Investigators: Boeing 737 MAX Anti-Stall System Involved in Ethiopian Crash

Mar 29, 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.

Investigators probing the deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet have said that preliminary finding show a controversial anti-stall system was activated on the aircraft before it plummeted to the ground.

According to a new report in The Wall Street Journal, this preliminary consensus among investigators is based on information from the plane’s so-called “black boxes” and was presented to high-ranking Federal Aviation Administration officials on Thursday. The preliminary conclusion is the most solid hint to date that the anti-stall system, called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), was a cause in both the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 on March 10 and Lion Air flight 610 in October 2018.

Both crashes had striking similarities, including a rollercoaster of sudden altitude changes, thought to be caused by MCAS. This anti-stall system automatically pushes down the aircraft nose when sensors indicate the nose might be pointed too high, which could cause the plane to stall. In the Lion Air crash, the black boxes revealed that the system pushed the nose down more than 24 times as pilots battled to keep the plane in the air.

The crashes had a combined death toll of 346 people. All 737 MAX planes have been grounded around the world until investigations can be completed.

Boeing is preparing a software upgrade for all of its Boeing 737 MAX jets that will purportedly fix any issues with MCAS and will roll out in the coming days. The first official crash report on Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 is also expected to be released by Ethiopian officials within days.

Featured photo of the Ethiopian Airlines crash site by Jemal Countess/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.