Reports: Pilots had concerns about Boeing 737 MAX 8 prior to Ethiopian Airlines crash

VIDEO: Pilots reported concerns about Boeing 737 Max 8 ahead of deadly crash

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -In a federal database which allows pilots to self-report issues with aircraft, some expressed concern about the Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane prior to the Ethiopian Air crash that killed 157 people.

The Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) database describes itself as " the world’s largest repository of voluntary, confidential safety information provided by aviation’s frontline personnel, including pilots, controllers, mechanics, flight attendants, and dispatchers. The database provides a foundation for specific products and subsequent research addressing a variety of aviation safety issues."

“I think it is unconscionable that a manufacturer, the FAA, and the airlines would have pilots flying an airplane without adequately training, or even providing available resources and sufficient documentation to understand the highly complex systems that differentiate this aircraft from prior models,” one pilot wrote. " 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 Flight Manual is inadequate and almost criminally insufficient. All airlines that operate the MAX must insist that Boeing incorporate ALL systems in their manuals."

Another pilot also said a clearer aircraft operations manual was needed.

Two other pilots also also reported “an autopilot anomaly in which led to an undesired brief nose down situation.” A fifth said that the plane briefly deviated from its cruising altitude but pointed the finger on himself for his lack of experience in the aircraft.

The data shows these flights happened in late 2018 and gives the time of day, the rest of the information such as the airline or associated airport are redacted.

The European Aviation Safety Agency took steps Tuesday to keep the Boeing 737 Max 8 out of the air, joining Asian and Middle Eastern governments and carriers that also gave in to safety concerns.

Boeing's CEO Dennis Muilenburg also spoke with President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said. Its technical team, meanwhile, joined American, Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

The Federal Aviation Administration also backed the jet's airworthiness and said it was reviewing all available data. It said it expects Boeing will soon complete improvements to an automated anti-stall system suspected of contributing to the deadly crash of another new Boeing 737 Max 8 in October.

“Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell said in a statement. “Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action.”

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.