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Canada used ADS-B data in making its grounding decision?



While Garneau did not name the data supplier PaxEx.Aero confirms that the new information was provided by space-based aircraft tracking service Aireon. The Aireon solution rides along on the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, collecting data from ADS-B out transmitters across the globe. Aireon CEO Don Thoma notes that the company is tracking thousands of aircraft at any time, even as the solution is not yet fully live. The final satellites launched just two months ago and are in the final stages of payload testing. Still, the company collects billions of data points monthly and can quickly respond to requests for such data following incidents such as the ET302 incident. 

Transport Canada requested the data from Aireon late Tuesday and it was delivered overnight, allowing for the review this morning and the decision that followed.

Thoma was clear that his company provides the data and that interpretation of that data is up to the individual regulatory agencies.



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Another wrinkle, it appears from the FAA and Boeing action that even Ferry flights would not be allowed or perhaps they are not mentioned as they could be subject to a "Special Flight Permit"


A special flight permit, also known as a ferry permit, is a special airworthiness certificate issued by the FAA authorizing the operation of an aircraft that does not currently meet applicable airworthiness requirements but is safe for a specific flight.


Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) 2017-3

Content last revised: 2009/12/01


Special Flight Permit Conditions Of Issuance And Limitations

The following conditions apply when a Special Flight Permit has been authorized to ferry an aircraft that does not meet the applicable airworthiness requirements but is otherwise fit for flight from a place where repair or replacement may not reasonably be made to a maintenance base where repair may be made.

  1. (1) Before operating an aircraft that does not meet applicable airworthiness requirements, an authorized person shall make a determination that the aircraft can be safely flown to a base where maintenance can be performed. The aircraft must be inspected in accordance with the procedures contained in the approved company maintenance control manual and an appropriately licensed aircraft maintenance engineer or approved company inspector must certify, in the aircraft journey log, that the aircraft is in a safe condition for the flight.

  2. (2) An aircraft that has been involved in a reportable aviation occurrence, other than a reportable incident, cannot be moved without the express permission of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation & Safety Board in accordance with Transportation Safety Board Regulations.

  3. (3) Operation of an aircraft to which an Airworthiness Directive applies shall not be authorized except in accordance with the requirements of the Airworthiness Directive.


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March 13, 2019

Boeing 737 MAX Update


ALPA supports the decision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport Canada to ground the Boeing 737 MAX. The FAA reports that it made its decision "as a result of the data-gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today." Out of an abundance of caution, North American regulators have acted in the best interests of aviation safety.

ALPA continues to monitor the situation and is working alongside aviation authorities in the United States and Canada to uphold the safety and integrity of our air transportation system. We strongly encourage the investigative authorities responsible to expedite the investigation of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and identify any corrective action if necessary in order to return this aircraft to service. 

ALPA stands ready, through the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations, to assist the international aviation community in every way possible with the shared goal of advancing a safer air transportation system around the globe.

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2 hours ago, GTFA said:

When there are multiple variants of a common type we are still required to be trained on the differences. Boeing is definitely on the hook if they did not properly declare the differences.

Was there not a differences course required to fly the different DC8's that Air Canada operated?

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I do remember that our crews when moving to the Stretch DC8 did have to be careful re the rotation of the longer aircraft (or so my Father told me)  but of course I did not know how much difference training was involved. We did see (on the ground) occasional sparks (tail skid contact)  when the aircraft was taking off from YVR to the Orient fully loaded though. ?

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I have flown at mixed configuration operators where the only requirement was to review a fin specific differences card prior to each flight segment.

I have also worked where variants on a single type endorsement required alternating semi-annual SIM training on the 2 different variants (SIM could be reconfigured - different panels and performance software).

I think that most mixed fleet 737 operators managed the MAX addition via an online information module and perhaps a differences card.

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737 Max grounding to have limited impact on US carriers

  • 13 March, 2019
  • SOURCE: Flight Dashboard
  • BY: Edward Russell
  • Washington DC

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines are the three US carriers impacted by the Federal Aviation Administration's decision to ground Boeing 737 Max aircraft following two fatal crashes since October.

The three carriers, combined, operate 72 Max 8s and 9s, Cirium's Fleets Analyzer shows. Southwest has the largest fleet with 34 737-8s, American has 24 737-8s and United has 14 737-9s.

