THE BOEING 737 MAX 8, BILLED BY BOEING AS ITS MOST TECHNOLOGICALLY-ADVANCED AIRCRAFT TO-DATE
At the root of October’s Lion Air crash was a new safety system installed in the MAX 8 plane, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), that automatically pulls the plane’s nose down if data suggests it is at risk.
In that flight, the system was responding to faulty data that suggested the nose was tilted at a higher angle than it was, indicating the plane was at risk of stalling.
The pilots subsequently engaged in a futile tug-of-war with the plane’s automatic systems, trying to reverse a nosedive that should not be triggered so soon after takeoff. Boeing has argued that pilots should have identified the system was in operation, and turned it off.
“All pilots should have been trained on that function after Lion Air,” said inspector Schiavo. “Boeing did something very unusual for any manufacturer — it sent out an emergency bulletin and told all airlines to make sure they trained the pilots in the shut-off procedure.”
So, Boeing explained that horrible disaster away by claiming pilot error. But then, the same thing happened just yesterday: the same aircraft crashed and killed all on board under what appear to be similar circumstances.
Knowing how Boeing has bragged about the plane’s incredible artificial intelligence capabilities, it really does appear that one way or another, someone, or something, has toyed with the ability of this plane to fly safely. In other words, if a plane crashes against the wishes of its pilots and in favor of its computer programs, something stinks to high heaven.