Atthin Chandrashekar DP1
Air travel has advanced tremendously over the recent years. Commercial aircraft allow people to travel from one country to another in hours, a feat which would have been impossible in the 1900s. However, the evolution of airliners has brought with it unwanted side effects. An example of such an aircraft is the Boeing 737 Max 8, which caused the death of hundreds of people.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft seemed to be promising. Its increased engine size sought to improve fuel efficiency by about 15%. This would mean that airline companies could decrease their operating costs dramatically. Boeing also sought to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 350,000 tonnes using this aircraft. Boeing claimed that the Max 8 was identical to the previous iteration of the 737. This would mean that pilots would not require extra training to operate the aircraft, and that there would be no additional training costs for airline companies. Companies jumped at the opportunity to increase profits and decrease the carbon footprint.
Soon after the launch of the aircraft, however, an accident occurred. A Lion Air 737 Max 8 crashed, killing 189 people. The aircraft lost control and plummeted into the ocean below. Soon after, an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 crashed, killing about 150 people. A serious investigation was conducted.
It was revealed that the 737 Max 8 had a system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that would force the aircraft to pitch down. This was added by Boeing to prevent the plane from stalling because of the increased engine size. Pilots were not told about this system, so they were unaware about how to control it. It was later revealed that Boeing did not inform airlines about this system as they wanted to minimize pilot training costs. This system would go out of control during flight and pilots could do nothing to correct it as they were unaware that it exists. Every 737 Max 8 in the sky was a disaster waiting to happen. As a result of the investigation, all 737 Max 8 aircraft were grounded.
The aforementioned events show us that technological advancement must be controlled. Although technology is beneficial for the development of humanity, it may sometimes come with unwanted side effects, as proven by the case of the 737 Max 8.