The Pilot of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Reported Flight-Control Problems Before Crash

Mar 13, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The pilot of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday, killing all 157 on board, reported that he was having problems controlling the Boeing 737 MAX and wanted to return to the origin airport.

According to Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO Tewolde Gebremariam, the pilot’s conversations with air traffic controllers showed that he didn’t indicate other external issues with the aircraft, such as a bird strike. As told to The Wall Street Journal, Gebremariam instead said that the pilot told ATC he was having “flight-control problems.”

In the immediate aftermath of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, some drew comparisons to October 2018’s crash involving Lion Air Flight 610. Both flights were operated by new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and crashed shortly after takeoff. In both instances, the pilots failed to maintain a steady climb.

Investigators have released a preliminary report on the Lion Air crash, but the final report is still pending. For the Ethiopian Airlines crash, however, the investigation is still underway.

The black boxes of the aircraft have been recovered, and Gebremariam said they’d be sent to Europe for analysis — France, Germany and the UK are being considered, as well as the EU Aviation Safety Agency in Cologne. US officials have reportedly pushed for the boxes to be analyzed in America, however, the final decision on where they’ll be sent in Europe won’t be made until later Wednesday.

Since the crash on Sunday, a number of countries have banned the 737 MAX from taking off or landing at their airports — or even from entering their airspace. Additionally, some airlines have taken to grounding the 737 MAX aircraft in their fleets until investigations are complete. More than two-thirds of 737 MAX 8 aircraft in the world have been grounded at this time.

The only major holdouts of those to ground the 737 MAX aircraft from airspace are the United States and Canada. Both the FAA and Boeing have maintained that there has been no reason to ground the 737 MAX in the US.

Featured photo by Stephen Brashear / Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.