Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 Crashes After Takeoff

9/17/19 UPDATE:
Six Kreindler aviation attorneys have been appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee by Judge Jorge L. Alonso of the Federal Northern District Court of Illinois. The Plaintiffs' Executive Committee will lead the Ethiopian Airlines Flight #302 investigation, discovery and litigation against Boeing and other defendants.
Judge Alonso also selected Kreindler partner Justin T. Green as Co-Chair of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee.  In addition to Mr. Green, Kreindler attorneys named in Judge Alonso’s order include Kreindler partners Brian J. Alexander, Dan Rose, Anthony Tarricone, Megan Bennet and Kreindler associate Erin Applebaum.  Firm partners Andrew J. Maloney and Marc S. Moller will also play important roles on the Kreindler team prosecuting the case.

"Kreindler has devoted our all to this important case and we are proud of the support that we have received from our colleagues at the many other firms who supported our appointment." ~ Partner Justin Green.
"Now that most families have retained counsel, it is time to do the hard work that must be completed to prepare the case for trial." ~ Partner Brian Alexander.
"The court has accepted plaintiffs’ argument that discovery should commence and there is currently a May discovery cut-off so during the coming months plaintiffs will be collecting the Boeing and Federal Aviation Administration documents we need and will also be taking the testimony of key witnesses under oath." ~ Partner Dan Rose

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(L) Justin Green with CNN's Ana Cabrera (R) Dan Rose with Fox's Maria Bartiromo

5/16/19 UPDATE:

Kreindler filed additional lawsuits vs. Boeing and Rosemount Aerospace on behalf of families of victims of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash. 26-year-old Virginia Chimenti of Italy, who devoted her life to fighting world hunger was lost as a result of the March 10th crash. Ghislaine De Claremont was tragically killed while traveling in Africa on the "trip of a lifetime" - a 60th birthday gift from family, friends and colleagues.

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View the court filing -  Chimenti v. Boeing Co., and Rosemount Aerospace, Inc.

View the court filing - Mairesse v. Boeing Co., and Rosemount Aerospace, Inc.

Bloomberg Article with Brian Alexander Wall Street Journal Article with Justin Green
Read Brian Alexander's statement in Bloomberg Read Justin Green's on Lawsuit Venue in the WSJ

5/02/19 UPDATE:
Kreindler, along with co-counsel Powers, Rogers and Smith LLP filed two federal wrongful death lawsuits in Chicago, IL against Boeing Company and Rosemount Aerospace on behalf of humanitarians Dr. Carlo Spini and his wife, Gabriella Viciani, who were killed as a result of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019.

Read the Press Release about this filing (includes link to filing)

4/02/19 UPDATE:
Kreindler has been retained by multiple families who lost loved ones in the crash of the Boeing 737 Max 8 operated as Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
Please read our statement regarding representing families in this tragedy.

The families of victims are urged not to accept any preliminary offer of compensation presented to them by Ethiopian Airlines, since families who accept the airline’s initial offer may very well be prohibited from filing any subsequent legal actions against against it, and perhaps even Boeing.

Kreindler & Kreindler LLP offers to review correspondence and compensation offers from Ethiopian Airlines or their insurer to family members of crash victims at no charge and with no obligation. We will review the documents and correspondence and provide our legal advice to the family or their representative, free at no charge.

The Accident
On Sunday, March 10, for the second time in less than five months, a brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 fell from the sky after reportedly encountering abnormalities with its airspeed shortly after takeoff. Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 departed Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for Nairobi, Kenya at 8:38 AM for what should have been an uneventful two-hour flight between the two capital cities. But just six minutes after departure, the aircraft suddenly began to experience abnormal variations in its altitude and airspeed. The pilot notified air traffic control and was granted permission to return to Addis Ababa. Moments later, Flight 302 was lost from radar and crashed 17 miles southeast of the airport, killing all 157 people on board. The victims included citizens from 35 different countries, including 8 Americans and 17 Canadians.

Another Boeing 737 MAX 8
The accident aircraft is the same model involved in the October 29, 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 601 over the Java Sea in Indonesia. Though the cause of the disaster has yet to be conclusively determined, the available radar-based flight data and the apparent on-board abnormalities that immediately preceded the Ethiopian crash are strikingly similar to the final minutes of Flight 601.

