Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, has admitted that the company’s own software was among the primary causes of the recent fatal 737 Max air accidents, confirming a suspicion long held by investigators.
The admission comes amid Boeing’s most serious crisis in over 100 years since it went into business.
On March 10, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 plummeted into a field a mere six minutes after takeoff, instantly killing all 157 people on board. A few months before in October 2018, 189 people died when Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610 nosedived into the sea, killing all 189 passengers and crew on board.
In a video message Thursday, Muilenberg promised that a new software update would prevent similar incidents from taking place.
“It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk … We own it, and we know how to do it.”
Muilenberg also noted:
“The full details of what happened in the two accidents will be issued by the government authorities in the final reports … It’s apparent that in both flights the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to [the] erroneous angle of attack information.”
MCAS is Boeing’s automated system that uses a nose-mounted sensor to read the angle of the plane’s trajectory. When the nose drifts too far upward, the tail is moved downward to prevent a stall. Whistleblowers and investigators have both claimed that the sensor can deliver false readings, causing the system to overcompensate and subsequently be thrown into a dive.
Muilenberg’s acknowledgement of Boeing’s culpability in the crashes comes on the same day that Ethiopian investigators released a preliminary report on the Flight 302 disaster that found that the plane’s crew “had performed all the procedures, repeatedly, provided by [Boeing], but was not able to control the aircraft.”
Despite the pilots following all safety procedures, the report named the false sensor readings as responsible for activating MCAS and causing the nose-dive. Pilots reportedly fought for the entirety of the six-minute flight to pull the plane’s nose up and regain control, to no avail.
Since the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March, 737 Max jets have been grounded worldwide as international regulators and airlines seek to get to the bottom of the issue.
Last month, Boeing engineers speaking to the Seattle Times said that pilots were unaware of how to override MCAS and the company would fix the issue with the provision of “additional educational materials.” The manufacturer also had been selling critical safety features that could have prevented the crashes, including a warning light, as optional extras.
Muilenberg was emphatic that the software update would be ready to implement soon:
“This update, along with the associated training and additional educational materials that pilots want in the wake of these accidents, will eliminate the possibility of unintended MCAS activation and prevent an MCAS-related accident from ever happening again.”
However, any such update will likely face rigorous testing prior to being approved.
A report on the Lion Air crash has not yet been released, but Muilenberg has pledged to try to regain the trust of air travelers around the globe. He explained:
“We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 MAX accidents. These tragedies continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and minds, and we extend our sympathies to the loved ones of the passengers and crew on board Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. All of us feel the immense gravity of these events across our company and recognize the devastation of the families and friends of the loved ones who perished.”
In the meantime, U.S. Justice Department prosecutors have issued multiple subpoenas in hopes of investigating how the plane was streamlined for approval by the Federal Aviation Authority. In a 2017 conference call with a Wall Street investor, Muilenberg credited the extremely pro-business nature of the Trump administration for clearing the regulatory hurdles and certification process for the 737 Max.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.