World

Pilots in US had safety concerns about Boeing 737 Max 8

UNITED STATESPilots in the US had expressed safety concerns about the Boeing 737 Max 8 to the authorities, reports have said.

An investigation by The Dallas Morning News found that one captain called the flight manual "inadequate and almost criminally insufficient" months before Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people.

The report said there were five complaints about the jet in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) database where pilots can voluntarily report about aviation incidents without fear of repercussions.

The complaint from the captain who called into question the 737 Max 8's flight manual said: "The fact that this airplane requires such jury rigging to fly is a red flag.

"Now we know the systems employed are error-prone even if the pilots aren't sure what those systems are, what redundancies are in place and failure modes. I am left to wonder: What else don't I know?"

The problems were with an autopilot system, the report said, and that they all occurred during the ascent after take-off.

Some pilots complained about the plane suddenly nosing down. But they managed to steady the plane after disconnecting the autopilot, said another report.

A report by US news website Politico said during one incident in November, a pilot reported that during take-off, the autopilot was engaged and "within two to three seconds, the aircraft pitched nose down", in a manner steep enough to trigger the plane's warning system.

After the autopilot was disengaged, the plane climbed as normal, according to the report in the FAA database.

The incident occurred just after the October crash in Indonesia, which killed 189 people aboard a Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air.

WORLD