ETHIOPIAN airlines flight 302 persistently nose-dived before it crashed, according to a statement from the aviation group on Thursday.
Citing the preliminary report of the accident, the statement stated that the pilots who were commanding the crashed airplane followed the Booeing (manufacturer) recommended and the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) approved emergency procedures.
Flight 302 crashed shortly after taking off in Addis Ababa of Ethiopia on March 10, killing 157 people on board. Among the deceased were two prominent Nigerians included Pius Adesanmi, a popular Nigerian-Canadian professor and Abiodun Bashua, a former ambassador.
The preliminary report from Indonesian investigators found that a faulty sensor on the aircraft wrongly triggered Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) without the pilots’ knowledge.
“Despite all their hard work and full compliance with emergency procedures, it was very unfortunate that they could not recover the airplane from the persistence (of) nose-diving,” the statement read in part.
Tewolde GebreMariam, chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines, said that the company was “very proud” of the pilots’ “compliance to follow the emergency procedures and high level of professional performances in such extremely difficult situations.”
Also on Thursday morning, The Ethiopia Minister of Transport, Dagmawit Moges, in a news conference said the preliminary report indicated that the “aircraft flight control system” contributed to the plane’s difficulty in flying away from Addis Ababa and then crash six minutes later, killing 157 people on board.
Investigators have focused their attention on the MCAS – software designed to help prevent the 737 Max from stalling. The software reacts when sensors in the nose of the aircraft show the jet is climbing at too steep an angle, which can cause a plane to stall.
The minister said that the crew performed all the procedures repeatedly that were provided by the manufacturer of 737 Max aircraft but were not able to control it.
“Since repetitive uncommanded aircraft nosedown conditions were noticed in this preliminary investigation, it is recommended the aircraft flight control system related to flight controlability be reviewed by the manufacturer,” she said.
Since the crash in March, the 737 Max family of aircraft has been grounded, an action that grounded more than 300 planes.