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Reports Indicate Possible Non-MCAS Nose Trimming Issue on Boeing 737 Max 8 Aircraft

Though much of the concern with the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft has centered around its MCAS implementation and how that system interacts with erroneous data handled by multiple angle-of-attack sensors located on the aircraft, there is reason to believe that the 737 Max 8 may have a non-MCAS downward pitching issue.  Last year, two US pilot reports were filed to bring attention to a concerning in-flight issue.

Two US Pilots Report Pitching Downwards

According to the two US pilot reports filed last year, the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft pitched its nose aggressively downward soon after autopilot was engaged.  The downward pitching described in these pilot reports does not seem to be related to the anti-stall mechanism implemented by MCAS, as that system (MCAS) is not intended to activate unless autopilot is off.

There are a number of different possibilities for the behavior in these reports: 1) the faulty MCAS is activating, in some cases, when autopilot is on (which it should not be doing); 2) the autopilot system itself includes some hidden anti-stall mechanism that is pitching the nose downward; or 3) there is some other sensor/autopilot issue that was forcing the nose steadily downward.

This problem has certainly given the pilots pause with regard to the 737 Max 8.  According to a pilot interviewed by the Associated Press, “I am left to wonder what else I don’t know.  The Flight Manual is inadequate and almost criminally insufficient.”

It is not clear whether this issue may have arisen in Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 or whether the crash might have been caused by an MCAS issue (as in Ethiopian Flight 302).  Investigators must first determine the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines disaster, at which point we will be able to more effectively evaluate how liability must be apportioned.

Contact Our Experienced Aviation Lawyers for Guidance

If you have lost a loved one in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 disaster (or in a similar aviation incident), then you may have a right of action against the airline, Boeing, and various other defendants for damages.  Litigating aviation accident claims can be challenging, however, and successfully navigating the landscape of such a dispute will require the assistance of a skilled team of attorneys who have extensive experience in the field.

At Podhurst Orseck, we have represented crash victims and their families since our founding in 1968 and have been involved in litigating claims for over 100 airline crashes, many of which have become landmark cases that have had an impact on the aviation industry at-large.

Steve C. Marks and the attorneys at Podhurst Orseck have served as lead counsel, appointed court counsel, and/or counsel representing victims and families in a number of commercial major airline crashes.  This experience includes serving as counsel in disaster litigation that includes, but is not limited to, the following: Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, SilkAir Flight MI185, Metrojet Flight 9268, and others.

Contact us for immediate guidance on how to proceed.