The world is grounding 737 MAX planes following tragedy

The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands and Ireland mimic the many countries that have decided to close their airspace to all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft as a result of the crash of one of these aircraft, Sunday, in Ethiopia, where 157 people died. 189 people also died in Indonesia six months ago when another 737 MAX crashed.

Australia, Ireland, Malaysia, Norway, Singapore and Oman had already banned these aircraft from flying over their territory.

“As a precautionary measure, we have given instructions to stop all commercial flights of any airline departing or arriving in the United Kingdom or flying over the airspace,” states the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). ) in a statement.

The last Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to leave London Heathrow Airport is an Air Canada aircraft. The plane, which took off just minutes before the flight ban came into force in the United Kingdom, is heading for Halifax.

The French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) indicates that it is closely following the investigation into the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX in Ethiopia, although French airlines do not have any aircraft. this type.

“Given the circumstances of the accident in Ethiopia, the French authorities took the precautionary decision to prohibit any commercial flight on a Boeing 737 MAX to, from or over French territory. “

The Singapore Civil Aviation Regulator, a major player in Asian aviation, has also temporarily suspended “all variants of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft” in its airspace, citing necessary checks on the reliability of this range. .

Unlike these countries, Canada has decided for the moment to let these devices circulate in the skies of the country, confirmed Tuesday the Canadian Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau.

China, Indonesia, South Korea and Mongolia have decided to ground the 737 MAX 8 aircraft. South Korea has restricted its flight ban to two Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft from Eastar Jet .

In India, the authorities have imposed additional security measures on the maintenance crews working on these aircraft and on the crews flying on these aircraft.

In addition to the civil authorities of these countries, the airlines Ethiopian Airlines, Gol (Brazil), Aerolinas Argentinas (Argentina) and Cayman Airways (Cayman Islands), Comair (South Africa) and Aeromexico (Mexico) have decided to do the same.

The Argentine airline Aerolineas Argentinas has announced the ”   temporary suspension of commercial operation   ” of its five Boeing 737 MAX 8s following a sling of its pilots.

The day before, they had announced that they refused to fly on this model of devices until they receive ”   sufficient information and guarantees   “.

People before money

Professor at the Management and Technology Department of the UQAM School of Management, Mehran Ebrahimi, argues that the automated stabilization system (MCAS) of the device “is dangerous for the device”.

“The risk is high today with these planes,” says Ebrahimi.

He believes that it is wiser to nail these aircraft to the ground than to risk the lives of passengers despite the economic consequences that will result for Boeing and the air carriers that purchased these aircraft.

Despite worries about its new aircraft around the world, Boeing reiterates its full confidence in the safety of its 737 MAX in a statement issued Tuesday.

The aircraft manufacturer does not plan to issue new guidelines to operators.

FAA requires modifications

Meanwhile, in the United States, the US Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) has decided to allow the new range of Boeing aircraft to continue its flights, but it forces Boeing to make changes to the software and automated stabilization system to prevent the stall of the 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9.

These modifications will have to be executed “at the latest in April”.

The regulator on Monday urged the US manufacturer to make changes to software and the MCAS control system designed to prevent stalls. Boeing will also have to update the manual for pilot training, it was announced.

The 24 American Airlines aircraft and the 34 Southwest Airlines will continue to cross the sky, as well as those of United Airlines and Alaska Air.

In 40 years, Washington has grounded a fleet of aircraft on two occasions. The last one was in January 2013, when the 787 Dreamliner was immobilized for battery problems.

“Aviation no longer needs pilots, but IT specialists,” said US President Donald Trump on Twitter lamenting that developers are constantly trying to unnecessarily improve “the older and simpler model” that remains superior.

“I do not know about you, but I do not want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great aviation professionals who can take control of an aircraft easily and quickly, “he added, without talking directly to Boeing or recent accidents.

The American aerospace giant employs 150,000 people in the United States.

A design flaw?

Although the investigation into the crash of one of these aircraft last October is not complete, investigators suspect the Boeing 737 MAX’s automated control systems (MCAS) were involved in the accident.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journallast November, the new anti-stall system, designed to help pilots avoid the nose of the plane rising too high, may have played a role in the crash of Lion Air flight .

“We know that this system can trigger, that this system is dangerous in this position for the aircraft,” says Ebrahimi. “There is more and more thought that the Lion Air pilots probably knew what to do, but that the machine could not defuse it. “

Mr. Ebrahimi believes that Boeing may be afraid of having a problem with the design of the aircraft. “The 737 was originally designed in the 1960s,” he says. It’s a plane that we have improved a little bit and we have re-engineered, which gives the version 737 MAX. “

The new engines retained by Boeing for its new range of aircraft were, however, too big for the height of the aircraft, says Ebrahimi. “The engines were way too close to the ground, so we raised the height of the landing gear and put the engines a little further forward. But by doing that, we reduced the stability of the plane. That’s why we put this system [MCAS]. “

“Can the [737 MAX] problem be solved with software, or is it more serious than that?” Asks Ebrahimi. If it is necessary to go to a modification of the design of the plane, there is in unimaginable proportions that Boeing will not be able to support “,

Interview with Mehram Ebrahimi, Full Professor, Management and Technology Department, UQAM School of Management Sciences

Investigation in progress

A US team of investigators and a Boeing technical team arrived on Tuesday for the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash, which left 157 dead, including 18 Canadian casualties.

On Monday, Ethiopian investigators found the two black boxes, the cockpit voice and alarm recorder and the Boeing 737 flight data recorder.

Another Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed at sea in Indonesia last October, killing 189 people aboard. The aircraft of Lion Air had, like the flight of Ethiopian Airlines last Sunday, also crashed a few minutes after takeoff.

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About the Author: Joe Peterson

Joe Peterson was born and raised in San Francisco. He has contributed to Discovery Magazine, Cottage Country Magazine and Tech Insider. As a journalist for Swerd Media, Joe mostly covers national news. Aside from earning a living as a freelance journalist, Joe also spends much of his time training for ultra running.

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