By Judson Rollins
March 13, 2019, © Leeham News: The traveling public’s faith in Boeing – and that of regulators in dozens of countries – has clearly taken a beating.
The 737 MAX has now been grounded or banned in nearly every jurisdiction in which it was operating just a few days ago.
Sunday’s tragic accident in Ethiopia bears an uncanny resemblance to the circumstances of the October crash of Lion Air 610, a fact which Boeing has tried to downplay by arguing that both accidents are still under investigation. The earlier accident is widely believed to have been caused by repeated nose-down trim responses driven by the MAX’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which in turn may have been influenced by inputs from a faulty angle-of-attack (AOA) sensor.
March 12, 2019, (c) Leeham News: EASA, the European air safety regulator, grounded the Boeing 737-8/9 operated by EU airlines and banned operation of the airplanes operated by third-party airlines/countries.
The press release is here.
The US Federal Aviation Administration still is silent about grounding the airplanes in the US.
The UK’s decision to ban the MAX is, up to now, the most important development in the growing crisis of confidence in the safety of the MAX.
The UK and continental Europe’s regulators, EASA, are considered tough regulators who usually work in concert with the USA’s Federal Aviation Administration. That the UK authority is now ahead of the FAA is crucial. If EASA follows suit, the blow to the FAA and to Boeing will be huge.