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In the wake of a crash in Ethiopia, nations around the world have pulled the Boeing 737 Max 8 out of service, pending a result of investigations into the airplane.
Last week’s crash in Ethiopia killed 157 people. It is the second crash involving a Boeing Max plane since October, when a flight in Indonesia went down, killing 189 people.
The president has offered his thoughts on the matter, declaring that planes nowadays are “too complex.”
Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019
....needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019
Trump’s tweets come after several nations banned the Boeing 737 Max 8 from flying, in the wake of the Ethiopia crash. Britain joined China and several other nations in keeping the plane grounded.
The U.S., for now, has decided against grounding the planes. Although no conclusions have been made on the Ethiopia disaster, there are concerns that the planes’ piloting software may play a role in the two crashes. The piloting software came about as the results of design changes to make the Boeing 737’s more fuel efficient. From the Seattle Times:
In order to protect against a possible stall on the MAX, Boeing made a change to a flight-control system so that it automatically pushes the nose of the aircraft down when a bladelike sensor that sticks out of the fuselage indicates that the nose is pitched up and putting the plane in danger of a stall.
In the Lion Air crash that killed 189 people in Indonesia, investigators have determined that this sensor, the Angle of Attack (AOA) sensor, was feeding bad data to the jet’s flight computer, activating the system and repeatedly pushing the nose of the plane down when in fact there was no danger of a stall.
In a statement, the Federal Aviation Authority said that it “has not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions,” with regard to the piloting system and the plane.
Regardless the president has added his thoughts on the matter. Whether this will prompt the FAA to act is unclear.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]