While it’s still not clear what caused the Lion Air flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 to crash, it is now clear that Boeing reportedly sold the 737 planes without two safety features that are offered to airlines at an additional cost. Aircraft manufacturers generally offer upgrades to standard planes. The upgrades are typically related to aesthetic features, not safety. Airlines are not legally required to buy optional extras, so many low-cost carriers choose not to.
The safety features are the “angle of attack indicator” and the “angle of attack disagree light.” The angle of attack indicator displays readings for sensors that determine where the nose of the plane is pointing. The disagree light feature alerts the pilot when those sensors don’t agree.
Investigators are currently trying to determine if faulty data from the sensors on the Lion Air plane caused the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system to malfunction. The system is supposed to determine how much the nose is pointing up or down. When working properly, the software is supposed to be able to automatically push the nose down and prevent the aircraft from stalling if the nose is pointing up at a dangerous angle.
Boeing is now planning on making the disagree light feature standard on 737 Max 8 airplanes. The software should be ready by the end of the month. The attack indicator will remain an optional extra.
While they have not been officially released, the voice recording from the Lion Air flight 620 suggests the pilots looked through the flight manual to determine why the plane was being forced into a nosedive. Since the two accidents, more than 300 737 Max planes have been taken out of service.
Tad Thomas, of Thomas Law Offices, represents clients who have been victims of a devastating airplane accident. In regard to this incident with Boeing, he said, “No manufacturer should be able to make life-saving features ‘optional’. These features may very well have saved hundreds of lives. It is another example of companies putting profits over people.”
If you or a family member has been injured or worse in an airplane accident, we’re here for you. When a defect is the result of a crash, we have the knowledge and experience needed to take on the manufacturer and hold them accountable for the actions. Airplane litigation is complex and lengthy. Getting started as early as possible is crucial to get the compensation you’re owed. Contact us today for more information.