of nothing. Just an example: Winnipeg city news writes that Canada’s two largest airlines have at least one of the optional safety features on their Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft that were reportedly lacking on the jets that crashed in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Air Canada and WestJet Airlines both say they purchased the safety features.

There's a point I want to get here. It seems that the 737 Max 8 planes have a problem right from the factory, but still, the pilots of the doomed planes must have contributed to the crashes, because, they didn't know what to do when their planes were nose diving - faulty plane and inexperienced pilots.

Even though Investigators, who announced findings from a preliminary report on the downed Ethiopian Airlines plane, found that the flight crew performed all the procedures recommended by Boeing — but they were still unable to control the plane, while recommending that Boeing review “the aircraft flight control system related to the flight controllability", the question remains whether the Ethiopian Airlines crew commanding that Boeing 737 Max 8 had the training to fly the new jet, because, "you can only give what you have"?

It has been reported that the pilots of the two ill-fated planes, Ethiopian and Lion, was struggling with their respective planes because they were not well equipped to fly them. That must have been negligence on the part of Boeing and the two airlines, and that has cost so many lives.

Let's buttress the above points: The NY Times writes that the captain of the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines jetliner was unable to practice on a new simulator for Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 before his flight crashed, killing all 157 people aboard, according to a report. Yared Getachew, 29, was due for refresher training at the end of March, two months after Ethiopian Airlines had received the simulator, a pilot colleague told Reuters. So, it seemed, that the airline allowed the pilot to fly a plane he was not very well acquainted with, because, it wanted a fast profit.

Here comes another blame for Boeing: Just on April 3, the CNN reports that pilots flying Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 initially followed emergency procedures that were laid out by Boeing before the plane nose-dived into the ground. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that despite following the steps, which included turning off an automated flight-control system, pilots could not regain control of the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Earlier, last month, the Federal Aviation Administration agency grounded all Boeing 737 Max planes, saying it had identified similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Lion Air crash in Indonesia six months earlier. Following the Lion Air crash, Boeing issued an "Operations Manual Bulletin" advising airline operators how to address incorrect cockpit readings. It pointed airlines "to existing flight crew procedures to address circumstances where there is erroneous input from an AOA (angle of attack) sensor". If confirmed, the findings reported in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) suggest that following emergency procedures in the Boeing handbook may not have been sufficient enough to prevent a crash.

US pilots who fly the Boeing 737 Max have also registered complaints about the way the jet has performed in flight, according to a federal database accessed by CNN. Investigators have pointed to whether pilots had sufficient training with the system. On Tuesday, April 2, a new U.S. Senate investigation was launched after whistleblower reports raised questions about whether FAA inspectors who reviewed the Boeing 737 MAX for certification were properly trained.

Just to buttress the above points: For the first time, Boeing has admitted that an automated flight system played a role in both 737 Max crashes. And this is coming after pilots say that false activation of the MCAS function, as happened here, "can add to what is already a high workload environment." According to cnbc.com, on April 4, Boeing CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, acknowledged, for the first time, that bad data feeding into an automated flight system on the company's popular 737 jets played a role in two crashes that killed 346 people.

And now, Boeing is temporarily cutting production of its best-selling 737 airliner in the continuing fall-out from crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Production will drop from 52 planes a month to 42 from mid-April. According to BBC news, on April 5, the decision is a response to a halt in deliveries of the 737 Max - the model involved in the two accidents. The plane is currently grounded as preliminary findings suggest its anti-stall system was at fault. According to cnbc.com, on April 5, Boeing CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, said the company is diverting resources to fixing the software many suspect to have contributed to two fatal crashes since October. Boeing is now "bleeding", as its shares fell in after-market trading Friday.

