Whistleblowers Report 737 Max Issues After Ethiopian Airlines Crash


Pilots flying for U.S. carrier American Airlines (AA) have accused plane builder Boeing of not going far enough to address training issues associated with the troubled 737 MAX passenger aircraft after two deadly accidents left 378 dead. "Every one of our airplanes includes all of the safety features necessary for safe flight". The system, which warned pilots that pitch sensors were malfunctioning, was an optional alert that was available only if carriers paid for it, the reports said.

The Ethiopia Airlines crash left all 157 people on the plane dead and led to all Boeing 737 Max planes all over the world being grounded.

In the 737 MAX, which features a new automated stall-prevention system called MCAS, Boeing made those alerts optional; they would be operative only if a carrier bought a package of additional safety features.

WATCH: Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg holds a press conference, addressing 737 Max concerns. The crashes have been linked to erroneous sensor readings, but the company says that's only "one link in a longer chain of events", and not proof of a design flaw or a broken process. "It is not correct to attribute that to any single item", Muilenburg said. "We're going to break that link and this will prevent accidents like this from happening again".

Boeing is under particular scrutiny for the 737 Max's software system known as MCAS - the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System. We have a responsibility to design, build and support the safest airplanes in the sky.

Protesters, including some relatives of crash victims, carried placards outside the meeting calling on Muilenburg to be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter.

Just like the inspectors, they only found out only after the Lion Air crash.

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Among the other placards were signs reading "Boeing's arrogance kills", "Prosecute Boeing & execs for manslaughter" and "Boeing is making a killing from killing".

The families of Canadians killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash last month have launched a lawsuit against plane maker Boeing. "We don't know how much the general public actually knows what a 737 Max is", said Johnson outside the meeting.

During the meeting, one shareholder asked Muilenburg what Boeing was doing on safety assessments following the crashes. The investor advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services had advised its clients to vote for the motion, and for an independent chairman to be appointed to help the company rebuild its reputation.

"Blinded by its greed, Boeing haphazardly rushed the 737 MAX 8 to market, with the knowledge and tacit approval of the United States Federal Aviation Administration while Boeing actively concealed the nature of the automated system defects", the unproven claim alleged.

Mr Muilenburg appeared amid reports that a number of whistleblowers had contacted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after the Ethiopian Airlines crash, regarding issues related to the sensors and MCAS system.

"We want the airplane to behave in the air similar to the previous generation of 737s - that's a preferred pilot feel for the airplane, how it feels as they're flying it, and MCAS is created to provide those kind of handling qualities at high angle of attack".