According to reports, some U.S. aviation officials now believe that a bird strike may have been a factor in the March 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, in which more than 150 passengers were killed, prompting the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft by airlines around the world.
CNBC reported that at least one official has said that a bird striking the aircraft may have resulted in erroneous sensor data triggering the aircraft’s flawed MCAS anti-stall system, which repeatedly pushed the nose of the plane downward in the minutes before the crash.
Ethiopian Airlines was quoted in the report as stating there is “no evidence of any foreign object damage” to the aircraft; the investigation is ongoing and a final cause of the crash is yet to be determined.
News of the theory comes days after Boeing announced that it had completed a software update for its MAX 737 aircraft, which the manufacturer said would correct the flaw in the MCAS system believed to have caused the Ethiopian Airlines crash, along with the crash of a Lion Air flight in Indonesia a few months prior.
According to Boeing, it has flown the 737 MAX with the updated software for 360 hours on 207 flights; in addition, updated training materials will be provided to pilots.
The two crashes prompted airlines around the world to ground their MAX 8 aircraft, including Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing.
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