Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg says company understands 'lives depend' on plane safety

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As the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) analyses Boeing's plans for a software fix prompted by the first crash five months ago, the European Union's aviation safety agency EASA promised its own deep look at any design improvements.

But now, data from the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) indicates the pilots not only struggled to counteract the anti-stall system, but also "scoured a handbook" trying to understand what directed the aircraft's nose down, Reuters reports, quoting three anonymous sources familiar with the CVR contents.

Meanwhile, the FAA on Wednesday sent a notification to global aviation authorities saying the installation of Boeing's new automatic flight software in the grounded jets and related training was a priority for the agency.

Although the cause of the Lion Air crash has not been determined, a preliminary report mentioned the Boeing system, a faulty, recently replaced sensor and the airline's maintenance and training.

The system is usually used to keep the aircraft level and the system is supposed to prevent the crew from lifting the nose too much. Why didn't we put safety first? Both planes crashed minutes after take-off and their black boxes indicate similarities between two cases.

On the same aircraft the evening before the crash, a captain at Lion Air's full-service sister carrier, Batik Air, was riding along in the cockpit and solved the similar flight control problems, two of the sources said.

"They didn't seem to know the trim was moving down", the third source said.

"We can't provide additional comment at this stage due the ongoing investigation on the accident", Lion Air spokesman Danang Prihantoro told Bloomberg.

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With no Senate-confirmed FAA chief to guide Trump on the issue, Boeing CEO and Trump friend Dennis Muilenburg had the president's ear and insisted that the plane was safe ― despite widespread concern raised by pilots flying the aircraft.

The manufacturer has said that to handle the situation there is a documented procedure that must be memorized.

Investigators believe the two flights experienced identical malfunctions, the report said.

Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), who heads the aviation subcommittee, on Tuesday also asked the inspector general to examine questions concerning the FAA's approach to certifying the 737 Max 8.

In Ethiopia, which is leading the investigation, experts were poring over the in-flight recording of Captain Yared Getachew and First Officer Ahmednur Mohammed.

Ethiopia's civil aviation head Wosenyeleh Hunegnaw told Reuters the investigation was proceeding as quickly as possible within worldwide standards.

While some airlines are anxious about the impact on profits, they have been able to keep services going, swapping MAX planes for others, or using partner carriers.

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