More than 300 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 passenger jets have been taken out of service worldwide after two fatal crashes over the past five months in Ethiopia and Indonesia killed nearly 350 people.
But there was a third person in the cockpit, deadheading pilot, who correctly identified the problem and advised crew on how to disable a malfunctioning flight-control system, Bloomberg reports quoting two sources familiar with the investigation.
A different crew on the same plane the evening before had the same situation but solved it after running through three checklists, though they did not pass on that information to the doomed Indonesian crew, according to a preliminary report released in November.
The news came as it was announced by the FAA on Wednesday afternoon that Boeing is developing a service bulletin instructing airlines to install new flight control computer operational program software in the now grounded Boeing 737 Max aircraft.
The "dead-head" pilot told the crew to cut power to the motor driving the plane's nose down, the report added.
The March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash has shaken the global aviation industry and cast a shadow over the flagship Boeing model meant to be a standard for decades to come, given parallels with the Lion Air calamity off Jakarta in October.
The US Department of Transportation, Congress and the Justice Department are spearheading the inquiries into what the Federal Aviation Administration may have overlooked when it said the aircraft was safe.
"Safety is the top priority of the Department, and all of us are saddened by the fatalities resulting from the recent accidents involving two Boeing 737-MAX 8 aircraft in Indonesia and Ethiopia, the referral memo from Chao reads".
The Ethiopian Airlines crash has shaken the global aviation industry and cast a shadow over the flagship Boeing model meant to be a standard for decades to come, given parallels with the Lion Air calamity off Jakarta in October. The FAA earlier required design changes to the flight-control system "no later than April". He was also an Air Force pilot. The company has declined to comment on the criminal probe.
The Allied Pilots Association union at American Airlines Group Inc. also said details about the system weren't included in the documentation about the plane.
The preliminary report into the Lion Air crash mentioned the Boeing system as well as other factors, including the airline's maintenance.
The plane then crashed into the sea. The reason for the move is concern about the plane's safety in light of two crashes in less than six months.
The pilots of the Lion Air flight remained calm for most of the flight, the sources said.