Seattle - The horizontal stabilizer of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8, which crashed on March 10 was in an unusual position at the time of crash. Researchers concluded this after finding the drive spindle at crash site used to trim the horizontal stabilizer, according to a flight safety consultant who spoke to The Seattle Times.
According to John Cox, CEO of Safety Operating Systems and former safety expert of the ALPA (The Air Line Pilots Association), the discovery would point to a possible link between two deadly crashes.
The position of the horizontal stabilizer and a drive spindle used to trim the stabilizer confirm that the nose of the aircraft was forced down before the crash.
In the case of the Lion Air crash last year in October, Flight Control System of the aircraft forced the nose of the aircraft to be pushed down again and again due to a faulty AOA (Angle of Attack) sensor. The position of the drive spindle found at the crash site brings into mind that this might also be the case for the Ethiopian Flight 302.
According to Cox, this discovery combined with satellite data, led the FAA to ground the 737 MAXs.
According to ATC recordings, the captain requested to return after three minutes from the takeof. Air Traffic Controllers of Addis Ababa International Airport observed that the aircraft was oscillating up and down by hundreds of feet even before the pilots declared an emergency.
The aircraft rose to an abnormal height and disappeared from the radar shortly thereafter.
Earlier this week, Boeing already announced a software update for the flight control system of the Boeing 737 MAX, specifically for the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).
The update must be approved by the FAA before implemented, and it won't happen until the end of next month.