Ethiopian Airlines 737 crash report expected Thursday

Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302

The initial report, unveiled by Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges, cast further doubt on the system controlling the Boeing 737 MAX 8 model, which has been grounded worldwide for nearly a month.

In a statement on media reports about the investigation, Boeing said: "We urge caution against speculating and drawing conclusions on the findings prior to the release of the flight data and the preliminary report".

Aviation regulators around the world grounded Boeing's 737 MAX last month following the Ethiopian Airways crash, which came less than five months after an October Lion Air crash that killed 189 people. An initial report into that accident also raised questions about the jet's software, as well as training and maintenance.

The pilots followed Boeing's emergency procedures to shut off the anti-stall system, but could not regain control as the plane began to lose altitude.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference in Addis Ababa, Moges suggested that Boeing review "the aircraft flight control system related to the flight controllability".

The investigations into both crashes are still underway. The 29-year-old captain had more than 8,000 flight hours overall, including more than 1,400 on older 737s, the report said. The Wall Street Journal reports details of the flight crew's action were revealed by the plane's data recorder. They also recommended that aviation officials verify that issues have been adequately addressed before allowing the planes to fly again.

Asked about the claims, the FAA referred to Elwell's testimony at a Senate hearing last week in which he said "the FAA welcomes external review of our systems, processes, and recommendations".

The nose-down commands were issued by Boeing's so-called MCAS software.

As NPR's Russell Lewis has reported, the similarities involve an anti-stall system on both jets, the MCAS, created to push the nose of the plane down if flight control systems sense a problem with low air speed. Boeing said on Monday that it will submit the software upgrade to the FAA in the "coming weeks".

Ethiopian investigators were not available for comment.

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FILE PHOTO: Airplane engine parts are seen at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 11, 2019.

The airline said it was "very proud of our pilots' compliances to follow the emergency procedures and high level of professional performances in such extremely hard situations".

"I'd like to reiterate our deepest sympathies are with the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the accident", said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Kevin McAllister. Over the following minutes, the MCAS is believed to have reactivated as many as four times, pushing the nose of the plane downward each time. Boeing's procedures instruct pilots to leave the MCAS system disconnected and continue flying manually for the rest of the flight.

Most accidents take months of analysis because of the need to trace backwards to find a root cause from tangled evidence.

"All in all, the major objective of this investigation is to make sure that there is safety in the aviation sector", she said.

The pilots, unable to stabilize the 737 Max 8 plane even after following the emergency procedures recommended by Boeing, tried together the pull the airplane's nose up repeatedly during the last moments of the flight, the preliminary report revealed.

"Pilots shouldn't have to cope with such an emergency situation". But the downward force of the aircraft was too great for the flight crew to overcome.

"It is unusual for there to be a single cause", he added.

During Wednesday's test flight, the flight crew performed different scenarios to test failure conditions, Boeing said.

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