SEATTLE, WA – Citing a negative reaction stemming from the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on Monday, and the October 29th crash of Lion Air Flight 610, aircraft manufacturer Boeing has disabled the Auto-Crash feature on the new 737 Max 8 passenger jet.
The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or Auto-Crash, has been identified by the National Transportation Safety Board as the likely cause of both incidents.
The Auto-Crash is a computer controlled device that, without warning, automatically overrides pilot inputs, accelerates the aircraft, and pitches it nose-down until it impacts terrain or water at high speed.
Industry analysts were skeptical of Boeing’s decision to include the feature on the new Max 8, which was launched in 2017. “It is my understanding that passengers expect to take off, fly to their destination, and land safely without their airplane violently and unexpectedly crashing into the earth minutes after taking off”, said Alex Macheras, analyst for SkyNews and CNN.
Passengers have echoed this statement. Frequent flyer Mark Tobin of Chicago added “I’ve flown on many types of planes, and quite frankly, I prefer the ones without the Auto-Crash feature”.
The controversy surrounding the Auto-Crash feature echoes a similar controversy that plagued the airline manufacturer in the 1990s after Boeing 737 airliners crashed in Colorado Springs and Pittsburg. In both cases the Rudder-Reverser feature was blamed as the cause. The Rudder-Reverser feature was designed to keep pilots astute by reversing the rudder controls mid-flight. This would be similar to if you turned your steering wheel to the right and your car turned left.
Boeing issued a memorandum on Tuesday which included the statement “we’ve heard loud and clear that passengers and airlines prefer airplanes that don’t unexpectedly crash into the ground. We will take all necessary steps to correct this issue moving forward, and go back to our roots designing and building planes that simply disintegrate mid-air”.