The crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 at Addis Ababa has never been a complete mystery. The accident, which claimed the life of all 157 onboard, seemed from the beginning likely to be related to the MCAS system that Boeing installed on the 737 Max to help it pass its flying qualities tests with the FAA and achieve certification quickly, allowing Boeing to bring the new 737 version to market to compete against the Airbus A320neo. And on the heels of the MCAS-related Lion Air 610 disaster in late October, the Ethiopian mishap had the telltale signs of an automation failure from the start. Now new evidence and theories are coming together to likely give investigators a clear picture of what happened and why things happened as they did in that short, horrifying flight of ET 302. That answer is related to facts both common to all airplanes and specific to the 737, and not just the Max.
Become a Plane & Pilot Member to explore our complete range of flight reports, technique articles, gear reviews and aviation buyer’s guides written by our experts.