Pilots reported ‘flight control problems,’ airline C.E.O. says
The pilots of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 reported to air traffic control that they were having “flight control problems” in the moments before the crash, the airline’s chief executive was quoted as saying in an interview with CNN.
The quoted remarks from the chief executive, Tewolde GebreMariam, suggested the plane had not responded to actions by the pilots.
Mr. GebreMariam was also quoted as saying the black boxes recovered from the wreckage “will be sent overseas” and not analyzed in Ethiopia. He did not specify where they would be taken.
Trump speaks to Boeing C.E.O., who urges no grounding
On Tuesday morning, Dennis A. Muilenburg, the chief executive of Boeing, spoke to President Trump on the phone and argued that the Max should not be grounded in the United States, according to two people briefed on the conversation. A Boeing official said that during the call with the president, “Dennis reiterated our position that the Max is a safe aircraft.”
Mr. Muilenburg has worked to cultivate a relationship with the president, but it has sometimes been an uneasy one.
Shortly after becoming president-elect, Mr. Trump assailed Boeing for the estimated cost of its program to build new Air Force One planes, which provide mobile command centers for the president.
The “costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter a month after winning the election, but before taking office. A couple of weeks later, Mr. Muilenburg visited Mr. Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., to try to smooth things over.
“It was a terrific conversation,” Mr. Muilenburg told reporters after the meeting, explaining that he had given Mr. Trump “my personal commitment” that Boeing would build new Air Force One planes for less than the $4 billion estimate. Weeks after the conversation, Boeing donated $1 million to Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee. The company had donated the same amount to help fund President Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration.
Mr. Trump also publicly lamented on Tuesday what he described as excessive technology that has overtaken modern commercial jet travel and made it, in his view, more dangerous.
Without specifying Boeing or the Max 8, Mr. Trump said aircraft had become “far too complex to fly,” and recalled approvingly the era when pilots had total control in the cockpit.
“Split second decisions are needed, and the complexity creates danger,” Mr. Trump said in a pair of postings on Twitter. “All this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”
Pilots and aviation experts have said repeatedly that flying is now safer than it has ever been.