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At the root of the company’s miscalculation was a flawed assumption that pilots could handle any malfunction

Almost as soon as the wheels of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 spun free from the runway March 10, the instruments in front of Capt. Yared Getachew went haywire.

The digital displays for altitude, airspeed and other basic information showed dramatically different readings from those in front of his co-pilot. The controls in Capt. Getachew’s hands started shaking to warn him the plane was climbing too steeply and was in imminent danger of falling from the sky.

Soon, a cascade of warning tones and colored lights and mechanical voices filled the cockpit. The pilots spoke in clipped bursts.

“Command!” Capt. Getachew called out twice, trying to activate the autopilot. Twice he got a warning horn.

Excerpt from WSJ

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