Minutes after take-off, the pilots of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX were caught in a bad situation.
As soon as the pilots retracted the flaps and slats, according to flight data, a key sensor began to feed faulty information into Boeing’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), designed to prevent stalls.
Flying at full take-off power, according to the flight data, the crew then struggled with nose-down commands from MCAS, four aviation experts told Reuters. The high speed and the jet’s forward-leaning posture made it nearly impossible to use the controls to pull the nose up.
Moments later, the Boeing Co jet hit the ground, killing all 157 people onboard after six minutes of flight.