The airlines' relative fleet exposure to the Max is small. The aircraft represent just 2.5% of the mainline fleet at American, 4.5% at Southwest and 1.8% at United, the data shows."Given the size of the American, United and Southwest fleets we expect those companies to have little issues adjusting schedules and back filling aircraft with the 737-800s," Cowen analysts wrote in a report on 12 March. "We also expect the larger airlines to potentially keep older aircraft in service longer and/or cut short unnecessary retrofitting of aircraft to alleviate stress on the network in the near-term."

For example, American had planned to remove its last 30 Boeing MD-80s this year but could extend the lives of some of those aircraft to temporarily backfill some of the lost 737-8 lift. It made a similar move in 2016 when Chapter 11 bankruptcy forced regional partner Republic Airways to temporarily park 21 Embraer 170 and 175 aircraft in American's feeder fleet.

Southwest and United also have older aircraft that are slated for retirement but that could remain in service.


Miami, Houston Intercontinental and Phoenix handle the highest number of 737 Max seats at the three carriers. American operates 49% of its 737-8 seats from Miami, United 34% of its 737-9 seats from Houston, and Southwest 8% of its 737-8 seats from Phoenix in March, Cirium schedule data shows.

However, similar to the 737 Max's small relative size in each airlines' fleet, the overall impact at each airport is small. American only operates 14% of its seats from Miami with the aircraft, United 4.3% of its seats from Houston, and Southwest 8% of its seats from Phoenix.

American serves 21 cities with the 737 Max, Southwest 67 cities and United 16 cities this month, according to the data.

Asset Image

American (red), Southwest (blue) and United (pink) 737 Max routes, March 2019

Cirium schedules data

All three carriers say safety is their top priority and that they are complying and in communication with the FAA following its decision to ground the Max.

"We remain confident in the Max 8 after completing more than 88,000 flight hours accrued over 41,000 flights," says Southwest in a statement. "We support the actions of the FAA and other regulatory agencies and governments across the globe that have asked for further review of the data – including information from the flight data recorder – related to the recent accident involving the Max 8."

How long the 737 Max will remain grounded is unknown. The last grounding of a commercial aircraft, the Boeing 787, lasted for nearly four months in 2013.

In this case, airlines and officials are awaiting data from the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder that have been recovered from the Ethiopian Airlines 737-8 crash site near Addis Ababa.

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2 hours ago, rudder said:

I have flown at mixed configuration operators where the only requirement was to review a fin specific differences card prior to each flight segment.

I have also worked where variants on a single type endorsement required alternating semi-annual SIM training on the 2 different variants (SIM could be reconfigured - different panels and performance software).

I think that most mixed fleet 737 operators managed the MAX addition via an online information module and perhaps a differences card.

Well, this is where the level of professionalism of each pilot comes in to play. Kerns, Sumwalt et al have been preaching this for a while...

Company culture and training priorities are, as they should be, brought in to the spotlight to reenforce the value of well trained, experienced flight crew.

This is a wake up call to the industry. Unless, of coarse the investigations find that the malfunctions were deemed to be unmanageable.

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Interesting interview

Aviation expert discusses the repercussions of grounding Boeing 737 MAX 8/9 aircrafts

Aviation expert Rick Erickson joins Global’s Linda Olsen to discuss the repercussions of the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircrafts.

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PARIS (Reuters) - France’s air accident investigation agency BEA will analysis black-box flight recorders from a Boeing 737 MAX 8 which crashed near Addis Ababa on Sunday, a spokesman said.

Ethiopian Airlines said earlier it would send the two cockpit voice and data recorders abroad for analysis.

The French announcement resolved uncertainty over the fate of the two recorders after Germany’s BFU said it had declined a request to handle them because it could not process the new type of recorder used on the 737 MAX jets, in service since 2017.

The BEA is one of the world’s most active air crash agencies alongside the National Transportation Safety Board of the United States and has laboratories at its Le Bourget headquarters.

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A question for Don Hudson et al with regards to something that I keep coming back to on ET302.  HAAB is 7331 FT ASL and new SAT based data was made available yesterday.  According to Aviation Herald they quote the Canadian TSB yesterday as saying....


