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Southwest Boeing 737 Max plane makes emergency landing in Orlando after suffering engine failure just two weeks after second fatal crash involving similar aircraft

Trump GROUNDS Boeing 737 Max planes - 'effective immediately' - after U.S. was left as only country in the world still flying them after Ethiopia disaster

Boeing 937 Max in emergency landing just weeks after second fatal crash involving similar

  • Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet made emergency landing in Orlando
  • FAA says the plane experienced engine problem shortly after takeoff
  • Aircraft was on its way to California to be grounded as per government orders 
  • Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines planes have crashed in last 5 months, killing 346
  • The automated MCAS system is the focus of investigations into the two crashes
  • Pilots were found to be either unaware of the system or had inadequate training 

The Federal Aviation Administration says a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet made a safe emergency landing Tuesday in Orlando, Florida, after experiencing an apparent engine problem.

The crew declared an emergency after taking off from Orlando International Airport around 2:50pm, and landed the plane safely. 

No passengers were on board. 

The aircraft was being ferried to Victorville, California, where Southwest is storing the airplanes.

The 737 Max was grounded in the U.S. on March 13 after a deadly crash involving a Max on March 10. 

It was the second fatal crash involving the airplane. U.S. airlines are allowed to shuttle the planes but cannot carry passengers.

The FAA says it's investigating but it appears the emergency was not related to anti-stall software suspected in the two fatal crashes.

A Boeing 737 Max plane (like the one seen above in Seattle on Friday) was forced to make an emergency landing at Orlando International Airport on Tuesday

A Boeing 737 Max plane (like the one seen above in Seattle on Friday) was forced to make an emergency landing at Orlando International Airport on Tuesday

The crew declared an emergency after taking off from Orlando International Airport (seen in the above stock image) around 2:50pm, and landed the plane safely. No passengers were on board

The crew declared an emergency after taking off from Orlando International Airport (seen in the above stock image) around 2:50pm, and landed the plane safely. No passengers were on board

The latest malfunction comes as new details are emerging about the two fatal crashes that have landed Boeing in hot water.

Pilots had less than 40 seconds to correct a fault with Boeing's automated system that investigators suspect caused the two disastrous plane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, according to tests. 

The pilots underwent a crisis simulation test to recreate the final moments of Lion Air Flight 610, which nosedived into the Java Sea shortly after take-off in October 2018.  

The automated system, known as MCAS, is also the focal point of the probe into the Ethiopian Airlines crash involving the same Boeing 737 Max model earlier this month.  

Simulation tests have shown that Boeing pilots only had around 40 seconds to over-ride the automated system suspected of causing the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes in which 346 people died (file image)

Simulation tests have shown that Boeing pilots only had around 40 seconds to over-ride the automated system suspected of causing the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes in which 346 people died (file image) 

Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 11, five months after Lion Air Flight 610 to nosedived into the Java Sea

The aviation giant has come under intense scrutiny over the two crashes, in which a total of 346 lives were lost.

When a sensor failed during the simulation test, the automatic stall prevention kicked in - giving pilots a matter of seconds to manually override the system to avoid a steep and irreversible downward dive, the New York Times reports. 

Citing two people familiar with the testing, the newspaper reports that those involved had not entirely understood how powerful the software was until they used the simulator. 

The means of disengaging the system as described by the New York Times are complex; pilots can reverse the anti-stall system by flicking a switch, but this would only delay a potential crash by several minutes.

In order to fully avoid disaster, pilots would need to activate two further switches, cutting off electricity to the motor pushing the plane's nose downwards, and also crank a wheel to correct the resulting problems. 

This must all be done extremely quickly otherwise attempts to resolve the problem might be too late.

The MCAS system is a central focus of the investigation into why the two planes crashed shortly after take-off

The MCAS system is a central focus of the investigation into why the two planes crashed shortly after take-off 

Aviation safety consultant and a former 737 pilot, John Cox, told the Times that although pilots would likely trigger the first switch to extend the 40-second window, this would only buy several more minutes. 

There would still be scarcely enough time to diagnose and solve the problem.

In fact, the Times reports, the pilots and crew of the Lion Air flight were not even aware of the system; the captain reportedly consulted a technical manual in the jet's final airborne moments. 

Following that first disaster American pilots met with Boeing executives in Texas, demanding to know why the manufacturer had not told them about the new software. 

They also questioned whether a 56-minute iPad course on the MAX had been sufficient. 

Boeing has been working on a software upgrade for an anti-stall system and more pilot controls on its fastest-selling jetliner.