Let's look more on the Lion Air's crash: The BBC tells us that the pilots of the ill-fated Lion Air flight may have been befuddled by the safety system, as the Indonesian jet which crashed shortly after take-off had suffered instrument problems the day before, according to a technical log obtained by the BBC. A technical log from a flight from Bali to Jakarta said an instrument was "unreliable" and the pilot had to hand over to the first officer. If that plane suffered instrument problems, the day before, why then should the airline still put it back into service, the day after, without first of all rectifying the problems? Profit was more important to the airline than the lives of its passengers.

The Guardian, on November 28, 2018, wrote that Indonesian investigators have said the Lion Air Boeing 737 jet that plunged into the sea, killing 189 people in October, was not airworthy on a flight the day before it crashed. They further found that Lion Air must improve its safety culture and better document repair work on its planes.

There was a story that the Lion aircraft that crashed was saved, the day before, by an off-duty pilot in that plane. And the next day, the same plane was sent out and it didn't make it back again. The question is whether the pilots, who handled the plane, the day before, failed to report the incident, they were confronted with, with the airline's authorities, upon landing; and why should the plane be allowed to fly, the next day, without thorough check-up, and without the pilots knowing what their counterparts experienced, the day before, or the idea of what to do when such incident re-occurs? The airline might have ignored the warning of the pilots, the day before, and decided to put the aircraft back into service for profit. Or, did the pilots, the day before, fail to report the incident to their airline's authorities, upon landing? The investigators should find out what happened here, because, after the incident, the day before, that airplane should not have been allowed to fly, the next day, without precautionary measures taken.

Here's the story: The Bloomberg writes that as the Lion Aircrew fought to control their diving Boeing Co. 737 Max 8, they got help from an unexpected source: an off-duty pilot who happened to be riding in the cockpit. That extra pilot, who was seated in the cockpit jumpseat, correctly diagnosed the problem and told the crew how to disable a malfunctioning flight-control system and save the plane, according to two people familiar with Indonesia’s investigation. The next day, under command of a different crew facing what investigators said was an identical malfunction, the jetliner crashed into the Java Sea killing all 189 aboard.

The so-called dead-head pilot on the flight from Bali to Jakarta told the crew to cut power to the motor in the trim system that was driving the nose down, according to the people familiar, part of a checklist that all pilots are required to memorize. By contrast, the crew on the flight that crashed, the next day, didn’t know how to respond to the malfunction, said one of the people familiar with the plane’s cockpit voice recorder recovered as part of the investigation. They can be heard checking their quick reference handbook, a summary of how to handle unusual or emergency situations, in the minutes before the crash, Reuters reported.

It has also been reported that Lion Air has pressurized the crash victim families to sign a no-suit deal. Why did the airline do that? Because it wants to profit even from the deaths of those passengers! The airline wants to have its cake and eat it too. The NY Times reports that Lion Air crash families say they were pressured to sign the no-suit deal as they were crammed into a hotel conference room, a few weeks after the crash, and were forced to sign a form.

Bringing it down to Nigeria: Many of those local airlines operating in Nigeria do not conform to any safety standard, as their planes are just flying "coffins"! The Nigerian authorities do also look the other way as many local airlines put the lives of their passengers at risk. God has been so merciful to the Nigerian local flyers, otherwise, the story would have been different by now. Just look at the photo below. That's a worn out tire of one the planes flying people in Nigeria. Unbelievable!

To conclude: The point here is that many airlines, especially those operating in the third world countries, forgot that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line - neither shortcut nor what we used to call "wuruwuru" or "apiam way", does anything better. Ethiopian and Lion Airlines must have refused to buy the extra-costing safety features, thinking that they can beat the whole thing over and over again. For the fact that these two Airlines have been flying their planes without those safety features, and nothing ugly has happened, prior to the crashes, made them complacent. They must have been lucky all along, but, they forgot that even luck has an expiring date, and that was what happened when their jets crashed.

These two crashes should serve as a lesson for aircraft manufacturers and airline operators all over the world. None of them should be toying with passengers' lives because of too much love of profit.


Dedicated to the victims of the crashes, their families, and friends.





Continued from Part 2