Aircraft safety is paramount in the commercial aviation industry. Millions of passengers who depend on the safety and security of each aircraft travel by plane every year. When an aircraft has an issue or defect, it can take hundreds of lives. One recent example is the tragic deaths of 346 people in two separate Boeing 737 Max accidents. The plane crashes occurred within five months of each other, causing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft until further notice.
About the Boeing 737 Max Crashes
The Boeing 737 Max 8 has a history that dates back to the 1960s when Boeing created the first iteration of this aircraft. It quickly became the most popular and successful Boeing jet. Over the years, Boeing updated its 737 several times. When it designed the Max 8, it remodeled the 737 to make it fly more efficiently on less gas than previous models. It accomplished this using larger engines, but this change could make the aircraft stall. Boeing then installed special software, called MCAS, to prevent stalls.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 was the manufacturer’s latest model of passenger aircraft released around the world. The first deadly Boeing 737 Max 8 crash occurred in Indonesia, not far from Jakarta, where the plane had recently taken off. The Lion Air crash took the lives of everyone on board: 189 people. That was in October 2018. In March 2019, another Boeing 737 Max went down, this time in Ethiopia. The second crash killed 157 people. At the time of the second accident, the plane had only been in flight for a few months, with just 1,200 hours of flight time on its record.
Both airplane accidents occurred just minutes after takeoff. Black box data retrieved from the crashed aircraft showed similarities between the two accidents related to the software system designed to keep the plane from stalling. Data showed the software malfunctioned in both crashes, causing the nose of the plane to dive down. The software was a new introduction to the Boeing 737 Max, but not one most pilots knew about before the devastating accidents.
No Foreseeable Lift on the Ban
After the back-to-back deadly crashes, more than 50 countries have decided to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 from service. Countries that have instituted the ban include China, Australia, Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, France and the UK. Despite the U.S.’s top air-safety regulation organization initially claiming the aircraft was safe for flight, the FAA has finally grounded this aircraft in the U.S. as well. The FAA’s newest administrator said the administration is not working on any type of timeline to lift the ban; instead, the FAA will take as long as it needs to confirm the Boeing 737 Max is safe for flight.
The aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, continues to say it has full confidence in the safety of its planes but supports the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max in the name of caution. Boeing says it is doing all it can to identify the exact cause of the accidents and make changes to ensure another aircraft does not crash. The airline has already sent technical teams of its own to crash sites to help with investigations amid other efforts to understand how the accidents occurred. Boeing also issued condolences to the families who lost loved ones in the aviation disasters.
Family Members File Claims Against Boeing and the FAA
Many surviving family members of the 346 victims of the Boeing 737 Max crashes have filed lawsuits against Boeing and the FAA. Family members and friends are honoring those killed by advocating for more accountability in the industry. Many are accusing Boeing of putting money over the safety of its passengers. The lawsuits allege that Boeing executives should have known the plane was unsafe to fly and done more to correct the faulty software system, as well as warned pilots about the new systems. An aviation accident attorney with Panish Shea & Boyle LLP can help loved ones seek justice for their loss. The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft will remain on the ground in over 50 countries until further investigations can ensure the plane’s safety.