The software fix will prevent repeated operation of the anti-stall system at the centre of safety concerns, and deactivate it if one sensor appears to have failed, two people familiar with pilot briefings told Reuters on Monday. 

The Boeing 737 Max aircraft have been grounded worldwide in the wake of the two disasters

The Boeing 737 Max aircraft have been grounded worldwide in the wake of the two disasters

Upgrading an individual 737 MAX with Boeing's new software only takes about an hour per plane, though the overall process could stretch on far longer as it is rolled out across the global fleet due to stringent testing and documentation requirements by engineers and regulators, according to a senior Federal Aviation Administration official with knowledge of the process. 

American Pilots will also have to complete FAA-approved computer-based training on the changes, followed by a mandatory test, but some pilots have said more may be needed.

Investigations are ongoing, but a preliminary report on an Ethiopian Airlines crash will very likely be released this week, the country's transport ministry said on Tuesday. 

This week Boeing is also briefing airlines on software and training updates for the MAX, with more than 200 global airline pilots, technical experts and regulators due in Renton, Washington, where the plane is built.

Any fixes to the MAX software must still get approval from governments around the world. 

The 737 MAX is Boeing's best-selling plane, with orders worth more than $500 billion at list prices. Within less than a week after the Ethiopian crash, the jets were grounded globally. 

Ethiopian and French investigators have pointed to 'clear similarities' between the two crashes, putting pressure on Boeing and U.S. regulators to come up with an adequate fix. 

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Plane crashes en route from Ethiopia to Kenya, killing all 157 people on board Image result for Trump GROUNDS Boeing 737 Max planes

  • American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines had not grounded Boeing 737 Max planes after an Ethiopian Airlines Max 8 crash on Sunday
  • President Trump made the call for them on Wednesday afternoon, grounding all 737 Max 8 and 9 planes effective immediately 
  • Canada's WestJet banned the Boeing Max from Canadian airspace Wednesday 
  • 33 were spotted on Flightradar24 Wednesday morning, most over the US
  • Airlines are confident in safety of model involved in two fatal crashes in 5 months
  • Approximately 40 countries have banned the aircraft from flying for now

President Trump said he was grounding all flights using both models - 'effective immediately' - in an emergency order of prohibition on Wednesday afternoon. 

Any plane that is currently in the air will be allowed to land, and then the planes will be grounded until further notice, he said.

Trump made the decision following conversations with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and the Federal Aviation Administration he said, after 'new information' and 'physical evidence' emerged on tragic incidents involving the planes.

'They are all in agreement with the action,' Trump announced. 'Planes that are in the air will be grounded, if they're the 737 Max, will be grounded upon landing at the destination.'  

President Trump says he is grounding all flights on the Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 - 'effective immediately' - in an emergency order of prohibition

President Trump says he is grounding all flights on the Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 - 'effective immediately' - in an emergency order of prohibition

The United States was the only nation still flying the Boeing 737 Max Wednesday

The United States was the only nation still flying the Boeing 737 Max Wednesday

Airlines have been notified, and they are in agreement with the decision, he claimed.

'Our hearts go out to all of those who lost loved ones, to their friends to their families in both the Ethiopian and Lion airlines crashes that involved the 737 Max aircraft,' the president said. 'It's a terrible terrible thing. Boeing is an incredible company. They are working very, very hard right now.' 

Boeing will hopefully come up with an answer swiftly, he said.  'But until they do, the planes are grounded.

Trump said the FAA would be releasing additional information shortly. 

Boeing said in a statement a half-hour after Trump's shocking announcement that the company asked the FAA to suspend the flights.

The company said, as its started started to tumble, 'Boeing continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. 

'However, after consultation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and aviation authorities and its customers around the world, Boeing has determined -- out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety -- to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft,' it said.

Muilenburg simultaneously put out a condolence statement to families affected by both the Lion Air crash in October and the tragedy in Ethiopia.

'On behalf of the entire Boeing team, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in these two tragic accidents,' Muilenburg said.

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines hadn't grounded planes, despite 40 countries opting not the fly the aircraft pending an investigation. 

On Wednesday morning, 33 of the models were spotted on Flightradar24, most over the U.S.  

Meanwhile, Canada's transport minister, Marc Garneau, said the country is closing air space to the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet due to information it had received in the form of satellite data, showing a possible but unproven similarity to a previous Max 8 crash.

Southwest Airlines hasn't grounded planes despite 40 countries opting not the fly the aircraft pending an investigation

Flight radar tracked the Boeing 737 Max 8 that crashed on Sunday
American Airlines has 24 Max 8s and said in a statement they would keep taking passengers on the planes until they receive solid proof of a problem.

