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article imageCrashed Boeing 737 Max 8 planes lacked add-on safety features

By Ken Hanly     Mar 21, 2019 in Technology
Both crashes involving Boeing's 737 Max 8 airliners may have lacked safety features that are only available as expensive add-ons according to the New York Times.
The Indonesian Lion Air crash
The Lion Air Max 8 that crashed did not have the safety upgrades, making it more difficult for the pilots to pull the plane out of its fatal dive. The crash Lion Air Flight 610 crashed last October shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 passengers and crew.
While the cause of the crash is still undetermined, preliminary reports indicate that the Lion Air plane may have crashed due to a faulty sensor that suggested the plane was about to stall. The anti-stall feature of the plane then pointed the nose downward to counteract the supposed stall resulting in a deadly dive downwards.
An article in the Air Current by Jon Ostrower claims that Lion Air 610 should never have been allowed to be airborne as it was not airworthy. As the plane taxied down the runway its Air Attack Sensors were off by twenty degrees.
The Ethiopian Airlines crash
Just five months after the Lion Air crash another Max 8, another crash of a Max 8 happened on March 10. Just minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed killing all 157 passengers and crew members on the plane. As a result of this second crash many airline regulators have grounded the plane pending more investigation of the cause of the crashes.
One of the safety features that could have helped the crew members struggling with keeping the planes in the air was a warning light, called a disagree light, that would go on if the plane’s angle of attack sensors were misaligned. The other safety feature was an angle of attack indicator that would show the readings of the two sensors.
After the crashes, Boeing decided it will not charge for the warning light and it will be standard on all new Max 8 737s according to an anonymous source as reported in a recent Digital Journal article. But airlines will still need to purchase the angle of attack indicator. No spokesperson from Boeing was available to answer a request for comment.
More about Boeing 737 Max 8, Lion Air Crash, Ethiopian airlines crash
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