U.S. pressured Dutch Safety Board to downplay 2009 Boeing tech flaws: NYT reports

A New York Times investigation into the 2009 Turkish Airlines crash near Schiphol has found that the United States had pressured the Dutch Safety Board in downplaying the Boeing 737 NG’s design errors.

That crash resulted in 9 deaths, including its 3 pilots and occurred in a field near the Polderbaan. The initial report from the Dutch Safety Board had put blame on pilot error, claiming long reaction time in addressing incorrect information from the plane’s altimeter. However, the New York Times investigation found that that report had omitted, at the pressure of Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), specialist Sidney Dekker’s findings.

Dekker, who is a specialist in human actions in disasters had concluded that design errors resulted in the crash. One out of Dekker’s 90-page findings ultimately ended up in the final report. That report chad concluded that the accident “represents such a sentinel event that was never taken seriously”.

The exact nature of the plane’s design flaws dealt with a malfunctioning sensor that could make its autopilot reduce speed incorrectly. This was the same issue that recently resulted in the crashes of Boeing’s 737 MAX planes. Those crashes, the 2018 Indonesia incident, as well as the 2019 Ethiopian one resulted in 346 deaths. On the topic, Boeing has said: “These accidents involved fundamentally different system inputs and phases of flight”.

Featured Image: Radio Nederland Wereldomroep / Fred Vloo [CC BY]


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