Pressure mounts to ground Boeing 737 MAX 8

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The pressure continues to mount on Boeing, the FAA and airlines to ground the 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

Meanwhile, Boeing, on Tuesday, announced that it is making changes to its flight control system.

Changes that were in the works following the investigator's findings in the first crash of the first MAX 8 back in October.

As in the first crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 back in October, the pilot on the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 had reported something wrong shortly after takeoff.

Tewolde GebreMariam, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, says the pilot reported flight control problems. "So he was having difficulties with the flight control of the airplane."

Tuesday, we learned that following the first crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 back in October, the company quietly began making extensive changes to the plane's flight control system.

Noted aviation attorney Arthur Wolk said in our report Monday that investigators in the October crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 had suspected the crash was caused by the aircraft's reliance on a single 'Angle of Attack' sensor known as an 'AOA'. A sensor that sent erroneous data to the auto-pilot system called, 'The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System' that forced the plane's nose sharply down.

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After the second fatal crash in less than five months, Boeing's best selling passenger jet is facing increasing scrutiny as reported by Dann Cuellar during Action News at 11 on March 11, 2019.

Wolk says, "Only one of these AOA's works the system at any one time. It should be both of them having to agree in order to have the system working."

Now, the company says on its website that an update to the flight control system software would use multiple sensors, or data feeds in the MAX 8's stall-prevention system instead of relying on just one. Experts say that would mark a major shift from how Boeing originally designed the 'stall-prevention' feature in the MAX 8. Wolk says that should have been mandatory to begin with.

"Of course it should be mandatory, this is a safety feature, an emergency feature that creates its own emergency."

Wolk continues to join others in calling for the MAX 8 to be grounded until the issues are addressed. But U.S. aviation regulators are not expected to mandate the change until the end of April.

Matt Vecere, 43, originally from Cape May County, was among those killed in Sunday's crash.

Good friend Brian Heritage of the Heritage Sport Surf & Sport Shop says, "Matt had a knack for communicating, in being very passionate when he dealt with people. And he always went above and beyond helping anybody out every chance he got."

An avid surfer who worked at this Sea Isle City surf shop, friends say Vecere was living in California and traveled to Africa on business, attending the U.N. Environmental Assembly. A man who often volunteered to help those in need in places like Haiti, Mexico, and southern states helping the homeless and the hungry.

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Friends remember South Jersey native killed in plane crash. Maggie Kent has more on Action News at 5 p.m. on March 12, 2019.

Childhood friend John DiGenni says, "He didn't feel that he was saving anybody or thinking that he was a knight in shining armor. He was there seeing how he could be of service to them".

Vecere's life started in Sea Isle City, but his life spanned continents. His family and friends in New Jersey and people in foreign countries are mourning his loss.
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