Boeing is being sued by a pilot who alleges the company ‘demonstrated reckless indifference and conscious disregard for the flying public’ with production of its 737 Max, the model involved in two deadly crashes that killed 346 people.
The class action lawsuit, filed anonymously on Friday in Cook County, Illinois where Boeing’s Chicago headquarters is located, also accuses the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of joining Boeing ‘in an unprecedented cover-up of the known design flaws of the Max, which predictably resulted in the crashes of two Max aircraft and subsequent grounding of all Max aircraft worldwide.’
A Boeing 737 Max went down in Bishoftu, Ehtiopia in March, killing 157 people, five months after the same aircraft model crashed into the Java Sea in Indonesia in October and killed all 189 passengers and crew on board.
The FAA is not yet named in the lawsuit, but an attorney for the unnamed plaintiff told CNN he has begun the ‘necessary procedural precondition to filing suit against the FAA.’
A spokesperson for the FAA, which has not yet reviewed changes made to the aircraft model’s design following the disasters, told DailyMail.com: ‘As a practice, we don’t comment on pending litigation.’
Boeing spokesperson Peter Pedraza told DailyMail.com the company would not be commenting on the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchanges Commission launched its own investigation into the conduct of Boeing at the end of May, as several US airlines that fly the model have canceled flights that were scheduled to use the plane into September.
Boeing is being sued by a pilot who alleges the company ‘demonstrated reckless indifference and conscious disregard for the flying public’ with its 737 Max, which crashed twice killing 346 people. A file photo of grounded Boeing 737 Max airplanes is shown
The unnamed pilot is seeking damages due to ‘significant lost wages, among other economic and non-economic damages’ due to the grounding of the plane, alleging the suffering of ‘severe emotional and mental stress when they were effectively forced to fly the Max — and required to place their own life and the lives of their crew and passengers in danger.’
The complaint alleges ‘more than four hundred pilots’ could join the complaint.
The pilot representing the class is Canadian and flies for an ‘international airline,’ and chose to file the lawsuit as ‘Pilot X’ due to ‘fear of reprisal from Boeing and discrimination from Boeing customers… due to Boeing’s substantial influence in the commercial aviation industry.’
The complaint left the amount of damages sought open to be ‘determined at trial’ with the goal to ‘deter Boeing and other airplane manufacturers from placing corporate profits ahead of the lives of the pilots, crews, and general public they service.’
Ethiopian Airlines pilot Bernd Kai von Hoesslin sent an email warning his bosses about a need for more training on the Boeing 737 Max three months before the crash in Bishoftu, Ehtiopia that killed 157.
In his email dated December 13, von Hoesslin told his superiors that in order to avoid a terrible accident like what happened on Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29, more training and better communication to crew members was needed. ‘It will be a crash for sure,’ von Hoesslin wrote, foreseeing the possibility that Ethiopian Airlines pilots might encounter the malfunction of Boeing’s flight-control system coupled with a cockpit warning that the plane was flying too low. The crash scene from March 10 in Ethiopia is shown
Ethiopian Airlines pilot Bernd Kai von Hoesslin sent an email warning his bosses about a need for more training on the Boeing 737 Max three months before that aircraft model went down in Bishoftu, Ehtiopia in March, killing 157 people.
In his email dated December 13, von Hoesslin told his superiors that in order to avoid a terrible accident like what happened when Lion Air flight JT610 crashed into the sea at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia on October 29, more training and better communication to crew members was needed.
‘It will be a crash for sure,’ von Hoesslin wrote, foreseeing the possibility that Ethiopian Airlines pilots might encounter the malfunction of Boeing’s flight-control system coupled with a cockpit warning that the plane was flying too low.
Three months later on March 10 a second Boeing 737 MAX – an Ethiopian Airlines flight – crashed in Bishoftu, Ethiopia.
Lion Air flight JT610 crashed into the sea at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia on October 29, killing all 189 passengers and crew on board.
The SEC is looking into whether Boeing properly disclosed information about a cockpit alert that didn’t work properly. Boeing reported it after the October Lion Air crash. A group of National Transportation Safety Board from United States and Indonesian Committee of Safety Transportation investigate the debris from that crash on November 1.
Eithopian Airlines refuted the claim in a statement released on Twitter, calling the claim ‘baseless and factually incorrect’ and describing von Hoesslin as a ‘disgruntled former employee.’
A malfunction of the 737 Max feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System has been discussed as playing a significant role in both crashes.
In each crash, automatic nose-down movements were triggered by inaccurate readings from one of the MCAS’s two sensors on either side of the jet’s nose, and pilots were unsuccessful in adjusting for those changes.
The SEC is looking into whether Boeing properly disclosed information about a cockpit alert that didn’t work properly. Boeing reported it after the October Lion Air crash.
On March 10, multiple cockpit warnings did create chaos in the moments leading up to the deadly crash.
It was the crash in Ethiopia that preceded the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max and has left the manufacturer struggling to save face after the second disaster in a span of five months.
Boeing has said 200 of the aircraft have successfully completed test flights after a software update.
Boeing has not yet formally submitted those changes or undergone a certification flight test to the FAA for approval.
The 737 Max planes are said to be Boeing’s biggest source of profit and the company stopped share repurchases to preserve cash when the jets were grounded in March.
Boeing acknowledged in an April 24 SEC filing that they were facing multiple legal actions from both customers and families of the 346 victims from the two tragedies.
However Boeing said it ‘cannot reasonably estimate a range of loss, if any, that may result’.
FAA Acting Chief Daniel Elwell held a meeting on May 23 with aviation regulators from around the globe in Dallas, Texas, calling the session ‘both comprehensive and constructive’ but declined to give a timetable for the agency’s review, saying the FAA won’t allow the Max to return to the skies until it is convinced the plane is safe.
Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO is being extra cautious following the tragedy that struck flight ET302 on March 10.
United Airlines previously said it has removed the Max from its schedule through August 3, canceling about 2,400 flights in June and July as a result.
United is using other planes to cover some flights that had been scheduled with its 14 Max jets. Southwest has dropped the Max from schedules into August.
Other regulators around the world grounding the plane in March after the second crash without waiting for the FAA to do so was a setback to FAA’s public persona.
‘Our review of the Max design changes, the software upgrade, is already under way,’ said Nicolas Robinson, the head of civil aviation for Transport Canada, that country’s counterpart to FAA.
Robinson said, however, that it’s ‘difficult to put a time limit on that’ because the length of the review will depend on how quickly Canada gets answers to questions it has about Boeing’s work.
Robinson said at a May 23 FAA meeting in Fort Worth, some attendees put timelines on the review process but the consensus – and the view of FAA – was that ‘this is not about meeting a deadline, it’s about getting safety done properly. It will be done when we feel comfortable.’
Southwest dropped the Max from schedules into August. A number of grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are shown parked at Victorville Airport, California, March 26
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