Sydney, Australia, Jun 27 (EFE).- Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts experienced at least six mid-air emergencies and dozens of groundings in the year after they resumed service, an exclusive investigation by Australian public broadcaster ABC revealed Monday.
The problems occurred after the United States Federal Aviation Administration in November 2020 cleared Boeing 737 MAXs to fly after grounding them globally for 20 months following two crashes, allegedly due to flaws in the design of the plane, in Indonesia in October 2018 and Ethiopia in March 2019 that killed 346 people.
After resumption of service, the aircraft’s flight control system also failed on 22 different flights, while multiple systems, including both autopilot functions, stopped working shortly after take-off on an American Airlines flight in April last year, according to ABC.
In December 2021, the pilot of a United Airlines flight declared a mayday when the system controlling the pitch and altitude of the plane started malfunctioning.
The ABC investigation is based on safety report data from the Service Difficulty Reporting System of the FAA, as well as anonymous reports submitted to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System. The data related only to US incidents, it said.
Former senior Boeing manager Ed Pierson, who worked between 2015 and 2018 at the US factory where the 737 MAX was assembled, told ABC that many of these recent incidents “could lead to a tragedy.”
“There are a lot of similarities between what we’re seeing in some of the reports with what happened during these two crashes,” he said.
The American company upgraded the plane’s software and provided training to pilots to secure FAA approval, following which dozens of companies around the world gradually began to resume flights with the aircraft.
In April last year, some 100 Max planes were grounded after the discovery of an electrical problem in the cockpit that could cause the loss of critical functions.
A Boeing spokesperson told ABC that “none of the reports indicate a trend.”
“In fact, the in-service reliability of the 737 MAX is consistent with other commercial airplane models,” they added.
The ABC reported that the US government plans to announce a new audit of Boeing’s production oversight of its 737 MAX planes. EFE