Following the deaths of 157 people in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane on March 10, 2019, Boeing is under scrutiny for potential design defects in 737 MAX airplanes. This was the second plane crash of a Boeing 737 MAX in less than six months; a Lion Air plane crashed in Indonesia in October 2018, killing 189 people.
While both crashes are still under investigation, it appears that a faulty flight safety system may be to blame for these incidents. An investigation by BEA, the French aviation bureau, found that there were clear similarities between both crashes, and the sensors and software which are intended to prevent stalls may have caused pilots to lose control of these planes.
It has been reported that in response to these concerns, the U.S. Justice Department has launched an inquiry into the FAA’s regulation of Boeing aircraft. A grand jury in Washington, D.C. has subpoenaed people involved in the development of the 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9, and the inspector general of the Department of Transportation is examining the FAA’s approval of these planes. This increased level of scrutiny may help uncover whether Boeing or other parties were negligent in allowing defective aircraft systems to endanger passengers.
It has also been alleged that flight crews were not given adequate training about changes to these systems. As a result of the potential dangers to passengers, countries around the world have grounded all Boeing 737 MAX planes until these issues have been addressed.