Relatives of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash. Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

The investigation into March's fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash — which helped lead to a worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft — has reached the preliminary conclusion that a "suspect flight-control feature automatically activated before the plane nose-dived into the ground," the WSJ reports.

The big picture: The preliminary investigation into the fatal Boeing 737 MAX crash near Jakarta, Indonesia in October also focused on the same automated system, known as MCAS, which may have been triggered by erroneous readings from a sensor mounted on the plane's nose.

Boeing installed this software in response to design changes that made the plane susceptible to a high speed stall in rare circumstances, and it's meant to push the plane's nose down to avoid such an occurrence.

Context:

  • But this system gets its input from just a single angle of attack sensor mounted near the nose of the aircraft, making it susceptible to erroneous readings from that sensor.
  • In addition, Boeing is under scrutiny for not informing pilots about the existence and workings of the MCAS system until the Lion Air crash in Indonesia.
  • Boeing is working on software fixes to improve the MCAS system's reliability, but it's unclear when regulators in the U.S. and abroad may clear the plane for takeoff again.

The 737 MAX is a cash cow for Boeing, having sold at least 5,000 aircraft-to-date. This makes the future of the plane integral to the company's financial health.

The FAA, Department of Transportation, Justice Department and others are all investigating different aspects of the 737 MAX crashes and certification process.

Go deeper: Everything else you need to know about the Boeing 737 MAX crashes

Go deeper

Louisiana braces for 3rd hurricane in 2 months as Tropical Storm Zeta nears

Municipality workers clean the streets of garbage in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on Tuesday that was left by Zeta, which struck the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 Hurricane a day earlier — causing no major damage to infrastructure. Photo: Medios y Media/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to strengthen back into a hurricane and bring dangerous storm surge conditions to parts of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

The state of play: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) requested a pre-landfall Federal Declaration of Emergency in a letter to President Trump on Tuesday, ahead of the storm's expected arrival south of New Orleans.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage" Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse.
  2. Health: Hospitals face a crush — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota cases traced to three Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Putin mandates face masks.
2 hours ago - Technology

Trump's campaign website hacked

A screenshot of the Trump campaign website after it was hacked.

The Trump campaign website briefly went down and its "About" page was modified after hackers attacked the site Tuesday evening.

The big picture: With just seven days before the election, the hackers emulated the FBI and declared on the "About" page that: "this was seized. the world has had enough of the fake-news spreaded [sic] daily by president donald j trump. it is time to allow the world to know truth." Two addresses linked to the cryptocurrency Monero appeared on the site. Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh in a statement said no sensitive data had been exposed in the attack.

Go deeper: Twitter hack raises fears of an unstable election