Now that air-traffic security experts have had some time to peruse Ethiopian Airlines preliminary report on the deadly crash of flight EET302, a few are coming forward to dispute its central claim: Namely, that the pilots followed the manufacturer's safety protocols and did everything in their power to right the plane, but were unable to counteract the automated MCAS system, which effectively doomed everybody on the flight.
Though the report acknowledged that the pilots abandoned the safety procedures after they failed to wrest power back from MCAS, Roger Cox, a former accident investigator at the National Transportation Safety Board, who has flown earlier models of the 737, said the two pilots made one critical oversight: They left the engines set to maximum thrust, Bloomberg reports.
"The thrust was full bore the whole way," said Roger Cox, a former accident investigator at the National Transportation Safety Board, who flew earlier models of the 737 while working as an airline pilot. "That is extremely curious."
Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges said in a press conference Thursday that the pilots followed proper procedures issued after the October crash of a Lion Air jet, and EA CEO Tewolde Gebremariam defended the pilots during an interview on CNN, saying they did everything they were expected to do, and then some.
But Cox said the plane's high speed made it impossible to recover during the final seconds of the crash as it spiraled toward the ground. Another former FAA director blamed the pilots for aggravating the situation.