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“Confused” AI may have fought pilots attempting to save Boeing 737 MAX8s

According to an investigation by The Seattle Times, air safety experts have focused their attention on a tiny fin that extends from the airliner’s nose.

It’s called an Angle of Attack (AoA) sensor. It’s job is to accurately determine how much the aircraft is pointing up or down.[The investigation is] focusing on the data the Angle of Attack sensors are feeding the MAX8 aircraft.

If an aircraft was detected an angle and speed at risk of producing a stall, this data should have triggered the Boeing’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) artificial intelligence.

This fully automated system bypasses the pilot. It takes over the controls and forces the aircraft’s nose down to what it judges to be a ‘safe’ angle.

So what if this AI was being given false information about the aircraft’s actual angle of flight?

And was the Boeing 737 MAX8 making matters worse by being inherently unstable, the result of the design carrying heavier engines than originally intended?

Investigators say the flight characteristics of both the Ethiopian Air and Lion Air MAX8 aircraft before they crashed was consistent with pilots ‘fighting’ the aircraft’s computers.

The pilots were attempting to pull the aircraft’s nose back up to a safe level. The computer appears to have been repeatedly forcing it back down.