The deadly plane crash in Ethiopia that left 157 people dead has raised questions about Boeing’s new 737 MAX 8 aircraft. It was the second new Boeing 737 Max to crash in four months. Lion Air flight 610, of the same model, crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189 people. The Ethiopian Airlines has grounded the planes, as has been done by China and a few other countries. Here are answers to some of the questions that are being asked about the airplane.
What is the Boeing 737 Max?
The 737 Max is the latest single aisle passenger jet from Boeing. Designed to replace the aging second and third generation 737s that came into service in 1997. Boeing has received over 5,000 orders from airlines around the world for the 737 Max planes. The MAX planes have a fly-by-wire system that means the conventional manual controls of an aircraft have been replaced by electronics and sensors.
Why is 737 Max 8 in the headlines?
Not very old in service, the 737 Max 8 has been involved in two high profile crashes in a span of less than five months. In October, a Lion Air Max plane carrying 189 people crashed into the sea. After the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines, which has been considered a very safe airline, the new Boeing airplanes have come under scrutiny.
What are ‘angle of attack indicators’?
Angle of attack indicator is an instrument built in the plane that is designed to monitor how much lift is generated at a given airspeed. In simple terms, the instrument tells the pilot if the airplane is generating enough thrust to keep the plane flying in the air. The 737 Max 8 has an automated safety system which points the nose of the plane down if the angle of attack indicator is signaling the cockpit that the plane is not moving fast enough to stay aloft. By pushing down the nose, the aircraft attempts to gain speed before leveling off.
Why is the Angle of Attack Indicator in news?
A faulty angle of attack indicator had been blamed for the Lion Air crash of October 2018. The plane in question had several problems before the flight of the crash, and maintenance had signed off on its air worthiness. Now, with another crash happening, speculation is rife that there may be similar problems with the indicator in the Ethiopian crash.
ASIAN Airlines that have 737 MAX (ordered/delivered)
VietJet: 200 ordered/ 0 delivered
Jeju: 40 ordered/ 0 delivered
Korean Air: 30 ordered/0 delivered
Malysian Airlines: 25 ordered
Oman Air: 20 ordered
Nok Air: 6 ordered
Garuda Indonesia: 50 ordered/ 1 delivered
SilkAir: 37 ordered / 5 delivered
Qatar Air: 5 ordered/ 5 delivered
Shenzhen: 5 ordered/5 delivered
Jet Airways: 125 ordered/6 delivered
Hainan: 7 ordered/7 delivered
China Eastern: 13 ordered/13 delivered
Lion Air: 201 ordered/14 delivered
Air China: 14 ordered/14 delivered
China Southern Airlines: 50 ordered/ 16 delivered