March 16, 2019 / 5:49 PM / 2 months ago

FACTBOX-What we know about Boeing 737 MAX crashes and what comes next

 (Adds details from preliminary Ethiopian report)
    April 5 (Reuters) - More than 300 Boeing        737 MAX jets
have been grounded worldwide after two fatal crashes in five
months in Ethiopia and Indonesia killed nearly 350 people.
            
    Investigators looking to uncover the causes must answer one
of the biggest questions: Was the plane's software to blame? 
    
    WHAT WE KNOW  
    - Boeing has stopped delivery of all new MAX jets. Its stock
has fallen about 6 percent since the Ethiopian Airlines crash on
March 10. 
    - Boeing maintains its new, fuel-efficient jets are safe,
but supported the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
decision to ground them.             
    - The preliminary report into the Ethiopian disaster,
published on April 4, showed a key sensor was wrecked, possibly
by a bird strike. It began to feed faulty data into the
Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), designed
to prevent stalls by pushing the nose of the plane lower. 
    - Flying faster than recommended, the crew struggled with
MCAS and turned it off. But the plane was still pointed down -
making it hard to use manual controls. Data suggests they later
turned MCAS-related systems back on - that would also reactivate
the electric trim system to help push the plane higher. But with
its power restored, a final MCAS nose-down command kicked in.
Reactivating MCAS is contrary to advice issued by Boeing and
regulators. The report did not address that. [nL8N21M5G9
    - The preliminary report into October's Lion Air crash in
Indonesia suggested pilots also lost control after grappling
with the MCAS software. It also focused on airline maintenance
and training.             
    - Sources said on March 21 that Boeing would mandate on MAX
jets a previously optional cockpit warning light, which might
have warned of problems that possibly played a role in both
crashes.             
    - Boeing said on April 3 it had successfully tested an
update of the MCAS system.                          
    - The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on April 3
it was launching a new review of the 737 MAX.             
    - Europe and Canada said on March 20 they would
independently certify the safety of the jets, further
complicating plans to get the aircraft back flying.             
   
    - Indonesia's flag carrier Garuda           said on March 22
it had sent a letter to Boeing asking to cancel an order for 49
MAX 8 aircraft, becoming the first airline to confirm plans to
cancel an order after the crashes.              
         
    WHAT'S NEXT?
    - A final report by Ethiopian authorities aided by
air-safety experts from the United States and Europe is due to
be published within a year.
    - Indonesia has advanced the planned release of its report
on the Lion Air crash to between July and August, versus a
previous schedule of between August and September.              
    - U.S. lawmakers said on March 14 the 737 MAX could be
grounded for weeks to upgrade software in every plane. Other
countries may ground the planes even longer.             
    - The U.S. Transportation Department's inspector general
plans to audit the FAA's certification of the jet, an official
with the office said on March 19. The office can recommend
changes or improvements to how the FAA operates.             
    - The U.S. Justice Department is also looking at the FAA's
oversight of Boeing, a person familiar with the matter has said.
The FAA has said it is "absolutely" confident in its vetting.
    - The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives
transportation committee and another key Democrat asked the
Transportation Department's inspector general to examine key
decisions the FAA made in certifying the MAX jet.             
    - Ethiopian Airlines said on March 16 that DNA testing of
passengers' remains may take up to six months.             

    
 (Compiled by Reuters bureaux)
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