Doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight crew followed procedures

A Boeing 737 Max 8 plane at the Boeing plant in Renton Washington

Ethiopian Air pilots turned off 737 MAX anti-stall system. Then it turned on again

The minister also noted that preliminary investigation results also revealed the doomed aircraft "possessed a valid certificate of airworthiness, and the crew obtained the license and qualification to conduct the flight".

She said the report recommended that Boeing should review the aircraft flight control system.

A preliminary report released on Thursday indicated Ethiopian Airlines pilots wrestled with controls to stay aloft but plunged to the ground after restoring a computer system that was ordering the nose down because of faulty sensor data.

The Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed just after taking off from Addis Ababa on March 10, killing all 157 on board. It was the second deadly crash in recent months involving Boeing's new 737 Max 8 plane.

But in a clear indication of where Ethiopian investigators are focusing most of their attention, the report cleared the pilots of using incorrect procedures and issued two recommendations directed at planemaker Boeing and regulators.

Boeing on Wednesday (local time) successfully tested its new software update, following the devastating Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes which have claimed the lives of over 300 people. Flight crews will always have the ability to override MCAS and manually control the airplane.

The airline also tweeted the information from the preliminary report in a statement about the crash.

She said the report recommends 'the aircraft flight control system shall be reviewed by the manufacturer'. "My highest appreciation also goes to my 16, 000 colleagues atEthiopian Airlines for their resilience, high standards of professionalism and their continued commitment for operational excellence and their award winning customer services which enabled us to continue our business with out any operational disruption, flight delays nor flight cancellations", he said.

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According to the sources, the crew did not try to electronically pull the nose up before following Boeing's emergency procedures of cutting power to the horizontal stabilizer on the rear of the plane.

However, initial flight data indicate the aircraft was flying nose-heavy and not in a "neutral" attitude when pilots hit the stabilizer cut-out switches to disable the MCAS system, the person added, making the situation harder to manage.

The preliminary report, which has not yet been publicly released, does not come to a finding of probable cause. Nor did it give a detailed analysis of the flight, which is expected to take several months before a final report due within a year.

The two crashes killed a combined 346 people and led to Max 8 being grounded in dozens of countries across the world, including the United States.

"It was very unfortunate they could not recover the airplane from the persistence of nosediving", the airline said.

Ethiopian investigators did not specifically mention the MCAS on Thursday.

Questions on whether the pilots had levelled out the plane before disengaging MCAS and how many times MCAS activated were not answered in a news conference that lasted about 40 minutes.

But John Hansman, an aeronautics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said turning the MCAS system back on after disabling it would be a logical step for the pilots to take.

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