March 15, 2019

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Ethiopian Airlines probe: What do we know?

The Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft that crashed on Sunday Image copyright
Jonathan Druion

Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed on Sunday morning killing all 157 folks on board.

It’s led to a critical disaster for Boeing. The firm manufactured the 737 Max Eight airplane that was concerned. The mannequin has now been grounded globally because the stress mounts in a seek for solutions.

Current estimates of the variety of 737 Max Eight and 9s grounded ranges from 350 to 370. That represents a big value for airways utilizing the airplane as routes, schedules and passengers are affected.

The race is on for investigators to search out solutions – and quick.

What do we know?

The flight knowledge recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR), or black packing containers as they’re typically referred to as, arrived in France on Thursday morning for inspection by the Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA), the French model of the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch.

Ethiopian inspectors selected to ship the black packing containers to France though there are comparable services in Nigeria, Dubai, Singapore, Germany and right here within the UK at Farnborough.

But it’s the nation the place the accident occurs that makes the choice on the place the black packing containers go.

The BEA in France is a extremely revered organisation with appreciable experience on this space.

In addition, a part of the engines on the Boeing 737 Max Eight are manufactured by a French American conglomerate so this may increasingly have performed an element.

How did they discover the black packing containers?

One of the most important challenges in air accident investigation is finding the black packing containers after a crash.

In trendy plane, the black packing containers are fitted in the back of the plane as historical past has proven that this space tends to maintain crash influence higher.

In the occasion of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, the airplane is reported to have hit the bottom nostril first at excessive pace. The rear of the plane was subsequently nearer to the floor which made it simpler to search out and retrieve the black packing containers.

Now they have the black packing containers, what comes subsequent?

Firstly, what state are they in?

Black packing containers are engineered to face up to large pressure with the intention to defend the all-important knowledge chips inside. But the casing could possibly be crushed which suggests soldering it open.

Connectors inside may be broken which suggests beginning the evaluation could possibly be delayed additional.

Once knowledge chips are in hand, the knowledge saved must be interpreted.

Image copyright

Image caption

The BEA tweeted an image of a black field from the Ethiopian Airlines airplane

But the best way that knowledge is saved will not be the identical throughout the business. Recording differs between particular plane fashions, operators and airways.

For fully correct knowledge, conversion data held by Ethiopian Airlines will probably be crucial. It is hoped that conversion element is available.

Each black field holds 25 hours of flight data.

The final flight would be the prime focus however earlier flights (over the 25 hour interval of the recording) are additionally more likely to be checked out to see if there have been any anomalies.

What about investigators in Ethiopia – what are they ?

The investigation in Ethiopia will probably be led by an investigator from that nation, however will probably be assisted by groups from all over the world, all with an curiosity within the crash.

The US can have despatched investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, because the Boeing 737 Max-Eight was manufactured there.

It can be thought French investigators are on web site as a result of black packing containers making their solution to France.

Three investigators from the UK arrived in Ethiopia on Tuesday to supply help, however plans are being made for them to return to the UK.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Investigators in Ethiopia are persevering with to seek for proof

What are the investigators on the bottom ?

How investigators work on the bottom differs from nation to nation depending on the lead investigator. But usually, separate groups will concentrate on totally different disciplines.

Core areas embody:

  • Engineering: Understanding how the airplane’s workings, design and programs contributed
  • Operations: Interviewing eye-witnesses, flight crew, operators and regulators
  • Flight knowledge: Black packing containers, surveillance and en-route radar, CCTV, nonetheless and video cameras
  • Human components: Understanding how the sequence of occasions led to the accident.

The investigation within the discipline is barely the beginning of a really lengthy course of.

Once every part has been documented and photographed, and witnesses have been contacted, the wreckage is normally recovered and transported to a safe facility for intensive evaluation.

Timing – what can we anticipate?

Work on the black packing containers will start in Paris on Friday.

The first picture of a black field reveals the injury it sustained after the crash and subsequent explosion.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Bereaved households have been paying their respects on the crash web site

When any knowledge has been extracted, it’s going to then be handed again to the lead investigator in Ethiopia, who will determine on the plan of action and what data to launch.

A former investigator instructed me that the workforce in Paris will work day and evening due to the worldwide curiosity on this crash and the influence it’s having on airways, passengers and, most significantly, the bereaved households.

Interest within the what occurred with Ethiopia Airlines flight 302 has been heightened due to reported similarities with a Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October 2018. Both flights had been utilizing the Boeing 737 Max 8.

But it could possibly be tomorrow, the weekend or subsequent week earlier than we begin to get the primary solutions.

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