The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finally joined the rest of the world and grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 following last weeks crash which killed 157 people.
The FAA said that it was clear that the track of the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 “was very close and behaved very similarly to the Lion Air flight”.
In addition to banning the Boeing 737 Max 8, the FAA prohibition order also banned the Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft.
The FAA was heavily criticised by flight crew unions and political figures after it refused to ground the type insisting it was safe when every other aviation authority was banning the aircraft from flying.
The move comes following an initial examination of the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) which showed flight path similarities to the Lion Air 737 Max 8 which crashed shortly after taking off from Jakarta in October 2018.
Investigations into that accident found issues with the Angle of Attack sensors and focus is now on Boeing’s MCAS system which was added to the 737 Max airctaft to counteract a tendency for the aircraft to pitch up.
MCAS or “ Characteristics Augmentation System” automatically trims the aircraft down if the pitch up is detected but should cut out automatically if the pilot inputs a manual trim command.
The moves means that all 371 Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircaft in service are now grounded pending further investigations.