WASHINGTON (WDTN) — The U.S. is issuing an emergency order Wednesday grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft “effective immediately,” in the wake of the crash of an Ethiopian Airliner that killed 157 people, President Donald Trump said.
Many nations had already barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from its airspace, but until Trump’s announcement, the Federal Aviation Administration had said that it didn’t have any data to show the jets are unsafe. Trump cited “new information” that had come to light in the ongoing investigation into the incident. He did not elaborate.
Dr. Daryl Smith, Professor and Researcher on Human Factors and Aviation Issues at Cedarville University joined 2 NEWS to discuss the President’s announcement. Dr. Smith also spent 24 years in the Air Force as an instructor and research pilot with more than 2,000 flying hours.
When asked why it took the U.S. so long to join the list of other countries to ground these aircrafts, Dr. Smith said:
“I think there was a growing sense among the public that they were perceiving the aircrafts were unsafe. That may or may not be accurate, but that perception began to grow, so I think the safe course was the United States to say ‘Okay, to reassure the public, let’s shut everything down and check everything out and we’ll go from there.'”
Initial reports indicate that pilots are getting conflicting signals from the aircraft’s software about altitude, air speed, and angle of attack.
“These conflicting signals are also going to the airplace, and it seems like a system called the MCAS is sensing there might be a stall approaching, so it’s beginning to push the nose down. The pilot may or may not be recognizing that condition and may not see a stall coming, so then you can get into a tug-of-war situation between the pilot and the machine,” Dr. Smith says.