"Shortly after the departure from Runway 07R at HAAB, the aircraft was levelled off at approximately 9000 feet MSL. The flight crew transmitted a distress call, and ATC authorized the flight to return to HAAB. Radar contact was lost shortly after at 0844L (0544Z). The aircraft impacted terrain, and the wreckage was found near Ejere, Ethiopia, which is located approximately 28 nm east of HAAB. All persons on board received fatal injuries, including 18 Canadian Nationals; the aircraft was destroyed. Ethiopia’s Accident Investigation Bureau is investigating. In accordance with ICAO Annex 13 5.27, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada assigned an expert to the investigat

This tells me the flight profile barely made it to a few thousand ft (1,700 ft) above terrain (9000 ft MSL) before impact.  My understanding is that MCAS would only become active with FLPS UP.  Is it possible that the aircraft would have been in that configuration so soon after departure?  Could the airport elevation factor into the way MCAS behaved if it did at all (Below 10,000FT)?

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1700 AAE would not be low for an acceleration/flap retraction altitude.  The minimum altitude can be as low as 400' but I am not aware of anyone who does that.

Normally the primary restriction driving that acceleration altitude is terrain clearance and minimum all engines obstacle clearance planes.  Most of the time, on all engines, a twin will handily outclimb that gradient once the gear is up, but the acceleration to get the flaps up, especially from a high hot airport, can involve an extended and relatively flat flight path which may punch through that gradient.  So basically the aircraft has to climb high enough, early enough, to buy room for that acceleration phase.


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WASHINGTON (March 14, 2019) —The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is dispatching three investigators to France Thursday to assist with the downloading and analysis of flight recorders from the Boeing 737 MAX 8 that crashed Sunday near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The NTSB investigators have expertise in recorders, flight crew operations and human factors. The French Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA) will be downloading the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder in support of the Ethiopian investigation.

The investigation is being led by the Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigations Bureau in accordance with the standards defined in International Civil Aviation Organization Annex 13. The NTSB appointed an accredited representative to the investigation under the ICAO standards because the airplane was manufactured in the United States. All investigative data regarding the investigation will be released by Ethiopian authorities.

For more information on NTSB participation in foreign investigations go to: https://go.usa.gov/xEswV.

The NTSB investigators dispatched to France will work in coordination with investigators on the ground in Addis Ababa. Those investigators were sent immediately after the accident and have been integral to the efforts underway in Ethiopia. They are being assisted by technical advisers from the Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing and GE/Safran, the manufacturer of the engines.

The NTSB is an independent U.S. federal agency charged with investigating transportation accidents and issuing recommendations to improve safety.

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James Fallows in The Atlantic offers some good perspective 


2:40 PM 

‘Don’t Ground the Airplanes. Ground the Pilots.’

An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight Joshua Roberts / Reuters

In the days since the horrific Ethiopian Airlines crash, I have received a lot of email from pilots, aircraft engineers, and others with experience in aviation. These have been in response to three previous posts: first here, then here, then most recently here (with quotes from pilots’ observations about the Boeing 737 Max via NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System).

While I sift through the other messages, let me start with one from a highly experienced pilot and flight instructor. His name is Wally Magathan, and he has worked as an airline pilot, an Air Force pilot and C-5 Galaxy flight instructor, and an instructor in airline L-1011 flight-simulators. I know him through COPA, the organization of pilots and owners of Cirrus’s small single-engine airplanes.

With Magathan’s permission, I quote a post from him, offering a professional’s view of risk-management after these two Boeing 737 Max tragedies.

(For brief background, and as a reminder: the Boeing 737 Max has different handling characteristics from previous 737 models, because its engines are in a different place on the wings. This new engine placement increased the tendency of the plane to “pitch up”—that is, to point its nose upward, in a way that could increase the risk of aerodynamic stall. The MCAS system was added to offset this tendency, when detected and when the plane was being hand-flown, by automatically pointing the nose back down. The main hypothesis about last fall’s Lion Air crash, in Indonesia, is that this MCAS system went out of control, because of a failed sensor reading, and pushed the nose down, down, down, until the plane plunged into the sea. The main question after that crash was whether the Lion Air pilots had been appropriately informed about how MCAS worked, and trained on how to turn it off. No one yet is sure whether the same problem was part of the recent Ethiopian Airlines crash.)

