Blow for Boeing – ET302 Preliminary Report Blames Faulty Aircraft Design

By Robin Van Acker | March 7, 2020

In another rather expected blow for Boeing, investigators of Ethiopian Airlines ET302 crash have concluded that the crash of the ill-fated Boeing 737MAX was caused by the aircraft’s faulty design, according to an initial draft report that has been in circulation to the participants in the probe.



Rather than releasing a full report, the Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau plans to publish an interim update before the anniversary of the March 10, 2019, crash.

The conclusions of the report go hand in hand with those given by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee after a prior 737 Max crash in October 2018. Indonesian investigators cited multiple factors in the accident, including the plane’s design. However, in the Indonesian investigation report, issues such as poor maintenance and pilots’ actions were also highlighted, while in the ET302 report, little to none attention has been paid to these factors.

As of now, the conclusions, which include only recommendations, are in draft form and could be altered before release. It is possible the US National Transportation Safety Board could request changes to the report or offer a dissenting opinion. The NTSB has received a copy of the draft interim report, according to reports, and is currently under analysis.


Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 suffered a malfunction to a sensor moments after liftoff. This triggered a safety feature known as ‘Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System’ or ‘MCAS’ that was programmed to automatically lower the nose and activated about 80 seconds into the flight. The pilots began a Boeing procedure to disable MCAS, but apparently reactivated the system shortly before the plane entered a steep dive.

‘The 737 Max’s design and development was marred by technical design failures, lack of transparency with both regulators and customers, and efforts to obfuscate information about the operation of the aircraft.’

– said the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said in a summary of preliminary findings from its nearly yearlong probe of the aircraft.

More details and technicalities about the ET302 crash will be out after the detailed report is released. We are following this closely. Stay tuned!

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