In recent weeks, Boeing has tried to shift blame for both crashes from its software systems. Dennis Muilenburg, the company’s chief executive, claimed the 737 Max was correctly designed and suggested the pilots did not “completely” follow the procedures that Boeing had outlined. US aviation officials said a bird strike may have triggered the faulty data that led to the MCAS system engaging. However, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said that the preliminary crash investigation report showed “no evidence of any foreign object damage”.
American Airlines’ pilots’ union has hit back at Boeing for insinuating that some responsibility for the two crashes of its 737 Max jets lies with the pilots, and claimed AA pilots made several suggestions to Boeing to fix the plane’s anti-stall systems before the second crash.
Describing Boeing’s position as “inexcusable”, Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, accused Boeing of unfairly blaming foreign pilots involved in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes.
“Shame on you. We’re going to call you out on it. That’s a poisoned, diseased philosophy.” Asked if the Ethiopian crash might have been prevented if Boeing had acted on the US pilots’ concerns, Tajer said: “I think that’s a fair conclusion.”
Tajer said the Ethiopian Airlines pilots did what they were instructed to do, but that Boeing’s controversial anti-stall software (MCAS) forced the plane into such an aggressive nosedive that the pilots could not recover. “They had wired that thing so that it was irrecoverable. It just blew us away,” Tajer said
“These guys didn’t even know the damn system was on the airplane,” a pilot said.
Ethiopian officials have insisted the Ethiopian Airlines pilots repeatedly performed all of Boeing’s procedures, but were unable to recover the plane. Ethiopian Airlines also complained that Boeing did not do enough to warn them about the system or provide functioning cockpit alerts about problems with sensors.