A statement from the airline read: 'At this time there are no facts on the cause of the accident other than news reports. We have full confidence in the aircraft and our crew members, who are the best and most experienced in the industry.'

Southwest Airlines continued the fly the aircraft, too. The Texas-based operator said the aircraft is safe to ride in.

'We remain confident in the safety and airworthiness of our fleet of more than 750 Boeing aircraft,' the low-cost carrier said.

United Airlines was still flying Max 9s, which were not involved in the Ethiopian Airlines or Lion Air crashes that took place within five months of each other, but were part of the FAA's emergency airworthiness directive after October's crash

United Airlines was still flying Max 9s, which were not involved in the Ethiopian Airlines or Lion Air crashes that took place within five months of each other, but were part of the FAA's emergency airworthiness directive after October's crash

Canada's WestJet – which has 121 Boeing 737s - kept them in the air until the country banned the Boeing Max from Canadian airspace Wednesday

Canada's WestJet – which has 121 Boeing 737s - kept them in the air until the country banned the Boeing Max from Canadian airspace Wednesday 

Fiji Airways to continue to fly Boeing Max 8 after Ethiopia crash

United Airlines was still flying Max 9s, which were not involved in the Ethiopian Airlines or Lion Air crashes that took place within five months of each other, but were part of the FAA's emergency airworthiness directive after the October crash.

Canada's WestJet – which has 121 Boeing 737s - kept them in the air until the country banned the Boeing Max from Canadian airspace Wednesday. 

The transport minister said it was a precautionary measure based on new information received this morning. 

The fleet includes 13 Max 8 aircraft, the same kind involved in Sunday's crash six minutes after take-off, and the October 2018 Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 passengers over then Java Sea. 

Up until Tuesday UAE-based low cost carrier flydubai was the only airline outside of North America that remained 'confident in the airworthiness of our fleet' for the Max 8s, of which they flew 11.

But their Max 8 and Max 9 planes were grounded at the order of the country's General Civil Aviation Authority which banned them from air space in the United Arab Emirates from Wednesday.

The US has so far refused to take similar action against the American aerospace giant's best-selling workhorse aircraft, despite the two recent crashes as well as a history of pilot complaints in recent months. 

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom have grounded the Max 8

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom have grounded the Max 8 

Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, France, Ireland, India, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, did so too. Turkish Airlines and Norwegian Airlines (pictured) have ditched the planes

Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, France, Ireland, India, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, did so too. Turkish Airlines and Norwegian Airlines (pictured) have ditched the planes 

Pilots said in prior reports that soon after engaging the autopilot on Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the nose tilted down sharply

Pilots said in prior reports that soon after engaging the autopilot on Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the nose tilted down sharply

'Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,' FAA chief Daniel Elwell said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Airline pilots on at least two US flights have reported that an automated system seemed to cause their Boeing 737 Max planes to tilt down suddenly.

The pilots said that soon after engaging the autopilot on Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the nose tilted down sharply. In both cases, they recovered quickly after disconnecting the autopilot.

The pilot reports were filed last year in a data base compiled by NASA. They are voluntary safety reports and do not publicly reveal the names of pilots, the airlines or the location of the incidents.

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster said the plane appeared to have 'slid directly into the ground'. 

American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said the airline has received no reports from pilots about problems with the anti-stall technology. Southwest has said the same thing.

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster on Sunday said the plane appeared to have 'slid directly into the ground'
Canada not currently grounding Boeing 737 Max 8 planes

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg also spoke with US President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said.

Its technical team, meanwhile, joined American, Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

The specific Max 8 model has been grounded by India, the UAE, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iceland and Germany, and the airlines LOT Polish, TUI Airways, GOL Linhas Aereas, Aeromexico, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Cayman Airways, Comair Airways, Eastar Jet, Jet Airways, Mongolian Airlines, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Lion Air, Silkair and Thai Lion.

The European Union and UK Civil Aviation Authority have banned the entire Boeing 737 Max fleet. Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, France, Ireland, India, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, did so too. Turkish Airlines and Norwegian Airlines have ditched the planes for now.

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Wreckage lies at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after takeoff at Hejere near Bishoftu in Ethiopia Sunday, March 10, 2019.

Elias Meseret and Yidnek KirubelAssociated Press

An Ethiopian Airlines jet faltered and crashed Sunday shortly after takeoff from the country's capital, carving a gash in the earth and spreading global grief to 35 countries that had someone among the 157 people who were killed.