Magathan says this about training, design flaws, and who should be grounded, when:

-Boeing’s design deficiency [JF note: having to add the MCAS, to offset the pitch-up problem] sets up the need for pilot training on how to overcome it.

-Boeing’s failure to highlight the change resulted in no specific MCAS pilot training.

Those two big mistakes, it now appears, likely caused two tragic major catastrophes.  Shame on Boeing if the final analysis bears these points out.

The corrective action is simple and within the capabilities of any competent airline captain to execute. Certainly easier than dealing with an engine fire or loss of multiple hydraulic systems.

There is a broad spectrum of abilities in any group of pilots, and without an emphasis training, some of them will be unable to overcome the design deficiency, even if the emergency procedure is simple to carry out.  All the lights and buzzers going off will freeze the less capable pilot who has not been trained to drill down to what is going on, and to flip the switch. Training has to be to the lowest level of ability, if you’re operating an airline with any significant number of pilots.  They all can't be Sully Sullenbergers.

To me, from the standpoint of an airline pilot, there was no need to ground the fleet.  Just ground each and every 737MAX pilot until he or she has been trained on the MCAS.

After two accidents, require a week in the simulator—for overkill to make sure it penetrates even the dimmest bulbs. But nobody flies again until they have it. In effect that grounds the fleet, but only so long as the training takes. At the same time, regulatory bodies can require Boeing to eliminate the design deficiency so that the training on the MCAS need not be so intense, a process that could take months if not years.

But if I were speaking as a non-flying member of the public, and as a politician who must answer to them, I would say: ground the fleet now.  As far as the public is concerned, the industry had its chance and blew it. I would have no confidence in the plane nor the industry until an explanation is found and the design changed. Nor would I buy a ticket on such a plane.

Once the public pressure became too great, the grounding of the fleet was inevitable—but not because the plane is unsafe when flown by a properly trained crew.  Boeing will pay a price for this, if the final analysis holds these accidents would not have occurred in a 737 model that had no MCAS.

Obviously (as I know from the inbox) other pilots and engineers have a range of views. But I thought this was a particularly lucid description of the relationship between technology and training, and about the difference between views from inside the industry and reactions from outside.Please read on for another message from another airline pilot, which has just come in

I have heard from a person who now flies 737s as a captain for a major U.S. airline, and who has worked over the decades as a crash investigator on projects for NASA, the FAA, and the Air Lines Pilots Association. In those roles, he says, he has “read and analyzed thousands of ASRS reports.” He has a cautionary note about current coverage of the 737 Max.

He begins by referring to some of the ASRS reports I was quoting, including one that is harshly critical of Boeing (and that has been cited in many newspaper reports). This pilot writes:

It seems to me that the media in general has grossly, and frankly irresponsibly, mischaracterized this data.

I believe it is almost certain that the two reports [JF note: among those I quoted] describing a pitch down when the autopilot was engaged are describing the same event; one is from the captain, one from the FO [First Officer — the pilot sitting in the right-hand seat in the cockpit, and with three strips on the epaulet, versus four for the captain]. This is an artifact of the ASRS de-identification structure [i.e., removing personally identifying info from the reports].

In any event, MCAS is not supposed to be operative with the autopilot engaged. Further, when MCAS operates, it will move the pitch trim wheel. Neither report discusses any unwanted trim motion. Ergo, this does not represent an actual MCAS malfunction. It would actually have been useful to know whether this crew made any maintenance logbook entries about this incident.

The report discussing the auto throttle malfunction also has no bearing on MCAS; there is no relationship between them.

I could go on at length about my concurrence with the report discussing Boeing’s failure to include the MCAS material in the [flight manual]; however, that report also does not represent an actual MCAS malfunction. Ditto for the first officer who felt unprepared.

There was an additional report included in the original package put out by various media outlets, which you did not include. I assume that’s because you have done your own homework … This one described an intermediate level off at FL 340 when they had been cleared to FL 360; this occurred because the crew had failed to update the FMC [Flight Management Computer] with the new cruise altitude. Everybody has done that at one time or another. This, too, has no bearing on the MCAS problem.

