Second Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes

Campus expresses concerns about flying while the FAA grounds the 737 MAX

Two Boeing airplane crashes within the last five months have left Xavier students hesitant to fly.

“I fly four to six times per year,” sophomore communications and public relations double major Maureen Murray said. “This makes me hesitant to fly, but it probably won’t stop me.” 

Murray expressed concern on flight safety: “I think this shows that mechanical aspects of the plane aren’t being evaluated as well as they should.” She thought that this could be a big problem for “bigger and international flights.”

First-year Digital Innovation Film and Televison major Olivia Campbell also expressed concerns for flying.

“Every time I want to go home, I have to fly,” she said. “It scares me because this is the way I travel most of the time…with all of the safety checks they weren’t able to catch the problems, so what’s stopping something else from happening?”

Earlier this month, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed. The plane went down six minutes after takeoff, landing near the town of Bishoftu, Ethiopia. All 157 passengers and crew members were killed.

The crash came five months after crash of the Indonesian Lion Air Jet Flight 610 in October. All 189 passengers on board that flight perished. Reportedly, the same plane malfunctioned the day before the crash, but an unnamed off-duty pilot was able to land the plane safely.

Both jets were identified as Boeing 737 MAX 8’s. Black box recordings have shown similar circumstances surrounding the crashes, and investigations have been launched.

Erratic flight paths were observed in the minutes before each plane crashed.

It is suspected that a faulty angle-of-attack sensor caused the Lion to nose-dive 26 times. Pilots attempted to pull the nose up for 10 minutes before the crash.

A similar problem was identified in the March crash. An anti-stall system was believed to have led to the fatal crash. “To the best of our knowledge, the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system was on,” Tewolde Gerbemariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said. 

Ethiopian Airlines also dismissed reports that pilots involved with the crash were inadequately trained. “They had trained all appropriate simulators,” the airline said in a statement.

After the release of new information, it has been found that both planes lacked two crucial pieces of safety upgrades that could have warned the pilots of issues contributing to the crashes. Neither, however, were mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Boeing is likely to face heavy costs following the events. It will need to update flight control software on the MAX8’s and compensate airlines who can no longer use them. 

The 737 MAX 8’s have been grounded internationally, and many orders for that specific type of jet have already been cancelled.

By: Sierra Ross | Staff Writer