Noticed ‘Error’ in Boeing 737 System: Chinese Airline Pilot

The 23-year-old pilot said that Boeing has not done enough to fix the system errors.

2 min read
A 737 pilot of a Chinese airline said the aircraft has had system “errors” in the past. 

After the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, 10 March, China became the first country to ground their 96 Boeing 737 planes on Monday, 11 March.

‘Boeing Has Not Done Enough’: Chinese Airline Pilot

Carl Liu, a 23-year-old pilot who has been flying Boeing 737 planes for a Chinese domestic airline since June last year, said he had noticed a “great deal of errors” in the plane’s MCAS system, he was quoted as saying by The Washington Post.

The pilot spoke on the condition that his employer remain unidentified.

Liu said that sometimes the new model would show that the aircraft was ascending steeply despite climbing by 10 degrees, and so the automated systems would nudge the plane’s nose down, causing a temporary loss of control.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Liu said, “All Boeing has promised is to update the MCAS system, and even that small move came a little too late.”

“I’ve noticed there is a great deal of error in the MCAS system, so it’s not a one-off incident. Boeing has not done enough; it never thought about suspending the production or operation of its 737 MAX 8 planes even after recurring tragedies.”
Carl Liu, Pilot

The Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) and angle-of-attack sensors may have played a role in the crash, experts told The Post.

After the Ethiopia crash, Boeing issued an official statement, saying: “Safety is Boeing’s number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets.”

Similar Loss of Control in 2018 Lion Air Crash

The Ethiopian crash marks the second time in less than six months that a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane crashed soon after takeoff.

Liu’s description comes eerily close to what investigators say caused the October 2018 Lion Air crash, according to The Washington Post report.

Preliminary findings of the cause of the crash reveal that a malfunctioning sensor made the plane lose control and plummet downwards. The system was showing incorrect readings, so the pilots were unable to know the exact speed and altitude, and struggled to regain control.

However, a CNN report says that since investigation into the Lion crash are ongoing, there is no clear evidence of a connection between the two accidents.

(With inputs from The Washington Post and CNN)

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