New information regarding the similarities between the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia led the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) and President Trump to act quickly and ground all of the new jets. Trump said the problems with the plane are not worth risking another accident.
“We are going to be issuing an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 Max 8 and the 737 Max 9 and planes associated with that line,” Trump said to reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “Planes that are in the air will be grounded if they are the 737 Max will be grounded upon landing at the destination… the safety of the American people, all people, is our paramount concern.”
The Boeing 737 Max is among the most widely used planes across the world because of its ability to provide a sizeable amount of fuel savings. It is also the fastest-selling aircraft in Boeing's history, with more than 5,100 orders.
“It’s a fascinating aircraft with a 10 percent savings in fuel consumption,” said Roman & Associates CEO Anthony Roman to FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Thursday. “That’s an enormous amount of money during global operations.”
Following the 737 Max crisis Boeing investors shaved more than $25 billion off its market value. The FAA was insisting for days that the plane is safe for pilots to fly but Roman, who is also an FAA licensed commercial pilot, alleged that the FAA and pilots knew there was a problem prior to and immediately following Lion Air, which crashed off the coast of Indonesia last October, killing all 189 on board.
“The FAA reported an airworthiness directive to Boeing to redo some of the computer code on the MCAS and autopilot system,” he said. “That’s not done unless there’s some type of flaw in the system. But they have not reported to the public what that flaw may have been.”
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At least five U.S. pilots’ reports to the Aviation Safety Reporting System, maintained by NASA, flagged identical problems to Lion Air, Roman said, adding that there were also similar issues to what was seen on the "satellite data in the oscillations" in the takeoff phase in the Ethiopian Airlines crash six minutes into takeoff Sunday morning, killing all 157 on board.
The main problem, according to Roman, is that these planes are much more complicated than older aircraft.
“These are highly computerized machines,” he said. “So not only are we dealing with more complexity in engines and systems, but now hundreds, if not millions, of lines of code in these computer systems that have to be dealt with.”
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg addressed safety concerns on the new fleet following the fatal Lion Air crash. He said that although planes were “safe,” there was an update that the pilots needed to be aware of.
“The bottom line here is the 737 Max is safe and safety is a core value for us,” he said exclusively to Bartiromo in November. “We ensure that airplanes are safe.”
However, Roman said that this was much bigger than just an absence of education about the plane.
“The lack of pilot awareness that this system was operating in the background and the lack of pilot training to overcome, to recognize and overcome any anomalies in the system is just a failure,” he said. “Basically it had to be a cost saving failure because training time costs money and the aviation industry is constantly trying like all businesses to drive its cost down.”