There was no immediate indication why the plane went down in clear weather while on a flight to Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya. The crash was strikingly similar to that of a Lion Air jet that plunged into the sea off Indonesia minutes after takeoff last year, killing 189 people. Both accidents involved the Boeing 737 Max 8.

The crash shattered more than two years of relative calm in African skies, where travel had long been chaotic. It also was a serious blow to state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, which has expanded to become the continent's largest and best-managed carrier and turned Addis Ababa into the gateway to Africa.

"Ethiopian Airlines is one of the safest airlines in the world. At this stage we cannot rule out anything," CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told reporters. He visited the crash site, standing in the gaping crater flecked with debris.

Black body bags were spread out nearby while Red Cross and other workers looked for remains. As the sun set, the airline's chief operating officer said the plane's flight data recorder had not yet been found.


Around the world, families were gripped by grief. At the Addis Ababa airport, a woman called a mobile number in vain. "Where are you, my son?" she said, in tears. Others cried as they approached the terminal.

Henom Esayas, whose sister's Nigerian husband was killed, told The Associated Press they were startled when a stranger picked up their frantic calls to his mobile phone, told them he had found it in the debris and promptly switched it off.


APTOPIX Ethiopia Plane CrashFamily members of the victims involved in a plane crash react at Addis Ababa international airport Sunday, March 10, 2019.

Shocked leaders of the United Nations, the U.N. refugee agency and the World Food Program announced that colleagues had been on the plane. The U.N. migration agency estimated some 19 U.N.-affiliated employees were killed. Both Addis Ababa and Nairobi are major hubs for humanitarian workers, and many people were on their way to a large U.N. environmental conference set to begin Monday in Nairobi.


The Addis Ababa-Nairobi route links East Africa's two largest economic powers. Sunburned travelers and tour groups crowd the Addis Ababa airport's waiting areas, along with businessmen from China, Gulf nations and elsewhere.

A list of the dead released by Ethiopian Airlines included passengers from China, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Israel, India and Somalia. Kenya lost 32 citizens. Canada, 18. Several countries including the United States lost four or more people.


ETHIOPIAThe airplane crash occurred around Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 31 miles south of the capital, Addis Ababa, shortly after taking off at 8:38 a.m.
(Francois Duckett / AP)

Ethiopian officials declared Monday a day of mourning.

At the Nairobi airport, hopes quickly dimmed for loved ones. "I just pray that he is safe or he was not on it," said Agnes Muilu, who had come to pick up her brother.

The crash is likely to renew questions about the 737 Max, the newest version of Boeing's popular single-aisle airliner, which was first introduced in 1967 and has become the world's most common passenger jet.

Indonesian investigators have not determined a cause for the October crash, but days after the accident Boeing sent a notice to airlines that faulty information from a sensor could cause the plane to automatically point the nose down.

The Lion Air cockpit data recorder showed that the jet's airspeed indicator had malfunctioned on its last four flights, though the airline initially said problems had been fixed.

Safety experts cautioned against drawing too many comparisons between the two crashes until more is known about Sunday's disaster.

The Ethiopian Airlines CEO "stated there were no defects prior to the flight, so it is hard to see any parallels with the Lion Air crash yet," said Harro Ranter, founder of the Aviation Safety Network, which compiles information about accidents worldwide.

The Ethiopian plane was new, delivered to the airline in November. The Boeing 737 Max 8 was one of 30 meant for the airline, Boeing said in July. The jet's last maintenance was on Feb. 4, and it had flown just 1,200 hours.

The plane crashed six minutes after departure, plowing into the ground at Hejere near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 31 miles outside Addis Ababa, at 8:44 a.m.

The jet showed unstable vertical speed after takeoff, air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 said. The senior Ethiopian pilot, who joined the airline in 2010, sent out a distress call and was given clearance to return to the airport, the airline's CEO told reporters.

In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration said it would join the National Transportation Safety Board in assisting Ethiopian authorities with the crash investigation. Boeing planned to send a technical team to Ethiopia.

The last deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger flight was in 2010, when a plane went down minutes after takeoff from Beirut, killing all 90 people on board.

African air travel has improved in recent years, with the International Air Transport Association in November noting "two years free of any fatalities on any aircraft type."

Sunday's crash comes as the country's reformist young prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to open up the airline and other sectors to foreign investment in a major transformation of the state-centered economy.

Speaking at the inauguration in January of a new passenger terminal in Addis Ababa to triple capacity, the prime minister challenged the airline to build a new "Airport City" terminal in Bishoftu — where Sunday's crash occurred.

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