It has been enormously distressing for me to see material such as these ASRS reports used as proof that there was some kind of hidden problem being covered up by the powers that be. That may still be true (I rather doubt it, but in the accident investigation world, rule no. 1 is never fall in love with your pet theory). We have a real problem here, and its resolution will require accurate, careful and probably very technical analysis. The media firestorm has created a very difficult atmosphere within which to do that work.

At this point, the principal problem we face in resolving the issue lies in defining the criteria we will use to return the Max to flight status. Unlike the previous groundings of the DC-10, ATR, Concorde and 787, the Max was grounded without any clear technical understanding.

As such, there is no clear technical path to follow in order to restore it to flying. If the Ethiopian accident does indeed mirror the Lion Air case (which I also consider very unlikely, but…) then that path will be clear but very, very painful and arduous.

If, on the other hand, the two are not related, then we will have to develop a technical rationale for returning the aircraft to flight with not one, but two unrelated and still open accident investigations. We are really in uncharted territory….

For example, if, as Simon Hradecky has reported on his Aviation Herald website, the Ethiopian crew encountered an unreliable airspeed situation, then a poor handling of that condition could have actually triggered a genuine, proper operation of the MCAS. The presence of that data point in the DFDR data [Digital Flight Data Recorder, roughly approximating “the black box”] will muddy the waters almost impossibly for the media, politicians, and certainly for Trump. And yet it would represent a scenario very different from what we know so far about Lion Air.

I’ll add that while this has been going on, we also have an open investigation into the Atlas 767 crash at Houston. [This was a cargo flight crash, near Houston, last month that killed the three crew members aboard. But it was in a type of plane, a Boeing 767, also used by airlines.]

In that case, we know that some manner of elevator deflection led to a pitch down to 49˚. There are plenty of 767’s still flying passengers, so this, too, is a very critical investigation. Yet, as far as I can tell, the NY Times has not run a single story on this that has not been authored by either Reuters or the AP. [JF note: The Washington Post has also mainly run AP coverage; the Wall Street Journal has had some storiesby its own staff.] This is incredibly disturbing, as it strongly suggests a primary interest in body count and sensationalism, as opposed to genuine public interest.

Thanks to these two pilots. More to come.



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7 minutes ago, Fido said:

Zero flap take off? 

No, it's just considered the minimum acceleration altitude in general practice.  It's also associated with one engine inoperative third segment climb (net takeoff flight path (NTFP)).  In general, operators increase the altitudes associated with underlying obstacles by an amount that raises this segment above 400',  but in theory that margin can be taken as acceleration.  Not normally done unless there is a severe obstacle limitation a ways down range that necessitates getting clean ASAP and accelerating for an optimised final segment climb.


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The pain for some airlines evidently will last at least until May or longer. 

Boeing 737 Max aircraft grounded 'until May at


All Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft will remain grounded at least until May after the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said.

The aircraft will not fly until a software update can be tested and installed, the US regulator said.

Sunday's crash, shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, killed 157 people from 35 nations.

It was the second crash involving a 737 Max in six months.

Some people have pointed to similarities between the incidents, with some experts citing satellite data and evidence from the crash scene as showing links between Sunday's disaster and October's crash in Indonesia of the Lion Air jet that killed 189 people.


US Representative Rick Larsen said the software upgrade would take a few weeks to complete, and installing it on all the aircraft would take "at least through April".

The FAA said on Wednesday that a software fix for the 737 Max that Boeing had been working on since the Lion Air crash would take months to complete.

Meanwhile, investigators in France have taken charge of the crashed Ethiopian Airlines aircraft's black boxes as they attempt to uncover what caused the Boeing 737 Max disaster.

The Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) received the flight data and cockpit voice recorders on Thursday.

The first readings could take days, but a lot depends on the boxes' condition.

Regulators across the world continue to ground the Boeing aircraft.

On Thursday, Russia, Japan and Tunisia banned the jet from their airspace. Late on Wednesday, the FAA told the country's airlines to ground their fleets, but was criticised for not doing it sooner.

Possible similarities between the accidents, focussing on the aircraft's anti-stall system, have shocked the aviation industry and raised questions over Boeing's, and the FAA's, insistence earlier this week the the Max 737 was safe to fly.

