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Planes grounded but vital questions remain after latest Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash

30 7 15

AUSTRALIA’s decision to suspend all Boeing 737 Max 8 flights in and out of the country appears to be a prudent precaution.

It comes after two fatal accidents overseas involving the aircraft. On Sunday, 157 people died when Ethiopian Airlines flight JT610 crashed minutes after takeoff. In October last year 189 people died when Lion Air’s flight ET302 crashed off the coast of Indonesia.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) says no Australian airlines operate the Boeing 737 MAX – although Virgin Australia has several on order – but two foreign airlines fly these aircraft to Australia.

Singapore-based SilkAir has already suspended operation of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Fiji Airways is the only other operator that will be affected by CASA’s temporary suspension.

Other countries – including New Zealand – have also suspended flights of the 737 MAX 8, so people no doubt want to know if it’s safe to fly on the aircraft.

There are several vital questions that need to be answered.

SEE ALSO: Cockpit voice recorder of doomed Lion Air jet found

Early days for investigators

Although investigation of the Ethiopian Airlines crash is only just beginning, available radar data seems to suggest similar flight profile characteristics with that of the Lion Air crash.

After the Lion Air crash, questions were raised about the aircraft’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), designed to prevent the aircraft from stalling.

If the data from the recovered flight recorders of both aircraft confirm issues with sensors in the MCAS (sending spurious signals to the flight management computers and resulting in the autopilot........

© Asian Correspondent