I’m Dominic Gates, aerospace reporter for the Seattle Times. I’ve been intensively covering the Boeing 737 MAX crisis following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. AMA
A week after the Lion Air crash last October, Boeing issued a service bulletin to all airlines operating the MAX that identified a new flight control system on the airplane, known as MCAS, that had erroneously activated on the Lion Air Flight due to a faulty sensor. My stories quickly focused on the potential design flaws in this system. By January, I was following leads that indicated the certification of this system had been deeply troubled. In early March, I asked Boeing for comment on the details of a story that laid out how Boeing had done the certification work on the MCAS system and identified serious flaws in its safety analysis. Four days later, the second plane crashed in Ethiopia.
Soon it was clear that the trajectory of that flight was similar to the Lion Air flight, with MCAS again erroneously triggered by the same faulty sensor. Within days the MAX was grounded around the world, with the FAA the last major regulator to fall in line. My Seattle Times colleagues and I followed up with stories on the victims of the Ethiopian crash, on the baffling decision to design the system so that it was activated by a single Angle of Attack sensor, on why the emergency instructions Boeing issued after the Lion Air crash failed to save the Ethiopian airliner, and about how the current FAA safety chief, working to placate industry, pushed more delegation of oversight to Boeing.
We continue to work on follow-up pieces, with all the stories collected here on our 737 MAX page.
Edit: Time's up. I have to get back to work. Thanks everyone for the questions.