In addition to Max aircraft in service, about another 5,000 are on order from airlines. Garuda Indonesia said there was a possibility it would cancel its 20-strong order for Max jets, depending on what the FAA does.

Graphic: Vertical Speed data for Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft
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Trump: Boeing 737 Max planes grounded

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A BEA spokesman said he did not know what condition the black boxes were in. "First we will try to read the data," the spokesman said, adding that the first analyses could take between half a day and several days.

There have been reports, including by Reuters, that there was a tussle over which safety authority would take the lead in examining the black boxes.

Reports said Germany was initially asked to conduct the analysis because Ethiopian Airlines had been unhappy at the way the Paris-based organisation had investigated a crash in Lebanon in 2010.

Britain and the US both have highly-respected crash investigation agencies.

A Southwest Boeing 737 Max 8 enroute from Tampa prepares to land at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on March 11, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.Image copyright Getty Images

Analysis: Theo Leggett, business correspondent:

How long the analysis by the BEA will take depends on a number of things.

First, the state of the recorders themselves. They are contained in very robust housings designed to withstand tremendous forces, and they are placed in the rear of the aircraft where they may be sheltered from the worst effects of an impact.

Nevertheless, they can still be damaged, particularly by intense fire. The investigators will need to extract the memory modules, basically circuit boards covered with memory chips, and carry out any necessary repairs.

The modules are designed so that information is spread across a series of chips. If one part is damaged, there should still be useable information elsewhere.

Once downloaded, the data also has to be read. Surprisingly, it is not recorded in a standard form - so investigators will need to know how to make it useable. That will need input from the airline itself.

If all goes well, the investigators will have access to thousands of pieces of data about the aircraft - not only what was going on on the fatal flight itself, but also on previous journeys.

They will also be able to hear what was going on in the cockpit, what the pilots said to one another, and if any audible warnings were sounding.

All of that should go a long way towards establishing the immediate causes of the accident - and finding out whether there really were common factors with the Lion Air crash.

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An update re the data recorders.  Note the extensive damage to the one pictured .

New delay in retrieving initial data from 737 MAX 8 'black boxes'

Mar 14, 2019, 3:46 PM ET
PHOTO: Officials released this photo of the Flight Data Recorder for Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 which crashed on March 10, 2019, killing 157 people.Play@Bea_Aero/Twitter
WatchFAA administrator explains data similarities between plane crashes

A readout of initial data on the deadly Boeing 737 MAX 8 Ethiopian Airlines crash won't happen until at least Friday, the French aviation safety bureau said Thursday, despite assurances from the head of the Federal Aviation Administration Thursday morning that answers could come later in the day.

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Though the damaged "black boxes" -- devices that house the flight data and cockpit voice recorders -- arrived in France Wednesday night, they didn't arrive at the French aviation safety bureau, known as the BEA, until 1 p.m. local time on Thursday, the bureau said.

Meetings began after the Ethiopian investigators arrived, the BEA said, but "technical work will start tomorrow."

That delay until Friday was apparently not known to the FAA's acting administrator Daniel Elwell, who said on ABC News' "Good Morning America" Thursday morning that he expected results "hopefully by the end of the day."

By Friday, now the earliest possible day any initial data could be revealed, families of all 157 passengers who died on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 will have waited five days to learn more about what might have caused Sunday's crash just outside Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. It will also extend the nearly-worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, an aircraft which has now been involved in two deadly crashes in less than five months.

"They have to figure it out fast. They know that. They're under great pressure," President Donald Trump said about Boeing at a White House photo-op on Thursday. He also reiterated his support for the company, saying grounding the planes was a "big thing" and calling Boeing "one of our largest exporters" as well as "one of the truly great companies of the world."



The expected data could address questions about whether there is a dangerous software problem with the aircraft, now grounded by more than 40 countries and all major airlines around the world.


PHOTO: Officials released this photo of the Flight Data Recorder for Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 which crashed on March 10, 2019, killing 157 people.@Bea_Aero/Twitter
Officials released this photo of the Flight Data Recorder for Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 which crashed on March 10, 2019, killing 157 people.more +


The FAA reversed its assurances that the plane should stay in the air on Wednesday, making the U.S. one of the last to order the 737 MAX grounded. The decision, announced by Trump from inside the White House, followed days of back-and-forth between the president, Boeing and the FAA.