It is highly unusual for a brand new commercial aircraft flown by an experienced crew to crash just minutes after takeoff – let alone two in 5 months.  Due to these extraordinary circumstances, several countries with air carriers flying the new 737 MAX 8 have grounded the plane, meaning that no flights will be permitted until further notice. American and European authorities are evaluating the situation and could yet take the same action.

Similarities to the Crash of Lion Air 601
The Lion Air crash is suspected to have been caused by a malfunction in the plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (M.C.A.S.). The MCAS was intended as a safety feature and designed by Boeing specifically for the 737 MAX. In developing the new model, Boeing engineers fitted larger, more fuel-efficient engines under the wings of the standard 737 by positioning the new engines farther forward and higher up. Though relatively slight, this redesign changed the aircraft’s aerodynamics and how it handles in certain phases of flight. Specifically, the new design tends to cause an upward pitching motion when flying manually, which can result in the plane’s nose nudging skyward, putting the aircraft at risk of an aerodynamic stall – a risk that is most prominent during takeoff and climb.

To address this, Boeing added a new computerized system to the MAX: the MCAS. If the MAX’s "angle of attack" (i.e., nose pitch-up) were to exceed a certain threshold based on airspeed and altitude, the system would automatically tilt the plane’s horizontal stabilizer trim upward in order to pitch the nose back down.

In the Lion Air crash, investigators believe that accident aircraft’s angle of attack (AOA) sensor malfunctioned at some point prior to the crash, causing the plane’s avionics system to mistakenly interpret that the aircraft was in danger of stalling when it was not. Based on this faulty reading, the MCAS automatically compensated by pushing the plane’s nose downward to avoid a stall. This caused the pilots to lose control of plane, which led to the fatal crash.

Possible Cause
In all aircraft, including earlier 737 models, pilots naturally pull back on the plane’s yoke in order to raise the nose if the plane begins to pitch down. In the 737 MAX, however, manual pullback of the yoke does not override the MCAS trim system, and the aircraft will continue to pitch down unless the pilot disconnects the automatic trim system and trims the aircraft manually. It has not yet been determined why the Lion Air pilots were unable to regain control of their aircraft, but it has been widely reported that Boeing failed to provide its operators with an adequate description of the MCAS system and recommendations for pilot training in the event of a potential malfunction. Almost immediately after the Lion Air crash, Boeing issued instructions to airlines flying the 737 MAX to explain how pilots should react in the event of erroneous readings from the plane’s altitude and airspeed indicators.

It is particularly disturbing that despite having received training updates about the MCAS system following the Lion Air crash, the pilots of Ethiopian Flight 302 were still unable to regain control of the months-old 737 MAX 8 aircraft. This strongly suggests a dangerous design issue that cannot be sufficiently addressed by pilot action alone, and highlights the need to properly address the evident danger presented by the particularities of the Boeing plane’s design.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Accident Investigation
International crash investigators, including teams from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, are actively examining the wreckage of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in an effort to determine the cause of the disaster. Both of the flight’s data recorders have been located. Though speculation is universally discouraged in the aftermath of an air crash, it is nevertheless extremely alarming that a 737 MAX 8 – Boeing’s newest version of its most popular aircraft – has crashed for the second time in a matter of months after experiencing significant, and presumably uncontrollable, deviations in altitude and airspeed shortly after takeoff. As of Monday morning, March 11, aviation authorities in Ethiopia, China, Indonesia and the Cayman Islands have grounded the countries’ 737 MAX jets. Of the domestic carriers, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines operate the 737 MAX. All have indicated that they have no immediate plans to ground the aircraft and have expressed confidence in the airworthiness of their fleets. Boeing has similarly indicated that it does not intend to issue any new warnings or advisories in the aftermath of the crash. The FAA has yet to comment in this regard.

Kreindler & Kreindler LLP
Kreindler is one of the largest and most distinguished aviation accident law firms in the world. Since 1950, our attorneys have served as lead counsel in nearly every major commercial aviation disaster litigation.

The Kreindler firm is conducting its own investigation into the accident and is available to answer questions and address inquiries regarding the Ethiopian Airways Flight 302 disaster. Our investigation will include a thorough comparison between the flight data from the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the available data from the Lion Air crash.

Please read our statement regarding representing families in this tragedy.