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Last Updated : Mar 22, 2019 04:49 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Missing critical safety add-ons put crashed Boeing 737 Max jets at risk

Many aircraft manufacturers including Boeing charge extra to upgrade a standard model with bonus features

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The Boeing 737 Max jets, which were involved in the unfortunate Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 and the Lion Air crash in October 2018, lacked two important safety features in the cockpit. This is because Boeing charged extra for them, according to media reports.

Many aircraft manufacturers including Boeing charge extra to upgrade a standard model with bonus features. Airlines around the world have to shell out huge amounts to get the customised services in their orders. These features may include comfort or aesthetics like premium seating or extra bathrooms.

But, there are other features involving communication, navigation or safety systems that contribute to the plane's operation. Low-cost airlines like Lion Air did do not opt for these features and aviation regulators have not mandated these features.

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Since these two deadly crashes occurred, Boeing has decided to make one of these safety features a standard on its airplanes.

The main reason for both crashes, which happened shortly after the planes took off, is still unknown. Authorities are trying to find if Boeing's new software, which was added recently, is the reason the planes became inoperable to the pilots.

In the Lion Air crash, it is speculated that faulty data from sensors may have led to a malfunction in the system of the plane. This software, known as the MCAS, takes the readings of two devices called angle of attack sensors. These sensors determine the position of a plane's nose with respect to the oncoming air.

The MCAS picks up signals when the aircraft is at a dangerous angle. It then automatically pushes the nose of the plane to prevent it from stalling. Media reports suggest Boeing's add-on safety features could have partly assisted the pilots in both the incidents.

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First Published on Mar 22, 2019 02:19 pm
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