The FAA cited new evidence gathered at the site of the crash and "newly refined satellite data" available Wednesday morning as reason for the shift, though the president highlighted that it was made for a number of reasons, including "psychologically" -- referring to the number of other countries and airlines who made the call ahead of the U.S., heightening concerns.

"I didn’t want to take any chances," Trump said Wednesday. "We didn’t have to make this decision today. We could’ve delayed it. We maybe didn’t have to make it at all, but I felt -- I felt it was important both psychologically and a lot of other ways. “

The FAA also said the grounding will continue until authorities fully examine the flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders contained in the black boxes, which are actually orange despite the name.

That remained the case Thursday morning.

"We don't know how long the planes will be grounded," Elwell told ABC News' Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America."

Later Thursday, the president said he hoped it would be "a short period of time."

The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent U.S. agency that investigates transportation accidents and issues widely-respected safety recommendations, sent three additional investigators to assist in the black box analysis in France, the agency said Thursday.

The NTSB investigators are specifically trained to analyze human factors and flight crew operations, as well as the recordings, the NTSB said.

A key question is whether the plane's autopilot system might have played a role in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, as it seemed to have done in the fatal crash of an Indonesian Lion Air 737 MAX 8 last October. In that crash, it appears the pilots failed to disengage the autopilot when the plane's nose began pitching up and down, perhaps because they were unaware of how to do so.

Complaints from at least two U.S. pilots disclosing similar problems with the autopilot function have surfaced in the aftermath of Sunday's crash.



Initially, the raw flight data available on Sunday and Monday did not match that of the Boeing 737 Max that crashed in October in Indonesia, Elwell said.


PHOTO: Daniel Elwell speaks to Good Morning America, March 14, 2019.ABC News
Daniel Elwell speaks to "Good Morning America," March 14, 2019.


But after the data were further examined -- a joint effort by Boeing, the satellite data provider and the National Transportation Safety Board -- similarities emerged, Elwell said.

"When we could see the refined data," Elwell told Stephanopoulos, "it matched too closely to the Lion Air trajectory to figure that they weren't similar."




PHOTO: American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 pulls into its gate after arriving at the Miami International Airport from Saint Thomas, March 13, 2019, in Miami.Joe Raedle/Getty Images
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 pulls into its gate after arriving at the Miami International Airport from Saint Thomas, March 13, 2019, in Miami.more +


A proposed software fix for the 737 is "almost complete," Elwell said.

"We expect by the end of this month all the testing will be complete, and we will authorize implementation of the fix," Elwell added.

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Norwegian to seek compensation from Boeing on 737 MAX grounding
Mar 14, 2019 Helen Massy-Beresford

Norwegian Air Shuttle will seek compensation from Boeing over the MAX grounding, CEO Bjorn Kjos said.

Nations and regions around the world have been grounding the 737 MAX, following the March 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 near Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board. The Ethiopian MAX crash came just over four months after a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 crashed off the Indonesian coast Oct. 29, 2018.

The US FAA was the latest to announce it was grounding the narrowbody March 13 with immediate effect, following the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) March 12 decision to suspend MAX operations in the region.

In a video posted on Twitter March 13, Kjos said only a small part of Norwegian’s operation was affected—about 1% of seat capacity. But he added: “It is quite obvious that we will not take the cost related to the new aircraft that we have to park temporarily. We will send this bill to those who produce this aircraft.”

“What happens next is in the hands of European aviation authorities, but we hope and expect that our MAXs will be airborne soon,” Kjos added.

Norwegian said March 13 it would temporarily deploy a Boeing 787-9 on US flights from Dublin as part of efforts to minimize disruption by reallocating other aircraft, re-booking passengers and combining flights.

“Customers booked on affected transatlantic routes to and from Ireland serviced by the 737 MAX will be rebooked onto flights using the 787-9, which has a 338-seat configuration. The 787 Dreamliner, registered G-CKWF with Charles Lindbergh on the aircraft tail, will operate the Dublin-New York Stewart (SWF) route daily,” the LCC said.

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk


Edited by Maverick
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