Boeing's Responsibility Concealed during Turkish Airlines Deadly 2009 Crash Investigation, New Report Finds

The two Boeing 737 Max crashes in 2019 may have been prevented had the 2009 investigation been publicly disclosed.
Fabienne Lang

The 2009 crash of Turkish Airlines flight 1951 as it attempted to land at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport eerily resembled the two Boeing 737 Max aircraft crashes from 2019 where 346 people died. 

A decade splits the Amsterdam 2009 incident from the 2019 ones in Ethiopia and Indonesia. However, the same issue arose in all three Boeing 737 Max crashes: the failure of a single sensor that led to computer errors. 

The New York Times was the first to publish these findings. 


Pilots were not warned by Boeing of the issues

Aviation safety expert, Sidney Dekker, commissioned by the Dutch Security Board, said that the first Boeing 737 crash in 2009 "represents such a sentinel event that was never taken seriously." Dekker points the finger squarely at Boeing for these events, who themselves pointed the finger at the pilots of the crashed planes. 

Boeing tried to deflect the attention from their own "design shortcomings," and their responsibilities from the deadly crash were buried away. 

The 2009 Turkish Airlines flight — in a Boeing aircraft which was the predecessor to the Boeing 737 Max aircraft — crashed upon trying to land in Amsterdam, killing nine out of the 128 passengers on board. The crash could have been worse had the third pilot not been an ex-Turkish Air Force officer, used to flying under pressure and difficult conditions.

Dekker's extensive study on the matter was never made public. 

Other Dutch investigators placed the blame on the pilots operating the plane for failing to react properly when actually it was an automated system malfunction along with faulty safety assessments and design options by Boeing that meant that the plane crashed. 

It turns out that Boeing did not provide pilots operating the aircraft with enough information to react to the malfunction, should it occur, according to Dekker's study. 

The Dutch Safety Board decided not to share Dekker's investigation after Boeing officials and federal safety officers approached them. 

Unfortunately, these 2009 findings are all too similar to the two Boeing 737 Max crashes from 2019. 

Shawn Pruchniki, a professor of Ohio State University who has experience in investigating incidents told the Times "It’s really easy to blame it on the dead pilots and say it has nothing to do with our improperly designed system. It just gets frustrating because we keep having the same types of accidents."

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