How every Boeing 737 MAX was grounded in five days

By PABLO ROBLES | April 01, 2019

It took less than a week for Boeing’s 737 MAX to be grounded following its second accident in five months. More than 300 MAX planes were taken out of service. The commercial plane was launched in 2011 and made its first journey in 2016

BOEING 737 MAX 8
The first variant developed in the 737 MAX series replaced the 737-800. MAX 8 has a lower empty weight and a higher maximum take-off weight. It is bigger, more powerful, more efficient and has a redesigned cabin.

THE TRIGGER
The Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 jet, flight 302, departed from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on March 10, bound for Nairobi, Kenya. Soon after take-off the pilots told the control tower they needed to return and land. Six minutes after leaving, the aircraft crashed 64km from the airport at 8.44am killing 149 passengers and 8 crew members on board totalling 30 nationalities.

Day 1
115planes grounded

Day 2
84planes grounded

Day 3
88planes grounded

Total planes grounded
332

Grounded
0

Day 1
115planes grounded

Day 2
84planes grounded

Day 388planes grounded

Total planes grounded
332

NOTE: ESTIMATED NUMBERS

Five months earlier, on October 29, 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea 13 minutes after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. All 189 people on board died. The accident is still being investigated.

WHERE ARE THEY STORED?
Because of the global grounding of 737 MAX fleets, airlines have been moving them into storage. Here some of the airports where aircraft are being kept.

Source: www.flightradar24.com
NOTE: Data also includes MAX aircraft produced by Boeing that have powered on their transponders, but may not yet have been delivered to an airline

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THE SUSPECT
An automated system is suspected of causing the Lion Air and Ethiopian Air crashes. The Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, is a set of sensors and software that helps pilots when the wings are losing lift because the aircraft is climbing steeply.

If the plane does not have enough lift, an ‘aerodynamic blockage’ can occur, causing it to stall. The MCAS is supposed to correct this, allowing the aircraft to recover speed and climb.

SOFTWARE UPDATE
Boeing announced last week that it would soon release a patch that fixes their MCAS autopilot system.

OTHER AIRCRAFT GROUNDINGS IN HISTORY
Banning planes from flying is rare and the 737 Max is only the eight aircraft grounded in aviation history.

1946: Lockheed Constellation
Grounded: July 12, 1946

Reason: Fatal in-flight fire on TWA Flight 513 on July 11, 1946

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