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.


  • 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

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Trump tightens screws on ByteDance to sell Tiktok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump added more pressure Friday night on China-based TikTok parent ByteDance to exit the U.S., ordering it to divest all assets related to the U.S. operation of TikTok within 90 days.

Between the lines: The order means ByteDance must be wholly disentangled from TikTok in the U.S. by November. Trump had previously ordered TikTok banned if ByteDance hadn't struck a deal within 45 days. The new order likely means ByteDance has just another 45 days after that to fully close the deal, one White House source told Axios.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 21,056,850 — Total deaths: 762,293— Total recoveries: 13,100,902Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m ET: 5,306,215 — Total deaths: 168,334 — Total recoveries: 1,796,309 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health — FDA releases first-ever list of medical supplies in shortage.
  4. States: California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  7. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.